I write what has been written before: Divisive dilemmas have long been a constant in Greece's politics and society. I cannot find the historical origins of this phenomenon, but I can easily locate its results.
Since 1974, when the country started experiencing the longest period of prosperity in its modern history, dilemmas have haunted the peaks of political life, especially at the most critical crossroads. As early as the the mid-70s we have heard everything, from the controversial cries of "we belong with the west" to the modern dilemmas of "memorandum vs. anti-memorandum" and "euro vs. Greek drachma." Even amidst the most critical moments of the country's course, as the right choices were made, such as maintaining faith in the European path, these dipoles never left the public sphere.
The dilemma syndrome seemed to dissipate during the 2000s, but returned in 2010, when Greece's latest struggles appeared in full view. This time, the syndrome woke up, as if from deep hibernation, to reveal its wildest form. The latest dilemma, "memorandum vs. anti-memorandum," broke every social constant created by the political makeover in Greece after the dictatorship. It revealed an unchanged social divide, which once again largely determined the latest political and social developments.
With politicians accustomed to the back and forth between wear and imperishability, the dilemma found no obstacle and overran the whole of public life. It became enormous and dragged with it in the most brutal memories of the past, while also shedding a solid foundation in society and creating rival camps and fanatic doctrines.
The referendum, before being conducted, unfortunately released the darkest aspects and features of Greek political socialization. It reinstated divisive reasoning in the public sphere, and divided society into two camps with no diffusion and without any room for common ground.
The very rise of Syriza, moreover, was based on the strong presence of the country's most pressing dilemma: those in favor of the memorandum versus those against it. The evolving and scalable anti-memorandum rhetoric unintentionally created a new element in society: It attempted to lift the (inter) class complexity of post-dictatorship Greece, the diffusion of classes that occurred during the 1980s, and restore class division as a means of political and social expression.
Syriza "managed" for the first time in the post-dictatorship era to over-politicize citizens, as it happened in the '70s, but in a different way: giving political thrust to indignation and anger.
What's worse is that Syriza's executives never drew "red lines" for their rhetoric, in terms of extreme expression of this frustration. It's the party that inadvertently earned legitimacy based on extreme rhetoric and revanchism.
The scary part in the whole affair is that the political system, at the level of parties and politicians, is the main culprit of this situation, acting for decades as an instigator of the current disaster. The most characteristic example of this ineluctable reality was the so-called "bipartisanship," which fully reflects the predisposition to social explosion that was kept dormant by artificial prosperity.
If someone were watching through a microscope, they would probably conclude that these dilemmas are the parasites that live in the idle citizens, politicians, parties and media. Divisions and dilemmas in Greece, once again. This post originally appeared on HuffPost Greece and was translated into English.