The intrusion of a group of anti-establishmentarians into the office of the rector of the economic university and his public humiliation with a sign hung around his neck brings again into the focus of media a problem that has plagued Greek public life for decades.
Such commando-type raids are low-intensity terrorism, and not some sort of democratic political message.
Perhaps SYRIZA may have been more tolerant of such behavior when it was in government, in comparison to New Democracy, but in reality, all post-junta governments have had to deal with the phenomenon with more, or less, strictness. But no government attempted to uproot it.
The current government from the moment it came to power raised the banner of zero tolerance. However, not even this government did what it had promised to do.
As the years went by, a hardcore group of violence professionals has emerged in the anti-establishmentarian space. They are organized and usually operate as assault squads. The phenomenon of the so-called hardcore antiestablishmentarians goes back in time, but after the “youthful” rebellion in 2008, the fantasy of a dynamic continuity gave a new impetus.
It is obvious that the radicalization of those youths and the clashes of December 2008 fed the pool from where these organized groups garner recruits. The attacks perpetrated by anti-establishmentarians with features uncovered can be viewed in this framework, especially in universities, but not just there.
Although such actions have distinct differences, they also have a common denominator: They create a climate of fear. As such they “rape”, to a great degree citizens' freedoms. They are deeply undemocratic and cannot be legitimized through any anti-establishment ideology.
The Mitsotakis government stated from the start that it would enforce a doctrine of “zero tolerance”. It is true that in the fifteen months its been in power, moves have been made, mostly the eviction of squats. However, the doctrine of zero tolerance is qualitatively different. It is not stricter handling, it is uprooting. In essence, it is a declaration of war against the professionals of violence.
Such a war, in quotation marks, if you wish, in order to be effective must combine police operations, special legal measures, and the necessary and declared political willingness of the political system.
New Democracy cadres touted, with much naivete, that if universities were guarded by private security firms the phenomenon would disappear. How many private security guards are needed to counter an attack by fifty determined violence professionals? Is it possible to effectively guard every potential target? Obviously not.
A radical solution necessitates the dismantling of the groups that practise low-intensity terrorism, with, or without masks. In a state where justice prevails, everyone is free to believe what they want. Actions may be punished, but not ideas. However, illegal actions must be persecuted systematically, and not on occasion. There can be no inviolable spaces, nor can there be tolerance.
But as in every war, even this odd war may have victims. That's why the state must initiate it, only if the political system is well aware of what path it will follow. If that is, it is resolute on taking the path to its end.
The fact that all governments, including the current one, have diligently avoided declaring this war, in quotation marks, or not, says something. It doesn't say that the zero-tolerance doctrine is wrong, but that if you adopt it and put it into effect you must be resolved in facing the unwanted side-effects.
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