Friday, July 10, 2015
Can Tsipras Move from Doublespeak to a Deal?
July 9, 2015
I voted "Yes" and the result was a resounding "No." And yet I believe that the "Yes" campaign may still win. I am not a hard loser, and I am not delusional. Instead, I have started to become accustomed to the doublespeak that has always characterized Syriza and its government. Strangely enough, I draw on elements of this doublespeak today to retain hope, against all odds, that reason and the founding ideals of Europe may still prevail.
This government is certainly not unique in populist tendencies, but it has turned it into an art form; perhaps a mark of the extreme times. Doublespeak turned a diverse clutch of Marxist-Leninists, social democrats, Eurosceptics, pro and anti-euro groups into a party and allowed it to form a coalition with an extreme right-wing party. Doublespeak and desperation gave purchase to the irreconcilable pre-election promise of an end to loan agreements, austerity, debt, and an end to, and even reversal of, reforms. Doublespeak has characterized the negotiations with the creditors and has done so much harm to Greece's credibility with its European partners. It has also allowed world renowned liberal economists and thinkers to believe that the government has been committed to far-reaching while everything the government has done and said has been deeply anti-reform and clientelistic -- that is, beholden to organized interests that would be harmed by implementing reforms in areas such as taxes, pensions, labor laws and professional licenses.
In the short span of its administration, the ruling Syriza coalition has begun dismantling recent education reforms, excelled in nepotistic appointments, undertaken questionable and expensive military procurements, threatened journalists and turned indiscriminate rehiring of public sector workers into a symbol of justice to a desperate people longing for the security of permanent jobs. Its continued declarations to end corruption, tax evasion and oligarchic privilege-a mantra of every government and opposition party have the flavor of a witch hunt against those who dare speak their mind.