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18 June 2015updated 26 Sep 2015 6:46am

A view from Athens: we’re further from Grexit than the fearmongers would have you think

Sources in Syriza's leftwing faction say that the stakes are nowhere near as high as those involved in the debt crisis negotiations suggest.

By Evel Economakis

Sources inside Syriza’s leftwing faction say there’s no need to panic. They dismiss fears that Alexis Tsipras won’t reach an agreement with the three institutions he is up against: the IMF, ECB and EU. Greece, in other words, won’t default. The country won’t go the way of Argentina. Neither will there be bank runs nor the robbing of private bank accounts we saw in Cyprus. 

So while the world’s attention is on the high jinx negotiations between Greece’s young PM and the renamed Troika, the stakes may not actually be as high as we think. People I hear from within Syriza insist the general fear of Grexit and the opening of the floodgates for the disintegration of the world’s biggest economy –Europe – are not grounded in reality.  

This clashes with the views expressed by many in centre-right New Democracy party led by Antonis Samaras. For them, the stakes are extremely high and the situation is dangerous. Greece is on the edge of the abyss, and a fall would be catastrophic.

Even Syriza’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis himself has foreseen a Greek default within the European Union. 

Many people here in Athens, especially those who live in Glyfada, Palaio Psychico, Kifissia, Dionysos, and other wealthy neighbourhoods, dread the prospect of the country abandoning its geo-sociopolitical and strategic alliance with the United States. 

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But these fears are largely unfounded. The Russians will not step abruptly and dominantly into the Mediterranean. Vladimir Putin has other preoccupations. That is not to say that Russia may not very well increase its role regarding Greece. But it would only be able to increase its influence very gradually, not all at once as some fear.

After five years of brutal austerity, there is little energy left in people here for “revolutionary deeds”. And let’s not forget that most in Syriza aren’t the sort of people to challenge the real bases of power in Greece. For all their eccentricities and radical phraseology, Syriza is a social democratic party that calls itself “radical left” for the same reason the Democratic Party in the US promotes an image of having the little guy’s interests at heart.

For the past four months, say many inside Syriza’s leftwing faction, we’ve all been watching a well-staged show. Now the time has come to force the moment to its crisis in Greece. And then they will tell us the “truth”. 

People within Syriza’s leftwing faction suggest Tsipras and the men around him like Nikos Pappas and Alekos Flambouraris have already agreed a new memorandum with the renamed Troika. You heard correctly. Insiders hint that an agreement with the institutions is closer to being reached than is apparent to the rest of the world watching the negotiations. They just don’t know how to tell the Greek people about it yet.

Evel Masten Economakis has been living in a town 25km east of Athens since 2005. He teaches history, and also works in construction to supplement his family’s income.

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