The way of transition from the uncertainty of the left present to an environment of new action and creation for the Greek radical and renewal left.
I was genuinely at a loss as to what would be useful to say at today’s event. I received confusion from those around me, like travelers the interlocutors, some have left the port for a long time, others are getting ready now: the starting point is known, the ship is unknown, the destination is unknown and they are wondering what luggage to take. Several are at the port and look at the sea, as if they have decided on the trip. Others, of course, are like – as the song says – “those who stay and wait”.
So I’ll start with this embarrassment and sadness and helplessness and even shame. It is not a bad thing to admit these things, especially when you see those who express certainties, how they walk around strapped to the arrogance of a supposed sufficiency. To accept our embarrassment and weaknesses in order to go further. Embarrassment of defeat, embarrassment before the times that show their teeth.
The title of the event co-exists the renewalist and the radical left, terms with historical weight: those who distanced themselves from dogmatism in the 60s and 70s and chose the path of Eurocommunism, those who in the 2000s formed a shape with polychrome and ambiguities of a protest forum. The inheritance of the former in the character of the latter. Antinomies and ambiguities, movements and perspectives of governance, pragmatism and post-materialist value imprints that highlighted space as a privileged expression of rights (even by some it is attributed as a disadvantage to the “rightists”).
And some baggage almost uncared for, some ease in coexistence with ethno-populism after 15 and much that was done although (should be) foreign to the aesthetics and discourse of the left. In the baggage and management of the trauma of 2015, the unprecedented mobilization of the popular factor and its dramatic failure, an event with a long-lasting imprint. And the hegemonic movement in Macedonian. Two moments when the ruling left conversed on a large scale with the end of the moment, in one it hit the stern, in the other it crossed the lake.
With the relative luxury provided by my position outside but close to SYRIZA, with the involvement that generates a mental and other relationship with the left, of course it is not my job to say what those inside should do. I will say what I think is the need of the times.
The need of the times
There is no need of the times for an endless discussion about the gender of angels. I don’t think even the constant discussion about current mistakes, political inconsistencies, lack of elementary historical and political awareness and other aspects of the decay to which SYRIZA is being led.
There are of course politically critical questions. Like if in a world that goes right you also go right – and how much? – to meet him or go left even if you’re in the minority. We can discuss the pursuit of purity, even a return to a past that does not exist, to the years of radical innocence. But reality roars out there. Can we talk in closed circles about the content of radical left politics while this aggressive definition in Europe no longer defines anything left but is now in the hands of the extreme right? Do the left-wing dissensions in Europe have a reason for existence and prospects? But what is really radical today?
There is a danger here. The leadership team and the former leader suffered from a refusal to accept the obvious reality and attributed defeats to external factors. The danger is that the part of the left that defines itself as radical will do the same today. That is, not to see where he went wrong with actions or omissions, to attribute everything to the previous leadership. Can the suffocating radical left attribute the leadership election only to organizational issues, how many voted, who voted. However, the answer to why the unheard of became real cannot but include herself. If the unheard was voted, the heard would also have some problems. In short, it was all the fault of the previous leadership but it was not all to blame alone.
A response to right-wing hegemony
I answer the question of the title of the event: we are called to face the absolute and post-politically unprecedented in intensity and duration of right-wing hegemony. The right sets an agenda, the democratic opposition is essentially speechless, the non-SW extreme right is at 13% plus 3% that has an anti-political formation. Abstention, non-representation, cutting off a large part of society from the political system. Anti-politics and new architecture of the political system: government without accountability, serious deficits of the rule of law. In summary: Right-wing government with a strong far-right in parliament and society that will open an increasingly reactionary agenda.
This hegemony is not countered by imitations and “ProjectMitsotakis” franchises that contaminate whatever space they colonize. We need to see what constitutes this hegemony and a society of low expectations accepts a model of universal deregulation. Climate deregulation as a factor of general vulnerability. Biotic deregulation, democratic deregulation.
The left as a security force
The easy thing is to self-obsess over trauma. The challenge is to articulate a comprehensive and coherent discourse on what we face. A reason for social empowerment and security. I say this knowing that security is not a popular concept in the vocabulary of the radical left, but the re-appropriation of security is the great project, the most progressive in conditions of total insecurity. Let’s take security from the right, take the quotient out of it and give it all its content. Let the plural left become a security force and show how the right is a risk taker.
But this means finding things that can unite, especially when we know that the debate within the left is being watched by a largely tired, wounded and often aging world. Not always biologically but always almost organizationally aged. Who have joined in the past? Who mobilized and brought energy and people with energy? What have we long to say in a simple and convincing way (I am not referring only to the party speech but to the speech of all of us)? What do we have to propose that is different in the school, in the hospital, on the street, in the public space? I am talking about the political alphabet, the few topics that will form the skeleton of a minimum proposal. What each and every one will be able to see projected in their own reality. Tangible.
A single social, climatic and institutional tripartite that could mobilize new groups. What does roof security mean for the person affected by the flood or the person who cannot afford the rent in the gentrification areas? To find new tools to talk about work in the age of artificial intelligence and digital nomads. Let’s talk about insurance and demographics to the man who is afraid because there are so many foreigners at a time when he can’t find land workers for his field. To talk about access to the universal commons, water and air, the internet, the genome, technology and culture. To find again codes of communication with the generations that follow and are missing from the room today. And because we don’t always know how to do it and what to say, let’s look for those who do. Only with new allies can we face the social far-right of racial and gender hatred, which knows how to give easy answers to difficult questions.
New alliances, new players
To take up again subjects that do not lend themselves to opportunistic instrumental outbursts. Think about how many issues the left as an opposition took hold of and left them, did not specify proposals, did not follow the development, did not find young scientists to run them, left-wing technocrats, children with appetite. However, this means leaving the path of moralizing and demonizing the opponent, the ease of denouncing. To talk to experts by field, to put new players in the game, to make new alliances. There are people who are suffocating, both from the situation and from the lack of perspective, even public discussion.
Our own agenda
Let’s set an agenda. Instead of waiting for the new developments of the nationalist and ultra-conservative right-wing reaction in school programs, in family and gender equality issues, in coexistence with the different, let us open up the issues, let us push the axis of the discussion. The only times the left made a difference was when it aggressively pushed an agenda, from citizenship to the Prespas. Where he didn’t try, he lost. The example of church-state relations.
Many recall the left of the movements. One can dwell on the nostalgia of innocence before the experience of rule.
He can also look for who the new subjects or potential subjects are today while the tired Greek Republic is preparing to celebrate its 50th birthday. How will new players get into the game? I’m talking about the obvious ones: the movement on the beaches, the sick but existing anti-war movement, the artists’ movements, MeToo, the organizations working in the refugee field and many others. I am also talking about interlocutors with deeper social and institutional roots, some who raised the issue of wiretapping, people who are suffocating from the examples of an illiberal democracy that are visible everywhere, from the deregulation of the energy market or the dismantling of infrastructure. Let’s talk with seriousness, knowledge, about issues that will add up to a mosaic of security and a new social structure.
We will make it; Very hard. The correlation is overwhelming. But we have no choice. The aim cannot be to reproduce old tried and tested recipes, it cannot be the aim to revive the old individual components by simply breaking down the whole. It’s just not possible. Nor must new faces be found as speakers and masks of the old, the trick will be immediately perceived.
Society will sing “show me the mask you hide under the mask you wear”.
I talk to teenagers all the time. Shall I tell you the two events that shook them this year? Tempi, the absolute fiasco of the state and the political order against their own security. And the image of hideous violence on the ship’s catapult. For me, both are signposts of a new social condition in terms of security that will concern the new generations. Let’s say what we propose against agrarianism, the reduction of the value of life and social cannibalism. To speak in a society of reduced expectations and high survival competition for the basics: fundamental social goods, essential democracy, justice.
Whether each can do this better within or outside his group and party, let him answer alone or with the people with whom he wants to share the journey.
The text is the intervention of the editor at the event “The renewing and radical Left against the challenges of the times” that took place in Trianon on 6/11.