A couple of years back the EU under its alleged attempt at rooting out corruption and financial mismanagement imposed a coup on the Cypriot banking system rendering the economy worthless. Now it has gone another step further rendering the recent Greek elections pointless.
Less than one month in power Syriza was forced to succumb to the 4th Reich. Its pre-electoral propaganda about Debt writedown, increasing the minimum wage to Euro 751, increasing state pensions by a month up to E700, bringing in a min tax threshold of Euro 12k and removing the hated ‘haratsi’ property tax appear to all have gone out of the window. The difficult task will be how to manage the expectations of the voters who have been crushed by the economic genocide programme adopted by the Troika (IMF, ECB, EU).
The unrelenting capitalist crisis which has become exarcebated by the creation of the Eurozone whereby economic giants like Germany are in the same bed as semi-industrialised Greece has led to the creation of the EUs first debt colony. Under guise of saving the Greeks from debt the Germans have reduced them to penury. In this they have form. In the 19th century their colonial invasions of Africa were made to end black slavery in order to inaugurate colonial slavery for their geopolitical interests primarily resources which Germany didn’t produce but required for their industrial giants.
Despite four large demonstrations (1) in many cities of Greece against the EU’s dictat’s the wishes of the Greek population have no place within the EU. They cannot have any alternative programme that attempts to resolve the glaring contradictions of collapsing capitalism. There is no humanitarian crisis, there aren’t millions of unemployed who are sent tax demands and the 4 million people who are in debt to Inland Revenue have as a threat if they own property to lose their homes via forced repossessions 8,000 Greeks haven’t committed suicide, children don’t go to school and faint from hunger. This in a nutshell is Schauble’s line. In the last five years Greek banks have received E233 billion in bailouts and these costs have been born by the massive reduction in wages and pensions (between 30-50%). Continuing along this path means that the widening budget deficit have to have inbuilt cuts according to the Memorandum of Understaning agreements signed with the Troika. It was these agreements Syriza was allegedly going to rip up and destroy once in power. (2)
According to the WallStreetJournal Greece (3) has Euro E29billion commitments this year and without new loans they can’t service these commitments. Greeks owe around Euro70b to the state and that represents around 3.8m people and 400k businesses. That does not include mortgage debt, bank loans. In total Greece’s foreign debts are around E325b and other debts around E300-350b so in total around E650b. The debt write off has gone through the stage whereby an opposition came to power expressing what is actually going on the ground but now has to collect the debts wearing a 'left' lapel. The issue though remains that changing a label from hard right (ND) to radical left (Syriza) does not debts collect. Blood cannot come out of a stone. With 2m unemployed and probably another 1m underemployed (out of an official 4.5m workers) and underpaid severely the economy for the majority of people has been destroyed, it no longer services the needs of the Greek nation. Tourism and agriculture still provide the main source of income with exports being reduced since last year (whilst tourism saw growth), but the nature of the globalised economy imply that any gains in those areas aren’t translated into jobs for the domestic market as a large slice of the labour force in both these industries are non-unionised immigrant labour who are paid in cash and even with a minimum export of Euro50 a month to their families in Asia can be paid anything, if at all.
Unable to truly negotiate, Syriza thought they could convince the Eurogroup on a wing and a prayer, (or was it the Greek electorate?) talk about the Debt in general and then drop it in two days like Varoufakis did. Why would the EU write off Greek debts when the total EU debts are more than E13trillion? What makes Greek debts special or different? Any agreement on Greek debts would immediately open the floodgates for all else, Italy, Spain, Portugal etc. Even if the debts were zeroed the same debts would accrue again if the nature of the economic relationships don’t change. When you have an open market in services, trade, capital and labour, lilliputean Greece cannot compete with heavy industrial goods from Germany or cheap goods from China or agricultural goods from Africa. The economy becomes absolutely dependent on debt servicing when exports cannot be produced to be sold as each industry has been successfully shut down (cloth making, shoe making, ship repairs etc) In other words there can be no national economic policy by extension national elections. Brussels decides.
For Syriza to survive it has to go Left if it does not want to go the way of its previous four predecessors in the IMF period (LAOS, Dimar, PASOK, ND). Trade with Russia direct. Offer a naval base to them to guard the country from neighbours attacks. Agree to the Russian pipeline to be stationed on the Greek-Turkish border. Ensure strategic industries are still in the control of the state: ports, electricity, water, transport etc. Abolish the Dublin 2 agreements whereby illegal immigrants are dumped in Greece as it is a border country of the EU and it clearly does not have the capacity to cope with hundreds of thousands of new arrivals. Enforce a policy of ‘less work but work for all’ with no loss of pay. Seriously argue for Default of Debts which have been paid back at least three time over and if that does not occur exit the EZ and go for the Drachma with an exit from the EU. Without taking these measures there will be no economic policy that isn’t dictated directly by Brussels. Brussels agenda is to create a tax free export processing zone that can compete directly with Asia in the region formally known as Greece with E300 wages and non-existent pensions or (just private) healthcare. That agenda remains intact despite the provisional time out by the election of Syriza.
21st February 2015
1. Eyewitness Reports from the Demos against the Eurogroup: http://imfoccupationgreece.blogspot.gr/2015/02/eyewitness-reports-sindagma-sq-war-of.html
2. The Economics of Genocide by the IMF
3. WSJ-Greek Debt Commitments 2015 http://www.enikonomia.gr/economy/15002,WSJ:_Ti_prepei_na_plhrwnei_ka8e_mhnah_E.html