Since late 2009, when the Great Recession reached the Eurozone periphery, the Greek political system and Greek society itself have undergone secular change. The impact sent shockwaves that brought down the decades old two-party system, eliminated older cleavages, and brought to light new ones. One of the most significant elements in the incredible chain of events that have taken place since 2009 was the onset of the Greek “aganaktismenoi” movement, the Greek equivalent of the Spanish indignados. The aim of the ambitious CAICG project was to dissect this important protest cycle, identify main actors, engage in causal analysis, and lay out implications for policymaking.
The conclusions of the systematic analysis that took place since the start of the project, under the direction of Principal Investigator Professor Nikos Marantzidis are multifaceted. First, the model of exit-voice-loyalty was employed to assess the demand side of the protest. Through interviews with elite activists as well as common participants, and with the help of panel surveys, we pinpointed the main factors leading to mobilization. Political agency came out as a crucial factor that led to the success of the movement, with political entrepreneurs managing to successfully mobilize the resentment felt by a large part of the population and the crisis of representation that plagued the political establishment that had been ruling Greece for decades.
Using trust/dictator games, we took an even more thorough glimpse of how sentiments such as anger and felt injustice were pivotal in taking otherwise quiescent citizens and turning them into a wave that filled the squares of the indignados that summer of 2011, forever altering the landscape of the Greek political party system. However, this analysis would be incomplete without taking into account the role of traditional (e.g. TV stations, newspapers) and social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc.). The way the media reported what was going on in the squares affected greatly the image of the movement in the eyes of the wider population, providing emotional cues, and considerably influencing the precipitous rise and the eventual downfall of protest activity. At the same time, protesters actively tried to harness the dynamism of the new social media, disseminating their message much further and reaching much wider audiences that what could be accomplished in previous cycles ofprotest.
Opinion leaders were found to have a good grasp of the dynamics of the conflict in the streets, however, the far reaching implications of the Greek aganaktismenoi were not understood by many in those early days of May. This is evident on how the party system reacted. Small and flexible players, such as SYRIZA and the ANEL, managed to take advantage of the reorganization of political allegiances and reap huge electoral benefits in the next elections. At the same time, PASOK was unable to provide a credible counterframe to that propounded in the squares, and New Democracy oscillated between tacit approval and outright rejection, an equivocation that proved detrimental to the electoral support of the party. All this became evident in the “earthquake election” of May 2012, the most volatile election in recent history, that, for many, signaled the end of the “Metapolitefsi” period for Greece, ushering in new forces and following avenues that have not yet solidified.
The Greek political system is still in flux. However, it is almost impossible for the old two party system to bounce back into the helm. A new, multipolar party system is gradually emerging, and the Greek aganaktismenoi have played a significant role in the incredible change that has taken place these past few years. The CAICG research project has managed to uncover the main facets of the most important protest cycle since the restoration of democracy, providing the Greek and international academic community with rich tools for further analysis that is bound to take place.
Below are the deliverables (conference presentations and papers) produced in English or Greek as part of the research project. Please contact the authors directly for further information.
1. Η Θεματική της Κινητοποίησης ως Παράγοντας Ερμηνείας της Πολιτικής Συμμετοχής: Μελετώντας την Κληρονομιά των «Αγανακτισμένων» | Γιάννης Κωνσταντινίδης, Νίκος Μαραντζίδης, Ηλίας Ντίνας
2. Ανεργία και Ψήφος Διαμαρτυρίας | Ρούλα Νέζη, Γιάννης Κωνσταντινίδης, Κώστας Γεμενής
3. The Impact of the Greek indignados on Greek politics | Paris Aslanidis, Nikos Marantzidis, Vasiliki Georgiadou, Anastasia Kafe
4. The Grapes of Wrath: Democracy, Political System and Violence Under Challenge in Greece | Vasiliki Georgiadou, Anastasia Kafe, Roula Nezi, Costis Pieridis, Nikos Marantzidis, Paris Aslanidis
5. Θυματοποίηση και Οικονομική Ψήφος στην Ελλάδα της Κρίσης | Ηλίας Ντίνας, Γιάννης Κωνσταντινίδης
6. Emotions and Politics in the Greek media: the 2015 Referendum | Lamprini Rori, Nikos Marantzidis
7. Locating Active Followers in Governmental Twitter Accounts: The Case of Greece | Konstantinos Antoniadis, Kostas Zafiropoulos, Vasiliki Vrana
8. Analysing parliamentary discourse in Greece between three memorandums: A populist appeal | Vasiliki Tsagkroni, Stella Ladi
9. Οι μεταλλάξεις του κομματικού συστήματος κατά την κρίση | Νίκος Μαραντζίδης, Γιάννης Κωνσταντινίδης, Ηλίας Ντίνας