International media coverage of SYRIZA has focused on their economic plans, but very little has been written about their divisive rhetoric. This article, by well known political cartoonist Andreas Petroulakis, was published in Greek on the eve of the election.
While we still can, let us say a few words about the country we are leaving behind — every election takes us to another country. This new country is uncharted, but I hope two things about it: that it be part of Europe, and that it is not so full of hate.
Tomorrow the day belongs to SYRIZA. I think that, regardless of what they have been saying in the past, they will do what they can not to derail our country’s European course. I hope they will succeed in that. I will focus on hate: this party is to a large extent responsible for the volume of hate in Greek society. And I truly hope that as of tomorrow they will try hard to defuse it, and to become a government also of those against whom they had been directing the hate. They should not forget that at least 65% of people still do not trust SYRIZA’s proposition. And let them not say, as I expect they will, that SYRIZA never blamed ordinary people, just governments and the banks — no thanks; their hate fed a rhetoric which spread everywhere. Families and friendships broke up, and people who were neither Ministers nor bankers were publicly slandered and abused. Continue reading
National Populism and Xenophobia in Greece by Manos Matsaganis and myself forms part of the second phase of Counterpoint’s “Recapturing Europe’s Reluctant Radicals” project. This second phase of the project aims to draw an in-depth picture of how populism emerges in specific country contexts across Europe through ten expert written country pamphlets.
A number of publications connected to this project are already available, and several more are upcoming. They are, in my mind, exceptionally valuable in gaining insights into the varying national cultures and institutions that have given rise to extremist populism.
This is is the text of the pamphlet on Greece, in A4 format.
(Published in the Harvard Crimson, 21 April 1972: “The author of this piece wishes to remain anonymous”)
FIVE YEARS ago today, on April 21, 1967, a coup d’etat imposed on the Greek people a military junta, which is still in power. It was a slap that caught everybody unaware. For months the politicians of the Center and especially of the Left had been talking about the danger of a military dictatorship. But nobody expected that it would actually happen.
And suddenly one morning you wake up, and the telephone is dead, and the radio is playing old nationalistic military songs, and outside your window you hear the rumble of armored cars in the streets, and officers warning everybody to stay in their houses. It was all so swift and well organized that nobody reacted. Only three people were killed in Athens that day, trying to get out into the streets to see what was happening. The junta boasted on the bloodlessness of their “revolution.” During the night of the coup, 16,000 people–mainly members of the Parliament, journalists, labor leaders, and members of left-wing organizations–were rounded up. Some were kept under house arrest. Most were sent to concentration camps on remote Aegean islands. Some managed to escape capture. The soldiers came into the room and the bed was still warm but the man was away, hiding in some attic, waiting for the curfew to be raised so that he could start contacting his friends. Continue reading