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More on Greece… May 10, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, European Politics, The Left.
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Thanks to OireachtasRetort for linking to this post here from Paul Mason, Economics Editor at BBC Newsnight. What’s remarkable on reading this is how the economic actions of the the Troika have cut against the Articles of the Lisbon Treaty… that being Articles 3.1 and 3.3. These being the ones which refer to the promotion of peace and well being of its peoples, social progress and combating social exclusion. and promoting social justice and protection. These aren’t small things. These are right up there in the stated goals of the European Union. This is, if one likes, the raison d’être of the Union.

Does that sound like hyperbole? It shouldn’t. Last year an independent expert reporting to the UNHCR made the point that:

“The implementation of the second package of austerity measures and structural reforms, which includes a wholesale privatization of state-owned enterprises and assets, is likely to have a serious impact on basic social services and therefore the enjoyment of human rights by the Greek people, particularly the most vulnerable sectors of the population such as the poor, elderly, unemployed and persons with disabilities,”

Cephas Lumina who reported to the UNCHR also made the blindingly obvious point that:

“Debts can only be paid out of income,” Mr. Lumina said. “A shrinking economy cannot generate any revenue and contributes to a reduced capacity to repay the debt. More time should have been allowed for the restructuring measures already in place to work.”

Which makes it hard to understand how the Troika could seriously find credible the idea that their policies could function as they have proposed in the Greek context without massive social dislocation. And indeed massive social dislocation – to the extent that an avowedly fascistic party (none of your FN or former MSI nonsense about post-fascism for Golden Dawn) has managed to cull 10 per cent of the vote.
Mason is relatively calm about the prospects for further growth for Golden Dawn, arguing that it would take something close to complete social collapse for them to make any more gains, but in a Greece in the situation it is in, a situation that is in large (though not full) part, the result of Troika policies it is hard to be entirely certain as to where things go next.

And that too reflects back on the gulf between aspiration and reality. The gulf between the stated objectives of the EU and how it works in practice (and we’ve not even referenced how the institutions of the EU have effectively been sidelined by the national interests of the largest states in the Union – dressed up as concern for the EU). The gulf between the Troika proposals, as Mason notes, and the reality that economists do not believe they’re credible.

And Mason’s thoughts about technocratic governments leading to populist governments is well made. There’s no fix in that, not in the long term and as always there’s a collision ahead when institutional structures and non representative entities such as the Troika impact with democratic processes.

I agree entirely with his last comment about prolonged social conflict ahead, but let’s be fair. There’s prolonged social conflict behind us too. This financial crisis, both in Greece and here (albeit in a less pointed fashion) has been in train for three or four years now. And there’s surprise expressed (not by Mason obviously) when fascists reap this whirlwind? What will another five years do? What will another two or three do?

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1. CL - May 10, 2012

Germany’s SPD has refused to support Merkel on the fiscal treaty until the growth policy is tacked on. So the question now is what kind of growth policy. The BBC’s Stephanie Flanders points out:
“What’s changed in the last few weeks is that the ECB President, the incoming French President, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission all now seem to agree that there needs to be a greater focus on “growth”.

The bad news is that they completely disagree on what a more “growth-focused” approach would look like.

For ECB chief Mario Draghi (and the Italian president Mario Monti), it means deeper, faster structural reforms to free up labour markets, deregulate service sector industries and generally rein back the role of the state.

For Francois Hollande, it means looser fiscal and monetary policies, and a slower pace of structural reform (if any). ”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17999206

Schauble has suggested that German wage increases are necessary to redress the Eurozone imbalances, and the Bundesbank has declared that it favours German inflation being greater than in the rest of Europe.
An extra $10 billion for the European Investment Bank has also been suggested, plus bonds for infrastructural development.
Hollande has said that austerity alone is not enought. As he works out a compromise growth pact with Merkel he must be thinking about the fate of Papandreau in Greece.

2. Ed - May 10, 2012

Following the Guardian’s live blog on Greece, the Democratic Left leader has called for an all-party government this afternoon, as have PASOK.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/may/10/eurozone-crisis-greece-elections?commentpage=11#start-of-comments

They both want to drag SYRIZA into the mud with them.

So this is the moment of truth for SYRIZA, really – either they go into a government bowing to the diktats of Merkel and Draghi, push Greece even further towards social collapse, lose all the support they’ve just gained and leave the KKE and the far right as the only ones opposing the ‘government of national catastrophe’; or they leave the other parties to carry on as hatchet-men for the bond markets, continue to build up their support, organise continued mobilisations and prepare to take power at a later date (which might not be that much later at the rate things are going).

I don’t think any left-wing party in Europe has had such an important decision to make since the early ’80s at least, let’s hope they don’t flunk it.

maddurdu - May 10, 2012

They’d be stupid to, especially if the latest poll is accurate;

Syriza: 27.7% (up from 16.78% in last Sunday’s election)
New Democracy: 20.3% (up from 18.8%)
Pasok: 12.6% (down from 13.1%
Independent Greeks: 10.2% (down from 10.6%)
KKE: 7% (down from 8.48%)
Golden Dawn: 5.7% (down from 6.97%)
Democratic Left: 4.9% (down from 6.1%)

Kia Mistilis - May 12, 2012

This poll is official and I believe, more accurate. There is no way ND’s vote will increase. They have been 100% pro austerity which has destroyed the economy and sent millions of Greeks into poverty. And they would have kept flogging us, had we not had elections. Pasok and ND have shared 80% of votes for many years. That plumetted to 35% on May 6th and is set to fall further. That is an extraordinary result, their political hegemony is destroyed.

Looking at press photos from this week, both Samaras and Venizelos look desperate and very lost. Serves them right. We are sick of living under the troika bank dictatorship, without a democratic mandate from the people or a shred of accountability. These Pasok and ND slimy crooks with no heart or cocern for the Greek people, or Greece, their only interest is preserving their political power. Now it is gone and never to return. The old era is dead, but the new one is yet to be born. Uncertain times ahead but the feeling here – there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/anti-bailout-coalition-soars-popularity-ahead-second-greek-election

WorldbyStorm - May 12, 2012

And it’s interesting how the media are running hard with the poll too, presumably to try to deter Greek citizens from voting for anti-austerity parties.

Thanks for the insight into the situation.

Kia Mistilis - May 12, 2012

I don’t think so. Of course they are going to run the polls. We had an election but we don’t have a govt and are headed for new elections. It is an historic moment. RE:the media -the election showed that despite running a fear campaign that the troika and austerity is the ONLY way, ultimately, the mainstream (corporate elite owned) media had less of an influence on people’s vote than the reality of living under the troika. The economy is in ruins from these idiots, with a deepening social and also humanitarian crisis. No amount of corporate media propaganda is convincing the majority in the face of such a rapid decline across all areas of Greek society. That’s why Venizelos and Samaras look lost. Democracy trumped austerity at the ballot box – and now they have to cop it sweet.

This live blog is worth following, you will see all the dynamics int he various leaders’ statements and actions this week. Tsipras is the only one who keeps mentioning “the People.” Note the photo of Venizelos and Tsipras.

http://www.athensnews.gr/portal/8/55470

WorldbyStorm - May 12, 2012

I really get your point about the reality of living under the troika. That’s what I find so impossible to understand, the sheer naked aggression from the political and economic elite in the EU towards Greek citizens. It’s not just a lack of empathy (though having ECB/EU representatives all but helicoptered in and dined and wined in fine surroundings lends a certain… detachment) but something that seems much much worse, an antagonism and a lack of concern as to how this plays out both for citizens on the ground and also in terms of equipping neo-Nazism with a fertile environment.

TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - May 12, 2012

KM
This might be an odd question but what is the likliehood of the Military deciding to intervene in the situation in Greece? I know Papandreou replaced a lot of the top brass last year but I wouldn’t think too many of them would be delighted at the prospect of SYRIZA in power.
Also is there any chance at all of the KKE agreeing to give external support to a SYRIZA led government if SYRIZA becomes the biggest party?

peter okembe - May 12, 2012

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shall be entitle to 30% percent of the total sum.

There is an account opened in this bank in year 2000 with a cash deposit of (US$15 Million) Fifteen Million United States Dollars and since year 2002 nobody has operated on this account again. After my personal investigations by going through some old file in the bank dormant account archives, i discovered that the owner of this account died since 2002. And the account has no other beneficiary. No other person knows about this account or anything concerning it.

I need to transfer this money out urgently,if i do not transfer this money out it urgently,it would be forfeited to the government. I am contacting you based on the fact that you are a foreigner because this money can only be approved for payment to a foreigner as this money is in US Dollars hence the late former owner of this account was a foreigner too.

But if you are not interested, please feel free to let me know so i can
look-out for another person over this proposal. However, I got your contact information from an international directory here in South Africa.

Reply to peterokembe@galmail.co.za

Regards,
Mr. Peter Okembe

CMK - May 12, 2012

Peter, will you contact me offline at fuckingeejit@gulliblegobshite.com that looks like a fantastic offer!

Kia Mistilis - May 12, 2012

Do you mean a junta military coup? If so, the answer is no. That is so old hat. It’s the 21st century, no need to be so garish and blatant. the elites usher in bank dictatorships instead via suited men wielding laptops these days.
KKE are hard line Stalinist communiss and no, they don’t cooperate with anyone. They wouldn’t even meet Tsipras this week. If they were not so stuck in another century, (with their hammer and sickle flag to prove it) in their blinkered political ideology, we would have a leftist coalition govt by now.

Kia Mistilis - May 12, 2012

Do you mean a junta military coup? If so, the answer is no. That is so old hat. It’s the 21st century, no need to be so blatant. The elites usher in bank dictatorships instead via suited men wielding laptops these days.
KKE are hard line Stalinist communists and no, they don’t cooperate with anyone. They wouldn’t even meet Tsipras this week. If they were not so stuck in another century, (with their hammer and sickle flag to prove it) in their blinkered political ideology, we would have a leftist coalition govt by now. Their obstructionism is maddening….

WorldbyStorm - May 10, 2012

I hope to God they avoid that at all costs. The Democratic Left crew are showing their true colours, aren’t they? I wonder are they the pro-PASOK element that was so much in evidence in SYRIZA over the past few years.

WorldbyStorm - May 10, 2012

Sorry, thanks for the poll maddurdu, interesting how DL is losing support. Bad news for them. Useful seat projections now up on Guardian with SYRIZA by far the largest party (albeit with the disgraceful 50 seat bonus that ND wrote in some years back).

maddurdu - May 10, 2012

Well I think thats why they split from them in the first place.

WorldbyStorm - May 10, 2012

And funny to think that four weeks back they were peaking (DL) in the polls, IIRC in the mid-teens.

maddurdu - May 10, 2012

Yea, it makes you wonder what a referendum result would have been like since 68 per cent of the electorate have voted for anti-memorandum parties.

Mark P - May 10, 2012

Yes, Democratic Left are basically the old right wing of Synaspismos, the largest component of SYRIZA. Synaspismos are basically the only Eurocommunists in Europe who stayed pretty radical. DL are the bit of them who wanted to follow the more usual Eurocommunist trajectory.

They don’t like Syn’s alliance with various revolutionary left groups, and the more leftist positions that entailed taking, and wanted to cozy up to PASOK more.

peter okembe - May 12, 2012

Dear Mark,

I am Mr. Peter Okembe, a senior auditor in FIRST NATIONAL BANK (FNB) South Africa. I am offering you a proposal to participate in a FUND TRANSFER TRANSACTION OF $15,000,000.00 USD (FIFTEEN MILLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS) You
shall be entitle to 30% percent of the total sum.

There is an account opened in this bank in year 2000 with a cash deposit of (US$15 Million) Fifteen Million United States Dollars and since year 2002 nobody has operated on this account again. After my personal investigations by going through some old file in the bank dormant account archives, i discovered that the owner of this account died since 2002. And the account has no other beneficiary. No other person knows about this account or anything concerning it.

I need to transfer this money out urgently,if i do not transfer this money out it urgently,it would be forfeited to the government. I am contacting you based on the fact that you are a foreigner because this money can only be approved for payment to a foreigner as this money is in US Dollars hence the late former owner of this account was a foreigner too.

But if you are not interested, please feel free to let me know so i can
look-out for another person over this proposal. However, I got your contact information from an international directory here in South Africa.

Reply to peterokembe@galmail.co.za

Regards,
Mr. Peter Okembe

Mark P - May 10, 2012

Ed said:
“I don’t tink any left-wing party in Europe has had such an important decision to make since the early ’80s at least, let’s hope they don’t flunk it.”

This is precisely what I was talking about in the other discussion thread a day or two ago. SYRIZA are no longer in a position where studied ambiguity on key issues is a possibility. They have no choice but to make difficult choices.

As it happens, I think that on this particular issue there is a happy coincidence between the principled thing to do and the self-interested thing to do.

Peader - May 12, 2012

Mark. See that capitailist prick trying to test you? Peter you’ve picked the wrong revolutionary there.

Kia Mistilis - May 18, 2012

Very well said. We are now headed for new elections on June 17, and all indications are that Syriza will come first. Whether they will have enough (with the 50 seat bonus given to first place) to form a govt is another matter. It is important to note that throughout the 10 days of negotiations to form govt, they have stuck to their pre election promise of rejecting the memorandum, and refused to form govt with Pasok and or ND. They are indeed a new force int he political landscape, untainted with the corruption, cronyism and economic mismanagement of the 2 major parties. Whether they can rise to the occasion and develop into a party with a broad spectrum of clear policies, remains to be seen. Whether they can form govt after June 17 needs to be resolved first, in any case. Here in Greece, we know the times are turbulent, but there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel.

3. Oireachtas Retort - May 13, 2012

As new elections loom, obviously one possible outcome is the return of voters to ND and PASOK. But the latest polls do not signal this. They signal a growth in support for SYRIZA, which is seen as a consistent opponent of austerity on the left, and which has narrative and momentum among the traditional base of all other leftist parties.

If we look at the demographics of the left, there are the following:

– anarchist minded youth, living alternative lifestyles among the poor, who will only vote for SYRIZA or not at all. (Anecdotally, even some members of the “black bloc” were reported to have joined SYRIZA, after accepting the futility of constant rioting/counterculture.
– Middle-class and professional workers, including many public servants who’ve been hit by tax rises, wage cuts, arbitrary deductions, loss of entitlements and job losses
– Private sector trade unionists
– Migrants and the urban poor
– Small businesspeople who formerly were the base of PASOK but who have been radicalized by the tax rises, tax clampdowns and repeated heavy policing of demonstrations, and who are the most likely to be ruined by any longterm structural reform in Greece.

The success of SYRIZA then seems down to its ability to attract voters and activists from all these groups, eating into almost every part of the left including the old Moscow-style KKE.

http://paulmasonnews.tumblr.com/post/22914870033/greece-trying-to-understand-syriza

4. Jim Monaghan - May 18, 2012

Who will win in Greece. I think people underestimate the threat of a coup.In the last analysis the state is a body of armed men. Either the left will offer a coherent response to the crisis or the right will. I see the threat coming from the army. The far left should offer a pact with Syrizia. The KKE should join a United Front. Acting like the German Communist Party in 1932 will lead to disaster.Their friends here should give them similar advice.
I am quite fearful. As the crisis deepens the measures that the ruling classes see as needed will become more extreme.I don’t think we are even near the bottom.
http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article25232

CMK - May 18, 2012

+1

Kia Mistilis - May 18, 2012

Hi Jim,
Do you live in Greece? Because your comments indicate that you don’t – and that you are basing your views on international media analysis – also written mostly by people not living here. Please consider the value of not adding to the the intentional fear mongering stirred up the media. There have been rumours of a possible coup since May 2010 when the troika (IMF-EU-ECB) loans and austerity were first signed. The mainstream media has also propagated fear of what might happen if Greece rejects the memorandum since then with daily lies on TV- and the Greek people have stopped listening – which the elections indicated – because living with the dire consequences of the memorandum (catastrophic economic policy, 1 in 2 Greeks living on or near the poverty line, 21% unemployment, 22% cut in minimum wage) is hardly a the “rescue” which was sold to us. Many Greeks suspect that the coup rumours have been started by those connected with New Democracy and Pasok, to scare voters into returning to the 2 mainstream parties when we go to new elections on June 17. Since the Greek mainstream media is owned by entrepeneurs and globalised elite shipping owners, and international media pick up what is reportd in the MSM here and repeat it -it is not unreasonable assumption to make.
As a citizen and resident of Greece, I respectfully ask you to consider the points I have made and wish the best for us, and not the worst. Thank you.

Jim Monaghan - May 18, 2012

Hi Kia,
I am confused about your response. I am for a Syrizia led government which carries out its promises. I am cheered by its refusal to join a rightwing government and betray its electorate and the rest of the Greek poor.I hope the KKE can break with its sectarianism and join a United Font with Syrizia. I hope the rest of the far left and the “real” left row in behind this United Front.
On the poverty statistics, I feel that Ireland is just behind Greece. Greece is our future. This is what will happen if this austerity regime across Europe is not broken.I live in Ireland and I feel strongly that what happens in Greece affects us all, across Europe.The resistance to the Troika and the memorandum can only succeed with pan European opposition.
Do you think he crisis can go on much longer with this paralysis? Greece needs a real leftwing government. Syrizia is in a position where it alongside left allies could win. And the current regime paid a 100% on loans this week.
There is a huge Greek army. 300,000. There was a military regime. There is a sizeable fascist party.It could be said that with an unelected government, that Greece is half way towards a coup.
I think the elections are critical, very critical.
Sure there are scare stories. I happen to think that there is substance in them. A United Front led by Syrizia has the potential to save Greece and by extension the rest of us.The challenge is for the KKE especially to lay aside its sectarianism and unite to offer the Greek people a way out of the crisis that minimises the pain and makes the rich pay for what is their crisis
For what it is worth wish we had a party like Syrizia.
I use Greek commentators as much as possible.
Do you think the crisis can go on indefinitely?

Kia Mistilis - May 19, 2012

Hi Jim,

I agree with the points you make in your reply to me, except the part about a coup.

I am completely against the troika and the memorandum, and I understand exactly how the IMF operate. They intentionally bankrupt countries with unsustainable loans, and create mass poverty through “austerity measures” (internal devaluation, they call it) both of which are a trojan horse to buy up the country cheap – ie wholesale privatisation, which becomes a condition of the loans in the 2nd or 3rd round of loan packages. Privatisation under the IMF or World Bank, is a program designed to give away all of country’s public assets and resource rights to multinational corporations at fire sale prices. I understand all these issues, because I am familiar with the IMF (and World Bank’s) 40 year history in developing countries – Latin America and Africa. They have now arrived in Europe and we need to kick them out. Here in Greece we are trying our best to do that! The mass demonstrations against the troika started in May 2010 and since then the Greek people have staged 22 general strike / demo days, attended by over a million people nationwide, on each occasion.

re the coup rumours: You just repeated the arguments that I offered an alternative view to, without pausing to think that the dynamics playing out here cannot be understood entirely by reading events in the international (mainstream) media.

Can you just hold up and listen for a minute, please?

Firstly, what people outside Greece don’t understand, is the extent to which the mainstream media is a propaganda tool of the Greek govt, be they Pasok or New Democracy and there is an intentional muzzling of diversity of opinion by journalists who won’t play ball. A clear example of this: when the troika’s job cuts came into effect, the journalists who lost their jobs were those who were trying to offer an alternative view to the troika and the Greek state. Hundreds of them are now unemployed. They have formed media coops and have been publishing their newspapers for free, (here, in Greek) but they don’t have the same power as television, which is state controlled – both public adn privately owned media. Yes this happens everywhere, but it is particularly acute here. Both Pasok and New Democracy parties are funded by the globalized shipping magnates and entrepeneurs who own ALL of the mainstream media (TV, radio, newspapers) in Greece. This goes back almost 38 years, since the fall of the junta, in 1974, when Pasok came to power. Now, In return for funding the 2 major parties, these millionaires and billionaires have been paying pay zero tax since then, and they serve as a mouthpiece of the state.

This is important: A KEY dynamic since the memorandum began is the outrageous lies and fear campaign waged in the mainstream Greek media which says: “we must stick with austerity and the loans to ‘save’ Greece. If we don’t, we will go bankrupt and there will be chaos – the supermarket shelves will be empty, you’ll be living on food coupons, Greece will become a third world country.”

Another narrative they (Pasok and ND, via the media) have been hammering for 2 years is planting fears of a military coup or Greek civil war. One MUST be dubious about the probability of this being a real threat, if it is being put forward by the state, through their media proxies. That was my point and again, I ask you to consider it. You cannot possibly understand the scare tactics being waged by the media on the Greek population, if you haven’t seen this deluge of hysterical fear mongering which has been going in since May 2010, when Pasok INVITED the troika to Greece.

Furthermore, Pasok and ND leaders even said to MPs in the parliament when they were voting for the 2nd memorandum – “you must vote for the austerity measures to be passed or we will lose the loans package, or and chaos will break loose – we will have civil war!” You need to understand the extent to which FEAR (of a coup civil war) is being used as a tactic used by the state, propagated by TV to “sell” the memorandum. I made the point that the first elections showed us that many Greeks have switched off the TV or are not listening anymore, because the consequences of the troika’s policies has decimated the economy and plunged millions into poverty is a strong reason to vote against austerity.

Of course Syriza is the only way out of the death grip of the memorandum! The fact that they placed 2nd in the last elections and will probably win the 2nd elections, has given Greek people hope. We simply cannot go on living in a free fall towards 3rd world living standards and watch our public wealth being given away to corporate multinational and Greek elites.

Now, re: KKE. Despite the historic opportunity presented to them after the May 6 elections, KKE not only were unwilling to consider forming a coalition govt with Syriza and begin to forge a path out of this troika death trap – their leader refused to even meet Alexis Tsipras. You need to understand the history of the Greek communist party. They are a Stalinist communist group, and they never forgave the left for supporting Gorbachev’s glasnost in Russia. They are ideological fanatics and they will not budge even 1 inch. There are some really complex historical issues which explain the divisions which exist in the left in Greece, (not only between KKE and the break away party, Antarsya – who believe in socialism from below and hate Stalinism) but too much to explain here. Suffice to say that KKE will never negotiate with anyone. Greeks consider that KKE have no desire to win govt, they prefer to heckle from the sidelines. It is anticipated that some Greek voters will punish them for refusing to even meet with Syriza and their vote share will drop.

The reason I have given you all of this is to shed light on the fact that ND and Pasok are planting fears of a coup and or Greek civil war to terrify Greek voters into voting for them. They are in total shock, because for the first time in 38 years, their total dominance of Greek politics has been shattered. Syriza, is a new force in the political landscape who are not from the Greek political elite, but he grass roots. In a last desperate bid, ND and Pasok are pulling out all the stops in the fear game, but I reckon it’s too late. I was trying to say to you in my previous post, that if you think fears of a coup are real, you are parroting the line from Pasok and ND, and in my view, that is neither accurate nor helpful to us; nor supportive of or the hope we hold that Syriza can actually win govt and change things.

I have friends in Ireland who are active in the anti-troika (real democracy) movement and I have been keeping an eye on Ireland through them. I wish you and your people all the best. Here in Greece, we hope that the Irish can stand up bravely against the neo-liberal madness of the troika, as we are doing here and have been doing for 2 long years now. In short, we hope that the Irish people “stop behaving” and start resisting. As Europeans, we are all in this together. Strength and solidarity to all.

Kia

5. Kia Mistilis - May 19, 2012

Hi Jim,

here is a very good article from an independent journalist in Greece (who was fired last year along with others trying to put an anti-troika argument forward.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/12/extremism-greece-centre-golden-dawn

here is a documentary on privatization by Aris Chatzestefanou and Katerina Kifidis. Essential viewing and free. Concerns all of us in Europe. Please consider watching and sharing it:
http://www.catastroika.com/indexen.php

There are quite a few errors in the original english subtitles (frammar syntax, spelling; not translation mistakes) You can also download the updated English subtitles here:
http://www.infowarproductions.com/catastroika/

6. Kia Mistilis - May 19, 2012

I would also like to acknowledge that I am an independent journalist and my work includes freelance foreign correspondence. You can read my articles on Greece here:
http://kiamistilis.com/#/journalism/featured-stories-photo-journalism

maddurdu - May 19, 2012

Thanks Kia! intresting insight.

‘Both Pasok and New Democracy parties are funded by the globalized shipping magnates and entrepeneurs who own ALL of the mainstream media (TV, radio, newspapers) in Greece……….. Now, In return for funding the 2 major parties, these millionaires and billionaires have been paying pay zero tax since then, and they serve as a mouthpiece of the state. ‘

Hmmmmm sounds a bit familar :D just replace shipping magnate with a few litigious Irish peoples names.

How do you think the establishment would react to the successful formation of a government by Syriza? Coup hysteria aside.

Kia Mistilis - May 20, 2012

Hi Maddurdu,

The European political establishment fear the break up of the Eurozone, so they are extremely nervous at the prospect of Syriza forming govt – either outright (unlikely) or in a coalition. The key point is the Greek people’s rejection on the austerity measures, which essential to the troika’s program – ie: BAILING OUT EUROPEAN BANKS! Basically, they cannot be saved in the long term and all of this austerity misery is an ongoing attempt by the EU to prop up their banks and the single currency by bleeding the citizens of Europe. Hiw long did they think we would cop this? But you gotta giove them pints for trying ;)

Once Greece says no to austerity (via Tsipras) and leaves, or is forced to leave the eurozone, how will Merkel et al be able to keep persuading Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland to swallow austerity?
Even more important, the key is this: Greece’s exit from the eurozone is the lightning rod for a European banking collapse – we are the first domino, the rest are lined up and waiting. That’s why Merkel s freaking out!
Nail bitingly tense times now until the 2nd elections on June 17- even if Syriza comes first, will they have enough seats to form govt? Or enough bargaining power to form a coalition? Nothing is guaranteed here, especially as ND are still neck and neck with Syriza, the beast has not capitulated yet, but we are still hopeful of change. We all. know the single currency union is doomed, it’s just a matter of when and how. It’s all unchartered territory, but I sense we are living historic times! Wish is luck.

CL - May 19, 2012

“In some ways, Mr. Tsipras’s arguments are not so different from those of some of the leaders gathered at the Group of 8 summit at Camp David on Friday. As growth has slowed, an anti-austerity backlash has swept Europe, forcing Ms. Merkel to soften her stance. Leaders, especially President François Hollande of France, were expected to press Ms. Merkel at the meeting to give Europe more breathing room for growth.

Mr. Tsipras agreed. “The message we’re giving to the G-8 is that we have to press Mrs. Merkel to follow the example of America, where the debt crisis wasn’t tackled with austerity measures but with an expansionist approach,” he said.” New York Times, today.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/19/world/europe/tsipras-greek-political-star-puts-europe-on-edge.html?pagewanted=2

All this suggests that a new anti-austerity consensus is emerging. But how likely is it that Merkel will convert to Keynesianism?

Jim Monaghan - May 20, 2012

Hi Kia,
An article from the small Greek Trotskyist group
http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article2619
I figure that all the real Left should rally behind Syrizia.The challenge is big, but Syrizia as risen to it

7. Kia Mistilis - May 20, 2012

Merkel is on the wrong side of history.

ejh - May 20, 2012

Maybe. Or maybe we are.

8. CL - May 20, 2012

Merkel is not for turning:

” Referring to public spending to counter the financial crisis that broke out in 2008, she said “everyone agreed that these kinds of stimulus program can’t be repeated right now.”
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/05/19/bloomberg_articlesM4A4ZC0D9L3501-M4AME.DTL
“An opinion poll for Stern magazine published last week showed that 59 percent of Germans are opposed to stimulating growth through new borrowing, and 61 believe that Merkel should stick to her position.”
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/analysis-of-impact-of-elections-on-angela-merkel-s-european-policy-a-833151.html

So there is going to be no Keynesian stimulus. This poses a problem for Hollande and for Tsirpas. And probably for Obama too. Social democracy remains dead.


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