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The clash of the classes

the clash of the classes
the clash of the classes
(1 Vote)
Sunday, 12 July 2015

In my last article, just before the referendum, I wrote that a society can never be truly democratic unless it cultivates certain values in its people. I wrote that, until this happens, “democracy will be an illusion and a dummy word for essentially fascist regimes,” leaving an open-ended implication that Greece is under a fascist regime. During the past week, I’ve been wondering whether I’d been too harsh in my claims and whether this leftist government was a sign of progress. The latest Greek reform proposal submitted to the creditors – which was in essence the same as the last one, and was voted for by an 82% of the Greek parliament, which thus loudly ignored the 61% of the people who voted against it in the referendum – came as proof that my implications weren’t that harsh after all. This realization was quickly followed by a question mark, about why did the referendum take place in the first place.

There is the official viewpoint, saying that the government was indeed hoping to put pressure on the creditors by asking the support of the people, publicizing the matter and blowing it to heroic proportions and to the level of notions and ideals. On the other hand, some support that the government was counting on propaganda and the bank shutdown to force a “yes” outcome, since they didn’t want to take full responsibility for the new rough measures and their counterblast. And of course, there are many theories in between and beyond, which basically shows that few people know what is really going on.

However, regardless of the goals of those who called the referendum, I believe it brought an unexpected change: It made people conscious of their political and even social identity. The referendum, according to its results, was a clash of the classes. Simply, the richest areas voted for “yes,” while the poorer voted “no,” with extremes such as the upper class northern Athenian suburb of Ekali, where 85% voted “yes,” and the traditionally working class Ano Liosia, with 80% of its residents voting for “no.” Nevertheless, many people – notably, middle class people – told me that they would personally benefit more by voting “yes,” but they voted “no” because they thought of the others, the less privileged. So, although many now feel disappointed and angry at the government, arguing that their vote and hopes meant nothing, I, on the contrary, feel that having an opinion and voting for specific questions – and not for political parties – means in itself a lot. Realizing who you are and what you stand for is a very important step towards conscious living. My only wish is that the awakened social and psychological dynamics will eventually lead to more responsible choices and mindful citizens. And solidarity is the value we’ll be needing most in the ensuing years.

 
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Sunday, 12 July 2015 23:21
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