For a certain time we have been suffering the consequences of the absence from politics of the SYRIZA government. A political inexistence that slowly and surely has led us to the present situation.

What is the situation?

The country is isolated by the occupation of the customs posts on the border with neighbouring countries. It is paralysed by dozens of blockages and the general strike in all sectors of our social life, whilst the farmers, with hundreds of tractors, have decided to descend on Athens’ Constitution Square.

Clearly we have reached ZERO HOUR because of the behaviour of the government – which at present merely follows the course of events, inert and powerless, as if it didn’t exist.

Today, for the first time, the government decided to rouse itself from its torpor. But instead of suggesting a solution that would defuse the situation, they announced they would not allow the tractors to descend on Athens – an attempt to avoid a conflict with the farmers, who this time, it seems, will stop at nothing, as they have been brought to the point of having to fight for their basic rights: A conflict for which the government is responsible.

“The dialogue” offered to the farmers is a sham, since decisions are made not by the government but by the Institutions.

Of course a conflict, whatever its nature and whatever the result, would be a severe blow to a country on the brink of collapse. And it is certain that the conflict would not just lead us deeper into crisis, but also bring about an even deeper change in the psychology of the Greek people – many of whom, I believe, already realize the accuracy of our predictions and positions as to the dead-end to which the policies of SYRIZA have led us.

Tsipras’ “declaration of discord”, dividing us into good and bad Greeks, proves he has lost all contact with reality. For him, the Right is obviously “bad”, yet at the same time, he and his government have proved to be the high priests of right-wing neo-liberal policy, which they apply on the orders of the Institutions. And now the time has come for them to pay dearly for their disastrous deception. Because the great virtue of the Greek people is that they will not finally yield. And the hour of « finally » has now come: ZERO HOUR, meaning the widespread conflict of the government with the Greek people – today spearheaded by the farmers, united in their determination to see their demands satisfied.

We have reached the point today where life itself has forced the Greeks to form a human battle front, united without a leader. The strength generated by the rising of the people in all sectors, the farmers at their head, is so great that it seems a shame (supposing the government and the Institutions were to yield even slightly), that their reward should be a few meagre crumbs. Our people does not deserve such an outcome, which, long term, will lead them to an even greater crisis.

On the contrary, if they had only displayed the despair and the willpower that drives them to this general rising, to demand everything that was due to them, as a united force with objectives, a strategy, tactics and a perspective in common, they could have made serious gains.

Because it is these same international powers that force us to have not three or four, but just two national policies: the one that follows the orders of the Institutions and the one that supports conflict with the Institutions.

Unfortunately, the formation of this United Front for Struggle, which would not simply negotiate for a few crumbs more but whose objective would be to achieve the fundamental rights of the Greek people, has never become reality. 

That is why ZERO HOUR has not just arrived for the government but also and above all for the people. And that is the great tragedy.

Athens, 10.2.2016

Mikis Theodorakis


English adaptation: Ariel Wagner-Parker