Greek crisis: discussion

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Sven Sven's picture

epaulo13 wrote:

..this option was open to the greek government as well. it chose otherwise.

Venezuela Takes Steps to “Smash” Currency Speculation

I wouldn't exactly hold Venezuela up as the paragon of economic excellence.  It sits on one of the biggest oil resources in the world, yet it's slowly swirling down the economic shitter.  If Venezuela's economy was the example of the alternative to the EU/IMF bailout, then taking the bailout would be a no-brainer (the Greeks will be way better off under the relatively short-term austerity program than the Venezuelan people will be in a long, long, long time).

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Sven wrote:

epaulo13 wrote:

..this option was open to the greek government as well. it chose otherwise.

Venezuela Takes Steps to “Smash” Currency Speculation

I wouldn't exactly hold Venezuela up as the paragon of economic excellence.  It sits on one of the biggest oil resources in the world, yet it's slowly swirling down the economic shitter.  If Venezuela's economy was the example of the alternative to the EU/IMF bailout, then taking the bailout would be a no-brainer (the Greeks will be way better off under the relatively short-term austerity program than the Venezuelan people will be in a long, long, long time).

..my reason for posting the venezuela story was to raise an option that the greek government had. in this case it was a legislative option. as for your comment on short term austerity please refer to #21 post.

NDPP

Fears Over Greek Bailout Send Shares and Euro Tumbling

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/may/14/nicolas-sarkozy-threatene...

"Share prices have dropped across Europe and the euro has slid to an 18-month low against the dollar on fears that the eurozone bailout of Greece will fail and reports that the eurozone bailout of Greece will fail and reports that French president Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to pull his country out of the single currency altogether to force Germany to agree to the rescue plan.."

Euro-Bankers to Greece: The Wealthy Won't Pay Their Taxes So Labor Must Do So - by Michael Hudson

http://neweconomicperspectives.blogspot.com/2010/05/euro-bankers-to-gree...

"The 'Greek bailout' should have been called what it is, a TARP for German and other European bankers and global currency speculators. The money is being provided by other governments (mainly the German Treasury, cutting back its domestic spending) into a kind of escrow account for the Greek government to pay foreign bondholders who bought up these securities at plunging prices over the past few weeks.

They will make a killing, as will buyers of hundreds of billions of dollars of credit-default swaps on the Greek government bonds, speculators in euro-swaps and other casino-capitalist gamblers.."

NDPP

'Thumbs Down' on the EU Bailout

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1450.htm

"The markets were going in for the kill: the eurozone itself was on the brink of collapse.."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

'Thumbs Down' on the EU Bailout

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1450.htm

"The markets were going in for the kill: the eurozone itself was on the brink of collapse.."

..reveling article. here the correct link though.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25450.htm

NDPP

thanks for correcting epaulo

abnormal

Something that seems to have escaped most of the press:

Quote:
[b]Guess What Greece Has To Jettison?[/b]
Greece was told that if it wanted a bailout, it needed to consider privatizing its government health care system....
The requirement, part of a deal arranged by the IMF, the European Union and the European Central bank, is a tacit admission that national health care programs are unsustainable. Along with transportation and energy, the bailout group, according to the New York Times, wants the Greek government to remove "the state from the marketplace in crucial sectors."
[i]snip ...[/i]
Of course most of the media have been largely silent about the health care privatization measure for Greece, as it conflicts with their universal, single-payer health care narrative.
The public health system in the Hellenic Republic is operated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, where centralized decisions and rules are made.
It provides free or low-cost treatment through what is essentially a single-payer system established in 1983 when the Socialist Party was in power. Family members and retirees are also covered. Like the systems in Britain and Canada, it has agonizingly long waiting lists.
It should be no surprise that in Greece, health care spending as a percentage of the economy is relatively steep. According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development data, it's higher than that in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan. Despite all the spending, Greece could never cover 100% of its citizens, reaching only about 83% for primary care.
[i]etc ...[/i]

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=534021
Most of the rest of the article is a pretty predicatable "government health care bad" rant but what is interesting is that the bailout is coming with this particular demand.

NDPP

good point abnormal....capitalism definitely has public health plans under attack

abnormal

NoDifference, much as I hate to say it, where is the money to support the Greek health care system going to come from.  The rest of the Eurozone has made it clear it's not them (in fact they've made it clear that, if the system isn't "fixed" whatever that may mean the bailout isn't happening).

NDPP

Greeks, Germans and Bankers: The Return of the Ancien Regime

http://www.counterpunch.org/wilkinson05142010.html

"Let us recall some significant facts without which the Greek condition cannot be properly understood..."

Cueball Cueball's picture

abnormal wrote:

NoDifference, much as I hate to say it, where is the money to support the Greek health care system going to come from.  The rest of the Eurozone has made it clear it's not them (in fact they've made it clear that, if the system isn't "fixed" whatever that may mean the bailout isn't happening).

I don't really understand why so many people insist on being schills for the financial con gaming being practiced world wide by major financial institutions. Time and time again, major players in the financial speculation markets are seen carrying off the public wealth, but time and time again, people pop in the shrug, "glly gee whiz! Where did it the money go? It isn't under any of the three shells here".

"Ooops!"

Low and behold, yon banker comes to the rescue "generously" willing to cover the loss, at the cost of opening up new markets for more profit and plunder, and a good deal of new speculation, but our friendly interlocutor the schill, is never at a loss for words taking up the side of the prospective bankrollers.

Shrugs shoulders innocently: "Where is all the money going to come from? I guess cutting back on public service, and opening up new markets for a fresh round of speculation, is the only option!"

No way it could come from those who made a profit "losing it" in the first place? Of course not!

 

abnormal

Cueball wrote:
No way it could come from those who made a profit "losing it" in the first place? Of course not!

In the case of Greece, who exactly is making a profit?  Definitely not the Greek government or their health care system.  So who should "lose it"?

Cueball Cueball's picture

You have already agreed that an 'international' solution is possible. So, why limit yourself to "Greece". Your saying that the whole EU is powerless in the face of Goldman Sachs. Apparently, they are more than happy the shovel over the German tax payers money, on condition that their can be more ripoffs.

Seriously, the way the shell game is becoming really obvious.

abnormal

So your solution is ???

Cueball Cueball's picture

That we stop talking about these things as if the "Market" and the financial institutions that run it is somehow a natural force beyond human control.

abnormal

So lets assume we actually believe that.  What actions do you suggest we take?

Obviously the EU could have let Greece crater with the attendant consequences for the Euro.  But what else should be done.

jrootham

The Greek rescue involves paying the bond holders off at 100%.  Equity would say they should share the pain.

Devaluation of a local currency, while possibly painful, is VASTLY superior to what will happen in Greece and Spain without devaluation.  To them The Euro is the Gold standard and if they stay on it they will experience the Great Depression all over again.  I expect the result is that at least one of those countries will foment a war to solve the problems.

Paul Krugman comments here, and here.

George Victor

Cueball wrote:

That we stop talking about these things as if the "Market" and the financial institutions that run it is somehow a natural force beyond human control.

All Greece has to do is convince world pension funds (a rather large segment of the investments in play ...or not) that  pensions are safe being invested there. 

abnormal

jrootham wrote:

The Greek rescue involves paying the bond holders off at 100%.  Equity would say they should share the pain.

I assume that goes for the pension funds that hold those bonds?  Or the retirees who have invested their life savings in those instruments?

It'd be interesting to watch what would happen if they were incapable of borrowing money at anything less than credit card type interest rates.  Not pretty but interesting.

jrootham

Ah, the widows and orphans deflection.

I don't believe the persons cited in your post actually exist.

U, are you referring to the Greek government borrowing?  That's the situation they are in NOW.

 

abnormal

So you're saying that Greek pension funds don't own government bonds?

And I agree that Greece is in the position where nobody wants to loan them money already.  Just think what it would be like if they actually did default.

jrootham

I'm ok with idea of Greek pension funds not getting paid back 100% on Greek government bonds.

The other thing that happens if Greece leaves the Euro (which happens overnight if it happens at all) is that Greece get to issue bonds denominated in New Drachmas which it can pay off by printing money.  This can be overdone (see Zimbabwe) but can also work reasonably well (see the US).

The recent example of the Greek situation is Argentina, which is in much less economic pain since it stopped pegging currency to the dollar.

NDPP

Greece Considering Legal Action Against US Banks For Crisis

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aDxF1YfeViEc&pos=1

"Greece is considering legal action against US investment banks that might have contributed to that country's debt crisis, Prime Minister George Papandreou said.."

Europe's Fascist Bailout Means Britain's About to Bail-OUT of Europe

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100005678/eu...'

"Just when you thought the EU could not go any further down the road towards authoritarian excess, it gets worse..The reactionary character of the EU system is astonishing to behold...Senor Baarroso, a decent man, needs to step back and ask himself what on earth is going to be achieved by imposing a deflation death spiral on a large swathe of Europe.."

Euro Breakup Talk Increases as Germany Loses Its Currency Proxy

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=agwHp5N5FXA8&pos=2

"You have the great problem of a potential disintegration of the euro" former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said yesterday in London...Investors had always regarded the euro as a de jure German mark..It's dawning on the world that it is becoming, de facto, a Greek drachma."

US Faces Same Problems As Greece, Says Bank of England

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/edmundconway/100005657/us-faces-sam... -bank-of-england/

"Mervyn Kup, Governor of the Bank of England, fears that America shares many of the same fiscal problems currently haunting Europe. 'It's absolutely vital, absolutely vital, for governments to get on top of the problem.."

Blood in the Streets: Bank Bailout Protesters Storm Ireland's Parliament (and vid)

http://dailybail.com/home/blood-in-the-streets-bank-bailout-protesters-s...

"The demonstrators are angry about the bailout of the major Irish banks and their bond holders. The Irish people are expected to be on the hook for 77 Billion Pounds to purchase the bad loans.."

Major financial forces are now in motion and the sh*t is about to hit the fan. And not just in Europe..

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Olivier Besancenot and Pierre-François Grond wrote:

That is why we demand the cancellation of the Greek debt. To reject the austerity plans, to divest the banks of the control they exercise over the economy and society, to substitute a single European public banking service in place of the European Central Bank, with a monopoly over credit, is to fight for the cancellation of the debts and for a genuine European construction: that of the peoples and the workers, of a convergence of their struggles, for a social and ecological Europe of solidarity.

Socialist Project: (also in another babble thread) The Greek People are the Victims of an Extortion Racket

Gigantic KKE (Greek CP) rally of ten of thousands on Saturday

The response of the bourgeois media? Lie about the numbers.

Quote:
The radio station "SKAI" reported in the news a demonstration of 30 people in Thessaloniki while it did not say a word about the one 100.000 protesters in the rally of KKE providing monumental bourgeois "information".

On the other hand, "associated press" violated the truth talking about a demonstration of 6000 people.

It is obvious that the mass participation in the rally of KKE disturbed the bourgeoisie, the monopolies and their staff.

Meanwhile, the Greek "social democratic" government is looking to criminalize genuine socialist and communist views.

KKE wrote:
The leadership of PASOK pushes us many years back; by posing to KKE the misleading, intimidating question "do you respect and obey the constitution or not" it prepares for new papers of "national loyalty"; It pursues to penalize the communist ideology, even the mere declaration and defense of socialism-communism.

Government tries to criminalize PAME, etc.

There will be another massive strike Tomorrow.

Quote:
New strike of PAME on Thursday 20 May

Communists will meet their friends again in the new strike of PAME on 20 May. Till then they will give their best for the biggest possible success of the strike.

What does the KKE propose as a solution?

Quote:
However, the most important task of the front must be creative, to liberate a popular militant standpoint, militant optimism and dignity, class patriotism and internationalism, popular action and initiative that can transform the front into a widespread current of change and overturning of the balance of forces.

Oh yea.

Quote:
Every measure of resistance has value as long as it is joined up with the alternative prospect of power. Otherwise, disjointed reactions or forms of negotiation only serve to strengthen the extortion process.

We've had some discussion here on babble about "tactics". This is the real thing and it's educational as hell.

 

 

 

 

NDPP

Grotesque Global Financial System - Economic Theft On An Unprecedented Scale - by John Pilger

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19243

"Greece is a microsm of a modern class war rarely reported as such

The heresy of Greece is that the uprising of its ordinary people provides an authentic hope unlike that lavished upon the warlord in the White House.."

NDPP

Euro In Risk Of 'Breakup'

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=127133

"you are looking at something which is very serious indeed"

Global Markets Plunge as Eurozone Crisis Deepens

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/may2010/shar-m21.shtml

"Global markets yesterday plunged for the third day in a row as concerns grow that the eurozone crisis is threatening the stability of the entire international system.."

NDPP

Remarks On The National Bankruptcy of Greece

http://www.gegenstandpunkt.com/english/greek-state-bankruptcy.html

"The bankruptcy of Greece is, as far as the country itself is concerned, the price it is paying for joining the European Union including the Monetary Union, and for meeting the resulting demands on its national economy."

NDPP

Meltdown in the EU

http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney05212010.html

"By weakening the state, private industry and speculators hope to grab public assets on the cheap and force privatization of public services.."

thanks

[these comments were to items above]

US and British and European bankers were involved in developing a lot of Soviet infrastructure, including the Dnipro dam in the thirties. They helped Stalin provide power for his murderous collectivization pogroms, and made use of the grain from dead peasants after.

Further, Trotsky was head of Soviet military planning.  From December 1917 until Feb 1918 Bolsheviks tried to control Kyiv, until they invaded and massacred 5000 Ukrainian civilians Feb.9 1918 according to the Red Cross. Trotsky at first verbally supported an independent Ukrainian republic under the Ukrainian Central Rada but in the winter of '18 preferred the bolshevik puppet 'Ukrainian Soviet Government' in Kharkiv and the executions of Ukrainians proceeded unhindered in February.  Trotsky was involved throughout the establishment of the torturing, raping Cheka.  I am very disturbed by Trotskyites or whichever groups still idolize soviet thugs unreservedly.

It's also disturbing to hear that right wing parties in Greece were involved with secret police in trying to blame the bank fires on KKE.  However misinformed KKE might be on realities under the Soviets, its no excuse to try to frame the KKE for fires and murders which circumstances indicate were more likely acts of agents provocateurs.

anyway, just had to clarify that.

 

NDPP

Euro Collapse Looms? (and vid) William Engdahl

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19282

"Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Euro currency is at risk and that Europe faces its greatest challenge since the EU was formed. It comes as stock markets in Europe and Asia tumbled on the surprise news that Berlin was banning types of 'short selling' where investors profit by betting that shares will drop in value.."

George Victor

"There has to be a point when even the American public...will realize it has been had?"

While it is constantly pointed out, hereabouts, the "ordinary masses" are not stupid, it could be argued that they are gullible as hell, constantly told by the cons (confidence people) that they too can find security, if not great wealth, and believing it. It is indeed the age of Barnum and Bailey. And it is easiest to believe the populist explanation for failure, given them by the teapartying Cons. Surely Hedges realizes that!

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Kostas Katarachias, Greek Union Leader wrote:
The majority of the workers who are here in Greece, and not only the public services which was they target public services because they said lies about the workers in the public services that they were paid too much and they had a lot of... they didn't work, and something like this, and the private sector but they are very angry because they understand that the measures didn't have any result on the markets, although they take the worst measures since the occupation in the 2nd world war.

" ... the worst measures since the (Nazi) occupation in the Second World War."

Greek social fascists, anyone? HTFG. This is why the genuine and socialist left is needed. Social Democrats invariably "switch" sides in a crisis.

 

NDPP

Experts Fear Spread of Social Unrest As Financial Crisis Continues

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5547861,00.html

"The potential for widespread social unrest in response to the continuing financial crisis has many experts fearing the worst. Gerald Celente ahs an even bleaker, succinct opinion of where the spread of social unrest could lead: 'War. It's as simple as that..'"

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The Economic Crisis: Class Struggles Heat Up in Greece

by Dimitris Fasfalis

Quote:
The ongoing resistance in Greece shows labour activists and militants of the anti-capitalist left that their struggles can create new paths forward in determining the outcome of the present economic crisis. The latest 24-hour general strike in Greece, held on May 20, registered a success of the labour movement in overcoming the propaganda campaign of the mass media and the slanders coming from the PASOK (Pan-Hellenic Socialist) government. More than 50,000 people took to the streets in Athens and demonstrations were held in the country's major urban centres.[1] Public school teachers took part massively in the Athens demonstration. The participation in the strike was very high in the public sector but less so in the private. The major trade union federations also organized a day of meetings on June 5. This fight is far from over....

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19626

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The Economic Crisis: Class Struggles Heat Up in Greece

by Dimitris Fasfalis

Quote:
The stakes of the movement against the IMF/European Union/Greek PASOK government austerity plan were explained by Ilias Vretakou, vice-president of the ADEDY union:

“We're sending from Athens a message of struggle and resistance to workers of all the European countries, against the barbarism of capital markets, governments and the European Union. The government, the IMF and the European Union have decided to drive the workers, and Greek society, to the most savage social barbarism that we have ever known. They're levelling workers and society down to the bottom. They're stealing our wages, they're stealing our pensions, they're stealing our social rights, they're stealing our right to life. They're imposing the law of the jungle in work relations,... reducing the wage rate for extra hours. They make it possible for employers to lay off an older employee and hire, with the same money, three or four young workers under precarious conditions.”[4]

This speech drew enthusiastic applause from the crowd that had just booed away the GSEE leader Panagopoulos, criticized by rank-and-file unionists for reluctance to fight the austerity measures in February.[5] Among the other speakers, Claus Matecki (of the German union DGB) and Paul Fourier (of the French General Confederation of Workers) also aroused vivid applause, especially when the latter declared: “Today, we're all Greeks! Thank you and good luck.”[6]

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19626

Slumberjack

George Victor wrote:
While it is constantly pointed out, hereabouts, the "ordinary masses" are not stupid, it could be argued that they are gullible as hell....

On the other hand, it could be said that they make conscious decisions to cast their lot on the surest bet.  When ones entire existence is spent in a massive two ring circus and open air casino, and with dissenting points of view given over to ineptitude on their best days, no other viable options present themselves on the giant crap table.  Like compulsive gamblers, they'll loose their shirts and still continue to see nothing wrong with placing the usual bets.  It's has the appearance of a disease of the mind, rather than stupidity.

George Victor

George Victor wrote:

"There has to be a point when even the American public...will realize it has been had?"

While it is constantly pointed out, hereabouts, the "ordinary masses" are not stupid, it could be argued that they are gullible as hell, constantly told by the cons (confidence people) that they too can find security, if not great wealth, and believing it. It is indeed the age of Barnum and Bailey. And it is easiest to believe the populist explanation for failure, given them by the teapartying Cons. Surely Hedges realizes that!

Let's keep it completely in context, Sj.  I could not agree less with that disease theory...not in the Post-Enlightenment age.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Pharmaceuticals impose embargo on Greek health service
By John Vassilopoulos
3 July 2010

From the end of May until the middle of June, major pharmaceutical corporations imposed an embargo on Greek public hospitals in protest against the social democratic PASOK government’s attempt to reduce the national health service debt. The boycott threatened a public health catastrophe in Greece, with doctors forced to delay medical procedures for lack of essential items.

The Papandreou government sought to sell the health service debt—which was built up largely due to overcharging by pharmaceuticals—as discount or “zero-coupon” bonds that would have forced pharmaceuticals to take an estimated 19 percent loss on a combined 6.2 billion in debt. The debt scheme was part of Athens’ bid to carry out the diktats of global financial markets to slash public spending.

In response, companies withheld supplies to public hospitals to force the government to change its policy. A settlement was reached this week which has seen the average discount reduced to 15 percent, while 100 million euros worth of the debt has been given up front as cash to 500 companies, about 200,000 euros per company....

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jul2010/gree-j03.shtml

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Pharmaceuticals impose embargo on Greek health service
By John Vassilopoulos
3 July 2010

quote:
On June 14 the PASOK government bowed to pressure from the company and restored prices to near their previous levels. Under the agreement Novo said the new prices were higher than those in a decree in force from May 3, but lower than the average of the three lowest prices in Europe. In a statement the company said, “It's still a price reduction compared with the prices before May 3. It's no longer 25 percent, but rather along the lines of 10 percent. We have therefore accepted the new temporary prices.”

The embargo by pharmaceuticals in retaliation against the price reduction and the zero-coupon bond scheme threatened a social disaster, with hundreds of lives put in danger. More than 50,000 people in Greece use Novo Nordisk’s fountain pen-like device to inject insulin. The Greek diabetes association described the actions of Novo Nordisk as “brutal capitalist blackmail”....

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jul2010/gree-j03.shtml

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Greece: Sixth general strike as PASOK passes austerity package
By Robert Stevens
9 July 2010

Tens of thousands of workers protested Thursday during the sixth general strike this year in Greece. The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the public sector Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY) called the action to protest the austerity measures of Prime Minister George Papandreou’s Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) government.

The government is implementing the attacks in order to secure a €110 billion three-year loan from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

PASOK is committed to slashing the budget deficit from 13.6 percent of gross domestic product to under 3 percent of GDP by 2014. The austerity measures mean the destruction of hundreds of thousands of jobs, the gutting of social services and pensions and pay cuts of 20 percent or more....

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jul2010/gree-j09.shtml

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Some analysts have noted that Greece, much like BC was to Canada back in 1983 when the Socreds introduced THEIR political atrocities, is characterized by economic weakness and political strength. The social opposition of the left is strongest in all the EU countries in Greece.

Hence the desire by the right, and their social democratic allies in Greece, to destroy the Greek resistance to IMF inspired atrocities. Greece is important for the left to follow and to express solidarity with Greek workers and working people.

doodle21

Ignorants silence someone who could have actually helped the people:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/19/gunmen-murder-greek-investigative-journalist

 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Greek truck drivers defy government
By Stefan Steinberg
31 July 2010

Greek truck drivers decided on Friday to continue their five-day national strike, following a series of punitive measures by the social democratic government of Prime Minister George Papandreou aiming to break their action.

The indefinite strike began on Monday, when 33,000 licensed truck drivers stopped work to protest a decision by the government to revoke their system of licensing trucks. Under the existing system, truckers pay the state up to €100,000-200,000 to purchase a license to own and run their trucks. These licenses can then be resold by the truck owners.

The introduction of a new system by the government aimed at cutting the price of licenses would bankrupt many drivers. Haralambos Daditsios, a leader of the truck drivers union, said: “The state sold us these licenses, our jobs. Some people had to sell their houses to get one of these licenses ... We want justice.”

The revocation of the truckers' licensing system is part of the catalogue of demands made by the European Union and International Monetary Fund as conditions for their €110 billion ($142 billion) bailout package for Greece, secured in early May. In exchange for a further €9 billion tranche of aid in September, the EU and IMF are demanding that the Greek government crack down on so-called “closed professions,” such as the truck drivers....

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jul2010/gree-j31.shtml

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Army operation against Greek truck drivers: A warning to European workers
4 August 2010

Quote:
Herein lies the deeper significance of the deployment of the military in Greece. This country is to serve as a testing ground for the implementation of the austerity programmes that are being planned across Europe. These measures are so broad and so severe that they cannot be achieved by democratic means.

Because such large sections of society are involved, including layers that once considered themselves part of the middle class, many of the traditional conservative parties are in crisis. In Germany, Chancellor Merkel’s coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU) and Free Democratic Party (FDP) is paralyzed by internal conflicts. In Italy, Berlusconi’s governing party (People of Freedom) has broken apart. In France, Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) has slumped in the polls. This is why in many countries the ruling elite is turning to the social democrats and their middle-class “left” satellites to enforce the attacks against the working class.

In Greece, the replacement of the conservative Karamanlis government by Papandreou’s PASOK was the precondition for the implementation of the current austerity programme. In Germany, a deliberate campaign is underway to promote the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Greens. The two parties, ruling in coalition under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, imposed the Agenda 2010 welfare “reforms” which did more to impoverish broad layers of workers than the current conservative government under Angela Merkel (CDU).

But such social democratic governments can only be a temporary solution. They owe their electoral success largely to the decline of the conservatives, the propaganda of the bourgeois media and the support of the petty-bourgeois pseudo-lefts. They have lost their social base among workers and largely rest upon the bureaucratic apparatus of the unions and their own party apparatus. Once in government, they are exposed to the same process of political erosion as the conservatives.

Therefore, efforts are being made to find new, authoritarian forms of rule. These preparations can be seen in one form or another in all European countries.

In Hungary, the right-wing nationalist Fidesz and the openly fascist Jobbik have benefited from the decline of the social democrats and are now seeking to consolidate their rule by inciting racism, raising tensions with neighboring countries and developing authoritarian structures.

In Holland, the racist Freedom Party of Geert Wilders has provided the majority for the government and will be formally incorporated into the coalition.

And in France, the government is seeking to mobilize the followers of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front through provocative legal initiatives against Roma and Muslims.

The increased social weight being afforded the military is also a general phenomenon. Conscript armies are being replaced by professional armies, which are being brutalized in battle in Afghanistan and in other foreign missions. The use of the military at home is being discussed openly under the pretext of “fighting terrorism.” In Germany, an open conflict is raging between the two chambers of the Supreme Court, who are arguing whether such military operations should now be approved following 60 years during which they were banned.

In this context, the use of the military against striking truck drivers in Greece sends a warning to the entire European working class. The extent of the austerity measures that either have been agreed upon or are being planned make violent social conflict inevitable. The Social Democrats, the trade unions and their petty-bourgeois “left” supporters play a key role in enforcing these attacks. By restraining and paralyzing the working class, they give the ruling elite the necessary time to prepare more right-wing and authoritarian forms of rule.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/aug2010/pers-a04.shtml

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

It's been noted already but it bears repeating that the resistance to capitalist atrocities (whether from right wing parties or the social democrats) in Europe is greatest in Greece. Hence the importance, from the point of view of "saving" European capital's position of dominance, of drowning Greek workers in blood. And the importance - for babblers, eg - of showing solidarity with Greeks who resist these current social democratic atrocities.

Slumberjack

Once the military is deployed against the Greek strikers in an effort to control the contagion of revolt from spreading to other regions of the European Union by way of example, the state prepares itself for one of two things, a bluff or a bloodbath. It should be interesting to see the level of solidarity on the board with what is essentially a wildcat situation if the Greek army engages against workers who decide resist in kind, and its potential application here.  From the BB threads, I get a sense that what may be applauded in the Greek context may not receive the same sort of welcome closer to home.  It's them after all, and not us.

humanity4all

I am very sceptical of many comments made by people that do not have a relationship with Greece. There is a real disconnection with this country by many peoples of the west. This can be made for most of their comments about many places on the planet. Their perspective is marred by their own history of imperialism and how their nations have endeavoured to influence other patrs of the world without them even realising it. After all many of these "new" nations were created with this same policy that is now attempted once again on Greece. Many do not realise that such measures being dished out to Greece is not a first. It is a place were its history is one of resistance!

The situation in Greece has nothing to do with what is commonly said.It has primarily to do with a people resisting. Places on the planet were there is conflict has got do with people resisting and in places were there is no conflict, it is because people there are subjugated. What is hilarious, is that the peoples of the latter category do not even realise their predicament!

Finally, people of the west should know that most of the armed forces serving their one year compulsory service, last week signed a petition, informing the Greek Government that they would attack civil society if ordered, as their families are also suffering from the austerity measures!

My question is, would such political sensitivity prevail in countries such as Canada? If Toronto is an example, then the answer is in the negative.

humanity4all

My apologies, but I inadvertently did include the word "not" above. It should read,"..they would not attack civil society...".

www.tvxs.gr

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

That seems to substantiate the claim that political and class consciousness is strong in Greece.

Kaspar Hauser

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