Letter from Athens

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

The businessman in front of me is closely connected with the leadership of “New Democracy”. He was telling me yesterday, as we were eating in Kolonaki square:

«Ι hope Tsipras will win and he will apply all what he signed. This is the only way to humiliate him, to get rid of him by destroying him”

This is not only the way to destroy Tsipras, I added in my mind, but also the Greek, if not the European Left. If there will be some kind of Left in the future, in Greece or in Europe, it will be a very different thing than what we have now.

Tsipras will most probably win clearly over Meimarakis today (except for a huge surprise, which does not seem probable). He was able to shift the question from “Yes or No” to the Memorandum to the question “Do you prefer the old parties that ruined you or you will give a second chance to me?”

Of course he was greatly facilitated to do that by the behavior of the oppositionists inside SYRIZA. For a long time they were doing nothing to prevent the final capitulation. The first reactions were so smooth that they carried implicitly the message that “after all, it is not so important. What matters most is the unity of the Party”. The way of constituting “Popular Unity”, its political discourse and its sectarian position on the necessity of drachma did the rest. It contributed to make the message of Tsipras (“there is no alternative”), all the more credible. Some people will vote still for PU, but they will not do it because they believe to it, but out of a principled position, to defend their own dignity and to protest against the loss of national independence.

Many Greeks, realizing they are already defeated on the memorandum question, they still think that Tsipras maybe will help them somehow attenuate the consequences of the Third Memorandum he has signed. They cannot wait anything  from New Democracy, so they will vote for Tsipras. They are rightly scared about what waits their families, themselves and the country. They prefer still to keep some hope that Tsipras may protect them. It is an illusion, but the minds are slow to grasp reality. Especially, when the reality they have to grasp seems absolutely tragic, without possible way out, neither in the individual, or on the national level. When you can’t do anything about reality, sometimes it seems better to keep illusions.

My friend Vaggelis tells me “It is inconceivable. We cannot reelect a guy who cheated us in such a way. I think something will happen, a surprise of the last moment. When I heard Tsipras, with such self- confidence on Friday, all these lies he spoke in Syntagma Square, trying to imitate the style of Andreas Papandreou, I realized that he is the most dangerous man in Greece. I decided to vote for Lafazanis”. (Vaggelis he is a very decisive man. Some days ago he told me that he feels ashamed because he does not know what to do in the elections and he is changing his mind every day)
I looked with bewilderment on my TV screen last Friday Pablo Igllesias, Gregor Gysi and Pierre Laurent at the podium at Syntagma square, hailing Tsipras and supporting him. I was wandering what exactly they are supporting. The capitulation, the turning of Greece into a protectorate (also with the help of the Spanish, French, German governments), the social slaughter of Greeks provided in the most detailed manner by the third Memorandum or the extremely pro-US and pro-Israel foreign policy and plans of the Tsipras government? What really?

I don’t know if they believe they are supporting Greek left or Greek people. What I know is that they help indirectly but greatly Golden Dawn and Marine Le Pen, by proving once more that the Left is incapable or unwilling people who turn to it to protect their most elementary political, social and national rights and also their dignity.

I was still angry with that when a glimpse of hope was reborn after reading the message of support to my country and to its symbol Manolis Glezos from Oscar Lafontaine, still the voice of consciousness of European Left. To have any future, the Left should become again the Left, not try to accommodate the most reactionary forces European history has produced. And this is not true only of Greece, it is true of every single European country.

Athens, September 20th ,2015