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Austerity has failed Greece and its people – just as it is failing people here

Austerity is failingIn our country austerity is imposed by an elected government. In Greece, however, a government was elected to try a different way out of the crisis. But the will of the people is being thwarted by a troika of largely unelected institutions: the IMF, The European Council and the European Bank.Austerity is endangering the social fabric in Greece and it is not working to reduce the deficit because the actual debt has increased from 120% of the GDP to 180%.

Most gravely, Greek unemployment has reached 28% (60% for young people), and average income decreased by 40%. These levels are unsustainable which are unsustainable  will mean that even with the best will, the debt levels which their government has to deal with cannot be resolved.

In a most serious intervention the Greek PM this week in an article in Le Monde set out the implications of the actions of the Troika. He wrote: ‘The lack of an agreement so far is not due to the supposed intransigent, uncompromising and incomprehensible Greek stance.

It is due to the insistence of certain institutional actors on submitting absurd proposals and displaying a total indifference to the recent democratic choice of the Greek people, despite the public admission of the three Institutions that necessary flexibility will be provided in order to respect the popular verdict.’.

As the Greek fight against austerity unfolds it is clear that the forces of neo-liberalism are a unified and rigid block which will be hard to overcome.

Prime Minister Tsipras argues that there are leading agencies in Europe now who would create ‘a technocratic monstrosity that will lead to a Europe entirely alien to its founding principles.’ And the ‘complete abolition of democracy in Europe’.

That’s why today I support a number of European parliamentarians who have called for action on 20-26 June 2015.

Solidarity with the people of Greece is the only way we will change direction on austerity. It is also the only way to fight the attack on working people across Europe.

We cannot know yet how the current negotiations will turn out but it seems that The IMF, EC and ECB are trying to destroy employment rights across Europe. This is why the International Trade Union Confederation is calling for an end to the attacks against wages and pensions in Greece.

Attacks on workers’ rights in the UK over the past 30 years has led to an explosion in low paid and insecure jobs; we cannot allow this to continue.

There is a referendum in the UK on our membership of the European Union which is our chance to make the case against the move to institutional, non democratic governance,  austerity and against the neo-liberalism of European institutions. It is also a chance to discuss what a new, social and just Europe might look like.

8 Comments

  1. swatantra says:

    I think you’ll find that it’s this Popular People’s Party that has failed Greece, simply delaying the inevitable, and saying that the Greeks can carry on as though money grows on trees. The day of reckoning is fast approaching.

  2. Andy Newman says:

    In a most serious intervention the Greek PM this week in an article in Le Monde set out the implications of the actions of the Troika. He wrote: ‘The lack of an agreement so far is not due to the supposed intransigent, uncompromising and incomprehensible Greek stance.

    It is due to the insistence of certain institutional actors on submitting absurd proposals and displaying a total indifference to the recent democratic choice of the Greek people, despite the public admission of the three Institutions that necessary flexibility will be provided in order to respect the popular verdict.’.

    Well yes, but wasn’t that entirely predictable? And given the relative weakness of Greece’s economic, diplomatic and political leverage, wasn’t Syriza’s pitch to the electorate of “staying in the Euro but without austerity” an exercise in political populism – as the KKE argued – promising the electorate something that it was not in the gift of the Greek government to deliver?

  3. David Ellis says:

    Syriza have got themselves cornered. Their first task on being elected should have been to dipropriate the Greek corporations and super rich and end the bail out of the banks. They could have then established a People’s Bank lending Euros at base rate to small business and facilitating social investment. They would then have been in a good position to put two fingers up to the ECB if necessary and would have been popular with the working class across the continent.

    1. Verity says:

      Do we know the Greek Left’s response to why they have not done this. It seems on the surface to be an easy option for them to have taken.

  4. David Ellis says:

    By the way austerity is an attack on the working class designed to prop up the bankrupt financial institution of Europe in order that they can pay their super rich bond holding creditors. It has not failed. It has been a roaring success.

  5. syzygy says:

    The positive aspect to the Greek’s plight is that it has exposed the lack of democracy in the EU. It now seems certain that the EU was the prototype for Trade Deals like TTIP, TPP, TISA, CETA etc. Democracy and the global corporate-financial nexus are incompatible.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      “Democracy and the global corporate-financial nexus are incompatible.”

      We know a song about that.

      It’s called; Washington Bullets, by the Clash.

      But then these aren’t European rules these are American rules and the IMF and the World Bank are essentially American institutions for imposing American Neolibral economic policy of the rest of the world; if necessary ultimately by force of arms as now, in Libya and Iraq.

      Greece has 2 massive deficiencies as far American foreign policy is concerned;
      1. A genuinely socialist/communist government.
      2. An extremely high level of political participation.

      As with almost every socialist or just democratically elected government since the 1950’s; Iran and Guatemala etc, (Cuba, although that one didn’t go so well for the US,) to now, Venezuela and Greece; for the last 60 years; as far as the Americans are concerned they have to go.

      American post war economic and foreign policy; always views other counties as nothing but potential consumers, (markets,) for American, (traditionally their trade surplus; before America became effectively a purely rentier economy,) goods and services.

      In oder to maximize both corporate profitability, (good old neolibral economics,) and dependency it is usual to either suppress or even phase out indigenous (the UK is now a post industrial society,) industrial production, (any and all potential competition with American corporate business interests,) and anything, (particularly,) such as social programs, that might take money away from the purchase of America goods and services.

      So it’s us supposed to be doing the consuming and America, (whose own deficit shows little indication of ever abating,) that reaps the benefits.

      Which a foreign owned and controlled economy, without any meaningful manufacturing or, “adds value,” services, based on cheap labor, exploitation and the stripping of any and all natural resources, (re: fraking for example,) by foreign, (read American,) companies paying little or no tax.

      America demands a completely supine submission to the American hegemony from all it’s client states, that brooks neither opposition nor neutrality; and has toppled democratic governments all over the world, usually on the pretext that they were under the influence of communism, (these days they prefer to use the threat of Islamic fundamentalism or simply terrorism,) and cynically replaced them with an American sponsored and militarily backed junta of one form or another; self styled elites, repressive, unrepresentative and anti democratic.

      The infamously brutal, repressive and murderous regime of; The Greek military junta of 1967–74, commonly known as the Regime of the Colonels or in Greece simply The Junta, The Dictatorship and The Seven Years, was a series of, (American sponsored and backed,) right-wing military juntas that ruled Greece following the 1967 Greek coup d’état led by a group of colonels on 21 April 1967.

      Generally speaking this, not democracy and certainly never socialism, (which to the US is simply, “Communism,” by other means,) has always kind of political arrangement always most often favored by American business interests and and the US government.

  6. swatantra says:

    I can sense the Military hovering in the background, ready to stepping in when all hell breaks loose.

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