Thursday, July 02, 2015

Greece: Hour of Destiny?




The decision of European financial authorities to terminate the European Union  bailout of Greece and limit the flow of credit to Greek banks has brought the country to the brink of an economic and financial meltdown. It is the latest stage in a ruthless five-year assault that has imposed draconian austerity measures which have shattered the country’s economy. 
A démarche now exists until after the Greek Referendum next Sunday.

After the EU announced the end of the bailout program, the European Central Bank  declared that it would maintain but not raise the €89 billion cap in emergency liquidity to Greek banks, most of which has already been used. In contradictory moves, the ECB earlier announced the termination of liquidity credit to Greek banks and then reversed that decision today, no doubt following frantic phone calls from Samaras and the Greek Conservatives who are campaigning for a YES vote in the Referendum.. This shows the fear stalking the corridors of the Brussels Dictatorship whose bluff has been called by the Government of Syriza led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, that a massive NO vote in Sunday's Greek Referendum would derail the Neo-liberal Cabal's plans to bring Greece to heel.Tsipras is now in a position to explain to voters, “We acted reasonably to do what we could. Nothing will satisfy them except loss of our sovereignty, our land and mineral wealth, and our power to tax. The IMF and ECB won’t admit their 2010 mistake in not writing down the Greek debts, which stemmed largely from the falsified Goldman-Sachs-Papademos [The Greek Conservatives falsified economic statistics to get Greece into the Eurozone] ploy that got us into the Eurozone in the first place.”

Many readers of the European and American press must be confused about what actually is happening in the negotiations between Greece (Alexis Tsipras and Yannis Varoufakis). The European Troika (the IMF, European Central Bank and European Council now object to the name and want to be called simply “the Institutions”) have stepped up their demands on Syriza.

What is called “negotiation” is in reality a demand for total surrender. The Troika’s demand is to force Syriza to go back on the campaign promises that it made to voters who replaced the old right-wing Pasok (“socialist”) and Conservative New Democracy coalition, or else simply apply the austerity program to which that coalition had agreed:cutbacks in pensions, deeper austerity, more privatisation sell-offs, and a tax shift off business onto labour. In short, economic suicide.

The chairman of the Eurogroup said on Tuesday that Greece was on track to default at midnight and Athens’ stance towards its creditors would have to change before its Euro zone partners could consider any additional financial assistance. Speaking after an emergency conference call between the currency bloc’s finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem said a last-minute request by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to extend Greece’s current bailout programme had fallen on deaf ears.
“We’re beyond that point, it comes too late,” he said. He said that as a member of the Euro zone and European Union, Greece is welcome to request a new assistance programme, but it would come with strings attached. Dijsselbloem is a slimy deceiver who operates under a cloak of bourgeois urbanity.  “That is quite a procedure to go through,” he said. “In the meantime the situation in Greece, the economy, the Greek banks, has deteriorated, unfortunately even more, so that’s a difficult path to consider.” Dijsselbloem, who is also the Netherlands’ finance minister, said any new programme might impose tougher conditions than the previous one. He said that in any case no new programme could be agreed until after Greeks have voted in a referendum on Sunday, and until the government’s attitude changes. “What can change is the political stance of the Greek government that has led to this unfortunate situation,” he said. No evidence there that the “political stance” of himself and the Brussels Dictatorship could change.

In the face of a potential banking collapse, The Greek government has imposed capital controls and declared a week-long bank holiday.The program presented by the EU, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund “troika” amounts to a plan for Greece, already bled white, to commit economic and social suicide.It calls for deep new pension cuts, regressive Value Added Tax increases that will slash workers’ buying power, and the privatisation of energy, port and transport infrastructure. Financial Times columnist Wolfgang Münchau called it “an economic version of Dante’s hell,” adding, “It would have brought about the total economic destruction of Greece.”

In imposing this hell the European financial and political elites have made clear they will stop at nothing as they tear up all democratic norms and principles to impose a dictatorship of capital. The Troika remains intransigent in applying its “structural reforms” no matter what, while Tsipras declines on betraying the Greeks. Greece was supposed to liquidate the four monthly maturities of debt to the IMF (1.5 billion euros) at the end of June and to open a new financing plan for 5.2 billion euros. This month, Athens was due to pay 3.5 billion euros to the European Central Bank, 465 million euros to the IMF and 2 billion euros to additional creditors. Debt and more austerity, in the end impose more debts, this situation puts Greece in a “depressive spiral” that seems not to have an end. The Brussels Dictatorship has no answers as to how the Greek people are going to pay these penal demands.

If the outcome is that Greece is forced to abandon the Euro, the consequences will be dramatic for Greece’s economy and also for the rest of economies in the region, including of course, Germany and France. Berlin fears a massive spread, or, "contagion". If Greece collapses, speculators will bet against the most fragile economies: Finland, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, etc. Considerably affected by the weak economic growth and the deflation (price breakdown), the Eurozone would lose even more confidence from international investors. The ‘aversion to risk’ due to Greece’s exit would provoke an increase in the performance of sovereign bonds (currently at minimum levels). Panic would boost interest rates, severely shrinking the financial liquidity between countries.

Uncertainty would increase and the capital flows would be victim of a ‘butterfly effect’: slight increase of volatility in sovereign bond markets, light drops in stock exchanges and any change in the monetary policy, would be enough to detonate huge turbulences in credit circuits. Nevertheless, the Troika seems determined on backlashing the left’s economic program. Syriza have inaugurated the electoral failure of neoliberalism in Europe and due to that, it has become the lender’s favorite prey, who are ready to impose their will at any price.

This rotten, anti-human, Washington-led system needs to get a cold shower, a slap in the face, a kick in the goolies. Greece undeniably will remain part of Europe; but Greece may also become the gateway to a new Europe of sovereign associated states for which solidarity is a basic principle of the union – a Europe decoupled from the hegemony of the dollar and detached from the fangs of the decaying US Empire. This is what the Brussels Dictatorship, Juncker, Draghi, Mutti Merkel and the rest of the despicable Neo-Liberal Cabal fear most.

Berlin protesters support Greece.

Statement of the International Control Committee of No to War No to NATO

"Solidarity with the Government of Greece is Commitment to Peace!

The EU wants to force the democratically elected Greek government into giving up their election pledges and their renunciation of neoliberal policies which have impoverished the Greek people to an extent unparalleled in Europe. The EU is doing so with brutal political and economic force, with the entire machinery of government and media propaganda and lies, employing deep-rooted prejudices against a destitute population.

Nonetheless, the Greek government pursues a policy of peace:

-          By cutting military spending by more than €200 million - if the institutions allow it;

-          By unveiling the former Greek government’s decade-long corrupt practices with Western politicians and military corporations;

-          By introducing more human asylum policies;

-          By rejecting the sanctions against Russia and by tentatively attempting to develop cooperative relations with her.

We know that the political powers within the EU (and NATO) that wish to bring this Greek government of social alternatives to their knees are the same ones that massively advance the militarisation of Europe, foster interventionist policies in the EU (and NATO) and threaten the poorest of the poor – i.e. refugees – with war in the Mediterranean.

Therefore, as active opponents of war and NATO, we hold that solidarity with Greece is an integral part of the further delegitimisation of NATO.

We appeal to all initiatives and organisations of our network and to the global peace movement:
Join the protests against the neoliberal oppression of Greece!

”Solidarity is the tenderness of the peoples.” (Che Guevara)".

[The international network, No to war – no to NATO, was founded in autumn 2008 to
prepare actions against the NATO summit in Strasbourg/ Kehl in April 2009. A counter
summit, a demonstration and actions of civil disobedience took place. NATO’s aggressive military and nuclear policies were analysed and delegitimised. A vision of a just world free of war was presented. The Stuttgart Appeal was the political framework in which these actions were prepared. The new global NATO strategy, which threatens millions of people and the environment, prevents the demilitarisation of international politics, and blocks solutions to global challenges was rejected.

Since 2009 the network has been present at all NATO Summits: in Lisbon 2010, in Chicago 2012, in Cardiff/ Newport 2014. An end of the militarisation of the EU as a second leg of NATO and its aggressive politics was demanded. The withdrawal of all foreign troops in Afghanistan was also demanded.  The plans of increasing the military budgets to 2% of the GDP and the modernisation of nuclear weapons is condemned.  A reduction of the world wide military expenditures (1.8 Trillon USD) to build a peaceful, just, sustainable world of international solidarity is demanded . The concepts of common security and civil conflict resolution as alternatives to NATO’s politics of war and  a strengthening of civil organisations and structures like UN and OSCE are demanded].

London protesters support Greece.

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