Most of the press has focused on what is Mr. Tsipras going to do about the disaster known as the German plan for German well being at the expense of the periphery of Europe and more colloquially as Austerity …
And rightfully so, as this is the most important European policy issue.
At the same time, Mr. Tsipras has a broader agenda to re-organize Greek society. Mr. Tsipras isn’t just some dude who wants to stick a finger to the Germans, he also happens to be a radical left wing revolutionary or at the very least part of the radical left wing revolutionary sub-culture of Greek.
That culture is, to those of us who are not part of it, alien.
In a country where religion is deeply fused into the culture, Mr. Tsipras is an atheist. And not just an atheist but anti-clerical. It’s as if the Great State of Mississippi elected DeGrassi as governor…
My original hypothesis is that Tsipras would take it slow and push his social agenda to the side until after he secure the economic agenda.
But like the Repulicans in Congress, the temptation to force social change was … well … too much.
And so it begins with the decision to not have the Arch-bishop of Greece show up at the swearing in of the newly formed Greek government. In fact the priest that was invited for those Christians who wanted a priest, a junior priest was provided.
Outside of Greece this is just a small thing, whereas in Greece this is a big thing. In Greece, every new thing involves a priest blessing it. Birth, new businesses, I mean everything. It’s how we do things because it’s deeply rooted in our culture. Not because most of us believe it… Inside of Greece, where the whole darn revolutionary movement is bathed in religious imagery this is a pretty huge snub. Basically Tsipras told the Church – Fuck you, sirs.
This was the first government of the Modern Greek Era that was not blessed by the Archbishop. And I am not so sure that this is something I am okay with. This kind of radical change needs to be embraced by society not sprung on it.
Many folks who are anti-clerical in Greece are thrilled at Tsipra’s actions. Time to shove those priests into a deep dark hole that they can never escape they would say.
Except, Tsipras wasn’t elected to create a radical new society he was elected to solve a very specific problem. And if Mr. Tsipras antagonizes too many factions too quickly he might find himself in a bigger political mess than he wants.
To put it differently, Mr. Tsipras needs to wait on his social revolution or risk losing everything. And he needs a mandate for that social revolution. If he pursues a social revolution while simultaneously trying to renegotiate with the Germans, he might find those who object to the social revolution leading protests against his government. And his negotiating position will be weakened.
After all he has a very slender majority and that slender majority can collapse very quickly.