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Greek democracy

Written By: - Date published: 8:20 am, November 3rd, 2011 - 82 comments
Categories: capitalism, democratic participation, referendum, socialism - Tags: , ,

So, a government says that the people will have the say on its budget, and global markets plunge. Was there ever a clearer sign that the interests of the capitalist elite and the people are at odds, and the capitalists know it? It’s interesting that Papandreou has chosen to force a crisis and headed off a coup. Around the world, ordinary people want radical change. That won’t come from ‘in-paradigm’ solutions.

Papandreou has a choice. He could play the neoliberals’ game. put the austerity in place. Make his people suffer for the bankers’ mistakes. And get his party slaughtered in the next election for betraying its supporters.

But this guy is a Socialist. He’s actually President of the Socialist International as well as the Panhellenic Socialist Movement’s leader. Maybe he decided not to play the neoliberals’ game anymore.

Could a default really be worse for his people than decades of austerity? Who actually stands to lose most from a crisis? The people, who are increasingly aware that they are being exploited by the current system and hungry for change (witness: the Occupy Movement and the right reactionaries like the Tea Party, and the Arab Spring), or the elites who depend on the perpetuation of that system?

This won’t be a revolution with barricades in the streets. It could be a global revolution of Leftwing governments turning to their people’s wisdom, rather than continuing to be constrained by the neoliberal rule-book.

Interesting times.

82 comments on “Greek democracy”

  1. In Vino Veritas 1

    The reason Greece is in the position it now finds itself, is the LACK of austerity over the past decades of socialist government. They have given themselves a standard of living they could not afford using other peoples money. And now, other peoples money has run out. Revolution or no, their standard of living will drop through the floor, as it rightly should.

    • The Voice of Reason 1.1

      The leadership of Greece’s parliament has regularly swapped back and forth between left and right and the massive debt that has built up in the last decade has actually been on the watch of the right wing New Democracy party. Pasok, the socialists, were elected after ND’s neo-liberal experiment began to unravel and just as here in NZ in ’84 and ’99, the left are required to fix the mess.

      • In Vino Veritas 1.1.1

        Voice, not sure your analysis is factually correct. When PASOK were elected in 09, % of debt to GDP was about 110%. It then leapt to 142%. From 04 – 09 under New Democracy, it ranged between 100% and 110%. Though to be fair, it was trending upwards.

        Also, PASOK were in power from 1993 – 2004, so the socialists have in fact been in power for 13 of 18 years, so to say the right have caused the major issues is far from the truth. During 93 -04, the trend of % debt to GDP steadily trended upwards.

        Its the old socialist story Voice, “socialism is great, until you run out of other peoples money”. Never a truer word spoken, in terms of Greece leastways.

        • numeric 1.1.1.1

          Too much vino, Vino !

        • joe90 1.1.1.2

          From February, 2010

          Even as the crisis was nearing the flashpoint, banks were searching for ways to help Greece forestall the day of reckoning. In early November — three months before Athens became the epicenter of global financial anxiety — a team from Goldman Sachs arrived in the ancient city with a very modern proposition for a government struggling to pay its bills, according to two people who were briefed on the meeting.

          The bankers, led by Goldman’s president, Gary D. Cohn, held out a financing instrument that would have pushed debt from Greece’s health care system far into the future, much as when strapped homeowners take out second mortgages to pay off their credit cards.

          It had worked before. In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.

          Athens did not pursue the latest Goldman proposal, but with Greece groaning under the weight of its debts and with its richer neighbors vowing to come to its aid, the deals over the last decade are raising questions about Wall Street’s role in the world’s latest financial drama.

          • In Vino Veritas 1.1.1.2.1

            Thanks Joe, vindication. Draco seems to think it’s the fault of the lenders, rather than the borrowers that Greece is in trouble.

            • joe90 1.1.1.2.1.1

              In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.

              Funny, I read it as the bankers conspiring with the leadership, who were on a promise, to find a way into the EU even though the bankers know that the loans would be a problem down the track.
              But WTF, they’ve made their bonus knowing that when the shit hits the fan they’ll be well gone.

              Just like a car dealer setting a up finance for the youngster, who desperately wants to show off the turbo skyline to his mates, even though the dealer knows that the repayments will be beyond the youngster.
              But WTF, he’s made the sales target knowing that when the shit hits the fan the debt will have been sold on.*

              *True story.

            • vto 1.1.1.2.1.2

              It is the fault of the lenders vino. Well, at least to a substantial large degree.

              Why don’t you go through that quote again and change debt for drugs and bankers for dealers. See? MO near identical.

              Greece should default and give the pricks the big finger. After all, you realise that the money is created from thin air and the interest payments the biggest rort on the planet, don’t you?

              • In Vino Veritas

                vto, interesting analogy. I’ll think on it. Though your thoughts on interest are almost biblical. I would suggest that the lenders had some faith that the borrowers would repay the debt + interest at some future time, and weren’t quite as confident as you that the loans would default. Any criminal liability resides with the borrowers who failed to rein in expenditure to ensure they could cover principal and interest payments on their debt. Sort of like what most of us have to do when we take out a mortgage on a house.

                Defaulting on the debt will only bring more pain to Greece than they would suffer through austerity, and in a domino effect, on the countries who’s banks (eg France) who backed the Socialist government of Greece to repay their obligations. Though maybe you are right, perhaps its time Greece went back to dinky little country huts with no facilities, horse and carts and goat herding. But then surely, the socialist chant of “its not fair, these people are in poverty and they aren’t getting the things they deserve, like health care and education” will start again, no?

                • vto

                  Vino, debt is created by printing machines, interest is paid for by daily toil. Debt is not money that already exists.

                  If you don’t believe me go ask a Rothschild.

                • lprent

                  You probably need to look at Argentina

                  On the costs to the country of dropping out of currency pegging with the US dollar.
                  http://www.economist.com/node/21529046

                  On what the collection process has been like.
                  http://www.economist.com/node/21533453

                  But there is also a wealth of material from earlier problems as well.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Though maybe you are right, perhaps its time Greece went back to dinky little country huts with no facilities, horse and carts and goat herding.

                  And that would be bad why? They default and then work with what resources that they have within their borders which includes a hell of a lot of knowledge which includes the knowledge to make skyscrapers, steel and wind turbines. In other words, they’ll still be able to maintain a reasonable standard of living which most likely would be better than what they get with the forced implementation of austerity which only benefits the banks.

        • mik e 1.1.1.3

          IVVY leaguer Thats what happens when you borrow and hope like National.
          Then Greece has a similar problem to National in that no body wants to pay taxes their inland revenue dept is not functioning .Similar to us in that we don’t have a Capital gains tax allowing one sector off twice the speculative sector.The speculative sector is causing inflation by having no tax burden like the rest of the economy so has a free ride while we pay their bills as well A fair tax system is one of the ways to reduce debt therefore freeing up more money to the productive sector.As well as decreasing the amount of interest we pay for a quicker pay down of debt!
          Don’t forget these unregulated laissez fair ponzi scheming banks are the loan sharks who have created this mess by lending money to countries and people who couldn’t afford it

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      When you loan someone money then you’re taking a risk that you’re not going to get it back.

      Yes, Greece has been living beyond it’s means but then a lot of how that came about was due to the actions of the banks which, apparently, involved quite a lot of out corruption.

      Revolution or no, their standard of living will drop through the floor, as it rightly should.

      Or it could improve as their wealth get used to benefit them rather than the banks.

    • KJT 1.3

      The Greeks average longer hours for less money than the Germans and the French.
      Who have money to lend to them because they are paid more and they own a lot of Greek industry.

      Who is really living beyound their earnings is not that simple..

    • Galeandra 1.4

      ‘The reason…”??? Unitary simplistic thinking there.

      Look at Krugman as quoted below:
      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/the-spanish-tragedy/
      “As Europe is roiled by sovereign debt fears, it’s important to realize that the crisis in the largest of the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain) has nothing to do with fiscal irresponsibility. On the eve of the crisis, Spain was running a budget surplus; its debts, as you can see in the figure above, were low relative to GDP.
      So what happened? Spain is an object lesson in the problems of having monetary union without fiscal and labor market integration. First, there was a huge boom in Spain, largely driven by a housing bubble — and financed by capital outflows from Germany. This boom pulled up Spanish wages. Then the bubble burst, leaving Spanish labor overpriced relative to Germany and France, and precipitating a surge in unemployment. It also led to large Spanish budget deficits, mainly because of collapsing revenue but also due to efforts to limit the rise in unemployment.”

      Krugman has copiously linked to other research that shows quite clearly the fiscal problems of the PIIGs relate to speculative capital flows from countries at the centre (read Germany, Uk etc) more than to simple governmental overspend. The medians overspends over the last decade were in the order of 3-4 %, as opposed to the 7-9% ranges caused by capital flow deficits.

    • Then please tell us In Voino Veritas, why are these austerity measures not shared equally between the wealthy and the workers alike, the wealthy spent as much as the workers probably more, so why are they exempt.

  2. Papandreou has a choice. He could play the neoliberals’ game. put the austerity in place. Make his people suffer for the bankers’ mistakes. And get his party slaughtered in the next election for betraying its supporters.

    He’s already done that. Which is why its not slaughter in the next election he’s worried about, but actual slaughter. The mood in Greece is such that Ministers can’t appear in public anymore; one was almost lynched last week, and the President was forced to flee a rememberance day parade after a being confronted by an angry mob calling him a traitor. If he’d kept up with foreign-imposed NeoLiberalism, there’s a real chance he and his cronies would end up suffering the same fate as Gaddafi.

    Democracy is a far better solution than that.

  3. vto 3

    This is fantastic news.

    Stupid lenders need to be punished for their foolish lending of money printed out of the biggest ponzi scheme that has ever existed – the fractional reserve banking system. Which we have in NZ too.

    I still maintain that the Greeks should follow the US example, but make it a bit more obvious. They should build a large money printing machine in the City Square, wind it up and roll out the euros, then load them into trucks, drive the convoy to the German border and tip it out.

    That is the truth of it.

    And on top of all that, Greece and Athens are regarded as the birthpace of democracy. It is democracy which France, Italy, UK and US have bombed and killed people in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan for. So what the fuck are they complaining about?

    nb: the greeks, and most everyone, will surely suffer some tough times either way. c’est la vie.

  4. Real socialism is the only way out of this crisis. Michael Roberts has a handle on it.
    Need a continuous general strike and workers councils everywhere for a workers government that rejects the debt and the austerity and brings a socialist solution.
    http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/greece-going-under/

  5. Scott 5

    Looks like Greece is going to follow Iceland’s lead and good on them.

    The Greek people weren’t living beyond their means, the bankers were knowingly making bad loans. It happened in the US and it happened here with South Canterbury Finance. The SCF fiasco accelerated when they entered the Government Deposit Guarantee Scheme because they knew the government would bail it out. And the interest to the SCF investors was bailed out along with the principle.

    Much better than a night at Sky City!

    Why should the public be held accountable for the bankers corruption/incompetence?

    What we’re looking at isn’t capitalism, it’s facism. The government taking up the slack when business crashes and burns. There needs to be accountabilty and not bailouts. They should be charged and imprisoned.

    Check out the last line in this post: http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/south-cantubury-finance-let-me-get-this-straight/

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      It’s a tempting prospect, and indeed there are gathering lawsuits and fraud charges amassing, but unless we change legislation retrospectively, it’s unlikely anyone at Deutschebank, for example, will do any time, and well, we’re sort of opposed to retrospective legislation…
      I say change the law – bring back Glass Steagel, re-regulate, lock the revolving door between the regulators and the banks, and as for the huge debts, write them off. Yes, default worked for Argentina and it’s working for Iceland.
      Oh, and while you’re at it spare a moment for the Chinese “investors” watching the US print dollars and the value of their “investments” plummet.

      • Scott 5.1.1

        I, for one, am tired of trying to maintain a diminishing “paycheck to paycheck” lifestyle, while being asked to pay for these crooks mistakes.

        And while I agree with your views on retrospective legislation, if it’s going to be applied to Tuhoe “terrorists”, then why not corrupt financiers?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1

          Innocent until proven guilty, and “We would point out that the bill as introduced would have no effect on the implications of the findings of the Hamed decision regarding any specified person.”
          Leaving that aside, I agree that a shift is required, but I think it’s as much about the implications and effects of “neo-liberal” or Randian economic hypotheses being applied in defiance of the evidence, as it is about the behaviour of individual bankers.
          Steve Eisman demonstrated quite clearly that for the most part, executives selling these derivatives had no idea what they were talking about, or to put another way, snafu.
          The people who invented them (the derivatives) were doing so as a result of direct encouragement from politicians and regulators. We are going to waste another truckload of money looking for “justice” whereas the problem is systemic and the solutions are to hand.

  6. John D 6

    Greece first, then Italy, then the rest.
    A lot of people are forecasting a recession as bad if not worse than the 1930s.

    The last time, this led to WW2 and Nazism.

    The question is, where will it lead us this time?

  7. Lanthanide 7

    If Greece defaults or is forced to leave the Euro, the many countries of the Eurozone will be substantially worse off in the short to medium term.

    If Greece goes through austerity as had been planned, the many countries of the Eurozone will be better off and Greece will be substantially worse off in the medium to long term.

    It’s not surprising that stock markets in these other Eurozone countries have fallen – they’ll be in the crap if (when) Greece rejects the plans.

    So I don’t entirely buy that it is the capitalist elites vs the poor Greek citizens, really it’s the citizens of the entire Eurozone vs the citizens of Greece. The whole thing was poorly mismanaged and set up by the capitalists elites, though.

  8. queenstfarmer 8

    this guy is a Socialist. He’s actually President of the Socialist International

    So it is hardly a surprise that their economy is screwed.

    Maybe he decided not to play the neoliberals’ game anymore

    Neoliberal’s game? It’s Greece that’s putting its hand out begging for more money. Sure, it could tell the world to F-off, but then who’s going to fund its economy? You forget that regardless of its debt, Greece has been and is still going to spend more than it earns through tax. It needs to borrow money to fill it’s spending hole (sounds rather familiar). Once they screw their creditrors, austerity is not really an option for them.

    • vto 8.1

      mr queenie, that view of yours is understandable when viewed from within the parameters of the current system of money creation etc. But if you step outside of that and have an objective look at the entire system you should be able to see that it is the system that is screwed and that Greece is just one tiny bit player in it getting screwed over by the completely unsustainable world of money creation.

      Do you think the fractional reserve banking system is a good and sustainable one?

      • vto 8.1.1

        (love replying to myself hee hee)…

        queenie, do you realise that there is more debt in the world than there is money to repay it?

        Ask yourself how that happenned…

        And other consequences and implications …

        go on

        • queenstfarmer 8.1.1.1

          All interesting things I’m sure. But the simple issue (and you know I’m a simple guy) is that Greece (putting aside other countries for now) is living beyond its means. Expenditure > Income. That is not a “neo-liberal game”, or a fractional banking issue – it is maths.

          The fact is that ujnder a socialist model, Greece has spent more than it has to the point it is in severe trouble, and is now upset that the world won’t just keep forking over money. As I’ve said for a while, I think it is inevitable that Greece will default. Whether that improves or worsens affairs for its people I don’t know, but post-default the simple issue will remain: they either increase revenue, or cut spending.

          Our election is shaping up the same way.

          • vto 8.1.1.1.1

            “The fact is that ujnder a socialist model, Greece has spent more than it has to the point it is in severe trouble,”

            That aint due to socialist models. Try USA, NZ, UK, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Italy (btw, that is 3 of the worlds 7 largest economies just there) … put shitloads of countries in here. And then in reverse, try the socialist Scandanavian nations and look at whether they “live beyond their means”. Socialism or not has absolutely nothing to do with it.

            The truth is that the money printers (bankers) have been acting like drug barons for the last few decades – get the world hooked and when they can’t repay move in.

            I think your view is way too simplistic. It is essential to understand the wider history and events that have led to this situation, otherwise the opinion is simply simplistic.

            And, what do you think of the fractional reserve banking system? Is it sustainable and appropriate?

            And, what about the fact that there is more debt than money? Do you have a view on that? Surely you do. I recall I think you said you were in accounting ….

            Feel free to ignore, but really, an opinion expressed about the Greek situation is not worth much if it has not factored in these wider matters.

            • queenstfarmer 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh, excessive spending isn’t limited to Greece – as I said, putting aside other countries for now. But Greece is clearly the worst of the lot.

              Ireland is interesting, because unlike the socialist, rioting Greeks (talk about entitlement mentality!), the Irish have knuckled down and are starting to bring their economy under control.

              As for blaming the lenders instead of the borrowers for debt, that is just ridiculous. We aren’t talking about pressure-selling a loan to some sweet old lady from South Auckland. These are sovereign countries. And don’t forget, Greece isn’t trying to get out of the borrowing business. It is desparately wanting to keep borrowing.

            • In Vino Veritas 8.1.1.1.1.2

              In Greece vto, it is a socialist problem. They have been in power for 13 or the last 18 years and the country went from 110% debt to GDP to 142% in less than two years since they took office.
              The truth is, Greeks wanted a better standard of living than they could afford and the socialist government gave it to them. Socialism is great, until you run out of other peoples money.

              • vto

                Well IVV and mr queenie, if you are right in that it has been caused by socialism then what has caused it in the non-socialist countries?

                • queenstfarmer

                  The actual cause is exependiture exceeding income too long, or too much. Countries need to live within their means at some stage. So socialism per se isn’t the cause, but it can very quickly lead there.

                  And in contrast to the Irish, the Greek entitlement mentality – a direct consequence of left-wing policies – means that the Greek people are struggling to accept the reality of now having to live within their means. They are rioting because the world won’t keep handing over money to pay for their entitlements.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Read the evidence. It wasn’t the Greeks that were spending beyond their means but the government* which was following the advice of the banks and now that it’s become obvious that Greece can’t pay the printed money back the banks are getting upset.

                    * But not just the leftish** government, the ones on the right were just as bad. The explosion in debt happened after the world Ponzi banking system imploded in 2k8.
                    ** I suspect you’ll find that to mean slightly right just as our Labour Party is a right of centre party.

                    When you loan someone money then you’re taking a risk that you’re not going to get it back.

                    You moronic RWNJs always seem to forget that. Go on about the risk that the capitalists take and then complain when the risk calls due and expect the people to pay out to save them from the risks that they took.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      It wasn’t the Greeks that were spending beyond their means but the government* which was following the advice of the banks

                      LOL. Yes I’m sure the banks forced the Greek govt to create massive welfare schemes and spend all that money they “advised” the Govt to borrow. 🙂

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/greek-debt-crisis-austerity-set-kill-greece/1273/93885

                      Also, prior to 2008, Greece enjoyed one of the highest GDP growth rates in the Eurozone. Accordingly, the Greek Government had the income to meet its growing spending and debt obligations.

                      So, not living beyond their means until the GFC hit.

                      And you keep up the claims of excess socialism but I haven’t really seen anything to support that. Got any proof that it was excess socialism and not excess capitalism?

                    • queenstfarmer

                      So, not living beyond their means until the GFC hit.

                      Absolute bullshit. You have no idea what you are talking about. The raw data is there, but as you clearly have no clue let’s stick to the nice summary stuff. From the New York Times:

                      Over the last decade, Greece went on a debt binge that came crashing to an end in late 2009, provoking an economic crisis that threatened both Europe’s recovery and the future of the euro.

                      From the Economist:

                      For Greece, membership was a boon. Bond markets no longer had to worry about high inflation or devaluation. Lower interest rates allowed the government to refinance debt on more favourable terms: the ratio of net interest costs to GDP fell by 6.5 percentage points in the decade after 1995. The underpricing of default risk during the credit boom gave Greece easy access to longer-term borrowing. Lower interest rates also spurred a spending splurge. The economy grew by an average of 4% a year until 2008.

                      But strong GDP growth masked the underlying weakness of the public finances. The public-debt ratio fell, but only because GDP in cash terms grew more quickly than debt. Large budget deficits continued.

                      Wise up, DTB.

                  • mikesh

                    Most countries could run deficits and the price they would pay, if they paid one, would be inflation. The fact that their currency was the euro meant that the safety valve of inflation was not available to them.

                  • mik e

                    Queenie loan shark banks ponzi scheming banks banks that lend to those who can’t afford are corrupt just like the finance companies here most of their CEO’s and Managing Directors are facing Jail time so should these cronies in Europe.It started with 2000 Olympics in Greece they got into trouble the country couldn’t afford the bill for putting on the Olympics. 25 billion Euro’s at the time and they have been borrowing ever since .Also in southern Europe they have a fair amount of corruption in business and govt .Which means a lot of bad decisions get made not unlike national being in bed with big business ie westpac seats I Bet their were quiet a few complementaries around the world cup .
                    Nationals leadership style we will set the example to the public take every thing we can get .While the rest have to reject the freebees from lobbiests.

          • AAMC 8.1.1.1.2

            Might have been more sustainable if people paid their bloody tax.

          • Galeandra 8.1.1.1.3

            Read the posts above, don’t just parrot the same ideologically driven mis-information.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      Sure, it could tell the world to F-off, but then who’s going to fund its economy?

      They would from their own resources, you know, the ones that the bankers are presently trying to get Greece to sell at pennies on the dollar. The economy doesn’t need “funding” as it can operate quite well without money which is merely a tool to assist with exchange.

    • mik e 8.3

      Print money nationalize broke banks and kick start economy with their own floating currency it will be worth a lot less than the Euro but tourism local production and exports will take off.like Argentina and Iceland also several other south American economies did this during the Asian contagion period after 1998 .They bounced back much quicker and stronger than the Austerity driven economies like Argentina before changing to the socialist type capitalism unemployment had gone up to 38% under laissez fair down to 6% under moderate socialists fairly smartly!

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Dude, that what we all should have done back in 2k8 when the delusional financial system first collapsed.

    • joe90 9.2

      Would European capital sacrifice Greece to protect profits? Of course they would.

      Greece’s PASOK government has tried its best to fulfil its brief as a responsible government. But the severity of the crisis is overwhelming its ability to cope, and its referendum gamble has offended its masters in Europe. There is a continent of surplus value at stake. There is an imperialist super power at stake. There is decades of institutional construction and refinement at stake. There is a whole austerity formula at stake. For that reason, I suspect there’d be corks popping in Cannes if the government fell by one means or another

  9. lefty 10

    He should have done it a long time ago but better late than never. The real test will come if the Greek people reject the package. He will then really have to start acting like a socialist in the true sense of the word, not the modern social democrat/right wing capitalist in disguise version.

  10. One Anonymous Bloke 11

    Would now be a bad time to mention ANZ’s profit announcement?

  11. Jenny 12

    As the global recession deepens and austerity is being forced on countries around the world, France Germany and the US have been putting extreme diplomatic pressure on the Greek government not to proceed with a referendum on a Eurozone bailout that comes with conditions for extreme austerity.

    It is possible that recent CIA talk of a coup in Greece could be part of that pressure.

    The CIA talks up the possibility of a military coup for Greece.

    But as in Chile, if the Banksters and their local and foreign investors don’t get their way, history shows that they won’t shrink from using violence to impose their will if they feel they have to.

    The CIA talk of a possible coup comes amid news that Euoro leaders and the Whitehouse are appalled at Greek plans to allow a democratic referendum on the Euro bailout. The terms of the bailout demand that Greece must impose extreme austerity measures to the detriment of the Greek people to protect the interests of the banks and their wealthy investors.

    If as is likely, the Greek people democratically decide to reject the bailout, banks will be allowed to fail, Greece will default on it’s foreign debt and Greece will probably “exit” the European Union.

    Behind the coup talk is the banksters fear is that if Greece is not made an example of, that countries like Italy and Portugal may also decide to default, letting the banks and investors take a loss and protect their people’s interests instead.

    • AAMC 12.1

      Perhaps why they fired all top military brass yesterday. Posted link yesterday.

      • uke 12.1.1

        Absolutely correct.
         
        As this article explains, The Washington Post seem to have had the inside word on a coup and published an article justifying [CIA orchestrated?] “regime change” shortly before Papandreou pre-empted this by sacking the top military brass. It also points out that the last Greek military dictatorship (1967-1974) was a US-backed regime that purged left-wing political opposition. As the article concludes:
         

        The Greek prime minister made the [referendum] proposal based on his own political calculations, which have nothing to do with democracy. However, the very idea that working people would be allowed to vote on whether to accept massive social cuts in order to bail out the banks provokes the intense anger and dismay of the financial aristocracy in every country.
         
        The brutal character of these measures and the immense social inequality that lie at their heart cannot be imposed by democratic means. The “patient” must be “tied to the table”.
         
        In 1974, when the military last ruled Greece, during a period of economic and political upheaval that spanned the globe, two of the other countries cited as the next dominos likely to fall in today’s European sovereign debt crisis—Spain and Portugal—were also ruled by fascist military dictatorships. The same was true for most countries in Latin America.
         
        The events in Greece signal that the age of the colonels and generals is returning. Under conditions of the deepest crisis of global capitalism since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the old mechanisms of bourgeois democracy can no longer contain ever mounting class antagonisms and international tensions.

         
        Unfortunately, if John Key is re-elected, NZ will become another “patient” about to be “tied to the table”.

  12. grumpy 13

    Shock!!! Horror!!!!!

    One of the austerity measures facing Greece is the rise in the retirement age to………..wait for it………..65!!!!!!!!!

    • numeric 13.1

      I get the impression that you would rather be watching the historic Rena landmark south off Tauranga than tackling crusty patties of oil littering the southern beaches of Kriti (Crete) as you enjoy the fruit of the vine in your mid to late 6o’s. They did not seem to detract from the German tourist trade.

      • grumpy 13.1.1

        The Rena will be gone in a few months but the Germans will still go to Greece (as you correctly point out). I have been to Rhodos and you can’t move for them – question is – what currency will they bring Euro or Deutchmark?

  13. AAMC 14

    “But the democratic deficit has now tipped over into a democratic crisis. To protect the banks that lent to Greece and protected its elite from unwelcome tax demands, the country is being systematically stripped of its sovereignty, as EU and IMF officials swarm over its ministries drafting budgets, setting policy deadlines, “advising” on tax and pushing through state selloffs.”

    http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/02/elite-europe-model-failed?cat=commentisfree&type=article

  14. joe90 15

    And while their economy has been going down drain the military has been spending like a drunken sailor.
    Greece is the third biggest spender in the world on conventional arms imports. .

  15. joe90 16

    Meanwhile, in Ireland.

    Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said he is “not too pleased” about the repayment today of a $1 billion (€715 million) bond to senior unsecured and unguaranteed bondholders at Anglo Irish Bank.

    Anglo and Irish Nationwide Building Society, which are now known as Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), are getting €34.7 billion in State capital to cover losses.

    Despite widespread calls to stop the payment, IBRC’s chairman Alan Dukes confirmed today it would go ahead.

    Mr Noonan said today the bank had been a speculative bank in the property market, where the State had no involvement and where the Irish taxpayer had no involvement.

    He said the arrangements made by the previous Fianna Fáil government to secure Anglo “were a disaster”.

    Not only had a guarantee been given for the unguaranteed bonds, but the State had nationalised the bank.

    “By nationalising the bank they took it over lock, stock and barrel – liabilities as well as assets,” he said.

    The only way of the deal the incoming Government was in consultation and with the agreement of the European Central Bank, Mr Noonan said.

  16. swordfish 17

    Love the Media portrayal. Detect any bias in the following ?…..

    Dominion Post:

    Headline: Greece Vote Threatens Bailout

    Greece: Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has threatened the eurozone with a new crisis with his shock announcement…..Analysts said holding a referendum was baffling, given that the latest opinion poll showed a majority of Greeks took a negative view of the bailout deal…..Early reactions to the surprise ranged from accusations that Papandreou was gambling with the country’s future and predictions of default to questions over the constitutional legality of the referendum…..Nobel prize-winning economist Christopher Pissarides caught the renewed mood of uncertainty: “It will be bad enough for the European Union and the eurozone in particular, but it will be far worse for Greece.”

    • Jenny 17.1

      Yes Swordfish, it’s a long time since I have seen a single paragraph loaded with so many negative adjectives,

      threatened…, crisis…., shock…., baffling…., negative…, accusations…, gambling…., uncertainty…., bad…., worse…..,

  17. vto 18

    “Early reactions to the surprise ranged ….. to questions over the constitutional legality of the referendum…..”

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    in the land of the birth of democracy

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    edit: oops, too much laughing and forgot to hit the reply to mr swordfish

  18. Draco T Bastard 19

    Unfortunately it looks like the Greeks won’t be getting their referendum.

    • Jenny 19.1

      With the CIA “leak” of a possible coup released into the public arena left hanging in the air, you can guarantee that the behind the scenes pressure on individual Greek MPs by local and foreign financial lobbyists will be a lot blunter.

      No doubt the threat of bayonets on the floor of parliament followed by military detention for the Greek MPs that a coup would mean, will be coupled with corrupt secret bribes if they do agree to comply with the banksters demands.

  19. John D 20

    This blog has been providing good coverage of the Greek crisis

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2011/11/not-such-surprise.html

    • John D 20.1

      There hasn’t been much discussion of the Euro itself at fault (or the EU, for that matter).
      The single currency has a lot to do with the current fiscal crisis

  20. Jenny 21

    A victory for market forces vs. democracy. (helped not a little by the threat of military action)

    Greek referendum cancelled

    In the birth place of democracy, the markets celebrate the stifling of democracy.

    …..rejection of the referendum proposals has already helped calm global markets down, after three days of big falls. Athens itself is leading the fray, with its main stock market rising 4% in midday trading yesterday.

  21. Jenny 22

    This is not what democracy looks like.

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/nov2011/papa-n04.shtml

    On Thursday night, Papandreou started negotiations on a joint government with the conservative opposition party, New Democracy (ND). It is not clear if he will remain prime minister. He has denied any intention of resigning, but there are also reports that the transitional government will consist exclusively of experts, excluding politicians.

    This government will have the task of implementing the drastic austerity measures demanded by the EU…..

    As a possible successor to Papandreou, the former vice president of the European Central Bank, Lucas Papademos, has been mentioned by an Athens radio station. According to other rumors, EU circles have proposed Kostas Simitis as a successor. Simitis is a member of Papandreou’s ruling PASOK party and served as prime minister from 1996 to 2004. He has close connections to Germany, where he studied and taught as a professor.
    Papandreou retreated from his proposed referendum under massive pressure from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. After he had announced his plans to hold a referendum, they summoned him to Cannes on Wednesday, the night before the G20 summit.
    Merkel and Sarkozy made clear to Papandreou that they will not tolerate any interference of the Greek people in the austerity measures dictated by the EU.

    The cabinet meeting decided to cancel the referendum and to start negotiations on a government of national unity. (with the conservative opposition)

    The main task of a government of national unity—no matter if it is led by Papandreou, another PASOK politician or a technocrat—is the exclusion of any political opposition. Inside parliament there will be no more opposition, and those who oppose the austerity measures outside parliament will be prosecuted, oppressed and criminalized as enemies of the “national interest”. Elections will only be held after the austerity measures are in place.

    The way Papandreou was forced to retreat—and possibly to resign—has all the hallmarks of a political coup. It demonstrates that the austerity measures implemented by the European Union to save the euro and the banks are incompatible with democratic principles.

    The European Union has shown its real face as well. It does not embody the unity of Europe, but the dictatorship of the most powerful European financial interests.

    Greece is the preparation for similar attacks on workers all over Europe and around the world. From the standpoint of the banks, the financial and debt crises can only be resolved by driving back the living standards of workers by decades.

    As the deliberate “leak” of CIA coup fears showed, the ruling elites will not hesitate to use more violent methods if needs be.

    The world will watch as this newly coalesced one party state tries to undemocratically force this austerity on the Greek people.

    Will the use of naked state force against anti-austerity protests be intensified?

    Will civil rights be suspended?

    Is military detention, or punitive conscription on the cards for the protesters?

    Will civilian opponents of this forced austerity start to be reported missing?

  22. Jenny 23

    Papandreou has a choice. He could play the neoliberals’ game. put the austerity in place. Make his people suffer for the bankers’ mistakes. And get his party slaughtered in the next election for betraying its supporters.

    ZETETIC

    Unfortunately Z. It is quite probable that elections in Greece will be held off for the foreseeable future.

    After the political coup that occurred in Greece on Thursday. The new Greek one party government “of experts” has announced that elections will not be held until the austerity measures have been imposed. This obviously is an open ended deadline.

    I think that the Greek people can expect to see that a return to genuine democracy will not be any time soon.

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