Greece – Cheated and Bullied

 

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Alexis Tsipras prime minister of Greece

The sight of proud Greek people in despair is so sad. Let’s get one thing clear, very little of the money loaned to Greece reaches them. You do not have to be a Nobel prize winning economist to follow the money trail.

It is in the pockets of private-sector creditors. The trickle that reaches Greek streets in the form of cash in circulation is a pittance. Varoufakis is right. The making of wealth has been corralled by the wealthy, the banks and financial systems in Germany and France. It boils down to a deal that a crooked street lender would be proud to see signed, a circular loan without end, plus a pound of flesh.

In my opinion, the mess Greece is in was caused by the ‘Troika’ (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) from the deal forced on Greece in 2010. The repercussions are traumatic, a 25% decline in the country’s GDP. Greece’s youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60%. Is there another recession – perhaps it should be called depression – that has lasted so long and is guaranteed to last another five years? As far as the Troika is concerned Greece is biting the hand that feeds it.

In fact, Greece has done incredibly well in reducing its debt burden, better than the UK. They have reduced their deficit from 15% to 2%, and cut the pension burden 40% to 60%.

According to press statements, the Troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a “primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5% of GDP by 2018.” I look to respected economists for guidance: to a man (and a woman) they condemn that target as punitive because aiming for it will inevitably result “in a deeper downturn”.

The Greek premier Alexis Tsipras has warned that the current failure to agree a rescue deal for Greece spells the end of the Eurozone. In retaliation Tsipras has done the right thing, taken the Troika’s obstinacy to a plebiscite. And how the thought of  real democracy at work angers the EU. But Tsipras is furious too. And he means business.

He presented his report to Parliament. Here is a brief extract:

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

Chapter One of the report concludes that, ‘the increase in debt was not due to excessive public spending, which in fact remained lower than the public spending of other Eurozone countries, but rather due to the payment of extremely high rates of interest to creditors, excessive and unjustified military spending, loss of tax revenues due to illicit capital outflows, recapitalisation of private banks, and the international imbalances created via the flaws in the design of the Monetary Union itself.’

It is also argued adopting the Euro led to a drastic increase of private debt in Greece to which major European private banks as well as the Greek banks were exposed.

Tspiras has played his ultimate chess move – a Referendum in which the population must choose the brutal package offered by the Troika (continued austerity and cuts in all public services and welfare) or no to the Euro and probably the EU. George Papandreou’s government tried the same tactic when he realised the conditions of loan offered to his administration was lethal, and would keep Greece poor. Those bastions of democracy, Germany and France forced his resignation, the Referendum was cancelled, and austerity unlimited imposed. The Troika repeats the folly. They intend to humiliate Greece. Again.

Jean-Claude Juncker bickers in public, making unstatesman-like comments that Tspras is vain. That, from the man presented to us as one of Tsipras’s only allies.

Finance Minister Varoufakis says the proposals for spending cuts and reforms are already so harsh and brutal the Germans themselves would never accept them. He said: “Greece will only commit to them if Europe agrees to a debt restructuring, investments and an end to the liquidity crisis.”

Meanwhile, bank at the media circus…

 

Meanwhile, our ‘liberal’ media veers from grudging sympathy to outright condemnation of the cradle of democracy as a nation of chronic work shy, tax evading, crooks.

Normally cautious politicians describe Tsipras as an ‘amateur.’ A radio reporter introduces Varoufakis as ‘flamboyant’, a description calculated to imply he is shallow and glib. Or gay. Tieless and riding a motorbike is considered over-the-top flashy for a serious politician. The increasingly eccentric BBC finance ‘expert’ Robert Peston dismisses Varoufakis as full of memorable phrases but unrealistic – another BBC staffer given free reign to toss in his private view as if writing a personal blog, like this.

Even the normally scrupulously fair human rights activist, Craig Murray, in an otherwise even-handed blog, falls foul of the colonial mentality. “We should not pretend that Greece is or was a socialist paradise. It has been a very corrupt country with elite tax impunity and a focus for money laundering for decades. Membership of the euro did indeed lead to lifestyle subsidy by the German taxpayer, there is no point pretending it didn’t. It also led to Greece being internationally uncompetitive.” That’s one hell of a sweeping statement, and dropping in the phrase ‘not a socialist paradise’ is exactly the jeer tossed at Scotland’s attempt to regain its sovereignty and self-respect led by the SNP.

It’s clear to me European leaders (not all) want to see the end of Alexis Tsipras’ leftist government. It must be damn uncomfortable to negotiate with an administration that is utterly opposed to the types of policies you uphold, policies that have reduced other nations to second-rate economies. Spain knows what that is like. The Greek government is determined to curb power that increases inequality, an ambition that won’t win them friends in high places. Oh for the good old romantic days of military juntas, regular assassinations of opponents, and administrations more favourable to our interests.

Other than proposing Greece’s debt is wiped out, (see previous essay ‘Greece’s Trojan Horse‘) allowing it to flourish without bleeding to death, and in a few years perhaps go to the World Bank for a humane loan, it’s hard (for me at least) to see what can be done.

But if I was in Greece now I’d vote to get out of the EU’s grip entirely, and take the initial pain… same principle as I expected to result from the Scottish Referendum, be in charge of your destiny, and practice democracy as you would wish it to be practiced – for the people!

It is called a democracy, for the administration is run with a view to the interests of the many, not of the fewThucydides on the constitution of the Athenian people.

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18 Responses to Greece – Cheated and Bullied

  1. Marvellous and insightful article, Gb. I really hope the Greek people have the courage to make the break on Sunday though if they do, I suspect there will be a concerted attempt to destabilise and provoke internal tensions by the usual suspects. On the positive side it may well lead to a 1989-style unravelling of the EU and the NATO menace.
    Silver linings and all that. 😊

  2. Bill McLean says:

    Totally agree but also believe that part of this is a desire to bring down one of the few left leaning governments around. I’m sure her Maj and co would enjoy another military junta! I hope Mr Tsipras and his colleagues hold their nerve.

  3. Grouse Beater says:

    Silver linings, right enough… 🙂

  4. donald says:

    Greece needs to get the hell out of the EU . Along with the rest of Europe. The EU benefits no one but the Banks. Correction , the EU is the bank. A non elected blood sucking Pirate Vessel hoisting whatever flag works on the day ,to get its crooked way .
    Try drawing a Hitler Mustache on Merkel and you will be amazed at the structural similarities of her face to Adolf.
    He was a Bankers Pawn too. Its ironic that Germany is using the same usurious dirty tricks it used to accuse the Jews of . Usury is Usury ,regardless of who employs it . It dams up the healthy flow of money through the community so that it can be dolled out at interest and huge profits for the few . Money should be allowed to flow freely like water everywhere in any denomination anyone chooses to use. But the banks create dams then hold the people hostage.
    Now that scumbag corporation Nestle is demanding that water be privatized ! Followed by air no doubt.

    Greece will only survive as a sovereign nation if it repudiates the fraudulent loans and walks away. The pain will be overcome within a few seasons.

    Its no accident that the confederate flag is under attack now . The south has never forgotten the carpetbaggers treachery. Lincoln was the lowest of low life banker Pawns. Only JFK ,in recent times had any integrity . Look what it cost him.

  5. Greece has another Ace up its sleeve The Olympic Flame,no more games without the Flame,Coco-cola / Mcdonalds FK’d along with the other Corperate money grabbers.
    Good read GrouseB. I,ll share on S2scot if you dont mind.

  6. Grouse Beater says:

    You’re welcome.
    Expect a ton of articles on Greece as the pay back deadline approaches – I only wish I could make a difference.

  7. hektorsmum says:

    Great article GB, we were saying this morning that we expect Greece to vote themselves out at the weekend.. Terrible that Europe is now so enamoured of liberal capitalism that they will fall out over what amounts to zeros and dots on a computer. Funny how they could hand money over to the banks with no repayment necessary but countries with actual proper people, no.

  8. Carnyx says:

    Nice Grousebeater, but I want to add a bit to this

    “George Papandreou’s government tried the same tactic when he realised the conditions of loan offered to his administration was lethal, and would keep Greece poor. Those bastions of democracy, Germany and France forced his resignation, the Referendum was cancelled, and austerity unlimited imposed.”

    Papandreou was being no hero, he wanted to pass the “bailout”, by using Greek’s then expressed desire to stay in the Euro against their objections to the “bailout” terms.

    What happened was that on 27 October 2011 Papandreou finalised the so called second “bailout” terms with the troika. On the 28th Oct Greece had it’s annual national Oxi (“No”) day, commemorating the refusal to let Mussolini’s forces enter the country and thus Greek entry into WW II, where upon Greece visited the first major defeat on the Axis. Parades were held as usual throughout the country, at almost all of them from the big one in Thessaloniki with the President, to all the small towns, the crowds attacked the politicians and dignatories, drove them away and then let the parades pass without them. This is like say having a Royal wedding were the crowds in London attack the royals and then continue celebrating without them.

    The international media didn’t pick up on the scale or significance of what was happening, the oligarch owned Greek media also played it down, but Papandreou realised the country was slipping way out of his control, so on 31st Oct he suddenly announced the referendum, he hoped to spread the blame for the “bailout” away from himself and his party and onto Greeks in general, so he could say “well, it’s not our fault you voted for it”.

    The troika reacted with fury, they didn’t understand what had happened on Oxi day, as they saw it, they’d just spent months negotiating and now Papandreou had thrown everything up in the air again, these things aren’t for people to decide. Sarkozy was said to be jumping on the conference table and shouting in Papandreou’s face.

    Papandreou cancelled the referendum on 3rd Nov, he had to resign soon after. Merkel has since said she regrets preventing Papandreou’s referendum, she understood his logic too late, she’s again not happy about the new one, it’s come back to haunt her in new form. The new one is quite different because Syriza is asking the Greeks to oppose the bailout terms … a second Oxi day hopefully.

  9. YESGUY says:

    I have looked into the Greece debt a bit more since your last post. Trojan horse i think and feel that the poor buggers have nothing to lose. How can we show solidarity to them with our MSM blaming the poor again wherever they are.

    Get out now Greece. Build your own country back up. You may find you have more allies than you think.

    Another education GB. Big thanks .

    popped it onto my goole page. More folk should read this. A very compasionate piece GB .

    More please . 🙂

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    “Merkel has since said she regrets preventing Papandreou’s referendum”

    Interesting commentary, Carnyx, and much appreciated. I have reservations about Merkel’s ‘regret’ – but I’ll leave that for the moment.

  11. Carnyx says:

    “Syriza’s Fraudulent Capital Controls”

    That’s just leftist factionalism and puritanism, Syriza and the KKE (Communist Party of Greece) hate each other. The KKE refused to form a coalition with Syriza in 2012 that would have kept Samaras out, they refused a coalition in 2015, meaning Syriza had to work with ANEL.

    Syriza come from the Eurocommunist tradition, while the KKE are practically Stalinist. The Prague Spring and Soviet invasion split the KKE, with a faction breaking away and becoming Eurocommunist (who rejected Soviet influence and embraced democracy) that break away faction eventually evolved to become Syriza. Eurocommunists are regarded as evil nationalist pseudo leftists by traditional Maxist Leninists including the Trotskyists like Nick Beams. The first part of the article observes that capital controls are maybe a bit late, it then describes the predicament of Greeks, then the rest is just an assertion filled rant about how Syriza aren’t the real left because they don’t sit around waiting for the revolution but attempt to participate in politics as it actually exists.

  12. donald says:

    Left wing ,left of left , center right marxist leninist pull over and ask directions darling to the right of the next crossroads ! WTF ? I am sick of MSM pundits sticking labels on sock puppets and telling me where they stand . Sock puppets always have a corporate bankers hand up their arse ,end of story.
    Look , its very simple. You either do the right thing or the wrong thing . The big mistake all governments make is signing over their tangibles in exchange for fiat money .
    That’s whats happening here . The Germans want Greece’s tangible assets , simple. They sucked them in to an illegal contract. The PEOPLE NEVER SIGNED IT THOUGH , so they are not on the hook , the politicians are and should take responsibility for their actions. The people are not left right or center. They are the rightful owners of their country. By birth and thus inheritance.

  13. bjsalba says:

    You mention Financiers in France and Germany, but that is not the way international finance works. France and Germany are just the front men. You can bet that the tentacles reach back to London and New York. Deutsche Bank spoke out against Scottish Independence, and they are now threatening to leave if the UK votes to leave the EU.

  14. donald says:

    bjsalba . You make a valid point . All politicians are bought and payed for with few exceptions. BUT even if they are only front men they are still responsible for the betrayal of their people . They are still morally wrong. The tentacles do reach back to the banks I agree. Scottish independence flies in the face of banking policy towards a one world bank. People asking for freedom independence and calls for their own money system is not going to be popular with Deutsche ,goldman sachs ,BIS , or any other financial institution/ blood sucking squid.
    Worse still , Scottish independence could start an avalanche around the world as peoples of all nations claim back their wealth ,land,and power.
    As they should. The danger lies in their anger being co opted by left/right revolutionaries and turning the people against their own best interests , ie , communism/fascism.
    People need to wake up to and reject the party labels and reject party politics. Parties by definition are compromised .

  15. hektorsmum says:

    Donald, we have seen the result of the much vaunted International socialism, it killed a lot of people’s ambition stone dead to free this county from the ruination of Westminster. Even the Greeks had to vote for a party to rid them of Austerity, It might be a wonderful thing to be able to rely on individuals to run the country, I am one of those who would happily have a Parliament made up from the electoral register, but right now we need to have a Party in charge or at least be able focus people on Independence.

  16. donald says:

    Yes , I know how you feel and I dearly hope that the SNP comes through for the people . I have protest voted for parties many times in the past . I voted labour to get Maggie Thatcher out , not because I thought Labour would be much better. Its the same everywhere really . Every Aussie I know down under is horrified by Tony Abbot but rarely has the labour party proved any better.
    My prayers go out to all of you and I fervently hope that you achieve your independence . I would be absolutely devastated if you dont .

    I know I rant on and get carried away , but to me and many others , the Scots fight for independence is a huge deal , a beacon of hope. If you can pull this off you will give hope to so many others . It feels to me that we all have reached a critical mass in these days where so much depends on the people standing up and giving it all they have . Freedom is such a precious thing ,the thought of loosing it to global fascism/communism fills me with dread , I dont mind admitting it.

    I was punching the air with defiant pride when Iceland kicked out the creditors and jailed them . I rub my hands together with glee when I hear McDonalds is closing 700 + stores in the US .
    When I heard about the SNP victory I was so happy for Scotland . I just want what you all want . Justice . I want to see the parliament whipped in to line by the people .
    I dont like or condone violence in any form but Passion and courage will be needed if we are to triumph over greed.

    I think in my heart and DNA I still carry the sadness of so many of our people . Forced out of our homes by the enclosures .Now its happening in Greece and my heart breaks for the Greek people . I also witnessed first hand the devastation of the native Americans as a people.
    When I went back to Scotland I felt such a deep connection and pain. So hard to describe .
    People say , its part of the mainland of the UK so whats the big deal . But its not . You feel the difference when you are there . The climate ,the air , everything is different . You want to run and keep going until you arrive at a small cottage and beg a floor to sleep on for just one night .
    The native americans,australians etc. They know they are inseparable from the land.They are the land . What hurts is not being free to walk on it ,to sleep under a tree without fear of being accused of trespass. Why does the queen deserve to own so much and leave the people begging ? How can such a tiny minority of less than 1% end up owning over 50% of the planet ?
    That is injustice on a massive scale.

    There is in nature a sense of community that only being close to nature shows you . Its community without communism .Its free enterprise without capitalism. Its dignity without class .
    i have seen birds of five different species join to help a mother protect her ducklings from marauding crows ! A truly astonishing sight to witness in your own backyard . I have had a wounded Peregrine falcon come to me for help . Wild birds will talk to you if you treat them with respect. nature is not dumb . humanity is dumbed down by fear and ignorance . The rich battery farm us in Cities . It is madness .

  17. donald says:

    Recommended reading for anyone who needs the inside line on Greece . Confessions of an economic hit man , by John Perkins. Says it all . Greece is the banking communities latest Hit.
    The Icelanders listened to his advice to repudiate the banks and start over. Sadly Ireland did not .

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