Greece: Four years of ultraliberal break-up

by A. Sartzekis, International Viewpoint

Four years of ultraliberal break-up and attacks on rights in Greece

After much hesitation, Prime Minister Mitsotakis junior has set the legislative elections for 21 May. Although the polls show his party, New Democracy (ND), in the lead, the results are uncertain, so great is the anger after four years of ultra-liberalism and therefore of repression and attacks on rights.

Although Mitsotakis controls most of the media and locks up the state apparatus, he is worried.

In this climate, the date and form of the elections are an issue: they will be proportional – with a minimum threshold of 3% to have deputies – but, unless a coalition government is agreed, should lead to second elections which will be based on an ND law giving the first party a bonus of 20 to 50 deputies. These second elections would take place at the beginning of July: Mitsotakis hopes to deprive some 220,000 young seasonal workers who will have gone to work in the tourist areas of their vote. It should be noted that the polls put Syriza well ahead among young people…

This electoral manoeuvre is one of the countless anti-democratic and anti-social attacks of this extreme right-wing government, the worst since the colonial junta for many Greeks, to the point that it even worries the European authorities about its methods, for example with the affair of the innumerable wiretaps, which Mitsotakis is trying to cover up. As the economic situation is not much better for the population than it was under the memoranda, all the reasons are there for this radicalized right to fall on 21 May, especially as during these four years, the popular struggles have never ceased.

But here we find a familiar situation: to bring down the right, what alternative is there on the left? Let us look back at the four years of this government fighting against workers, migrants and young people.

A government with a fascist composition

This government has often been described as a Chilean-style government, ultra-liberal and ultra-repressive. The comparison is true: it took the cynicism of Mitsotakis to put fascists in key positions just a few years after the murders of the Nazi group Golden Dawn. Certainly they were “recycled ND”, but two of them had been ministers in 2011 (ND-PASOK-Laos government) under the label of the fascist group Laos. As soon as it was elected in 2019, ND thus cajoled the voters of the fascists and, after the conviction of the Nazi murderers in 2020, it let them act in prison, so much so that one of the leaders of Golden Dawn was able to present candidates for a reconstituted fascist group, which the polls give as 3 or 4%…

As for the fascist ministers, their role is important in the government: one is the Minister of the Interior and manufactures measures so that “never again will the left come to power“ (his own words); the other is in Development and puts all his weight behind privatization; the third is in Health where he is systematically breaking up the public hospital system to the benefit of the private sector: in most hospitals in the Athenian region, 50% of the post-operative beds are not functioning because of a lack of personnel…

But let’s make no mistake: the ministers of the “classic” right have nothing to envy to the ministers of the extreme right. Whether it’s in education, with the university police and the gifts to public schools, in labour, with an anti-union law that breaks the eight-hour day to give employers free overtime, in culture, with a Disneyland conception of sites and museums or attacks on artists’ rights… But also a murderous migration policy and a minister who denies against the evidence that refugees are often pushed out to sea.

Focusing on racism has been and remains a priority for Mitsotakis: his election campaign started in front of the wall being built between Greece and Turkey, to set the tone.

A. Sartzekis

26 April 2023, Athens

Translated by International Viewpoint from l’Anticapitaliste.

[Le même en français]

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