Posts Tagged ‘Syriza’


December 18, 2015

I felt as if the earth had imploded under my feet. I felt incredible sadness and a sense of having betrayed the 62 percent of Greeks who had shown astonishing courage—and I don’t think we had the historical right to do that. — Yanis Varoufakis

#ThisIsACoup, a four-part series telling the story of the European Union’s confrontation with the Greek Syriza party in 2015. With unprecedented access to key Greek politicians.

Directed by Theopi Skarlatos, edited by Andreas Loukakos, produced by Paul Mason

Released by Field of Vision, the filmmaker driven film journalism unit co-created by Laura Poitras, AJ Schnack, and Charlotte Cook.

Funded through crowdfunding.

In 2010, Greece was broke. More money was lent, classic pretend and extend, the money came with strings attached, Draconian conditions set, which destroyed Greece.  Austerity was used as a front for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, cuts to welfare, to pensions. As a result the Greek economy collapsed, unemployment rose, making it even less likely the loans could ever be repaid. And the money that was loaned to Greece, did not find its way into Greek pockets (except maybe that of oligarchs and corrupt politicians), it went straight back out to bailout German banks.

Syriza were elected with a democratic mandate to challenge the EU, to reject austerity that was destroying Greece.

ECB turned off finance to Greek banks. This caused a run on the banks, and the banks were forced to close. It was part of the pressure put on Greece, a delibearte attampt to bring Greece to its knees.

Fiscal waterboarding.

A referendum is called. The people vote OXI, over 60% vote No to the EU proposals.

Syriza had what they wanted, Greeks had said no to the EU. Syriza then betrayed the people, signed a surrender document with the EU.

EU was not interested is solving the Greek debt crisis. They had only one intention to crush Greece. to serve as an exam[le tp any other cuntrty that thought to challened the EU.

In January, when Syriza were elected, there was hope. Now, with what the people see as betrayal by Syriza, hope has turned to despair.

If any lessons learnt, it is that the ordinary people have to take control and drive change themselves.  The only way forward, is for Greeks to run their own affairs.

Paul Mason is Economics Editor of Channel 4 News and author of PostCapitalism.

Yanis Varoufakis on Jeremy Corbyn and capitalism

September 17, 2015

Speak from the heart, don’t spin, don’t be terrorised by the media. — Yanis Varoufakis

If God and His angles, were to come down and put together a reform package for Greece, the Troika would have turned it down.  — Yanis Varoufakis

The ruling class knows it [that austerity doesn’t work] and that by shrinking the state [through cuts in spending and labour] is a massive transfer of wealth and it makes sure that the costs of the financial crisis are transferred onto the shoulders of those who didn’t cause it.  — Yanis Varoufakis

Former Greek finance minster Yanis Varoufakis on Jeremy Corbyn, media, capitalism, Greece and the UN.

Since being elected as Labour Party leader with almost 60% of the vote and selecting his Shadow Cabinet, Jeremy Corbyn has been subjected to a negative onslaught by the mainstream, media, garbage newspapers such as Daily Mail (Lord Rothermere), The Sun (Murdoch Empire), Express (Dirty Des porn baron).

Labour MPs have behaved little better, each day guaranteed a platform by the media to put the boot in.  What Labour MPs forget to their peril, Jeremy Corbyn has massive public support they do not.

Your opponents, Diane, Jeremy, John, are going to use fear as their main instrument. They will say to you that a Corbyn government will push up the pound. This is what the systemic media will tell people in their living rooms.

Don’t fear them. People are perfectly capable of sifting through this. The people can overcome fear if the leadership overcomes fear.

During my time working in the eurozone I encountered combinations of irrationality and evil that it would be impossible to make up. These creditors were using this method of imposing debt on a country knowing that they would never get it back. Why?

It was a demonstration to show the Spanish people what will befall them if they vote in a government that doesn’t tow the line. It was brutal politics.

The Fourth Reich, aka European Union, via the European Central Bank, waged economic warfare against Greece, in a deliberate attempt to destroy Syriza, as they did not wish their challenge to austerity and neo-liberalism to spread.

Syriza put forward a sensible economic package on how to solve the crisis in Greece. It was not accepted because it was not about debt, it was about crushing Greece and setting an example to other countries who may be considering following the path laid out by Greece.

If the only role of Syriza is to act as a Vichy Regime and implement the policies of the Fourth Reich, then what point Syriza?

Afshin Rattansi demonstrating his appalling ignorance, and showing his true colours as a Kremlin puppet.

The shoddy standard of journalism from Afshin Rattansi is as bad as the hacks from The Sun and The Mail.

An alternative Greek currency

July 27, 2015
Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs

The truth of the matter is, the very powerful Troika of creditors were not interested in coming to a sensible, honorable mutually beneficial agreement. — Yanis Varoufakis

The euro was flawed from the start, everyone knew this.

Yes, Greece should leave the euro, but difficult to create a new currency from scratch.

Not in the same position as Iceland or Argentina, both countries had own currencies, but otherwise similar.

Were Greece still on the drachma, they would not be where they are today.

But, they are too fixated on remaining in the euro and being members of Fourth Reich, even though neither is of advantage to them, quite the opposite.

This meant they had one arm tied behind their back when they entered into negotiations and were shafted. Had they called the bluff, defaulted, exited the euro, the euro would have collapsed and Germans would have been in the shit.

The role of a Central Bank is a lender of last resort. For the euro zone it is the European Central Bank. ECB turned off the money supply to Greece to force Greece to its knees. Once there was unconditional surrender, a choice between suicide or execution, ECB turned back on the money supply to Greek banks. The money that was lent, flowed back out to pay off international creditors, a  point Germans should note when they keep referring to bailing out Greece.

The Fourth Reich showed they would happily destroy a country if that country did not give in to its demands. They forced onto Greece, not only a surrender, but an unconditional surrender, part of which is rape and pillage of the country, enclosure of the commons, sell off of Greek assets on the cheap.  But at least we all now know what the Fourth Reich is capable of, Its brutality was exposed for all the world to see.  At least Podemos in Spain now know exactly what they are dealing with.

It was meant to set an example to Podemos, do not dare oppose the Fourth Reich this too will be your fate.

But it has had had the opposite effect, for pro-democracy activists across Europe to double their efforts to defeat the Fourth Reich.

What we have learnt, we have to work from the grass roots upwards. Syriza has grass roots support that most parties would die for, the NO vote showed that. But it was not enough. We have to restructure society from the bottom up.

Greece may have lost a battle, but not the war, the fight continues.

John Cassidy, writing in The New Yorker:

Syriza’s surrender wasn’t necessarily an ignominious one. As Lenin commented of the failed 1905 revolution in Russia, it was a retreat for a new attack, which ultimately proved successful. “I’m not going to sugarcoat this and pass it off as a success story,” Tsipras said to parliament on Wednesday, prior to the vote, acknowledging that the spending cuts and tax increases contained in the agreement would deal another blow to the Greek economy. However, that wasn’t the full story, Tsipras insisted. “We have left a heritage of dignity and democracy to Europe,” he said. “This fight will bear fruit.”

The euro zone is to benefit German industrial output.

The problem Greece has is many idle hands, work that needs doing, and no money to connect the two. What connects the two is money.

But money there is none, the banks are closed., or were, but even now open, restrictions on withdrawals.

Money has strange properties, it can move mountains, a feat usually the province of Gods.

Charles Eisenstein, Sacred Economics:

What we call recession, an earlier culture might have called “God abandoning the world.” Money is disappearing, and with it another property of spirit: the animating force of the human realm. At this writing, all over the world machines stand idle. Factories have ground to a halt; construction equipment sits derelict in the yard; parks and libraries are closing; and millions go homeless and hungry while housing units stand vacant and food rots in the warehouses. Yet all the human and material inputs to build the houses, distribute the food, and run the factories still exist. It is rather something immaterial, that animating spirit, which has fled. What has fled is money. That is the only thing missing, so insubstantial (in the form of electrons in computers) that it can hardly be said to exist at all, yet so powerful that without it, human productivity grinds to a halt.

On the individual level as well, we can see the demotivating effects of lack of money. Consider the stereotype of the unemployed man, nearly broke, slouched in front of the TV in his undershirt, drinking a beer, hardly able to rise from his chair. Money, it seems, animates people as well as machines. Without it we are dispirited.

In the Great Depression there was no money, in US banks were closed, because they were bust.

They created scrips, alternative currencies, across Europe and in the States. They were successful, incredibly successful. The reason they do not exist today is because they were too successful, the Central Banks closed them down.

In 1931, a German coal mine operator decided to open his closed mine by paying his workers in wara. It was backed by  coal.  Because it was backed by coal,  which everyone could use, local merchants and wholesalers were persuaded to accept it. The mining town flourished, and within the year at least a thousand stores across Germany were accepting wara, and banks began accepting wara-denominated deposits. Feeling threatened, the German government tried to have the wara declared illegal by the courts; when that failed, it simply banned it by emergency decree.

The following year, the depressed town of Wörgl, Austria, issued its own stamp scrip inspired by the success of the wara. The Wörgl currency was by all accounts a huge success. Roads were paved, bridges built, and back taxes were paid. The unemployment rate plummeted and the economy thrived, attracting the attention of nearby towns. Mayors and officials from all over the world began to visit Wörgl until, as in Germany, the central government abolished the Wörgl currency and the town slipped back into depression.

Another currency that emerged around this time was the Wir in Switzerland. The currency is issued by a cooperative bank and is backed only by the mutual agreement of its members to accept it for payment.

In the United States many “emergency currencies,” as they were called, were issued in the early 1930s. They appeared because the banks had gone bust.  Roosevelt banned all “emergency currencies” by executive decree when he launched the New Deal. The reason he did this was not because the local and state currencies wouldn’t be effective in ending the Depression, but because it would mean a loss of central government control.

The only alternative currency that still exist is the Wir in Switzerland. Alternative currencies did not vanish because they were not successful, on the contrary the were legislated out of existence because they were too successful, they challenged the power of the Central Bank, limited the ability of the Central Bank to control the amount of currency circulating in the economy.

Greece does not have the problem of the Central bank losing control, as it has no control.

This is the way forward in Greece, create alternative currencies.

There is no problem Central Bank not having control, as Greece has no control over the euro.

It was considered launching a new drachma, but the logistics were considered too great. But were they, if scrips were successfully issued during the Great Depression?  There would though have been a delay, and had Greece left the euro, the shock to the economy would have been too great.

But what of an alternative digital currency using smart phones?

It would have to meet the following criteria:

  • smartphone app
  • P2P
  • block chain
  • open source
  • secure
  • ease of use

The FairCoin wallet for Android would be a good starting point, as open source, it could be modified.

Each account could be loaded or pre-loaded with 1000 euro-equivalent (for small businesses 5000 euro-equivalent).

How to get the money into the account? It could be pre-loaded, or transferred by the Central Bank.

Uniqueness of each account, one account per person. Would need a unique ID. Maybe social security number or whatever Greeks use on passport or ID Card. Unique ID for local business? VAT registration number?

Need to create protocols, then implement as a smartphone app. This work already done if use or modify FairCoin wallet.

In the interim FairCoin could be used, download and install the FairCoin wallet. But where would the money come from, unless the Central Bank bought FairCoin, but where would the Central Bank acquire the money from?

Having Greek alternative digital currency, the Central Bank can create. Government and local government can pay in part in the alternative digital currency salaries.

Local currencies could be created, and according to Paul Mason, these already exist.

The European Central bank is proposing Quantitative Easing of one trillion euros.

We know from the UK, Quantitative Easing to be a failed policy, it has little impact on the real economy, the only impact is to transfer money to the rich and inflate the already obscene bonuses of bankers.

There could though be a role, were Quantitative Easing used to wipe out Greek debt, as recommneded by Ellen Brown. It could also be used to inject money into the Greek banks to solve the liquidity crisis.

None of which would invalidate the need for an alternative currency.

There is no means by which the debt will ever be repaid. Pretend and extend is a fiction. Remove the debt and Greece will be in budget surplus, or was before ECB turned off the cash flow.

The role of a Central Bank is to act as lender of last resort when banks have a liquidity problem. For Greece, the Central Bank is ECB. Far from acting as lender of last resort, ECB turned off the cash flow.

When a country has control over its own currency, it can devalue during an economic crisis. That option has not been open to Greece, instead we have seen a devaluing of its people through austerity.

Debt is being used as a mechanism to destroy the Greek economy and to enslave the people.

There are other measures that need to be brought in, for example tax transparency. The tax everyone pays should be published. This would go a long way to addressing tax evasion.

An alternative currency, creation of local currencies, is not itself sufficient nor should be seen as an end in itself. It should be implemented as part of a wider programme of advancing the commons, creating open co-ops,  part of  Plan C as advocated by P2P Foundation.

The State of Greece

February 18, 2015

A documentary on Syriza.

EU bullying of Greece

February 18, 2015
Greece demo Trafalgar Square

Greece demo Trafalgar Square

Greek bus stop

Greek bus stop

It’s not the Greek government or Greece that they are playing with, but Europe, and its future. — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

At the weekend massive demonstration in Athens in support of Syriza, not only Athens, across Europe, including London.

A couple of days ago, Syriza refused to back down in the face of German led, EU bullying.

It is reported that ‘Germany is said to be pressuring the ECB not to allow any extra emergency funding, as part of efforts to convince Athens to agree to extend its international bailout’.

It is vital that across Europe we continue to defend the democracy of the people of Greece and oppose the blackmail and jack boot tactics.

Direct message from Euclid Tsakalotos, the Greek Minister of Internal Economic Affairs in the negotiations in Brussels with explanation of the breakdown:

As you may have heard things did not go well. There was a compromise deal brokered by Juncker and agreed to by Draghi and Lagarde and Moscovici. But it was sunk by Djisselbloem, presumably on German pressure. In the eurogroup meeting and the subsequent press conference, there was little help from either Lagarde or Moscovici

They say => complete the existing programme with some flexibility in implementation on our part but they never tell us what this flexibility will entail. On the contrary, they say sign first and then we will discuss with you areas of flexibility

We say => give us a bridging programme and we have spelt out our commitments not only during the bridging period but also for the essential elements of the new compact with our partners long term

We have done our best to reach a reasonable compromise. What we have faced is naked power and blackmail.

Note: The bus-stop sign shows how the existing austerity programme which Syriza was elected to reverse is killing the country. You could add a number of other cruel disasters, e.g. that unemployment for under 25s is 58%, that well over 100,000 small businesses have gone to the wall, that hundreds of thousands have been forced into ‘exile’, that there has been a significant rise in heart disease, especially in women.

Note: Please pass it to all who might help influence public opinion in the days to come.

Greece is insolvent

February 7, 2015
Break the Chains of Greece's Debt

Break the Chains of Greece’s Debt

If history shows anything, it is that there’s no better way to justify relations founded on violence, to make such relations seem moral, than by reframing them in the language of debt – above all, because it immediately makes it seem that it’s the victim who’s doing something wrong. — David Graeber

Greece is broke, the cupboard is bare.

Banks like to create a myth, the debtor is insolvent, but keep peddling money, and they can service the debt, only the debt gets bigger, until eventually the Emperor is seen to have no clothes, then the banks go bust, or they would were it not for the fact governments bail out the banks.

If you are broke, do you then go to loan sharks?

This is what has happened to Greece.

Money is being pumped into Greece, but it does not find its way into the pockets of hard working Greeks, or as now is the case, unemployed Greeks, it flows straight out to German banks, with a nice little cut to the corrupt political elites.

Greece was not bailed out, the banks were bailed out.

Austerity is being used as an excuse to loot Greece. to force sell off of state assets on the cheap.

Conditions imposed on Greece, has destroyed its economy.

The economy has shrunk by 25%, 25% unemployment (over 50% youth unemployment), high suicide rate. Debt as a percentage of GDP has risen from 13% to 175%.

Banks take a risk when they lend money. That is one of the factors in the interest they charge. When that risk fails, they have to take the hit. If it means German banks go bust, let then go bust.

Greeks were not party to any of the agreements,and they should not have to pay.

The BBC Newsnight interview was a joke, an incredibly stupid interviewer who clearly had not done her homework.

BBC is part of the media-political establishment, that presents no alternative to austerity, that argues no funds to pay for public services, welfare payments, when we have a huge public deficit due to tax dodging.

Syriza revolution in Greece three weeks ago, is showing that there is an alternative. Germany can huff and puff, but they will not snuff out the hope that has been kindled in Greece.

Today Greece, tomorrow Spain. Then, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus?

Top Story in EURO Social Media News (Sunday 8 February 2015).

We Are Not Merkel’s Colony

February 6, 2015

We Are Not Merkel's Colony

We Are Not Merkel’s Colony

Big demonstration in Athens last night

We Are Not Merkel’s Colony

Germany is doing all it can to kill the Syriza revolution in Greece, barely two weeks old.

It is not for Germany or the EU to dictate to Greece. A point people across Europe need to make very clear, we are all Greeks now.

Austerity does not work. It was used as an excuse to loot Greece.

Austerity is not working

February 3, 2015

You cannot keep on squeezing countries that are in the midst of depression. At some point there has to be a growth strategy. — President Obama

Austerity is not working, it is not working in Greece, it is not working in UK.

2010 debt in Greece was 125% of GDP. Five years on it is 175% of GDP.

Following World War One, Germany was squeezed. It was squeezed as punishment for losing WWI. The net result was rise of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler, six million Jews sent to death camps and World War Two.

Lessons were leant. Money was pumped into Germany to rebuild their economy.

But, lessons have not been learnt. Greece is being squeezed to extract the blood of every Greek, every Greek apart from corrupt politicians and tax dodging oligarchs.

Austerity does not work. Austerity is being used for Shock Doctrine, an excuse for slash and burn of public services, cut welfare payment, sell off state assets on the cheap.

Austerity does not work. Greek economy has shrunk by over 25%, unemployment at 25%, youth unemployment over 50%.

Money is lent, more money is lent to enable the interest to be paid.

No one will admit the debt has to be written off.

It is not possible for Greece to service its debt on a shrinking economy.

Except it is admitted. Economists have been saying for some years the debt has to be written off.

When a debtor has no means to repay, banks are peddling money, no different to drug dealers.

It is not for IMF, EU or Germany to tell a sovereign country how to restructure.

Economist Yanis Varoufakis, now Greek finance minster, is on a tour of Europe.

Yesterday it was the turn of George Osborne. One side an economist, on the other side a politician with no understanding of economics.

Yanis Varoufakis recognises Greece needs no more money, that Greece needs to restructure, but it is for Greeks to decide not EU or IMF and certainly not Germany.

It’s not that we don’t need the money, we’re desperate because of certain commitments and liabilities that we have.

We have resembled drug addicts craving the next dose. What this government is all about is ending the addiction.

When money was poured into Greece it did not find its way into the pockets of hard working Greeks. It was to bail out German banks and to grease the palms of corrupt Greek politicians.

Greece is not, as George Osborne has warned “fast becoming the biggest risk to the global economy”. The only risk is to corrupt political elites like George Osborne, who with his paymasters, risk being swept away on a tide of public anger.

Austerity was never about helping Greece it was about raping Greece and leaving the country destitute.

Yanis Varoufakis:

Freedom of speech in Greece has been jeopardized by this unholy alliance between bankrupt bankers, developers and media owners, who become the voice of those who want to sponge and scrounge off everyone else’s productive efforts.

We are going to destroy the basis upon which they have built, for decade after decade, a system and network that viciously sucks of the energy and the economic power from everybody else in society.

Alexis Tsipras:

We did not come here to take over institutions and to enjoy the trappings of power. We have come to radically change the way in which politics and governance is carried out in this country.

Last week, Greece’s new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, visited a World War II National Resistance Memorial in his first outing as the country’s new leader. The memorial is located at the site where the Nazis executed 200 Greek communist resistance fighters in May 1944. During the recent campaign, Tsipras called on Germany to pay Greece reparations for damages incurred during the Nazi occupation. A 2013 governmental study determined Germany owed Greece an estimated $200 billion.

Is it not time Germany paid what it owes Greece?

Unemployment has many factors, unskilled, badly educated workforce (as we see in England), lack of demand.

In England, there is a tendency to bully and blame the unemployed for being unemployed, stigmatise, send on workfare boot camps to be humiliated, force to work for nothing, stop benefits on a whim. When what should happen, is recognise as an opportunity, treat as a sabbatical, provide bursaries for education or training.

We also have to recognise, if no demand, then no matter how skilled or educated the workforce (as in Greece) there will be no employment if the demand is not there.

Traditionally people went to work for an employer, more recently become an entrepreneur. There is now a third option, form Open Coops, that work collaboratively, that contribute to the Open Commons.

A Coop, may be worker owned or customer owned, but they operate as other competitive businesses. Open Coops are different, everyone who has an interest has a say, they cooperate with each other, they contribute to the Open Commons. that is they collaborate and share.

We have to reform our political institutions, so they are working for and owned by the people, democracy has to be participatory democracy, not the sham democracy we have at present.

Skouries forest gold mining

February 1, 2015
Skouries gold mine

Skouries gold mine

Across the world are conflict zones, they resemble war zones, only they are not, these are conflict zones where ordinary citizens find themselves in conflict with extractive industry, oil, fracking, mining.

One such conflict zone is the Skouries forest near Ierissos, where a Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold wishes to clear cut an old growth forest, open cast mining for gold and copper, vast tailings ponds.

It had met with local opposition, and brutal repression by the State.

Unprovoked chemical attacks on civilians, 3am raids on houses and violent police attacks on peacefully demonstrating women. You’re excused for thinking this is Syria or even Peru or Turkey, but this is about a hidden war in Europe in the North-East of Greece. Hellas Gold, a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company El Dorado Corp, backed by the state security forces, has turned the area around Halkidiki into a police state. The region has recently seen indiscriminate arrests of residents (including school children), criminalization of a peaceful social struggle and a baby hospitalized following a home search by police using teargas.

In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein describes visiting Skouries forest as akin to visiting a war zone.

The area is an unspoilt, popular with tourists.

The mining operation, would not only clear fell the forest, pollute the land and water, it would destroy the local tourist and fishing industry.

It was one of many unpopular projects pushed through by the corrupt political elite overthrown by Syriza last weekend. A classic example of Greek corruption.

The corrupt political elite also wanted to develop protected beaches drill for oil and gas in the pristine Aegean and Ionian Seas.

The corrupt political elite saw Skouries as a symbol that Greece was open for business.

Extractive industries have no future, boom followed by bust, leaving behind devastated landscape.

Farming, fishing, tourism, if properly managed, are sustainable.

One of the promises of Syriza, was that if elected, they would cancel the Eldorado Gold project.

Synchronicity: As I write news came though, Syriza has kept their promise, the hated project has been cancelled.

Now Syriza needs to disband the hated riot police.

Eldorado Gold should be forced to make the tailings ponds safe, to pay for a clean up, and to place money in trust to deal with any future environments disasters.

The corrupt political elite who placed the Eldorado Gold contract, should face criminal prosecution.

Austerity is the crisis not the solution

February 1, 2015
Austerity is the crisis not the solution

Austerity is the crisis not the solution

Austerity has proven to be an economic and social catastrophe. A catastrophe for democracy. Austerity is the crisis itself – it is not a solution to the crisis. — Alexis Tsipras

Austerity is a myth, it is an excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, cuts to welfare, privatisation, sell off on the cheap of State assets.

With the victory of Syriza in Greece last weekend, the fightback has begun.

When did you last hear an incoming Prime Minister and Finance Minister going out of their way in their first speeches to say they would rehire a group of fired workers?

Greek cleaners reinstated

Greek cleaners reinstated

When did you last hear of politicians keeping their election promises?

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