The Economist provides a run-down of Greek political parties and factions that explains how it would be all too easy for Greece to simply disown its debt burden, rather than spend years digging itself out of the hole it’s in.
The nation’s political landscape can’t sustain the austerity demands required of the nation to meet its obligations:
And there is a hot-headed minority, at least, that does not believe the government when it says it had no choice. Mikis Theodorakis, Greece’s most famous composer, expressed the visceral reaction of many when he said the crisis was probably a plot by dark forces in the United States and other capitalist centres to subdue proud, independent nations. Crazy as such talk may sound to euro-area governments that feel they have strained every muscle to save Greece from collapse, it will convince some people in a country where conspiracy theories (and indeed, conspiracies) have a long history.
Greek politics still includes a Communist Party that is rigorously Stalinist (it damns Khrushchev as a liberal backslider) and commanded 8% of the vote in the past two parliamentary elections. There is an emerging party of religious-nationalist far-rightists under the acronym LAOS (the Greek word for people), which has tried to gain respectability by accepting the need for tough measures, but still stands to gain from the general ferment. So do groups of malcontents even further removed from the political mainstream.
At street level, sentiments are even less poetic. “We do not recognise this debt,” was the slogan of the militant trade unions, from teachers to dockers, that went on strike this week. The number of Greeks who believe in Bolshevik-style autarky may be small. But the idea of working hard for years to win an IMF/EU certificate of good behaviour holds little appeal.
Also, check out latest pictures from the violent street battles in Athens >