Ever since Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were knocking back the brewskis in the bars of Brussels as they put the finishing touches on their manifesto, lefties everywhere look to recessions and depressions—“crises of capitalism” as they call them—to usher in the socialist golden age. So far that hasn’t happened—and with Syriza losing ground to the conservatives in the Greek election campaign, it appears that once again the triumph of the proletariat will have to be postponed. As The Times of London reports:
Polls suggest that Mr Tsipras, 41, may now either lose to Evangelos Meimarakis, his main conservative opponent, or be forced to form a grand coalition with him. A rash of recent opinion polls show Mr Meimarakis and his centre-right, pro-bailout New Democracy party pulling ahead of Syriza by a single percentage point. That’s a nine-point swing since Mr Tsipras called the election, so momentum is with his arch rival.
The hard-core lefties have split from Syriza, and will spend the next few years in coffeehouses and taverns analyzing where and why it all went wrong. But something, somehow—the gulags, maybe? The grinding poverty and environmental destruction of communist rule? The mind-boggling incompetence of Syriza and the hollowness of all the fine promises Tsipras and the left made about the magical unicorns that were going to bring better terms from the EU? The corruption and hypocrisy of party hacks and hirelings, or maybe the dispatches from Venezuela where the Bolivarian socialists can’t deliver toilet paper—keeps voters, even when angry and stressed, from wanting to take another ride on the Lenin train.
It’s still unclear whether the conservatives will beat Tsipras outright or just deprive him of his majority, but politically if not economically, Greece seems to be turning a corner.