Monday, June 18, 2012

Left gains in Greece and France Elections

Greece boosts Left Party status:

France gives Hollande majority
in Parliament!

Elections this Sunday in France and Greece produced substantial gains for left parties in both countries:

The result of the Greek General Election gave the Greek New Left group Syriza 27.1% of the vote, the largest vote for the left since WW2. The conservative New Democracy, representing the elite middle class, bankers and pro-EU, pro-NATO forces gained a slight lead with 29.59%

Speaking before thousands of cheering supporters waving red and white flags (some emblazoned with the hammer and sickle) outside Athens'  University building, Syriza leader Lexi Tsipras told the crowd: "Some may think that they won the elections tonight but they did not. The people won. The policies of austerity have been defeated. They will not be able to push forward with them either in Greece or Europe." Tsipras announced that Syriza would not join any Government which agreed to implement the hated IMF/EU austerity plan but would become the Opposition in parliament.

Tsipras was joined on the stage by the World War 2 hero Manolis Glezos who in a first act of resistance against Nazi occupation of Greece tore down the swastika from the Acropolis. The 92-year-old hailed the left's capture of 27.1 % of the vote as "the beginning of the end."
    "Who would have thought, or calculated, that we would go from 4.6 percent to this?" he enthused punching the air with his fist. "We must raise the flag, the flag of victory."

Right-wing and conservative press outlets have been trying to spin the Greek result as “victory for Europe” but, if it was such, it’s a distinctly hollow one. The Greek ND doesn’t have a majority in parliament and will have to bargain for a coalition with mainly hostile parties in no mood to gain opprobrium from the population for implementing the cruel IMF/EU austerity regime imposed on the previous Greek government of ND and PASOK. With a much enlarged Syriza breathing down their neck and an increasingly angry population taking to the streets, an ND led government would have a short life and another election would be called in a few months. It is glossed over that the austerity regime was never voted on by the Greek people but, was effected by an unelected Gauleiter imposed by the IMF/EU.

A new ND-PASOK coalition would hold on to power with difficulty in the next year. Its majority would be slim and so is the trust of the electorate. Although it is likely that the upcoming EU Council in June 27-28 will reward a new government with an extension on its debt payments and may even grant new loans quickly, the terms of the Memorandum will not be substantially renegotiated and the state of Greece’s bankruptcy will continue, as will the general economic decline of the entire Eurozone. Impoverishment will get worse and social unrest will increase. Since the previous ND-PASOK coalition showed itself capable  only of capitulation to external forces, its internal political legitimacy, now bolstered by insecurity and fear, would be bound to collapse and SYRIZA must remain the primary vehicle for the transformation of the old political system.

Whatever new government is formed, the structural defects of the Euro still remain and will continue to hold down growth opportunities as long as Germany, led by conservative Merkel, fails to agree to reducing debt accumulated by financial gambling in virtual reality not related to any real production values. This unjustified credit boom of the last ten years is now a millstone around the neck of the millions of ordinary people who are suffering for the criminal delinquency of the financial elite and their political cronies.


In France, newly elected President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party swept to majority power in the French parliament. The Socialist bloc secured between 296 and 320 seats in the parliamentary election runoff, comfortably more than the 289 needed for a majority in the 577-seat National Assembly. The centre-left already controls the upper house of parliament, the Senate.

The far-right anti-immigration National Front achieved a breakthrough, winning its first parliamentary seats (2) since the late-1980s. Its charismatic leader, Marine Le Pen, narrowly lost her race in the working-class northern town of Hénin-Beaumont by a mere 118 votes (out of a total of more than 55,000 ballots) but, Marion Marechal Le Pen, 22, granddaughter of party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, was elected in the southern town of Carpentras.

The left-wing victory gives the Socialists more power than they have ever held as Hollande pushes for new tools to stimulate growth in the euro zone and a European banking reform that would protect depositors and states if banks fail. The Socialist leader flies to Mexico on Monday for a G20 summit that will be dominated by the euro zone's financial crisis as a rift with the bloc's paymaster, Germany, over how to resolve the crisis has sparked a sharp public squabble. Hollande, a european social democrat, has broken with a Franco-German power duopoly established under his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy and is siding with southern euro zone states, calling for more flexibility on deficit targets and stimulus programs to promote growth in the euro-zone economies. With the right now severely weakened, Hollande's strong hand will be a boon as he prepares a mass of legislation for the weeks ahead to raise taxes and start economic expansion again.The Socialists, will use the comfortable majority won in Sunday's parliamentary elections in a special session of parliament next month to cancel tax breaks and increase taxes for large corporations, particularly banks and energy companies.

Interior Minister, Manuel Valls, said the Government would waste no time in pressing ahead with promised reforms."We need to sort out this country's finances, to ensure we achieve a balanced budget by 2017, and at the same time pursue our priorities in terms of growth, employment, education and security," said Valls, promising tax reforms to ensure that the richest French pay their share."We need to mobilise our European partners because piling more austerity on top of austerity will lead to tragedy and a deep rift between the peoples of Europe and their politicians."

With unemployment at a 13-year high of 10 percent and economic growth stagnating, Hollande faces a delicate balancing act in reducing the government deficit and keeping the euro zone's second largest economy beyond the perceptions of financial market speculators attacking Spain and Italy.

Áth Cliath/Dublin 18 Meitheamh/June 2012.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

SYRIZA: Programme for a New Greece

                                     Lexi Tsipras, Leader of SYRIZA, the new Greek Left Coalition


The Greek General Election next Sunday, 17.06.12, will be of historic importance for all the peoples of Europe. The Greek people will decide whether to stand up for themselves or surrender to the blackmail and bullying of the Brussels Dictatorship and the outrageous imposition of savage cuts in living standards of the majority of the population in the interests of the thieving financial elite and their political muppets in Europe. The Greek Left Coalition, SYRIZA-EKM, has a programme for the resolution of the problems of Greece and thus of the problems of the Eurozone as well, which we publish here:

Presentation of the Economic Program of SYRIZA-EKM

Alexis Tsipras, the president of the SYRIZA Parliamentary Group: The Program and Our Values:

1. The program, for us, goes beyond mere slogans and measures, although we know that these are necessary as well. For us program means a set of values, principles, straight-out orientations and diligent positions. Our program is based on the values of solidarity, justice, freedom, equality and environmental responsibility. Based on these values we will manage, if necessary, even the most mundane tasks.

2. Program, for us, also means a way of thinking, a way of analysing, understanding the problem, and ranking priorities and needs. And for us, it is the needs of the people that are over and above profits and all selfish or partial interests.

3. For us program means a continuous dialogue. A scientific dialogue, a social dialogue, and a political dialogue. A dialogue with the social movements, a dialogue with the citizens. We want to shape our program together, through such a continuous dialogue.

4. Program for us also means a process for the formation of social alliances. The building of consensus from below. Unifying the people is also an issue of the program. Our program then is the foundation, the blueprint of a broad social alliance among the working people, the people of knowledge, the people of culture and the youth. It is a social alliance to ward off any further impoverishment of society. To avert any further decomposition of the productive fabric of our society. To find the way toward recovery and hope.

5. It is in this sense, that the program for us is a continuous process. It is not a static and timeless text. It is a ceaseless endeavor, open to new ideas and innovative actions.

6. Finally, when we say program, we mean a political process. A process of not simply managing the current conjuncture, but of opening up new paths and this is exactly what our program does. It attempts to cut new paths. It attempts to preclude new dangers. It attempts to face up and to make use of the possibilities.
Our Goals

The second point I would like to refer to, is the political goals of our economic program. As it has been mentioned already, it is not our choice to exit the Euro, but neither can we consent to the continuation of policies that offer no guarantee for the survival of our society and our country. SYRIZA proposes to the Greek people, and also to the people of Europe, the only pragmatic option that consists of a new, honest, and binding agreement with the institutions and the people of Europe, one that will allow us to achieve three goals.

The first is to relieve the people who are suffering, the victims of this crisis. The second is stabilization and recovery. And the third is the implementation of a program of radical reforms and transformations, through which an effective reintegration of our country to the European future and to the international division of labour.

How will we achieve these three goals?

The first goal we will achieve with specific measures that are directly applicable and effective. With these measures we will attempt to ease the pain – to put it this way – of those who have suffered so much from the crisis and the policies of the Memoranda. Such measures are laid out in our program.

Our second goal concerns recovery and stabilisation. It is of vital importance and a requirement for the implementation of the other measures. We cannot proceed with serious reforms in an environment of social and economic breakdown. We aim at achieving recovery and stability by freezing the measures that involve further reductions in wages and social expenditures, by halting the violent re-distribution of income against the weakest. This we will achieve by implementing a set of measures aimed at the recovery of investments, public investments in principle but also of all other forms of investment, and at boosting employment, with a new fiscal framework for a just and sustainable reduction of deficits.

As far as our third goal is concerned, that is the restraint of insecurity and the resurgence of hope and perspective for our society as a whole: we shall pursue this target by restoring the sovereign right of the Greek people to choose their own destiny. From the Memoranda we take note of the problems. Yes, we have an issue of fiscal deficit, yes, we have a problem with our balance of payments; yes, we have a problem with corruption – but we need not the Memoranda to know this. Yes, we have problems in the management and running of the state. The solutions, the goals, the pace, and the measures must and will be chosen by the Greek people. By replacing the Memorandum with a plan for the recovery of society, the reconstruction of the economy and an equitable adjustment. With the adjustment of the debt and the terms of the future financing for the development of the economy.

Why a New Type of Reforms and Transformations?

The third point I would like to refer to is, ‘why reforms.’ To be sure, we refer to reforms in a completely different context. I listened to Mr. Samaras talking about measures and more measures. Of course measures are necessary. But in this country, the first presidential decree for the establishment of a land registry was issued in 1831 by I. Kapodistrias, the first governor of the country. Even today we lack a complete land registry.

The first announcement for setting up a wealth registry was made by PM Charilaos Trikoupis in 1893. Still, in 2012, we do not have a complete and comprehensive wealth registry.

The first serious attempt to reform public administration was made by Eleftherios Venizelos. Even today we are still living with the halfhearted measures that were finally adopted then.

The first serious discussions about fundamentally reforming the tax regime were launched in 1955 by Varvaressos, a bourgeois economist. The reforms he proposed have yet to be implemented.

So when are we actually going to do all this? If not now, when? And who will implement all this, if not a government of the Left?

The second reason is that the crisis in which we are living is not merely an administrative crisis, but a crisis of the system itself. Consequently, safeguarding the interests of the working people and guaranteeing the rights of the working people, cannot be done by simply conserving or restoring the collapsing old system. This will be done on the basis of a new model of development, a new social model, a new labour model and this is the goal of the reforms we are proposing.

The third is that the crisis has taken the form of a crisis of de-legitimization of politics, as a result of the vicious two-party system and of the harsh and inequitable policies. The crisis has also taken the form of a crisis of trust toward institutions, the parliament, political parties and trade unions. Therefore, it is only through new institutions, democratic institutions of social control, institutions of direct democracy that we can regain the trust of the people in a new plan that will restore hope.

The Momentum of Our Program

I would like to close with one last question: On what does the momentum and the outcome of our program depend? First, it surely depends on ourselves. On the pace and ability that we will manifest through an abrupt maturing to become the political subject of collective and solidarist responsibility that will bring together the wider forces which can implement this plan.

Second, it depends on our society. The ability of society to overcome fear, the ability of each and everyone to turn to a positive perspective, to shape a new relation with politics beyond the logic of ‘contracting’ and of clientelist relations.

The third factor will be developments in Europe. From the outset we have stated that our program and our struggle is at the same time both national and European. From the outset we said that we want to change the blueprint. Both for Greece and for Europe. And that is why our victory on the 17th of June will be a boost for positive changes for the people across Europe. And the path Europe will follow, will in turn influence our endeavor.

Fourth, the momentum of our program will depend on the positions that the other powers outside the Europe Union, Russia, China, the Arab world, Latin America, and countries and people with whom we will strive to create coequal relations. Consequently the momentum of our program will depend on their stance as well.

However, the primary and lead role in this contract of hope that our program represents, lies with us, the Left, and society itself. The responsibility to fulfill it until the end lies with us. It is up to us to turn this realistic utopia that history has presented us with, into reality.

It is up to us to fabricate a spring in this heavy winter of crisis. To put an end to the middle ages, toward which neoliberalism is driving us. To proclaim the end of destruction for a renaissance to begin both here and in Europe. The stakes are high, but it is worth fighting this battle and winning it as a people and as a society.
There is a Way Out!

II. Synopsis of the Economic Program of SYRIZA-EKM

A. The policies of the Memoranda and of ‘internal devaluation’ have proved devastating.

    Two years after the adoption of the policies of the Memorandum and of the policy of ‘internal devaluation,’ not only has recession not given way to growth as the “Memorandum 1” prefigured, but it is out of control and the economy has shrunken 20 per cent in total.
    Not only did the Public Debt become unsustainable, in contrast to what the “Memorandum 1” prefigured, but even after ‘the haircut’ it remains out of control.
    Unemployment is at unprecedented levels for a period of peace, at a rate of 23 per cent of the overall population and 50 per cent of the youth. The standard of living of a large part of society has collapsed, with poverty increasing to a threatening dimension.
    Not only are the long-term structural problems of the Greek economy unsolved, but they are becoming entangled in a vicious cycle and a perpetual deadlock.

B. Repositioning: Basic directions of our plan.

The Memorandum as a ‘remedy’ has proved more devastating than the crisis itself. The policies of the Memoranda built around the ‘internal devaluation,’ have been proved a weapon of social mass destruction. A lethal experiment conducted on the Greek people, which must be halted now, before the devastation becomes irreversible.

We need to put an end to these destructive policies. The vital question, however is, in what way and in which direction will we move?

We maintain that the reasons for the failure, lie at the very core of the initial drafting, in the erroneous diagnosis and ranking of the causes of the crisis. That is why prolonging the same policies will not be adequate. What is necessary is a new diagnosis, a restating of the problem, an entirely new orientation, at the very opposite of the neoliberal paradigm that domestic and international interests attempted to impose on us.

We clearly put forth the new directions that comprise our alternative plan, directions that lie at the very opposite of the devastating Memoranda:

    We reject the theory of the ‘collective guilt’ of the Greek people for the policies implemented by Greek and European governments. We reject perceptions that deliberately conceal the responsibilities of the policies applied and the interests that benefited from these. It is not the ‘genetic makeup’ of the Greek people that is responsible for the fact that we do not have a decent taxation system or an effective social state. Specific policies and interests are responsible for that. It is precisely those policies which must be overturned.
    The crisis in Greece does not constitute a ‘national peculiarity,’ but is part of a broader European crisis, with both endogenous and external causes. It is only within a framework of a common European solution that the particular and existing problems of Greece can be dealt with.
    Fiscal consolidation and sustainable public debt cannot be achieved in an environment of austerity. It is only under conditions of economic recovery that the necessary reforms can be attempted and sustainable solutions found.
    Development presupposes environmental reform, developmental re-distribution, and the fighting-off of poverty, unemployment and social inequalities as components of its content.
    The ‘structural adjustments’ of neoliberal persuasion do not solve social problems, they simply re-distribute assets and rights to the detriment of the weak. Exit from the crisis requires overthrows, a new type of structural changes, radical reforms and restructuring of the state, the economy and the political system, such that will tackle the roots of the problems, reduce inequalities and release idle resources within society, opening new paths and prospects.

Yet no real reforms can be implemented in an environment of economic disintegration, constant blackmail, the curtailment of democracy and the imposition of collective guilt on society.

So here is what is in fact at stake in the next elections: Will the same destructive policy be followed under the pressure of blackmail and the terrorizing of society, or will we follow a path of pragmatic hope, making a leap forward, as SYRIZA proposes with its alternative plan?

C. Goals of our alternative plan.

SYRIZA does not consider an exit from the Euro as one of its options, but neither can it consent to the continuation of the same destructive policies, even with minor adjustments and prolongations, as PASOK and ND have of late been proposing, since these options are not able to support any prospect of survival.

Consequently SYRIZA proposes to the Greek people and to the people of Europe the only viable way out of the crisis, which is a new, honest and binding agreement with the people and the institutions of the EU, one that will permit Greece to implement a plan of radical reforms and transformations in the following directions:

    Avert even more massive impoverishment of large sections of the working-class and the middle classes.
    Avert even greater destruction of the productive fabric.
    Put an immediate end to the forceful reallocation of resources against salaries and social provisions.
    The direct implementation of an alternative set of policies for the relief of the working people and the recovery of society.
    The implementation of a new policy framework for a just and sustainable fiscal stabilization.
    The development of a new paradigm of social, environmental and economic development.
    The substantial ‘reintegration’ of Greece in European developments, in a reliable fashion and based upon terms of mutual respect, equality and dignity.

The collapsing two-party system is handing down empty coffers, a collapsing economy and a fragmented society. Two thirds of the population are living in great insecurity, whilst only a small section of society is prospering. The lower end of society, which is constantly growing and already exceeds 40 per cent of the population, comprises of the victims of this crisis and the policies of the Memoranda. It is the unemployed, those receiving minimal incomes and pensions, bankrupt households, insolvent professionals and small business holders. The social stratum directly above this is still surviving financially, but lives in depressing insecurity. It is comprised of the middle strata of people receiving relatively high wages, professionals and small business holders. They can still make ends meet, but will not be able to do so for much longer if the same policies are continued. The entire society is trapped in a dead-end, with no prospects in sight.

In view of this dire and dangerous social reality, the three immediate political goals of our program are: first, the immediate material relief of the victims of the crisis and the policies of the Memoranda; second, the aversion of an even more massive and deep economic catastrophe, by directly stabilizing the economy; and third, to restrain the generalized insecurity, to revive hope and create new visible prospects.

As far as the immediate material relief of those living close to or below the poverty level, priority will be given to making use of all available means and resources to meet this goal, with interventions concerning their incomes, taxation, credit policy, access to public resources and support to forms of economic solidarity (see specific measures in the Annex below).

Concerning the goal of recovery, this will be pursued in the following ways:

    The freezing of all measures that concern reductions in wages and social expenditure, the forceful re-distribution of income to the detriment of the weak, and all other measures deepening the recession.
    Through an array of measures aimed at the recovery of the economy, public investment, employment and incomes, from the bottom up.

Concerning our third target, namely the reduction of insecurity and the rebirth of hope and prospects, we will pursue this on the basis of a plan, which includes:

    Re-instating the fundamental right of the Greek people to determine their own future.
    The replacement of the Memoranda with a new plan for social recovery, economic reconstruction and just fiscal stabilisation.
    Adjust the accumulated debt and the conditions for future funding of development, by writing off a large portion of the accumulated debt, with provisions for servicing of the remaining debt to be linked to the rate of development, and suspensions of payments on the interest until the economy rebounds. This adjustment will be pursued within the framework of a common European solution for the public debt of all EU countries, and in the event that this does not prove feasible, on the basis of bilateral negotiations. The implementation of a program of radical reforms and transformations of the state, public administration and the economy, aiming to create a new, sustainable, just and ecologically sound paradigm of development.

As far as the vital issue of fiscal policy is concerned, we commit to follow a program of pragmatic and socially just fiscal stabilization. The structure of this program consists on the one hand of stabilizing public expenditure at a level of approximately 44 per cent of GDP and a reorientation of this expenditure on the basis of social and economic effectiveness, and on the other hand of increasing public revenues, which are currently substantially below the Eurozone average (41% of GDP vs 45% of GDP), by taxing wealth and high incomes. The target is to increase revenues from direct taxation to the average European levels (+4% of GDP) over a four-year period (+1% of GDP per annum), through a drastic reform of the tax regime, so as to identify the wealth and income of all citizens, and to equitably distribute the burden of taxation. Our broader target is to restore the essential role of the state budget, from being a mechanism for transactions between the ruling political and economic groups, to being a tool for income re-distribution, re-distribution of productive assets and a tool of macroeconomic policy.

D. The method: a program of radical reforms and transformations of the state and the political system, with society at the forefront. The reversal of the descent toward degradation and marginalization cannot be achieved without the implementation of a radical program of reforms and transformations of the state, the political system and the entire ‘body’ of the Greek social formation.

First, because the crisis we are living through is a crisis of the system itself, rather than simply a management crisis of the system. Everything must change: the political system, the state, the relation of the citizen with the state and with politics. Consequently, the way out cannot be found in a return to some version of the past. The way out lies in opening up new paths to new productive and consumption paradigms, to new forms of real democracy, to new social arrangements based on equality and solidarity, the respect of human dignity and the environment.

Second, because important reforms, such as in the tax regime, public administration and the redrawing of the relations of the state with the church, all constitute pending issues from the past, even the distant past. These pending issues of our collective historical life, have become pressing necessities and conditions for survival, and urgent preconditions to avert a catastrophe.

Third, because the administration of the country by a corrupt two-party system over so many years, the chronic inequalities and injustices, and finally the destructive austerity of the last years, have delegitimized and destroyed any sense of trust in the institutions, the parliament, the political parties, the trade union organizations of this country and even in the constitution itself. So it is necessary to form new democratic institutions and reform existing ones, so that they can inspire trust.

The reforms and adjustments we are proposing here, constitute a permanent component of the entire program, they constitute long term changes. But they must, and can, commence immediately. And very soon they can bare their first fruits. The reforms we are proposing can be separated into three main categories. The first (taxation, wealth registry) has as its target the increase in public revenues. The second refers to reforms (public administration etc.) which relate to the productivity of assets. The third category concerns reforms and transformations which in tangent with the previous ones, aim at increasing the wealth produced, at reinforcing society and the economy.

(i) The wealth registry

The constitution stipulates that Greek citizens have equal rights and obligations (article 4, paragraph 2), and that ‘...they contribute without discrimination to the public burdens, according to their ability’ (article 1, paragraph 5). This constitutional provision has been shredded by the corrupt two-party regime, with institutionalized de facto tax reliefs for the powerful and widespread tax evasion. The wealth registry will record the wealth of all Greek citizens, both in Greece and abroad, in all its forms as fixed or movable assets. That will allow for the establishment of a single basic tax, upon which provisions for tax reductions or surcharges can be applied, with special diligence observed in all occasions, to avoid double taxing. The wealth registry will mark the starting point of an entirely new tax regime, one that is just, simple and effective. Once fully developed, it will allow for the substantial tax relief of those receiving minimal wages, low pensions, small property owners and small holders of shares and bonds, while simultaneously allowing for an increase in the total revenues of the state.

(ii) Tackling the ‘black economy’ as a ‘structural problem’

The so called ‘black economy’ is not the result of ‘low tax conscience.’ It is primarily the result of a perverse reaction to the problem of competition from large companies and monopolistic formations faced by small businesses and the professions, and of the absence of a state policy to tackle such issues. Evading taxes and national insurance contributions substitutes comparative advantages, and ensures the survival and in certain cases the unwarranted accumulation of wealth. Consequently the ‘black economy’ can be tackled with revenue and taxation measures, as well as sectoral policies and programmatic agreements, in a rubric of targeted productive reconstruction and policies to face cartels and unfair competition. Within the framework of such agreements, mutual commitments will be made, both by the state and by the bodies representing specific sectors.

(iii) Re-examination of all the special tax regimes and creation of a modern tax revenue system

The complete re-examination of all the special tax regimes established after WWII, constitutes the second element of the tax system reform. These special tax regimes have rendered the tax system replete with loopholes and ineffectiveness, and for this reason they must be repealed within the framework of creating a single universal tax regime. The complete restructuring of the tax revenue system, with extensive application and rational utilization of information technology, the adoption of groundbreaking measures to tackle tax evasion and the creation of Research Centres for issues pertaining to tax policy and fighting tax evasion and especially internationalized tax evasion,

(iv) Public administration reform

This is the second ‘historically pending issue,’ after the reform of the tax regime.

Public administration reform can only be implemented as an endogenous process based on the values of solidarity, social justice and respect of public assets, and in direct correspondence with the needs of the Greek society. This process involves the political system, the administration and society. Simultaneous and combined changes will be needed in all three areas, with the aim of separating political administration from public administration and management. It is only through such a combined change that political party meddling, inside dealing, waste and corruption can be tackled. In the new ‘division of labour,’ politics will give the vision, the direction, make decisions and open new paths. The administration, together with the necessary scientific, research and educational institutions, becomes capable not only of implementing, but also of proposing policies and alternative scenarios, depending on the capacities, the political choices and the needs of society.

Based on such a fundamental reform, innovations and practices can be productively incorporated in the public administration system, such as democratic development programming, double entry accounting systems, program budgeting, systems for the monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of social expenditure, new technologies and information systems.

(v) Eliminating the clientist system, is a precondition for reform in the political system

The entrenched two-party political system, is based on insider dealing and supports widespread corruption. This system and its structures have infiltrated all aspects of public administration and the state, and many sectors of society. The May 6th elections sent a strong message, that Greek society does not tolerate this system any longer. The dismantling of the clientist system will be the result of combined actions from the ‘bottom up’ and from the ‘top down.’ It requires the transition from the citizen – client, who passively handed over his or her fate to the government of the day, the party or to authority in the generic sense, to the active democratic citizen, who thinks and acts not as an isolated individual, but as a member of the ‘Demos,’ of society. That presupposes regaining trust in politics and in institutions. Our proposals and our plan, seek not only the vote of the citizens, but primarily this very trust. And this, in order to change the state from a domineering force to a servant of society. So as to implement everywhere objective criteria, transparent processes and public accountability, so that citizens have the knowledge and the ability to support and to control.

This process of dismantling, taking apart and finally eliminating the clientist system, requires the contribution of society, of the parliament and of the legal system.The legal system has to respond to the universal popular demand that those responsible be punished, no matter how high positions they may hold, always within the framework of the constitution and the rule of law. Parliament must repeal those laws which institutionalize and protect the two-party system, introduce proportional representation and put an end to the regime of overlapping laws, which allows for self-serving interests to be pursued with impunity. Society must press for the establishment of a democratic political life and a political discourse based on values, ideas and programs that offer solutions to problems. In this way not only will the clientist system be dismantled, but the political system and the terms of political life will be democratically transformed.

(vi) New institutions of social and workers’ control

SYRIZA will create the conditions for the emergence and establishment of new forms of social control. Transparency in all decisions of the administration and public accountability are required for this.

All public administration, but especially bodies and structures which manage public funds are accountable to society and the taxpayers. In parallel, new forms of authentic expression of the will of working people and citizens must emerge, on the basis of direct democracy, removed from clientist, party affiliated, employer or statist rationales of the past, which were nourished by the established two-party system.

(vii) Establishing the principle of democratic programming and of long term planning at all levels of the state

An ‘invasion’ of democracy, meritocracy and democratic programming must be arranged in the day to day functioning of the state and public administration. Knowledge and experience must be acquired so that new or alternative plans and options for progress can be developed. This requires a broader mid-term plan. For critical problems, the configuration of programs, and the formation of groups of experts to study them on a long-term basis, are required. Such problems, among others, are:

    Environmental issues and tackling the effects of global warming.
    Demographic trends and the consequences of the ageing of the population.
    The management of water, natural resources and seismic protection.
    Energy planning etc.

This plan must involve the parliament, the scientific community and society at large, and must be linked to specific policies.

                                                (The Guardian)

(viii) Reconstruction of the economy: transforming and upgrading the productive system together with the labour force and society

For a viable recovery of investment and employment to occur, a combination of measures and public policies is required, in parallel with corresponding measures from the banking sector. These must encompass the support, and wherever necessary the rescue of the collapsing old productive base and the corresponding work force, with measures and policies that encourage new productive activities. These activities aim at reducing the dependence on imports and external borrowing, at supporting employment and respecting the environment.

A productive reconstruction of this sort is tied to the reconstruction of the state, the readjustment of labour relations, the upgrading of labour and the role of the work force in decision-taking and the immediate abolishment of labour laws that weaken the force of labour contracts. Furthermore, the bargaining power of the labour force must be reinstated, including the emergence of new forms of collective representation, beyond the traditional clientist, party-dominated and employer-controlled networks.

The transition to a new productive paradigm will not occur spontaneously through the markets, but requires a robust long-term plan. Policies and the corresponding programs that will have a direct impact can be applied imminently to reduce youth unemployment, unemployed engineers and other scientists, as well as other labour cohorts that have been especially hard-hit by the crisis, such as construction workers.

One of the priorities of a government by the Left and other progressive forces, will be to launch a broad political, social and scientific dialogue for the productive, social, labour and environmental paradigm that we must develop as a society for the decades ahead, aiming toward a society of justice, full employment and solidarity, with an enhanced and equal position in the European and international division of labour. In a world that is changing radically in terms of scientific, technological and geostrategic conditions, the formulation of such long term planning is a condition and a prerequisite to deal with the immediate and often dramatic social problems.

It is of vital importance to redefine the role and contribution of all economic forms, public enterprises, small [and] large private enterprises, cooperatives and solidarity based economic initiatives, within the framework of a mixed economy, for a planned and targeted transition to a new, socially just and environmentally sustainable productive system. This is the orientation that encompasses all the reforms and transformations included in this program. Beyond these, the active contribution of the working people, local communities and especially people working within state institutions and scientists will be needed.

Also, among others, it is of vital importance to redefine the role and contribution of all economic forms, public enterprises, small private enterprises, large private enterprises, cooperatives and solidarity based economic initiatives, within the framework of a mixed economy, for a planned and targeted transition to a new, socially just and environmentally sustainable productive system. SYRIZA has developed and will present more detailed and specific proposals along these orientations.

(ix) The public sector as a lever for the qualitative and quantitative upgrading and reconstruction of the productive system

    We are committed to intensify the processes of modernization and reconstruction of public enterprises and organizations. To develop new organizational and management models, which will ensure the effective and transparent operation, the protection of public interest and will concretely tackle the issue of corruption, insider dealing or subjugation of public enterprises to private interests. We support the formation of new institutions for the genuine collective expression of the working people, away from the clientist rationale of party or employer interests.We will directly investigate the options for the formation of programmatic collaborations between the public sector and private enterprises, local and foreign, aiming at developing enterprises and expanding them into new operational directions both in Greece and abroad.

(x) Banks at the service of society, a lever for development

The immediate targets of SYRIZA with regards to the banking sector, in line with the rest of our program, are:

    To guarantee bank deposits by all available means, and to enhance liquidity of banks and of the economy.
    Bank recapitalization through the issuing of ordinary voting shares, so as to ensure the interests of the Greek state and taxpayers. Public administration and social control of banks that are recapitalized with public funds.
    To launch the dialogue with stakeholders for the shaping of an effective system of public control.
    A restructuring/haircut of the private debt of households toward banks, with a ban on the seizure of primary homes for the lower income brackets and readjustment of monthly installments, so that they do not exceed 30 per cent of the monthly income of debtors.
    To reform ‘Tiresias’ in order to relieve individuals and companies from burdening data, and to introduce special regulations that take into account the special conditions that have been created by the crisis and the restriction of credit.
    To adjust the criteria and the operating conditions of the banking sector, in order to function as a lever of development in support of the real economy and of a targeted productive reconstruction.
    To develop a full range of services for small companies, the self-employed, farmers, new productive enterprises, cooperative and solidarity-based initiatives.

(xi) Regional planning requirements and land registry

The ‘regional planning everywhere’ initiative concerns the zoning of housing, tourism, small industries, waste recycling, renewable energy infrastructures, animal breeding, mining, fish farming etc, as well as the restructuring through strict regulation of holiday and tourist housing.

Town planning in combination with an emphasis on small rather than large-scale public works, will give environmental and economic content to a vast range of professional and economic activities, offering an outlet toward sustainable development. The zoning of waste recycling and the planned transition to renewable energy sources will become a vital field for the social economy and municipal entrepreneurship. The privatization of the land registry company, ‘Ktimatologio Ltd,’ must be averted. The completion of the land registry must be accelerated.

(xii) A complete strategy for the financing of development and the needs of society

The de facto bankruptcy of the country, the destruction, depreciation, exhaustion, the flight abroad of a large proportion of domestic savings and movable assets, as well as the prolonged and deep slump, have created an acute problem in the funding of development and the future requirements of social security for the years ahead.

(xii) A complete strategy for the financing of development and the needs of society

The de facto bankruptcy of the country, the destruction, depreciation, exhaustion, the flight abroad of a large proportion of domestic savings and movable assets, as well as the prolonged and deep slump, have created an acute problem in the funding of development and the future requirements of social security for the years ahead.

Our priorities are:

    To create those conditions that will stall the flight of deposits abroad and restitute deposits to the banking system.
    To increase public revenues through tax reforms, combating tax evasion, restricting insurance contribution evasion and the ‘black economy.’
    To establish agreements to secure the taxation of bank deposits abroad, until the wealth registry is operational.
    To stall interest payments within the framework of a new agreement on national debt.
    To restructure and accelerate the rate of absorption of the NSRF and other European funds.
    To fully investigate and make use of the opportunities for the development of cooperation with third countries, under the rubric of a multi-dimensional foreign policy and the implementation of economic diplomacy.

E. Existing obstacles and why SYRIZA is the only power that can overcome them.

The leap forward that we describe above is feasible, but it will meet specific obstacles:

    The decay of the established two-party system and the internal dealings of the regime's political and economic forces, which aim to control social developments and avert changes that will upset their privileges.
    The substantial curtailment of democracy and national sovereignty, and the loss of the choice to define political targets and means.
    The spiraling depression, depreciating speculation, the fear and widespread insecurity about prospects and the future.

Only a new coalition of political and social forces such as the one that SYRIZA proposes can tackle and overcome these obstacles.

    Because only the long standing values of solidarity, justice, equality and freedom that the Left represents can inspire a spring of hope and open up new prospects.
    Because SYRIZA is the Left of the working people, the unprivileged, the young parents and the social forces who need these changes and transformations.
    Because the Left is a power for the transformation of society, not the temporal management of circumstances. We do not want the state as a trophy, as the parties of the two-party system do, but as a lever for the transformation of society. That is why we must transform the state.
    Only the Left can support a new culture of active participation, a fighting stance against the logic of the citizen as ‘customer,’ and the rationale of ‘contracting’ that requires the citizen to be a passive observer of developments.
    Because only SYRIZA has an alternative plan to the Memoranda, a plan that opens up the prospect of a just and sustainable fiscal consolidation, economic reconstruction, transformation of the state and of politics itself.

We call upon the Greek people to give even greater power and international resonance to our alternative plan with their vote on the 17th of June.

Because we believe firmly that there is a way out, there is hope.

With SYRIZA's alternative plan.
With a powerful SYRIZA.
With society at the forefront.
With a new social and political coalition of power.

Áth Cliath/Dublin 14 Meitheamh/June 2012.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Irish Troops protecting Terrorist training Camps in Kosovo?


In the most shameful yet collaboration by an Irish Government with the aggressive NATO/EU military alliance, Irish troops serving in the NATO/EU organised KFOR occupation force in the province seized from Serbia by NATO/EU aggression in 1999, are by their presence and activity of logistical support for the KFOR armies, supporting terrorist training in camps now recently opened there for Syrian opposition gunmen and former Libyan rebels by the NATO/EU military command at the instigation of the Pentagon and Hilary Clinton’s US State Department. This is part of the US and its Arab League flunkeys’ illegal schemes to destabilise Syria and overthrow the Assad government and replace it with a pro-NATO puppet regime as has been effected in Libya recently.

It is scandalous and outrageous that this further affront to and dilution of Ireland’s long-standing policy of neutrality in international conflicts and support for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes, is being allowed without the knowledge and consent of the Irish people. None of the parties in the present government indicated that they would uphold such a policy in their election manifestos. In fact, to the contrary, the Programme for Government agreed between the Fine Gael and Labour coalition contained a section which announced that, in the case of use of Shannon Airport by the US military in supplying its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, international law would henceforth be enforced at the Airport. It is quite possible that illegal arms supplies for militants in Syria are being transported via Shannon Airport, another breach of international law tolerated by the Irish Government. We don’t know since the Government refuses to have the Gardai search these US aircraft when they land here.

The “independence” of the illegal Kosovo enclave was recognised by former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern T.D. in 2008, contrary to international law. The recognition of Kosovo by  the Irish Government decision followed a resolution by the Kosovo Assembly on 17th February that year to declare Kosovo independent.  Minister Ahern signalled then that he would recommend that the Irish Government recognise its independence.

At the time, Ahern said: “We regret that years of talks failed to produce an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. The reality is that the legacy of the conflict of the late 1990s made the return of Serb dominion in Kosovo unthinkable, and also undermined the prospects for a long-sought compromise. After almost nine years under UN-led interim administration, more than 90% of Kosovo’s population wants independence, and this is supported by most of our partners in the EU, many of whom have already recognised Kosovo.” Ahern failed to state that such “independence” could not be legally established under the UN Charter without the agreement of the Member State whose territory was being claimed by demands for secession.

The scandal of such illegality is now further compounded by the setting up of terrorist training camps in the NATO/EU enclave for the use of  mainly US/Arab League sponsored gunmen for illegal interference in the internal affairs of another UN member state, namely Syria. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has issued a strong condemnation of the illegal activity:
The Russian Foreign Ministry urged international bodies operating in Kosovo to prevent the region from turning into a training ground for Syrian rebels. The Russian ministry said in a statement that the talks covered not only the ways of organising armed resistance against authorities but also the training of Syrian militants in Kosovo. “There are plans to use the areas in Kosovo that resemble the terrain in Syria. The possibility of setting up training camps at the former bases of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is also being discussed,” the statement said. “Transforming Kosovo into an international training ground for armed militants may become a serious destabilising factor that could extend beyond the Balkans,” the document said. “We urge international bodies operating in Kosovo to take all necessary steps to prevent these plans.” A delegation from the Syrian opposition visited Kosovo in April to allegedly make a deal on exchanging experience in guerrilla warfare against the ruling authorities in Syria. So far, the fractured Syrian opposition has been unable to form a steady front against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Albanian authorities in Pristina are denying the existence of the military training camps. However, Syrian activist Ammar Abdulhamid has told the media in Pristina that they will be learning from former members of the KLA how to unite the diverse armed groups in Syria and wage a guerilla war against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. “The example of Kosovo can be inspiring. They had already passed that road and have the necessary experience that is very useful to us. We are especially interested in learning how to gather into one army our dispersed armed groups”, said Abdulhamid. In the meantime, former Libyan rebels have also arrived to the Kosovo enclave, for whom a similar program of “demilitarisation” as was organised for the KLA in the summer of 1999 has been set up. This is just another “cover” for the training of militants for more NATO/EU proxy wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.

 It is well known that for many years there have been firm ties between the Albanian extremists in Kosovo and a large number of Islamic countries, because many Albanians had gone to those countries for religious education. The military training will probably take place in old KLA camps on the border with Albania and other places where there are no more Serbs. Since at issue is the “guerrilla” training, the region of the Prokletije Mountains will likely be used, as it has geographical similarities with the relief in Syria. Also mentioned as the additional training centres are old KLA bases in Kuks and Tropoja, in northern Albania, where the arrival of US “First Response” forces has been announced recently. The region of Macedonia is not excluded either. Heavy pressure has been employed by NATO/EU on the Macedonian Government to “fast track” its membership of the NATO/EU military alliance. However, what is especially concerning in this whole story is the fact that Kosovo will again become a military training ground. In context of the current situation in the region, i.e. the constant raids and attacks on Orthodox communities in Macedonia and frequent extremist attacks on the remaining Serbian population in  northern Kosovo, it could have serious consequences – not only for the Balkans, but on a larger scale, too. 


In 2010, Israeli online news service, Haaretz at, reported that the International Police force, Interpol, had just uncovered evidence that some Israeli operatives had been illegally obtaining Human Organs in Kosovo. Moshe Harel  was among seven indicted for membership of a criminal group trafficking people into Kosovo to remove human organs for transplant; another Israeli citizen, Zaki Shapira,  was identified identified as co-conspirator. At least seven people, including an Israeli citizen, are suspected of involvement in an international network that falsely promised poor people payment for their kidneys and then sold the organs for as much as 100,000 euros ($137,000), according to the indictment.

Five Kosovo nationals, including Ilir Rrecaj, a former senior health ministry official, were charged with five counts, ranging from trafficking in persons to unlawful exercise of medical activity and abuse of power. None of the suspects were in custody. Moshe Harel, an Israeli citizen, and Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez - are listed as wanted by Interpol. Sonmez is the subject of several criminal proceedings in other countries, including Turkey, for human trafficking and removal of organs, according to the indictment.

The prosecution alleged that one of the five, Kosovo surgeon Lutfi Dervishi was the ringleader of the criminal group. It said Dervishi attended a medical conference in Istanbul in 2006 and asked for someone who could perform organ transplants. He was contacted by Sonmez six months later. Dervishi and Sonmez then carried out the operations in the private medical clinic Medicus, managed by Dervishi's son, Arban Dervishi, who is also indicted. Harel was involved in identifying, recruiting and transporting victims and ensuring the delivery of cash payments by electronic bank transfer prior to surgery, the indictment said. Two other doctors, Sokol Hajdini and Driton Jilta are also indicted.

In 2008 investigators closed down the private health clinic where the doctors worked as part of the initial investigation. Kosovo police launched a raid triggered by suspicions that a Turkish man had sold his kidney to an Israeli recipient after he appeared fatigued at Pristina airport trying to board a flight to Turkey. The man, identified in the indictment as Yilman Altun, told Kosovo police at the airport he came to the Balkan country to donate his kidney on invitation from the private clinics. A doctor found Altun was not in good medical condition, and sent him to the Pristina hospital for treatment. When police searched the clinic in November 2008 they found an Israeli citizen in postoperative care, according to the indictment. Police seized medical records and supplies.

Rrecaj was fired from his governmental post after the raids and the suspects were arrested on Nov. 4, 2008. They denied all accusations and were released after 30 days in detention. Soon after the raid, the Belgrade-based daily newspaper Blic alleged that Dervishi was linked to allegations that members of the Kosovo Liberation Army kidnapped Serb civilians and killed them for their organs, which they later sold. The indictment was filed in a local court, according to EU officials who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the case. The officials said the prosecution can still add the names of other suspects to the indictment and details of their alleged crimes.

Such scandalous and despicable criminality is carried on under the noses of more than 20,000 NATO/EU military personnel and 5,000 European police personnel deployed to the Kosovo enclave since 1999, including the detachment of Irish troops and Garda officers.

The Irish Government should immediately withdraw all Irish troops from the Kosovo enclave and end this shameful collaboration with NATO/EU schemes for terrorist sectarian civil war in Syria.

Áth Cliath/Dublin 05 Meitheamh/June 2012.


Monday, June 04, 2012

German secret NUKE deal with Israel


Secret Cooperation: Israel Deploys Nuclear Weapons
on German-Built Submarines revealed by German
news magazine "Der Spiegel"

A German shipyard has already built three submarines for Israel, and three more are planned. Now SPIEGEL has revealed that Israel is arming the submarines with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The German government has known about Israel's nuclear weapons program for decades, despite its official denials. The submarines are built for Israel in a shipyard in Kiel. The advanced Dolphin-class sub combines high-tech diesel and electric power sources. It is among the world’s most advanced submarines and is capable of being converted for launching nuclear weapons.

According to extensive research carried out by the magazine, Israel is equipping submarines that were built in the northern German city of Kiel, and largely paid for by the German government, with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The missiles can be launched using a previously secret hydraulic ejection system. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told SPIEGEL that Germans should be "proud" that they have secured the existence of the state of Israel "for many years."

In the past, the German government has always stuck to the position that it is unaware of nuclear weapons being deployed on the vessels. Now, however, former high-ranking officials from the German Defense Ministry, including former State Secretary Lothar Rühl and former chief of the planning staff Hans Rühle, have told SPIEGEL that they had always assumed that Israel would deploy nuclear weapons on the submarines. Rühl had even discussed the issue with the military in Tel Aviv.

Israel has a policy of not commenting officially on its nuclear weapons program. Documents from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry make it clear, however, that the German government has known about the program since 1961. The last discussion for which there is evidence took place in 1977, when then-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt spoke to then-Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan about the issue.

The submarines are built by the German shipyard Howaldtswerke-Deutsche-Werft (HDW) in Kiel. Three submarines have already been delivered to Israel, and three more will be delivered by 2017. In addition, Israel is considering ordering its seventh, eighth and ninth submarines from Germany.

The German government recently signed the contract for the delivery of the sixth vessel. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, Chancellor Angela Merkel made substantial concessions to the Israelis. Not only is Berlin financing one-third of the cost of the submarine, around €135 million ($168 million), but it is also allowing Israel to defer its payment until 2015.

Merkel had tied the delivery of the sixth submarine to a number of conditions, including a demand that Israel stop its expansionist settlement policy and allow the completion of a sewage treatment plant in the Gaza Strip, which is partially financed with German money. So far, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met none of the terms.

This latest revelation about Israel’s nuclear weapons capability shows the sheer hypocrisy
of the NATO/EU criminal aggressive Alliance which threatens and imposes vicious sanctions on Iran, which doesn’t have any nuclear weapons, while secretly aiding Israel to expand its nuclear weapons forces contrary to the UN Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty which they all have signed up to.

Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA), has recently published in Ireland a well-researched booklet by Dr David Morrrison of Belfast, which exposes this hypocrisy in detail and which is summarised below:


“The United States , European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran 's nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.” (Reuters Special Report, 23 March 2012).

 Iran has no nuclear weapons

 Iran has no nuclear weapons programme

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has said that the possession of nuclear weapons is a “grave sin”

The November 2011 report of the IAEA did not claim that Iran has a nuclear weapons programme

Iran is not in breach of any obligations under the NPT

Uranium enrichment is Iran ’s “inalienable right” under the NPT

The US and its allies are trying to deny Iran its right to uranium enrichment under the NPT
Iran’s nuclear facilities are open to IAEA inspection, Israel ’s are not  A double standard is being applied with regard to nuclear weapons in the Middle East :-

(1)   Iran, which has none, is the object of ferocious economic sanctions and threats of military action;

(2)   Israel, which has many (perhaps as many as 400) and the ability to deliver them to any capital in the Middle East , is the object of over $3 billion a year of military aid.

The US, Israel and others, who are threatening military action against Iran, are in breach of Article 2.4 of the UN Charter, which requires that all UN member states “shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”.

A full version pdf of the booklet can be obtained from the PANA website here:

Some facts about Iran’s nuclear activities

Áth Cliath/Dublin 04 Meitheamh/June 2012.