Monday, May 18, 2015

The Party of Order in Greece

As Greece lurches dramatically to its final economic showdown, there is an uncomfortable question that needs to be asked: is there an authoritarian grouping in the country whose seizure of power would be recognized and supported by its European “partners”?

It is absolutely clear at this point that a major objective of the current European leadership is to depose Syriza.  But there is no democratic mechanism by which this can be accomplished.  Assume an economic breakdown in which Greek savings accounts are wiped out.  There will be mass discontent, but it will not be unanimous; many Greeks will see this cataclysm as a deliberate assault to humiliate and suppress them.  Without new elections, which are still far off, there will be political upheaval but not regime change.  This is where the Party of Order comes in, literally.  If there is an alliance between segments of the military and a portion of the business class, it can suspend the constitution and install a new government.  I expect that there are discussions in some circles right now about this possibility.

The first question is, who would step into this role?  The second is, is any contact between them and key decision-makers in Europe currently taking place?

My personal view is that the old-school authoritarianism of the colonels (echoed in Golden Dawn) is not the primary threat, although I know nothing of the situation on the ground.  I suspect Europe is more likely to support a liberal authoritarianism, one that gives lip service to personal freedom and enlightenment ideals.  I can imagine some figures from the previous political establishment, backed by tanks, who call for peace, normalization and new elections.

If conversations along these lines are not ongoing, European policy is incoherent.


Sandwichman said...

A.K.A. the Party of Ordure.

I Will Never Accept The Terms of Service said...

You're being sarcastic, right?

I mean yes, it's realistic to assume Germany wants to depose an elected government of the people in favour of a military dictatorship. But we shouldn't want this, when a simple Grexit solves everyone's problems. The dictator would only serve the purpose of protecting creditors' interests, and that's basically the IMF and ECB.

Peter Dorman said...

No, wrong maybe but not sarcastic. I also expect that the government that replaces Syriza will be offered bridge assistance as an expression of European solidarity.

Seriously, if Europe doesn't want to see Syriza deposed, they haven't thought through their policies. Grexit does not solve the problem if it leads to economic freefall and political chaos in a country with significant ties to the rest of Europe.

Les Baker said...

If there is an authoritarian grouping in the country that is ready, willing, and able to act as a receiver of Greece's assets, for distribution for the benefit of its creditors, then there is an authoritarian grouping whose seizure of power would be recognized and supported by its European partners. Otherwise, not.

The coherent and comprehensible objective of European "partners" at this point would be do depose any Greek regime that is not capable of meeting whatever obligations will be imposed in order to resolve current issues and bring the negotiations to a close. Any Greek regime, not just Syriza. No democratic mechanism will install any such regime, whether in the near or distant future.

When natural persons are no longer capable of managing their own obligations, guardians or conservators will be installed to take over. The point of the current exercise is to demonstrate that a similar principle governs national regimes that are no longer capable of meeting obligations incurred by themselves or their predecessor regimes.