Greece #3

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epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..about half way through this piece begins addressing what is going on right now around the wed vote.

Greece: The Struggle Continues

A definitive account of what has transpired over the last few weeks in Greece, and what’s next for Syriza and the European left.

josh

epaulo13 wrote:

..about half way through this piece begins addressing what is going on right now around the wed vote.

Greece: The Struggle Continues

A definitive account of what has transpired over the last few weeks in Greece, and what’s next for Syriza and the European left.


Wow, that's long. Don't have time to read all of it now, but based on what I did read it sounds like Tsipras was flying blind.

mark_alfred

Interesting how when Syriza was the toast of anti-capitalists here at Babble that some would proclaim "the NDP is not Syriza".  Now, it seems, there's an effort to equate Syriza with the NDP.  The entire proposition was and is silly.  Two different places and two different entities.

KenS

That he was flying blind is a surprise to you? I may not like what has transpired, but it would overwhelm anyone [all of the anyones] from Day 1.

Governing, with almost no learning curve up to that.... then thrown into a situation more mind boggling than anyone knew, or could have known.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Leaving the party and forming a new one would be better.

Syriza is a coalition of parties, so wouldn't every member already have a "new" party?

KenS

Whichever way they could have gone, all of them in Syryza were and are 

grit teeth,

hang on tight,

Fly !

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I think they already flew.  Like Icarus.

josh

KenS wrote:

That he was flying blind is a surprise to you? I may not like what has transpired, but it would overwhelm anyone [all of the anyones] from Day 1.

Governing, with almost no learning curve up to that.... then thrown into a situation more mind boggling than anyone knew, or could have known.

Meaning he had no strategy, no endgame and was merely buffeted by day to day events.

josh

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Leaving the party and forming a new one would be better.

Syriza is a coalition of parties, so wouldn't every member already have a "new" party?


Actually, now that I think about it, Mr. Magoo would be a good name for Tsipras.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Mr. Magoo was always bumbling about on those crazy high heights, but in the cartoons he never fell from them.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Public sector union, municipalities, pharmacies on 24h strike, 15. July 2015

Public sector union ADEDY has called for a 24-hour strike on Wednesday, July 15th 2015. Municipalities personnel and public hospitals personnel will join the strike, aiming to protest the voting of the Brussels agreement by the Parliament.

Buses, Trolley, Tram and Urban train ISAP will operate as usually.

Athens Metro will operate after 9 am

Pharmacies will also remain close.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Golden Dawn will be strengthened by worse austerity, Yanis Varoufakis warns

Because you know what would fix all this?  Racism.

Brachina

 The IMF is breaking away from the others in Troika, this is too brutal even for the IMF to stomach. The IMF is saying that Eupore needs to either give Greece a 30 year grace period to pay back the debt or take an upfront hair cut.

josh

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Golden Dawn will be strengthened by worse austerity, Yanis Varoufakis warns

Because you know what would fix all this?  Racism.

That people would turn to them, as one of the only two parties who want to drop the euro, would show how desperate people are.

josh

Brachina wrote:

 The IMF is breaking away from the others in Troika, this is too brutal even for the IMF to stomach. The IMF is saying that Eupore needs to either give Greece a 30 year grace period to pay back the debt or take an upfront hair cut.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/07/imf-throws-a-spanner-in-proposed-...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
That people would turn to them, as one of the only two parties who want to drop the euro, would show how desperate people are.

Not as desperate as if there were only one.

What's the other party's policy on the beating of immigrants?

josh

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
That people would turn to them, as one of the only two parties who want to drop the euro, would show how desperate people are.

Not as desperate as if there were only one.

What's the other party's policy on the beating of immigrants?

Well, they're the Communists. So I don't think you'd be too wild about them.

NDPP

re: #64

But have no fear, unlike Greece, the prospects for Yanis Varoufakis are looking just fine...offers and gigs are apparently rolling in from all sides to talk on the plight of Greece. Every dark cloud has a silvery lining for some it seems.

 

Greeks Rebel Against Bailout, Risk Collapse

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/07/greeks-rebel-against-bailout-risk...

"...We pointed out that the left wing of Syriza constrained Tsipras in dealing with the Troika. We suspected his pattern of making commitments to Eurocrats and then partially or fully repudiating them when he got back to Athens was due to being disciplined by internal dissenters.

They may still have the power to derail a deal.

And of course, even if this pact is rubber-stamped by the Greek parliament, the government faces a legitimacy crisis. How can what amounts to a puppet government have any authority?"

 

As Max Keiser observed, it looks like Greece will be allowed to stay in the eurozone in exchange for their assets exiting Greece instead.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Well, they're the Communists. So I don't think you'd be too wild about them.

No worries -- I don't get a vote.

Anyhoo, though, let those Greeks who oppose austerity vote for them.  And let those Greeks who oppose austerity. and brown people, vote for Golden Dawn.  It's a relief that they have a choice, even if Varoufakis didn't mention it.

Quote:
The IMF is saying that Eupore needs to either give Greece a 30 year grace period to pay back the debt or take an upfront hair cut.

You're citing parasitic liars???  They're parasitic liars, right?

Or is this like a Hollywood movie, and they just had their emotional epiphany?

"We never wanted to be mean!  We were just lonely and wanted a friend!!"

NDPP

Greek Bailout Deal Highlights Monumental Scale of Syriza Betrayal

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/07/14/gree-j14.html

"...In return for imposing permanent and more savage austerity on millions of working people who have already suffered terribly under the dictates of the EU and the banks for which it speaks, Tsipras has secured nothing more than the reality of financial dictatorship today and promises of jam tomorrow..."

A Soft Coup in Greece (2/2)

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&I...

Nantina Vgontzas and Paul Jay discuss the Greek Eurozone deal and the reaction of the Greek left

"...As you know, when you would ask people on the ground, a lot of the people I talked to...they didn't want the government to go back. And I'd also been at Syriza events where leadership was speaking and they were being told, don't go back on your promises...We want some form of rupture...as much as it takes."

Doug Woodard

Greece debt crisis: IMF attack EU over bail out:

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33531845

Regarding the hostile comments about the IMF: the IMF may be heartless bean-counters, true believers in neoclassical economics and all its weird assumptions - but if the heartless bean-counters say that the EU's austerity program won't work, what does that say about the German politicians and their Eastern European followers? They remind me of Lloyd George in 1918: "Squeeze them [the Germans] till the pips squeak." We know where that led.

Doug Woodard

Yanis Varoufakis on the Eurosummit's statement:

http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/14/on-the-euro-summits-statement-on-gr...

 

josh

Reportedly only around 15 of the Syriza central committee nay-sayers (who now amount to 109 according to the rednotebook link in the tweet below) are MPs. Even so, they are clearly not happy.

The Greek Analyst ‎@GreekAnalyst

108 οut of the 201 members of the Central Committee of #Syriza reject a new MoU, refer to 12 July as a 'coup' day. http://rednotebook.gr/2015/07/107-meli-tis-kentrikis-epitropis-tou-siriz...

KenS

KenS wrote:
That he was flying blind is a surprise to you?

josh wrote:
 Meaning he had no strategy, no endgame and was merely buffeted by day to day events.

 

I dont like where Syryza has gone. But I think that ANY chosen strategy was going to have to be overhauled along the way, because of how wild a ride this is.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Bullshit from Leo Panitch. But nice sounding bullshit.

Leo Panitch wrote:
It was always clear that a crucial element in the Syriza leadership would never go further than the Europeans would let them, and moreover believed that this is what Syriza's supporters would want them to do. There were others, outside the Left Platform, whose position was more conditional, and were open to a Plan B, but understood that the political conditions for it had to be created. This required not only convincing their supporters it might be necessary but developing their capacities to engage in the economic conversion and reorganization of ways of life to adequately cope with Grexit. That could not be done without making Plan B public, however, which would undermine the ability of Syriza to get elected in the near term and to form a government to stop the economic torture within the EU.

Even to think of an alternative seems to be a criminal failure to such writers. F*** that shite. Christ, even fiction, in the form of Harry Perkins in A Very British Coup long ago showed there were always other ways. A plan, say with the Russians printing Drachmas, and a plausible Grexit, kept quiet for as long as needed, etc., with the militant support of the Greek population was a possibility.

Politicians have a duty to put the interest of their country, of the social class they purport to represent, first. Either socialism or capitalism. Either the people or the bankers. There is no third way and there never was.

The whole article: The Denouement

josh

In reality, they formed a government which merely continued the economic torture within the EU. Would have been better had ND won the election. They could have done the same thing without the hypocrisy and betrayal.

josh

According to a government official, Tsipras said:

“I am prime minister because I have a parliamentary group that supports me. If I do not have its support, it will be difficult to be prime minister the day after.”

http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jul/15/greek-crisis-mps-ba...

And the downside of that would be?

josh

ikosmos wrote:

Bullshit from Leo Panitch. But nice sounding bullshit.

Leo Panitch wrote:
It was always clear that a crucial element in the Syriza leadership would never go further than the Europeans would let them, and moreover believed that this is what Syriza's supporters would want them to do. There were others, outside the Left Platform, whose position was more conditional, and were open to a Plan B, but understood that the political conditions for it had to be created. This required not only convincing their supporters it might be necessary but developing their capacities to engage in the economic conversion and reorganization of ways of life to adequately cope with Grexit. That could not be done without making Plan B public, however, which would undermine the ability of Syriza to get elected in the near term and to form a government to stop the economic torture within the EU.

Even to think of an alternative seems to be a criminal failure to such writers. F*** that shite. Christ, even fiction, in the form of Harry Perkins in A Very British Coup long ago showed there were always other ways. A plan, say with the Russians printing Drachmas, and a plausible Grexit, kept quiet for as long as needed, etc., with the militant support of the Greek population was a possibility.

Politicians have a duty to put the interest of their country, of the social class they purport to represent, first. Either socialism or capitalism. Either the people or the bankers. There is no third way and there never was.

The whole article: The Denouement

Yes, I detected the aroma as he cleverly moved the goal posts by trying to guilt non-Greek leftists for not doing enough in their own countries (true perhaps, but irrelevant), and framing the issue as one where the neo-liberal DNA is so entrenched as to make criticism of Tsipras unfair (which raises the question, if so, what was the point in fighting it).

josh

Demonstrations starting, with violence possible after the Parliament, as expected, passes the terms of surrender.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jul/15/greek-crisis-mps-ba...

KenS

ikosmos wrote:

Bullshit from Leo Panitch. But nice sounding bullshit.

Leo Panitch wrote:
......

josh wrote:

Yes, I detected the aroma as he cleverly moved the goal posts by trying to guilt non-Greek leftists for not doing enough in their own countries (true perhaps, but irrelevant), and framing the issue as one where the neo-liberal DNA is so entrenched as to make criticism of Tsipras unfair (which raises the question, if so, what was the point in fighting it).

Rather than dismissing Panitch or attributing unsaid agends to him, you all might try arguing with what he actually said.

josh

Aditya Chakrabortty
✔ ‎@chakrabortty

Syntagma Square: striking to see the police forces nominally controlled by the Syriza government teargassing the Syriza activist base

KenS

... but then, if people think that arranging to print Drachmas was an important obstacle ....

... or that Leo Panitch even might think that the depth of how entrentched neo-liberal ideology is makes criticising Tsipras unfair  (?)   .....

josh

NikiKitsantonis ‎@NikiKitsantonis

Greek FinMin @tsakalotos I dont know if we did the right thing. But I know we felt we had no choice. We never said this was good agreement

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Greek protesters clash with police at anti-austerity march

Greek anti-establishment protesters threw dozens of petrol bombs at police in front of parliament on Wednesday ahead of a key vote on a bailout deal, in some of the most serious violence in over two years.

Police responded with tear gas, sending hundreds of people fleeing in central Syntagma Square.

Earlier, thousands took to the streets of Athens in a series of otherwise peaceful marches during the day to protest against the new bailout deal that saved Greece from bankruptcy but will impose more reforms on a country already deep in crisis.

Once a common sight in protest marches in Greece, clashes with police had been very rare since the leftist Syriza party came to power in January.

Just before the clashes, protesters marched waving banners reading "Cancel the bailout!" and "No to the policies of the EU, the ECB and the IMF."

Pharmacists pulled down their shutters across Greece and civil servants walked off their jobs in protest in a 24-hour strike against reforms....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Decoding the IMF: Greek deal doomed, exit likely

quote:

Step back further and take in the implications of the IMF’s secret report, leaked yesterday, into the dynamics of Greece’s debt. The IMF says – after the weeks of dislocation caused by the relentless bank run and the capital controls – that the austerity deal is pointless. Greece needs a massive debt write-off or large upfront transfers of taxpayers money from the rest of Europe. It needs a 30 year grace period in which it will stop repaying the loans.

Yet the entire deal done on Sunday night was premised on not a single cent worth of debt relief. Vague commitments to “reprofile” debt – pushing repayment times backwards and lowering the interest rates – were all Angela Merkel could be persuaded to do.

What this means is very simple: the third bailout agreed in principle on Sunday night is doomed to fail. First because the IMF cannot sign up to it without debt relief; second because, without debt relief it will collapse the Greek economy. This is even before you factor in issues like mass resistance to its details, or the total lack of enthusiasm for execution of the deal by the Syriza ministers who will have to do it....

 

josh

"agreement" approved 228-64. About 30% of Syriza caucus voted No or present.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Radical left protests in Germany over bailout deal ‘coup’ against Greeks

Protesters have taken to the streets in 14 German cities to show their anger with their government’s handling of the Greek crisis, as opposition to the bailout deal appeared to be growing within Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat (CDU) party.

Anti-austerity demonstrations by a vocal minority of Germans took place in cities including Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg, with the radical left in the EU’s economic powerhouse proclaiming its solidarity with those across the world who are furious with Berlin for its role in forming Monday’s agreement.

“It’s a protest against the undemocratic politics of Europe,” said Marek Polgesek, a 25-year-old student from western Germany. “Germany isn’t solely responsible, but it has an exceptional history, bringing great responsibility, which the government is not living up to.”...

josh

josh wrote:
"agreement" approved 228-64. About 30% of Syriza caucus voted No or present.

However, Tsipras will not step down but will remain the head of, what could be, a reconstituted and Vichy government.

NDPP

US Military Coup For Euro Meltdown?  - by Finian Cunningham

http://sptnkne.ws/26m

"The capitulation of the Greek government to Berlin-led finance capital is a daunting watershed moment. It marks the 'disciplining' of the wider European electorate under corporatist financier rule.

What is happening in Greece is a forerunner for other European Union states."

Ukraine is being sucked dry by the same vultures. This will of course be conveniently blamed on Russia rather than the West's coup-installed proteges. And the NDP and Canadian left, including champagne socialists with six figure salaries like Panitch, who self-describes as a 'Russophobe' will ably assist.

NDPP

Greece As A Euro 'Economic Protectorate'

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/15/greece-as-a-euro-economic-protect...

"...Not only would Greek economic assets be seized, 'stripped' and sold off as they decided, but so would Greek sovereignty and democracy be shredded.

It all looks somewhat like the Euro-IMF solution for Ukraine, where in exchange for more debt the Euro and US bankers have been put in direct control of day to day management of the economy there.

Is some kind of new form of Neoliberal colonialism thus emerging, one wonders?

Or like native nations on reservations..."

Sean in Ottawa

The entire discussion about Tsipras is circling around two uncomfortable presumptions:

1) that Greece would have better with a hasty exit with a complete shutdown from Europe and likely sanctions formal or informal.

2) that Tsipras could have known that all he did would have no effect to improve the deal when in fact it should have. When you gamble and lose it is always easy to say you should not have gambled.

The presumptions revolve around this idea that he could have predicted that the IMF and more friendly states could not have persuaded any compromise at all.

I also think he was betrayed by Europe.

And of course there is always the other option -- Grexit. We presume that a Grexit could have been done with enough of the population's approval; that it could have resulted in a better economic situation rather than just owing another set of creditors with a similar hold over the country.

We also have to presume that a Grexit would not have become disorderly and led the country right into civil war. From what I understand of Greece this is not far-fetched and would have given Tsipras pause.

To condemn Tsipras with this confidence we have to be sure of all these things. I see many of you are more certain than I am. This is why I withhold judgment. I choose to side with the government and representatives of Greece. I hope they are doing the best but I know that there are no options and probably nothing would work. I am not even sure if we knew what the right thing to do looked like or if the result would be much different than the wrong thing.

So instead, I accept the will and process of Greece in this. I support in rhetoric (as that is all I have) the government of Greece until Greeks decide they want something different.

It is hard to say what they are thinking but I trust the intention is right and the choices are so bad. I even can forgive a Greek leader for a mistake in a situation that is a metaphorical water-boarding of his country.

And I have friends in Greece so there is a personal side -- I listen to them on this and I won't argue with them from my safety here.

I am open to hearing what people in Greece are saying and would like to hear from others.

I remain angry with what Germany has done and Europe. I am not saying the Greek government has done the right thing throughout. But I am not holding the information I would need to condemn them. Greece is being screwed, so without very strong evidence I would not add to it by talking down those who represent them in the most unimaginably difficult situation.

NDPP

Alexis Tsipras: Latest So-Called 'Leftist' To Sell Out to the Bankers  -  by Neil Clark

http://rt.com/op-edge/273829-tsipras-greece-bankers-austerity/

"The so-called 'radical leftist' from Greece is only the latest in a long line of 'radicals' and 'leftists' to betray people who had voted for them and cave in to the demands of imperialist international finance capital.

The only surprising thing about Alexis Tsipras' capitulation to the troika is that anyone should be surprised by it.

In fact, we can say that the story of 'leftist' or 'progressive' governments in Europe in the last thirty years or so has been one betrayal after another.

Defenders of the Greek Prime Minister are trying to maintain that he had no option but to surrender, but that is clearly untrue. He could - and should - have made it clear that unless there were substantial concessions from the Troika on Greece's debt, he would lead his country out of the euro.

The threat to leave the euro was a trump card which Tsipras refused to play, because he put 'being a good European' above ending austerity and his people's suffering.

The Greek prime minister could also have played on the Western elite's fears of Greece moving closer to Russia and China by threatening withdrawal from the EU and NATO.

He could have nationalized the banks.

But he did none of these.

Instead he grinned and joked with his country's enemies as he agreed to make Greece a de facto colony of the EU and international capital..."

Doug Woodard

Yanis Varoufakis on the Eurosummit's agreement:

http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/15/the-euro-summit-agreement-on-greece...

 

Doug Woodard
Doug Woodard

Greek statistics; EU-required VAT tax increase versus the competitiveness of Greek tourism:

http://wp.me/pGd5z-51P

Click on "price of hotels in the different countries" and translate.

It seems that there is not a lot of margin to work with, and tourism is Greece's most readily exploitable resource.

KenS

Doug Woodard wrote:

How Germany Beat Greece in Liar's Poker:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/14/germany-greece-liars-poker_n_77...  

I think that piece by Marans is absolutely the best for understanding the Realpolitik behind everything. And it will probably be a timely piece for a while.

There are a lot of good specific analysese in it, but I will highlight this one on Syryza's early failure that cost them so dearly:

Quote:

The answer is surprisingly simple. Syriza forewent its only potential leverage over Greece’s creditors: the willingness to go through with a “Grexit,” or a Greek exit from the eurozone. Greece was not prepared to shoot the proverbial hostage in negotiations with Germany and the other eurozone nations. In fact, the Greek government was not even ready for the possibility of a Grexit if it was forced on them.

I was aware of this also early on. But I was cautiously optimistic that they knew what they were doing.... it was pretty obvious they, including Varoufakis, didnt think they would have to "shoot the hostage" to get the negotiating partner to take them seriously.

Wrong.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

BLOCKUPY GOES ATHENS

Nine provisional considerations after both the popular Oxi and Syriza’s Yes to the Memorandum. This is being written after the vote in the Greek parliament and before the final decision of the Eurogroup. At the moment, everything is open, and we are certain of only a couple of things. Almost everything can change, but some things will remain true.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

A Fury Rising as Greek Parliament Votes to Accept Eurozone Agreement

Reporting from Athens, Dimitri Lascaras says there is deep anger against the humiliating deal forced on Greece by Eurozone leaders, but the whole agreement might fall apart as the IMF says the debt load is unmanageable...

...

Protests Erupt in Athens As Greece Approves Eurozone Bailout

TRNN's Jaisal Noor speaks to protestors in Athens, Greece about why they oppose the $96 billion dollar Eurozone bailout the Greek Parliament passed late Wednesday by a vote of 229 to 64...

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

That Neil Clark piece is brilliant and deserves LENGTHY QUOTATIONS.

First of all, to add to NDPPs quote, previous fake socialist sell outs should be noted as they were by Clark:

- Ramsay MacDonald in 1931 in the UK
- French (Mitterand) and Spanish (Gonzales) Socialist Parties in the 1980's
- Gyula Horn in 1994 in Hungary
- Blair in 1997 in the UK
- Lafontaine in 1998 in Germany

Everywhere, fake socialists. The truth is, either the people or the bankers. There is no other, third way. And here is an ugly and bitter truth:

"In fact, we can say that the story of ’leftist’ or ’progressive’ governments in power in Europe in the last thirty years or so has been one betrayal after another. The latest setback, in Greece, is further proof that we should be extremely careful when it comes to labels. Ironically, it’s sometimes been conservative politicians who don’t claim to be leftists, who have defended national sovereignty - and the interests of workers - better than those who say that they’re on the ‘progressive’ side."

But the author also, happily, notes those who did not sell out to the bankers: Bruno Kreisky, Chancellor of Austria from 1970-83; Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela from 19xx-2xxx; Salvador Alliende, President of Chile 1970-1973;

Once a social democrat, always a traitor. Maybe. It's horrifyingly close to the whole truth.

Quote:
The Greek Communist Party (KKE) to its credit predicted exactly what would happen. They had argued that an end to austerity could only come with a ‘true rupture’ with the EU, NATO, IMF and the forces of capital and the adoption of an alternative economic system. But of course, they were laughed at - and dismissed as dinosaurs by the ‘trendy’ pro EU ‘left’ who thought Tsipras and Syriza had all the answers.

Either socialism or capitalism. There is no other way.

 

josh

You mean Schroeder in Germany?

And I don't believe it's necessarily either/or. The article you cited praised De Gaulle, who was certainly no socialist.

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