Richard Wolff explains the foundation and nature of the crisis in Greece

An extremely simple, clear and powerful explanation of the historical foundation and nature of the present crisis in Greece

Published on May 12, 2015

Development, Thought and Policy Lecture Series: Austerity and Neoliberalism in Greece, sponsored by the Julien J. Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs (http://www.newschool.edu/public-engag…), at the Milano School for International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy

Samir Amin: Glory to the Lucid Courage of the Greek People, Facing the European Crisis

Source:  GlobalFaultlines
8 July 2015

The Greek People are an example to Europe and the world.

samir amin 3With courage and lucidity the Greek people have rejected the ignoble diktat of European and international finance.  They have won a first victory by affirming that democracy cannot exist unless it knows how to put itself at the service of social progress.  They have unmasked the farce of democracy that accepts submission to the degradation of social conditions demanded by the dictatorship of finance.

Social progress is illegal in Europe.

Europe has been constructed systematically to reduce “the danger of democracy” to zero.  Since the end of the Second World War, the United States, Jean Monet, and Robert Schuman (two Vichyites) have initiated the preparation to restore the legitimacy of the political forces that were compromised through Europe’s collaboration with the Nazis.  The construction of the European Communities, and later the forced adoption of a constitution, despite being rejected among others by the French referendum (an unparalleled denial of democracy), has enabled the rise of a dictatorship of finance capital.

Deceived by the systematic brainwashing by media pundits in the service of the financial oligarchy, the European peoples fed on the illusions that still remain powerful enough to destroy their capacity to respond to the challenge.  They must “save Europe and the euro from the debacle,” they still largely believe (now a little less so in Greece and Spain).  Europe as it is — and it cannot be other than what it is so long as it is imprisoned within the fetters of its institutions — has declared illegal any attempt to question the odious established order.  The Greek people, by their choice, became outlaws.

The euro is not viable.

The subsystem of the euro violates the elementary rules of a sane and feasible management of the currency.  It imposes common rules of so-called “competitiveness” on economies too unequal to bear the consequences of them.  The euro has made it possible to wipe out the progress made earlier within the context of the emergence of productive systems composed largely of small and medium enterprises in order to open up a restricted market to raids by financial monopolies.  Spain is a tragic example.  Others — Finland and even France — in turn are victims of it.  The euro is now only the tool for a rerun of the German Europe.

The crisis is not that of the Greek debt, but actually that of Europe and the euro.

Shame on European governments.

Shame on all those who have accepted the idea that the “troika” represents the European peoples.  Shame on the governments that have installed in the presidency of “their Europe” a Luxembourgian functionary in the service of a tax haven; installed in the management of “their central bank” a character who made a career at Goldman Sachs, the bank associated with all the financial villainies of the century; installed at the head of the IMF a good pupil incapable of understanding anything other than what she was taught.  It’s not a case of men and women of politics, of whatever side they may be, but just a case of contemptible characters.

Europe presents itself to Greece in the figure of those nostalgic of fascism.

The heroic Greece liberated itself from Italian fascists and German Nazis.  “Europe” then intervened in Greece, in the uniforms of British (and then US) officers to massacre the children of the Resistance and restore the power of fascist collaborators.  The reconquest of democracy by PASOK’s electoral victory in 1981 permitted some incontestable social achievements; but it also opened the path to “Europeanist” illusions; the Greek people now find themselves once again vis-à-vis the real Europe dominated by the financial oligarchies.  So they are rediscovering the memory of their past and the debt that Germany, the inheritor of the Nazi debt, still owes them.  Shame on Mrs. Merkel, whose government refuses to recognize that the Greek people have a right to reparations.

The Greek state must be reformed in a democratic spirit.

Yes, the Greek state suffers from serious defects, which result, among other things, in tax evasion.  But who can undertake the necessary reforms?  Certainly not “the friends of Europe.”  Those are the very same who lied about the Greek debt upon Greece’s accession to the euro, with the active complicity of Goldman Sachs, whose servant is none other than the president of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.  The Greek ship owners?  The cheats who have always benefited from attentive care of international banks and the IMF.  SYRIZA is the only Greek government capable of reforming the Greek state in a democratic spirit and making the rich pay.  A nightmare for the Europe that cannot tolerate this choice — only the poor must pay!

The struggle continues.

The Europe of billionaires of finance does not intend to renounce its objective: slaughter the Greek people to teach a lesion and prevent a contagion of democracy.  Let us not forget that if the ruling classes of western and central Europe (still) do not need fascism at home, they do not hesitate to solicit the help of fascists elsewhere, as we can see in Ukraine.

The European peoples must take the measure of their responsibilities.  With PODEMOS, the Spanish people have issued another wake-up call.  It now falls to the French, the Germans, the British, and other peoples of the European continent to understand that the Greek people’s struggle is theirs as well.

The alternative is now clear and visible, for Greece and for all those, in Europe and the rest of the world, who are inspired by the same social and democratic aspirations.  Defy the so-called European “constitution”; dismantle the euro and replace it by negotiated management of a snake of national currencies; send Draghi back to his masters in New York pending the closure of the fake central bank in Frankfurt; derail the IMF by firming up financial arrangements beyond its reach, as the Shanghai Group and the ALBA have taken the initiative in doing so.

With whom to wage these battles?  The range of political forces who are beginning to understand that austerity (for workers, not for oligarchs) and regressive stagnation that inevitably accompanies it no longer have a future is widening day by day, to the point of now including politicians of all stripes, like François Fillon in France.  Great Britain has lost confidence in this Europe mired in mediocrity, even though England remains neoliberal, more Atlanticist and less European than ever.  Of course, the apparent rallying of certain far-right formations remains, for me, suspect.  Fascists are lying demagogues par excellence.

In this situation it is incumbent upon the forces of the potentially radical left to take back the initiative, with SYRIZA and PODEMOS who have primed the movement for it.  Failing that, Europe will not be able to avoid implosion and will be engulfed in chaos.

Source:  Glory to the Lucid Courage of the Greek People, Facing the European Crisis | Samir Amin

implosion of capitalismthe world we wish to seeeurocentrismSamir Amin is director of the Third World Forum in Dakar, Senegal.  His books published by Monthly Review Press include The Liberal VirusThe World We Wish to SeeThe Law of Worldwide ValueThe Implosion of Contemporary Capitalism, and Three Essays on Marx’s Value Theory.  En français; em português.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi.

Latin American Leaders Congratulate Greece on Referendum Win

Source:  TeleSUR

6 July 2015

Leaders from across the region issued their congratulations to the Greek people following the historic referendum.

latam leaders congratulate tsiprasLatin American leaders have congratulated the Greek government and its people, following Sunday’s historic referendum, in which voters elected to reject debt austerity proposals by their European lenders.

A victory against the financial terrorism carried out by the IMF

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, describing the result tweeted, “The ‘no’ vote in Greece is a victory against the financial terrorism carried out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”

The beginning of the liberation of the European people

Bolivia’s left-wing president, Evo Morales, said, “I congratulate the great Greek people for the victory of “no” … which is a defeat of European imperialism. It is the beginning of the liberation of the European people. My respect and admiration for the historic Greek people, the birthplace of democracy. The Greek people have defeated the harshest capitalism”

Majority support of the Greek people for the courageous policy of your government

Cuba’s Raul Castro also sent a message to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras saying “I extend sincere congratulations on the victory of the No vote in the referendum …that result shows the majority support of the Greek people for the courageous policy of your government. I reiterate my highest consideration and esteem.”

Solidarity with the brave Greek people and their Government

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner also lent her support to the Greek people.  She tweeted:  “On behalf of our People and Government, our solidarity with the brave Greek people and their Government.”

Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, tweeted the overwhelming vote against the proposed austerity measures by European creditors represented “solid backing” for Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras: “In Greece, the vote against the policies of cuts the creditors asked for won 61%, giving solid backing to Prime Minister Tsipras.”

A debt audit that found the country’s debt illegal and illegitimate

Ecuador, like Greece, held a debt audit that found the country’s debt illegal and illegitimate and that later led to the South American nation substantially reducing its repayments to creditors. Ahead of the vote, Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, said Greece should ignore the advice of the IMF and international financial bureaucracies

Source:  Latin American Leaders Congratulate Greece on Referendum Win TeleSUR

Message from Raúl to Prime Minister of Greece on referendum victory

Source:  Granma
Havana

raul 65July 5, 2015

Compañero Alexis Tsipras
Prime Minister
Hellenic Republic

Esteemed Prime Minister:

I extend to you my most sincere congratulations on the ‘NO’ victory achieved in the referendum held in Greece, July 5, 2015

This result demonstrates the majority support of the Greek people for the courageous policy of the government over which you preside.

I reiterate the assurance of my highest consideration.

Raúl Castro Ruz
President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba

Source:  Message from Raúl to Prime Minister of Greece  Granma

Fidel’s letter of congratulation to Greek PM on referendum result

Source:  enikos.gr

fidel votes in local elections 2015Hon. Mr. Alexis Tsipras
Prime Minister of Greece:

I congratulate you warmly on your brilliant political victory, details (of which) were followed closely on the Telesur channel.

Greece is very familiar among Cubans. It taught philosophy, art and science of antiquity when we studied in school, and with them, the most complex of all human activities: the art and science of politics.

Your country, especially its courage at this juncture, arouses admiration among Latin American and Caribbean peoples of this hemisphere to see how Greeks, against external aggression, defend their identity and culture. Nor (should we) forget that a year after Hitler’s attack on Poland, Mussolini ordered his troops to invade Greece, and that brave country repelled the attack and drove back the invaders, forcing the deployment of German armored units towards Greece, deviating from the initial target.

Cuba knows the value and the fighting capacity of the Russian troops, which, together with the strength of their powerful ally the People’s Republic of China, and other nations of the Middle East and Asia, always try to avoid war, but never allow any military aggression without overwhelming and devastating response.

In the current political situation in the world, where peace and the survival of our species hang in the balance, every decision, more than ever, must be carefully developed and implemented, so that no one can doubt the honesty and seriousness of many of the most responsible and serious leaderships’ struggle today to face the calamities that threaten the world.

We wish you, esteemed colleague Alexis Tsipras, the greatest success.

Sincerely,

Fidel Castro Ruz

Source:  Fidel Castro’s letter to Tsipras  enikos.gr

Greeks Say ‘No’ to Troika Bailout Terms by Wide Margin

With over 99 percent of the votes counted, Greeks have clearly rejected the austerity reforms demanded by European lenders.

Streets in cities across Greece have erupted into celebrations as results from Sunday’s referendum showed voters clearly rejecting the bailout terms put forward by the country’s lenders.

The ‘No’ side is leading in the non-binding referendum by over 60 percent, and are ahead in every electoral district in the country. The margin in the results is much larger than projected.

Greek Referendum Results

pie chart 4a2greeks celebrate referendum victoryAlexis Tsipras votesMore than 10 million people were eligible to participate in the vote, which was called by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after bailout talks with European lenders failed. The Syriza government also responded by closing the banks and imposing capital controls after announcing it would not make the June 30 deadline for repayment to the IMF.

According to teleSUR correspondents, voter turnout was registered at 70 percent with polling stations closed at 19:00 (local time). In order for the referendum results to be valid, the voter turnout must reach 40 percent.

The referendum in Greece has taken place without any incidents, the Greek Interior Ministry said in a statement Sunday. “Until now, there have been no complaints or reports about the problems during the voting in the referendum,” the statement said.

“Today is a day of celebration because democracy is a cause to celebrate, to be joyful. And when democracy conquers fear and blackmail, then it also leads to redemption, and a way forward,” Tsipras said in a statement after casting his vote in Sunday’s Referendum.

greeks celebrate referendum victory 2

greeks celebrate referendum victory 3

"No" supporters hold a banner during celebrations in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015.  REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

“No” supporters hold a banner during celebrations in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

Leading up to the vote, Tsipras urged the people to vote “No”, saying it would strengthen his left-wing government’s position in talks with international creditors also known as the troika, comprised of the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

“Many may try to ignore the will of a government. But no one can ignore the will of a people who are seeking to live with dignity, to live life on their own terms,” said Tsipras after casting his ballot Sunday. The left-wing leader and his Syriza government have been trying to keep their anti-austerity pledges that propelled them to victory in the country’s January general elections.

long live greek democracyDespite pushing a “Yes” on the bailout deal, European leaders acknowledged that the offer from European creditors may not be on the table following the Greek vote. The current crisis has sent shock waves through the world’s financial markets, which fear the repercussions of a ‘Grexit’ from the Euro.

Source:  Greeks Say ‘No’ to Troika Bailout Terms by Wide Margin  TeleSUR

Thousands Rally in Greece Ahead of Historic Referendum

Source:  TeleSUR
July 4 2015

Tens of thousands rallied in Greece Friday, in rival rallies for and against a bailout that comes with more austerity measures. Close to 25,000 rallied in Athens’ Syntagma Square in opposition to austerity and support of the Syriza government.

Solidarity protests have also swept across Europe as other cities rally in support of Greece ahead the national referendum on accepting or rejecting further austerity. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged Greeks to vote “no” in the referendum to reject a bailout deal that includes more austerity measures.

Demonstrators hold up letters spelling the word 'No' in Greek during an anti-austerity rally in Syntagma Square in Athens, July 3, 2015. Photo:Reuters

Demonstrators hold up letters spelling the word ‘No’ in Greek during an anti-austerity rally in Syntagma Square in Athens, July 3, 2015. Photo:Reuters

Demonstrators gather in front of the Greek parliament building in Syntagma Square in Athens to attend an anti-Austerity rally, Greece, July 3, 2015.  Photo:Reuters

Demonstrators gather in front of the Greek parliament building in Syntagma Square in Athens to attend an anti-Austerity rally, Greece, July 3, 2015. Photo:Reuters

Protestors wave Greek flags in front of the parliament building during an anti-austerity rally in Athens, Greece, July 3, 2015. Tsipras, elected in January on a promise to end six years of austerity, extolled a packed Syntagma square in central Athens to spurn the tough terms of an aid deal offered by international creditors to keep the country afloat.  Photo:Reuters

Protestors wave Greek flags in front of the parliament building during an anti-austerity rally in Athens, Greece, July 3, 2015. Tsipras, elected in January on a promise to end six years of austerity, extolled a packed Syntagma square in central Athens to spurn the tough terms of an aid deal offered by international creditors to keep the country afloat. Photo:Reuters

People hold signs supporting Greece during a pro-Greece protest in front of European Union office in Barcelona, Spain, July 3, 2015. The sign reads "No. No to troika".  Photo:Reuters

People hold signs supporting Greece during a pro-Greece protest in front of European Union office in Barcelona, Spain, July 3, 2015. The sign reads “No. No to troika”. Photo:Reuters

See more at:  Thousands Rally in Greece Ahead of Historic Referendum  

Source:  Thousands Rally in Greece Ahead of Historic Referendum   TeleSUR