Wednesday, 27 May 2009
What to make of the rise of the Greek Greens
A pot of basil may symbolise the soul of a people better than a drama of Aeschylus. (Ion Dragoumis)
The idea that the sole goal of life is to produce and to consume more – an idea that is both absurd and degrading – must be abandoned; the capitalist imaginary of pseudorational pseudomastery, of unlimited expansion, must be abandoned. (Cornelius Castoriadis)
Greece has suffered in the last few decades from a contempt for the environment and a sordid and crude effort at development and modernity, which stresses consumerism, materialism and an hubristic economic model. The consequences of this greed and disdain for nature are present everywhere in Greece and have affected not only the ecosystem, but the quality of everyday living and the social and political fabric.
So, it might have appeared a welcome development that in opinion polls for next week's European Parliament elections in Greece, from nowhere, the Greens are predicted to attract some eight percent of the vote and finish third, ahead of the Greek communist party, leftist SYRIZA and right-wing LA.OS. But why am I less than enthusiastic about the rise of the Greek Greens? The video above reveals why. In it, Greek Greens leader Michalis Tremopoulos is forced to defend in front of angry Pontian protesters in Komotini his suggestions that Pontian refugees from the USSR should never have been allowed to settle in Thrace; and that in Thessaloniki a road should be named after that famous 'child of the city' Mustafa Kemal – father of the Turks and slaughterer of Pontian Hellenism.
It's worth pointing out that while in Greece, the Greens appear to have fully embraced the pacifist, anti-national, multiculturalist, pro-Muslim, pro-Turk, human rights outlook of the broader European Green movement; in Cyprus, the Greens – with one MP and two percent of the vote – haven't donned the unnecessary accoutrements associated with being a Green and are one of the most vociferous anti-occupation parties, which in last year's presidential elections strongly supported Tassos Papadopoulos. A pity that the Greens in Greece are not more like the Greens in Cyprus.
For more on Michalis Tremopoulos, go here, here and here (all in Greek).
And for Castoriadis' essay The Revolutionary Force of Ecology, go here, pp109-124.