Tag Archives: Social Democracy

PASOK’s road of returnism

pasok_aloneMore interested in reaching a “new settlement” with the European Union than ancient Greece, British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday defended his belief that the Parthenon Marbles should not be returned to Athens, saying he does not subscribe to the idea of “returnism”. At PASOK headquarters, though, they have no reservations about returnism.

The return of four Socialist deputies who quit the party following a tense parliamentary vote in November to approve a new package of austerity measures and reforms that secured Greece’s latest loan tranche was confirmed on Thursday. The four – Costas Skandalidis, Angela Gerekou, Michalis Kassis and Yiannis Koutsoukos – failed to support the package and lost their place in PASOK’s parliamentary group.

Welcoming them back on Thursday, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said that their time away from the fold was “part of the cost” the party had to pay for Greece getting its December loan installments and apparently reducing drastically the threat of a eurozone exit.

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tsiprashandup_390_0412What a delicious irony that on Monday – the day that at least one paper carried a headline labeling SYRIZA “the new PASOK” – the leftists announced the results of a vote aimed at uniting the party behind a central vision just a few hours before former PASOK high flier Andreas Loverdos heralded the creation of a new political movement, or would-be party, that splits the Socialists even further.

As SYRIZA attempts to leave behind its days of myriad factions and to create greater cohesion behind a common set of policies, PASOK – the erstwhile epitome of the party coming before anything else – breaks up into ever smaller pieces.

Sunday’s vote was the next step in SYRIZA’s effort to speak with one voice. Since its inception, the party has been made up a variety of groupings from the left side of the political spectrum, such as Eurocommunists, anti-capitalists and ecologists. This has made for a rare polyphony, an attractive feature in times when the urgency of bailout bills means Parliament’s rules, regulations and even role are often steamrollered. The plurality of views created and ebb and flow that kept the party moving and provided a platform for all views, regardless of how controversial they may have been. Matthaios Tsimitakis, a freelance journalist who follows SYRIZA closely, refers to the process as “exhaustive democracy.”

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