Neoliberalism is a species of fascism
By Manuela Cadelli, President of the Magistrates’ Union of Belgium
The time for rhetorical reservations is over. Things have to be called by their name to make it possible for a co-ordinated democratic reaction to be initiated, above all in the public services.
Liberalism was a doctrine derived from the philosophy of Enlightenment, at once political and economic, which aimed at imposing on the state the necessary distance for ensuring respect for liberties and the coming of democratic emancipation. It was the motor for the arrival, and the continuing progress, of Western democracies.
Neoliberalism is a form of economism in our day that strikes at every moment at every sector of our community. It is a form of extremism.
Fascism may be defined as the subordination of every part of the State to a totalitarian and nihilistic ideology.
I argue that neoliberalism is a species of fascism because the economy has brought under subjection not only the government of democratic countries but also every aspect of our thought.
The state is now at the disposal of the economy and of finance, which treat it as a subordinate and lord over it to an exte
nt that puts the common good in jeopardy.
The austerity that is demanded by the financial milieu has become a supreme value, replacing politics. Saving money precludes pursuing any other public objective. It is reaching the point where claims are being made that the principle of budgetary orthodoxy should be included in state constitutions. A mockery is being made of the notion of public service.
The nihilism that results from this makes possible the dismissal of universalism and the most evident humanistic values: solidarity, fraternity, integration and respect for all and for differences.
There is no place any more even for classical economic theory: work was formerly an element in demand, and to that extent there was respect for workers; international finance has made of it a mere adjustment variable.
Every totalitarianism starts as distortion of language, as in the novel by George Orwell. Neoliberalism has its Newspeak and strategies of communication that enable it to deform reality. In this spirit, every budgetary cut is represented as an instance of modernization of the sectors concerned. If some of the most deprived are no longer reimbursed for medical expenses and so stop visiting the dentist, this is modernization of social security in action!
Abstraction predominates in public discussion so as to occlude the implications for human beings.
Thus, in relation to migrants, it is imperative that the need for hosting them does not lead to public appeals that our finances could not accommodate. Is it In the same way that other individuals qualify for assistance out of considerations of national solidarity?
The cult of evaluation
Social Darwinism predominates, assigning the most stringent performance requirements to everyone and everything: to be weak is to fail. The foundations of our culture are overturned: every humanist premise is disqualified or demonetized because neoliberalism has the monopoly of rationality and realism. Margaret Thatcher said it in 1985: “There is no alternative.” Everything else is utopianism, unreason and regression. The virtue of debate and conflicting perspectives are discredited because history is ruled by necessity.
This subculture harbours an existential threat of its own: shortcomings of performance condemn one to disappearance while at the same time everyone is charged with inefficiency and obliged to justify everything. Trust is broken. Evaluation reigns, and with it the bureaucracy which imposes definition and research of a plethora of targets, and indicators with which one must comply. Creativity and the critical spirit are stifled by management. And everyone is beating his breast about the wastage and inertia of which he is guilty.
The neglect of justice
The neoliberal ideology generates a normativity that competes with the laws of parliament. The democratic power of law is compromised. Given that they represent a concrete embodiment of liberty and emancipation, and given the potential to prevent abuse that they impose, laws and procedures have begun to look like obstacles.
The power of the judiciary, which has the ability to oppose the will of the ruling circles, must also be checkmated. The Belgian judicial system is in any case underfunded. In 2015 it came last in a European ranking that included all states located between the Atlantic and the Urals. In two years the government has managed to take away the independence given to it under the Constitution so that it can play the counterbalancing role citizens expect of it. The aim of this undertaking is clearly that there should no longer be justice in Belgium.
A caste above the Many
But the dominant class doesn’t prescribe for itself the same medicine it wants to see ordinary citizens taking: well-ordered austerity begins with others. The economist Thomas Piketty has perfectly described this in his study of inequality and capitalism in the twenty-first century (French edition, Seuil, 2013).
In spite of the crisis of 2008 and the hand-wringing that followed, nothing was done to police the financial community and submit them to the requirements of the common good. Who paid? Ordinary people, you and me.
And while the Belgian State consented to 7 billion-euro ten-year tax breaks for multinationals, ordinary litigants have seen surcharges imposed on access to justice (increased court fees, 21% taxation on legal fees). From now on, to obtain redress the victims of injustice are going to have to be rich.
All this in a state where the number of public representatives breaks all international records. In this particular area, no evaluation and no costs studies are reporting profit. One example: thirty years after the introduction of the federal system, the provincial institutions survive. Nobody can say what purpose they serve. Streamlining and the managerial ideology have conveniently stopped at the gates of the political world.
The security ideal
Terrorism, this other nihilism that exposes our weakness in affirming our values, is likely to aggravate the process by soon making it possible for all violations of our liberties, all violations of our rights, to circumvent the powerless qualified judges, further reducing social protection for the poor, who will be sacrificed to “the security ideal”.
Salvation in commitment
These developments certainly threaten the foundations of our democracy, but do they condemn us to discouragement and despair?
Certainly not. 500 years ago, at the height of the defeats that brought down most Italian states with the imposition of foreign occupation for more than three centuries, Niccolo Machiavelli urged virtuous men to defy fate and stand up against the adversity of the times, to prefer action and daring to caution. The more tragic the situation, the more it necessitates action and the refusal to “give up” (The Prince, Chapters XXV and XXVI).
This is a teaching that is clearly required today. The determination of citizens attached to the radical of democratic values is an invaluable resource which has not yet revealed, at least in Belgium, its driving potential and power to change what is presented as inevitable. Through social networking and the power of the written word, everyone can now become involved, particularly when it comes to public services, universities, the student world, the judiciary and the Bar, in bringing the common good and social justice into the heart of public debate and the administration of the state and the community.
Neoliberalism is a species of fascism. It must be fought and humanism fully restored.
Published in the Belgian daily Le Soir, 3.3.2016
translated from French by Wayne Hall
The panic on the outcome of the referendum in favor of Brexit continues. And what didn’t we hear over the last days? The stupidity is so absolute that it transcends all previous.
We hear that “those who voted for Brexit are nationalists and right-wing”. The truth is that the majority of the British and especially the working classes – starting with the traditional working class in the old British industrial centers, today swept by mass poverty and unemployment – voted in favor of maintaining the nation state and against the supranational imperialist EU construct.
This was the main argument of the campaign in favor of Brexit. Who do you want to have the control? You, the British citizen, or the inaccessible EU bureaucracy that is not accountable to anyone? The majority of Britons answered especially at this question – as mentioned – the most fatigued layers of the people, replied with the overwhelming rates of over 60% that the control should be in their hands.
The vote therefore in favor of Brexit was primarily a class vote, as it derived mainly from the British working classes and at the same time it was national because their expectation for a radical change was concentrated on a national independence claim. And therefore whatever the mourners of the European Reich say, the vote in favor of Brexit was deeply democratic.
The working classes understood from pure class intuition that the main issue is who makes the decisions. And the nation state was created – first and foremost by its own working classes – just to ensure the active participation of every citizen of the nation in the creation of the state.
That is why the nation state became the cradle of the revival of the struggle for democracy, but also a special area of the class struggle. That is the struggle of the working classes for social and political conquests. Conquests acquired only and exclusively within the framework of the nation state.
The EU Parliament is nothing more than the alibi of the absolutism of Brussels. This is a revival of the medieval parliaments, which the monarch convened in order to get the approval of his subjects on policy choices. And unsurprisingly, who was there as a representative of the kingdom’s population risked his head, going against the monarch, or gained privileges and riches if proved to be a loyal subject.
About root causes and basic reasons to the refugee crisis and terrorism
Today the entire world is in mourning after the attacks in Paris – Today 60 million human beings are displaced by war and extreme poverty.
When exactly does the continuous hypocrisy of the leading western governments become disgusting and extremely offensive? It has to be when their media, and not our ability to think for ourselves, decides what we should get shocked and outraged about and what we should ignore and look away from.
The governments in many European countries are responding to the refugee crisis and the terror attacks as their obvious values and principles suggests, with racist hysteria and policies backed by police and military aggressivity under martial law. The western public opinion must finally dare to dismiss and look beyond the monotonous, hackneyed western tale about evil dictators and terrorists, their local conflicts and the benevolent, “good and helpful” western, democratic genies.
One could read in the Independent a month ago: “Refugees have been seeking safe haven in the West for years. Recently, however, something has changed. Thousands have become millions, as nation after nation succumbs to anarchy and fanaticism”.
The basic reasons to why they succumb to fanaticism is really never satisfactory explained, besides the western tale about the cruel, local dictators and fundamentalist terrorists that hates western freedom. Facts are left out of the mainstream reporting: the role of criminal wars, disastrous neoliberal economics, and why mass displacement is a permanent feature under this system. Things are never really explained because in accordance with the western, self-glorifying supremacy dogma, the leading western governments don’t need to explain or admit any real responsibilities to the nations their precursors and themselves have teared apart.
Root causes are hidden within the western supremacy policies
Enforced neoliberal, strategic and economic “development plans” that tie the shattered nations and their people’s hands and feet to these same western governments, has clearly nothing to do with either refugees or global terrorism. Because when the neoliberal economists and ministers again have concluded Thatcher’s “TINA-doctrine”, “there is no alternative”, good people understand that so they kneel, suffer and die quietly. Only bad, evil people doesn’t accept and even have the nerves to resist the genocidal conditions and the “necessary human costs” of the western, private bank and cartel labelled “development plans”.
So instead of taking the opportunity to announce real responsibilities, the western leaders talk about French, American and western noble values and principles. As if we are stupid and can’t see for ourselves which distorted and spineless kind of “nobleness” they mean. And how hideously, greedy, racist and hypocritical they practice their alleged values and principles.
History proves that practically ALL ethnic cleansings, genocides, civil wars and wars in the regions that refugees currently flee from, was caused, instigated, provoked and often actually organized by the main European colonial and postcolonial Powers. These western, imperialist geostrategic and geopolitical sentiments, policies and methods has been kept alive and nurtured through “life support” (conservatism, militarism) and in “greenhouses”(secret societies, fascist dictatorships) by old imperialists, royalists and various European and American nationalsocialist and fascist movements.
With the new century and the continuation of the monotonous, neoliberal policies, this has escalated into conditions that I believe we all had hoped to never again experience.
Why is this still happening, you might ask?
Because the warmongering Conservatives, Christian Right and Extreme Right, in the leading European nations, are longing for a “crusade” that they believe would re-establish their colonial control and power. But this time over the entire world. They have emerged through the two World Wars from the rivalling old European Empires & Kingdoms*1 and their financial, clergy and military elite. [*1 – Before 1918 they were named Austro-Hungarian Empire, German Empire, French Republic, Kingdom of Italy, British Empire, USA].
“The European basic values and principles are said to have been inspired and adopted from Greek culture, history, thinking and literature, but European history quite clearly proves that in practice it is the three German Reich’s that has shaped the actual basic values and principles of the European societies. From the ninth century and onward, no other culture has determined the entire continent’s fate as much as those three German dynasties.
Almost all the genocides, civil wars and wars in post-Roman, European history are direct results of the three dynasties that these men established.
- Charlemagne or Charles the Great – 9th century – 1st Reich or the “the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation” lasted ca 800 years
- Vilhelm I – 19th century – 2nd Reich or “Hohenzollern Germany” lasted ca 50 years
- Adolf Hitler – 20th century – 3rd Reich or “Nazi-Germany” lasted 13 years
These dynasties escorted and pushed the European folk-spirit into the darkest, most corrupt, perverted “caves” of human thinking and human emotional life. To such extent that its rulers with their cultural-ideological “offspring” could start the Crusades, the Catholic Inquisition, the Thirty Year’s War, The Balkan Wars and two World Wars. Two world wars that in their actual essence were triggered and launched to prevent any possibility of a feared European peoples rebellion against the Royals, the imperialists, their court’s and “Mammon’s” tyrannic dogmas and doctrines. This is highly relevant to what the current EU and US are triggering again and why.
These old colonial/neoliberal policies, strategies, tactics and methods of the western powers, must finally be fully exposed, debated and perceived by the independent media as the root causes and basic reasons for both terrorism and refugee crises.
Ever since the term “War on Terror” (WoT) was first used by George W Bush September 20, 2001 we have seen increasing wars, civil wars, massacres, ethnic cleansings and hordes of refugees fleeing from the affected regions. We can all easily conclude that we find ourselves in a far more unstable and dangerous world now than before 9/11, 2001. A long and unsuccessful campaign, allegedly to destroy al-Qaeda and other militant Islamist organizations, has brought the world to the brink of WWIII.
Barack Obama, changed the interpretation and meaning of the term “War on Terror” in 2013 from a general war tactic to a specified and targeted one. He stated, “We must define our effort not as a boundless ‘Global War on Terror’, but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America”. After 12 years of general US/NATO/mercenary-terror in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen, after the crude dehumanization and demonization of entire folk groups and social classes and after the attack on western human and civil rights, he doesn’t need to clarify WoT or specify targets. He and the western leaders need to answer humanity on these questions now:
- WHO is going to take real responsibility for the dramatic “mistakes” and the clear deliberate crimes of 12 years of US-led, ghost-chasing campaigns, that has left millions of innocent, dead bodies around Asia, the Middle East and Africa?
- WHO is going to take real responsibility, for the current ca 7 million refugees from these countries that are fleeing to the west and the 60 million that are displaced?
- WHO is going to take real responsibility for the root causes and the basic reasons for terror attacks carried out in Middle Eastern and western cities?
To nuance the self-righteous, western citizen’s exaggerated self-image as a democratic philanthropist a bit, I am pointing out, that the practically unchallenged, but very real, geopolitical and geostrategic goals of Bush’s WoT-campaign and Obama’s interpretation of the same are:
- to deduct pipelines, control trade routes and take over the geographical regions between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea, because they are rich on natural resources and energy sources.
- to clear the area from large populations of its inhabitants for the long planned geostrategic moves of USA, EU, Israel and NATO against Iran, Arab world, Russia and China.
- to destroy every labour law that the American and European democratic, solidarity-, liberty-, human rights- and labour-movements have achieved since the end of the nineteenth century. It is about tearing down the workers rights, minimum wages, health care, social insurances, pensions and instead encourage and establish a pure “peon and slave market” to replace the labor markets.
- to destroy the last basic democratic principles, constitutions, human rights, international laws, treaties and conventions and instead gradually reform and legislate a totalitarian and ruthless control-state against the people, “to avoid chaos and protect us from terrorists”.
The average European and American citizen meanwhile, have just hovered around “in the blue”, day-dreaming of riches, never-ending pleasures and fame. He have been polishing on his narcissism, his megalomania, his supremacy tale and his racism, while his government is committing criminal act after criminal act against other nations and people’s.
There is no hope for any real positive change, unless the American and European citizens learn to mourn also the others’ innocent dead.
Most people around the world have come to the very logical conclusion, that the countries and governments that are so keen on causing all these problems, due to their neoliberal, geostrategic aims, should also take the main responsibility for the refugees and the root causes behind them. They see, even if they don’t dare to speak out, that USA/EU/NATO measures, policies and actions are state-sanctioned terror against other nations and against its own populations.
The known Wall Street-, White House-, Downing Street- and Brussels/Berlin-cooked, criminal strategies, tactics and methods that the western media defends, justifies, white-washes and cover up, over the last fifteen years are:
- false flag operations (blame a spectacular terror act on other than the actual perpetrator, to provoke revolution, civil war or war – usually intelligence-engineered and organized)
- financial terrorism (CIA-agents forces neo-colonial “treaties and agreements” on a nation. They offer financial “help” through extortion, imposing debts to takeover physical wealth and natural resources of a nation)
- “colour revolutions” (western intelligence services carries out grass roots-takeover actions with NGO-organized fake revolutions, known as colour revolutions, in order to distort and divide any democratic attempts and demands of the people in a nation (Libya, Ukraine and Syria are just few such examples)
- covert, regime change operations in sovereign nations
- arming and training of dictators, torturers and death squads that carries out mass arrests, interrogations by torture, political assassinations, mass killings and ethnic cleansings
- provocating and causing “convenient” civil wars by US-mercenary led massacres (Libya, Syria, Kenya, Ukraine)
- illegal wars (sanctions and invasions of nations based on lies – Iraq, Libya)
- proxy wars (military aggression on commission – others than own army are fighting ones war)
- soft coups (infiltration and corruption of a whole political elite in a nation, that can lead to democratic meltdown in that nation)
- military coups (when geostrategic or geopolitical US policies are unpopular and resisted)
It is disgraceful, that these criminal strategies, tactics and methods, are not perceived as the main root causes and basic reasons behind the current refugee and terror situation.
Now when crocodile tears are shed by our leaders for the refugees and TV-monkeys in reality are dishonoring the terror victims and their families’ mourning, we must dare to really honor both them, as well as any other innocent victims on this planet. We must therefore openly direct questions about the true Basic Reasons and Root Causes, and we must demand real responsibilities for their crimes from our governments.
There is no hope for any real positive change, unless the American and European citizens learn to mourn also the others’ innocent dead, and to condemn also the terror acts of their own leaders.
Except intro-text, epilogue and translation to English, which I added to the original, this is a videoclip from the show on the Greek TV-channel Alfpha, Ελληνοφρένεια 16-11-15
“This short video clip gives a human angle to the hysteria ‘enveloping’ the “Paris Attacks”, and urges the global, Public Opinion to THINK. It breathes decency, reverence and respect for also the others´ grief, pain and suffering. – This is “Ellinofreneia’s” very simple way to display things in its right perspectives – Perpectives that, as opposed to the the current genocidal, warmongering, ARE compatable with a Human Civilization.”
Most reasonable people around the world have come to the very rational and logical conclusion, that the nations and the Governments that are “so keen on” causing all this suffering and deaths – because of their geopolitical and geostrategic urges and goals – should exactly therefore take the main legal, moral, political, economic and social responsibility for the refugees and the ROOT CAUSES behind the phenomnons that create them.
There is truly no hope for any real PEACE, unless the European and American citizens learn to mourn also the others’ innocent dead,… and to be shocked and outraged also by the terror acts of THEIR OWN governments.
UPF’s (EPAM’s) proposal for a stop to the drowning of innocent people
While EU is pretending to address the refugee crisis by summits and by erecting walls, numerous innocent kids and grown-ups drown in the Aegean, in their attempt to live in safety away from wars. At the same time the Greek government sheds crocodile tears, pretending to care. Turkey allows human traffickers to act unhindered, leading to the death of hundreds of refugees.
UPF (EPAM) proposes the following measures to stop refugees’ deaths:
- To denounce Turkey’s flagrant collaboration with traffickers and to have sanctions imposed against Turkey, noting that this collaboration goes back several years.
- To strictly implement international law and UN conventions for the processing of refugees at countries of entry. This means that refugees are entitled to asylum at the first country of entry. This country is Turkey. Refusal by Turkey to offer asylum to the refugees — as dictated by international treaties and laws — and of appropriate travel documents should result in penalties from the international community.
- The Greek government is obliged to defend its sovereignty and to have the exclusive responsibility of directing and handling the crisis placing under its direct control and coordination the actions of volunteers, NGOs, private initiatives and international contributions. The exploitative unaccountable actions of suspect “humanitarian” organizations who victimize innocent refugees to either collect subsidies, or to serve geopolitical interests, has to be stopped.
- To denounce or to suspend the Dublin Convention and to deal with the crisis not as an internal EU problem, but as an international one. As a consequence, the responsibility for the solution chosen and the transfer of the people must involve the international community with the responsibility of the United Nations. It is inconceivable that there are states, like the USA, that are involved in the wars that create this unprecedented flow of refugees and immigrants and then wash their hands clean of the blame.
- If some of the States-members refuse to accept refugees, then to denounce such acts at the international community and international organizations as being complicit to mass murder, which constitutes a crime against humanity.
Human lives cannot be saved by words and conferences. Only with specific actions we can avoid human deaths.
UPF (ΕPAM) proposes such specific actions.
UPF (EPAM) Political Secretariat, November 5, 2015
The entire interview here:
Charlie Rose told lie after lie for his CIA masters! If you see nothing else go to the 6:53 mark in the interview and watch Putin absolutely DESTROY Charlie Rose and the Fake News outlet 60 Minutes on the issue of Ukraine! Charlie Rose actually has the gall to ask Putin if he believes the US had something to do with the coup! This has been admitted by George Soros who said we paid $5 billion to take out Ukraine! There have been releases of telephone conversations from US puppets in Ukraine bragging about it!
Go to 6:53 to see Putin destroy the lies of the fake news! He hints about the US doing an illegal coups in Ukraine and other countries. At which point, disgusting Rose says ”You believe the US had something to do with the ousting of Yanukovch?”
Putin responds with
“We Know Who and Where, When, Who Exactly Met with Someone and worked with those that ousted Yanukovch, how they were supported, how much they were paid, how they were trained, where, in what countries and who those instructors were, we know everything!” (at this point Charlie has to insert that for the record the lying US government denies any involvement!) (what a joke!)
Η νέα κυβέρνηση έχει κάνει δύο σημαντικές ομολογίες:
ότι μας πάει κατά διαόλου, και ότι το κάνει κατά… λάθος…!
Βέβαια, και οι προηγούμενες κυβερνήσεις παραδέχτηκαν
εν μέρη τα εγκληματικά “λάθη” τους, αλλά κατόπιν εορτής…
Αυτή η κυβέρνηση τα ομολογεί την ώρα που τα ψηφίζει…!
Μπράβο της λοιπόν, για την ειλικρίνεια…!
Όποιος πάντως δεν θέλει να είναι θύμα και του νέου “λάθους”,
αν αντέξει τα πρώτα 3’ του βίντεο, θα δει και τις λύσεις…!
Καλή Δύναμη και Καλή Λευτεριά…!
Το βίντεο είναι πρωτοβουλία μελών του Ε.ΠΑ.Μ. Πάτρας…
The poor and the working class in the United States know what it is to be Greek. They know underemployment and unemployment. They know life without a pension. They know existence on a few dollars a day. They know gas and electricity being turned off because of unpaid bills. They know the crippling weight of debt. They know being sick and unable to afford medical care. They know the state seizing their meager assets, a process known in the United States as “civil asset forfeiture,” which has permitted American police agencies to confiscate more than $3 billion in cash and property. They know the profound despair and abandonment that come when schools, libraries, neighborhood health clinics, day care services, roads, bridges, public buildings and assistance programs are neglected or closed. They know the financial elites’ hijacking of democratic institutions to impose widespread misery in the name of austerity. They, like the Greeks, know what it is to be abandoned.
The Greeks and the U.S. working poor endure the same deprivations because they are being assaulted by the same system—corporate capitalism. There are no internal constraints on corporate capitalism. And the few external constraints that existed have been removed. Corporate capitalism, manipulating the world’s most powerful financial institutions, including the Eurogroup, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve, does what it is designed to do: It turns everything, including human beings and the natural world, into commodities to be exploited until exhaustion or collapse. In the extraction process, labor unions are broken, regulatory agencies are gutted, laws are written by corporate lobbyists to legalize fraud and empower global monopolies, and public utilities are privatized. Secret trade agreements—which even elected officials who view the documents are not allowed to speak about—empower corporate oligarchs to amass even greater power and accrue even greater profits at the expense of workers. To swell its profits, corporate capitalism plunders, represses and drives into bankruptcy individuals, cities, states and governments. It ultimately demolishes the structures and markets that make capitalism possible. But this is of little consolation for those who endure its evil. By the time it slays itself it will have left untold human misery in its wake.
The Greek government kneels before the bankers of Europe begging for mercy because it knows that if it leaves the eurozone, the international banking system will do to Greece what it did to the socialist government of Salvador Allende in 1973 in Chile; it will, as Richard Nixon promised to do in Chile, “make the economy scream.” The bankers will destroy Greece. If this means the Greeks can no longer get medicine—Greece owes European drug makers 1 billion euros—so be it. If this means food shortages—Greece imports thousands of tons of food from Europe a year—so be it. If this means oil and gas shortages—Greece imports 99 percent of its oil and gas—so be it. The bankers will carry out economic warfare until the current Greek government is ousted and corporate political puppets are back in control.
Human life is of no concern to corporate capitalists. The suffering of the Greeks, like the suffering of ordinary Americans, is very good for the profit margins of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs. It was, after all, Goldman Sachs—which shoved subprime mortgages down the throats of families it knew could never pay the loans back, sold the subprime mortgages as investments to pension funds and then bet against them—that orchestrated complex financial agreements with Greece, many of them secret. These agreements doubled the debt Greece owes under derivative deals and allowed the old Greek government to mask its real debt to keep borrowing. And when Greece imploded, Goldman Sachs headed out the door with suitcases full of cash.
The system of unfettered capitalism is designed to callously extract money from the most vulnerable and funnel it upward to the elites. This is seen in the mounting fines and fees used to cover shortfalls in city and state budgets. Corporate capitalism seeks to privatize all aspects of government service, from education to intelligence gathering. The U.S. Postal Service appears to be next. Parents already must pay hundreds of dollars for their public-school children to take school buses, go to music or art classes and participate in sports or other activities. Fire departments, ambulance services, the national parks system are all slated to become fodder for corporate profit. It is the death of the civil society.
Criminal justice is primarily about revenue streams for city and state governments in the United States rather than about justice or rehabilitation. The poor are arrested and fined for minor infractions in Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere; for not mowing their lawns; for putting their feet on seats of New York City subway cars. If they cannot pay the fines, as many cannot, they go to jail. In jail they are often charged room and board. And if they can’t pay this new bill they go to jail again. It is a game of circular and never-ending extortion of the poor. Fines that are unpaid accrue interest and generate warrants for arrest. Poor people often end up owing thousands of dollars for parking or traffic violations.
Fascist and communist firing squads sometimes charged the victim’s family for the bullets used in the execution. In corporate capitalism, too, the abusers extract payment; often the money goes to private corporations that carry out probation services or prison and jail administration. The cost of being shot with a stun gun ($26) or of probation services ($35 to $100 a month) or of an electronic ankle bracelet ($11 a month) is vacuumed out of the pockets of the poor. And all this is happening in what will one day be seen as the good times. Wait until the financial house of cards collapses again—what is happening in China is not a good sign—and Wall Street runs for cover. Then America will become Greece on steroids.
“We are a nation that has turned its welfare system into a criminal system,” write Karen Dolan and Jodi L. Carr in an Institute for Policy Studies report titled “The Poor Get Prison.” “We criminalize life-sustaining activities of people too poor to afford shelter. We incarcerate more people than any other nation in the world. And we institute policies that virtually bar them for life from participating in society once they have done their time. We have allowed the resurgence of debtors’ prisons. We’ve created a second-tier public education system for poor children and black and Latino children that disproportionally criminalizes their behavior and sets them early onto the path of incarceration and lack of access to assistance and opportunity.”
The corporate dismantling of civil society is nearly complete in Greece. It is far advanced in the United States. We, like the Greeks, are undergoing a political war waged by the world’s oligarchs. No one elected them. They ignore public opinion. And, as in Greece, if a government defies the international banking community it is targeted for execution. The banks do not play by the rules of democracy.
Our politicians are corporate employees. And if you get dewy-eyed about the possibility of the U.S. having its first woman president, remember that it was Hillary Clinton’s husband who decimated manufacturing jobs with the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement and then went on to destroy welfare with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which halted federal cash aid programs and imposed time-limited, restrictive state block grants. Under President Bill Clinton, most welfare recipients—and 70 percent of those recipients were children—were dropped from the rolls. The prison-industrial complex exploded in size as its private corporations swallowed up surplus, unemployed labor, making $40,000 or more a year from each person held in a cage. The population of federal and state prisons combined rose by 673,000 under Clinton. He, along with Ronald Reagan, set the foundations for the Greecification of the United States.
The destruction of Greece, like the destruction of America, by the big banks and financial firms is not, as the bankers claim, about austerity or imposing rational expenditures or balanced budgets. It is not about responsible or good government. It is a vicious form of class warfare. It is profoundly anti-democratic. It is about forming nations of impoverished, disempowered serfs and a rapacious elite of all-powerful corporate oligarchs, backed by the most sophisticated security and surveillance apparatus in human history and a militarized police that shoots unarmed citizens with reckless abandon. The laws and rules it imposes on the poor are, as Barbara Ehrenreich has written, little more than “organized sadism.”
Corporate profit is God. It does not matter who suffers. In Greece 40 percent of children live in poverty, there is a 25 percent unemployment rate and the unemployment figure for those between the ages of 15 and 24 is nearly 50 percent. And it will only get worse.
The economic and political ideology that convinced us that organized human behavior should be determined by the dictates of the global marketplace was a con game. We were the suckers. The promised prosperity from trickle-down economics and the free market instead concentrated wealth among a few and destroyed the working and the middle classes along with all vestiges of democracy. Corrupt governments, ignoring the common good and the consent of the governed, abetted this pillage. The fossil fuel industry was licensed to ravage the ecosystem, threatening the viability of the human species, while being handed lavish government subsidies. None of this makes sense.
The mandarins that maintain this system cannot respond rationally in our time of crisis. They are trained only to make the system of exploitation work. They are blinded by their insatiable greed and neoliberal ideology, which posits that controlling inflation, privatizing public assets and removing trade barriers are the sole economic priorities. They are steering us over a cliff.
We will not return to a rational economy or restore democracy until these global speculators are stripped of power. This will happen only if the streets of major cities in Europe and the United States are convulsed with mass protests. The tyranny of these financial elites knows no limits. They will impose ever greater suffering and repression until we submit or revolt. I prefer the latter. But we don’t have much time.
The Greek debt, as such, is mostly not Greek debt. The debt which Germany and other nations are demanding that they pay for, is money that the Greeks never got! So the Greeks don’t owe that money. This was a swindle, because the Greeks didn’t incur that debt.
Lyndon LaRouche, Feb. 17, 2015
What Americans need to know about Greece and “its debt,” is that the new Greek government is asking the European Union to shut down a huge Wall Street-London bank swindle and make economic growth possible again in Europe.
If that doesn’t happen, the worsening bankruptcy of the whole trans-Atlantic banking system will continue to generate desperate confrontations with major powers Russia and China, with the threat of world war.
The rest of Europe, so far, is refusing to shut that Wall Street swindle down, and today Obama’s Treasury Secretary Jack Lew backed up that refusal, including by a threatening phone call to the Greek finance minister.
What Obama, Merkel, et al. are demanding Greece do, instead of shutting down this Europe-wide swindle by the banks, is run a budget surplus of 4.5% of its annual economy, exclusively to pay the “Greek debt.” In U.S. terms? That would mean the United States running a government tax surplus of $750 billion a year, in order to pay down debt. You won’t hear Obama or Lew volunteering to try it; it is impossible.
The “Greek debt” swindle is the same one as the TARP bailout here, and the Federal Reserve’s printing of $4 trillion in new money to cover Wall Street’s debts; and its perpetrators are the same huge banks.
In the United States, the big banks took millions of subprime, unrepayable mortgages sold by their captive mortgage companies, and made them into toxic securities which blew up the financial system and the whole economy in 2008; the government bailed them out, while our living standards plunged.
In Europe, the banks bought the mortgage securities from the U.S. banks. At the same time they made millions of unrepayable subprime loans of their own — not only to homeowners, but also to governments without the means to repay them, like those of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Hungary, and others. Big Wall Street banks were involved, particularly Goldman Sachs, which created “magic” derivatives: Take a bank loan to Greece, make it look like a mere “currency swap” rather than a debt — but turn it into a much bigger debt ten years later.
All this European subprime debt blew up on the big banks in 2009, a year after the U.S. subprime debt blew up on them. Then the European governments allsuperindebted themselves, to create a $1 trillion “European TARP” called by the initials EFSF. They bailed the megabanks out, with the IMF pitching in, using “only” about $600 billion to pay the unpayable “subprime government debt” part of it. $275 billion paid “Greek debt.”
This immense bank bailout got passed through the Greek, Irish, etc. governments, which passed it immediately on to the banks which had been their “subprime lenders.”
We have to spill this thing as a leading issue in the U.S. You can sink Wall Street on this one. If you sink the Greek swindle, you’re going to start a chain-reaction explosion of the international trans-Atlantic system, like the Wall Street system and similar things, the British andothers. They are the ones who owe the debt, not the Greeks.
The Greek debt swindle was classic. In 2009 Greece’s debt was $300 billion. It then “got” two huge bailouts in 2010 and 2012, of about $140 billion each. Less than 10% of that $275 billion stayed in Greece and was spent by the Greek government; more than 90% went directly and immediately to Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, and their fellow sharks, with small amounts crumbling to the hedge funds swimming alongside. Former Greek Labor and Social Security Minister Louka Katseli has given documentation that the Greek government actually got to spend or invest just 3% of that $275 billion. The only banks which had to write off their “Greek debt” were Greek banks; all of Wall Street and the London-centered banks got their toxic debt “assets” guaranteed 100% by this European bailout swindle. This made the Greek banks so bankrupt that the Greek government then had to borrow more to bail them out with $50 billion — so Greece’s debt was increased when supposedly being reduced! A total swindle!
Then, between 2010 and today, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, etc. were ordered to pay the bill for this huge new Europe-wide bank bailout debt. They imposed a slashing domestic austerity until their people emigrated, death rates rose and birth rates fell, and clouds of wood smoke rose over modern cities whose inhabitants could no longer afford modern heat. After five years of this punishment, Greece’s $300 billion debt has become $350 billion or so — after $250 billion passed through to the banks!
And the other European countries are also on the hook for this phony debt, all of it. They guaranteed it; Greece and Ireland and the other austerity-crushed countries can’t pay it, so the rest of Europe must either agree to reorganize that debt and write it down, or their taxpayers will pay for the swindle.
This is why the new Greek government now demands that Europe shut down this global bank swindle: Write off the unpayable debt; invest in reviving economic productivity by building new economic infrastructure.
In addition, the megabanks have to be put through a Glass-Steagall reorganization and broken up.
To which Lyndon LaRouche has added:
“This thing has to be put loud and clear on every doorstep in the United States. If you want to avoid World War III, that’s what you’ll do.”
Meanwhile, in Ukraine, after the forces of the fascist Kiev regime fled under fire today from encircled Debaltsevo, an actual ceasefire is now in effect, however fragile, and heavy weapons are being withdrawn from the front lines by both sides, as agreed by the leaders of the French, German, Ukrainian, and Russian governments at Minsk last week. To make it an enduring ceasefire, all we need do now, is immediately remove Nazi Victoria Nuland from the State Department.
Greek journalist Michael Nevradakis and US investigative journalist Greg Palast have a different take on the Greek ‘No’ vote against Europe’s cruel austerity demands.
By Michael Nevradakis in Athens with Greg Palast in New York | Oped-News
We Greeks have voted ‘No’ to slavery – but ‘Yes’ to our chains.
Not surprisingly, by nearly two-to-one, Greeks have overwhelmingly rejected the cruel, economically bonkers “austerity” program required by the European Central Bank in return for an ECB loan to pay Greece’s creditors. In doing so, the Greek people overcame an unprecedented campaign of fear from the Greek and international media, the European Union (EU), and most of our political parties.
What’s simply whack-o is that, while voting “No” to austerity, many Greeks wish to remain shackled to the euro, the very cause of our miseries.
Resistance, not Crisis
Before we explain how the euro is the cause of this horror show, let’s clear up one thing right away. All week, worldwide media was filled with news of the Greek “crisis.” Yes, the economy stinks, with one in four Greeks unemployed. But two other euro nations, Spain and Cyprus, also are suffering this depression level of unemployment. Indeed, more than 11% of workers in seven euro nations, including Portugal and Italy, are out of work.
But unlike Greece, these other suffering nations have quietly acquiesced to their “austerity” punishments. Spaniards now accept that they are fated forevermore to be low-paid servants to beer-barfing British tourists. Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, who has enacted a draconian protest ban at home to keep his own suffering masses at bay, has joined in the jackal-pack rejecting anything but the harshest of austerity terms for Greece.
The difference between these quiescent nations and Greece is that the Greeks won’t take it anymore.
What the media calls the Greek “crisis” is, in fact, resistance.
Resistance to nowhere
But it’s a resistance whose leaders are leading them nowhere.
For decades, Greeks have suffered governments that are both corrupt and dishonest. The election of SYRIZA changed all that: the government is now merely dishonest.
Our new SYRIZA Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, correctly called the austerity plan “blackmail.” However, before Sunday’s vote, Tsipras told the nation a big fat fib. He said we could vote down the European Bank’s plan but keep the European Bank’s coin, the euro. How? Tsipras won’t say; it’s part of a policy ploy his outgoing finance minister Yanis Varoufakis calls “creative ambiguity.” To translate: Creative ambiguity is Greek for “bullshit.”
Sorry, Alexis, if you want to use the Reich’s coin you have to accept the Reichsdiktat.
Not a coin, a virus
Tsipras’ claim that Greece can keep the euro while rejecting austerity is crazy-talk. The fact is that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Cruella De Vil of the Eurozone, will ignore the cries of the bleeding Greeks and demand we swallow austerity–or lose the euro.
But, so what if we lose the euro? The best thing that can happen to Greece, and should have happened long, long ago, is that Greece flee the Eurozone.
That’s because it is the euro itself that is the virus responsible for Greece’s economic ills.
Indeed, the sadistic commitment to “austerity” was minted into the coin’s very metal. We’re not guessing. One of us (Palast, an economist by training) has had long talks with the acknowledged “father” of the euro, Professor Robert Mundell. It’s important to mention the other little bastard spawned by the late Prof. Mundell: “supply-side” economics, otherwise known as “Reaganomics,” “Thatcherism” – or, simply “voodoo” economics.
The imposition of the euro had one true goal: To end the European welfare state.
For Mundell and the politicians who seized on his currency concept, the euro itself would be the vector infecting the European body politic with supply-side Reaganomics. Mundell saw a euro’d Europe as free of trade unions and government regulations; a Europe in which the votes of parliaments were meaningless. Each Eurozone nation, unable to control neither the value of its own currency, nor its own budget, nor its own fiscal policy, could only compete for business by slashing regulations and taxes. Mundell said, “[The euro] puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians… Without fiscal policy, the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business.”
Here’s how it works. To join the Eurozone, nations must agree to keep their deficits to no more than 3% of GDP and total debt to no more than 60% of GDP. In a recession, that’s plain insane. By contrast, President Obama pulled the USA out of recession by increasing deficit spending to a staggering 9.8% of GDP, and he raised the nation’s debt to 101% from a pre-recession 62%. Republicans screamed, but it worked. The US has lower unemployment than any Eurozone nation.
As Obama scolded the European tormentors of Greece: “You cannot keep on squeezing countries that are in the midst of depression.” Cutting spending power only leads to less spending which leads to further cuts in spending power – a death spiral we see today in the Eurozone from Greece to Italy to Spain—but not in Germany.
“Not in Germany.” There’s the rub. Normally, a nation such as Greece can quickly recover from debt-induced recession by devaluing its currency. Greece would become a dirt cheap tourist destination once more and its lower-cost exports would zoom, instantly increasing competitiveness. And that’s what Germany can’t allow. Germany lured other European nations into the euro in order to keep them from undercutting Germany’s prices in export markets.
Restricted by the 3% deficit rule, the only recourse left for Eurozone debtors: pay the piper with “austerity” measures.
Tsipras in Wonderland
So therein lies the lie. Tsipras tells his fellow Greeks that we can live in a Looking Glass world, where we can have our euro and eat it too; that we can stay handcuffed to the euro but run free without austerity.
The nonsense continues: Following the announcement of the official results of the referendum on Sunday night, Tsipras tweeted that the Greek electorate voted for a “Europe of solidarity and democracy,” while the now-resigned finance minister Varoufakis tweeted that “Greece’s place in the Eurozone is non-negotiable,” claiming that he would not allow the “only alternative,” the old drachma trading alongside the euro.
SYRIZA’s euro-fetish was already evident in its pre-referendum proposals to the IMF and European Bank, a 47-page document which included 8 billion euros in new austerity measures plus a new round of sell-offs of state industries, the maintenance of a primary surplus of 1% this year which would increase in the coming years, the increase of the retirement age to 67, and making permanent the previously “temporary” taxes upon an already overtaxed populace. In Tsipras’ own proposal, there was no word of a debt write-down or stoppage of payments, despite the fact that the government’s own Debt Audit Commission announced on June 17 that the bulk of Greece’s debt is illegal, “odious,” and should not be paid.
Instead, Tsipras has come out in support of the IMF’s proposal for a mere 30% “debt haircut” and a 20-year grace period, effectively sweeping the problem under the rug. Greece is currently running a deficit, meaning that in order for the 1% surplus to be achieved, SYRIZA must cut, cut, cut. Exactly as Mundell and the supply-siders intended.
Death by “Reform”
Like Obama, Tsipras knows that cutting pensions, privatizing and closing industries, slashing wages – in other words, “austerity” — or, to use the latest jargon, “reform” – is not just cruel, it’s plain stupid: it can only push a nation in recession into depression.
That’s not just theory. The Troika (the European Central Bank, IMF and European Commission) first imposed their vicious austerity measures on Greece in 2010. Greeks watched their annual salaries plummet to half of a German’s paycheck. Greece’s supposedly generous pensions have been cut eight times during the crisis, while two-thirds of pensioners live below the poverty line. Everything from Greece’s airports to harbors, the national lottery to prime publicly-owned real estate was sold off, while schools and hospitals were shuttered.
And, for the first time since World War II, widespread starvation had returned. 500,000 children in Greece are said to be malnourished. Students fainting from hunger in frigid schools which cannot afford heating oil is now a common phenomenon.
This cruel “belt tightening,” the Troika promised, would restore Greece’s economy by 2012 (and then 2013, 2014, and 2015). In reality, unemployment went from a terrible 12.5% in 2010 to a horrendous 25.6% today.
Now, the Troika demands more of the same, a continuation of this disastrous policy.
Crashing into Africa?
Meanwhile, following the referendum result which made him a hero, finance minister Varoufakis resigned. Ironically, while Varoufakis rubbed German officials the wrong way with his unorthodox style, he, too, maintained the pro-euro myth. Previous austerity measures continued under his watch. To please the mad austerity masters, he said he would “squeeze blood from a stone” to repay the IMF—which he did in May, when all remaining funds in the Greek Treasury were rounded up by presidential decree to make that month’s IMF loan payment. Varoufakis was so wedded to the euro that he claimed that Greece would be unable to print its old currency, the drachma, because we destroyed our currency printing presses when we joined the euro. In fact, the government’s banknote printing facility in Athens still operates, printing the 10-euro note.
Meanwhile, our future flees. A quarter million university graduates have abandoned our nation. They have no choice: unemployment for those under 25 has hit 48.6%.
I know that many Greeks, Cypriots, Italians and Portuguese all express a visceral fear of leaving the euro. Depending on which polls one chooses to believe, anywhere from a near-majority to an overwhelming majority of Greeks wish to remain in the euro at all costs. From the hysterical statements I heard from some Greeks that, “We cannot leave Europe!”, you’d think that dropping the euro will cause Greece to break off at the Albanian border and crash into Africa.
It would be refreshing to hear political leaders say the honest economic truth: “Workers of Europe unite! You have nothing to lose but the euro—and your chains.”
Under circumstances of a quasi-world crash of financial markets, the government submitted to the European Stability Mechanism for re-financing. Requesting a new debt for the old. With this application, the country most directly subordinate to the permanent mechanism for controlled bankruptcy and dissolution.
The ESM is not something simple. It is a controlled bankruptcy institution based in Luxembourg for the eurozone countries that are unable to cope with their debts. The Treaty on the ESM is but one debt treaty to protect the euro. The board and the CEO have ultimate authority over the Member States must comply “unconditionally and irrevocably” as defined in the verbatim Treaty establishing the ESM. In essence it is about the set up of an uncontrolled organization based in Luxembourg that is not subject to any control and no authority, legal or other form.
Let’s see what is foreseen under the Establishing Treaty on the ESM. Succinctly with Article 32 par. 2 of the Treaty: “The ESM has full legal personality and has full legal capacity:
a) to acquire and dispose of movable and immovable property,
b) to contract,
c) to institute legal proceedings and
d) to conclude an agreement and / or protocols for the seat as necessary, to ensure the recognition and enforcement of the legal status and privileges and immunities. ”
The par. 3 of the same article states: “The ESM, real estate, its resources and its assets, regardless of location and owner, shall be immune from any form of legal proceedings, unless the ESM expressly waive its immunity for the purposes of any procedure, under the terms of any contract, including documentation of financial instruments.”
The par. 4 of the same article states: “The property, funds and assets of the ESM, regardless of location and holder, be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation or any other form of seizure, removal or detention under executive , judicial, administrative or legislative measures. ”
The par. 5 and 6 of the same article states: “The archives of the ESM and all documents belonging to the ESM or held to be inviolable. The premises of the ESM’s facilities shall be inviolable.”
While par. 8 and 9 of the same article states: “To the extent necessary for the performance of activities provided for in this Treaty, all property, funds and assets of the ESM shall not be subject to any restriction, regulation , control and moratoria of any nature. The ESM is exempted from any authorization or licensing obligation as a credit institution, investment services provider or other official licensed or regulated entity under the laws of each member of the ESM. ”
In fact Article 32 par. 8 of the Treaty establishing the ESM out: “To the extent necessary for the performance of activities provided for in this Treaty, all property, funds and assets of the ESM shall not be subject to any restrictions, regulation, control and moratoria of any nature. ”
In other words, the loans and the guarantees will be distracted by the ESM from the Member State which is under the tutelage of “not subject to any restriction, regulation, control and moratoria of any nature.” And so the debtor Member State is bound to suffer that decided in absentia without even the right to negotiate in order to supposedly achieve any restrictions, regulations, controls and moratoria in how the lending by the ESM will take place.
What happens when the ESM shall authorize the opening of a new financing program for Greece? Then drawn up “with the member of ESM memorandum of understanding (” MK “) describing in detail the conditions to be attached to facilitate financial assistance. The content of the MK reflects the weaknesses to be addressed and the financial assistance instrument chosen. “(Article 13, par. 3) Therefore any new funding must be accompanied by a” Memorandum of Understanding “, such as those imposed on us until today.
The new is that the “MK [Memorandum of Understanding] is fully consistent with the provisions for coordination of economic policies provided for in the TFEU [Operation Treaty on European Union], especially any acts of European Union law, including any opinion, warning, recommendation or a decision addressed to the ESM Member concerned. “(in the same article) that this time the Memorandum is a bilateral agreement with the state in funding, such as Greece, the result of a specific loan agreement. It falls to the TFEU and EU law.
What does this mean; It means that the application of the Memorandum is not something separate from our country’s participation in the “European integration” and therefore compliance with the memorandum, included in Article 28 of the Constitution “provides for restrictions on the exercise of national sovereignty,” to facilitate “participation of the Country in European integration,” as expressly mentioned in the explanatory statement of this article.
That is why the ‘European Commission signs the MK on behalf of the ESM “(par. 4), and also the’ European Commission – in cooperation with the ECB and wherever possible, together with the IMF – made responsible for monitoring the compliance with the conditions attached to the financial assistance facility. “(para. 5).
In other words the Member State that borrows directly from the ESM loses not only its national sovereignty, but its very state of existence. The government must “unconditionally and irrevocably” follow exactly what the European Commission and the Governing Board of the ESM decides. In other words, with our accession to the ESM, as the country Greece we are finished. We are converted into a plot in a liquidation mechanism. And all this with the left in government.
Posted by Dimitris Kazakis at 12:29 am
Translated by Kosmas Loumakis