A hero economist inside the gates
"And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride."
thoughts for the post-2008 world
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.
We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office. 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.
A Trojan Horse in the Home of Austerity
By Pepe Escobar
Greece invented democracy. Greek mythology forged the way the West looks at itself. Greece even invented the denomination of this Eurasian annex -- "Europa."
"For it is only criminals who presume to damage other people nowadays without the aid of philosophy." Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities.
Odysseus/Ulysses took 10 years to go back home after the Trojan War. His descendants are now making history in the original home of democracy. And they are not going anywhere. They have already placed their Trojan horse in the home of intolerance and austerity. There's no turning back from restoring dignity. And if the Muses rule it, it will be back to the drachma.
The so-called EU "institutions" -- along with cosmically mediocre politicians of wealthy EU nations -- behaved like barbarians all along, proving, graphically, how the whole Kafkaesque EU construction hates democracy with a vengeance.
Brussels and Berlin proved they are in the regime change business. Updating the exceptionalists on Iraq in 2003, they were advocating the destruction of a democratically elected government via economic Shock and Awe. Their subsequent wet dream was to impose renewed austerity on an interim, unelected technocratic government.
This past week, relentless scare tactics -- deployed by Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Eurogroup chairman, or European Commission (EC) president and certified opportunist Jean-Claude Juncker -- asserted that voting "No" would mean a Grexit. Now, the real possibility of a Grexit is threatening to destroy the euro.
The utmost fear of these cosmically mediocre politicians is that other European democracies -- starting with Spain in the fall -- would start forcefully saying "No" to the austerity obsession.
The mere fact that this is already happening is the ultimate indictment of the troika, whose one size fits all recipe always translates into recession, unemployment and widespread poverty. Their notion of Europe is dead and buried.
Everything is unsustainable
Now it's the real Thermopylae moment. Do or die. There's no roadmap, yet, on how Greece may survive in the eurozone without shattering its already hurt and ailing society. That would imply the end of deeply anti-European policies.
This Tuesday's summit involving Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande reveals the last-minute desperation of the cosmically mediocre politicos. Merkel now runs a real risk of passing into history as the one who provoked Grexit. And Grexit -- as painful as it may be -- remains a solution.
The Greek people benefited from less than 10% of the 240 billion euro bailout. Essentially German and French commercial banks were bailed out -- as Greece was forced to take "emergency loans" to pay them. And to get these loans Athens was forced to impose austerity and cringe under neoliberalism run amok.
All evidence suggests the eurozone will continue to play hardball. Even though the IMF itself admits some debt relief is inevitable. Even though Merkel herself, in a bit of NSA spying released by Wikileaks, admitted (way back in October 2011) that Greece's debt was "unsustainable."
Greek government debt is still a whopping 320 billion euros, 78% of it owed to the troika. And still the troika is tempted to turn on the screw even more -- now using the tactic of empty ATMs leading to regime change. Yet this may all backfire and precipitate -- what else -- Grexit.
And Grexit will be just the start of a whole new Sophocles-inspired tragedy. Once one nation breaks with the single currency, the monetary union itself is totally exposed. The (Neoliberal) Goddess of the Market will be eagerly looking for the next victim -- Spain, Italy, Ireland.
The democracy Trojan horse now lies, in silence, in the home of austerity. The battle is about to begin.
Bernie Sanders Backs Greek Rejection Of Austerity Measures
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voiced his support for Greece’s decision to reject a bailout deal that would have come with more austerity measures for the country.
“I applaud the people of Greece for saying ‘no’ to more austerity for the poor, the children, the sick and the elderly,” Sanders said in a statement Sunday. “In a world of massive wealth and income inequality Europe must support Greece's efforts to build an economy which creates more jobs and income, not more unemployment and suffering.”
In a nationwide referendum Sunday, more than 60 percent of Greek voters rejected the deal, which was proposed by the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund after Greece missed a deadline to pay 1.6 billion euros to the IMF. While the vote leaves Greece’s financial stability and future in the eurozone uncertain, the White House released a statement Monday calling for European leaders and Greece to reach a deal that keeps the country using the euro.
In February, President Barack Obamacriticized austerity measures already in place in Greece in exchange for loans, which have taken a huge toll on the country's economy.
"You cannot keep on squeezing countries that are in the midst of depression,” Obama said. “At some point, there has to be a growth strategy in order for them to pay off their debts to eliminate some of their deficits."
Sanders, a self-described socialist who has drawn large crowds on the campaign trail and closed some of the large gap between himself and front-runner Hillary Clinton in the polls, is the only the 2016 candidate to take a position on Greece’s decision so far. His position isn’t all that surprising after Sanders called the bailout deal “unacceptable” on Wednesday.
As secretary of state in 2011, Clinton voiced support for the austerity measures as part of a massive bailout package, likening them to “chemotherapy.”
"I am not here to in any way downplay the immediate challenges because they are real. But I am here to say that we believe strongly that this will give Greece a very strong economy going forward," Clinton said.