Those who have closely followed the evolution of SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras since they rose to power are aware of their constant Ovidian metamorphoses over many years.
SYRIZA started off in 2008 as a basically ultra-left pastiche off groups (but with the core being the former parliamentary party Synaspismos which was incorporated into SYRIZA) with a limited understanding of the country and its problems.
The interests of its cadres were limited to the initial images of migration that were that the party focused on and to the experiences of Mr. Tsipras’ associates who periodically participated in anti-globalisation protests that developed in Europe and elsewhere.
In its early period SYRIZA’s cadres defended migrants’ rights and were battling the 1% of the world population that was exploiting the toil of the other 99%.
Moreover, the party failed to discern the coming international financial crisis. It saw it as a minor glitch in the global capitalist system and had no idea that it could mark the beginning of the great Greek crisis.
SYRIZA treated the media as a means of promotion, and Tsipras since his teenage years availed himself of his talent for communication and avidly sought and at times garnered media coverage, including a nationally televised interview when he participated in student sit-ins.
The crisis found SYRIZA unprepared and lacking interpretive tools. At first, when there was confusion about what exactly was going on, it dabbled in unfeasible solutions and choices. Then Greece signed the first bailout memorandum and the party’s tactics included over-simplification, demands, and the rhetoric of disaster.
The party gradually incorporated populist movements such as the “Can’t pay, won’t pay” movement and tremendously exploited the furious and politically baseless indignados movement. It was charmed by discussions about leaving the euro and returning to the drachma and sought all manner of contact with wider groupings.
It adopted all the anti-memorandum slogans along with extreme views about how to handle the great crisis and it made outlandish demands. In the first of two 2012 general elections, in May, it managed to quadruple its prior electoral percentage and thus had a shot at winning an election and governing the country.
Between May and June, 2012, up until the second election of that year the party sought to win over the support of the media without a battle, and especially those of the traditional centre-left.
Its effort was unprecedented and its demands were untrammeled. Essentially, SYRIZA sought a surrender of the media so that they could be transformed into propaganda mechanisms for the party.
It attributed its loss in the second election to the media’s refusal to capitulate.
Since then, the party has adopted an absolutely hostile stance towards the media. It cursed and mocked them. It labeled them as enemies of the people and put in motion an absolutist plan which is still in progress to conquer them.
With the results of the 2014 European Parliament elections, SYRIZA’s shot at power was reconfirmed and it attempted even more intensely to lay claim to the press. Just before the 2015 general election the party openly threatened those who did not bend to its will. They simply could not understand the reasonable objection that if they did what they said their actions would lead the country to disaster.
That was confirmed in the summer of 2015, when the Tsipras government was confronted with the prospect of Grexit and disorderly default. To transcend that impasse Tsipras signed the third and harshest bailout memorandum and denied everything he stood for until then.
That split the party and forced Tsipras to call a general election, but only after he passed the bailout deal in Parliament with the votes of opposition parties. He repaid them by putting them on the firing line.
After his victory in the 2015 election he used alleged scandals to chase his opponents and systematised his effort to conquer the media.
He literally capitulated to the foreigners – Americans, Germans, capitalists, and all those whom he previously rejected and cursed.
Hence, the PM’s credibility collapsed. Now everyone, especially the international media, views him as an untrustworthy master of populism.
Under such conditions, the upcoming general election should be a cakewalk for SYRIZA – unless Mr.Mitsotakis’ New Democracy blows it.