Thursday, March 12, 2015

Honesty galore

I 'm copying from Jacobin mag's interview with SYRIZA MP (but not SYRIZA member) Costas Lapavitsas, which is is being touted on the social media as an "honest interview":

So you dismiss the argument that said a minority government was possible?

That’s just nonsense. In the circumstances, nothing else was feasible. The real blame lies with the Communist Party, of course. Which, once again, has not measured up to the demands of history, and has chosen a line of complete opposition and complete hostility to Syriza and what it stands for, and therefore it forced Syriza to make this government with ANEL.
Let's restrict ourselves to a single aspect of this astounding response, in which "political responsibility" consists in laying the blame for one's own decisions elsewhere: Lapavitsas says that under "the circumstances" (meaning, ostensibly, of the electoral result), SYRIZA was "forced" into partnership with ANEL.

Everyone knows of course that this "forcing" did not take much deliberation or hesitation on SYRIZA's part; the SYRIZA-ANEL government was announced by ANEL leader Panos Kammenos hours after the polls closed and before Alexis Tsipras had said a word on the electoral result and the plans of the winning party. The polls closed at 7 pm on January 25 and Kammenos announced the coalition government at around 11:20 pm of the same night, as if he were in fact Tsipras's Public Relations Officer:

Kammenos (1:45 of video): "I want to announce that as of this moment, there is a new government in the country. The Independent Greeks give their vote of confidence to the Prime Minister, Mr. Alexis Tsipras. The Prime Minister will visit the President of the Republic today to undertake his oath and will announce the composition of the government, in which the Independent Greeks will participate."

Such decisions as coalition and the sharing of cabinet positions of course, don't take place in minutes (50 of them, to be exact). When no party received absolute majority in the May elections of 2012, there were days and days of inter-party talks involving ND, PASOK and SYRIZA which ended nowhere, so the country was led to new elections. Mr. Lapavitsas is not very specific on what circumstances "forced" SYRIZA and ANEL to form a coalition government, though I do suspect they have something to do with the understanding that the Eurobosses, with whom SYRIZA never intended any kind of "rupture" as it told its acolytes, would not easily tolerate another election. Knowing that, SYRIZA and ANEL had formed the ground and conditions of partnership long before the night of January 25, under the "pressure of circumstances."

On 22 March 2013, for instance, "Vima" reported: "Tsipras and Kammenos agreed on political partnership", and noted: "The result of the discussion [between the two] and the first sample of partnership between the two parties is their common proposal to call the director of the Bank of Greece Mr. G. Provopoulos to the Palriament Committee of Financial Affairs so he can explain the reasons why Greece refused the financial aid asked by Cyprus [...] The leader of SYRIZA noted [video of Tsipras' statements on site] among other things that despite ideological disagreements, there was an agreement on the need to create 'a broad popular front for solidarity to the Cypriot people', while he underlined that "this common front will express itself in the Parliament, but principally in the social field" (it expressed itself in Parliament).

On 14 October 2014, the 902 portal (KKE) reported: "Tsipras and Kammenos winked at a broad coalition. The meeting between SYRIZA and ANEL leaders Tsipras and Kammenos leaves open the possibility of a government coalition between the two. In their statements, they winked at a broad coalition, including a government coalition, after identifying their agreement on key issues, like the fact that the election of the President of the Republic must take place after elections" (see also the similar report in "Vima").

In a report on their parliament speeches on 8 December 2014, newspaper "To Honi" noted that Tsipras and Kammenos were "on the same wavelength" as regards their position on approving the budget, which they both connected with a decision not to support the then candidate for President of the Republic, thus leading the country to elections.

Later in that month, SYRIZA's media and spokespersons incessantly promoted ANEL MPs Haikali's and Kammenos's allegations that ND had tried to bribe ANEL members into voting for the ND candidate for President of the Republic (See Avgi's articles in support of ANEL here, here, here, here, here, and here).

Meantime, in light of the Municipal elections that were to be held in 2014,  ANEL representative Notis Marias invited, in November 2013, SYRIZA to collaborate with ANEL in constituting common ballots for local candidacies; this wasn't realized at a national, central level, but individual Demesnes did feature common SYRIZA-ANEL candidates (in Thessaly, for instance, where there were also collaborations with ND and PASOK), or in Perama), while the close relationship between Zoe Konstantopoulou (SYRIZA) and Rachel Makri (ANEL, then SYRIZA) was, as I have shown in another post, the subject of quite a bit of attention in the Greek media. So obvious was the insistent flirtation between the two parties, indeed, that Greek satirists were poking fun at it already in May 2012.

Indeed, on May 9 2012, after meeting with Tsipras on the wake of the first elections, which gave no party a government majority, Panos Kammenos had made very clear the course of things to come, including the reference to KKE refusal we see in Lapavitsas' Jacobin interview:

"I had an extensive discussion with SYRIZA's president, Mr. Tsipras, both on the economy and on other issues, particularly national issues.  First of all, there is a conclusion: we don't have the necessary majority so we could discuss the formation of a government of the anti-Memorandum front, because the number posited by the Constitution, of 120 MPs so that there is the possibility of a vote of tolerance, doesn't exist. The 52 MPs of SYRIZA, the 33 MPs of ANEL, and the 19 MPs of DIMAR ["Democratic Left", SYRIZA fraction which split in 2010] are not enough for 120, given the refusal of the KKE. So there is no issue of forming a government of the anti-memorandum front."

And there you have it: the self-christened "anti-Memorandum block" which arbitrarily posited as its members DIMAR, which participated in the ND-PASOK government after the June elections, and KKE, for which opposition to the Memorandum was never the determining political issue, even though it was the only party to submit a draft law for its abolition, simply didn't have enough MPs to form a government, and that was the basic --and pedantic-- issue. After January 25, with DIMAR having sunk to insignificance and KKE steadily opposed to coalition on the murky grounds of an "anti-Memorandum front", of which Golden Dawn itself could easily be a constituent (it also sells itself as an "anti-Memorandum" party), the MPs of SYRIZA and ANEL were enough to form a government; ergo, a government was formed. It would have been highly desirable for Social Democrats to inculpate the KKE into such an unprincipled and adventurist alliance of bourgeois ideologues, but it didn't do them the favor of committing political suicide.

So, to return to Mr. Lapavitsas, "the real blame" of it all "lies with the Communist Party" only in the sense in which the Communist Party has committed the unpardonable offense of being communist. Otherwise, it would have to lie with those who have refashioned a straightforward Keynesian like him into a "Marxist" (???!!!!) and have given him the right to judge communists on the grounds that they would rather avoid having anything to do with his kind, particularly given the proven unreliability of the party he was elected with and his own typical penchant for turning reality into digestible fiction; fiction for an infantilized readership that hankers for stories of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, while indulging fantasies of storming Winter Palaces in some American suburb.

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