Twitter and social media has responded to the deal that has been forced on Greece by expressing the opinion that Greece has been subject to a coup. Not one conducted with guns and tanks but one conducted with spreadsheets and bank accounts.
Last night Twitter lit up to the hashtag #ThisIsACoup. This is a visualisation of the use of the hashtag across the globe.
The terms of the agreement are brutal. Required changes include pension reforms, liberalising the Greek economy (including Sunday opening hours and liberalisation of the professions), privatising its energy transmission network, reforming its labour market practices (including new rules on industrial action and collective dismissals), and action on non-performing loans. From the Guardian:
But the deal, which one EU official said came after [Greek Prime Minister Alex] Tsipras was “waterboarded” into submission, faces huge obstacles in the form of national parliament votes in Germany, Latvia, Slovakia and possibly France, which could all balk at the extra €86bn (£62bn) offered to Greece in loans under the terms of the bailout.
Tsipras must submit to draconian economic reforms, tougher than those the Greek people rejected in a referendum just a week before.
Controversial reforms Greece promised to pass into law by Wednesday include reforming the VAT system, overhauling pensions and signing up to plans that ensure immediate spending cuts in the event of breaching creditor-mandated budget targets.
Athens has agreed to sell off state assets worth €50bn, with the proceeds earmarked for a trust fund supervised by its creditors. Half the fund will be used to recapitalise Greek banks, while the remaining €25bn will pay down Greek debts.
Paul Krugman has attacked the terms of the deal.
Suppose you consider Tsipras an incompetent twerp. Suppose you dearly want to see Syriza out of power. Suppose, even, that you welcome the prospect of pushing those annoying Greeks out of the euro.
Even if all of that is true, this Eurogroup list of demands is madness. The trending hashtag ThisIsACoup is exactly right. This goes beyond harsh into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief. It is, presumably, meant to be an offer Greece can’t accept; but even so, it’s a grotesque betrayal of everything the European project was supposed to stand for.
The same old solutions are being prosed. Cuts to pensions and Government spending and the sell off of state assets. Change labour laws to weaken the trade union movement. The inevitable result will be the further concentration of the world’s wealth in the hands of the already rich.
The Greek political response will be interesting. The passion shown by the result of the recent referendum will not go away. Tsipras will burn all of his political capital if he goes to the right wing parties for support to make the necessary legislative changes.
Europe is in for an interesting time.