If one had asked any Greek exactly one year ago, that the full of promises SYRIZA party would come to power to finish off the crisis-stricken Greek economy and drain his personal wealth, with his blessing, he would have called them a lunatic.
Yet, a year later, the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition has legislated measures and reforms that would have made even the most strict neoliberal wince. Pension cuts, tax hikes, taxation of nonexistent incomes, monitoring personal wealth, capital controls, privatizing state properties, home auctions, raising retirement age, are some of the measures and reforms that the self-proclaimed leftist ruling party is forcing on the shoulders of Greek people.
On Tuesday only, a new set of measures passed in Greek Parliament with the 153 votes of the coalition. Measures such as the privatization of 14 regional airports and the passing of bad loans to the hands of distress funds. The exact same things Alexis Tsipras had promised not to do and won him the prime minister’s seat in January. The things that the militant PM had called Greeks to revolt against less than a year ago.
At the moment, revolting is the last thing Greek people seem willing to do. They watch passively as the Greek government, once more — like it has been happening for many years now — put its greedy hands in their pockets without giving anything in return. It can be compared to the last of the five stages a person goes through when they find out that they are terminally ill: Acceptance.
The first stage is denial: Initially Greek people could not believe they will have to bleed financially to pay off the humongous debt previous governments had accumulated. They also denied that Tsipras agreed to borrow 86 billion more. The second stage, anger, saw them rage against the previous New Democracy-PASOK coalition and punishing them with their vote.
The third stage, negotiation, saw them negotiate that maybe, just maybe, the bailout memorandum might be a good thing. After all Tsipras told them that the third bailout program is a leftist bailout program which is a good thing. He promised that by enforcing it, Greece will return to growth in 2016.
Since the signs are not so good, Greeks passed to the fourth stage, that of depression. The clinical depression cases skyrocketed, with a study showing that 44 percent of Greeks have psychological problems.
Now Tsipras rides his high horse as Greeks go through the final stage, that of acceptance. The general population has finally accepted that all 300 politicians are crooks and liars who just get the parliament seats dirty. The acceptance of what those who smile at you and promise to save you really want, is power and money, whether they come from the left, right or center. Forty-five percent who abstained from voting in the September election is the proof.
After going through the five stages of grief, Greeks are now passive spectators in the surrealistic comedy played daily in the House. Only two days ago, a SYRIZA minister said that the privatization of regional airports was actually a measure brought by the New Democracy-PASOK coalition(!) and that he is against it. To the logical question by an opposition MP why he voted in favor when he disagrees, he answered that he voted for it even though it pained him to do so.
And while Greek people are drained dry by heavy taxes and unemployment, Tsipras keeps repeating imaginary success stories such as managing to save the homes of the very poor from auctioning or protecting very low pensions from cuts. And all that while some members of his cabinet show that they have hidden assets worth millions.