Greece 2#

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Austerity kills.  Literally:

 Greek hospitals are in such dire straits that staff are failing to keep up basic disease controls such as using gloves and gowns, threatening a rise in multi-drug-resistant infections, according to Europe's top health official.

Greece already has one of the worst problems in Europe with hospital-acquired infections, and disease experts fear this is being made worse by an economic crisis that has cut health care staffing levels and hurt standards of care.

With fewer doctors and nurses to look after more patients, and hospitals running low on cash for supplies, risks are being taken even with basic hygiene, said Marc Sprenger, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

"I have seen places...where the financial situation did not allow even for basic requirements like gloves, gowns and alcohol wipes," Sprenger said after a two-day trip to Athens, where he visited hospitals.


Greek Public Sector on 24 Hr Strike Over Broadcaster Closure

"Public transport is not working in Athens on Thursday as the two biggest Greek labor unions go on strike over the closure of the national broadcaster this week. The government chose to axe ERT to save money amid the ongoing recession in the economy..."


Greece has unlocked access to nearly €7 billion in European aid by sacking 25,000 public sector workers, in a move which has sparked a new surge of anti-austerity protests outside parliament.

 . . . .

Thousands of teachers and policemen have now been told they have eight months to find a new job before they get laid off, meaning being thrown into a job market where there is 27 per cent unemployment.

It is nonetheless being seen as a success story for the brittle coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, which has just a five-seat majority in Greece’s parliament of 300 and lost many allies over the decision to shut down the state broadcaster last month.

Ahead of the vote Mr Samaras addressed the public in a gaffe-laden broadcast. Swearing and fluffing his lines, he announced a cut to VAT, down from 23 to 13 per cent.It is a move that seemed calculated to sugar the pill of further austerity, as well as being an attempt to curb tax evasion.

And while it seems to have worked in getting the new bill through, angry public workers took to the streets of Athens in protest, blowing whistles, honking horns and blaring sirens.


Greg Palast: Why are the Greek People Agreeing to Their Own Destruction?

"To me Greece is a crime-scene. Austerity in the middle of a recession is a death sentence..."


If any country's conditions are ripe for revolution it's Greece.  Palast calls the Greeks "gutless."  Maybe that explains why it hasn't taken place. 

Short of that, he's right about getting out of the Euro.  Which they shouldn't have gotten into in the first place.  However, he's wrong about PASOK being one of the two major parties.  They're running a weak fourth now.



This is not the first time Golden Dawn has killed, but it is their first known murder of a white Greek national--and their first clearly political assassination. Fyssas was a well-known anti-fascist; he was ambushed by a group of about 30 men (some in the familiar black shirts and camouflage pants) outside a cafe in the working-class suburb of Amfiali and stabbed twice in the chest, allegedly by a man who later told the police that he is a rmember of Golden Dawn. (As ever, the official police statement tiptoed around the issue, coyly stating that material from “a particular political tendency” was found in his apartment.)

The murder feels like part of a deliberate escalation: it comes at the end of a week of political (as opposed to merely racist) shows of force by the neo-Nazis. Last Thursday, some 50 blackshirts armed with clubs and crowbars set on 30 Communist Party supporters leafletting in Perama, one of Athens’ poorest neighbourhoods; nine communists were taken to hospital with serious injuries. Over the weekend, leftists protested a wreath-laying by a Golden Dawn MP on the memorial to victims of the Nazis in a northern village; a member of the MP’s entourage responded with a fascist salute. On Sunday Golden Dawn supporters disrupted a memorial at Meligalas for the hundreds of collaborators and their suspected supporters killed by the wartime left resistance as the Nazis withdrew; two Golden Dawn MPs seized the microphone from the mayor and lambasted the “traitor” government, while their acolytes skirmished with members of less “pure” nationalist groups.


Greek Gov't Cracks Down on Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party, Arrests Leader (and vid)

"Greek police have arrested the leader, several MPS and dozens of members of the ultra right Golden Dawn party on charges of leading a 'criminal organization'.

The party promised to respond with mass rallies of its supporters..."


Political Issues in the Struggle Against the Threat of Fascism and Dictatorship in Greece

"The murder last week of hip hop musician Pavlos Fyssas by fascist thugs has intensified class tensions in Greece.

Thousands have taken to the streets on a daily basis to demonstrate against fascist terror and government attacks on social programs, jobs, wages and pensions.

The police have responded with violence, attacking demonstrations and protecting the offices of the fascist Golden Dawn organization.

There are open discussions in ruling circles of a possible military coup..."


Greece: rise of the party, demise of the movement?

I was at Syntagma Square in Athens during its long summer of 2011. Just like hundreds of thousands of other participants in this incredible horizontal experiment, I was impressed by the ability of everyday people — who were until then outsiders of the political game — to spontaneously get together and organize themselves into the largest Popular Assembly Athens has ever witnessed, seeking to overturn the neoliberal austerity measures the government was soon to vote on, and invent ways in which direct democracy could possibly work as a form of decision-making beyond the limited space of a square.

This autonomous and horizontal project was made reality without any particular financial resources and without the participation of the traditional political actors like trade unions and political parties, which were emphatically banned from the square. It all happened spontaneously, without leaders, and from below. And it did not happen only in Athens, but in all the squares of Greece — forming what came to be known as “the movement of the squares” (and not the aganaktismenoi, or Greek indignados, as the media called them; a name that was rejected by the movement itself. A huge banner hung over Syntagma those days with a clear message: we are not indignant, we are determined!)

A year later, together with Jerome Roos, we returned to Syntagma with the intention of interviewing some of the protagonists of this movement, as well as to explore a bit further how the occupation actually took off. “We gotta find the person who brought the microphone!” was my main obsession at the time, thinking that the movement seemed spontaneous, yet actually somebody was there with a microphone and a sound system on the very first day, so if we could find “who brought the mic” we could possibly be able to locate who was behind the call for the occupation of the square as well — thus went my doubting-Thomas thinking at the time....


SISA: Cocaine of the Poor - (and vid)

"Austerity's drug of choice. SISA is destroying the lives of Athens' homeless people..."





Syrisa is leading in polls.


Greece suffering as insecurity surrounding debt crisis kills businesses across the country


from Zerohedge......

Will The ECB Finally Use The Greek "Nuclear Option" This Wednesdsay?Tyler Durden's pictureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/15/2015 09:05 -0400


The option of course is collapse the Greek financial system forcing the people to rise up against SYRIZA...

..a testbook example of what is in store for any people trying to offer an independent autonomous politic!
Which I am sure the people of Spain, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Hungary et al are watching very carefully! 


Greek Talks Collapse, Default Looms

"Both sides in the Greece/creditor negotiations have said they have reached the limits of what they are prepared to give. Talks on Sunday fell apart after a mere 45 minutes. We'll have more nitty-gritty details on the operational issues of a Grexit on Tuesday and Wednesday. Stay tuned.."


Germany is Bluffing on Greece  -  by Mark Weisbrot

"...So we see the ugliest of scenarios playing out: The people primarily responsible for Greece's deep and prolonged depression and high unemployment are pushing policies that would extend the crisis and worsen its impact on those who have suffered the most - not to  mention subvert the will of the electorate.

Did you notice that the much-hyped June 5 deadline for Greece's payment to the IMF came and went; Greece didn't pay and nobody fell off a cliff? Trust me, this is not a cliff-hanger."


Did you notice that the much-hyped June 5 deadline for Greece's payment to the IMF came and went; Greece didn't pay and nobody fell off a cliff? Trust me, this is not a cliff-hanger."

...this has got to be the height of complacency....sure the Greeks sailed through that hurdle on a technicality of bundling their payments to the end of the month...sure the jockeying at the political levels will continue.....

but it is the markets that rule, the confidence of the investment class, the Greek depositers in their banks that are the ultimate arbitrator...and if the stalemate continues...the bank runs will continue, the Greek financials will collapse......the euro will continue losing value as a dead currency...the derivatives currency trade will continue decline into collapse...yes this is a cliff hanger...and if the European negotiators don´t give this Sunday´s emergency meeting...Monday will open to a new era!

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..still no plan b from the syriza leadership.

Drip Feeding Greece Will End in Default

Dimitri Lascaris and Leo Panitch discuss the Athenian proposal which rejected pension cuts but included the closing military bases



...still no plan b from the syriza leadership....Haven`t they already printed out their new drachma notes?

Are they not negotiating with the Russians and BRICS?
But yes it`s at the grass roots communities where real change, productive economic development plans must take place!


from Zerohedge...

Less than a week later, Syriza hardliners called for a default to the IMF and a return to the drachma. The motion was defeated by just 20 votes, prompting us to contend that Greek PM Alexis Tsipras will need to ensure that any serious proposal presented to creditors is first cleared by Syriza’s more radical members because the only thing worse than capital controls and “Grimbo” (i.e. a slow motion train wreck) is the chaos that would ensure should Tsipras strike a deal with creditors only to see it fall apart in parliament amid raucous party infighting and the rapid disintegration of government.

Now, it appears as though EU officials aren’t the only ones drawing up plans for capital controls and Grexit because as The Telegraph reports, the far-left faction within Syriza is ready to transition back to the drachma. Here’s more:

The radical wing of Greece's Syriza party is to table plans over coming days for an Icelandic-style default and a nationalisation of the Greek banking system, deeming it pointless to continue talks with Europe's creditor powers.


Syriza sources say measures being drafted include capital controls and the establishment of a sovereign central bank able to stand behind a new financial system. While some form of dual currency might be possible in theory, such a structure would be incompatible with euro membership and would imply a rapid return to the drachma.


The confidential plans were circulating over the weekend and have the backing of 30 MPs from the Aristeri Platforma or 'Left Platform', as well as other hard-line groupings in Syriza's spectrum. It is understood that the nationalist ANEL party in the ruling coalition is also willing to force a rupture with creditors, if need be.


"This goes well beyond the Left Platform. We are talking serious numbers," said one Syriza MP involved in the draft.


"We are all horrified by the idea of surrender, and we will not allow ourselves to be throttled to death by European monetary union," he told the Telegraph.


Syriza's Left Platform has studied the Icelandic model, extolled as a success story by the International Monetary Fund itself.


"The Greek banks must be nationalised immediately, along with the creation of a bad bank. There may have to be some restrictions on cash withdrawals," said one Syriza MP.


"The banks will go ape-s*** of course. We are aware that there will be a lot of lawsuits but at the end of the day we are a sovereign power," he said.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

Zerohedge is not considered to be a credible source.

Nonetheless, one thing is for certain, there is a lot of lying going on about Greece and the extent of the 'crisis'. One lie that is making the rounds is that British pensions will go down by 10% if there is a Greek default. I have one list of British investment funds which are sitting on £90 trillion. Whatever there is in Britain, there is 5 x as much in the USA. In addition there is a $20 trillion + US government bond market, and all the other trillions lying around there. Considering the total Greek national debt is less than £300 billion, a complete default would not even be a blip on the international financial markets.

And you can throw Italy, Spain, and Portugal's debt down that hole and it still would not make much difference.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

The only people holding Greek debt are the ECB and some hedge funds. Hang them out to dry. Greece needs to be remonetized on the inflationary model which has allowed them to work in the past. Euro, Sterling, and Dollar will remain as savings currencies and trade currencies.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

iyraste1313 wrote:

...still no plan b from the syriza leadership....Haven`t they already printed out their new drachma notes?

Are they not negotiating with the Russians and BRICS?
But yes it`s at the grass roots communities where real change, productive economic development plans must take place!'s important to raise the drachma and the negotiations but that is still part of plan a. along side negotiations with the euro /capital. and that is where the uncertainty is. syriza is divided and this is playing out in all of greece according to the real news video i posted above. there is no clear path that i can see. but i agree with you on where the change needs to come from. i believe without that syriza can have only limited success.


..i assumed you saw the video i posted but but maybe you didn't. if the drachma is to be used it takes " a herculean task" to implement and needs the full attention of the gov. both panitch and lascaris say there is no sign of this happening and that it would be difficult if not impossible to keep such a thing under wraps. hence no plan b. 


The Dictatorship of Finance Capital: Greece and Ukraine

"As Greece teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, EU officials are tightening the screws on the indebted country.

It is instructive to compare the treatment of Greece with that of another bankrupt country, Ukraine..."


And you can throw Italy, Spain, and Portugal's debt down that hole and it still would not make much difference......

think again...the global financial system is built on highly leveraged debt and insured by credit and currency derivatives to the 100s of trillions...the euro will take a hit, which will effect the currency derivatives, the european bond market which already is fragile and has seen serious rises in rates will take another hit, which will again hit the inflation numbers, the mortgage and real estate markets, already highly leveraged and financialized into the stock market...

no, the global financial system already is teetering...and with the Greeks forced to withdraw, followed by Italy Spain and Portugal, not to mention Ireland, and with their bank runs?

I wouldn´t be so confident...something soon is going to trigger the global ponzi scheme collapse...this may be it....


watch Deutche Bank with its derivative exposure to the Greek banks....if they go down...whew! watch out!


Greece Likely to Exit Eurozone & EU Without Deal from Creditors - Central Bank

"Athens is likely to leave the eurozone and the EU if it fails to reach an agreement to unlock a 7.2 B EUR bailout installment, said a statement from the Bank of Greece."


Greek Default?

"...So the Troika's Plan B now unfolding may just be to precipitate a default. To shake up the economic and the political landscape in Greece and elsewhere. To shift perspectives and positions and perhaps even the players themselves. The tactic is to make them appear incompetent and then go around them and have them replaced."


Bank of Greece Issues GREXIT Warning, in Move to Intensify Bank Run

"This report looks to be an effort to pour gas on the ongoing fire of the bank run, particularly since Greek citizens are souring on the Syriza negotiating strategy. Not surprisingly, sources in Greece, like this freelance journalist, say that people are edgy..."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Durand, Keucheyan and Trouvé: The rupture comes now

In the following article originally published for Mediapart (12 June), Cédric Durand, Razmig Keucheyan and Aurélie Trouvé call on the social and trade union movements to show solidarity with the Greek people at the 20 June demonstrations. If Greece does break with austerity, they argue, France will be faced with the decision of whether or not to join the project for the "democratic refoundation of Europe". Translated by David Broder.


from the just released Truth Committee on Public Debt...

All the evidence we present in this report shows that Greece not only does not have the ability to pay this debt, but also should not pay this debt first and foremost because the debt emerging from the Troika’s arrangements is a direct infringement on the fundamental human rights of the residents of Greece. Hence, we came to the conclusion that Greece should not pay this debt because it is illegal, illegitimate, and odious.

...seems to me that SYRIZA does have a Plan B


more on plan B....

Greece Eyes ‘Involvement’ in BRICS Bank 

Sputnik News
June 17, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) – The Greek government is considering whether it could get involved in the BRICS New Development Bank, Greece’s Minister of Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism Giorgos Stathakis told Sputnik Wednesday.

“We are fully supporting the BRICS initiative, and we are investigating ways for Greece to get involved in this initiative that could be beneficial for both sides,” the minister said.

A source in the Greek government told Sputnik in May that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was likely to discuss his country’s membership of the NDB, with BRICS leaders in St. Petersburg during a June 18-20 economic forum.

The five major developing economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – bill their venture as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), one of Greece’s three main creditors, to which Athens owes a $1.7-billion repayment by the end of June.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Protesters demand end to austerity, with EU future in doubt - as it happened

Protesters gather in front of the Athens parliament during a pro-government rally calling on Greece’s European and International Monetary creditors to soften their stance in the cash-for-reforms talks. Photograph: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

..more pics here.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The Operational Issues of a Grexit Part Two: Organizational Capacity, Capital Controls and Bootstrapping a New Monetary System


The conventional analyses generally ignore or wave off the element of a Grexit that Nathan Tankus focuses on here: the operational implications of a Grexit. Launching a new currency would be every bit as demanding as launching the Euro was in 1999, and arguably more so, since the Greek government will also have to contend with a large market of Euros circulating as currency and may come to find it necessary, at the outset or later, to offer dual currency payment processing services. We’ve attached a paper at the end that gives an idea of the amount of planning and lead times that were required for this to go smoothly. Now admittedly the Euro launch had an added factor of complexity, which was a large number of existing currencies involved. However, the Eurozone was also able to force citizens off the legacy currencies in 2002, three years after the launch of the Euro. By contrast, with the Euro the currency of Greece’s major trade partners and Greek bank customers already hoarded large amounts of Euros as cash, the Greek government will have a currency it does not control playing a significant role in its economy.


Before we begin one point needs to be hammered home. Economics, law and politics are all crucial to the story of Greece, but in the moment of default or Grexit they take a back seat to something far more important: organizational capacity. To exploit every opportunity, to get a new monetary system up and running, to devise a way of continuing imports and exports, to decide what to do with the Bank of Greece and generally to decide how to deal with growing mass of consequences hurtling towards them, the government needs large amounts of organizational capacity.

Further, the longer they take getting the “new” system up and running, the more issues will pop up and the more organizational capacity they will need at a future date.


The Operational Issues of a Grexit Part Two: Organizational Capacity, Capital Controls and Bootstrapping a New Monetary System


I confess I´ve failed to follow the technics of this monetary organizational process...

But the essence of the matter here is rooted in the economic not finances of production...the people must be fed, their housing and transportation secured....

hopefully for this, the government won´t err as the Sandinistas did with their food distribution government coops which threatened the townspeople and the private sector setting up the grounds for the civil war perpetrated of course by our neighbours ....

meanwhile the essential point to secure access to working capital and credit to replace increasing inflationary imports with local production and community production....

as to the finances the Greeks are sitting pretty with access to capital from the Russians and the BRICS...

And as to the money issuance difficulties, I can´t see the problem...just continue using the euro while gradually introducing the drachma through government operations...

pensions and income redistributions, taxing the shit out of their oligarchs and above all by import duty...

Yes that is critical to withdraw from the corporate globalization system encouraging import substittution and self reliance...all the easier given the lowering consumer power of the people!


What If There Is No Deal on Greece?

"...What about Russia? Anything Putin might want from Greece he can get at a lower cost later."

Doug Woodard

Why Greece might have the upper hand in crunch talks:



Russia, Greece Sign Deal on Turkish Stream Gas Pipeline

"The two countries will have equal shares in the company. Construction of the pipeline in Greece will be financed by Russia and Athens will return the money afterward..."

With some up-front to help pay bills perhaps?



At Emergency Summit, Creditors Plan to Make Greece An Offer it Can't Refuse

"A Eurogroup meeting ended if anything with Greece and its creditors even more alienated from each other."


Greek Crisis: European Political Expediency Will Kill the Euro  -  by Bryan MacDonald

"Friday, 19 June, 2015 was probably the day when the prevailing neo-liberal western order lost its allure and the European project along with it. Amid the chaos, the Euro as it's presently constituted, most likely reached the beginning of the end. All this after Frankfurt's ECB effectively promoted a bank-run in a country it is bound to protect via its regulatory function..."


Yanis Varoufakis: A Pressing Question for Ireland Before Monday's Meeting on Greece

"Perhaps the most telling remark by any finance minister in that meeting came from Michael Noonan. He protested that ministers have not been made privy to the institutions' proposal to my government before being asked to participate in the discussions.

To his protest, I wish to add my own: I was not allowed to share with Mr Noonan, or indeed with any other finance minister, our written proposal. The Euro zone moves in mystrious ways. Momentous decisions are rubber-stamped by finance ministers who remain in the dark on the details, while unelected officials of mighty institutions are locked into one-sided negotiations with a solitary government-in distress."


IMF Humiliates Greece, Repeats it Will Keep Funding Ukraine Even if It Defaults

"With Greece on step closer to a full blown financial collapse, the IMF comes out and tells Ukraine - which has already passed a law allowing it to impose a debt moratorium at any moment - not to worry, that even in a default it will keep providing unlimited funds."


Greek Government Preparing To Cross Red Lines To Avert Default

"Both the Guardian and Wall Street Journal are separately reporting that members of the Tsipras government are working on plans that amount to capitulation on the most contested creditor demands: that of pension and labor-market 'reforms', as in large pension cuts and changes to market regulations that reduce worker bargaining power.

We'll know in not too many hours what he [Tsipras] elects to do. This is a painful choice no matter what decision he makes, since Greece is in a lose/lose situation.."


so he wil betray the voters again?


The Rise of the Non Leftist Left: The Radical Reconfiguration of Southern Europe Politics  -  by James Petras

"Syriza, the first NLL to reach power, reflected the immense gap between the radical posturing of its leaders in opposition and their cringing conformity toward Established Power once elected to government."

In Canada, we have a somewhat longer experience with a Non Leftist Left obviously.


Ukraine, Greece & IMF: 'Tale of Two Debt Negotiations (and audio)

"...It's a different situation in Greece because the IMF is only one of three main negotiators and it appears now will not be the major negotiator. What will come out of the Greek negotiations is that more money will be provided to Greece who will then use that money to pay off the IMF and maybe even the ECB.

In other words it will take more loans from the European Commission stability fund and pay off those other two. So then it will be just henceforth down the road in the matter of debt owed by Greece to the European Commission. I think a settlement somewhere along these lines is what's going to occur here by June 30 or shortly thereafter, and extension is quite possible."


Short Greece Proposal Update: Greece Folds

"Some details on the Greek proposal have leaked out... Although the Greek government will try to spin otherwise, the new coalition has agreed to continued austerity. They are now just hashing out implementation details..."


He betrayed the voters.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

As Pressure Mounts, Europeans Rally in Streets for Greek Dignity

As an emergency summit concluded in Brussels on Monday with no clear resolution for the spiraling Greek debt crisis, a call throughout the streets of Europe for lenders to ease their punishing "reforms" in Greece is reverberating.

On Sunday, more than 5,000 protested in Brussels, Belgium—the site of the ongoing negotiations between the Greek government and officials with the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission—while hundreds more marched in Amsterdam.

According to reports, protesters carried banners that read slogans such as, "Our lives do not belong to creditors," and "If Greece were a bank it would have been saved."

Expressing a sentiment that has spread throughout Europe, Sebastien Franco, the organizer of the Brussels demonstration, told Belgian media, "Austerity is not working, it reduces the income of poor people in the name of reimbursement to creditors...who continue to enrich themselves."

Echoing that idea, another protester told Euronews, "All the things they are doing now to the Greeks they will do it also to us. So that’s why we are here. Not only because of Greece but also because of ourselves."

And Saturday, at migrant solidarity marches in Paris, Berlin, and Rome, demonstrators also expressed support for their Greek brethren and against the EU's adherence to austerity at all costs.

"We are here to save our Europe, which includes immigrants, refugees and Greece," said Luciano Colletta, who demonstrated outside the Roman Colosseum. "Europe must belong to everyone, not just to the Germans and the banks."....


NDPP wrote:

Short Greece Proposal Update: Greece Folds

"Some details on the Greek proposal have leaked out... Although the Greek government will try to spin otherwise, the new coalition has agreed to continued austerity. They are now just hashing out implementation details..."

Yves Smith has been predicting that Greece would fold from the time Syriza won. Almost to the point that it seems as though he's rooting for it. It remains to be seen if he's right. There's a difference between a few concessions and an out and out fold.


And what were his choices realistically? 

It's always the same bullshit, the left can't wait to eat their own.

No wonder the right usually win.


How about defaulting? He betrayed his supporters.


They should get out of the Euro and bring back the drachma. But Syriza did not promise to do that during the campaign. They may be playing for time now.


The critics make it sound it sound so simple.

The ink isn't even dry on the paper and the ally attacks have begun. Typical left.

Politics is always about winning battles but never about winning the war.

You have to choose when its time to swim and when its time to tread water.

The EC is having an very difficult time holding it together.

Do we really think the EC breaking up so there is no opposition to the big USA or China blocks is going to be that productive? 

Sometimes we need to look at the big picture.



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