30 September 2012
Greece Legitimacy of Dissent
[MGSA-L] Syriza vs. Xrisi Aygi column [Greek text omitted]
Christos D. Katsetos
Sat Sep 29 17:49:04 PDT 2012
In his circuitous, overly didactic, and hubris-laden posts, Dr Nikos Chrysoloras,
journalist and EU correspondent of the Athens daily "Kathimerini," is going off on
tangents, effectively avoiding direct confrontation of the main issue at hand, which
is the legitimacy of dissent in the Greek political system.
At issue is the journalist's statement that "both SYRIZA and Chrissi Avgi's populist
discourses question the legitimacy of democratically elected governments."
Here the legitimacy of dissenting opinion is replaced by the embellished phrase
"populist discourses [which]question the legitimacy of democratically elected
governments." The author is using Laclau's analysis of the logic of equivalence
operative in populist demands to justify his assertion that Golden Dawn and the
Coalition of the Radical Left party (SYRIZA) are structurally "equivalent" (insinuating
that the convergence of BOTH extreme parties is threatening Greek democracy).
As such, the militancy of the extreme right, which promotes hate mongering and
perverts traditional Greek patriotism, is put on the same footing as the social and
human rights activism embraced by the leftist SYRIZA party. In my view, this is a
deliberate and self-serving linkage distortion. It is apparent that the journalist's
mission is to nullify the legitimacy of principled dissent expressed by political
forces that oppose the austerity measures and want to re-negotiate the terms of
Greece's bailout package. Arguably, the primary target here is not the ultranationalist
party but the Coalition of the Radical Left party (SYRIZA) that has the potential
of governing the country in the not too distant future.
What we are witnessing in the Greek mass media nowadays is the emergence
of certain aspiring pundits with academic credentials, some of whom are running
regular columns in certain influential newspapers, who are getting away with
provocative and outrageous statements by adopting an arrogant style of analysis
based on the framework and communication strategies dictated by political
This confrontational approach only serves to further disenfranchise a growing
segment of the population, deepen divisions in the Greek society, and create
the conditions for the revival of a bitter and potentially violent civil conflict.
And yet, a growing number of Greeks (without Left-wing affiliations) are opposed
to this divisive rhetoric and believe that Greece's path to recovery will be achieved
only through national unity and reconciliation.
-- See Prof Sir Basil Markesinis' interview aired on ET3 (Greek Public Television)
on May 2, 2012 http://vimeo.com/41375667
-- See Prof Markesinis' latest call for National Reconciliation.
Christos D. Katsetos, MD, PhD, FRCPath
From: Nikos Chrysoloras <nikos.chrysoloras at gmail.com>
To: mgsa-l at uci.edu
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2012 4:20 AM
Subject: Re: [MGSA-L] Syriza vs. Xrisi Aygi column [Greek text omitted]
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