By Kosmas Loumakis 5-8-2016
Even the most sincere democratic attempts landed, shortly after WWII, very far away from a satisfactory democracy. The old colonial empires with their unprosecuted and unpunished businessmen, bankers, bureaucrats, deceptive political elite and their intelligence services, followed their own post-war agenda for Europe.
An agenda that very fast proved to be plutocratic, neo-colonial and highly imperialistic, but with a new nation in the forefront instead of the former imperial powers Britain, France and Germany (old Prussia, Bavaria, Austria-Hungary and the Third Reich). All three helped their spiritual and cultural “child” USA , to deal with a few of the old colonies and to create a few new ones, with the backdrop of the Cold War and the Communist Threat as the main “boogie-man”, and the American Dream as the main bait. The Muslim Threat against the newly established state of Israel, became a major pretext for the take-over of the Arab oil fields and the establishment of NATO and US military bases in the Middle East and Central Asia.
True to their old “habits”, and their evidently poor understanding of democracy, they turned the new democratic European nation-states into dependent satellite states of the old empires. And most of the old colonies in reality remained shackled and controlled through the toppling of democratically elected governments and the instalment of puppet-governments that – threatened by economic hit men – signed unpayable “loan-agreements”, odious colonial treaties and genocidal, imperialistic socio-economic models for their peoples.
What passes as Democracy in the world today is therefore just a highly watered down, a battered, version of a parliamentary, representative, bureaucratic voting system, with an attached “deaf” legal system, controlled and ruled by political and plutocratic, oligarchies. Such regimes, really has not much to do with the fundamental principles and practices of real democracy, where all attempts for despotism and injustice must be condemned in practice and where the citizens massive protests against such things, must be clearly expressed by the media and heard by the elected.
The post-war European citizens actually demanded that their Supreme Courts should do their job and react very hard and accurately, when the fundamental, democratic principles and the human rights were in great danger again. But the governments didn’t, the media didn’t, the oppositions didn’t, the courts didn’t. At least not until the late 60’s and the massive protest movements for civil and human rights and against the Vietnam war became international. After a short and finally quite lame democratization process in the European societies, because of the financial elites rabid resistance, they quickly succumbed to the intelligence services mass psycho-social manipulation tactics and manufacturing of public opinion and consent strategies. All in the service of the new colonial and geostrategic interests and aims of the western elite.
In spite of all this though, something very important had in fact been achieved by the peoples of Europe through their immense struggles and sacrifices, especially during the first half of the 20th century. At least the adequate constitutions, the legal and political agreements and the international laws and treaties were produced, agreed upon and signed, with the establishment of the democratic nation-state and the international peace treaties after WWII. But the governments and the legal systems didn’t create and they didn’t provide the accurate mechanisms and practices, in order to actually protect these laws, constitutions, agreements and treaties.
It stands clear today that those nations who put themselves in the forefront of western democracy, actually became those that most notoriously have broken these treaties, agreements and international laws ever since. And with the pretext to implement democracy. It was our bankers, our governments and our intelligence services with attached private corporations that deliberately undermined democracy and international justice after the war.
After seven decades with this crippled quasi-democratic rule and with a NATO and UN as this class determined democracy’s presumed guardians, most Europeans have become politically, ethically and socio-economically illiterate. Common people have lost interest in taking part in the public affairs because of this widespread quasi-democracy, in which a small self-proclaimed financial elite have convinced them that we need professional politicians, bureaucrats and technocrats in charge.
The western governments in US and EU have ignored the massive protests all over the world, particularly in Europe, over the last seven years. These massive rallies are actually the echoes of the voices that has been raised since this imperialist version of democracy presented itself immediately after WWII.
Now, it is time for the Europeans and the Americans to, through sincere and truthful self-evaluation, restore, strengthen and vitalize democracy, not further weaken and maim it. And it’s not one minute too early for International Justice to finally “grow a spine”, and start to actually defend and protect the human and civil rights and the democratic nation-states constitutions and rights adequately, and as its first and foremost priority.
The governments and the legal systems must take the peoples massive protests and arguments seriously. Because it is their main responsibility. That, has to become the rule and not the exception, and only we, the citizens of the democratic nation-states can make that happen by increasing our democratic struggles and not fall into more propagandist, sociopolitical traps or various distraction and division tactics.
To establish real Justice and true Democracy is the ultimate anti-terrorist action and its the only way to prevent a world war.
Uploaded on Athenianvoice 3-8-2016
Published on 2 Aug 2016
If you ask Greeks they’ll say their lenders – including the IMF – have put them through hell over the past few years. And they’ll say it was mostly unnecessary. TRT World’s business programme looks at a recent report criticising the IMF for its Greece bailout. Matthew Moore presents ‘Money Talks’ from TRT World’s studios in Istanbul. From Wall Street to Main Street ‘Money Talks’ helps the 99% navigate their changing financial world.
Uploaded on Athenianvoice 22-7-2016
Français / english subs / español / ελληνικοί υπότιτλοι
Subtitles: English, Ελληνικά, Español, Deutsch, Srpskohrvatski jezik/ Српскохрватски језик
Speech bubble translation/traducíones de los textos:
– 13:31 :
En: Eric TOUSSAINT, scientific coordinator of Greece Truth Committee on Public Debt (quoting Keynes): “If you owe your bank a thousand euros, you have a problem. But if you owe a billion, it has.”
Es: Eric TOUSSAINT, coordinador científico del Comité para la Verdad sobre la Deuda Pública griega (citando Keynes): “Si debes mil euros a tu banco tienes un problema; si le debes mil milliones el problema lo tiene el banco.”
De: Eric TOUSSAINT, wissenschaftlichen Koordinators der Kommission für Wahrheit über griechischen Schulden: „Wenn Sie 1000€ ihrer Bank schulden, haben Sie ein Problem. Aber wenn Sie ihr eine Milliarde schulden, hat sie ein Problem!“
– 14:08 :
En: Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission: “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.”
Es: Jean-Claude Juncker, Presidente de la Comisión Europea: “No puede haber decisiones democráticas contra los tratados europeos.”
De: Jean-Claude Juncker, Präsident der Europäischen Kommission: „Es kann keine demokratischen Entscheidungen geben, die gegen den europäischen Verträge gehen“
– 14:11 :
En: Donald Tusk, President of the European Council: “Given what is happening in Greece, has appeared the illusion that it would now be possible to change the course of Europe. That we could build an alternative to the traditional view of Europe, to the discourse on austerity.”
Es: Donald Tusk, Presidente del Consejo Europeo: “Con lo que ha pasado en Grecia, ha aparecido la ilusión ideológica de que es posible cambiar el curso de Europa, que podemos construir una alternativa a la visión tradicional de Europa, al discurso sobre la austeridad.”
De: Donald Tusk, Präsident des Europäischen Rates: „All das, was in Griechenland geschehen ist, hat die ideologische Illusion erschafft, dass es nun möglich ist, den Lauf Europas zu ändern, dass man eine Alternative zur traditionellen Sicht Europas und zur Rede über die Sparpolitik bauen kann.“
– 14:19 :
En: Romaric Godin, journalist with ‘La Tribune’ newspaper: “Euro is the ECB currency which distributes it on critereas that take account of financial issues -poorly hiding politic purposes- rather than the peoples well-being.”
Es: Romaric Godin, periodista por ‘La Tribune’: “El euro es la moneda del la BCE, que la distribuye en base a criterios que no tienen en cuenta el bien estar de población, sino en base a criterios financieros que disimulan mal los objetivos políticos.”
De: Romaric Godin, Journalist der Zeitung “La Tribune” : „Das Euro ist die Währung der EZB, die das Wohlstehen der Völker nicht berücksichtigt, wenn sie sie verteilt, aber die nach finanziellen Kriterien entscheidet, die fast gar nicht politische Ziele verbergen.“
fr: Restructuration de 2012: lire http://cadtm.org/L-echec-de-la-restru…
en: 2012 restructuration: Read http://www.cadtm.org/The-lessons-that…
es: restructuración de 2012: http://www.cadtm.org/El-fracaso-de-la…
fr: légalité du 3eme memorandum: http://www.cadtm.org/Analyse-de-la-le…
en: Legal analysis of the 3rd memorandum http://www.cadtm.org/Illegitimacy-Ill…
es: legalidad del 3° memorandum: http://www.cadtm.org/Ilegitimidad-Ile…
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In a little-reported statement given on March 1st at the influential London School of Economics in the UK, Lord Mervyn King, the former Governor of the Bank of England, confirmed that the financial crisis afflicting Europe since 2009 is essentially the result of a “deliberate” act of policy. Highly critical of the destructive economic strategies of the Brussels EU, he predicted that, in order to free its weakest member countries from the strangulating combination of austerity measures and high unemployment they are suffering from, the euro currency zone will have to be dismantled.
Citing the example of Greece, where the unemployment rate is currently almost 25 percent, Lord King described what has happened over the past 7 years as an “appalling” example of Brussels EU economic policy failure. He added that, for the poorest eurozone countries, the long-term benefits of ditching the euro and returning to their national currencies outweigh the short-term costs.
Head of Brussels EU Commission predicted European financial crisis back in 2001
But Mervyn King is hardly the first high-level official to confirm that Europe’s economic malaise has been inflicted on its citizens deliberately.
In a barely-noticed article in the Financial Times back in 2001, the then president of the Brussels EU Commission, Romano Prodi, stated that he was sure “the euro will oblige us to introduce a new set of economic policy instruments.”
“It is politically impossible to propose that now”, he went on. “But some day there will be a crisis and new instruments will be created.”
Since its introduction to world financial markets in 1999, observers have repeatedly pointed out that the euro was flawed. Significantly, even Jacques Delors, its architect, eventually admitted that the currency was doomed from the start, declaring that European leaders chose to turn a blind eye to the fundamental weaknesses and imbalances of member states’ economies. Viewed in the historical light of Romano Prodi’s 2001 statement, of course, it is now clear why they did this. In short, the financial crisis in Europe has been created deliberately to enable the Brussels EU elite to use it as the rationale for bringing in new laws that move the construct closer to the political dictatorship that was intended all along.
The Brussels EU is incapable of reform
Across Europe, senior officials are increasingly coming to the inescapable conclusion that the Brussels EU is not capable of reform. The latest prominent example of this came following the recent resignation of John Longworth from his post as director-general of the powerful British Chambers of Commerce business group. After taking the decision to resign from his position to enable him to speak out freely over the issue of Britain’s upcoming referendum on its Brussels EU membership, Longworth openly described the construct as “incapable of meaningful reform”. Accusing British Prime Minister David Cameron of trying to scaremonger the British people into voting to remain in the bloc, he predicted that Britain could have a bright economic future after leaving it.
Due to its fundamentally undemocratic structure – with the EU Commission holding all executive power and the EU Parliament serving merely as a fig leaf – the Brussels EU needs to be publicly rejected by its citizens, dismantled, and eventually replaced by a truly democratic system of representation: A Europe for the People, by the People. Until such time as this happens, however, the 500 million people of Europe will continue to remain subject to economic dictatorship, widespread unemployment, and a political model in which democracy increasingly becomes a thing of the past.
10 March, 2016
Germans Have Right to Oppose Migration, Greece Threatened by NATO Takeover. One of the most intelligent and interesting Greek politicians talks on different topics and today`s main geopolitical issues.
17-21 March 2016 gianalytics.org
One year ago, while in Athens, Greece, I interviewed Mr. Dimitris Kazakis, leader of United Popular Front (EPAM), a popular Left movement that emerged from the anti-memorandum protests of 2011. Mr. Kazakis is an erudite speaker, a socialist economist, and one who knows both the terrain of the social struggle and the high-end banking sector in London where he worked for many years.
At the time, Mr. Kazakis was not very optimistic about Syriza – the Left party governing Greece, if to say the least. He warned that Prime Minister Tsipras has no intention of breaking with austerity and that he will take on a new contract that will enslave the country further. The interview was conducted in February 2015, but it took me months to publish it since I wanted to give Syriza a chance. Mr. Kazakis was right. It happened exactly as he said. One year later, on February 17, 2016, I met Mr. Kazakis at the offices of EPAM in Athens again. Things are much worse in Athens now.
Mr. Kazakis covered almost all issues under the sun. He talked about the migration crisis, why he supports a Brexit, Greece’s economic predicament, the world economy, NATO in the Aegean, Erdogan and Merkel, NGOs dubious roles, nationalism, why cosmopolitanism is dangerous, the Germans, perpetual war, Venezuela and Cuba. Below is the full interview.
You actually predicted what will happen at the time because at the time what you said was that these negotiations are a sham, they are going to sign on another contract and so on. At the time when I wanted to publish the article, many people were warning me not to publish it, not to bring down Syriza, and it turned out that it happened exactly as you said. So that’s why I published it later, but at least, I published it before basically what was a betrayal of a promise.
I can understand that because when I went to a conference in Nice, in November, they asked me to explain what happened to Greece, what happened to the Left party, or to the Left government of Syriza. And I told them what exactly happened from day one. Right after the elections of the 25th of January, back in 2015. Everyone was astonished. There were French, Spanish, Italians, Germans. Everybody. And of course, afterwards, everybody came to me and told me that we are very very sorry. We were totally wrong in our estimation about Syriza the Left government.
The problem is that by then it was too late…
Yeah, exactly. Too late for us, especially. And for Europe. Because the system invested in the Syriza government, to show everybody, every European person, that no one can do anything with the whole system, the system of the European regime, of the banks, of the Euro. And in that way, they were trying to disappoint the society. Especially Greece and, of course, all over Europe. No one could understand what happened here in Greece. How the anti-memorandum coalition of Syriza and Kammenos [the Independent Greeks –ANEL] can do such things as sign a third memorandum against the people and produce such a politically incorrect situation here in Greece.
This brings me to a related question which I think is relevant. In Britain, the UK, the place where you lived in the past and also worked, there will be a vote on Britain leaving the European Union. So, if I may ask, do you support Britain leaving the European Union?
Yeah, of course.
And does that mean you would also support UKIP and the Eurosceptical people?
As EPAM, we have relations with the umbrella of the movements against the European Union in Britain. And I was asked by British colleagues, fighters against the EU, to go there on a speech tour. I don’t know if I can do that because of the political situation here in Greece…
Schengen, because of the everyday situation?
Exactly. And now we have a social – we are in the process of a social resurrection of the Greek society, so we have a lot to do in Greece. I don’t know if we have the spare time to go over in Britain on a speech tour. But, anyway, we support any movement that is against the European Union in terms of democracy. We are fighting for democracy. And in order to fight for democracy you have to fight for national sovereignty. That’s the basis of democracy. You cannot have democracy without national sovereignty of any people. British people, Greek people, the German people. And that’s the only way. So, yes. We support the NO campaign against the European Union. And we have discussed with certain members of the UKIP.
Of course we are on a different page in terms of social and economic policy. But that’s our difference. But we support them for Britain to leave the European Union. And they have to leave. Because otherwise they will face one way or the other the same sort of situation that we are facing.
How so? If you can elaborate on that a little bit….
You cannot have a European Union, you cannot participate in a union and have mainly the banks, patrons, and of course the banking elite, or the financial elite – the engine of the financial elite – as first and foremost against the people, and against the interests of the people, and on the same page have social security, or social insurance or a social security state, or provide for the unemployed and the poverty-stricken population. You cannot have social labor and democratic rights in a state that is participating in the European Union. Because the European Union was built from day one to support the financial elites’ interests. That’s why we believe that Britain has to go. It has to leave the European Union. It will make our struggle much easier. Because if Britain decides to get rid of the European Union, it will be much easier for us, to convince the Greeks that you don’t have to be afraid of anything. You see, bigger countries, huge economies, like the British, are leaving EU. So why not you? Simple.
As you told me one year ago, that basically the EU-led austerity – “made us less than human.” This is a general question. What is the current situation with pensions, social security, farmers? What is the economic situation in Greece at the moment since the past year?
I’ll give you official data: Now, if we take the middle family income, the average family budget. The income of this middle family budget is calculated according to the official data of 2014, because we don’t have any new data. We’re talking about 18,000 Euro per year. Ok? Back in 2010, it was 23,000. Now, we are at 18,000. Of course, you have enough money to buy the things you need, the consumer products, the things you need to support the family. To provide your family’s basic needs, you need 47,000 Euro. And you have an income of 18,000.
Is that all? No. You also have to pay for the bank loans another 2,500 per year. You have to pay extra taxes on your income. That’s another 3,700 per year. You also have to pay social insurance fees. That’s another 3,500 per year. If you put all this down, you’ll see that on an income basis of 18,000 per year, the obligations of the middle family, are up to 36,000-37,000 per year. Give me a situation similar to this and provide me with an alternative… There is no way you can get rid of that economic circumstances. You cannot even imagine how you can get rid of the depression we have here in Greece, and of course, how will the economy turn around. There is no way. There is just no way. We need more than double of the income for the middle family to keep up with the obligations. There is no way you can have that because we have to withstand austerity, we have the memorandums. Now in 2016, they say they need more than 2 to 4 billion more taxes out of the family budget, and this will destroy the basis of the social insurance system in order for the beneficiary to pay more fees and get less in pensions, in social security support.
What is the situation of homelessness at the moment?
We have a problem of homelessness, but right now because of the dispersion of the homes, in Greece, more than 75% of the population owns the apartments or the houses that they live in, so there is no huge problem. Of course, most of the families now own the houses of the apartments, but they were taken through loans from the banks, so the banks now are trying to confiscate the private property from them, but they didn’t dare, up till now, to do what they did in Spain or in the US.
Of course, they have the laws now. When we talked one year ago, they didn’t have the law, but now the banks do have the law on their side. The Left government provided the bankers with the legal status of what they have for foreclosures and confiscation, the same type of legal status they have in the US. This is the product of the Left government, not of the rightist or the Left government we had back then. The current Left government provides the legal tool for the banksters for foreclosures and to confiscate private property. It was out of the question, if we go back two or three years.
The Syriza government has been waiting for this issue of enacting foreclosures. And at some point, they will be forced to take action probably.
Yes, they will try. And they even voted for a law that allows the banks to sell overdue loans for the funds we call vultures. And right now one bank, one systemic bank, the Alpha bank, sold a package of overdue loans to a private fund for 3% of the nominal value. 3%. Right now in Greece we have 100 billion of overdue loans. Now, the bankers will sell these 100 billion overdue loans to vulture funds. For how much? For 3-5 billion. And I proposed to the government a simple solution: give the bankers the 3-5 billion, take the 100 billion nominal value of overdue loans and destroy them.
But they are not doing that…
No… not even to help the citizens who cannot pay for the labor men. They cannot provide because they don’t have jobs, they don’t have income. So, we pay the recapitalization of the banking system more than 60 billion Euros as taxpayers. 60 billion. And now Mr. Draghi wants the Greek taxpayer to pay another 14 billion Euros for the recapitalization of the bank system in Greece. Why don’t they give to the bankers at least 3 to 5 billion – that’s nothing, compared to what we gave already to the banks and what they are asking for – and take the bloody overdue loans and get rid of them. Leave the people alone.
But they aren’t doing it…
No. This government doesn’t do it.
I think it’s not even possible for the Government to take unilateral actions without the approval of the Troika…
Exactly. Because that’s the new matter about the Third Memorandum. We have a new memorandum, the third section of it. If you go back to the law that was passed by the Greek parliament on the 14 of August 2015, you will see in the third section of the memorandum that the government cannot do anything without the approval of the IMF or the European Commission and the European Central Bank. We are under an occupation regime. We are less than a colony. And we cannot provide even for the borders, to guard the borders of Greece. No. We do not even have a right to say a word about this thing. That is why we are less than a state, in international law terms.
This brings me to the question of the migration crisis which is facing Europe now. Obviously Greece has already so many big economic problems; now it also has to deal with Hotspots which are being imposed by the European Union, besides the fact that NATO decided to patrol in the Aegean supposedly to stop the coming of the migrants. This brings me to ask what do you think Greece should do about it if it could.
The first thing Greece has to do is to get rid of the Schengen Treaty and the Dublin Treaty in order to provide for the migrants and of course for the refugees coming from Syria. More than 60% of those coming from Syria, up to now, are refugees coming from the war. The first thing you have to do is to follow international law. And if you cannot afford to deal with the whole situation, if you have more than 1 million, a half a million refugees and migrants, call the United Nations agency to come in and provide financial help, provide for the infrastructure you need to provide for the refugees and migrants.
The first thing that you have to do is to get rid of the Dublin and the Schengen treaties, in order to follow international law. Let me give you an example: the same situation happened in Lebanon. Right now Lebanon is providing for more than 1,250,000 refugees. We’re talking about 25% of the Lebanon population. Who is talking about Lebanon? Nobody. Because Lebanon follows international law.
Since it is not a member of the European Union, Lebanon does not want to create a slave labor out of the refugees, and what they are doing is what international law provides in a similar situation. Draghi does not want that. The European Union also does not want that. They want to take the refugees and of course the migrants and provide their own labor markets with slave labor. And that’s the whole situation…
Let’s look at the things logically. The refugee coming from Syria or Iraq is going through the trouble. The first thing a law abiding state has to do is to provide him with all the papers the refugee needs, all the papers that say who a refugee is and who he is not.
Draghi does not do that. They subsidize the whole industry of providing slave labor to the EU through Greece. And of course, Greece as a state has to go to international bodies, like the International Maritime Organization and say: “look at Turkey, what are they doing? They are creating a situation in the Aegean. You have to take measures against that.”
Turkey is a member of the International Maritime Organization. The International Maritime Organization can decide that “we have a situation – a crisis – that is created by a member state, and we have to do something about it.” Now, Greece does not do that because it’s a member of the European Union. And the European Union decides what will happen to the Greek islands. And Greece is only a member of the whole thing. It is only to abide by the decisions made by Mr. Tusk, Mr. Juncker and Mr. Erdogan. That’s what we have right now. If we decide to provide the refugees the same type of asylum and infrastructure Lebanon provides it would be not a problem. Because you would give the refugee the same kind of international treatment as the international law provides and let him go wherever he likes. He wants to go to Germany – he may go to Germany.
And, we even could say that “Ok, we have refugees. From where? Syria. Who destroyed Syria? The United States. Ok, the United States must take 80% or 90% or 100% of the refugees from Syria.” You cannot destroy through war – a whole country – and then say “Oh, I have nothing to do with the refugee situation from that country.”
The same thing with Afghanistan and with Iraq. That’s the international law. If you remember back in Vietnam days when the southern Vietnam collapsed, what did the US do? They took more than a million Vietnamese refugees, I don’t remember for whatever reason, they took the Vietnamese refugees because they were involved in the Vietnam war. Now, what is going on in Syria? The same thing.
And I believe that the first countries that have to deal with the refugee problem are the United States and Russia. Because they are fighting on Syrian soil. And on top of that we need the Greek government, if we have a democratic government of course, to say, Ok, first and foremost, in order to deal with the refugee program, we need to stop the war in Syria. And of course, not only to stop the war, like they are doing right now, but establish law and order in Syria. And give back the situation to the lawful government – the Assad regime. Ok, I don’t believe in the Assad regime. But that’s the lawful government. And who is Mr. Obama or Mr. Putin or whoever to decide how many parts will be dissected, that Syria must be dissected, and for what reason…
Give back the national sovereignty to Syria. Take out the foreign armies and the mercenaries, everybody. And of course then you will see all the refugees, or most of the refugees, coming back to Syria. And let us provide investment infrastructure to Syria in order to rebuild Syria because they demolished the whole country. That’s how you deal with the refugee problem.
So I’m just trying to understand. This is a simple question. So the difference between Lebanon and Greece is that in the case of Lebanon, refugees are free to go elsewhere and in the case of Greece, the European Union…
They don’t have Hotspots. Of course, they do have infrastructure to provide for the refugees, with the help of the UN. But they are trying to deal with the problem in terms of the international law. With what international law provides for the refugee. A refugee is a sacred person. He’s escaping war or a regime. So you have to deal with him as a sacred person, to provide for him, and, of course, to give him the opportunity to go back to the country. He didn’t leave on his free will; he escaped from a situation. It’s not an opportunity for Germany or for France or for Poland or for the EU to have 2 million slave labor for their own labor market in order to bring down the wages and destroy the social infrastructure of the country so that the labor or the working class cannot fight against their own government or the European elite. A refugee is a sacred person. And you need to provide for him. And of course, do whatever you can, to stop the situation or to alter the situation that the refugee is escaping from. That’s our opinion.
How do you think the mechanism of the Hotspots will work in terms of slave labor?
It’s simple.In Greece, we already have a law passed back in 2012 that provides the ability for the government to take from the Hotspots whoever it is, either he’s an outlaw migrant or a refugee, and to provide labor supply in terms of whatever the government decides. For example, now we have a big situation with the farmers all over Greece. The government proposes to the farmers to give them free – without any charge – free slave labor from the Hotspots, and the government will subsidize the farmers for the slave labor of the migrants and the refugees working for them. That’s a way to buy out; it ‘s a way to buy the social consciousness of the farmers.
So why is the government subsidizing it, because it ends up being much cheaper?
Yes, of course. You’ll have cheap labor for yourself, and on top of that you’ll have all the income coming from the government, that normally will go for the refugees and the migrants – for the Hotspots – you’ll get the revenue as a farmer. And you’ll be provided with more income out of the slave labor you are using for every migrant or refugee you are occupying. It’s policy. It’s a policy proposition from the Greek government, the Left government for the farmers to keep them quiet and not to revolt against the memorandum policies. “I’ll provide for you slave labor, don’t worry. Go back to your farms.” That’s what the Left government is saying right now to the farmers.
But obviously for Greece to treat the refugees according to international law it would mean to leave the European Union first, but that’s impossible…
Yes. Because you have to get rid of Schengen Treaty and Dublin Treaty. The Dublin Treaty created a special situation in dealing with refugees and migrants for the EU. It created an international situation, because back then when they provided refugees with international law, back in the protocols in the 1950s, they thought of the refugee and the migrant situation as an international problem, not a European problem. An international problem. Now, the EU wanted to refurbish the whole situation as a European problem, which it isn’t.
That’s why they created the Dublin I and Dublin II treaties. For members of the EU to decide themselves what to do with refugees and migrants. Not according to international laws and protocols. No. But through their own private interests. That’s the privatization of an international problem.
Recently, as you obviously know, terrorists were found in Greece, trying to pass through. And what is very strange is how a caravan filled with AK47s and bullets managed to make its way, all the way, I think it was from Western Europe – Germany and Austria, all the way to Greece. Do you think there are flaws in the way the EU is managing its security?
Yeah, it’s a huge industry. And the banking system that supports this, the banking logistics – is based on the Greek bankers and the Cyprus banks. That’s why they are specially protected. No attorney, no justice system, can penetrate the banking system, and no one can say let’s see what is going on, who’s laundering money. Through what channels they are taking rights, or are there payoffs, things like that. We know that the Greek banking system and the Cypriot banking system, the systemic bank, they are first and foremost launderers of black money, coming from weapons, prostitution, and of course, migrants and refugees.
So the banks are complicit, in let’s call it, intentional lack of monitoring its security, allowing smuggling?
Exactly. That’s why they keep refinancing bankrupt institutions. Like the four systemic banks here in Greece that are bankrupt since 2009. And we know that. But they keep them afloat, although they are utterly bankrupt. We are under capital controls, as you know, from June 2015. Actually, we are under a banking moratorium. You cannot do free banking, or if you go to a bank and take the money out of your private account, you cannot do that here in Greece – since 27th of June if I remember correctly. They closed the banks from that point and on and they didn’t open them. And they are not going to open up the banks, only until they do a haircut to whatever they can to accounts, to whatever. So, they are totally bankrupt.
They are under – we are under – a banking moratorium or capital control as the Europeans call it, and on top of that we have to refinance and recapitalize the closed-down banks. That’s… as an economist I can say, that’s a historical phenomenon. You cannot do that. There is no other historical precedent… None. You cannot have a closed down banking system and refinance… Why do they do that? Because it’s the logistical basis of this huge laundering business. … for all Europeans. I’m talking about the cash flow coming from this, through Turkey, to the European banks.
The cash flow?
I’m talking about armaments, prostitution, and the commerce of human beings – refugees and migrants.
So I’ll just simplify so that people will understand. What you are saying is that there is the network of smuggling of prostitutions, of weapons, and also of drugs?
Of drugs also, it goes to Turkish banks, and from Turkish banks it gets laundered again…to the European Union.
Through Greece. They are going to the huge banks, Deutsche Bank and others banks in the Europe.
So they carry the money on their bodies?
Yes. They want a free market for this kind of business. And we are a free market for this kind of business. Because Mr. Tusk, Mr. Juncker and Mr. Erdogan decide what is going to happen. For example, I’ll give you an example you probably don’t know. What Mr. Erdogan said to Mr. Tusk and to Mr. Jucnker back in November. Probably it was Russian intelligence that took the conversation and gave it to the Greek newspaper. Probably Russian intelligence, I don’t know. But the newspaper printed a week ago a conversation between Mr. Tusk and Mr. Juncker with Mr. Erdogan, discussing the situation with the Greek islands, the refugee and the migrant problem. And Mr. Erodgan asked not 3 billion but 9 billion. And when Mr. Juncker said to him, “I cannot provide such funds for Turkey,” Mr. Erdogan said, “you saw the drowned body of the 4-year-old in the Greek island”? – “Yes.” “How about sending you 14,000 such bodies to Greek islands?” – That’s what Mr. Erdogan said to Mr. Juncker and Mr.Tusk. And when Mr. Juncker said: “What do you want? Are we dealing with like you are a prince”? And Mr. Erdogan said: “Yes, I am a Prince. I’m an Ottoman Prince.”
So, you see, we are under a political mafia. And no one, even in Turkey or in the EU, can deal with this Mafiosi because we don’t have democracy or even parliamentarism to provide the people with a voice, or to have some people who will deal with it. They negotiate in the dark rooms. What the people could say a few decades ago – it is something like Nazism. That’s why we say that we are facing not the European Union but a new European Reich. Full fledged.
So what does Erdogan do with the money he gets?
Mr. Erdogan wants to provide new funds to the industry we are talking about in Turkey. It’s official policy. And you can have illegal planning: take 100 refugees with your boat or whatever it is and bring them to the Greek islands. So you have the NGOs on the Greek islands. In my opinion, most of the NGOs working on the Greek islands are working for smugglers. Smuggling people.
Let me give you an example: more than 10,000 children coming out of the sea and identified by NGOs – “saved” by NGOs – they were lost afterwards. No trace. No trace at all. While going to the EU. About 10,000 children. Who is responsible for this? We’re talking about a massacre. Because, the children up to 14, 15 years old, are going to the European Union, for what? For prostitution and of course for illegal forms of human organs. 10,000 children. And that’s the situation the EU created in our armed forces with the support of our own government.
What do you think can be done about the fact that a lot of Greek people are simply apathetic and they don’t see the connection between the Euro and their own economic situation. The longer they wait, the worse it’s going to get. Because there are growing chances, the war in Syria is going to get much worse. If that happens, Greece, as a member of NATO will get involved in the war in Syria.
I know. And we are very very fearful right now about the rise of that possibility. Because NATO is in the Aegean not for the refugees or the migrants. They are here to confront Russia. Ok?
Russian forces in Syria?
Yes. We’re talking about a huge naval force from Russia coming from Crimea and the Baltics and for the first time after the 19th century the Aegean is closed off. They cannot get safe passage to Crimea. You can see what is going on?
But how will boats manage to block Russian forces?
Because the Aegean is now out of reach for the Greek government and nominally for the Turkish government. Who is going through the Aegean is up to NATO to decide, who is to have safe passage. NATO decides. Not Greece, not Turkey, not even international law. You can say that according to international law I can have safe passage… No! Because NATO is doing surveillance all over the Aegean and NATO decides who is going to pass. Because let’s say the Russian warships are working for refugees or for migrants, whatever. They can say whatever they like. Who is going to say otherwise? – Russia. Oh, so what. That’s what happened here in Greece.
Of course, we lost our sovereignty, and on top, we’re totally involved in the war creation process of NATO against Russia. And of course, that’s why the Russians, Mr. Putin, agreed on a set-back in Syria. Agreed on a ceasefire in Syria that provides for the mercenaries. Because the mercenaries were to use the ceasefire situation to refurbish their forces with new material and of course ammunition and, of course, men, coming especially from Turkey.
Then the talks in Geneva collapsed and then NATO decided to go to the Aegean…
The talks collapsed pretty much with the support of the US…
And now, Mr. John Kerry, can go to Lavrov and say to him: “Ok, you have two possible situations. Either your fleet is cut off from Crimea, and we’re talking about a huge fleet that’s with cruise missiles, the major ships of the Russian Crimea fleet. Either you lose your fleet, or we decide together to get rid the Assad Regime.”
And that’s right now what is happening. Of course, Russia tries to manipulate or whatever but what is happening right now in Syria is exactly that. Even with the declarations of Mr. Steinmeyer two days ago. What Mr. Steinmeyer, the secretary of the foreign policy of the German government said was that the only thing we need right now, is that Tehran and Moscow will persuade Mr. Assad lay down his arms. That’s the whole plan. To dissect Syria, into 3 or 4 zones. Similar to what they did in Tunisia, or Libya, or Iraq. Same situation. And after Syria, they will go on. They will go to Jordan, they will go to Iran, they will go to Turkey itself. And they will dissect again and again the whole Middle East region. And of course, us too… But we are easy to be dissected.
This leads me to a different question: The European elites must be aware of the social unrest here, so; how do you think they plan to continue?
I believe that by the end of 2017 – this is my own conclusion – we will not have Greek forces involved either in national defense or security. Inner security will be provided from NATO. Even the army of Greece will be demolished and only a few units will remain, just like in Bulgaria or Albania. And they are going to be totally submitted to NATO.
And right now, we have on the northern borders of Greece, Academi and Group 4 forces, provided with Frontex budgets, right now.
Sérres and Komotini. Greece and Macedonia – Greek Macedonia. And everybody knows that. The Greek army knows, the Greek police knows that. But it was decided by the Europeans.
But what are their purposes for being there exactly?
Officially to provide security service guarding the northern borders of Greece because Greece cannot provide such level of security. Let me give you an example of the whole situation, of how dire it is.
In the third memorandum, you will see that we have to provide less and less for our national defense. The state budget of 2016 provides 200 million, not billion, 200 million to the federal defense budget. In the 2015 budget, the national defense budget was 500 million. In one year’s time, the Europeans decided that the national budget must go down by 300 million. With only 200 million Euros, you cannot even pay the wages of the military personnel you employ as a state. On the budget of 2017, the memorandum says that the national budget will have to go down even further.
So in the future, we will see a situation whereamidst social unrest, Greeks will find themselves confronted by mercenaries, Academi?
Exactly. When you will have such a situation in Greece, I can guarantee you, the Greek people will take arms. It was done back in the 20th century a lot of times and it will be done again. Of course, we don’t want that, to go down that road. But we will travel this road, if we cannot do otherwise. We will fight for our country. Our forefathers fought for our country. We will fight even with arms, if we are against foreign troops, mercenaries or whomever. We will fight.
Of course I believe that in 2016 there will be a social resurrection here in Greece, one way or the other. I don’t know which way the social unrest will go. But we will have social unrest. If you walk on the streets Greece you will see a lot of people now, saying: “Ok, the situation is over our heads. I cannot afford any longer to stay silent. I have to do something.”
Ok, we have the farmers. We have the lawyers. We have the medical workers. All over Greece, the social rage is climbing. We will have a social unrest… and we will try, through EPAM of course, to make it a participation, to pave social unrest and to create a situation that can end up in a social revolution. Because the only way we can get rid of the whole regime is through a social and political revolution.
When we are talking about creating a social revolution we are not talking about – in the same way – like we’re expecting an attack on the Winter Palace like the Russians did back in 1917. No. We are talking about the organization of a huge part – a major part of the Greek population in my opinion – that will demand the demolition of the whole regime.
We will see that. And I believe that we will see that in 2016. I don’t believe that it will be before August. After we see the weather in Greece opening up, you will see that most of the major movements, the social movements here in Greece, they are coming out like when Spring is coming. When we have spring in terms of the weather, it’s the same thing with society. Something like a natural biological process in society. You have a spring in society. And you will have that in 2016.
Otherwise, I don’t know what we will face in 2017 and in 2018. Probably, we will have to fight through other means.
By the way, speaking of Iran, I read a report on this on one website that Albania received about 2,000 fighters of an Iranian opposition group.
Yeah, that’s true.
Well, let me give you a scenario. I don’t know if it will come out… but it’s a kind of scenario that happens in Greece especially on a military level, and of course, with the security forces.
They are expecting some kind of a UÇK situation on Macedonia or even closer to the Albanian border. A UÇK situation is like a thousand, two thousand mercenaries, coming and creating a situation. Like the UÇK did in Serbia, in Kosovo.
Yes, the KLA [Kosovo Liberation Army]. We call them the UÇK. Mercenaries. NATO mercenaries. It’s very easy nowadays. We don’t have the means to guard the borders of our country. By 2017, we will have foreigners guarding our borders. Especially mercenaries, Academi and Group 4. British multinationals and American multinationals – the corporation created out of Blackwater. They already have an agreement with the Frontex organization to provide security services.
So, it’s quite easy. Who is going to stop them? Nobody. Except of course the Greek people. And they have in their minds the same situation. They will create a monstrous regiment, leading the section of Macedonia, the mercenaries will probably invade, and come down to Athens. And when the Greek citizen sees refugees, Greek refugees, coming… they will be frightened so much, they will accept anything. That’s the NATO scenario.
Of course, our history is quite different. If the Greek sees a Greek citizen coming as a refugee from a foreign invasion, you will see what will happen. You will see the same thing that happened back in 1940. Barefoot, they went up to the Albanian mountains fighting against the Italian fascists. No guns. No political leadership. With the military dictatorship and fascist dictatorship here in Greece. And the Greek people went up there without even stopping. Because back then we had more casualties from the winter than from the Italian fascists. Because our forefathers had nothing. And they fought back then. Nobody believed back then…
Even Ciano who designed the Italian offensive in Greece said back then when a British diplomat asked him, “How sure you can be that through your offensive Greece will collapse in a few days”? And Ciano said, “We bribe the whole regime, the Metaxas regime.” It was a fascist regime. And what happened? Every Greek, even my grandfather, who walked with a limp, he was one leg short from birth, he went on foot from Kalamata to the Albanian border. We are talking about more than 1,000 KM. On foot. Without even a gun. He took a gun from a dead Italian fascist and fought down to the end. You will see the same thing happen again. They don’t know the Greek people.
Of course, it’s easy to say that if you take the Greek and close him in a dark room for days and then tell him “You know, don’t open the door because the light will blind you.” Well, probably most of the Greeks will decide not to open up the door. But when you squeeze him against the wall, he will decide, either to be a traitor or a hero. And most of them will decide to become heroes.
It’s easier for Greek, even if you see the history, to give up his life, rather than to give up his watches or his wallet or whatever. It’s easier for him, to decide to give up the life.
Why would NATO want to do such a thing? To prevent a social rest?
No, no. It wants to create a corridor in the Balkans.
Yeah. A corridor coming through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, and Albania. It’s a buffer zone to control the whole Balkans.
And then NATO will come in to restore order…
Exactly. And through that you’ll have gas pipes, or installations, whatever. It’s only for foreign forces to control the whole Balkans. And of course, through the Balkans you control Central Europe. You control Russia. If you’ll go back you’ll see the same thing as the Truman Doctrine in the new situation. What we had back then – the Truman Doctrine that took us into a civil war in Greece – it’s the same thing.
They will create this buffer zone, they will reduce Southern Greece, in order to provide for an installation of Israeli forces and NATO forces, in order to have a lever, a foothold for Israeli defense. Because they want Israel to be like it is right now. It’s a constable for the US imperialism in the Middle East. They need it. By destroying the whole Middle East you need to provide Israel with a backbone of defense – a buffer.
Let’s go back to 1967, when Israel started the Six Day War against Egypt. The US asked the military junta we had back then – created by NATO here in Greece, – to provide Crete for military installations for the Israeli air force against Egypt. Back then even the military junta thought of the political reactions here in Greece and they didn’t accept. Right now, the Left government signed an SOFA , a treaty, with Israel. And now Israel is creating a military airport, in Kastelli in Crete, and bigger military installation of radars in Crete. They are creating installations all over Crete. Crete is another, you know, unsinkable airbase, it’s like a…
An aircraft carrier.
An unsinkable aircraft carrier for NATO. And the Left government signed all of this, for NATO and Israel. We are the only state, besides the United States, to have SOFA treaty with Israel. Nobody else, nobody else. Only us and the United States.
That’s why NATO and US allies like Israel need it: from Larissa downwards to south of Greece, for military and geostrategic purposes. From Larissa upwards – that’s Macedonian Greece – it’s going to become a buffer zone to control the whole Balkan situation.
But that’s obviously not a long-term solution for them. It just means perpetual war and conflict.
Exactly. We have a perpetual war on the financial market. So as long as we have that kind of functional situation of the world economy, we have perpetual war. 100%.
And in my opinion, we have a third world war. It started in 2014. Why? Because it was the first year that 11% of the world population was involved in military action or worse. The first time since the Second World War. And from that point and on, you will see every year, 2015, 2016, more people coming in… That’s world war. And we will probably the surpass the second world war.
But on a different plan, we will have perpetual war all over the place. With Rogue states, civil wars, demolition wars, the destruction of nations and states, things like that. That’s the new form of the world war.
And that is inevitable because of the financial support of the major world powers.
They need states, nations and people to be liquid as capital.
Maybe you can talk about that a little bit…
It’s easy. If I am Mr. Buffet, I know we are not talking about Buffet but a financial elite… in order to create new situation of more profit for my own investment capital, I cannot deal with different states. And I have more then, nominally, we have more than 327 trillion dollars in terms of investment capital worldwide. Controlled by 40 banks… even less. 40 banks. 327 trillion… We have a GDP, a world GDP, from 75 to 77 trillion dollars. And they are only for investment. We’re not talking about derivatives or other aspects of the financial market. We’re talking about 327 trillion dollars. So in order to create opportunities for my capital to provide new, or even more profit, for my portal, we have to destroy and re-destroy the whole… I cannot provide more out of the normal economic cycle. We have to destroy and recreate the cycle itself. And there’s no way I can do that if we have normal states or people or national economies, things like that. We tried that through financial means. We saw that. And we saw how the whole market was destroyed back in 2007 up to 2008. After that, they recreated the whole market and right now they have even a worse situation then back in 2007. So, in order to subsist that kind of a situation in the financial market, we need an army, we need political means – the economy cannot provide any more. You will see that the big international corporations are avoiding from investing. They keep the money on the coffers, and they are using it re-buying equities in the financial market. Things like that. They cannot…
They buy what?
Equities, their own equities. You will see the world commerce going down. So the normal world economy cannot afford to go up on the same level as the financial market. And the difference between the level of the real economy and of the fictitious economy is even bigger than that. What covers the difference is the political means. Creating opportunities for the fictitious capital. That’s the only way. There’s no other way.
That’s why when the equities market went down back in 2014, the US decided that “Ok, forget all about lowering the defense budget. No. Forget all about it. Give more bills to the defense budget.” From 2014, you have the advancement of the defense budget in the US. The same in all over neighboring countries. You will see, new wars erupting all over the planet.
How will they happen in NATO countries? The migrants or…
All over. Germany, went from 4 to 5 billion – if I remember the data correctly from the first budget – right now on 2015, do you know how much was the defense budget of the Federal Republic of Germany? 162 billion euros. That’s huge. And for what? To re-create a world-class army. That’s why the US wanted to give the leadership of the maritime mission of the NATO mission in the Aegean to Germany. It’s the first time after World War II, after the Bonn Treaty of 1951, for the Germans to only participate but to take leadership of a military mission. It’s the first time. And of course, Germany is a world class economy. And they want to keep that kind of status in the world economy. They tried a military partnership with Russia back in 2010. But, of course, the US destroyed that. They tried, through the EU, to create the so-called European Army, the European military force. But it was destroyed by NATO. And now, they are going through NATO military force with the agreement of the US.
That’s why they decided about the Aegean, 4 days after the General Secretary of NATO said it is Ok for the US to quadruple the military installations and military personnel in Europe. Ok? That’s a huge change in the US policy of NATO. And of course, “to defend Europe against Russian aggression.” All these political changes and developments you will see on the background of the situation in the financial markets. And what we have now is that even the BRICS economies cannot provide for the world economy. After 2008, we had the collapse of the Lehman Brothers, the world economy, even the US and, of course, the banks, the economies of capitalism and imperialism, and they had a way out. Through BRICS they invested a lot… and now the BRICS are coming down, especially in China or even in India, Brazil, even in Russia they have big problems. Of course, they cannot do anything. China cannot do anything. Because these are totally dependent on a world scale demand. If you don’t have a world demand for your own economy to grow 8% every year or 10% every year, then you have to recreate your own economy on a basis of a local market. But in doing that, you have to provide your own citizens with more income. More labor rights. And more protection for social situations. Can China, the Chinese Communist Party or the Chinese Government do such a turn? No, I don’t believe that they can do it. Because it would be a fortune for the Chinese to get out of the economic model they had from the 1980s. They cannot do such a social political turn for their own economy. They will destroy the whole system, the political system in China. And if you do that, you will have a Chinese working class demanding more and more and more. And the capitalist world economy would lose the Chinese wage. So, the only way for the world system to go ahead is only through war. There is no other way. They cannot invest anymore. Only in a total destruction. Perpetual war.
But, obviously, that’s not a long-term solution. So we’re just going to see more and more wars throughout the EU?
Exactly. Or up to the point where you will have people’s revolutions – people who want to take back their own country and rebuild it. And in order to rebuild it they have to get rid of all the connections they have with the financial markets, the loan sharks, investment banks, or whatever. That’s the only solution. The alternative.
But any country which would do a revolution, of some kind of gain, any country which would reclaim its sovereignty… would find itself under attack, will find itself under debt, so…
Well, yes. But it’s difficult to find who will fight against sovereignty. It’s difficult for NATO or whomever to create a war situation against Greece because you don’t go up against people that are united and decisive enough to fight for their own country. That’s why they didn’t go against Iran. You will see them trying to use the difference between the government and the people, like they did in Syria. You have the regime, the Assad regime, which is not – you know – “people friendly” let’s say, and create a situation where you can demolish the social cohesion of the whole country. So if you have a social revolution or a popular revolution in Greece and the people are decisive enough to fight for the country, no NATO, no noone can go up against such a people. Or of course we will face an economic war. So what? We don’t want to be part of the financial market. We are not going out on the financial market for loans. We can do without loans. We are not in need of them. Greece is a small economy.
… Greece can be self-sustaining in terms of producing its own food.
Exactly. It’s easy. It’s easy for us to find the oil we need for our economy. Or the industrial profits, or the industrial technology we need. If we want to rebuild our own industries of textiles, we’ll go to Bangladesh, we won’t go to the US. In Bangladesh we can find whatever we like, in industrial technology, in the textile industry. And we will rebuild it.
But I’m not sure how… if you already made the case that NATO and the financial system, at the current crisis that we’re in, how it profits from and encourages and is causing more and more wars. By that same logic then, if we follow that logic, any place that would have a revolution, NATO would attack that place…
Yeah. They will try…
Maybe the people will fight back, as in the case if they would have invaded Iran. But they would still try…
They will try. They will try by going from the backdoor, you know. Not through the front door. Because by going from the front door you risk a revolution in your own country. And they don’t want that. They want to be legitimized in the people’s eyes, even in their own country. The people would have to say that the Greeks are wrong, and NATO is right. For what? Because the Greeks asked for the country back? And because they said no loans, no nothing, we don’t need anything from you?
“We’re going to work our country and prosper. That’s the only thing we are asking for… And of course, we want democracy.”
They need some kind of an excuse. They cannot go and destroy… For example, in Libya, they had the excuse of Gaddafi. In Syria, Assad. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein. In Iran, the Mullahs. In Greece, what? They are leaving the EU? They want to rebuild their own country with their own abilities? And to rely on whatever their own country can provide? It’s quite difficult. Of course, they can say whatever they like. But if we do a good job, if we provide for the people, which is what we are saying. If we create a new kind of a situation, a real democratic situation – not, you know, a sign of democracy – but a real democracy, it’s very very difficult, even for the CIA, to create a situation like this. Even to create a situation we see in Venezuela. They forgot that a revolution everywhere in the world, if you want a revolution, you have to trust the people, not the regime, whatever good it is, not the party, no. The people. The grassroots. And if you forget that, you will pay for that. And that’s what happened back in the Chavez era in Venezuela. Now they are paying for that. Create a grassroots democracy. Take to the people your own things. Give the people the ability to decide…
How are they paying for it in Venezuela?
Because they create a democratic regime, Ok. But they have an election system that provides for someone who takes 44% of the electorate to have 65% in the national assembly. Why? Of course, the Chavistas say this is all work of the reactionary forces. Ok. And now they are facing their own medicine. That’s why I’m talking about going to the people, giving them the ability to decide themselves. Through communes, through councils, through whatever you can find. Let the people’s imagination decide.
Since I was there and studied a little bit my impression of Venezuela is that… their mistake was that they didn’t follow the Cuban way. I’ll tell you what I mean. Basically, first of all, Maduro wasn’t strong enough about crime, there’s a lot of hoarding done by poor people…
And secondly, when you have elections every four years, and you have a socialist government running, you create a situation where you have populism. You just give free goods to the people and you don’t try to do anything that would be painful, like cracking down on crime. And then at some point, the more populist you become, the more they get tired of you, and then they throw you away.
The opposition had two major weapons against Maduro: inflation and crime. What can you do? First of all, socialize the money circulation process. They did not do that.
How do you do that?
You take the banks and destroy the private banking system. Destroy it. Through their own means, through money. Give money to the people, in terms of income or in terms of jobs.
They didn’t do that…
No. They let the private banking system create money through debt. That’s totally destructive. Even nowadays the Venezuelan government is indebted to Goldman Sachs. Are you crazy? What are you doing? And the other situation is exactly the corruption and the crime problems.
The crime situation: You can deal with it in two separate ways. One is the security forces problem. And they had the security forces problem. That’s why we had in 2002 and 2004 a situation of a coup d’état, through the security forces in Venezuela. So they didn’t solve that. They did a, you know, tried to solve it through the personality of Chavez. But that’s Ok; that’s one way to say “Kill my leader in order to leave me without a head and then deal with me easily.” The other way is to provide for the society itself to fight against crime, especially in barrios, and organize the society. We know that. Even from the US history of fighting crime back in the Roosevelt years. The society itself. Not the police, or the justice system. The society itself. Organize.
What would be the incentive? You had a situation in Venezuela where people could get a PhD, they could do a Master and instead they chose to join a gang. What would be the incentive for communities to crack down on crime…?
You provide good jobs for the people.
When you nationalize the…
Yes. And good income out of the good jobs. And more leisure time in order to get involved in the political situation. Provide more of a decision-making process for the people. For, let’s say, a convention in every neighborhood. Call the people from every neighborhood to decide what to do in the neighborhood. And whatever the people decide, it will be implemented. They will implement their own decision. Through that, they will fight to implement their own decision. They will be responsible for implementing their own decision. And through that you will fight gangs, you will fight everything. Most of the people who join gangs do that because they want a different type of an organization. And they find that through gangs. No. They can give them a different organization, and through that organization, they can decide and implement what they decide. They have the first and the last word in their own situation. In the social and political situation they are facing. And through that, who is going to join the opposition or to vote for multimillionaire that doesn’t care even for the people who are working for them. Nobody. Well, you know only the elite or a quasi-elite. How much? 5% of the population? 10% of the population? Whatever.
That’s the same conclusion you draw from the revolutionary process all over Europe from day one. Even if you go back to the great French revolution, or the Paris Commune’s revolution or whatever. You will see the same pattern. If you lose track of money, and if you lose track of grassroot democracy, you will lose permanently. That’s what happened even in the Russian revolution.
But in Cuba they are…
Well, yeah. But in Cuba, it’s a very different story. Because what they realized, even the American elite, realized by now is that the Cuban Revolution survived because of the encirclement of the American hegemony. Because the people, the patriotic people, the Cuban people, created a huge form against any foreign oppression or invasion. So even if the Cubans have any complex about the Castro regime or whatever, Ok, leave it aside, we’ll fight against any kind of foreign invasion and recreation of the Batista regime.
Now, the American polity, the political elite, acknowledge that by going through the back door. They tell to Raul Castro, “Ok. Let’s talk. Let us give you a little bit of money, a few dollars. Instead of having the Americans flying through Canada, Vancouver or Montreal and going to Cuba, Ok, let them go in easily.” They will do the same thing, or try – let’s hope that the Cubans, or the Cuban Party, draw the conclusions we are drawing right now. If they keep the bureaucracy, the party, the state bureaucracy in tact, they will lose the country. One way or another. Because when you have the bureaucracy, it’s easy for someone like the US to buy out their way into the country. No questions asked. We saw that back in the Soviet Union. In a few years’ time, you will see the same. The same one, in a few years’ time, I’m talking about 3 or 4 years, became the worse type of Capitalism in Russia. Party of state bureaucrats. The same thing with Cuba.
I don’t believe that Cuba has any other way out because it has to go through negotiations with the US. But it has to recreate the state apparatus. Give more freedom. Let go of the war-type organization of the society and the economy. Give more space for the people. Invest in the people’s opinion and give them more. Give them more. It’s the only way to defend the regime, of course, and the party – against the new invasion, the invasion of US “friendship” and the takeover of Cuba…
You can fight it easily, but you have to change your own mindset. You see. The type of Ernesto Che Guevara or Fidel Castro type with military clothes has passed… You cannot fight the imperialism, the new stage of imperialism, through these things. Of course, you have to keep up your military alert up to the most possible scenario… you can have a US invasion against you in matter of days. But through that, give more power to the people. Grassroots power, to decide their own decisions. Give them the space to make mistakes. So what?
Going back to Venezuela, some people suggested that if the pro-Chavista military will take over the country that could stabilize things more, they can bring back order…
I don’t know.
Because the way things are going now the opposition will take over the country.
I know, I know. And I see Maduro’s declarations. It’s a very very risky business. If the military decides to come in, you create a precedent that everyone can use. Even the opposition. And the opposition is far more advanced in these matters than you are, then a movement like the Chavistas or Maduro’s PSUV party. The opposition can do whatever they like. They have the backing of the US.
But there are generals who are different, who have good relations with Cuba, China, Russia, and Iran…
I know, I know. But what about a civil war?
That will happen anyway.
I believe that if they try that, they will have the possibility to create a situation of a civil war for decades. Like in Colombia. You see, a civil war since the 1960s. It’s very difficult, a situation like this.
Either way, if the opposition takes over the Chavistas will do a civil war…
I don’t believe it’s an easy way out right now. What they had to do- they didn’t do, years back. Now, it’s very difficult to choose. Whatever you chose, you’ll have cons and…
But in this kind of a situation you have to make an imperfect decision.
…And I think the military can make the situation better for everyone.
If you have the military, and at the same time you will have a popular movement, and the popular movement will try to recreate from the bottom-up the whole situation- that’s a good thing. Of course, it’s a risky business, but that’s a good thing. But in order to do that, you cannot stop at anything. If you use a knife, use it well, without any hesitation. I’m talking in a matter of time, and I’m for it, Ok. If you have to use it, use it. You don’t mess around, use it. If you decide that the whole situation is up to cutting some throats, cut them. No questions asked. Cut them. In a few day’s time, in order to pacify the whole situation. If you prolong it, you create more strife. And that’s my opinion. If you decide that the only way out is using the military, do it. And do it in 24 hours, get rid of them all. And then find a way to legitimize. Are they traitors? Ok, they are traitors. Hang them. And let history judge.
From that time on, you will work to put the people in front of the whole situation. And from that point on you will recreate the whole regime, from the bottom-up. A grassroots democracy. And through that everybody, at the end, will say, Ok, it was a situation. And of course, go out to the people and take the blame yourself. You will say that “Ok, it was my fault, as a movement, that we came to that point. We made certain mistakes. We are not going to do that anymore. We will fight for our country because we are facing an invasion, it is a new type of invasion than Syria, but we will fight,” if you decide to use the military. And tell to the people: “Ok, we made the situation worse but we will rectify, with you. And from that point and on, you [the people] will decide, and we will follow.” That’s the only way, if you come to this. And that’s what we said about Greece. If we come to this situation where we have to use weapons or arms to deal with the enemy, we will do that. No hesitation. No way around it. No. We will do that. And we will do that with the most resourceful and efficient way we can do that. In order to resolve the whole situation in the smallest possible time. No prolonging, no nothing. We will fight. We will get rid of them. And then our recreate our own country, we will build a true democracy. And that’s what back in the 40s, the national revolution movement against the Nazi occupation did. Up in the mountains. From day one, they created a democracy for the people. It was very good. But they did the same mistake again. They didn’t trust the people, the grassroots people. And on a specific… the leadership was not adequate to deal with the political situation and accepted the presence of the British military in the country and that was the start of the civil war.
Their mistake was that they didn’t believe in the people. They fought for the people, but they didn’t believe…
The people need to be educated for you to really believe in them…
No. I believe that the people, when they start to fight, they learn from their own experience. Let’s see, you can see the Egypt situation. When the people without a political leadership or a political program, learn how to deal with the government, and how to dethrone a government or a regime – the Mubarak regime – it’s something that, you know, it’s written on the genes, on the people’s genes. They know the way. If they get rid of the fear of dealing with the regime or the government, then it’s easy, to topple one government, and then topple another government. Of course, when you have a political program it is easy to topple a government and create a new political situation. That’s the deficiency of the Egypt situation right now. But the people know how to deal with them…
But that’s only possible when the people reclaim their rights.
Exactly. You cannot have a successful revolution or social insurrection without a political program, a very specific political program. Ok, we don’t want them. We have to know what we want. What will succeed after the toppling of the government or the regime.
That’s where we are trying to organize, and we are trying to educate the people politically. You know, we need democracy. But what kind of democracy? We don’t need any type of democracy; we need grassroots democracy. We need the people to decide, not only every four years but every time any serious situation involving the people comes. To involve the citizens. To create a situation that even one citizen can make a difference.
Why in the world would Merkel want to accept millions of migrants to Germany after she said in the past that multiculturalism failed?
The main problem of the German economy is the export of capital. The net investment position of the German economy is about 26% of the German GDP. It’s a huge provider of capital for the national market. 26%, out of 20% before the EU. So the main strength of the German economy is to keep exporting capital. It’s a more typically imperialist economy compared to the US. Like an old European imperialist economy. Where I need to export capital in order to provide for the financial and economic elite.
In order to do that, it has to squeeze down all the labor costs and the social costs.
Ok, they did that for 20 years. Now they are facing a social situation. They cannot squeeze now, even more, the German labor or the German working class. They need some external force. The Germans know. The Germans know from the 60s. In order to create a German miracle back then they wanted millions of immigrants. That’s the same thing right now. But the difference is back then, it was a different world situation and European situation. A different capitalism, let’s say. They tried, most of them, especially the German trade unions, they tried to take most of the immigrant people, to take them and create a new kind of a German citizen. Now there is no more of that. “We need, immigrants for the specific time of staying in Germany.” “We need – the German oligarchy needs – a few hundred thousand or 1 million immigrants only for a specific time now. We need to get rid of them as soon as they start asking for rights.”
And how will they do that?
Easy. They take them back to Greece. Easy.
It will create a civil war. You can just do that easily…
So what. They did that.
So there could be a civil war in Germany?
Yes. Because the Germans now – the German worker or the German middle class will lose everything. And that’s why you see Nazi parties in Germany coming up, especially in Bavaria. All over Germany you see people, political factions, that they say that they are not Nazis but Ok, over the political rhetoric you will see that Nazism is coming up again in Germany. Based on the social situation created by that policy.
But not everyone who opposes migration in Germany is a Nazi. They have a right, would you say they have a right to oppose migration?
Yeah, of course. I do. The difference between the Nazis, is the same thing like in the middle war years. The Nazis weren’t against migration. They were for migration, of course using them as slave labor. During the Nazi regime there were 7.5 million migrants working in Germany as slaves. There were more migrants than at any other time in German history. So, they were not against migration; they were for.
Of course, you had… it was like Marx said. The capitalists are for migration using them in order to bribe their own working class. The same thing happened with the Nazis. They were using slave labor in order to bribe the German working class to accept the Nazi regime. Bribing them or through the army or providing more for the Germans against the slave labor force from Eastern Europe or from all over Europe. They were working for jobs the German working man didn’t want; the jobs were not respectful enough. They were working for less than trash, Ok? And of course, all during the war, the German soldier coming from the working class, had the ability to loot the whole Europe to provide for the family. And that’s how, more or less, it was a blind eye, even for the German working class, a blind eye for what the Nazis did all over Europe, and of course, the death camps and things like that. It’s something you know; it was a bribe. Of course, it was quite different under a totalitarian regime. But it was exactly the utmost scale of what the British imperialists did with the British working class using the slave labor of the Irish back in the 19th century. That’s why Engels and Marx said you have to get rid of the bulk of the Irish, in order for the British working class to become revolutionary. And first and foremost, you have to give national sovereignty for the Irish in order for them to stay in their own country and not to come into Britain. It’s the same thing.
What I found interesting is as you said, just as there is a farmers protest here and entire farms are being taken over by corporations and Monsanto’s power grows more and more, we’re seeing the same crisis in the US. Because the government is taking – from what I learned – the government is taking land from private farmers and ranchers, to create a national park, and then they sell off the area to private corporations, even areas with uranium. So what happened now in Oregon, is that a lot of farmers and ranchers, white farmers and ranchers, came out to protest against the government. But the interesting thing is, that the American Left who you would think would be the first ones to join – didn’t join. So what is your opinion about that?
Well, in my opinion, most of the Left, even in Europe and the United States, lost the ability to know or to acknowledge the real problems. In order to provide a revolutionary movement, let’s say. If we consider the Left to be a revolutionary force, you have to know the grassroots’ problem. You are fighting for the working class, that in order become a dominant class, it has to be a dominant class for the nation. That is what the Communist Manifesto said back in 1845. Marx said that the working class doesn’t have countries. But at the same time he said that since the working class has to gain power, it must become the dominant class of the nation. A nation is not something you sign off at the doorsteps of the country or on the constitution. Nation is something that comes from the bottom-up that creates a society. A place where someone can fight for rights, for the rights to self-government. If you lose sight of that, it’s easy to cross sides and to become part of the dominant class and adopt the ideology of imperialism. See how easy it is nowadays internationally to become mixed up with cosmopolitanism – the ideology of imperialism. “You don’t need nations.” Even in our own country, we have Left forces, saying that because of the migrants and the refugee crisis, “Let’s get rid of the national borders.” Ok. NATO did that for us. That’s what NATO did. So, the extreme left, let’s say, the most radical left, by saying “Let’s get rid of the national borders,” invited actually NATO to do that. That’s why I went out and said that “Ok, the radicals of Left saying that are only agents of NATO imperialism.” It’s the same thing. We’re fighting for the people first and foremost, for everyone who has the right to own a land in the country, as a farmer or as a citizen, to have his own traditions, beliefs, even a religion. I don’t believe in any religion but I will fight to death for my people to have their right to have their own religion. That’s what Ernesto Che Guevara said about the theology of liberation in Latin America. He was not a religious man. But he fought and said that a revolutionary or liberation theology was part of parcel of national liberation movements in Latin America. You can see that even in Greece.
For the people in order to become free, first and foremost they have to have national self-determination. National sovereignty. To become a nation. To become a nation is where the last of the last of the citizens has the right to create the state that the citizen lives in. That’s what nations is all about. And on top of that he has the ability, has the right, to create his own tradition, it’s own art, civilization. We don’t have to earn a civilization. We have it. Human civilization, created from different cultures, different historical types of civilization. Every type of civilization, of people’s civilization, has the right, to become the dominant civilization in its own country. And by dominant civilization, I don’t mean “get rid of the minority.” No. Every citizen has the right. In order to do that we have to have national sovereignty. I believe in the Greek tradition. I’m proud of the Greek tradition. Because I know the Greeks that have fought for, the Greeks that came out of the revolution or war of independence, like the US historical textbook I am talking about, and the major slogan from the period was “Freedom or Death.” We were the first people who said “Freedom or Death.” Not “Patria O Muerte” [Homeland or Death] like the Latin Americans. We said that also. But we said “Freedom or Death.” We were fighting not only against Ottomans but against all the empires of Europe, the holy alliance. And I am proud of that tradition. And I have the right to keep to that tradition. And to keep calling myself “I am a Greek.” And since I am a Greek I have a huge tradition looking back. And since I am a Greek, I am living in Greece, I have to fight for democracy. Because it’s my tradition. It’s not only a political demand, it’s my tradition. It was here that the first fight for democracy, real democracy, took place, going back to the classical time. So it is my tradition.
It’s only a world tradition. It’s my tradition, first and foremost. And that’s why they are fighting against Greece. They want to destroy the Greeks. That’s why they slander Greeks. That they are nowadays Jews for Europe. What the Nazis said about the Jews back in the middle war years, they are saying now about the Greeks. Why? Because they want to destroy the classical tradition of Greece. And the classical tradition of Greece was about democracy. Was about how to provide for the people. Demos we called that. The power of Demos, the power of the people. And they recreate the whole classical tradition, through their own imperialist aims.
They say in Berlin, in Paris, in London, and even in Washington, that they are the continuers of the classical tradition. No, the continuers are us. That’s why I see a civilizational collusion. Different civilizations. And I’m not talking about high from bullshit. I’m talking about real civilizations. Our civilization, even through our religion, it’s not mine but most of the Greeks, we’re talking about free will. The Greek Orthodox Church is based on free will. It’s not like Catholicism or Protestantism. We believe in free will. Because even Christianity had to adopt to the classical Greek tradition. And that’s why in the Greek Orthodox Church you will see even the most religious person talking about free will. The free will of the human.
For us, we are fighting for human freedom. And we are facing the Protestant tradition in terms of economics and politics that says first and foremost it’s submission. No. For us, it’s free will. It’s freedom. Freedom to do whatever we like in terms of the person inside a society. That’s the difference between the Greek culture. Even now the European elite call us stubborn, we don’t cooperate with what they say. Their vision of cooperation is the submission of the person to the totality. A totalitarian view of cooperation. No. We say that we can be different. Quite different. For a different road. But we can fight together. That’s how the Greek city-states back in the fourth century BC fought against the Persians. They were fighting each other before, but in the critical moment, the Athenians decided to leave their own city-state in order to go to Salamis to fight effectively against the Persians. And of course, they were fighting for freedom and democracy against Eastern despotism. That’s the whole meaning. And it’s even today. We are very different. We can fight easily each other. Easily. You can see it even in our own close relations. But at the critical moment, we will find a way to unite and fight the common enemy.
And that’s the difficult part also. We’re not soldiers, like the Germans. Following the leader, the Führer. No. We are quite different. You see, our national hero, one our national heroes is Kolokotronis. Kolokotronis is like, I can translate it in English, Kolos is in us, and kotrona is a stone. It means “us, as a stone.” Kolokotronis.
No. Actually, he had a forefather that could jump easily more than 10 meters from a stationary position. And the Albanians, the Turkish Albanians back then said – he was admired by the Albanians, you know, back then, they were very renowned fighters. And the Albanians called him Kolokotronis, he has an “us” out of a stone in order to jump out of a stationary position ten meters away. That’s why he was called Kolokotronis. Kolokotronis said “it’s easy.” He fought for Napoleon and for the English as a mercenary back in the early 19th century. When he was the leader, one of the military leaders of the Greek revolution, he said “It’s easy to lead a European army. It’s easy. You are the general, you have a staff, you deploy your plan, and then you give the orders to your staff, and the commanders and the staff decide what to do next. It’s very difficult to lead a Greek army. Because a Greek army, you have to go out and say good things about someone, say bad things about the other, give presents to the other, and things like that. It’s very difficult. No European can lead a Greek army.” It’s the Greek society, it’s the Greek flavor, it’s the Greek culture. But that’s what we are. That’s our Greek temperament. That what differentiates us from all over Europe and the Balkans. And that’s what we want to keep. If we go back to the 16th century, the 17th century, if you read the Europeans that came here as travelers, you will see the same thing. When they were coming to Ottoman Greece, they were expected to see philosophers discussing philosophy matters and things like that. Instead they met poor people subjected to a very despotic regime, the southern regime. But they liked the term “freedom.” That’s why all over the place, you’ll see easily, you’ll find the names Elefteris and Eleftheria. Elefteris is a very common name, Elefteris means “free,” “freedom.” Eleftheria means “Freedom” in Greek. And you’ll see that all over even in the 16th century. English, Germans, French travelers came here, to Ottoman Greece, from all over the place and heard everywhere people saying to each other “Yasu Elefteris” [Hi Eleftheria]. Elefteris is the Greek name for freedom, or Elefteria – the female name. It’s something, you know, you have to… It goes back centuries. And, we are proud of it, we are not going to get rid of it, and we don’t want to get rid of it, to become a German type of society. And that’s why the human center of civilization started from here, something to do with the climate, and of course, as Hippocrates said back then, “The Greeks are much better fighters than Asians because they are not under a despotic regime.”
It’s the same thing right now. Of course we are trying to keep up because we don’t have a political situation that is free and democratic but it’s inside every Greek. And you want something like that. They didn’t have… We try to fight, our people fought for that kind… it’s easy for the Greeks when they start fighting to find a way to create a democratic situation. It’s easy for us. We did that back in the war. And if you remember the partisans were fighting up in the mountains. And in the villages are the most socially backward socieities, but in these villages a new kind of democracy was created. And it was easy for the most backward village to adapt that type of democracy, a new type. The villagers created their own judges, they created their own political system and they decided themselves what to do. Under an occupation. Even the intelligence secret agents that fought in Greece, who were of course against the Partisans…
Yes. Mr. Woodhouse. Even he said, in his own book, afterwards, that in a period of three years of fighting over the mountains, the Greeks managed to civilize the most uncivilized place, the mountains in Central Greece, because you know it’s something with the Greek people. It’s the same thing. The difficult thing for us to start, but after that it’s easy. It’s our tradition. It will come up. We will find our way to create the most fantastic and admirable democracy. The only problem is to convince people you have to get rid of the whole regime, not only a party or a government. Otherwise, you will lose and die.
Thank you very much. Efhartiso poly.
Former Greek Diplomat Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos talks to RT International as Greek PM Tsipras announces his resignation to clear the way for Sept. 20th election.
Ο Πρέσβης ε.τ. και μέλος του Ε.ΠΑ.Μ., Λεωνίδας Χρυσανθόπουλος μιλά στο RT για τις εκλογές του Σεπτεμβρίου 2015 και το Ε.ΠΑ.Μ.
07.26.2015 :: Analysis
Introduction: The Greek people’s efforts to end the economic depression, recover their sovereignty and reverse the regressive socio-economic policies, which have drastically reduced living standards, have been thrice denied.
First, the denial came as tragedy: When the Greek majority elected Syriza to government and their debts increased, the economy plunged further into depression and unemployment and poverty soared. The Greek people voted for Syriza believing its promises of ‘a new course’. Immediately following their victory, Syriza reneged on their promise to restore sovereignty – and end the subjugation of the Greek people to the economic dictates of overseas bankers, bureaucrats and political oligarchs. Instead Syriza kept Greece in the oligarchical imperialist bloc, portraying the European Union as an association of independent sovereign countries. What began as a great victory of the Greek people turned into a tragic strategic retreat. >From their first day in office, Syriza led the Greek people down the blind alley of total submission to the German empire.
Then the tragedy turned into farce when the Greek people refused to acknowledge the impending betrayal by their elected leaders. They were stunned, but mute, as Syriza emptied the Greek treasury and offered even greater concessions, including acceptance of the illegal and odious debts incurred by private bankers, speculators and political kleptocrats in previous regimes.
True to their own vocation as imperial overlords, the EU bosses saw the gross servility of Syriza as an invitation to demand more concessions – total surrender to perpetual debt peonage and mass impoverishment. Syriza’s demagogic leaders, Yanis Varoufakis and Alexis Tsipras, shifting from fits of hysteria to infantile egotism, denounced ‘the Germans and their blackmail’ and then performed a coy belly-crawl at the feet of the ‘Troika’, peddling their capitulation to the bankers as ‘negotiations’ and referring to their overlords as . . . ‘partners’.
Syriza, in office for only 5 months brought Greece to the edge of total bankruptcy and surrender, then launched the ‘mother of all deceptions’ on the Greek people: Tsipras convoked a ‘referendum’ on whether Greece should reject or accept further dictates and cuts to bare bones destitution. Over 60% of the Greek people voted a resounding NO to further plunder and poverty.
In Orwellian fashion, the megalomaniac Tsipras immediately re-interpreted the ‘NO’vote as a mandate to capitulation to the imperial powers, accepting the EU bankers’ direct supervision of the regime’s implementation of Troika’s policies – including drastic reductions of Greek pensions, doubling the regressive ‘VAT’ consumption tax on vital necessities and a speed-up of evictions of storeowners and householders behind in their mortgage payments. Thus Greece became a vassal state: Nineteenth century colonialism was re-imposed in the 21st century.
Colonialism by Invitation
Greek politicians, whether Conservative or Socialist, have openly sought to join the German-led imperial bloc known as the European Union, even when it was obvious that the Greek economy and financial system was vulnerable to domination by the powerful German ruling class.
From the beginning, the Greek Panhellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) and their Conservative counterparts refused to recognize the class basis of the European Union. Both political factions and the Greek economic elites, that is, the kleptocrats who governed and the oligarchs who ruled, viewed entry into the EU as an opportunity for taking and faking loans, borrowing, defaulting and passing their enormous debts on to the public treasury!
Widely circulating notions among the Left that ‘Germany is responsible’ for the Greek crisis are only half true, while the accusations among rightwing financial scribes that the ‘Greek people are spendthrifts’ who brought on their own crisis is equally one-sided. The reality is more complex:
The crash and collapse of the Greek economy was a product of an entrenched parasitic rentier ruling class –both Socialist and Conservative – which thrived on borrowing at high interest rates and speculating in non-productive economic activities while imposing an astronomical military budget. They engaged in fraudulent overseas financial transactions while grossly manipulating and fabricating financial data to cover-up Greece’s unsustainable trade and budget deficits.
German and other EU exporters had penetrated and dominated the Greek markets. The bankers charged exorbitant interest rates while investors exploited cheap Greek labor. The creditors ignored the obvious risks because Greek rulers were their willing accomplices in the ongoing pillage.
Clearly entry into and continued membership in the EU has largely benefited two groups of elites: the German rulers and the Greek rentiers: The latter received short-term financial grants and transfers while the former gained powerful levers over the banks, markets and, most important, established cultural-ideological hegemony over the Greek political class. The Greek elite and middle class believed ‘they were Europeans’ – that the EU was a beneficent arrangement and a source of prosperity and upward mobility. In reality, Greek leaders were merely accomplices to the German conquest of Greece. And the major part of the middle class aped the views of the Greek elite.
The financial crash of 2008-2009 ended the illusions for some but not most Greeks. After 6 years of pain and suffering a new version of the old political class came to power: Syriza! Syriza brought in new faces and rhetoric but operated with the same blind commitment to the EU. The Syriza leadership believed they were “partners”.
The road to vassalage is rooted deep in the psyche of the political class. Instead of recognizing their subordinate membership in the EU as the root cause of their crisis, they blamed ‘the Germans, the bankers, Angela Merkel, Wolfgang Schnauble , the IMF, the Troika… The Greek rulers and middle class were in fact both victims and accomplices.
The German imperial regime loaned money from the tax revenues of German workers to enable their complicit Greek vassals to pay back the German bankers… German workers complained. The German media deflected criticism by blaming the ‘lazy Greek cheats’. Meanwhile, the Greek oligarch-controlled media deflected criticism of the role of the parasitical political class back to the ‘Germans’. This all served to obscure the class dynamics of empire building — colonialism by invitation. The ideology of blaming peoples, instead of classes, is pitting German workers against Greek employees and pensioners. The German masses support their bankers, while the Greek masses have elected and followed Syriza – their traitors.
From Andreas Papandreou to Alexis Tsipras: Misconceptions about the European Union
After Syriza was elected a small army of instant experts, mostly leftist academics from Canada, the US and Europe, sprang up to write and speak, usually with more heat than light, on current Greek political and economic developments. Most have little knowledge or experience of Greek politics, particularly its history and relations with the EU over the past thirty five years.
The most important policy decisions shaping the current Syriza government’s betrayal of Greek sovereignty go back to the early 1980’s when I was working as an adviser to PASOK Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou. At that time, I was party to an internal debate of whether to continue within the EU or leave. Papandreou was elected on an anti EU, anti NATO platform, which, like Tsipras, he promptly reneged on– arguing that ‘there were no alternatives’. Even then, there were international and Greek academic sycophants, as there are today, who argued that membership in the EU was the only realistic alternative- it was the ‘only possibility’. The ‘possibilistas” at that time, operating either from ignorance or deceit, were full of bluster and presumption. They denied the underlying power realities in the structure of the EU and dismissed the class capacity of the working and popular masses to forge an alternative. Then, as now, it was possible to develop independent alternative relations with Europe, Russia, China, the Middle East and North Africa. The advantages of maintaining a protected market, a robust tourist sector and an independent monetary system were evident and did not require EU membership (or vassalage).
Above all, what stood out in both leaders, Andreas Papandreou and Alexis Tsipras, was their profound misconception of the class nature of the dominant forces in the EU. In the 1980’s Germany was just beginning to recover its imperial reach. By the time Syriza-Tsipras rose to power (January 2015), Germany’s imperial power was undeniable. Tsipras’ misunderstanding of this reality can be attributed to his and his ‘comrades’ rejection of class and imperial analyses. Even academic Marxists, who spouted Marxist theory, never applied their abstract critiques of capitalism and imperialism to the concrete realities of German empire building and Greece’s quasi-colonial position within the EU. They viewed their role as that of ‘colonial reformers’ –imagining that they were clever enough to ‘negotiate’ better terms in the German-centered EU. They inevitably failed because Berlin had a built-in majority among its fervently neo-liberal ex-communist satellites plus the IMF, French and English imperial partners. Syriza was no match for this power configuration. Then there was the bizarre delusion among the Syriza intellectuals that European capitalism was more benign than the US version.
EU membership has created scaffolding for German empire-building. The take off point was West Germany’s annexation of East Germany. This was soon followed by the incorporation of the rightwing regimes in the Baltic and Balkans as subordinate members of the EU – their public assets were snapped up by Germany corporations at bargain prices. The third step was the systematic break-up of Yugoslavia and the incorporation of Slovenia into the German orbit. The fourth step was the takeover of key sectors of the Polish and Czech economies and the exploitation of cheap skilled labor from Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and other satellite states.
Without firing a shot, German empire-building has revolved around making loans and financial transfers to the new subordinate member states in the EU. These financial transactions were predicated upon the following conditions: 1) Privatization and sale of the new member states’ prized public assets to mainly German as well as other EU investors and 2) Forcing member states to dismantle their social programs, approve massive lay-offs and meet impossible fiscal targets. In other words, expansion of the contemporary German empire required austerity measures, which transformed the ex-communist countries into satellites, vassals and sources of mercenaries – a pattern which is now playing out in Greece.
The reason these new German ‘colonies’ (especially Poland and the Baltic States) insist on the EU imposing harsh austerity measures on Greece, is that they went through the same brutal process convincing their own beleaguered citizens that there was no alternative – resistance was futile. Any successful demonstration by Greek workers, farmers and employees that resistance to empire was possible would expose the corrupt relationship between these client leaders and the German imperial order. In order to preserve the foundations of the new imperial order, Germany has had to take a hardline on Greece. Otherwise the recently incorporated colonial subjects in the Baltic, Balkan and Central Europe states might “re-think” the brutal terms of their own incorporation to the European Union. This explains the openly punitive approach to Greece – turning it into the ‘Haiti of Europe’ analogous to the US’ long standing brutalization of the rebellious Haitians – as an object lesson to its own Caribbean and Latin American clients.
The root cause of German intransigence has nothing to do with the political personalities or quirks of Angela Merkle and Wolfgang Schnauble: Such imperial leaders do not operate out of neurotic vindictiveness. Their demand for total Greek submission is an imperative of German empire-building, a continuation of the step-by-step conquest of Europe.
German empire-building emphasizes economic conquests, which go hand-in-hand with US empire-building based on military conquests. The same economic satellites of Germany also serve as sites for US military bases and exercises encircling Russia; these vassal states provide mercenary soldiers for US imperial wars in South Asia, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.
Syriza’s economic surrender is matched by its spineless sell-out to NATO, its support of sanctions against Russia and its embrace of US policies toward Syria, Lebanon and Israel.
Germany and its imperial partners have launched a savage attack on the working people of Greece, usurping Greek sovereignty and planning to seize 50 billion Euros of vital Greek public enterprises, land and resources. This alone should dispels the myth, promoted especially by the French social democratic demagogue Jacques Delores, that European capitalism is a benign form of ‘social welfarism’ and an ‘alternative’ to the savage Anglo-American version capitalism.
What has been crucial to previous and current versions of empire-building is the role of a political collaborator class facilitating the transition to colonialism. Here is where social democrats, like Alexis Tsipras, who excel in the art of talking left while embracing the right, flatter and deceive the masses into deepening austerity and pillage.
Instead of identifying the class enemies within the EU and organizing an alternative working class program, Tsipras and his fellow collaborators pose as EU ‘partners’ , fostering class collaboration – better to serve imperial Europe: When the German capitalists demanded their interest payments, Tsipras bled the Greek economy. When German capitalists sought to dominate Greek markets, Tsipras and Syriza opened the door by keeping Greece in the EU. When German capital wanted to supervise the take-over of Greek properties, Tsipras and Syriza embraced the sell-off.
There is clear class collaboration within the Greek elite in the destruction of nation’s sovereignty: Greek banker oligarchs and sectors of the commercial and tourist elite have acted as intermediaries of the German empire builders and they personally benefit from the German and EU takeover despite the destitution of the Greek public. Such economic intermediaries, representing 25% of the electorate, have become the main political supporters of the Syriza-Tsipras betrayal. They join with the EU elite applauding Tsipras’ purge of left critics and his authoritarian seizure of legislative and executive power! This collaborator class will never suffer from pension cuts, layoffs and unemployment. They will never have to line up at crippled banks for a humiliating dole of 65 Euros of pension money. These collaborators have hundreds of thousands and millions stashed in overseas bank accounts and invested in overseas real estate. Unlike the Greek masses, they are ‘European’ first and foremost – willing accomplices of German empire builders!
Tragic Beginnings: The Greek People Elect a Trojan Horse
Syriza is deeply rooted in Greek political culture .A leadership of educated mascots serving overseas European empire-builders. Syriza is supported by academic leftists who are remote from the struggles, sacrifices and suffering of the Greek masses. Syriza’s leadership emerged on the scene as ideological mentors and saviors with heady ideas and shaky hands. They joined forces with downwardly mobile middle class radicals who aspired to rise again via the traditional method: radical rhetoric, election to office, negotiations and transactions with the local and foreign elite and betrayal of their voters. Theirs is a familiar political road to power, privilege and prestige. In this regard, Tsipras personifies an entire generation of upwardly mobile opportunists, willing and able to sellout Greece and its people. He perpetuates the worst political traditions: In campaigns he promoted consumerism over class consciousness (discarding any mobilization of the masses upon election!). He is a useful fool, embedded in a culture of clientelism, kleptocracy, tax evasion, predatory lenders and spenders – the very reason his German overlords tolerated him and Syriza, although on a short leash!
Tsipras’ Syriza has absolute contempt for democracy. He embraces the ‘Caudillo Principle’: one man, one leader, one policy! Any dissenters invite dismissal!
Syriza has utterly submitted to imperial institutions, the Troika and their dictates, NATO and above all the EU, the Eurozone. Tsipras/ Syriza reject outright independence and freedom from imperial dictates. In his ‘capitulation to the Germans’ Tsipra engaged in histrionic theatrics, but by his own personal dictate, the massive ‘NO to EU’ vote was transformed into a YES.
The cruelest political crime of all has been Tsipras running down the Greek economy, bleeding the banks, emptying the pension funds and freezing everyday salaries while ‘blaming the bankers’, in order to force the mass of Greeks to accept the savage dictates of his imperial overlords or face utter destitution!
The Ultimate Surrender
Tsipras and his sycophants in Syriza, while constantly decrying Greece’s subordination to the EU empire-builders and claiming victimhood, managed to undermine the Greek people’s national consciousness in less than 6 months. What had been a victorious referendum and expression of rejection by three-fifths of the Greek voters turned into a prelude to a farcical surrender by empire collaborators. The people’s victory in the referendum was twisted to represent popular support for a Caudillo. While pretending to consult the Greek electorate, Tsipras manipulated the popular will into a mandate for his regime to push Greece beyond debt peonage and into colonial vassalage.
Tsipras is a supreme representation of Adorno’s authoritarian personality: On his knees to those above him, while at the throat of those below.
Once he has completed his task of dividing, demoralizing and impoverishing the Greek majority, the local and overseas ruling elites will discard him like a used condom, and he will pass into history as a virtuoso in deceiving and betraying the Greek people.
Syriza’s embrace of hard-right foreign policies should not be seen as the ‘result of outside pressure’, as its phony left supporters have argued, but rather a deliberate choice. So far, the best example of the Syriza regime’s reactionary policies is its signing of a military agreement with Israel.
According to the Jerusalem Post (July 19, 2015), the Greek Defense Minister signed a mutual defense and training agreement with Israel, which included joint military exercises. Syriza has even backed Israel’s belligerent position against the Islamic Republic of Iran, endorsing Tel Aviv’s ridiculous claim that Teheran represents a terrorist threat in the Middle East and Mediterranean. Syriza and Israel have inked a mutual military support pact that exceeds any other EU member agreement with Israel and is only matched in belligerence by Washington’s special arrangements with the Zionist regime.
Israel’s ultra-militarist ‘Defense’ Minister Moshe Yaalon, (the Butcher of Gaza), hailed the agreement and thanked the Syriza regime for ‘its support’. It is more than likely that Syriza’s support for the Jewish state explains its popularity with Anglo-American and Canadian ‘left’ Zionists…
Syriza’s strategic ties with Israel are not the result of EU ‘pressure’ or the dictates of the ‘Troika’. The agreement is a radical reversal of over a half-century of Greek support for the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people against the Israeli terrorist state. This military pact, like the Syriza regime’s economic capitulation to the German ruling class, is deeply rooted in the ‘colonial ideology’, which permeates Tsipras’ policies. He has taken Greece a significant step ‘forward’ from economic vassal to a mercenary client of the most retrograde regime in the Mediterranean.
According to mainstream media, the current economic crisis in Greece is due to the government spending too much money on its people that it went broke. This claim however, is a lie. It was the banks that wrecked the country so oligarchs and international corporations could benefit.
Every single mainstream media has the following narrative for the economic crisis in Greece: the government spent too much money and went broke; the generous banks gave them money, but Greece still can’t pay the bills because it mismanaged the money that was given. It sounds quite reasonable, right?
Except that it is a big fat lie … not only about Greece, but about other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland who are all experiencing various degrees of austerity. It was also the same big, fat lie that was used by banks and corporations to exploit many Latin American, Asian and African countries for many decades.
Greece did not fail on its own. It was made to fail.
In summary, the banks wrecked the Greek government and deliberately pushed it into unsustainable debt so that oligarchs and international corporations can profit from the ensuing chaos and misery.
If you are a fan of mafia movies, you know how the mafia would take over a popular restaurant. First, they would do something to disrupt the business – stage a murder at the restaurant or start a fire. When the business starts to suffer, the Godfather would generously offer some money as a token of friendship. In return, Greasy Thumb takes over the restaurant’s accounting, Big Joey is put in charge of procurement, and so on. Needless to say, it’s a journey down a spiral of misery for the owner who will soon be broke and, if lucky, alive.
Now, let’s map the mafia story to international finance in four stages.
Stage 1: The first and foremost reason that Greece got into trouble was the “Great Financial Crisis” of 2008 that was the brainchild of Wall Street and international bankers. If you remember, banks came up with an awesome idea of giving subprime mortgages to anyone who can fog a mirror. They then packaged up all these ticking financial bombs and sold them as “mortgage-backed securities” at a huge profit to various financial entities in countries around the world.
A big enabler of this criminal activity was another branch of the banking system, the group of rating agencies – S&P, Fitch and Moody’s – who gave stellar ratings to these destined-to-fail financial products. Unscrupulous politicians such as Tony Blair got paid by Big Banks to peddle these dangerous securities to pension funds and municipalities and countries around Europe. Banks and Wall Street gurus made hundreds of billions of dollars in this scheme.
But this was just Stage 1 of their enormous scam. There was much more profit to be made in the next three stages!
Stage 2 is when the financial time bombs exploded. Commercial and investment banks around the world started collapsing in a matter of weeks. Governments at local and regional level saw their investments and assets evaporate. Chaos everywhere!
Vultures like Goldman Sachs and other big banks profited enormously in three ways: one, they could buy other banks such as Lehman brothers and Washington Mutual for pennies on the dollar. Second, more heinously, Goldman Sachs and insiders such as John Paulson (who recently donated $400 million to Harvard) had made bets that these securities would blow up. Paulson made billions, and the media celebrated his acumen. (For an analogy, imagine the terrorists betting on 9/11 and profiting from it.) Third, to scrub salt in the wound, the big banks demanded a bailout from the very citizens whose lives the bankers had ruined! Bankers have chutzpah. In the U.S., they got hundreds of billions of dollars from the taxpayers and trillions from the Federal Reserve Bank which is nothing but a front group for the bankers.
In Greece, the domestic banks got more than $30 billion of bailout from the Greek people. Let that sink in for a moment – the supposedly irresponsible Greek government had to bail out the hardcore capitalist bankers.
Stage 3 is when the banks force the government to accept massive debts. For a biology metaphor, consider a virus or a bacteria. All of them have unique strategies to weaken the immune system of the host. One of the proven techniques used by the parasitic international bankers is to downgrade the bonds of a country. And that’s exactly what the bankers did, starting at the end of 2009. This immediately makes the interest rates (“yields”) on the bonds go up, making it more and more expensive for the country to borrow money or even just roll over the existing bonds.
From 2009 to mid-2010, the yields on 10-year Greek bonds almost tripled! This cruel financial assault brought the Greek government to its knees, and the banksters won their first debt deal of a whopping 110 billion Euros.
The banks also control the politics of nations. In 2011, when the Greek prime minister refused to accept a second massive bailout, the banks forced him out of the office and immediately replaced him with the Vice President of ECB (European Central Bank)! No elections needed. Screw democracy. And what would this new guy do? Sign on the dotted line of every paperwork that the bankers bring in.
(By the way, the very next day, the exact same thing happened in Italy where the Prime Minister resigned, only to be replaced by a banker/economist puppet. Ten days later, Spain had a premature election where a banker puppet won the election).
The puppet masters had the best month ever in November 2011.
Few months later, in 2012, the exact bond market manipulation was used when the banksters turned up the Greek bonds’ yields to 50%!!! This financial terrorism immediately had the desired effect: The Greek parliament agreed to a second massive bailout, even larger than the first one.
Now, here is another fact that most people don’t understand. The loans are not just simple loans like you would get from a credit card or a bank. These are loans come with very special strings attached that demand privatization of a country’s assets. If you have seen Godfather III, you would remember Hyman Roth, the investor who was carving up Cuba among his friends. Replace Hyman Roth with Goldman Sachs or IMF (International Monetary Fund) or ECB, and you get the picture.
Stage 4: Now, the rape and humiliation of a nation begin under the name of “austerity” or “structural reforms.” For the debt that was forced upon it, Greece had to sell many of its profitable assets to oligarchs and international corporations. And privatizations are ruthless, involving everything and anything that is profitable. In Greece, privatization included water, electricity, post offices, airport services, national banks, telecommunication, port authorities (which is huge in a country that is a world leader in shipping) etc. Of course, the ever-manipulative bankers always demand immediate privatization of all media which means that the country gets photogenic TV anchors who spew establishment propaganda every day and tell the people that crooked and greedy banksters are saviors; and slavery under austerity is so much better than the alternative.
In addition to that, the banker tyrants also get to dictate every single line item in the government’s budget. Want to cut military spending? NO! Want to raise tax on the oligarchs or big corporations? NO! Such micro-management is non-existent in any other creditor-debtor relationship.
So what happens after privatization and despotism under bankers? Of course, the government’s revenue goes down and the debt increases further. How do you “fix” that? Of course, cut spending! Lay off public workers, cut minimum wage, cut pensions (same as our social security), cut public services, and raise taxes on things that would affect the 99% but not the 1%. For example, pension has been cut in half and sales tax increase to more than 20%. All these measures have resulted in Greece going through a financial calamity that is worse than the Great Depression of the U.S. in the 1930s.
After all this, what is the solution proposed by the heartless bankers? Higher taxes! More cuts to the pension! It takes a special kind of a psychopath to put a country through austerity, an economic holocaust.
If every Greek person had known the truth about austerity, they wouldn’t have fallen for this. Same goes for Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and other countries going through austerity. The sad aspect of all this is that these are not unique strategies. Since World War II, these predatory practices have been used countless times by the IMF and the World Bank in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
This is the essence of the New World Order — a world owned by a handful of corporations and banks; a world that is full of obedient, powerless debt serfs.
So, it’s time for the proud people of Greece to rise up like Zeus and say NO (“OXI” in Greece) to the greedy puppet masters, unpatriotic oligarchs, parasitic bankers and corrupt politicians.
Dear Greece, know that the world is praying for you and rooting for you. This weekend, vote NO to austerity. Say YES to freedom, independence, self-government, sovereignty, and democracy. Go to the polls this weekend and give a resounding, clear victory for the 99% in Greece, Europe, and the entire western world.
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.