Stalingrad

By Harry van versendaal

PAME activists are in full-throttle mode. Members of the Communist Party (KKE)-affiliated union began the tourist season with a takeover of the Acropolis, unfurling a huge banner with big red letters urging the “peoples of Europe [to] rise up” against the machinations of their capitalist (albeit democratically elected) governments.

After images from the besieged ancient citadel were broadcast around the globe, the battleground moved to the port of Piraeus, the capital’s main link to the islands, where PAME’s flag-wielding battalions has repeatedly blocked the boarding ramps of ferries. Blind to their own best interests, it seems, disgruntled travelers fumed at the jailhouse habits of the unionists.

A court had preemptively ruled the action illegal and abusive but little does it matter. After all, it was KKE spokesman Makis Mailis who said recently that his party does not recognize the country’s Constitution because it did not vote for it, pushing KKE deeper into surreal territory.

KKE wants to have its cake and eat it too. It willfully takes part in the country’s parliamentary system, it keenly receives state money to cover its operation costs and the salaries of its deputies but it refuses to recognize the law, the courts and their rulings on the grounds that they are the design of the class enemy.

The party’s posturing is not just outrageously eclectic; it is quintessentially totalitarian: the communist apparat is animated by a metaphysical conviction that he is the sole possessor of the truth. Anyone who is out of sync with the communist creed is either a class enemy or a mislead proletarian.

More than two decades since the Berlin Wall crumbled into souvenirs, reducing Europe’s communist parties to irrelevance, Greece’s local breed has proved to be surprisingly enduring. True to its Marxist roots, the KKE discourse had so far been a mix of sterile rejectionism and tacky utopianism – harmless and within limits of the politically acceptable.

But as Greece descends into crisis, KKE has raised its Stalinist head. If the party so cynically thrives on mayhem and disaster, it is because it views the meltdown in existentialist terms: No crisis, no party. It treats the country’s debt death spiral as testimony to its anti-capitalist credo. And it is doing all it can to accelerate the collapse of the capitalist system by banking on the country’s flagging fortunes. Prime Minister George Papandreou was right in saying that the nihilists at Perissos “mistake capitalism for the nation.” (The problem, of course is that he has left the nation at their mercy by refusing to enforce the law).

Plato and Aristotle were the first to warn of the perils posed by “the tyranny of a majority,” i.e. the situation whereby the biggest group feels confident and entitled to impose its will on a powerless minority. Those philosophy giants of the ancient world would perhaps be surprised to see the extent to which their modern day heirs have let themselves become hostage to the intolerant yens of a minority “vanguard.”

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