|Painting by Aafke Steenhuis|
When a new government in Greece was elected at the end of January of this year I was hopeful that things would change in Greece... and in Europe. I hoped that narrow-minded austerity policies and the lack of democracy in Greece and Europe would begin to end.
I also hoped that the reasonable and politically moderate, social democratic Greek government of Tsipras would receive support from social democratic leaders in other European countries, even though I knew there remained very little in those leaders' thinking and practices that you could call 'social democratic'.
Anyway, I hoped that social democratic European leaders would be inspired to take their social democratic or democratic ideals again seriously and help their brothers and sisters in Greece who were facing the enormous task to (a) change tide in Greece and (b) set an example that better policies would be possible, with a little help of friends in other European countries, be they member or not of the Eurogroup. *)
My hope was idle. Or worse, my hope has turned upside down. Instead of a beginning of change in Greece and Europe, of building a more social and democratic Europe, in the course of the 'negotiations' between Greece and its creditors we have seen the opposite: (social) democratic leaders were once again embracing and defending austerity and authoritarian policies, perhaps even more ferociously (and desperately?) than ever.
Did they do that to kill any hope that another Europe (than the one they shape every day) is possible?
Why would they want to kill that hope? Because they think they have the right vision? Do they really believe in their own, narrow-minded policies? Does François Hollande really believe in a Eurozone government?
Do they want to impose their idea of Europe upon its citizens (to the benefit of the richer part of them)?
And why do European leaders take democracy so little seriously?
*) Did social democratic leaders in other European countries not want that Tsipras engaged in real social democratic policies? And did they not want Tsipras cum suis to set an example? Are they jealous? Are they overly self confident? Are they scared of something, or many things? Should we try to understand their behaviour not only politically but also psychologically?