After a lengthy and tense debate that stretched into the early hours of Thursday morning, the 300-member Greek Parliament voted by a majority of 229-64 to pass what former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis—one of those to vote "No"—is calling the "Terms of Greece's Surrender" to European creditors.
This is just terrible.
It’s hard to imagine why Tsipras advocated for a punitive proposal he admits he doesn’t actually support or believe in. And more to the point, why didn’t the party replace him as PM immediately he admitted what he was going to do?
The people need clean water, food, shelter, healthcare, education, transport, and tools to make other things that they now import. During all the centuries preceding the 20th, these things were produced by the Greek people themselves, without external meddling. Why would it be so impossible to do that now? It would take a long time to print Drachmas? Fine. Print Euros overprinted as Drachmas, enough to tide them over til new plates can be made, as other countries have successfully done in a pinch.
This whole cave-in is criminal as well as terrible.
It’s also hard to imagine why, from day 1, SYRIZA refused to use the only real leverage they had - Grexit followed by an alliance with Russia, China and BRICS, or why they didn’t persue their claim €279bn claim for German reparations in regard to the forced loan and theft of Greek archaeological treasures, a claim that German President Joachim Gauck agreed is valid.
And why didn’t they press the illegal odious debt issue that so many legal experts agreed with.
The best and most hopeful article i’ve read so far in the aftermath of the Greek surrender is
‘Why the cash economy in Greece may be ending’ by Jan Lundberg
“Fortunately, Greeks have a greater connection to the land and sea than most advanced industrialized societies. Typically, families have at least some member with a farm, an orchard, and the means to make homemade wine, cure olives, dry figs, grow fruit, collect herbs, go fishing, and more. The extent of this connection has shrunk drastically since the advent of the shopping culture. But, like in the U.S.'s Great Depression when many Americans had a good chance of having a relative who had a farm to go to as a last resort, Greeks have links to the traditions of their elders and rural relatives. With the advent of agribusiness and urbanization, the small U.S. farmer was eliminated as a Census category; fortunately among modern nations small farmers are much more viable.”
Syriza did its job, I think. They have, at great political cost, did more to wound the EU animal and reveal its true nature than any other political resistance since the formation of the union itself. We need to award them some points for that, even though most of us detest this outcome, as my two friends above attest to (Jonny and Mairead). Little Greece was never going to “win” this battle for the rest of us. What’s vital now is to keep the pressure on the financial system underneath all of this terror and suffering. The Left in Greece will need to regroup, and they will. We’re responsible for the formation of a viable and meaningful Left n our own physical space, so let’s just focus on that.
This morning, every ordinary European is twitchy about the terms of their rule, wondering if they will ever have a say in their own lives again. That was Syriza’s contribution to history. What is done with that is up to the rest of us.
RIP Syriza, and thanks for giving it a go.
What would we do if suddenly we had no money to buy food?
I desperately hope that’s so, but it’s an uphill struggle to convince myself.
A different analysis might be considered. Before the recent vote was taken
Tsipras was visited by Victoria Nuland, the presumed genius behind the
current Ukraine clusterf**k. Since the yes vote two thirds of the Troika have
called for an adjustment in the loan conditions. Perhaps Tsipras has achieved
a significant change for the better without apparently doing so, to help save face for Western interests, and also to further illuminate the real nature of their destructive policies. Please see
I’d think it depends on who “we” is, and what “had no money” means, doesn’t it? Could you clarify?
No doubt, my sister. It is hard, but it’s also hard to admit to ourselves that it wasn’t our bodies that were going to be paying the price for resistance in Greece, and that changes the calculus for hte people charged with making those decisions.
Time will tell if this moved us a bit forward or backward. I’m not sure at all. But I’m convinced that Syriza tried very hard in good faith, which, as Tsipras pointed out to the opposition leader last night, was a damn sight more than his predecessors had done. .
I don’t exactly disagree with Panitch here. We’re largely in agreement that the overly hysterical reaction of radicals to a “sell out” is unjustifiable. As to the specific terms in any deal about foreign investment and strategies for Greek growth to emerge from the debt, I’m not sue thae matters, since the debt and its service will greatly exceed any controlled influx of investor revenue–which frankly, at this point, I read as code for “sell us your electricity grid cheap, buddy”–or minimal tax rate increases on a rapidly dwindling tax base.
That’s something we’ll have to let play out and see. I do know that MOnday morning the suicide rate in Greece will probably begin to drop again, and I cant help but think that’s a good thing. I do think Greeks need o start taking exiting at some point in the future far more seriously, and begin planning for it in earnest. Eventually they will run out of cheap public property to sell, and at that point, their usefulness to the Euromasters will have ended.
I’m sure he’s right.
I can’t remember where I ran into it, nor do anything more than paraphrase it, but: sometimes it’s not really enough to do our best, or be better than our predecessors, we must do what’s needed or, perhaps metaphorically, die trying.
In Tsipras’s place, I would either have asked Varoufakis to come back in as de-facto PM, or have made a stem-winding speech to parliament, broadcast to the nation, about how Syriza’s plan is to say “up yours” to the predators and implement a “Blitz” program to become self-sufficient as a nation. Key features would be temporary interest-free drachmas as Guernsey did after the Napoleonic wars, nationalisation of all the critical sectors, and putting everyone to work where they can do the most good. No profits, no taxes, self-sufficiency target 24 months from the morning after the demos approves the plan in the referendum that will take place on [insert earliest date]. And if no approval is forthcoming, then they must pick a new government. To prevent treasonous wealth extraction by the greedy, capital controls are imposed as of this moment.
A harbinger of what could easily happen in any country (including the exceptional one).
i was going to say something along those lines, but you’ve made it clearer than i was going to.
Syriza should start now preparing a Plan B for automony when this bailout and austerity fails OR Tsipras should resign and Greece should hold new elections.
I just finished watching this: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/capitalism-is-the-crisis/
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One reason why Tsipras capitulated to the Troika must, surely, be that the Greek people made two things clear: 1. They wanted to stay in the Eurozone, and 2. They wanted no more austerity measures imposed. Those who hold power over Greece forced Tsipras to make a choice between these two, and so he was forced to betray his own people by choosing one of these. Some folks believe that the EU wanted to force him into this betrayal so that the Greek people would then blame him, rather than them, for this betrayal and so be angry and replace his government with one that that they like better.
Complex issues, and world leaders/corporations would be wise to study the different strategies used in Greece and the US to impose the austerity agenda, strip the “masses” of power, and redistribute all wealth and power into the hands of the few. Europe appears to have chosen the Shock & Awe strategy, now focused on Greece. The US chose a slow and methodical approach, rolling out the austerity agenda slowly, since the 1980s, from the bottom up, while maintaining a public re-education program regarding poverty and wealth. The US strategy has been taking much longer (we are only now seriously focused on phasing out the middle class), but is far more successful, ensuring that there is no chance of a public uprising against corporate/government powers. Greece – indeed, Europe – is definitely at risk of a serious uprising, even as the US remains on the course set during the Reagan administration.