Financial Oligarch Power Raping Greece
by Stephen Lendman
On February 12, Greece’s banker controlled parliament passed sweeping austerity measures on top of multiple previous rounds.
New ones include:
sacking 15,000 public workers in 2012 and 150,000 by 2015;
slashing private sector wages by 20%;
lowering monthly minimum wages from 750 to 600 euros;
cutting fast disappearing monthly unemployment benefits from 460 to 360 euros; and
reducing pensions many Greeks need to survive by 15%.
At issue is securing another 130 billion euro bailout. The more financial aid Greece gets, the greater its debt, the harder it is to repay, the more future aid’s needed, and deeper the country’s economic abyss heading for total collapse.
No matter. Troika power kleptocrats demanded deep cuts – the IMF, EU and European Central Bank (ECB). Money power dictates bankers get paid first. People needs are sacrificed to assure it.
Since crisis conditions began, Greece’s three major parties capitulated:
the social democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) led by banker-sacked former prime minister George Papandreou;
the center-right New Democracy under Antonis Samaras; and
the hard right Popular (or People’s) Orthodox Rally (LAOS) lead by Georgios Karatzaferis. Until now, it went along.
Ahead of the vote, Karatzaferis said:
“It is unacceptable that right now our politicians’ petty political and public relations maneuvering should be leading the country to bankruptcy.”
“The country is tumbling towards a cliff-edge, and a tough European establishment is putting out the view that Greece cannot be saved and lacks credible politicians. Our politicians back that view with their carryings-on.”
Most often on issues of banker capitulation, differences among the three are largely rhetorical. This time LAOS broke with coalition unity.
Nonetheless, at midnight on Sunday, after hours of perfunctory debate, MPs rubber-stamped measures (199 to 74 with 27 abstentions) party leaders agreed on earlier despite tens of thousands raging in Syntagma Square outside parliament throughout the day and night.
Clashes also occurred in Salonika, Patra, Volos, Crete and Corfu. Expect more ahead by growing numbers unwilling to accept social injustice destroying their ability to survive.
Greece’s working class faces impoverished neoserfdom. Those on pensions have less than ever to survive on, and the nation’s youths have no futures.
As a result, violent protests erupted. Police thugs clashed with people demanding justice. Dozens of buildings burned.
Banker appointed prime minister Lucas Padademos, a former ECB vice president, lied saying “living standards of Greeks would collapse and the country would be dragged into a spiral of recession, instability, unemployment and misery” unless predatory cuts are made.
He lied again claiming pernicious austerity measures will “restore the fiscal stability and global competitiveness of the economy, which will return to growth, probably in the second half of 2013.”
In fact, under crisis conditions, Greece’s economy is dying. In December, manufacturing plunged 15.5% year-over-year. Industrial output sank 11.3%. Unemployment topped 20%. Youth joblessness approaches 50%, and suicides doubled since economic decline began.
As a result, capital flight’s increasing. People are voting with their feet and leaving. Those remaining face hospitals short of medicines, unprecedented homelessness and hunger, schools without basic supplies, and imagine what’s coming when new cuts are implemented.
Moreover, bankers demand more. So far, mandated wealth confiscation alone is their only excluded diktat, but it’s happening incrementally. Under systematic sacking, Greece’s life force is dying in meltdown.
It desperately needs Argentina’s solution. Nothing else offers hope. In December 2001, facing economic collapse, Buenos Aires halted all debt payments to domestic and foreign creditors.
Months earlier, IMF loans deepened the country’s burden. Finally, $100 billion in debt was restructured. In 2005, it was completed on a take it or leave it basis.
Stiff haircuts were imposed on creditors of around 65%. Most decided something was better than nothing. In 2010, holdouts finally capitulated on similar terms.
Sustained economic growth followed from 2003 through 2007. Vital debt restructuring and a devalued currency assured it.
Greece and other troubled Eurozone countries can relieve their burdens the same way. At issue is reclaiming sovereign rights by reinstating their pre-euro currencies. They never should have sacrificed them in the first place.
A Final Comment
Trapped under euro straightjacket rules, Greece surrendered control over its ability to monetize debt freely, devalue its currency to make exports more competitive, and enact stimulative fiscal policies.
Instead, it’s entrapped by foreign bankers demanding tribute at the expense of mercilessly exploiting the nation’s working class, youths, and retirees.
Financial oligarchs dominate ruthlessly. They make the rules, set terms, issue diktats, control parliaments, and pressure, bribe or otherwise force capitulation on terms no loan shark would demand.
They include mass layoffs, deep wage and benefit cuts, higher taxes, selling off the nation’s crown jewels, and more to assure bankers get paid first. No wonder economist Michael Hudson calls predatory finance “a form warfare.”
It operates like pillaging armies, seizing land, infrastructure, other tangible assets, and all material wealth. In the process, countries and ordinary people are devastated.
Greece is effectively bankrupt. Only its obituary remains to be written. Its people have a simple choice – leave or rebel.
Street protests and strikes produce nothing. Banker controlled parliamentarians don’t care.
By whatever means necessary, replacing them is crucial. Nothing else can work, and delay only exacerbates intolerable conditions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US
Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. He is also the author of “How Wall Street Fleeces America“
The Progressive News Hour
McMurtry is an internationally recognized moral and political philosopher who is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and University Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph, Ontario.
His volumes on Philosophy and World Problems for UNESCO are globally published, and his widely translated works include the influential books, “Unequal Freedoms,” “The Cancer State of Capitalism,” and “Value Wars.”
McMurtry is also an active public advocate for global justice, world peace, and international law.
Major world and national issues will be discussed.
lopoloki123 on 13 Feb 2012
Breaking news – Footage of the fire in Athens started by Greek protesters.
See another video here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuXvbs6HHX8
Rioting spread across central Athens and at least seven buildings went up in flames amid protests late Sunday as lawmakers debated cutting spending and eliminating government jobs to win an international bailout and remain in the eurozone.
TV footage showed a three-story corner building completely engulfed in flames with riot officers looking on from the street, and firefighters trying to douse the blaze. The burning buildings included a bank, a mobile phone dealership, a glassware store and a cafeteria, the fire department said. Also engulfed in the flames was Athen’s Attikon Cinema, an elegant theater dating back to 1914.
It was not immediately clear whether there was anyone inside the burning buildings.
Clashes erupted across the city center after more than 100,000 protesters marched to parliament to rally against drastic austerity cuts that will force firings in the civil service and slash the minimum wage.
Riot police fired dozens of tear gas volleys to clear the streets around parliament of rioting youths, who attacked them with firebombs, fireworks and chunks of marble smashed off the fronts of luxury hotels, banks and department stores.
Authorities said several protesters and police were injured, while an unspecified number of suspected rioters were detained.
Prime Minister Lucas Papademos’ government — an unlikely coalition of the majority Socialists and their main foes, the conservative New Democracy — was expected to carry the vote, even by a narrow margin.
Combined, they control 236 of Parliament’s 300 seats, although at least 20 lawmakers from both main parties said they would not back the new private sector wage cuts, pension reductions and civil service layoffs dictated by the draft austerity program.
“There are very few such moments in the history of a nation,” Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said. “Our country has an acute issue of survival.”
“The question is not whether some salaries and pensions will be curtailed, but whether we will be able to pay even these reduced wages and pensions,” he added. “When you have to choose between bad and worse, you will pick what is bad to avoid what is worse.”
The new cuts, which follow two years of record unemployment and tax hikes have been demanded by the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and other international groups in return for a new batch of rescue loans.
News & Politics
Most of this shit is like an international propaganda.
The cops are setting fires dressed up as protesters.
The protest was peaceful most of the time and there were about half a million people in the streets the past weekend. I know this stuff because i actually was there.
Limebottle07 2 days ago 6
@Anarchizer Ok in case i wasnt clear enough I WAS THERE. There are also many relevant pictures of that matter. Anonymous – #OpGreece on facebook has some pictures that prove it and it’s also a usual thing here. It’s not a conspiracy theory it’s a reality. Cops are messing things on purpose just to create chaos and break the spirit of the people who are trying to protest. My widdow mother will soon only recieve 500 euroes of payment. We’re gonna starve to death here.
Limebottle07 23 hours ago