Systemic parties and ideologies in Greece


By Anastasios M. Tamis*

Chaos again in Greece with the so-called “far right” parties. We constantly hear about the “antisystemic parties” that entered the Greek Parliament, we hear that these are the Chrysavgites (Golden Dawners), the neo-Nazis, the far-right, the fascists. Everyone walks into one of the TV windows selling garbage, tons of garbage, and baptises the others, as they see fit, as they like to put it simply. 

What does a “systemic” party mean? It means the party that conforms to the dominant system, the system of capitalism for example, it means the party that does not renounce and does not want to abolish the prevailing system of government. Those who belong to parties that strengthen, support, or legitimately oppose the ideology of these parties and do not seek to abolish the system are systemic. They are OK, they are acceptable, they are straightforward, they are democrats, they may even be neoliberals, but today in Greece they may also be communists. However, the latter are also anti-systemic, because their foundation values are based on the destruction and leveling of the system of capitalism and the bourgeoisie. 

Apart from how we baptise others and what ideological nuance we want to give them, I think that political terms are used without much care and precision. To confuse, for example, Liberalism, and especially National Liberalism, with neo-Nazis, and the far right, is to say the least, apart from an inaccurate view and interpretation, remains also a fundamental historical error. At least from the mid-19th century until the last decade of the twentieth century, national liberalism, as a political worldview, was the ideology that fought against the Nazis and fascists. Therefore, the majority of those who belong to this area of national liberalism are neither anti-systemic, nor far-right, nor Nazi.

If we look bibliographically to interpret the positions of these parties, we will establish that they are related to national liberalism. National Liberalism is a variant of liberalism, combining nationalism with certain liberal policies, especially regarding education, state-church relations, and modern and efficient bureaucratic management. Its roots lie in Central Europe of the 19th century, the criticism of mainstream conservative liberalism regarding the unchecked freedom of international trade. National liberalism, on the other hand, proposes cooperation between government and national industry within the framework of moderate protectionism, preferential tariffs, subsidies for infant industry, sectors of strategic importance for national development, and various forms of industrial planning. Today, it seems to be emerging as an alternative to the European Union and globalisation in general in their current form. Simply put, right-wing policies prioritise national identity, security, and economic liberalism, while progressive wing policies emphasise social progress, equality, and solidarity.

Apart from the meaning and dimension that we can give to the three parties that derive their ideology as an outgrowth of national liberalism in Greece, there is also the voter himself. These parties did not emerge, did not enter the Parliament by arms, as a few years ago some from the leftist spectrum in Greece dared to talk about the abolition of parliamentary democracy in Greece and yet they remain elected MPs in our Parliament. 

These parties were elected by Greek citizens, Greek voters, and if it is proven that their parties, their organisations, are not criminal gangs and men of fanatical and uncontrollable organs, I do not see why the reaction. Is democracy afraid of the other voice? Is this 13-14% of our people, who have always had this tendency towards conservatism and national liberalism, such a dangerous element? What had happened in Greece, in at least two elections, is obvious. The Mitsotakis Government gave the opportunity to thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises to make a living and bring food on the family table, gave them the opportunity, after the great economic crisis that preceded it, to smile, feeling that they also have some money in their pocket, and voted for what they considered stable and secure. 

Surely there are ordinary people who, along with the struggle for survival, look back to their Faith and ask to protect their national and religious identity, and others who feel ethnically humiliated by the Prespes Treaty, and others who rightly or wrongly see the Islamic danger overshadowing Europe and those who cannot negotiate the danger from the East and those still wounded by the Turkish invasion of Cyprus,  and all those who do not forget the evils of the civil war, but also those few (no more than 3%) who are ideologically subservient to far-right ideologies and values, who consciously voted for these three parties on the right wing of the New Democracy Party. 

However, in my view we also have the “antisystemic” parties from the opposite wing, the Far-Left, those who essentially want to overthrow the bourgeois regime in Greece, abolish capitalism, drive Greece out of NATO and the European Union and, if they could, even overthrow the Parliament. For them, today in post-Junta Greece, no one speaks in the windows of television garbage, nor does anyone openly include them in the antisystemic group of parties! 

*Professor Anastasios M. Tamis taught at Universities in Australia and abroad, was the creator and founding director of the Dardalis Archives of the Hellenic Diaspora and is currently the President of the Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies (AIMS).




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