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Common People; Yanis Varoufakis is all Class.

Written By: - Date published: 11:21 am, July 7th, 2015 - 81 comments
Categories: Annette King, capitalism, class war, clayton cosgrove, david cunliffe, david shearer, International, labour, phil goff, politicans, Politics, socialism - Tags: , ,

The most stunning moment in the Greek referendum result was the immediate resignation of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. He had already said he would quit if the referendum was lost; nobody expected that he would go after such a convincing win.

But Varoufakis is not a normal politician. His humility and loyalty are exceptional traits, almost unknown in any Parliament. It would be a wonderful thing if his drive to put the party and people first was adopted by some long serving MP’s in the NZ Labour Party.

Varoufakis has recognised that progress requires constant refreshment and timely changes in personnel inside the team. If the Syriza leadership do manage to extract meaningful concessions from the financial fascists in Brussels, it will be in no small part because of selfless attitude of Yanis Varoufakis. There’s a lesson there for the learning.

Varoufakis announced his resignation in the modern way, on twitter and his personal blog. It’s worth a read:

Minister No More!

The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.

Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25th June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.

Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.

I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.

And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.

 I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new Minister of Finance, and our government.

The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.

Look at the concepts he cites: duty, pride, collective action. They’re values, markers of class. The most quoted line is ‘I shall wear the wear the creditor’s loathing with pride’, but the most important sentence is this:

We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office.”

That should be the driving force for our Labour MP’s; putting the party and the people before the pleasures of a comfortable gig with ego fluffing status and gold standard pension rights. There aren’t many MP’s, let alone Ministers, in NZ who would turn down a limo and instead ride their motorbike to work meetings. Why is that? Why isn’t that modesty and the common touch the mark of all of our Labour MP’s?

yanissupporter

Varoufakis describes himself as an erratic Marxist. But he is not a inflexible demagogue:

To me, the answer is clear. Europe’s crisis is far less likely to give birth to a better alternative to capitalism than it is to unleash dangerously regressive forces that have the capacity to cause a humanitarian bloodbath, while extinguishing the hope for any progressive moves for generations to come.

For this view I have been accused, by well-meaning radical voices, of being “defeatist” and of trying to save an indefensible European socioeconomic system. This criticism, I confess, hurts. And it hurts because it contains more than a kernel of truth.

I share the view that this European Union is typified by a large democratic deficit that, in combination with the denial of the faulty architecture of its monetary union, has put Europe’s peoples on a path to permanent recession. And I also bow to the criticism that I have campaigned on an agenda founded on the assumption that the left was, and remains, squarely defeated. I confess I would much rather be promoting a radical agenda, the raison d’être of which is to replace European capitalism with a different system.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3uNIgDmqwI]

 

That quote above shows Varoufakis is able to synthesise radical economics with practical reality. Too many of our MP’s are not willing to even acknowledge that there are alternatives. I doubt that many have even read Marx, let alone understood his writings. Certainly, I don’t imagine any have the personal insight Varoufakis shows here:

My personal nadir came at an airport. Some moneyed outfit had invited me to give a keynote speech on the European crisis and had forked out the ludicrous sum necessary to buy me a first-class ticket. On my way back home, tired and with several flights under my belt, I was making my way past the long queue of economy passengers, to get to my gate. Suddenly I noticed, with horror, how easy it was for my mind to be infected with the sense that I was entitled to bypass the hoi polloi. I realised how readily I could forget that which my leftwing mind had always known: that nothing succeeds in reproducing itself better than a false sense of entitlement. Forging alliances with reactionary forces, as I think we should do to stabilise Europe today, brings us up against the risk of becoming co-opted, of shedding our radicalism through the warm glow of having “arrived” in the corridors of power.

Labour MP’s: If you’ve done 3 or 4 terms, it’s probably time to go. If you haven’t achieved what you set out to do by now, chances are, you’re never going to do it. If you’re a list MP, put the party first and let the leader know you’re not going to be around next election. If you’re an electorate MP, a winnable by-election in late 2016 or early 2017 would get the ball rolling for Labour going  into the next election.

Quit. Put the party and people first. Take the pension; you’ve earned it. Take the praise; you’ve earned that too. But for the sake of the party and for the future of New Zealand, go.

 

Postscript: Why Common People? In a poptastic  quirk of fate, it seems likely that Yanis Varoufakis’s wife, Danae Stratou, an amazing person in her own right, was the inspiration for the wonderful Pulp song Common People. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

Everybody hates a tourist, especially one who thinks it’s all such a laugh.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuTMWgOduFM]

 

81 comments on “Common People; Yanis Varoufakis is all Class. ”

  1. Tracey 1

    TRP

    Thanks for this post and highlighting this guy’s stance. For me there is no right or wrong answer in this crisis and those who think there is, are, imo, too focused on their own need to be right than on how to begin a resolution that works for ALL.

    I remain hopeful that some Labour MPs will resign or be asked to resign in the 18 months leading up to the election so that new candidates can be selected and get a decent run at the campaign trail.

    Why 18 months? To get the most mileage out of the refreshing and restructure.

    Look at how National managed to hide some internal problems by the notion of culling deadwood, and the reportage regurgitated it nicely for them.

    For me it is NOT about getting more youth per se, but freshness, re-invigoration.

    • I think Labour needs to move sooner than the suggested 18 months. Most of a year has passed already since the new Parliamentary term started. They might have been able to afford that time in a second term in opposition, but coming back from the thrashing that they got handed – I was going to say “helped themselves to”, noting how much of their 2014 disaster was their own fault – 18 months is cutting it really fine.

      • dukeofurl 1.1.1

        Who would have guessed – some purges are the answer- from the people who have been doing it since 1922!

      • Tracey 1.1.2

        Well, they had toe elect a new leader, carry out a review and, I suspect buthave no knolwedge< that most of this time has been spent either clamping down on some MPs or some"biding" their time.

        It's hard to know if the new anonymity of some (Cosgrove for example) is due to a stronger hand or a sulk.

      • Labour has been trying out new leaders, but it does need to refresh the front bench. At the minimum, Goff, King, and Mallard all need to start acting as mentors rather than senior caucus members, and start training people to replace them at the next term.

  2. RedLogix 2

    Hero. (Another old Greek concept)

  3. Philip Ferguson 3

    Redline blog regularly receives reports from friends within Syriza. We received the following communique from our friends, one of the left currents in Syriza, yesterday:

    1) We are in front of a great NO by the Greek People, who stands defiant and fighting against the ultimatums and the destructive policies imposed on Greece by the troika and its local supporters. Today’s NO has a pan-hellenic, national, popular, democratic character. It proves once again that the Greek People has a great reserve of courage and resisting spirit, and storms the political scene, as it has always happened in critical moments of our History.

    2) This great NO, around 61,5%, comes despite the (unforeseen in post-war Europe) terror campaign and direct threats by all the systemic reactionary forces on European and international level. Moreover, it has been achieved despite the manifest weaknesses of the Greek Left’s forces. It is a result that was not expected by all those who underestimate the Greek people’s courage, and this remark is valid no matter how huge difficulties we shall face tomorrow (literally!).
    3) The referendum’s result represents a crushing defeat of the pro-troika internal opposition, which, in vain, spared no effort to distort the meaning of the referendum and to multiply the fear amongst the Greek society. It represents a crushing defeat of the whole old political, business and media system. Already. . . .

    full at: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/a-great-no-by-the-greek-people/

    • dukeofurl 3.1

      Do your ‘friends within Syriza’ have any idea of what they will do next ?

      Many have been the times a battle has been won but the war is lost- the Greek left should know that.

      • Grant 3.1.1

        Thermopylae…

        Romantic tosh if you like. But I suspect many Greeks still remember it and the rest of the war against Xerxes as their greatest moment.

        • Gosman 3.1.1.1

          Ummm… Leonidas and his fellow Spartan’s all died and the Persian’s went on to occupy and sack Athens.

          • McFlock 3.1.1.1.1

            Indeed.
            But their sacrifice bought three days of defensive line preparations on the isthmus of Corinth and evacuation of Athens, which was why only a few thousand Greeks were there to hold the pass in the first place. Everyone else bailed to the planned fall back position.

            But I’d never expect you to understand either the point of self sacrifice for others, or the value of thinking strategically rather than tactically.

            • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.1.1

              @McF

              Respect.

              • McFlock

                Value of a well-rounded education 🙂

                Shame about the movie. Although it should be pointed out that most of the best lines said by the Spartans (except I think the Gerard Butler “this is Sparta”) were actually said by Spartans. Not all at Thermopylae (e.g. I think the “Sparta is the only state that sent soldiers” line comes from the Anabassis), but yeah, one of the few movies where the best bits of the script comes from the historical figures. That line about “the skies will darken with our arrows / good, so we will fight you in the shade” was apparently said at the time.

                Totalitarian swine, but shit they could talk a good game.

            • Gosman 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Except the plan was never that the action at Thermopylae was meant to be merely a delaying tactic. The population of Athens had already largely been evacuated. The aim was to hold them at the pass hence why the Greek Fleet was sent forward with the army under Leonidas command.

              • McFlock

                🙄
                Yes, the plan to hold the pass with 7,000-odd failed. After a few days. A few days of evacuation and preparation elsewhere.

                So Leonidas (seeing you spelled his name correctly this time, I’m assuming you’ve decided to jump onto wikipedia to find out what you were talking about) fought a holding action to protect the retreat of the bulk of the defenders, and the fleet then went and completed the evacuation of Athens.

                Pretty much what I said, only from memory I thought it was 300 Spartans and a couple thousand others, rather than only a thousand or so others.

                But then you need to argue that Thermopylae had no purpose, because if your Greek economic doomsday predictions do actually come true their still might be some point to telling the IMF to go fuck themselves even if it makes them worse off. It might still encourage others to do the same.

                See, you imperialists need a Roman outcome: complete devasation and then salt the earth, without the merest hint of hope or inspiration. As soon as your victim shows dignity in the face of that, they become a martyr and a rallying cry for others.

          • Grant 3.1.1.1.2

            You don’t know much history at all do you?

          • DoublePlusGood 3.1.1.1.3

            And then later Greece won a crucial sea battle, then defeated a numerically superior force at Plataea, driving out the Persians. But I suspect that doesn’t fit your narrative, so you’ve ignored it as usual, Gosman.

  4. Chooky 4

    Re : Varoufakis…God I wish we had some more like him on the Left opposition in New Zealand

    …( Russel Norman and Hone Harawira and Laila Harre and Annette Sykes and Sue Bradford come closest)

    ‘He doesn’t negotiate, he kicks ass!’ Why Varoufakis was the coolest finance minister ever’

    http://rt.com/news/272008-varoufakis-coolest-finance-minister/

    “In five months of being Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis proved himself to be a tough negotiator who was not going to concede even a bit to Greece’s creditors, as well as a political ‘rock star’ who wins hearts and minds from atop his motorcycle.

    Varoufakis never showed that he was ready to accept all the demands Greece creditors put towards the debt-stricken nation. He repeatedly refused bailout plan offered by the troika of international creditors, calling it “a committee built on rotten foundations.”

    The self-declared “erratic Marxist” was apparently ready to mutilate himself rather than agree to current terms of bailout presented to Athens by its international creditors….

    “What they are doing with Greece has a name: terrorism,” Varoufakis told Spain’s El Mundo daily. “Why have they forced us to close the banks? To make people frightened. And when it comes to spreading terror, this phenomenon is called terrorism.”

    • Clean_power 4.1

      Yes, Varoufakis was good, I mean excellent. Look at the results.

      • dukeofurl 4.1.1

        Was that a BMW motorcycle ?

      • Tracey 4.1.2

        how long was he finance minister? name the 10 finance ministers before him and their party?

        • Clean_power 4.1.2.1

          Come on, Tracey. Varoufakis failed, the European ministers could not stand his “negotiation” style, so Mr Tsipras pushed and sacrificed him with the usual propaganda of calling him a hero. He did not resign, he was pushed. The erratic Marxist can go back to his pastime of riding bikes made in capitalist countries.

          • Raf 4.1.2.1.1

            “Failed”? Resigning is a v clever move that will take even more wind out of the Eurocrats’ sails – he’s run rings around them.

    • Wayne 4.2

      In my view Varoufakis has probably been the worst Finance Minister in a western country in recent years.

      He didn’t even succeed in his own specialty of game theory. Well, perhaps he did – he won the referendum, though probably at the cost of the Greek economy. And maybe Angela Merkel will buckle.

      However, when one of the outcomes of your work is bank closures for the whole country for two weeks, with the consequential wreckage in the economy, that is a huge fail.

      Imagine if all the banks closed in New Zealand for two weeks. How do wages get paid? How does business continue? Exactly how is this a good thing?

      Unless wrecking your own economy is one of your objectives, and for many on the Hard Left that is exactly what they want. Street theatre is much more fun than hard graft.

      And I guess that is why the Hard Left love him so much.

      • Tracey 4.2.1

        based on 6 months in office and you blame him for everything today?. By june 2009 if english were to be judged as though he was totally responsible for everything at that time he was an idiot right? ? you called for his resignation right? this is probably your most ridiculous post Wayne. an impartial person could argue the GFM has presided over an opportunity for a better deal than any of his predecessors. .. merkel says the door is still open… greece still in eu.

        you think the economy wasnt in tatters when he was appointed?.

        when your mask slips it reveals quite a nasty streak.

        • Wayne 4.2.1.1

          Tracey,

          The test is whether ones own actions have resulted in an economy in much worse tatters than when becoming Finance Minister. In the case of Varoufakis, the answer is clearly “yes”, and in the case of Bill English the answer is clearly “no”.

          Presiding, or actually precipitating bank closures is evidence enough of failure.

          But hey, if the Greeks want to go for a Chavista style govt they are free to do so. They just have to bear the consequences. After all enough New Zealanders could have voted for Hone Harawria, John Minto et al to lead the govt. And if they had have done so, we would have had much the same style of govt as Greece or Venezuela.

          • McFlock 4.2.1.1.1

            What about massively increasing government debt – is that evidence of failure?
            Bank closures count – what about finance companies?

            “Clearly” – as viewed through blue-tinted welding goggles, maybe.

            • Gosman 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Ahhh no Finance company collapses does not count as enforced closure of the entire banking system and the imposition of economy wide capital controls. The fact you might even think that is rather illustrative of your general understanding of economics and finance.

              • McFlock

                I never said it did, you moron. I asked if it counted as evidence of government failure.

                Alongside, of course, the massively-increasing government debt. Did you also think I thought that increasing government debt counts as a collapse of the entire banking system? No, of course you didn’t.

                By the way, Amnesty International called: they want to start a letter-writing campaign against your frequent “enhanced interrogation” of the English language, but the only postal address they have for you is “c/o Satan’s Anus”.

          • dukeofurl 4.2.1.1.2

            Surely you would know the inflation adjusted GDP per capita for NZ only exceeded that of 2008 last year!

            http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/gdp-per-capita

            And if it wasnt for Christchurch earthquakes it still wouldnt exceed 2008 this year as well.

            Bill English after 6-7 years has not left NZ in a better place

          • Matthew Whitehead 4.2.1.1.3

            Bill English inherited a healthy and prepared economy and allowed it to whittle down through the recession with little to no intervention to mitigate its affects. Varoufakis inherited an economy already decimated by IMF and eurozone demands and didn’t hack moving it away from their paradigm.

            Failing is one thing, and potentially excusable. Not even trying is contemptible, Bill English is likely to be judged harshly by history, perhaps not so harshly as people like Douglas or Richardson, but I doubt he will be viewed as a competent economic steward by anyone except the commercial news media.

          • Tracey 4.2.1.1.4

            “much worse tatters” – at least you seem to be admitting that the previous finance ministers of non left wing parties just left the Greek economy in “tatters”.

            Phew.

            Vote for the Right. They will only leave your economy in tatters – Wayne Mapp former Minister of Defence.

            Bill English harmed our economy majorly when he gave tax cuts to a group of kiwis that were known by the majority of economists to not stimulate the economy during a recession but to see money withdrawn from it. But he owed it to those who voted for him right? So bad economics for political expediency is… oh wait, that’s what you say the Greek FM has done!

      • Paul 4.2.2

        zzzzzzzz

      • dukeofurl 4.2.3

        Wayne , I would have thought bailouts were popular with ‘your’ crowd.

        Remember South Canterbury Finance!

        and then AMI Insurance ?

        You only have the change Greece for Canterbury and you have it in a nutshell.

        SCF alone was about 1% of GDP at the time

        • Paul 4.2.3.1

          Wayne only like likes bailouts for his corporate overlords.

          • lprent 4.2.3.1.1

            Actually I can’t remember him ever advocating a bailout? He has an extensive comment history here. Search engine is good and so is google. It pays to look that kind of stuff up before asserting it as a statement of fact.

            In other words, you are walking close to a pattern that I’d have to note as a moderator, and start getting you to substantiate while I hang a honking great club over your fingers. This is a friendly warning.

        • Wayne 4.2.3.2

          dukeofurl,

          They were being offered a further bailout. The deal involved lending the Greeks more money. They are now seeing the cost of not getting more money.

          In my view view Angela Merkel will probably relent a little on the terms initially offered. The outcome will possibly be close to the deal that Tsipras was offering last Tuesday.

          • Matthew Whitehead 4.2.3.2.1

            That’s an interesting position. I’m not sure I entirely agree but I get where you’re coming from that two bailouts is significantly different than one.

            The issue is essentially that the Greeks needed to take a bailout deal, and they didn’t have a more reasonable government in power at the time who negotiate terms that wouldn’t cause the economy to fail. If you pick up the economy after the previous bailout has already been taken, and don’t have the ability to renegotiate bailout terms, is it really your fault if the economy fails due in large part to the terms of the previous bailout?

            It’s possible that there’s more that could have been done. But his hands were somewhat tied.

          • Tracey 4.2.3.2.2

            well, you say that now you have caught up on Merkel saying the door is open Wayne, something I stated in my comment to you.

            You wrote at 145pm

            “He didn’t even succeed in his own specialty of game theory. Well, perhaps he did – he won the referendum, though probably at the cost of the Greek economy. And maybe Angela Merkel will buckle.”

            then later at 244pm

            “In my view view Angela Merkel will probably relent a little on the terms initially offered. The outcome will possibly be close to the deal that Tsipras was offering last Tuesday.”

            So you now seem to be suggesting the NO vote, in your opinion, will result in Tsipras getting the deal he sought last week? And yet you say his finance minister, who was part of that strategy and negotiation is, the worst Finance Minister in a western country in recent years?

            I know there is no right or wrong answer to the Greek crisis but your rhetoric “hard left” and so on is just ridiculous.

            As for the banks collapsing being a “good thing”. You might want to spend some time on the streets of Greece with people living this crisis (not those presiding over it from the comfort of their high incomes and luxury homes). That they would essentially vote for something like that MUST indicate to you how desperate they feel and how much more of the last 5 year plan they can take?

      • Nigel 4.2.4

        The Greek economy is already wrecked. Not by Varoufakis hand.
        Germany has a 200 odd billion surplus…how does that surplus get recycled? That is the crux.
        China recycles it surplus into US debt instruments so the game continues….Germany bleeds the rest of Europe dry. Zero sum game.

      • maui 4.2.5

        Gawd here we go, wasn’t the Greece economy already in ruins? 25% adult unemployment bears little resemblance to NZ doesn’t it. The fact that 60% of their people voted to not accept an EU deal while banking restrictions were in place shows you they want economic freedom and can put up with the pain. I’m sure they’ve got some choice words for your ideology too.

        • Raf 4.2.5.1

          Exactly.

        • Tracey 4.2.5.2

          it makes sense if you are not looking at this from an ideological/spreadsheet perspective and considering the human element as well as the economic/ideological.

          This notion that the Greeks who voted NO think that there are no consequences to their decision, that tomorrow will suddenly dawn brighter are patronising or being deliberately obtuse.

      • Kevin 4.2.6

        The recurring theme seems to be that Greece should be lauded for standing up to the “evil bankers”. In reality, Greece should be condemned for getting itself into so much debt. I know that if I lent someone $100k and they refused to pay it back, I’d be very angry if all his friends started defending him and painting me as the bad one.

        • dukeofurl 4.2.6.1

          They stiffed the unsecured lenders when GM went under . It was $27 bill and they got 10% of shares in ‘new GM’ which was worth abouth 1/10th of face value of bonds.

          NZ Banks write off 10s millions of loans every year, in bad years it gets into 100s millions.

          You are forgetting a thing called ‘risk’, its why some interest rates are higher than others, its because you may not get your money back

          • Kevin 4.2.6.1.1

            So just to be clear are you saying Greece’s debt should just be forgiven?

            • Nigel 4.2.6.1.1.1

              Kevin,
              Yes, exactly.
              Those debts, indeed the debts of every western country will never be repaid.
              The question is how they wont be repaid.
              Greece is by no means the worst offender, just small enough to bully.

              Varoufakis himself agrees Marxists are not ready to run an alternative to Capitalism. The crisis of 2008 is deepening and nobody has any answers. Laying that at the doorstep of non-existent (in the west) left wing governments is laughable.

              • Kevin

                Believe it or not I sympathise and maybe the debt should be forgiven but not for the same reasons as you.

                Case in point – Germany after WW1. Because other countries weren’t willing to help Germany out, and in fact made it unnecessarily worse for them, it led to the rise of the Nazi party and WW2.

                Question is though, can Greece be trusted not to squander the help they get? Or is it simply a case of the world not having a choice but to bail the country out?

                To get back to my analogy it would be like if forcing the person to give me back my $100K meant making him homeless and so depressed that he commits suicide, and in turn his kids end up trying to kill me to get revenge.

                • dukeofurl

                  You probably dont realise that you are repeating nazi propaganda about the effect of reparations on Germany. because that exactly what the poor Germany after WW1 story is.

                  Rightly so, Germany militarism was largely responsible for WW1, this was also responsible for the militarism that led to WW2.

                  Reparations were for the damage to Northern France and Belgium, Germany itself being untouched, some one had to pay to restore the farms, villages, and industries. Because a lot of money wasnt repaid, the French and Belgians had to cover it themselves.

                  So please no sob stories for poor Germany after WW1.

                  • BM

                    Have you read Ben Eltons book, Time and Time Again, not a bad read.

                  • Kevin

                    Point noted.

                  • Tracey

                    fair point but it did cripple Germany economically and that gave rise to similar conditions to Greece today which , as in Greece, is fertile ground for facsist groups.

                    Everyone has to face the consequences of their decision-making, not just Greece.

                    • dukeofurl

                      Thats overstated that they were crippled.

                      After all the area WAS rebuilt, just that France and Belgium ended up paying themselves.

                      Politically, for France it was impossible for them not to ask for reparations, as thats what Germany did to France when they were defeated in 1871, and Prussian troops stayed in occupation till the French paid ( they suprised everyone by paying fairly quickly)

                      Iraq had to pay reparations to Kuwait after Gulf War 1. That wasnt easy for them either but they did it

                • Tracey

                  case in point – Germany 1953. HUGE debt. Given MAJOR DEBT RELIEF by 20 nations including Greece. It enabled them to build the powerhouse economy they have today. Why wouldn’t Greece want that too?

                  If you lent your $100k in increments, and saw that each increment, in your opinion, was being misspent, foolishly used, you’d stop lending, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t lend 10k more, same result, 10K more same result, all the way up to 100K. Or would you?

                  Greece didn’t become the basket case of helpless childlike money handlers that many are painting them as, it happened over time, and banks and countries kept “enabling” (even rewarding them) them, presumably cos they enjoyed the interest they were getting, or other flow on effects (whether trade or EU stability or whatever) but all considered of benefit to those lending… They would have factored in the risk of non payment, wouldn’t they? Or were they stupid through the goodness of their collective hearts?

                  The blame is many, including Greece’s but it is not greece’s alone.

  5. Nigel 6

    Varoufakis called bullsh&t on the troika, they dont appreciate it.
    He also leaves with his dignity intact.

    • Raf 6.1

      and “…wearing their loathing with pride.” The Eurocrats aren’t used to dealing with people who mean what they say.

  6. venezia 7

    This is inspiring stuff for those who aspire to a truly democratic society. When I first saw Varoufakis’s statement in The Guardian, I printed it out and thought that is worth framing for the living room wall. He has set the bar high for politicians of the left in the future. No wonder the Troika loanshark elites cannot cope with him!

  7. The Chairman 8

    He doesn’t negotiate, he kicks ass!

    The coolest finance minister ever.

  8. weka 9

    Great post trp, thanks 🙂

  9. red-blooded 10

    Really interesting to get some insight into Varoufakis’ reasoning and values, and I think standing down was strategically smart. I do take issue with your idea that a politician who’s served 3-4 terms has done their time, though. How do you imagine a caucus made up entirely of newbies would operate? The intricacies of parliamentary process and the range of expertise that a functioning caucus needs shouldn’t be overlooked. Perhaps there are some long-term MPs you don’t value, personally. That doesn’t mean that their caucus colleagues don’t value them or that they don’t have a place in the party they’ve made the focus of their lives for so many years.

    I’m not saying that we don’t need regular intakes of new talent, or that all MPs have the right to continue in that role indefinitely, but that an over-generalised comment like, “If you’ve done 3 or 4 terms, it’s probably time to go. If you haven’t achieved what you set out to do by now, chances are, you’re never going to do it” ignores the realities of working in a team and in a challenging, multi-faceted role like an MP.

    Who would ever become a Minister if they all left after 3-4 terms?

    • Good questions, red-blooded. There are MP’s I don’t rate, for sure. But their length of tenure isn’t the determining factor. Things like loyalty, competence and discipline feature way more heavily.

      The Syriza government is chock full of ministers with only one term’s experience, but they seem to be making a fist of it. And I think MP’s, like football managers and All Black coaches, should be expected to have a reasonably short tenure. So if they don’t make to Minister, tough. The Labour party needs to continually refresh and last election, we didn’t get that opportunity. So, we need to tap a few on the shoulder, thank ’em for their efforts and move ’em on. And let some else have a crack.

      • red-blooded 10.1.1

        A few observations in reply:
        1) I think it’s too early to judge whether the Syriza government is going to make a fist of it. They’re well-motivated and are trying to do things differently from the last lot. Good luck to them, and to the people of Greece. Don’t let’s try too hard to emulate them, though. They’re in an extreme situation and their constituents are ready for extreme measures because they feel they have very little left to lose. They’re taking a punt. And let’s remember they’ve only been there a few months…
        2) When I asked who would become a Minister, it wasn’t because I was worried about the career prospects of individual MPs – it was more a question about who would have had a chance to have built up the institutional knowledge and experience to make a strong Minister. We don’t want them all to learn on the job at the same time, and especially if there’s a lack of experienced people in the caucus to help mentor them.
        3) The short-tenure approach has advantages (staying in touch with the electorate) but also limitations. When the Labour next gets to head a government, we’ll want some people who have governed before to still be in the ranks. After all, the Greens have never held that responsibility; there needs to be an anchor point.

        I agree with you about things like loyalty, competence and discipline. Those weren’t the focus of your comments in this post, though. I think it’s easy to include throw-away lines like your comments about length of service (which was the focus of the commentary related to NZ) and sometimes we need to slow down and think things through a bit more clearly.

  10. johnm 11

    Greece — The One Biggest Lie You Are Being Told By The Media – See more at: http://www.globalresearch.ca/greece-the-one-biggest-lie-you-are-being-told-by-the-media/5460508#sthash.JeKGt2vy.dpuf

    Greece did not fail on its own. It was made to fail.

    In summary, the banks wrecked the Greek government, and then deliberately pushed it into unsustainable debt … while revenue-generating public assets were sold off to oligarchs and international corporations. The rest of the article is about how and why.

    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.
    – See more at: http://www.globalresearch.ca/greece-the-one-biggest-lie-you-are-being-told-by-the-media/5460508#sthash.JeKGt2vy.dpuf

    • Paul 11.1

      As a matter of comparison, wonder how far down this path Key and English have taken us.
      They have certainly built up a large public debt of nearly $100 million since taking over. And Key has his mates in the banking world.

      • Tracey 11.1.1

        I don’t think we are anywhere near Greece’s situation. of course all countries sit on a continuum.

        • Paul 11.1.1.1

          Nevertheless our public debt has soared under this government’s sound financial stewardship.

  11. Heartbleeding Liberal 12

    The IMF and its banking pals routinely screw over African economies without anyone batting an eye.

  12. AmaKiwi 13

    Yanis Varoufakis’s speeches are the finest I have read in my lifetime. Here is a collection of them.

    http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/

    Yanis dismembers neo-liberalism with insights that lead the reader to only one possible conclusion: economic revolution NOW.

    I often wondered how Lenin’s speeches could have roused the masses to revolution. Reading Yanis, I now know.

  13. thechangeling 14

    Damn good comments and I agree wholeheartedly. Rejuvenation is vital for Labour well before the next election and the sense of entitlement b.s really has to go sooner rather than later.

  14. Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings

    Translates as: You show your face, you gonna have an accident with that motor bike of yours real soon.

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