Recent Protests in Greece

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NDPP

'Greece Should Stand Up To EU Bankers' (and vid)

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/185336.html

"Greek PM George Papandreou has to 'stand up' to the European bankers' attempts to impose a 'catastrophic solution' like privatizations and knocking down prices to rescue the country from the financial debt crisis, a political analyst says.."

Roscoe

Tommy_Paine wrote:

It cannot be clearer:  Those who would adhere to a policy of saving the bondholders from any loss or responsibility are as great a threat to democracy as last centuries Fascists.

The war is on.

Yeah, and like any war, there will be victims. The internet and other public media empower the citizenry in their quest to thwart the banksters and their Greek stooges from beggaring and enslaving the Greek people.

If successful, the banksters, ECB, IMF etc warn of catastrophic consequences to the Global economy. Our own Jimmy Flaherty warns of "contagion" but, the Greek default will be small and soon mopped up. Accomodations will be made extending maturity dates etc, etc. The banksters cries of "the sky is falling" will be muted as individuals soon realise it is only the banksters' own wounds being inflicted.

Sure, the little guy is going to take a hit on invested pension plans, RRSPs etc in the short term as the banksters try to pick everyone's pockets in the fallout but, giving the banksters a bloody nose and a warning about future extortions is worth the cost.

Roscoe

NDPP wrote:

'Greece Should Stand Up To EU Bankers' (and vid)

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/185336.html

"Greek PM George Papandreou has to 'stand up' to the European bankers' attempts to impose a 'catastrophic solution' like privatizations and knocking down prices to rescue the country from the financial debt crisis, a political analyst says.."

Papandreou is the architect of failure, not the pathfinder for success. He should do the right thing and resign rather than continue his legacy of IMF stoogery.

josh

Greece doesn't have an empty hand, if they're willing to play it.  The IMF and the EU, etc. cannot afford to let Greece default.  Greece should call their bluff and tell them that unless they ease up on the conditions, they'll bring the whole ball of wax down.  My bet is that in the fact of that threat, they'll cave.

If not, the conditions are ripe for a revolution.

Bacchus

Roscoe wrote:

Tommy_Paine wrote:

It cannot be clearer:  Those who would adhere to a policy of saving the bondholders from any loss or responsibility are as great a threat to democracy as last centuries Fascists.

The war is on.

Yeah, and like any war, there will be victims. The internet and other public media empower the citizenry in their quest to thwart the banksters and their Greek stooges from beggaring and enslaving the Greek people.

If successful, the banksters, ECB, IMF etc warn of catastrophic consequences to the Global economy. Our own Jimmy Flaherty warns of "contagion" but, the Greek default will be small and soon mopped up. Accomodations will be made extending maturity dates etc, etc. The banksters cries of "the sky is falling" will be muted as individuals soon realise it is only the banksters' own wounds being inflicted.

Sure, the little guy is going to take a hit on invested pension plans, RRSPs etc in the short term as the banksters try to pick everyone's pockets in the fallout but, giving the banksters a bloody nose and a warning about future extortions is worth the cost.

 

That and the culture of having government jobs that they never go to but get paid for and avoiding taxes will have to go. Plus anything they import will be sky high for prices. Please dont minimize the pain that everyone will feel regardless of the road Greece picks.

 

I would prefer the bond holders get fucked scenario though since its hard for me to see that the sky is falling when everything else is running pretty much as normal.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

European Leaders Add to Pressure on Greece

LUXEMBOURG — Billed as a meeting that would help the Greek government escape a worsening economic and political crisis, the gathering here of Europe’s finance ministers sent one message to Athens — no cash until Greece gets its house in order — and another to the markets, that the European Union still does not have its act together.

Quote: The delay until July 3 gives them a little more time to work out how much they need to pledge to satisfy an I.M.F that appears increasingly assertive under Mr. Lipsky. In a statement released Monday on euro zone policies, the I.M.F. said it was “essential to bring the unproductive debate about debt reprofiling or restructuring to a close quickly.” It also gave a stark warning about the risk of contagion to other countries, starting with Ireland and Portugal but possibly spreading to Spain, Italy and even Belgium as well. “With deeply intertwined fiscal and financial problems, failure to undertake decisive action could rapidly spread the tensions to the core of the euro areas and result in large global spillovers,” the fund said.

Europe’s ministers could agree at least that the first step to averting that outcome lies in Athens making a firm commitment to raise cash by selling assets and cutting spending.

Asked how Greece could privatize a large company every 10 days under its new program, Mr. Junker offered only tough love.

“They will have to do so,” he said....

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/21/business/global/21euro.html?ref=global...

 

Tommy_Paine

The best solution for all would be for Greece to step out of the E.U. and adopt a devalued Drachma.    The worry over bond holders comes from bondholders, and the requests for Greece to sell assets at fire sale prices by the people waiting to scoop up the bargains is complete nonesence, and is obvious shock doctrine crapolla.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

The best solution for all would be for Greece to step out of the E.U. and adopt a devalued Drachma.    The worry over bond holders comes from bondholders, and the requests for Greece to sell assets at fire sale prices by the people waiting to scoop up the bargains is complete nonesence, and is obvious shock doctrine crapolla.

..you may be right TP though i'm having difficulty finding what the movement's position on this is.

..for now, i'm thinking that this is far from over. for instance..there is a possibility of a european collapse, whatever form that takes. this should create a whole new set of opportunities to work with the movements from other countries.  they could, for instance, force their govts to form new alliances to counter germany and france.

edit to clarify

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

eta: the time in greece at this posting is 1am wed.
George Papandreou awaits MPs' verdict as IMF delivers financial ultimatums

The Greek prime minister faces a vote of confidence as ratings agencies issue damning judgments on the country's finances

Ian Traynor in Brussels and Helena Smith in Athens

Tuesday 21 June 2011 20.07 BST

Quote: George Papandreou, the embattled Greek prime minister, needed to win a midnight vote of confidence in his reshuffled socialist government before attempting an even bigger challenge – getting the parliament in Athens to back a radical programme of spending cuts, tax increases, and a mass assets sell-off by the end of the month.

As Athens's 300-seat parliament prepared for the vote, tens of thousands of protesters converged on Syntagma Square in a mass show of "no confidence" for politicians widely perceived to have triggered the financial mess in which the nation now finds itself.

"As long as there are squares to protest in we will be there," said Giorgos Papastathopoulos, an unemployed civil engineer gesticulating angrily towards the parliament building. "These people are thieves, they are crooks; if they were really honourable they would lead by example and take a wage cut just like everyone else before talking about austerity."...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/21/george-papandreou-greek-mps-...

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Greece: vote of confidence in government - live blog

Key hurdle for prime minister George Papandreou as he prepares to push through austerity measures that will unlock EU and IMF funds

Tuesday 21 June 2011 20.55 BST

Quote: 10.59pm: Numbers now out. Papandreou wins the confidence of the government. 155 MPs voted yes, four more than the 151 the prime minister needed - a majority in the 300-seat parliament.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/jun/21/greece-vote-of-no-confi...

josh

Another faux Socialist party.  I wish they, and other siimilar parties, would just drop the name and end the charade once and for all.

Tommy_Paine

On the other hand, maybe it illustrates just how little real power national governments really have in these situations?

I think if contagion looks inevitable, Greece will be kicked out of the E.U. to stop the spread, and you'll see Greece adopt the drachma and drop the Euro.   I doubt very much if this will result in a European collapse.

Edited to add, that this doesn't mean we might not see other dramatic developments, like economic alliances countering France, Germany etc, as you point out.

 

Roscoe

Bacchus wrote:

Roscoe wrote:

Tommy_Paine wrote:

It cannot be clearer:  Those who would adhere to a policy of saving the bondholders from any loss or responsibility are as great a threat to democracy as last centuries Fascists.

The war is on.

Yeah, and like any war, there will be victims. The internet and other public media empower the citizenry in their quest to thwart the banksters and their Greek stooges from beggaring and enslaving the Greek people.

If successful, the banksters, ECB, IMF etc warn of catastrophic consequences to the Global economy. Our own Jimmy Flaherty warns of "contagion" but, the Greek default will be small and soon mopped up. Accomodations will be made extending maturity dates etc, etc. The banksters cries of "the sky is falling" will be muted as individuals soon realise it is only the banksters' own wounds being inflicted.

Sure, the little guy is going to take a hit on invested pension plans, RRSPs etc in the short term as the banksters try to pick everyone's pockets in the fallout but, giving the banksters a bloody nose and a warning about future extortions is worth the cost.

 

That and the culture of having government jobs that they never go to but get paid for and avoiding taxes will have to go. Plus anything they import will be sky high for prices. Please dont minimize the pain that everyone will feel regardless of the road Greece picks.

 

I would prefer the bond holders get fucked scenario though since its hard for me to see that the sky is falling when everything else is running pretty much as normal.

Bacchus, I'm not refering to "everyone", only to the bondholders. The "little guy" meaning non-Greeks, those who have investments in bonds through pension plans, mutual funds, RRSPs etc.

No matter what happens, the Greek people are in for a lost generation. No way to minimise that. At least with a default, they control the process rather than having their country gutted by the ECB and IMF.  The banksters are not going to give a darn about 40% unemployment among the young. With a default, there will be work for all just keeping the country together. Notice I said work, not employment.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Greek crisis pushes Europe to the brink of collapse

by Jérôme E. Roos on

Despite the Greek PM narrowly surviving a vote of confidence last night, Greece and Europe still teeter on the brink of total financial meltdown.

Papandreou’s survival in Parliament last night was to be expected, and is almost certain to earn Greece the fifth €12bn tranche of last year’s EU-IMF bailout.

EU leaders will come together in Brussels on July 3rd to decide whether Greece has made sufficient progress on reforms. Clearly, there will now be immense pressure on them to comply and release the money.

However, as the New York Times pointed out, this was just “the easy part”:

The payment of 12 billion euros will help Greece pay its debts coming due only until September. After that, Greece still faces obstacles to winning tens of billions more in a much bigger bailout package that is essential to its survival through next year.

To get an idea of the hurdles that still lie ahead, we have compiled a simple overview that we will try to update as regularly as possible (I’m going into the wild for a few days so I might not be able to do the June 23-28 updates in time):

  • June 21 – Greece: vote of confidence in Papandreou government

  • June 24? — IMF: decision on releasing its part of this fifth tranche

  • June 28 — Greece: deadline to push through €28bn spending cuts package

  • July 3 — EU: decision on second bailout worth €80-120bn

  • July 15 — Greece: six-month Greek treasury bills worth €2.4bn mature

  • July 22 – Greece: three-month Greek treasury bills worth €2bn mature

  • Aug. 20 – Greece: five-year Greek government bond worth €5.9bn matures

Note that these hurdles are all linked in series, like an old-fashioned set of Christmas lights: when one fails, all the following ones will fail too. For example, had today’s vote of confidence failed, the EU would not have released its fifth tranche of the bailout, which was a precondition for the IMF to reduce its share.

This, in turn, would have compromised negotiations on the second round of austerity measures and the second bailout. Greece would have been forced to default by July 15 or July 22, when billions of euros worth in government loans mature and Greece will have to pay up.

At this point, both public debts and public sector salaries would go unpaid, triggering the collapse of Greek banks and very likely renewed violence. The bank failures would quickly cascade throughout Europe, with giant banks like Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Kommerzbank, Deutsche Bank and ING Bank at risk of insolvency....

http://roarmag.org/2011/06/greek-crisis-pushes-europe-to-the-brink-of-co...

ETA: “Don’t be surprised if Athens goes up in flames,” said a 50-year old protester in Athens the other day. “And don’t be sad, either.” Indeed, if the Greek wildfire spreads, which it will, and if EU leaders force their taxpayers to start bailing out their banks, which they will, this sucker could rapidly spin out of control.

josh

Again, what a disgrace Papandreu and his party are:

 

"He defended the country's foreign creditors, who have become a lightning rod for popular fury, saying, "They are giving us a helping hand in difficult times.""

 

Yes, as these altruistic saints force you to conduct a firesale privatization so that they can buy Greece's public assets on the cheap. They should rename themselves the anti-Socialist party.

 

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

On CBC radio this morning the local corporate shill they put on to talk about the "markets" was gloating that the Socialists had all voted in favour of the market.  I hate idiots like him who purport to read and interpret the "mind" of the invisible hand of the market.

Sven Sven's picture

If I were a Greek, I would be out on the streets too

Quote:

What would you do this morning if you were a Greek? Would you agree to your government cutting public sector jobs, pay and pensions, and increasing taxes? Or would you do what thousands of Greeks are doing and take to the streets, calling the bluff of Germans and French and making them dig deeper into their pockets?

[SNIP]

I would not hesitate.  I would take to the streets.

Why would the Greeks accept austerity when they can have taxpayers in other countries pick up the tab for profligate Greek spending?

And, this is really the nub of the problem of a "European economic union":

Quote:

Closer European union, so called, was a bad idea for precisely the reason now seen on the streets of Athens. It was an attempt by a supranational economic authority to supersede national democracy. Bluntly, it assumed the commercial culture of "greater Germany" could be imposed on a wide variety of cultures by virtue of geographical propinquity. Countries with a high propensity to work and save would discipline those with a lower one. Banks would finance it all. It was fantasy born of utopia, the perfect precondition for a sovereign credit bubble.

Isn't this true of any attempted union?  Unless all constituent parts have a common economic culture, the union is bound to fail.  In the case of Europe, the "European union requires richer nations to subsidize poorer ones."  That cannot continue indefinitely.  And it won't.

The bottom line?

Quote:

Sovereign states with distinct political cultures should never surrender control over internal affairs to foreign agencies unless their people are amenable to...a loss of autonomy.

Long live the Greek protests!!!

Slumberjack

Sven wrote:
Why would the Greeks accept austerity when they can have taxpayers in other countries pick up the tab for profligate Greek spending? And, this is really the nub of the problem of a "European economic union":

No it isn't.  The nub is about soverign debt, ie: the taxpayer, being called upon to cover the losses of a financial system contrived from a house of cards.  The taxpayer must assume these gambling losses to the full extent of their respective GDP and beyond, along with everything this entails, such as the scuttling of social programs and wage clawbacks to maintain competitivness as places for the ultra elite to continue investing.

Quote:
Isn't this true of any attempted union?  Unless all constituent parts have a common economic culture, the union is bound to fail.  In the case of Europe, the "European union requires richer nations to subsidize poorer ones."  That cannot continue indefinitely.  And it won't. The bottom line?

It's true of any system where the rulers throw social harmony and the interest of their own populations to the wind, and to the vagaries of globalized financial speculation run rampant.  It's similar to forcing entire populations to get crew cuts, while a lucky few get to maintain an entitlement to any style they prefer.  The bottom line, one that most haven't grappled with yet but ultimately will, is that they must be stopped once and for all.

Uncle John

The Canadian Union has rich provinces subsidizing poorer ones through transfer payments. What exactly is wrong with that? It is crude and inefficient, but it IS a form of wealth redistribution which EVERY non-troll member of this board should support. If Europe is doing this, why is it unsustainable? Is the Fourth Reich not big enough for you? Maybe they could expand into Russia. Oh right. Napoleon and Hitler tried that...

Tommy_Paine

Of course blame is trying to be put on the average/ordinary Greek citizen who, when not protesting, are driving around in Lambourgini's bought on credit, that they park in the twelve car garage inside the many millions of mansions that now fill the country.

Just like your average Irish and Icelandic citizens, right?

It's all codswallop.  Greece and Ireland were allowed to get in over their heads with debt and garantees on bonds and bank holdings, and none of this was voted on, or even transparent to the citizens of those nations.  In fact, the financial world went to great lengths to hide what they were doing.

And now they are ready to swoop in, under the guise of "austerity measures" and buy publically held infrastructre at shock doctrine prices.   German bankers finishing what Hitler couldn't. The enslavement of Greece.  English bankers putting things to rights, after losing their Irish slaves in 1922.

The real goings on, and why bricks as big as refrigerators are being shit over Greece is that no one knows who has exposure to a Greek default on the derivatives market:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/23/business/global/23swaps.html?hp

 

Sven Sven's picture

Uncle John wrote:

If Europe is doing this, why is it unsustainable?

Because the Germans, for example, are getting tired of the giant sucking sound of cash flowing out of their pockets to the Greeks.  If the transfers were more modest, then there would be less friction.  But, why should one country, year after year and decade after decade, continue to support a far less productive country, one that gives its citizens far more generous social benefits than the citizens of those countries who are paying the fare?  I would say, if the Greeks want their government to spend far more money than their government can afford to pay, then they should figure that out on their own.

Sven Sven's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

Greece and Ireland were allowed to get in over their heads with debt and garantees on bonds and bank holdings, and none of this was voted on, or even transparent to the citizens of those nations.

What, the Greeks couldn't see that their deficit spending as a percentage of GDP was way out of whack compared to say, Germany or France?

No, this should come as no surprise to anyone.

Tommy_Paine

It is when people fuck with the numbers; and every nation has been doing that, and so have the financial industry.  Nice try Sven, but you can't lay this at the feet of the people.

Sven Sven's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

It is when people fuck with the numbers; and every nation has been doing that, and so have the financial industry.  Nice try Sven, but you can't lay this at the feet of the people.

If people vote for politicians who promise all sorts of goodies but without a system of revenue (and an economy) to support those expenditures, that is exactly what politicians will do.

 

Tommy_Paine

People were lied to and told they had an economy to support those expenditures, by both politicians and the financiers who lent the money.   The people are victims of a huge, huge swindle here. 

Your position is rediculous.

Sven Sven's picture

Look, Tommy, I think autonomy for the Greeks would be great...and I hope the protesters are successful in reaching that objective.

Tommy_Paine

On that, we can part agreed.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

UN: Austerity plans threaten recovery

Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:20PM

The United Nations has warned that countries which impose tough austerity measures to avert bankruptcy threaten the global economic recovery.

“Austerity measures in response to high government debt in some advanced economies, such as Greece and Spain, are not only threatening public sector employment and social expenditure, but also making the recovery more uncertain and fragile,” the UN department of economic and social affairs said in a report.

The report further advised governments to “take into account the likely social implications of their economic policies,” AFP reported.

The UN also criticized lending conditions of financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The report comes as Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived a crucial vote of confidence on Tuesday, enabling him to gear up for implementing tougher austerity measures in the country.

The Greek premier is seeking EUR 28 billion (USD 40.24 billion) in budget cuts and new taxes, and EUR 50 billion euros worth of privatization of public assets.

The EU and the IMF have pressured Greece to pass its austerity package by the end of June, threatening that the troubled state will not receive the next batch of bailout funds, worth EUR 12 billion euros.

The aid is the latest tranche of the EU and the IMF's EUR 110 billion aid package approved for Greece in return for tight austerity measures.

Tight austerity measures have triggered massive protests and unrest in European countries such as Greece and Spain.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/185835.html

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Greece in Meltdown

Quote:
The situation is getting desperate.  Most economists now believe that Greece will have to restructure its debt. But bondholders are doing everything they can to make sure that doesn't happen because they stand to lose billions on their investments.   So, they've thrown their weight behind  ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet, EU policymakers, and the IMF, all of which are trying to pressure Greece to accept harsher  austerity measures in order to avoid default.  But the plan isn't working. Greece's finances are getting worse by the day. Something will have to be done soon or Greece's troubles will send markets into a nosedive.   

The problem is simple; the current belt-tightening policy has failed, so it's time to move on to Plan B. But the folks in charge don't want to change policies because then the banks (who own a large share of the bonds) would take a hit on their investments. So, the fiasco drags on while the debts pile up and while peaceful street demonstrations turn into violent conflagrations. The bigwigs at the EU and ECB would rather see cities across the continent descend into a bloody free-for-all than lose one euro on their original investment. ...

What Greece needs is a way to dig out, which means debt forgiveness and a hefty fiscal stimulus package to rev up activity and put people back to work. Unfortunately,  the EU doesn't have a mechanism for delivering fiscal aid to the weaker states. All they can do is extend loans to the struggling members and encourage them to slash domestic spending as mush as possible. But that just increases unemployment, decreases revenues and makes and even bigger hole. The whole process  fuels public outrage which further exacerbates the economic troubles.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

06/22/2011
Confidence Vote in Greece
Papandreou Allowed to Continue from Frying Pan to Fire

By David Böcking and Ferry Batzoglou in Athens

Greek Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou survived a confidence vote on Tuesday night. But the battle against national bankruptcy will get no easier in the coming weeks. Protests indicate that opposition to his austerity path is growing and he faces a crucial vote next week.

When the vote was over, everything veered to the left. The laser pointers which had been criss-crossing the yellow façade of the Greek parliament were now directed at police in riot gear. The officers stood in the approach to the building, where Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou had just withstood a vote of confidence. Now, he had to be protected from the anger of his people as he departed....

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,769760,00.html

 

Slumberjack

Sven wrote:
What, the Greeks couldn't see that their deficit spending as a percentage of GDP was way out of whack compared to say, Germany or France?

Citizens as comparative financial analysts is it?  And their suspicions had everything to go on too with the assistance of corporate news.  Tsk tsk.

Aristotleded24

Tommy_Paine wrote:
On the other hand, maybe it illustrates just how little real power national governments really have in these situations?

Yup. Remember that the right-wing parties had been running Greece into the ground financially and covering it up, and that the Athens games played a role. People voted for the Socialists precisely because they were tired and wanted Greece to go in a different direction. Instead, the financiers put a stranglehold on the country, effectively defeating the Socialist government without even having to go to the polls. It's a lesson all countries should learn from, especially Canada, where our current Finance Minister was part of a government that covered up Ontario's deficits to the point that they didn't become clear until after they were thrown out. Plus Flaherty, as is common practice, will claim a surplus in 2015 in order to get re-elected.

We need to keep a very close watch on the deficits being racked up by the Harper government.

Tommy_Paine

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/23/world/europe/23greece.html?hp

"To many Greeks, selling that and many other state-owned companies and assets, even those that currently lose money, is tantamount to a loss of sovereignty — especially if wealthy investors from Germany and the other big European powers pushing austerity of Greece end up purchasing the assets for a hefty discount."

I wouldn't claim the "Daily Show" as a prime source, but last night in a rundown of the situation, they put Goldman Sachs as the company that originally helped the Greek government hide it's level of debt not just to citizens but to European banks etc.

 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..some goals & plans are talked about.

General Strike in Greece

Sunday, June 19, 2011

By Andros Payiatsos

This interview with Andros Payiatsos was conducted in Syntagma Square, in front of the Greek parliament.

Video: http://www.zcommunications.org/general-strike-in-greece-by-andros-payiatsos

 

Sven Sven's picture

 

The Economist has a good piece today on the Greek debt crisis:

Quote:

[Some argue that] Greece should embrace default, walk away from its debts, abandon the euro and bring back the drachma (in a similar way to Britain leaving the gold standard in 1931 or Argentina dumping its currency board in 2001).

That option would be ruinous, both for Greece and for the EU. Even if capital controls were brought in, some Greek banks would go bust. The new drachma would plummet, making Greece's debt burden even more onerous.  Inflation would take off as import prices shot up and Greece had to print money to finance its deficit.  The benefit from a weaker currency would be small: Greece's exports make up a small slice of GDP.  The country would still need external finance, but who would lend to it? And the contagion risk would be bigger than from restructuring alone: if Greece left, why not Portugal or even Spain and Italy? If the euro zone were to break up it would put huge pressure on the single market.

The piece goes on to argue that there should be an orderly restructuring of the Greek debt whereby half of the Greek debt would be wiped out (and absorbed by other European banks and taxpayers).

The piece concludes:

Quote:

[T]he euro zone's leaders will sooner or later face a choice between three options: [1] massive transfers to Greece that would infuriate other Europeans;  [2] a disorderly default that destabilises markets and threatens the European project; or [3] an orderly debt restructuring. This last option would entail a long period of external support for Greece, greater political union and a debate about the institutions Europe would then need. But it is the best way out for Greece and the euro. That option will not be available for much longer. Europe's leaders must grab it while they can.

Tommy_Paine

I am watching the news reports on this, and the discussions about what should be done, what could be done, etc.

To me, the wild card in all this is the Greek people, and that's not being discussed at all.  I would not rule out an overthrow of the government.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

I am watching the news reports on this, and the discussions about what should be done, what could be done, etc.

To me, the wild card in all this is the Greek people, and that's not being discussed at all.  I would not rule out an overthrow of the government.

..i see it this way as well. this government is gone no matter what. and what comes next will be developed one step at a time as the situation unfolds.

Sven Sven's picture

epaulo13 wrote:

..i see it this way as well. this government is gone no matter what. and what comes next will be developed one step at a time as the situation unfolds.

Hmmm...maybe so.  The question is: Will it be an extreme left or an extreme right government that replaces the current Socialst government?

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

I think the question is better framed as will it be an extreme government from either the left or right or will they opt for some form of real democracy. I fear a repeat of Greece's past and a coup by its NATO friendly military. I see no possibility of an armed overthrow of the government coming from some communist vanguard. I hope for the development of mutual aid and social justice for all the people in Europe. Looks to me they are in the streets demanding an end to the tyranny being imposed on them by all players in the electoral "democracy" where the bankers rule.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..what is new, like what is going on in spain, they are learning collective decision making in the street. this is what's important to me. they will face what ever comes because they have no choice. and they have lived under dictatorships before so know better than i how to choose. it has never been what the govt does and has always been what the people do that's the key. or so i believe. is this not where we need to go eventually?

eta: what you hear a lot in the spain thread is the lifiting of fear. no govt right or left can make a people work and no govt will survive if the people won't work. but in the end..i watch and i learn.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Which Bankrupt EU State Is the World’s Fourth Biggest Arms Importer?

by Steve McGiffen / June 21st, 2011

Nothing exposes the hypocrisy of those currently running the EU and almost every one of its member states more than the recent discovery by French journalist Jean-Louis Denier that the Greek government is being encouraged to spend vast sums of money on a range of hardware which no-one needs and no sane person wants.

Having spent the last couple of years arguing that austerity is not the ‘necessary’ policy response demanded by the financial and economic crisis, I find that, behind the scenes, it isn’t in any real sense austerity which is happening at all.

It turns out that throughout this crisis of Greek public debt, and under the direction of the same international potentates who are imposing cuts in spending on welfare, pensions, health care, the public sector and all of the other usual targets, the country’s ‘socialist’ government has continued to spend vast sums on armaments....

http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/06/which-bankrupt-eu-state-is-the-world%E...

Tommy_Paine

It's difficult to say how an uprising would go.  Maybe it would inspire a military take over.  Maybe France and Germany would even send in troops if it got bad enough-- but I doubt it.

They are walking a tight rope.  The other wild card in all this is the people of France and Germany too, who have to be sold on a bailout, and increasingly this is more difficult.  The more chaos there is in Greece, the less Germans and French will like the idea of sending their tax dollars that way. 

josh

Certainly the conditions are ripe for a revolution.  If the Greek government wants to forestall that possibility they should, as I said above, tell the EU, the IMF and the banks to shove it, and break from the euro.  From the Times article above:

 

"In fact many economists fear Greece has already entered a "debt trap," where paying the interest on its mound of debt requires more and more loans. "The Greeks have been told to accept more of the medicine that has already failed to treat the disease," said Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Center for European Reform in London.

The Greeks have already reduced their deficit by five percentage points of the gross domestic product, "unprecedented cuts in a modern economy," Mr. Tilford said. "But the cuts have had a much stronger negative impact on the economy than the troika imagined, and fiscal austerity has pushed the economy deep into recession. Debt can only be paid out of income, and that means growth."

Greece does not have access to many tools to fight recession, like devaluing its currency or cutting interest rates, at least as long as it remains a member of the euro zone. Its monetary policy is controlled by the European Central Bank."

 

In short, the medicine they want has a strong likelihood of killing the patient by bleeding it to death.

And one of Greece's biggest problem is a 35% tax noncompliance rate. That far far outweighs any "spending" problem. 

Sven Sven's picture

Has anyone here read "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer?  He was a longshoreman who worked on the docks in (I believe) San Francisco in the 1940s and 1950s and who became a prolific writer (and I think he even was a lecturer at Berkely).  Anyway, the book looks at the commonalities of all mass movements, whether they are Nazi, Communist, religious, etc.  One of his observations is that it is the idea of being part of a mass movement, not necessarily the ideas espoused by any particular movement, that draws dissatisfied people to them.  If true, that makes it difficult to predict, if there was a revolution in Greece, whether it would be to the extreme right or to the extreme left.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Sven

..didn't read anything by hoffer. my experience was first i was aware of self determination. and then aware that i couldn't achieve this on my own. these processes formed the basis for me to seek the mass movement. i had a pov that may have been fine tuned by my experience with the mass movement but it didn't change it. this was all very logical. so i don't understand, is he saying there was something else at play that i wasn't aware of?

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

June 24 - 26, 2011

Only a Referendum of the People Can Stop Them Now


Bankers Gear Up for the Rape of Greece, as Social Democrats Vote for National Suicide

By MICHAEL HUDSON

The fight for Europe’s future is being waged in Athens and other Greek cities to resist financial demands that are the 21st century’s version of an outright military attack. The threat of bank overlordship is not the kind of economy-killing policy that affords opportunities for heroism in armed battle, to be sure. Destructive financial policies are more like an exercise in the banality of evil – in this case, the pro-creditor assumptions of the European Central Bank (ECB), EU and IMF (egged on by the U.S. Treasury).

As Vladimir Putin pointed out some years ago, the neoliberal reforms put in Boris Yeltsin’s hands by the Harvard Boys in the 1990s caused Russia to suffer lower birth rates, shortening life spans and emigration – the greatest loss in population growth since World War II. Capital flight is another consequence of financial austerity. The ECB’s proposed “solution” to Greece’s debt problem is thus self-defeating. It only buys time for the ECB to take on yet more Greek government debt, leaving all EU taxpayers to get the bill. It is to avoid this shift of bank losses onto taxpayers that Angela Merkel in Germany has insisted that private bondholders must absorb some of the loss resulting from their bad investments.

The bankers are trying to get a windfall by using the debt hammer to achieve what warfare did in times past. They are demanding privatization of public assets (on credit, with tax deductibility for interest so as to leave more cash flow to pay the bankers). This transfer of land, public utilities and interest as financial booty and tribute to creditor economies is what makes financial austerity like war in its effect....

http://www.counterpunch.org/hudson06242011.html

 

notaradical

A Greek documentary titled Debtocracy analyzes the roots of Greece's fiscal meltdown and draws some global parallels.

The concept of 'odious' or immoral debt is brought up. Interestingly, the US created this notion after acquiring Cuba from Spain in 1898, through which they also acquired Spain's debt. In order to rid itself of the responsibility, the US deemed Spain's debts "odious" and simply refused to pay them. This happened again in 2003 after George Bush's administration refused to pay the debts accrued by Saddam Hussein's regime, citing their "immoral" character.

Ecuador in 2007 refused to pay over $9 billion in debt because it was accrued "illegally" by past "undemocratic governments". The resulting windfall was used to effect some moderately progressive reforms. The video highlights a commission formed in Greece to perform a similar audit to determine the sources of the national debt.

The fiscal discussion in Greece definitely has to be framed differently. Precedents have been set by a mildly progressive government in Ecuador, but also by the US, to refuse to pay past debts. Granted Ecuador has its mining and petroleum industries to fall back on in the case of capital flight, but starving Greeks to finance debt is just a mind-boggling crime.

Tommy_Paine

Whatever pretext one uses to default-- and I like the notion of "odius" debt-- it still doesn't change the reality of the question that is really being put to the Greeks, that has already been put to the Icelanders and Irish. 

That question is would you rather be poor and enslaved to other nations for generations, or would you rather be poor for a few decades, soveriegn and independant?

Not only are nations facing this question, but many individuals all over Europe and North America. 

Caissa

Police have fired tear gas in running battles with stone-throwing youths in Athens, where a 48-hour general strike is being held against a parliamentary vote on tough austerity measures.

Thousands of protesters have gathered outside parliament in the capital where public transport has ground to a halt.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13935400

B9sus4 B9sus4's picture

The real issue I see is what happens when the ire of the people flares in our neighbor to the south? Unlike the Greeks, the Spanish, the Irish, the Portugese, and so on, the Americans are armed to the teeth. They will probably be really irate insofar as millions are out on the street like hapless animals and the bankers are revelling obscenely in their unbelievable wealth!

When (or if) this callamity strikes in Canada.. what will that mean for us millions of little people? God knows, the rich will be alright--they always are. But what of us? The many, already at the edge? What of us?

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