The Impact of the Greek Indignados on Greek Politics

In: Southeastern Europe
Paris Aslanidis Yale University, New Haven, USA,

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Nikos Marantzidis University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece,

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The burden of this paper is to assert the significance of the 2011 movement of the Greek indignados for Greek politics during the Great Recession. Acknowledging the systematically feeble analysis of the nexus between non-institutional and electoral politics in social movement literature, the authors analyze the emergence, development, and heritage of the Greek indignados, focusing squarely on their impact on public opinion and the domestic party system, both at the level of interparty, as well as intraparty dynamics. The authors’ conclusions are drawn mainly from an analysis of political party discourse, public opinion data, and interviews conducted on the field, catering equally for the supply and demand side of the novel political claims that surfaced during the first years of the Greek sovereign debt crisis. The authors point to the crucial contribution of the movement’s discourse in facilitating voter defection from the traditional two-party system that ruled Greece for more than thirty years, and argue that the indignados functioned as a beacon of populist discursive tropes, which cemented the emergence of a new divide in Greek society between pro- and anti-bailout citizens. Conclusively, the authors take the position that the imprint of the indignados on the Greek psyche has had tremendous repercussions in consolidating a new party system, by undermining traditional political forces and legitimizing new, anti-establishment contenders.

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