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Thread: Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds

   
   
       
  1. #41
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    Greece – What You are not Being Told by the Media

    Jul 5, 2015

    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.

    Published: July 5, 2015 | Authors: Chris Kanthan | NationofChange | Op-Ed
    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.
    py

  2. #42
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    Solution:

    Don't accept this criticism that it's your fault, you're to blame, you've got to suffer austerity, austerity, austerity. That only works for the rich people; it does not work for the average person or the middle class. Build up that middle class; bring employment back; bring disposable income back to the average citizen of Greece. Fight for that; make it happen; stand up for your rights; respect your history as fighters and leaders in democracy, and show the world!


    An Economic Hit Man Speaks Out: John Perkins on How Greece Has Fallen Victim to "Economic Hit Men"


    Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:00By Michael Nevradakis, Truthout | Interview





    "My sin was ripping off people around the world," said John Perkins, author of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man," at Transitions Bookplace in Chicago, on February 3, 2006. (Photo: Peter Thompson / The New York Times)John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, discusses how Greece and other eurozone countries have become the new victims of "economic hit men."

    John Perkins is no stranger to making confessions. His well-known book,Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, revealed how international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, while publicly professing to "save" suffering countries and economies, instead pull a bait-and-switch on their governments: promising startling growth, gleaming new infrastructure projects and a future of economic prosperity - all of which would occur if those countries borrow huge loans from those organizations. Far from achieving runaway economic growth and success, however, these countries instead fall victim to a crippling and unsustainable debt burden.

    That's where the "economic hit men" come in: seemingly ordinary men, with ordinary backgrounds, who travel to these countries and impose the harsh austerity policies prescribed by the IMF and World Bank as "solutions" to the economic hardship they are now experiencing. Men like Perkins were trained to squeeze every last drop of wealth and resources from these sputtering economies, and continue to do so to this day. In this interview, which aired on Dialogos Radio, Perkins talks about how Greece and the eurozone have become the new victims of such "economic hit men."


    Michael Nevradakis: In your book, you write about how you were, for many years, a so-called "economic hit man." Who are these economic hit men, and what do they do?

    John Perkins: Essentially, my job was to identify countries that had resources that our corporations want, and that could be things like oil - or it could be markets - it could be transportation systems. There're so many different things. Once we identified these countries, we arranged huge loans to them, but the money would never actually go to the countries; instead it would go to our own corporations to build infrastructure projects in those countries, things like power plants and highways that benefitted a few wealthy people as well as our own corporations, but not the majority of people who couldn't afford to buy into these things, and yet they were left holding a huge debt, very much like what Greece has today, a phenomenal debt.

    "[Indebted countries] become servants to what I call the corporatocracy ... today we have a global empire, and it's not an American empire. It's not a national empire ... It's a corporate empire, and the big corporations rule."


    And once [they were] bound by that debt, we would go back, usually in the form of the IMF - and in the case of Greece today, it's the IMF and the EU [European Union] - and make tremendous demands on the country: increase taxes, cut back on spending, sell public sector utilities to private companies, things like power companies and water systems, transportation systems, privatize those, and basically become a slave to us, to the corporations, to the IMF, in your case to the EU, and basically, organizations like the World Bank, the IMF, the EU, are tools of the big corporations, what I call the "corporatocracy."

    And before turning specifically to the case of Greece, let's talk a little bit more about the manner in which these economic hit men and these organizations like the IMF operate. You mentioned, of course, how they go in and they work to get these countries into massive debt, that money goes in and then goes straight back out. You also mentioned in your book these overly optimistic growth forecasts that are sold to the politicians of these countries but which really have no resemblance to reality.

    Exactly, we'd show that if these investments were made in things like electric energy systems that the economy would grow at phenomenally high rates. The fact of the matter is, when you invest in these big infrastructure projects, you do see economic growth, however, most of that growth reflects the wealthy getting wealthier and wealthier; it doesn't reflect the majority of the people, and we're seeing that in the United States today.

    "In the case of Greece, my reaction was that 'Greece is being hit.' There's no question about it."


    For example, where we can show economic growth, growth in the GDP, but at the same time unemployment may be going up or staying level, and foreclosures on houses may be going up or staying stable. These numbers tend to reflect the very wealthy, since they have a huge percentage of the economy, statistically speaking. Nevertheless, we would show that when you invest in these infrastructure projects, your economy does grow, and yet, we would even show it growing much faster than it ever conceivably would, and that was only used to justify these horrendous, incredibly debilitating loans.


    Is there a common theme with respect to the countries typically targeted? Are they, for instance, rich in resources or do they typically possess some other strategic importance to the powers that be?

    Yes, all of those. Resources can take many different forms: One is the material resources like minerals or oil; another resource is strategic location; another resource is a big marketplace or cheap labor. So, different countries make different requirements. I think what we're seeing in Europe today isn't any different, and that includes Greece.


    What happens once these countries that are targeted are indebted? How do these major powers, these economic hit men, these international organizations come back and get their "pound of flesh," if you will, from the countries that are heavily in debt?

    By insisting that the countries adopt policies that will sell their publicly owned utility companies, water and sewage systems, maybe schools, transportation systems, even jails, to the big corporations. Privatize, privatize. Allow us to build military bases on their soil. Many things can be done, but basically, they become servants to what I call the corporatocracy. You have to remember that today we have a global empire, and it's not an American empire. It's not a national empire. It doesn't help the American people very much. It's a corporate empire, and the big corporations rule. They control the politics of the United States, and to a large degree they control a great deal of the policies of countries like China, around the world.


    John, looking specifically now at the case of Greece, of course you mentioned your belief that the country has become the victim of economic hit men and these international organizations . . . what was your reaction when you first heard about the crisis in Greece and the measures that were to be implemented in the country?

    I've been following Greece for a long time. I was on Greek television. A Greek film company did a documentary called "Apology of an Economic Hit Man," and I also spent a lot of time in Iceland and in Ireland. I was invited to Iceland to help encourage the people there to vote on a referendum not to repay their debts, and I did that and encouraged them not to, and they did vote no, and as a result, Iceland is doing quite well now economically compared to the rest of Europe. Ireland, on the other hand: I tried to do the same thing there, but the Irish people apparently voted against the referendum, though there's been many reports that there was a lot of corruption.

    "That's part of the game: convince people that they're wrong, that they're inferior. The corporatocracy is incredibly good at that."


    In the case of Greece, my reaction was that "Greece is being hit." There's no question about it. Sure, Greece made mistakes, your leaders made some mistakes, but the people didn't really make the mistakes, and now the people are being asked to pay for the mistakes made by their leaders, often in cahoots with the big banks. So, people make tremendous amounts of money off of these so-called "mistakes," and now, the people who didn't make the mistakes are being asked to pay the price. That's consistent around the world: We've seen it in Latin America. We've seen it in Asia. We've seen it in so many places around the world.


    This leads directly to the next question I had: From my observation, at least in Greece, the crisis has been accompanied by an increase in self-blame or self-loathing; there's this sentiment in Greece that many people have that the country failed, that the people failed . . . there's hardly even protest in Greece anymore, and of course there's a huge "brain drain" - there's a lot of people that are leaving the country. Does this all seem familiar to you when comparing to other countries in which you've had personal experience?

    Sure, that's part of the game: convince people that they're wrong, that they're inferior. The corporatocracy is incredibly good at that, whether it is back during the Vietnam War, convincing the world that the North Vietnamese were evil; today it's the Muslims. It's a policy of them versus us: We are good. We are right. We do everything right. You're wrong. And in this case, all of this energy has been directed at the Greek people to say "you're lazy; you didn't do the right thing; you didn't follow the right policies," when in actuality, an awful lot of the blame needs to be laid on the financial community that encouraged Greece to go down this route. And I would say that we have something very similar going on in the United States, where people here are being led to believe that because their house is being foreclosed that they were stupid, that they bought the wrong houses; they overspent themselves.
    "We know that austerity does not work in these situations."


    The fact of the matter is their bankers told them to do this, and around the world, we've come to trust bankers - or we used to. In the United States, we never believed that a banker would tell us to buy a $500,000 house if in fact we could really only afford a $300,000 house. We thought it was in the bank's interest not to foreclose. But that changed a few years ago, and bankers told people who they knew could only afford a $300,000 house to buy a $500,000 house.
    "Tighten your belt, in a few years that house will be worth a million dollars; you'll make a lot of money" . . . in fact, the value of the house went down; the market dropped out; the banks foreclosed on these houses, repackaged them, and sold them again. Double whammy. The people were told, "you were stupid; you were greedy; why did you buy such an expensive house?" But in actuality, the bankers told them to do this, and we've grown up to believe that we can trust our bankers. Something very similar on a larger scale happened in so many countries around the world, including Greece.


    In Greece, the traditional major political parties are, of course, overwhelmingly in favor of the harsh austerity measures that have been imposed, but also we see that the major business and media interests are also overwhelmingly in support. Does this surprise you in the slightest?

    No, it doesn't surprise me and yet it's ridiculous because austerity does not work. We've proven that time and time again, and perhaps the greatest proof was the opposite, in the United States during the Great Depression, when President Roosevelt initiated all these policies to put people back to work, to pump money into the economy. That's what works. We know that austerity does not work in these situations.

    "What I didn't realize during any of this period was how much corporatocracy does not want a united Europe."


    We also have to understand that, in the United States for example, over the past 40 years, the middle class has been on the decline on a real dollar basis, while the economy has been increasing. In fact, that's pretty much happened around the world. Globally, the middle class has been in decline. Big business needs to recognize - it hasn't yet, but it needs to recognize - that that serves nobody's long-term interest, that the middle class is the market. And if the middle class continues to be in decline, whether it's in Greece or the United States or globally, ultimately businesses will pay the price; they won't have customers. Henry Ford once said: "I want to pay all my workers enough money so they can go out and buy Ford cars." That's a very good policy. That's wise. This austerity program moves in the opposite direction and it's a foolish policy.


    In your book, which was written in 2004, you expressed hope that the euro would serve as a counterweight to American global hegemony, to the hegemony of the US dollar. Did you ever expect that we would see in the European Union what we are seeing today, with austerity that is not just in Greece but also in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and also several other countries as well?

    What I didn't realize during any of this period was how much corporatocracy does not want a united Europe. We need to understand this. They may be happy enough with the euro, with one currency - they are happy to a certain degree by having it united enough that markets are open - but they do not want standardized rules and regulations. Let's face it, big corporations, the corporatocracy, take advantage of the fact that some countries in Europe have much more lenient tax laws, some have much more lenient environmental and social laws, and they can pit them against each other.

    "[Rafael Correa] ... has to be aware that if you stand up too strongly against the system, if the economic hit men are not happy, if they don't get their way, then the jackals will come in and assassinate you or overthrow you in a coup."


    What would it be like for big corporations if they didn't have their tax havens in places like Malta or other places? I think we need to recognize that what the corporatocracy saw at first, the solid euro, a European union seemed like a very good thing, but as it moved forward, they could see that what was going to happen was that social and environmental laws and regulations were going to be standardized. They didn't want that, so to a certain degree what's been going on in Europe has been because the corporatocracy wants Europe to fail, at least on a certain level.


    You wrote about the examples of Ecuador and other countries, which after the collapse of oil prices in the late '80s found themselves with huge debts and this, of course, led to massive austerity measures . . . sounds all very similar to what we are now seeing in Greece. How did the people of Ecuador and other countries that found themselves in similar situations eventually resist?

    Ecuador elected a pretty remarkable president, Rafael Correa, who has a PhD in economics from a United States university. He understands the system, and he understood that Ecuador took on these debts back when I was an economic hit man and the country was ruled by a military junta that was under the control of the CIA and the US. That junta took on these huge debts, put Ecuador in deep debt; the people didn't agree to that. When Rafael Correa was democratically elected, he immediately said, "We're not paying these debts; the people did not take on these debts; maybe the IMF should pay the debts and maybe the junta, which of course was long gone - moved to Miami or someplace - should pay the debts, maybe John Perkins and the other economic hit men should pay the debts, but the people shouldn't."

    And since then, he's been renegotiating and bringing the debts way down and saying, "We might be willing to pay some of them." That was a very smart move; it reflected similar things that had been done at different times in places like Brazil and Argentina, and more recently, following that model, Iceland, with great success. I have to say that Correa has had some real setbacks since then . . . he, like so many presidents, has to be aware that if you stand up too strongly against the system, if the economic hit men are not happy, if they don't get their way, then the jackals will come in and assassinate you or overthrow you in a coup. There was an attempted coup against him; there was a successful coup in a country not too far away from him, Honduras, because these presidents stood up.

    We have to realize that these presidents are in very, very vulnerable positions, and ultimately we the people have to stand up, because leaders can only do a certain amount. Today, in many places, leaders are not just vulnerable; it doesn't take a bullet to bring down a leader anymore. A scandal - a sex scandal, a drug scandal - can bring down a leader. We saw that happen to Bill Clinton, to Strauss-Kahn of the IMF; we've seen it happen a number of times. These leaders are very aware that they are in very vulnerable positions: If they stand up or go against the status quo too strongly, they're going to be taken out, one way or another. They're aware of that, and it behooves we the people to really stand up for our own rights.


    You mentioned the recent example of Iceland . . . other than the referendum that was held, what other measures did the country adopt to get out of this spiral of austerity and to return to growth and to a much more positive outlook for the country?

    It's been investing money in programs that put people back to work and it's also been putting on trial some of the bankers that caused the problems, which has been a big uplift in terms of morale for the people. So Iceland has launched some programs that say "No, we're not going to go into austerity; we're not going to pay back these loans; we're going to put the money into putting people back to work," and ultimately that's what drives an economy, people working. If you've got high unemployment, like you do in Greece today, extremely high unemployment, the country's always going to be in trouble. You've got to bring down that unemployment, you've got to hire people. It's so important to put people back to work. Your unemployment is about 28 percent; it's staggering, and disposable income has dropped 40 percent and it's going to continue to drop if you have high unemployment. So, the important thing for an economy is to get the employment up and get disposable income back up, so that people will invest in their country and in goods and services.


    In closing, what message would you like to share with the people of Greece, as they continue to experience and to live through the very harsh results of the austerity policies that have been implemented in the country for the past three years?

    I want to draw upon Greece's history. You're a proud, strong country, a country of warriors. The mythology of the warrior to some degree comes out of Greece, and so does democracy! And to realize that the marketplace is a democracy today, and how we spend our money is casting our ballot. Most political democracies are corrupt, including that of the United States. Democracy is not really working on a governmental basis because the corporations are in charge. But it is working on a market basis. I would encourage the people of Greece to stand up: Don't pay off those debts; have your own referendums; refuse to pay them off; go to the streets and strike.
    And so, I would encourage the Greek people to continue to do this. Don't accept this criticism that it's your fault, you're to blame, you've got to suffer austerity, austerity, austerity. That only works for the rich people; it does not work for the average person or the middle class. Build up that middle class; bring employment back; bring disposable income back to the average citizen of Greece. Fight for that; make it happen; stand up for your rights; respect your history as fighters and leaders in democracy, and show the world!

    The podcast of the original interview as it aired on Dialogos Radio is available atdialogosradio.org.

    Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

    MICHAEL NEVRADAKIS

    Michael Nevradakis is a Ph.D. student in media studies at the University of Texas at Austin and a US Fulbright Scholar presently based in Athens, Greece. Michael is also the host of Dialogos Radio, a weekly radio program featuring interviews and coverage of current events in Greece.


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    Last edited by pywong; 8th July 2015 at 09:21 AM.
    py

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    EDITORIAL


    By Paul Craig Roberts - July 06, 2015




    With 90% of the votes counted, the Greek people have voted 61% to 39% against accepting the latest round of austerity that the EU is trying to impose on the Greek people for the benefit of the One Percent. What is amazing is that 39% voted for the One Percent against their own interests. This 39% vote shows that propaganda works to convince people to vote against their own interest.


    The vote was not a vote to leave the EU. With the backing of the Greek nation, the Greek government hopes to reopen negotiations with the EU and to find a solution to the debt problem that will actually work. The EU objects to the Greek people having a voice in their fate, and unless common sense prevails is inclined to disregard the vote and to maintain the EU's inflexible position that the debt issue can be resolved only on the EU's terms. As has been made perfectly clear, these terms are more looting of the Greek economy by the One Percent.


    As the Greek banks are closed and evidently cannot reopen without a resolution of the issue, EU inflexibility would force Greece to leave the euro and return to its own currency in order to reopen the banks. This would not require Greece's departure from the EU as the UK and one or two other EU member states have their own currencies. However, most likely the EU and Washington and Washington's Japanese, Canadian, and Australian vassals would attack the new Greek currency and drive its value in exchange markets to such a low value that Greece could not import and wealth held in Greek currency would be worthless abroad.


    An inflexible EU creates conditions for Russia and China to act. These two powerful nations have the means to finance Greece and to bring Greece into the economic relationships established by these two countries and by the BRICS.


    Alexander Dugin, a Russian strategic thinker who has the ear of the Russian government, has said:


    The Russians are on the side of the Greeks, we will not leave them alone in their suffering. We will help them and give them every possible support. Brussels and the liberal hegemony seek to dismantle Greece. We want to rescue it. We took our religions faith from Greece, as well as our alphabet and our civilization.


    Dugin said that the Greek referendum is the start of "the fundamental European liberalization process from the dictatorship of the New World Order." He says this also is "our own endeavor."


    The Greek drama is far from over. Pray that the Russian and Chinese governments understand that rescuing Greece is the start of the process of unravelling NATO, Washington's mechanism for bringing conflict to Russia and China. The One Percent have Italy and Spain targeted for looting, and eventually France and Germany herself. If the Greek people rescue themselves from the clutches of the EU, Italy and Spain could follow.


    As Southern Europe departs NATO, Washington's ability to create violence in Ukraine is diminished as the world realigns against the Evil Empire.


    Washington's power could suddenly diminish, thus saving the world from the nuclear war toward which Washington's neoconservatives are pushing.


    This article contributed courtesy of PaulCraigRoberts.org.
    py

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    At the end of the day, after all the sound and fury, Syriza sold out his people.

    Markets| Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:28am EDTRelated: WORLD, GREECE
    Greek parliament approves bailout measures as Syriza fragments

    ATHENS | BY RENEE MALTEZOU AND ANGELIKI KOUTANTOU



    Watch video in original post.



    The Greek parliament passed sweeping austerity measures demanded by lenders to open talks on a new multibillion-euro bailout package to keep Greece in the euro, but dozens of hardliners in the ruling Syriza party deserted Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

    The package was approved with 229 votes in the 300-seat chamber. There were 64 votes against it and six abstentions. But Tsipras required the support of pro-European opposition parties to push the measure through, leaving a question over the future of his government.


    Tsipras said there was no alternative to the package, which he acknowledged would cause hardship, but he stood by the decision. "I am the last person to shirk this responsibility," he told parliament.


    Government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis acknowledged the vote laid bare a split in Syriza, but he said the government's priority was to secure the bailout, suggesting that there would be no immediate move towards new elections.


    In exchange for funding worth up to 86 billion euros ($94 billion), Greece has accepted reforms including significant pension adjustments, increases to value added taxes, an overhaul of its collective bargaining system, measures to liberalize its economy and tight limits on public spending.


    It has also agreed to sequester 50 billion euros of public assets in a special privatization fund to act as collateral on the deal.


    The measures were branded "social genocide" by the firebrand speaker of parliament Zoe Constantopoulou and there were violent clashes between protestors and police outside parliament as the debate went on before the vote.


    Among the 38 Syriza rebels was former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who was sacked by Tsipras last week and who denounced the bailout deal as "a new Versailles Treaty" - the agreement that demanded unaffordable reparations from Germany after its defeat in World War One.


    Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and Deputy Labor Minister Dimitris Stratoulis also voted against the package.


    Amid speculation that both ministers could lose their jobs in a reshuffle, possibly as early as Thursday, Lafazanis said he remained loyal to the government but was ready to offer his resignation, joining Deputy Finance Minister Nadia Valavani, who stepped down earlier on Wednesday.


    "We support Syriza in government and we support the Prime Minister. We don't support the bailout," he said after the vote.


    Elected in January on an anti-austerity platform, Tsipras made an about-turn following grueling all-night negotiations in Brussels on Monday, giving in to lenders' demands for immediate reforms to prevent a chaotic exit from the single currency.


    RELATED COVERAGE



    Speaking in parliament before the vote, Tsipras made clear he was supporting the package against his will but there was no alternative if Greece was to avoid financial collapse.


    "I acknowledge the fiscal measures are harsh, that they won't benefit the Greek economy, but I'm forced to accept them," he said as he made a final appeal for support.


    "A NEW VERSAILLES TREATY"


    With Greek parliamentary approval secured, the way has been cleared for other national parliaments to approve the start of bailout talks and for the release of funding to allow Greek banks to re-open, more than two weeks after capital controls were imposed to prevent them from collapsing.


    Eurozone finance ministers are due to hold a conference call on Thursday at 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) to discuss the vote.


    With Greece facing an urgent deadline on July 20, when a 3.5 billion euro payment to the European Central Bank is due, EU officials raced to agree a bridge financing accord that would enable Athens to avoid defaulting on the loan.


    Despite strong objections from Britain and the Czech Republic - EU countries that do not use the euro - a 7 billion euro loan is expected to be extended to Greece from the European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM), an EU-wide fund not intended for euro zone funding needs.


    Given the hurdles facing the agreement, doubts have surfaced about how long it could hold together, with one senior European Union official saying it had a "20-, maybe 30-percent chance of success".


    After its deepest crisis since World War Two, the Greek economy has lost more than a quarter of its output and more than one in four of its workforce is unemployed. It is unclear how it can sustain the burden of one of the most far-reaching austerity programs ever imposed on a euro zone country.


    A study by the International Monetary Fund issued on Tuesday called for much more debt relief than Greece's euro zone creditors, particularly Germany, have been prepared to accept so far.


    Berlin, which along with the other creditors knew about the IMF study before agreeing to new bailout talks, may wince at providing huge debt relief to a country it scarcely trusts to honor its promises.


    RELATED COVERAGE



    But Germany insists on having the IMF in the negotiations to help keep Greece in line. It may countenance extending repayment periods for Greek debt but has said it will not accept a writedown, with the finance ministry insisting it could not accept "a debt haircut via the backdoor".


    "EUROPE'S BANKRUPT CHILD"


    The European Commission published its own assessment of Greece's debt burden on Wednesday that also offered the prospect of debt relief. While ruling out any write-offs, the Commission said debt reprofiling was possible, as long as Greece implemented the reforms to which it has agreed.


    Washington has stepped up pressure for a deal between the euro zone and NATO member Greece. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is making a short-notice trip to Frankfurt, Berlin and Paris this week to press for a quick agreement.
    Although the bailout package is much tougher than the Greek people could have imagined when they resoundingly rejected a previous offer from the creditors in a referendum on July 5, most want to keep the euro.


    With banks shut and the threat of a calamitous exit from the currency bloc hovering over the country if it cannot conclude a deal, many Greeks see the package as the lesser of two evils.


    "We are Europe's bankrupt child and as a child, Europe has been supporting us for five years and told us what we needed to do to get out of this situation," said Yannis Theodosis, a 35-year-old civil engineer. "We did nothing and now we are paying the consequences."


    Civil servants held a strike on Wednesday, as did pharmacists, whose industry would be opened up under the reform package, in demonstrations that passed peacefully until a small group threw petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas and flash bombs.

    Calm later returned but nearby streets were empty and garbage bins were still burning. About 30 people were detained, according to a police source.


    (Additional reporting by Gina Kalovyrna, George Georgiopoulos, Ingrid Melander, Karolina Tagaris, Michele Kambas in Athens, Alastair Macdonald and Jan Strupczewski in Brussels,Madeline Chambers, Caroline Copley in Berlin, Mark John and Yann Le Guernigou in Paris, William James in London, David Gaffen in New York; Writing by Matthias Williamsand James Mackenzie; Editing by Philippa Fletcher, Peter Graff, David Stamp, Toni Reinhold)








    left
    13 of 13right



    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) sits next to Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos (C) during a parliamentary session in Athens, Greece July 16, 2015.
    REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN







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  5. #45
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    EDITORIAL
    By Paul Craig Roberts - July 16, 2015




    All of Europe, and insouciant Americans and Canadians as well, are put on notice by Syriza's surrender to the agents of the One Percent. The message from the collapse of Syriza is that the social welfare system throughout the West will be dismantled.


    The Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has agreed to the One Percent's looting of the Greek people of the advances in social welfare that the Greeks achieved in the post-World War II 20th century. Pensions and health care for the elderly are on the way out. The One Percent needs the money.


    The protected Greek islands, ports, water companies, airports, the entire panoply of national patrimony, is to be sold to the One Percent. At bargain prices, of course, but the subsequent water bills will not be bargains.


    This is the third round of austerity imposed on Greece, austerity that has required the complicity of the Greeks' own governments. The austerity agreements serve as a cover for the looting of the Greek people literally of everything. The IMF is one member of the Troika that is imposing the austerity, despite the fact that the IMF's economists have said that the austerity measures have proven to be a mistake. The Greek economy has been driven down by the austerity. Therefore, Greece's indebtedness has increased as a burden. Each round of austerity makes the debt less payable.


    But when the One Percent is looting, facts are of no interest. The austerity, that is the looting, has gone forward despite the fact that the IMF's economists cannot justify it.


    Greek democracy has proven itself to be impotent. The looting is going forward despite the vote one week ago by the Greek people rejecting it. So what we observe in Alexis Tsipras is an elected prime minister representing not the Greek people but the One Percent.


    The One Percent's sigh of relief has been heard around the world. The last European leftist party, or what passes as leftist, has been brought to heel, just like Britain's Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, and all the rest.


    Without an ideology to sustain it, the European left is dead, just as is the Democratic Party in the US. With the death of these political parties, the people no longer have any voice. A government in which the people have no voice is not a democracy. We can see this clearly in Greece. One week after the Greek people express themselves decisively in a referendum, their government ignores them and accommodates the One Percent.


    The American Democratic Party died with jobs offshoring, which destroyed the party's financial base in the manufacturing unions. The European left died with the Soviet Union.


    The Soviet Union was a symbol that there existed a socialist alternative to capitalism. The Soviet collapse and "the end of history" deprived the left of an economic program and left the left-wing, at least in America, with "social issues" such as abortion, homosexual marriage, gender equality, and racism, which undermined the left-wing's traditional support with the working class. Class warfare disappeared in the warfare between heterosexuals and homosexuals, blacks and whites, men and women.


    Today with the Western peoples facing re-enserfment and with the world facing nuclear war as a result of the American neoconservatives' claim to be History's chosen people entitled to world hegemony, the American left is busy hating the Confederate battle flag.


    The collapse of Europe's last left-wing party, Syrzia, means that unless more determined parties arise in Portugal, Spain, and Italy, the baton passes to the right-wing parties—-toNigel Farage's UK Independence Party, to Marine Le Pen's National Front in France, and to other right-wing parties who stand for nationalism against national extermination in EU membership.


    Syriza could not succeed once it failed to nationalize the Greek banks in response to the EU's determination to make them fail. The Greek One Percent have the banks and the media, and the Greek military shows no sign of standing with the people. What we see here is the impossibility of peaceful change, as Karl Marx and Lenin explained.


    Revolutions and fundamental reforms are frustrated or overturned by the One Percent who are left alive. Marx, frustrated by the defeat of the Revolutions of 1848 and instructed by his materialist conception of history, concluded, as did Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot, that leaving the members of the old order alive meant counter-revolution and the return of the people to serfdom. In Latin America every reformist government is vulnerable to overthrow by US economic interests acting in conjunction with the Spanish elites. We see this process underway today in Venezuela and Ecuador.


    Duly instructed, Lenin and Mao eliminated the old order. The class holocaust was many times greater than anything the Jews experienced in the Nazi racial holocaust. But there is no memorial to it.


    To this day Westerners do not understand why Pol Pot emptied Cambodia's urban areas. The West dismisses Pol Pot as a psychopath and mass murderer, a psychiatric case, but Pol Pot was simply acting on the supposition that if he permitted representatives of the old order to remain his revolution would be overthrown. To use a legal concept enshrined by the George W. Bush regime, Pol Pot pre-empted counter-revolution by striking in advance of the act and eliminating the class inclined to counter-revolution. The class genocide associated with Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot are the collateral damage of revolution.


    The English conservative Edmund Burke said that the path of progress was reform, not revolution. The English elite, although they dragged their heels, accepted reform in place of revolution, thus vindicating Burke. But today with the left so totally defeated, the One Percent does not have to agree to reforms. Compliance with their power is the only alternative.


    Greece is only the beginning. Greeks driven out of their country by the collapsed economy, demise of the social welfare system, and extraordinary rate of unemployment will take their poverty to other EU countries. Members of the EU are not bound by national boundaries and can freely emigrate. Closing down the support system in Greece will drive Greeks into the support systems of other EU countries, which will be closed down in turn by the One Percent's privatizations.


    The 21st century Enclosures have begun.


    After publishing this piece yesterday, Dr. Roberts wrote in a separate announcement ...


    Lost Chance In Greece


    Syriza turned its back to the opportunity to save Greece by removing the country from the EU.The cost of this failure goes far beyond Greece and is political as well as economic. Syriza's failure threatens the sovereignty of EU member states as well as their social welfare systems. More importantly, an opportunity to avoid World War III by unravelingNATO was thrown away.


    The collapse of Syriza one week after receiving the strong support of the Greek people in the referendum vote awaits explanation. I doubt Syriza would have stood up to the pressure as long as it did if the prime minister intended to join previous Greek governments in selling out the people. It makes no sense for Syriza to sell out on the heels of a referendum victory that greatly strengthened its position in its confrontation with the Troika, especially with one member of the Troika, the IMF, expressing doubts about the Troika's hardline position. Possibly threats were issued that neutered the voice of the Greek people.


    This article contributed ourtesy of PaulCraigRoberts.org.
    py

  6. #46
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    DECEMBER 31, 2015Greece: an Alternative

    by ERIC TOUSSAINT








    In August-September 2013, I drafted a course of measures to be implemented in Greece in case the radical left won the election. On 10 September, 2013 I sent this draft to the activists of Greece and elsewhere to ‘gather critical comments and proposals for further improvement’, as I put it at the time.


    Taking feedback into account I have slightly amended my proposal. I had presented this proposal on 29 March 2014 in Athens during a working meeting with DEA activists |1| and participants from other countries (France, USA, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Germany …). I also presented a summary of this proposal at a public conference on 30 March 2014 where Panagiotis Lafazanis, presently the leader of the new Popular Unity party launched in Greece on 21 August 2015, also spoke.


    This proposal has not been published so far. In fact, I thought that the responses to my repeated requests for comments and improvements were insufficient to make it public. I was also aware of my limited knowledge of the Greek reality and of the need for a collective proposal essentially developed by the Greeks involved in their national reality. Despite these reservations, following the capitulation of July 2015, I have decided to make public the proposal written two years ago.


    The present paper includes large chunks of the proposals I drafted inJuly 2015.


    In this draft, I proposed an exit from the Eurozone at an appropriate time, which I could not specify. In fact, as a witness to the Greek people’s level of consciousness I am convinced that a number of priority measures could and should have been taken without having to leave the Eurozone. To talk the majority of the population into accepting the exit, they need to be told why this option has become a necessity (evidently this is what has been happening since July 2015). Finally, an exit from the Eurozone entails other measures, so that the exit eventually favours the interests of the majority of the population. Otherwise the exit becomes a right-wing measure, which has to be avoided.


    In a country such as Greece, a popular government should:


    1 Repeal the anti-popular measures imposed in the memoranda signed with the Troika after May 2010. This particularly refers to the reinstatement of dismissed workers following the imposition of these memoranda;


    2 Suspend debt payment, organize an audit and radically reduce the debt and its repayment by an act of repudiation (which will necessarily be unilateral), adopt discriminatory measures to protect the people’s savings invested in debt.


    Adopt a specific measure on the bilateral debt owed to Germany. It amounts to €15 billion contracted in the May 2010 memorandum: the repudiation of this debt should partially compensate Germany’s historic debt to Greece (World War II).


    3 Socialize the banking and insurance sectors. Their own choices have now led most banks to a situation of insolvency and not just a temporary liquidity crisis. The decision of the European Central Bankand the Bank of Greece to protect the interests of large private shareholders only makes the situation worse.


    We must return to basics. The banks should be regarded as a public service, precisely because they are significant entities and their poor management can have a disastrous impact on the economy. The banking business is too serious to be entrusted to private bankers. Since it handles public money, enjoys the State’s guarantees and provides a basic service to society, the bank must be treated as a public service.


    The government needs to retrieve its ability to control and manage economic and financial activities. It must also have the means to make investments and finance public expenditure by drastically curtailing the loans from private institutions. For this, it must regain authority over the banks to socialize them, by transferring them to the public sector under citizens’ control, without compensating the major private shareholders. In some cases, despite the lack of compensation, the expropriation of private banks can be quite expensive for the State, due to their accumulated debts and the reserve of toxic assets. The cost in question must be recovered as much as possible from the global assets of large shareholders. In fact, private companies that are shareholders of the banks are the ones that caused this dismal state of the banking sector. All along they have been making substantial profits while holding a portion of their assets in other sectors of the economy. Now it’s time to seize some of their global assets.


    Public banks with public service status (under citizens’ control) can coexist with cooperative banks of moderate size (the cooperative nature of these banks should be strictly controlled with the provision to penalize by withdrawing the business permit).


    The Greek State is by far the main shareholder of the four major Greek banks (representing more than 80% of the Greek banking sector) and it should therefore take full control of the banks in order to protect citizens’ savings and boost domestic loans to support consumption. First, the State should assume its majority stake in the banks and turn them into public-sector companies. Then, the State should organize the orderly liquidation of these banks whilst ensuring the protection of small shareholders and savers. The State should recover the cost of cleansing the banks from major private shareholders who have caused the crisis and then abused public support. A ’bad bank’ should be created to isolate and hold toxic assets with a view to their liquidation. Those responsible for the banking crisis should be sued and made to pay once and for all. The financial sector must be thoroughly cleaned up and made to serve the people and the real economy.


    Private insurance companies should also be socialized. Although the situation of the insurance sector is less publicized, it is also bearing the full brunt of the current crisis. Large insurance groups conducted risky operations just as private banks did, since they move in the same circles. The major chunk of their assets consists of sovereign debtsecurities and derivatives. In search of maximum immediate profit, they speculated dangerously on premiums paid by policyholders, on their savings invested in life insurance or voluntary contributions for a supplementary pension. Expropriating the insurance sector will prevent a disaster and protect depositors and policyholders. This expropriation should function in tandem with the consolidation of capitalized retirement schemes.


    4 Regain control over the Central Bank. Yannis Stournaras, the current CEO (appointed by Antonis Samaras’ government) invests all his energy in preventing the changes that the people are calling for. He is a Trojan Horse, serving the interests of large private banks and the neoliberal European authorities. The Central Bank of Greece should be made to serve the interests of the Greek population.


    5 Create an electronic currency (denominated in euros) for internal use in the country. The public authorities could raise pensions and salaries in the public services and grant humanitarian aid to people by opening credit accounts for them in electronic currency that could be used for several kinds of payment: electricity and water bills, payment for transport and taxes, purchases of food and basic goods, etc. Contrary to a baseless prejudice, even private businesses would do well to voluntarily accept the electronic method of payment as it would allow them both to sell their goods and settle payments to the government (payment of taxes and for the various public services they use). The creation of this additional electronic currency would reduce the country’s needs in hard euros. Transactions in this complementary electronic currency could be made by mobile phone, as is the case today in Ecuador.


    6 Dissolve the privatization agency and replace it with a national assetmanagement agency (with an immediate halt to privatizations) which will be responsible for protecting public assets while generating revenue.


    Impose a strict control on capital movements and retail prices.


    8 Adopt a tax reform with:


    a) Higher taxation rates on the highest income bracket.


    b) An increase of the tax on immovable property (with exemption for the principal residence below a threshold to be defined according to the number of people living in that residence).


    c) Abolition of the tax privileges enjoyed by ship-owners, the Orthodox Church and other capitalist sectors.


    d) Radical reduction or abolition of VAT on essential goods and services; imposition of hefty taxes on the wealth of the richest.


    e) Strict control of the massive tax evasion which deprives the community of considerable means and employment. Substantial public resources should be allocated to the financial services to effectively fight against the fraudulent activities of major corporations and the wealthiest households. The results should be made public and the perpetrators severely punished.

    8 Adopt a policy for internal public borrowing from the Central Bank through the monetization of debt. Additional public domestic borrowing measures may be adopted by issuing public debt securities within national borders.


    In fact, the State must be able to borrow to improve the living conditions of the population, for example by carrying out public utility works. Some of this work can be financed by the current budget through assertive policy choices, but government borrowing could also enable other more ambitious projects — for example the massive development of public transport to replace private cars; developing the use of renewable energy; creating or reopening local railway services throughout the urban and semi-urban sectors of the country; renovating, rehabilitating or constructing public buildings and social housing while reducing energy consumption and providing quality amenities.


    A transparent policy of public borrowing must be defined urgently. Public borrowing should aim at guaranteeing an improvement in living conditions, discarding the logic of environmental destruction. It must contribute to a redistribution of wealth and to reducing inequalities. That is why we propose that financial institutions, large private corporations and wealthy households be legally bound to purchase – commensurate with their wealth and income – non-indexed government bonds at 0% interest. The rest of the population can voluntarily acquire government bonds at an interest rate aboveinflation that will ensure a genuine and positive return (e.g. 3%). So if annual inflation is 3%, the interest rate actually paid by the State for the corresponding year will be 6%. Such a policy of positive discrimination (similar to those adopted against racial oppression in the US, the caste system in India, or gender inequality) will result in tax justice and less inequality in wealth distribution.
    10 Contract a public loan from alternative sources (that is to say, excluding the Troika and the foreign financial markets) without accepting any conditionalities.


    11 Apply the following golden rule: the amount allocated to the repayment of public debt cannot exceed 5% of government revenues. Rule out the socialization of private debt. Make it obligatory to organize a permanent audit of public debt with citizen participation. Withdraw statutory limitations to crimes related to illegitimate debt; treat illegitimate debt as invalid; adopt a second golden rule which stipulates that public expenditure guaranteeing fundamental human rights is irreducible and takes precedence over debt repayment.


    12 It is also important for Greece to launch a process of structural democratic changes with active citizen participation. To achieve this constituent process, Greece must convene the election of a Constituent Assembly through popular vote to draft a new democratically chosen Constitution. Once the Constituent Assembly – which should operate on the basis of grievances and proposals received from the people – has adopted the draft, it will be submitted to popular vote.


    13 Establish a register of assets.


    14 Reduce working hours and restore pre-2010 salaries. Then increase wages and low pensions to a level yet to be fixed.


    15 Increase the legal minimum wage; establish an index for wages and social benefits commensurate with the cost of living.


    16 Withdraw the parliamentary immunity enjoyed by elected officials involved in the crisis and bring them to justice.


    17 Ban organizations which promote racism and / or racial hatred.


    18 Implement a comprehensive programme to stimulate the economy:


    Support local agricultural production: create a public service for training farmers in peasant agriculture and agro-ecology, prioritize the access of local products to the market, reschedule CAP subsidies so that they go to small farms, improve the supply line for local seeds, support new agricultural cooperatives, relocate agriculture and support facilities for food sovereignty; 
 Support small and medium enterprises; 
 Support small businesses; 
 Support traditional fishery; 
 Create jobs in the public services sector giving priority to health, public education and the environment; 
 Restore companies that had been privatized to public status and support workers’ takeover of companies; 
 Develop renewable energies to meet local needs, support heating insulation projects for buildings, develop public transport, reject large and unnecessary projects and turn away from extractivism; 
 Start ambitious projects for environmental conservation and consolidate the corresponding national laws: natural parks, biodiversity of terrestrial and marine wildlife; 
 Support small scale tourism (against the big tourist resorts); 
 Organize public, local and ecological administration of water and waste.

    19 Exit the Eurozone by applying a redistributive monetary reform, by reducing the liquid assets of the wealthiest households.
Here’s an example (of course, the rates indicated may be modified after a thorough examination of how liquid household savings are distributed and the adoption of stringent criteria):


    €1 would be exchanged against one new drachma (n.D) up to € 200,000
€1 = 0.7 n. D. between € 200,000 and 250,000
€1 = 0.6 n. D. between € 250,000 and 350,000
€1 = 0.5 n. D. between € 350,000 and 500,000 
€1 = 0.4 n. D. between € 500,000 and 600,000
€1 = 0.2 n. D. above € 600,000
€1 = 0.1 n D. over € 1 million


    If a household owns € 200,000 in cash, it gets 200,000 n.D in exchange
For € 250,000, it gets 200,000 + 35,000 = 235,000 n.D
For € 350,000, it gets 200,000 + 35,000 + 60,000 = 295,000 n.D
For € 500,000, it gets 200,000 + 35,000 + 60,000 + 75,000 = 370,000 n.D
For € 600,000, it gets 200,000 + 35,000 + 60,000 + 75,000 + 40,000 = 410,000 n.D
For € 1 million, it gets 410,000 + 80,000 = 490,000 n.D
For € 2 million, it gets 410,000 + 80,000 + 100,000 = 590,000 n.D


    20 Withdraw Greece from NATO, discontinue the foreign bases on Greek territory and reduce military expenditure. Start negotiations with neighbouring countries so that a concerted process of demilitarization can be launched. It is essential to cancel the military cooperation agreement with Israel.



    Conclusion


    The change after the capitulation of July 2015 has been radical and there will be numerous disastrous consequences. If we look at the causes of the current turn of events, there is of course the stubbornness of the creditors, but there is also the strategy chosen by the Syriza leadership and the government of Alexis Tsipras (seehttp://cadtm.org/Greece-Why-Capitulate-Another-Way ): the refusal to clearly and explicitly question the legitimacy and legality of the debt, the continued repayment of debt, the failure to recognize the importance of a citizens’ audit (even though Tsipras officially supported the audit), the refusal to ruffle the feathers of the big shareholders in the Greek banks that are responsible for the banking crisis, the refusal to defend the country against the creditors’ aggressive inflexibility, the refusal to have an alternative plan ready, which could have included the exit from the euro, and to provide public explanations of the reasons why that might be necessary, the illusion that negotiations could prevail on the creditors to make enough concessions to allow SYRIZA and Greece to escape from austerity, the refusal to start a constituent process in order to democratically change the Greek constitution, the failure to understand the pivotal role of popular demonstrations that should have received encouragement, and so on. The most urgent choice was not whether or not to remain in the Eurozone, but rather whether to negotiate while in a weak position or to give priority to the following five steps based on the strength of popular mobilization:


    1 Suspend debt repayments while continuing to audit the debt, which means getting into direct conflict with the Troika;


    2 Resolve the banking crisis, which means confronting the major private shareholders who caused the crisis;


    3 Create a complementary parallel currency;


    4 Increase measures to address the humanitarian crisis, in addition to the significant ones already taken by the government since February 2015;


    5 Stop privatizations and create new resources for the public treasuries by adopting strong measures at the expense of the privileged sectors, starting with the richest 1%, the large corporations and the major tax evaders.

    Translated by Suchandra De Sarkar in collaboration with Christine Pagnoulle.


    Footnotes
    |1| The DEA (Internationalist Workers’ Left) is a revolutionary Marxist organization and Syriza’s co-founder. With Kokkino and APO (anti-capitalist political group), two other revolutionary Marxist organizations, and with other independent activists, the DEA has created the Red Network group within Syriza. Kokkino and DEA merged in December 2014. The Red Network and the left-wing group inside Synapismos (Panagiotis Lafazanis being its most famous member) formed the Left Platform within Syriza. About 25 Syriza MPs (out of 149) directly participate in this platform (two of whom are from the Red Network). Approximately 30% of Syriza’s delegates supported this Platform during the convention held in 2013. During the July/August 2015 voting on the new Memorandum imposed by the Eurogroup, the MPs Elena Psarrou (DEA) and Ioanna Gaïtani (APO) as well as 23 members of the left and other Syriza MPs such as Zoe Konstantopoulou voted against. On 16 July, 32 Syriza MPs voted against the 13 July agreement. On 23 July, 31 voted against and on 14 August, 32 voted against. Now the Red Network is part of Popular Unity which didn’t succeed in electing members of the parliament in the anticipated general elections of 20th September 2015.
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