by YIANNIS MAVRIS
Why public opinion has not been receptive to the ‘theory of the two extremes’
According to a recent survey by Public Issue (November 2013), 6 in 10 respondents (61%) regard Golden Dawn as a party with ‘extreme views’, compared to only 1 out of 10 (11%) in the case of SYRIZA (figure 1). It is clear that the electorate has not embraced ‘the two extremes’ equation and the efficacy of the ideological contrivance remains negligible. It is significant that even New Democracy voters are not convinced, given that 62% consider Golden Dawn to be an ‘extreme’ party whereas just 1 in 5 (19%) believe the same is true of SYRIZA (figure 2).
This ‘theory of the two extremes’ was adopted by a high proportion of New Democracy’s party incumbents. An assumption without theoretical value, it constituted a purely propagandistic construct, which was politically aimed – as it turns out, unsuccessfully – at defaming the Left and intimidating the electorate. However, the fact that the government was forced to turn against Golden Dawn and criminalize its actions, in conjunction with the media campaign against the party, have dealt the ideological contrivance a heavy blow, since it became clear that in reality a comparison was being made between dissimilar things. As survey data revealed, the momentum of political developments resulted in the political burial of the undertaking.
The likening and equating of the actions of a neo-Nazi organization, which is being investigated as a criminal one, with the party of the parliamentary Left (which also happens to be the main opposition party), was met – from the outset – with disbelief by the electorate. This can be attributed to a ‘cultural factor’, namely the democratic ‘reflexes’, which strongly characterize post-dictatorship Greek society and its political culture, especially the pre-existing powerful appeal of parliamentary ideology; phenomenon that stands as an “obstacle” to the demolition of representative institutions. It appears that the much derided “culture of ‘Metapolitefsi’ (the post-dictatorship period)”, which so irritates the neoliberal intellectuals/apologists of the Greek ‘post-democracy’ and ‘techno-politics’, although on the decline, continues to be active.