The Greek Anticlimax


The map above (adapted from Wikipedia) shows the changes in Syriza’s and New Democracy’s electoral fortunes between the elections in January, 2015 and the new elections yesterday.

A couple provinces flipped to Syriza, and three turned to ND. In short, no meaningful change at all, a fact also reflected in both the number of seats Syriza won (from 149 to 145) and its share of the popular vote (36.3% to 35.5%). As before, it is expected to remain in coalition with the patriotic right ANEL. The main opposition party, the center-right main opposition party (and party of the Greek oligarchy) failed to make any gains, nor did the Communists, nor – despite widespread fears on this account – did the extreme right Golden Dawn. Popular Unity, composed of Syriza renegades who couldn’t stand Tsipras’ betrayal on austerity, such as former Communist and previous Syriza Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and the fiery human rights lawyer Zoe Konstantopoulou, failed to make it into the new Parliament at all.

This, along with Tsipras’ steadily high approval ratings (still at 60%+), is something of a surprise (at least to me) coming as it does amidst the tumult of the past few months. Consider:

  1. Tsipras epochally screwed up negotiations with the Troika, resulting in both harsher austerity conditions and an extra shock to confidence in the Greek economy. Despite Varoufakis’ urgings, no measures were undertaken to make preparations for transition to the drachma. This made their hardball approach with the ECB not credible and they very predictably got called on it and had to fold. In the process, the Greek electorate was betrayed – Syriza had promised no further austerity – and recalcitrant party members were purged.
  2. Complete failure at international relations, probably stemming from Tsipras & Co.’s belief that internal Greek style politicking works there as well. European institutions trust him no more than they did back when the headlines were screaming “Communism!” on Syriza’s victory, and he has also lost the trust of Russia since it soon became obvious that their only intentions in cozying up to Moscow were to use the prospect of closer energy and diplomatic relations with Russia as a scarecrow to extract more concessions from the EU without actually intending to follow through with anything.
  3. Early on in his tenure, Tsipras committed to sweeping “reforms” on immigration policy: The abolition of illegal immigrant detention centers, amnesty to anchor babies, calling on journalists to remove the word “illegal” from their lexicons. Work begun on a mosque in Athens, as if the country had no other, more pressing priorities. In retrospect, the timing couldn’t have been worse, with the recent immigrant influx making some of the Greek islands like Lesbos virtually uninhabitable for the natives.

And yet here we are. Despite a catalogue of failures across economics, international relations, and immigration; of internal backstabbing and electoral betrayals – Syriza has essentially maintained its ratings. Why?

First and foremost, I suppose, Greeks might have the perception (probably correct) that they have no other real choice. A Syriza voter might not want to submit to ECB diktats, but would still consider it preferable to voting for Communists (KKE) or the Neo-Nazis (Golden Dawn). This apathy is reflected in lower voter registration (presumably as Greeks continue voting with their feet and emigrating) and lower turnout, translating into a 12% overall decrease in total number of votes cast between during these September elections relative to January.

Also, up until a few months ago, many people still believed that Syriza were hardline socialists or even Communists, instead of the opportunistic left-liberals most of them actually are. This means that even as Syriza lost votes to apathy, it might have gained roughly equal numbers of converts from people who might have previously viewed them as being rather too extreme.

Golden Dawn continues doing surprising poorly, increasing their share of the vote from 6.3% to 7.0%. Even though they are one of the most hardcore far right parties in Europe, making many voters averse to them in principle, it is still perhaps surprising that the rise in votes for them was so relatively modest, since they are resolutely against both austerity and immigration – both very pressing hot button issues for Greece. As it is, both Brussels liberals screeching about the spectre of a Nazi junta in Greece and the Greeks hoping for the coming of… a golden dawn? continue to be disappointed.

What I would suggest is surprising is that the Independent Greeks (ANEL), a right patriotic party that is Euroskeptic, anti-immigration, and unlike Golden Dawn, well within the respectability Overton Window – as I understand it, it is approximately Greece’s equivalent of the German AfD – has not improved its standing. They did not betray their electorate by voting for austerity, and opposed Syriza on their pro-immigration stance, which must surely have worked to their favor in the context of today’s immigration crisis. To the contrary, ANEL saw one of the largest relative declines in its share of the vote, from 4.8% to 3.7%. Unless it has unusually uninspiring, stupid, or corrupt leaders – I am not well versed enough in Greek politics to have any opinion on that – I do not see why this should have happened.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Greek nationality law makes it hard to get citizenship. There are few benefits to go around since the crisis. Immigrants want to go to north to Germany and Sweden. All these reasons mean that immigrants from the south just want to pass through. And it’s in the Greeks interest to give them trouble-free passage. Perhaps the Greeks feel like punishing the Germans too.

  2. (Synchronicity … Sailer just posted a similar view)

  3. I don’t know all that much about Greek politics so there may be something I’m not seeing. But here’s my thoughts anyway:

    The Greek people seem to want contradictory things: they want an end to austerity and they want to remain in the EU. Considering Greece’s modern history I can see why they want to be in the EU. Some of the Greek voters, and most of their parents, remember the period of military rule. “Europe” looks like a model to be emulated to many of them. I’m not saying I agree with such sentiment, just that I understand it.

    Note that “Popular Unity,” the party formed by Syriza hardliners who would have rejected the deal, failed to get enough votes to pass the threshold. Euro-skepticism might be why ANEL is unpopular. Note, also, that ANEL is not consistently opposed to immigration. Their leader, Paul Kammenos, has threatened to flood Europe with refugees if they don’t give him what he wants:

    ANEL was formed recently by defectors from New Democracy, that may be a factor in why people distrust it. And I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some anger among the party’s voters with it’s alliance with a “far-left” party.

  4. I prefer more money for the Syrian refugees in Germany than for the Greeks in Greece.

  5. Greeks are turds.

  6. Seamus Padraig says

    Since the Greeks obviously don’t care enough about their country to stand up for it anymore, I’ve decided not to care about them. Next!

  7. Sums it up for me!

  8. ANEL voted for the austerity measures. Their voters punished them, but they still achieved their main goal to pass the 3% threshold and have representatives in the Greek parliament.

  9. I’m sure the Greeks will be happy to send you more “Syrian refugees” to spend your money on.

  10. They are doing that anyway. No-one wants to stay in Greece.
    At least the asylum seekers in Germany contribute to the German economy as consumers.
    Greece is just a financial black hole.

  11. Re 3: Obama should invite Tsipras to the White House. They share various beliefs and notions, and a fast-track citizenship and late term Cabinet appointment seem in order.

  12. On paper the Greeks have a debt, but in reality it is the old saw, you owe the bank a truly vast amount, it is not your problem, it’s the bank’s problem. Greece can’t pay what it owes and everyone knows that. So long as they say they will pay it off someday, everything is fine. To keep Greeks saying they’ll pay at some point, Europe is prepared to give money to Greece, thereby incentivising Greece keeping on with the charade. Germany likes to follow strict procedures, but no one can afford to have Greece bring everything tumbling down, including Greece. So Europe thought they were bluffing. I see Tsipras as chosen by Greeks to convince Europe that Greece is not bluffing, thereby getting Greece a better deal. He has achieved that objective I think.
    Euro zone officials told Reuters last week that governments were ready to cap Greece’s annual debt-servicing costs at 15 percent of its economic output over the long term, so that nominal payments would be lower if the Greek economy struggles.

    I think Golden Dawn getting nowhere fast simply shows that popular reaction is not what the intelligentsia never tire of telling us it is (prejudice against, gypsies, Jews, Gays, Muslims). It’s not what anybody thought it was. Golden Dawn is the latest of a series of flashes in the pan for far right movements, and if the current situation in Greece can not lead to a far right party making gains, or even influencing immigration policy, the scenario of a far right rise to power or shifting of all political parties’ policies toward meaningful restriction of immigration simply does not exist.

    Tsipras committed to sweeping “reforms” on immigration policy: The abolition of illegal immigrant detention centers, amnesty to anchor babies, calling on journalists to remove the word “illegal” from their lexicons. Work begun on a mosque in Athens, as if the country had no other, more pressing priorities. In retrospect, the timing couldn’t have been worse, with the recent immigrant influx making some of the Greek islands like Lesbos virtually uninhabitable for the natives.

    The timing could suit them, immigration is a weapon for Greece to use against Europe. The Greeks specifically threatened this, See here.

    IN Greece’s Equality-of-Outcome Mentality Athens has adopted the equality-of-result mentality that believes factors other than hard work, thrift, honesty, and competency make one nation poor and another rich. Instead, sheer luck, a stacked deck, greed, or a fickle inheritance better explain inequality.

    The electorally successful Scottish nationalists are certainly left wing. I think it is becoming obvious that the really popular radical nationalism in Europe is equality-of-outcome-socialism, which is stronger that anyone thought in the current situation. Left parties point to every inequality within Europe and globally (in the case of immigrants) as evidence of malevolent powers rigging the system in their own interest. The demand for a more just system makes sense from this standpoint. Outflanked, the centrist establishment (nationally and globally) retreats and makes concessions. It should not surprise that ANEL cannot prosper, because they can refuse to pay, but they can’t mobilse Greeks by offering the beguiling leftist interpretation for why Greek debt is fundamentally unfair. What should ASEL, do tell Greeks that because they are fractious and difficult as shown in a major psychology experiment, it was only to be expected that their economy would go pear shaped? Obviously a politician telling the people “Travail, famille, patrie” is a real traitor.

    Peter Frost wrote some interesting articles on Greece; he said the right wing Colonels regime failed to see the long-term consequences of incipient population replacement “in large part because they conceived the threats to Greece’s social fabric in geopolitical or even conspiratorial terms. In reality, the most serious threats would come from banal sources, including supposed friends and allies”. That the conservatives (who trust profit-loving business) and the socialists (who trust the immigrant as oppressed by an unjust system) agree about immigration explains a lot.

    STAYING in the EU is an option that lacks even the virtue of stability. It will probably worsen the existing class conflict in Greek society. To maintain their position of relative affluence, the post-national middle class may openly abandon the native working class and stigmatize them as bums who deserve to be replaced by hardworking immigrants.

  13. You don’t know what you are talking about.

    How do those taking German taxpayers money contribute anything to Germany other than high birthrates of more low IQ takers of German taxpayers money?

  14. Do you?

    If German tax money has to be used for foreigners, it should be used for foreigners in Germany.

  15. The Greek population is broken. They elected Syriza as an explicitly anti-austerity party yet they have got more austerity good and hard.

    The Italian population were done in the same way, as was Austria, Ireland with their referendum and others.

    The people fight the media and the establishment and somehow win but the following EU bureaucratic coup in support of the media and establishment makes them give up.

  16. They elected Syriza because they were anti-austerity and anti-Grexit.
    In the end, more austerity was more acceptable than the uncertainty of Grexit.

  17. They elected Syriza to get a better deal (wriggle out of the debt) and they probably got sweeteners, which are being kept quiet. Those, like the Irish, who just payed up to bailout the banks and traders must be feeling rather foolish.

  18. The key to understanding Greek election results is the fact that most Greeks perceive both the socialist party (PASOK) and the conservative party (ND) as two affiliated groups of theives. Frankly this was not much of a problem when economic growth was raising everybody’s boat, but when everything crashed and the economy ended up in protracted recession, these two parties that had been governing alternatively for the past 40 years became unforgivable. Whatever economic theory you favor, a certain degree of austerity was inevitable for Greece. However the people will not trust a group of theives to enforce austerity. Mr. Tsipras has one big thing going for him, he never had anything to do with either PASOK or ND, so people can trust him (until proven otherwise of course).

    ANEL is a breakaway party from ND, so they are socially conservative, but they have been consistently against the austerity programs. They are not Eurosceptic at all, while on immigration, church matters, gay rights and such issues they tend to vote exactly as ND does. The main reason for their relative decline was because 15% of their January voters chose to vote directly for SYRIZA this time. They suffered the usual decline that minor coalition partners always suffer in Europe.

    Golden Dawn received 6.99% of the vote, which is exactly the 7% long term strength of the far right in Greece over decades. Their percentage is quite normal, the unusual thing though is that this time the far right vote is expressed though an openly Nazi party, while usually we produce only mildly ridiculous fascists in the Italian tradition. Under normal conditions of course the far right votes for ND, but conditions are not normal now.

  19. Spiegel (2013) LIKE 1930s Germany’: Greek Far Right Gains Ground. Nowhere else in Europe are neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists profiting as greatly from the financial crisis as in Athens. As they terrorize the country with violence, the police stand back and prosecutors are powerless.

    Yes, 7% is actually quite low, but of course the de-nationalised European intelligentsia know that whenever anything goes wrong the indigenous masses will go berserk with fanatical fascism and blame Gypsies, Jews, Gays and of course immigrants. So the reality is a terrible anticlimax .


    The fact that the Greeks again voted for the left wing Syriza which betrayed them, defied the referendum, is anti-austerity and pro-alien invasion (even though the people are against immigration and against austerity measures), instead of the Golden Dawn (which reflects these 2 preferences better) is not just surprising, it is shocking.

    It is shocking that people would vote for a party that goes against their wishes.

    So what’s wrong with the Greeks? Are they mentally retarded or mentally ill? Or were the elections rigged?

    It is time to talk about this mental illness whereby people vote for their own death and destruction and refuse to support their own survival. This is mental illness—pure and simple.

    I am saying this not out of hatred, but to awaken them, because something is deeply wrong in their brain. Either they are totally brainwashed by the left-wing Jewish controlled media, or cowered into such fear that they are afraid to act for their own survival or in their own interest–something is deeply wrong here.

  21. Either they are totally brainwashed by the left-wing Jewish controlled media

    How is this even an option? In Greece? Why are people desperate to play to caricature? Do you even know that you post your absurd ravings on a website founded and paid for (?) by a Jew?

    Deduction’s rule of mental illness:

    If you think that anything is all or nothing then you’re mentally ill. (This applies to this rule too, as it applies to itself.)

    Here’s what Jews think about the approximately 4000 Jews in Greece.