Links to good pieces on tomorrow’s Yes/No referendum in Greece:
- Yanis Varoufakis (Greece’s finance minister), from his blog, Why we recommend a NO in the referendum — in 6 short bullet points.
- Joseph Stiglitz, the Guardian, How I would vote in the Greek referendum.
- Dean Baker, from his blog Beat the Press, Greece and Puerto Rico, about how much better Puerto Rico’s situation is than Greece’s (although it is bad), because of PR’s relationship with the U.S. federal government.
- Paul Mason, the Guardian, Greece in Chaos: Will Syriza’s last desperate gamble pay off?
- Michael Hudson, Counterpunch, On the Delphi Declaration, including the text of the declaration, signed by an impressive list of left economists.
On the Front Lines of Class Warfare
By Mike-Frank Epitropoulos
I am writing from the epicenter of the global class war which aims to trounce sovereignty, democracy, and all vestiges of the social state and social justice. These are truly historic times in Greece and the world as we are living the exercise of open political economic battle that is leaving much collateral damage.
Since Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, and his Syriza party called for a referendum on whether or not to accept further debilitating austerity and increasing, rather than decreasing debt, I have been witness to a “shock and awe” barrage of propaganda from private Greek media outlets (the worst enemies of Greece in my opinion), the opposition parties (especially those from the governments who escorted Greece to this point), and the Troika — global capital and its neoliberal project.
The fear-mongering, confusion, and terror that has been unleashed on the Greek public and the world is overwhelming to live through. The ‘YES’ / ‘NO’ referendum on whether or not to accept the Troika’s punitive offer that flatly rejects and disregards the platform upon which Syriza was elected in January has been reframed multiple times — by EU and European Central Bank (ECB) officials, opposition parties, private media demagogues and others.
Add to this the capital controls that were put into place as the ECB cut off cash flows to Greece — another blow from the outside — and we have a situation where multiple interpretations of a YES/NO referendum have led to a tired, confused, but yet resilient population.
It is clear that global capital, and especially European capital did (and does) not want another ‘demonstration effect’ of popular democratic will — the referendum — to take place; and if it is to take place they want Greeks to sign off on an even more savage set of austerity terms — they’ve said it openly! The IMF has once again taken the position that Greek debt is unsustainable and the program will not work to free Greece from debt peonage.
And yet… the mantra that echoes through the mainstream, private media and the halls of Brussels and the opposition parties of Greece is this: There Is No Alternative! (TINA!)
This summer, here, on the island of Karpathos, long known as one of the areas of Greece with the highest repatriation of capital from its diaspora abroad, the class interests are reflected as well, with the wealthier and vested interests speaking in doomsday terms about resisting the Troika and the younger and poorer taking on a more defiant tone since they have less (or nothing) to lose. What is clear to both camps is that there is no easy way out.
For the first time, I have also heard wealthier, and business people, use the term, “American communists” in referencing President Obama, Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, Greek diaspora from the US, and anyone from Keynesian persuasion or leftward who dares to be critical of the Euro and its project! These people are not only apologists for the hardline neoliberal free-marketeers, but they also reject the importance of sovereignty, democracy, autonomy and self-determination. They claim that those of us who speak of these ideals are out of touch, and that all that matters is cash. (More than a few have asked me if I’ve heard about the end of history!)
Yet, sovereignty and power is what this demonstration project is all about. It’s totally a political battle, and that is why I do not have faith in the European Union.
European Parliament president, Martin Schulz, said that his faith in the Greek government had hit “rock bottom” and went on to openly suggest that a technocratic government be appointed to bridge the time between Syriza resigns and new elections could be held to a new Memorandum of austerity and loans done. This is further proof that the main goals are to prevent democratically-elected governments that do not adhere to free-market orthodoxy from taking power and now — with the referendum — to scar the notion of a tool of democracies — the referendum. There is clear indication that they don’t want the voice of the people — anywhere — to be heard.
One high school teacher / activist said he gives Angela Merkel credit for saying she and the German government would not negotiate until after the referendum this Sunday (July 5th, 2015), interpreting her decision as some level of respect for the referendum process in Greece. He also stressed that Greeks of all political persuasions in this referendum have been civil “opponents”, but not “enemies” — and this further highlights the premium on democracy and hearing the will of the people.
From inside Syriza, momentum and optimism characterize the climate. They are encouraged and emboldened the more people actually debate the issues and become problematized. This problematization is what has been lacking with previous governments and hard core capitalists.
It’s time for all freedom-loving people to support the Greek people in this class-based battle. This is ultimately NOT simply a Greek crisis, but a global capitalist crisis and it’s not over yet!