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Syriza Betrayal of the Greek people paves the way for Golden Dawn, from Peter Myers

(1) Neo-Colonial servitude: Syriza surrenders Greek sovereignty to EU
(2) Syriza’s betrayal of the Greek working class
(3) Tsipras forming alliance with parties that spearheaded Yes campaign
in Referendum
(4) Golden Dawn denounces Austerity Package
(5) Austerity Has Failed: Five leading economists warn Merkel
(6) Soros short sells Greek banks
(7) Tsipras’ Bailout Reform Package: An Act of Treason - Michel Chossudovsky
(8) Greece case reveals EU elitism

(1) Neo-Colonial servitude: Syriza surrenders Greek sovereignty to EU

Greek deal poisons Europe as backlash mounts against 'neo-colonial

'It is now perfectly clear to a lot of people that the only way out of
neo-colonial servitude is to break free of monetary union,' said one
Syriza rebel

  By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

9:08PM BST 13 Jul 2015

Greek premier Alexis Tsipras faced a furious backlash from own Syriza
party on Monday night after yielding to draconian demands from Europe’s
creditor powers, and agreeing to let foreign supervisors to take
control of his country.

The bitter climb-down clears the way towards an €86bn rescue package and
the renewal of emergency liquidity for the Greek banking system, once
Greece’s parliament has voted for pension cuts, tax rises and a raft of
other measures by Wednesday. This is the first of a series of deadlines
as the country is kept on a tight leash.

The terms imposed after marathon talks through the night on Sunday are
far harsher than those rejected by Greek voters in a landslide
referendum a week ago, and risks shattering democratic consent in
Greece. It has left Europe bitterly divided along North-South lines of
cleavage, severely testing the political cohesion of monetary union.

“Greece has been devastated and humiliated. Europe has showed itself
Pharisaical, incapable of leadership and solidarity,” said Romano Prodi,
the former Italian prime minister.

An independent fund will take control of €50bn of Greek state assets,
collateral to prevent Syriza reneging on the deal at a later date.
Three-quarters of this will be used to recapitalise the Greek banks and
repay debt.

International inspectors will have the power to veto legislation. The
radical-Left Syriza government will be forced to repeal a raft of laws
passed since it took power in January, stripping away the last fig leaf
of sovereignty.

“It is unconditional surrender. We get serious austerity with no debt
relief. We will have foreign supervisors crawling over everything,” said
Costas Lapavitsas, a Syriza MP and one of 40 or so rebels who plan to
abstain or vote against the deal, mostly from the Left Platform.

“They are telling us that from now on, they are going to govern the
country. I am afraid there is going to be a real fight about this. There
is a groundswell of anger and it is now perfectly clear to a lot of
people that the only way out of neo-colonial servitude is to break free
of monetary union,” he said.

The Independent Greeks party (ANEL) in the ruling coalition called the
deal a “German coup” and said it would not have anything to do with it.
The government is close to collapse.

Mr Tsipras gave in after being locked in all-night talks with German
Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande, an
ordeal described by one EU official as psychological “water-boarding”.

He was left with a grim choice as Greek banks ran out of cash and after
two weeks of capital controls had brought industry to a halt. Food
companies warned that the country will start to run out of beef and
other imported meats within days and could face serious food shortages
by the end of the month unless the banking system is reopened, and firms
can pay foreign suppliers once again.

The European Central Bank has yet to lift its freeze on emergency
liquidity for the Greek financial system. The banks will remain shut
through Wednesday.

Yanis Varoufakis, the former finance minister, said Greece had been
forced to accept a latter day “Versailles Treaty” that will leave the
country languishing in perma-slump for years to come.

There is no guarantee yet that Greece will receive a fresh tranche of
funds. The first raft of measures merely open the door for another set
of gruelling talks to secure a package from the eurozone bail-out fund
(ESM), with yet more sweeping demands.

In the meantime, Greece will need €12bn in bridging finance to clear its
arrears to the IMF – now €2bn after missing a fresh payment - and to
cover debt repayments in July and in August. This is likely come from
the European Commission currency stabilization fund, which ropes in
Britain and other non-euro states.

Mr Tsipras sought to put the best possible face on the deal, insisting
that he had prevented “the transfer of public property abroad, financial
asphyxiation and the collapse of the banking system”.

He claimed that Greece had secured a debt restructuring, yet the summit
text offers no more no more than a vague promise, despite intense
pressure from the US Treasury and the International Monetary Fund for
serious relief.

The creditors mention a “possible” extension of maturities at a later
date, but only once the Greeks have delivered on a long string of prior
measures. The creditors made similar noises in 2012 but failed to deliver.

Mr Tsipras will have to rely on centrist and conservative MPs to carry
the deal through parliament, and may ultimately be forced to form a
national unity government – leaving him in an invidious position as the
"Ramsey MacDonald" of the Greek Left.

Christian Odendahl and John Springford from the Centre for European
Reform said the new bail-out “resolves nothing” and is likely to fall
apart even if it gets through the Greek parliament. It repeats the
errors of previous packages that imposed self-defeating levels of fiscal
contraction. “A fresh round of consolidation will raise the Greek
debt-GDP ratio, not lower it,” they said.

“Germany’s strategy is clear: impose harsh conditions on any government
that seeks to change the austere rules of the game, knowing that
electorates in Greece and elsewhere are terrified of the leap into the
unknown that would be exit from the euro,” they said.

“The bailout’s economic incoherence will lead the agreement to unravel
eventually. Grexit is still very much on the table."

Peter Kazimir, the Slovak finance minister, said Greece is paying the
price for indulging in a “Greek Spring” under the Syriza movement, a
view widely shared in the former Communist states of central Europe and
the Baltics, as well as in Finland, Holland and Germany.

Yet this is matched by a widespread feeling in Italy and France that
Germany abused its hegemonic power in the eurozone to push a narrow,
mean-spirited agenda, a regret shared by much of the German Left and the
country’s pro-European wing.

“Even if a deal can eventually be reached to keep Greece in the euro
area, the ramifications of this weekend’s incredible bloodletting will
have long-term consequences,” said James Nixon from Oxford Economics.

“The damage done to relations between France and Germany may prove
irredeemable, while the German suggestion that Greece be granted a short
term euro area surely shatters the principle that membership of the euro
area is irrevocable.

“The sight of Greece effectively being hung out to dry will surely
trigger a popular backlash against austerity. That fault line may now
become more exposed with the political establishments of the European
south lining up against the governments of the North."

(2) Syriza’s betrayal of the Greek working class

Alex Lantier

11 July 2015

With extraordinary speed, the Syriza-led government in Greece has
repudiated the landslide “no” vote in Sunday’s referendum on European
Union (EU) austerity demands.

Only four days after Greek workers and youth voted overwhelmingly to
reject the dictates of the EU, the government has presented a proposal
for €13 billion in austerity measures for the consideration of European
finance ministers and government heads meeting this weekend. The Greek
government is hoping the brutal measures will secure it a €53 billion EU

The proposal, which was approved overwhelmingly by the Greek parliament
Friday morning, is even more savage than the €9 billion austerity
package Greek voters rejected in the referendum. It includes:

*A gradual increase in the retirement age from 62 to 67, completed by
2022, along with “disincentives” to early retirement.

*The elimination of a solidarity grant for poor pensioners and a 50
percent increase in health costs for pensioners.

*A socially regressive increase in the VAT (sales tax) on most goods to
23 percent, applied also to Greece’s numerous, often remote and
impoverished islands.

*Cuts to public-sector salaries imposed by “unifying” the wage grid for
government workers, together with further attacks on labor laws.

*The completion of all currently planned privatizations, including
regional airports and the ports of Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Hellinikon.

*Cuts to fuel subsidies for farmers, along with stricter enforcement of
tax laws to increase the tax burden on small businesses, property owners
and the self-employed.

With consummate cynicism, Syriza leader and Greek Prime Minister Alexis
Tsipras has sought to present this direct repudiation of the will of the
Greek people as a triumph of democracy. In fact, the outcome entirely
confirms the initial assessment of the World Socialist Web Site that the
decision to call the vote was “a reactionary fraud, designed to lend a
veneer of democratic legitimacy to the looting of Greece by the banks.”

The shameless prostration of Syriza to the demands of the EU is the
inevitable conclusion of its entire course since taking power in
January. From the beginning, it sought nothing more than marginal
modifications in EU policy. It immediately pledged not to take any
unilateral measures to repudiate Greece’s €300 billion debt, nor to
impose controls to stem the flight of capital from Greek banks.

Syriza rejected any appeal to the mass opposition to EU austerity in the
European working class. Instead, the government sought to ingratiate
itself with the major banks and European imperialist powers, as well as
the Obama administration. The European governments, led by Berlin,
treated Tsipras with well-deserved contempt, knowing that they had
absolutely nothing to fear from the Syriza leader. [...]

(3) Tsipras forming alliance with parties that spearheaded Yes campaign
in Referendum

Greek bailout deal highlights monumental scale of Syriza’s betrayal

By Chris Marsden

14 July 2015

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has signed up to an agreement that
transforms Greece into a de facto colony of the European Union and
places the country under the dictates of Germany.

What remains of the Greek economy, above all its most valuable assets,
is to be pillaged so that Athens can continue to pay back loans from the
EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Greece is to be placed under the direct control of EU officials. The
function of Greece’s parliament will be to rubber-stamp the transfer of
real authority to Brussels and Berlin. It has until Wednesday to pass a
series of laws implementing the demands of German imperialism and the EU.

Syriza, elected just six months ago on the basis of a pledge to end
austerity, is set to endorse by a large majority of its parliamentary
deputies measures that go far beyond those agreed by the New Democracy
and PASOK government it replaced.

Only days after he called a referendum and secured the support of
two-thirds of the electorate for a “no” to further cuts, Tsipras is
making plans to form an alliance with the parties that spearheaded the
“yes” campaign in order to place the Greek people at the mercy of German
imperialism. He will go down in history as the early 21st century
equivalent of the World War II collaborationist leaders Petain and Quisling.

In return for imposing permanent and more savage austerity on millions
of working people who have already suffered terribly under the dictates
of the EU and the banks for which it speaks, Tsipras has secured nothing
more than the reality of financial dictatorship today and promises of
jam tomorrow.

The document of the euro zone leaders makes extraordinary reading. It
took 17 hours to formulate, not because Tsipras was mounting a
last-minute fight-back, but because Germany insisted that every dot and
comma of the surrender terms be set out.

A proposal for “de-politicising the Greek administration” means that all
decision-making on austerity measures and privatisations will fall under
the remit of EU-appointed overseers. These enforcers will be able to
veto all future legislation, while legislation passed by Syriza since it
took office that is deemed contrary to the terms of the new austerity
agreement will be rescinded.

There is, in any case, nothing left of Syriza’s “red lines” on taxation,
pensions, the labour market and privatisation.

A “significantly scaled-up privatisation programme with improved
governance” means that “Valuable Greek assets will be transferred to an
independent fund that will monetise (i.e., sell off) the assets…” The
fund will be run from Athens but “under the supervision of the relevant
European institutions.”

The document also calls for “quasi-automatic spending cuts in case of
deviations from ambitious primary surplus targets”—meaning Greece will
have to raise more in revenues than the government spends each and every
year, even after paying interest on its debt.

The detailing of the economic measures expected is extraordinary and
includes stipulations for “Sunday trade, sales periods, pharmacy
ownership, milk and bakeries… over-the-counter pharmaceutical products,”
opening up “macro-critical closed professions (e.g., ferry
transportation),” “the privatisation of the electricity transmission
network operator (ADMIE),” and more.

Measures directly attacking the working class, including restrictions on
collective bargaining and strikes and the gutting of protections against
layoffs, are grouped under the heading “Labour market liberalisation.”
They include “rigorous reviews and modernisation of collective
bargaining, industrial action and, in line with the relevant EU
directive and best practice, collective dismissals.”

The parliament must also agree to “the streamlining of the VAT system
and the broadening of the tax base to increase revenue,” and a rise in
the pension retirement age to 67 by 2022 and the phasing out of aid to
the poorest pensioners by the end of 2019.

Germany’s original proposal was for the new privatisation fund to be
administered from Luxembourg, through a German-controlled investment
bank. The other supposed “concession” to Greece is that a specified
figure of €50 billion for the value of the fund will be divided up so
that 50 percent goes towards recapitalising Greece’s banks, 25 percent
to pay back Greece’s creditors, and 25 percent for investments in Greece.

This is being hailed by Tsipras as proof that his was “a fight which, at
the end of the day, will be vindicated.” He went on to claim that “we
prevented the transfer of public property abroad, we prevented the
financial asphyxiation and the collapse of the financial system [and] we
managed to gain the restructuring of the debt and a financing process
for the medium-term.”

This is all lies.

Assets will still be transferred out of the country, only the location
of the criminal enterprise has been changed. Moreover, to date the only
thing that has been agreed is that Greece will fund its own debt through
privatisations. No external funding has been laid out, only the promise
of negotiations for a third bailout.

The euro zone government heads’ statement “stresses that nominal
haircuts on the debt cannot be undertaken,” and that “the Greek
authorities reiterate their unequivocal commitment to honour their
financial obligations to their creditors fully and in a timely manner.”

All that is actually promised by the euro zone leaders is to “consider,
if necessary, possible additional measures” such as “longer grace and
payment periods.”

The statement “takes note of the possible programme financing needs of
between €82bn and €86bn, as assessed by the Institutions.” But having
done so, it then “invites the Institutions to explore possibilities to
reduce the financing envelope, through an alternative fiscal path or
higher privatisation proceeds.”

In other words, the present round of asset-stripping is only the
beginning. As Larry Elliott notes in the Guardian, “In truth, there is
not the remotest prospect of Greece raising €50bn through privatisations
in the next three years. The €50bn target was first announced back in
2011, since when the value of the Greek stock market has fallen by 40
percent, making its assets far less valuable. In the past four years,
privatisation proceeds have raised just over €3bn.”

The document also “takes note” of Greece’s “urgent financing needs” of
€7 billion by July 20 and €5 billion more in August. It is in return for
this initial sum that Tsipras has been charged with either whipping his
government into line, or, what is more likely, initiating a struggle
that will end in the formation of a government of national unity.

His deadline for doing so, and for parliament agreeing to VAT increases,
pension changes, the independence of the country’s national statistics
institute and measures of “fiscal consolidation” is Wednesday night.
Before then, the European Central Bank has agreed only to maintain the
Greek banks’ existing €89 billion lifeline, keeping Greek banks closed
and the country on rations until it does as it is told.

Should an agreement be reached on these terms, Greece’s overall debt
will rise to around €400 billion, 200 percent of gross domestic product
as compared to its present level of 175 percent. The International
Monetary Fund admitted earlier this month that even the previous debt
was unsustainable and could never be repaid.

Tsipras has already lost his parliamentary majority once. In coalition
with the right-wing nationalist Independent Greeks, he had 162 seats in
the 300-seat parliament. But eight Syriza MPs abstained, two voted “no,”
and seven absented themselves in the vote taken Friday to approve the
just-concluded negotiations.

The Independent Greeks have now said they will not support the agreement
but will remain in government. However, this could change.

In addition, in an attempt to rescue their tattered reputation, sections
or all of Syriza’s Left Platform may feel it prudent to vote against the
proposals, which would likely lead to their expulsion by Tsipras. Under
such circumstances, Tsipras may offer to form a new government with To
Potami and PASOK, or form a full-scale national unity administration
that includes New Democracy, prior to fresh elections.

Parliamentary arithmetic aside, the sheer scale of the assault on
working people involved will inevitably provoke mass opposition directed
against Syriza’s betrayal. In anticipation of the backlash that will
develop, Adedy, the civil servants union confederation, has called a
24-hour strike for Wednesday against the economic reforms parliament is
to vote on that day.

(4) Golden Dawn denounces Austerity Package

Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:24pm EDT

Far-right Golden Dawn says will not back proposals sent to Greece's

ATHENS, July 11

Greece's third largest political force, the far-right Golden Dawn party,
said early on Saturday it will not back government proposals submitted
to the country's creditors in a race to reach a cash-for-reforms deal
and avert bankruptcy.

"We say 'no'. We won't give you the authorisation for this deal," leader
Nikolaos Mihaloliakos told lawmakers during a parliamentary session.

The country's leftist government is seeking lawmakers' approval to
negotiate a series of tax hikes and spending cuts which it will hope
will unlock 53.5 billion euros in aid over the next three years from
international creditors.

(Reporting By Costas Pitas)

(5) Austerity Has Failed: Five leading economists warn Merkel

From: Ellen Brown <> 8 July 2015 at 06:00

Austerity Has Failed: An Open Letter From Thomas Piketty to Angela Merkel

Five leading economists warn the German chancellor, “History will
remember you for your actions this week.”

By Thomas Piketty, Jeffrey Sachs, Heiner Flassbeck, Dani Rodrik and
Simon Wren-Lewis

July 7, 2015

The never-ending austerity that Europe is force-feeding the Greek people
is simply not working. Now Greece has loudly said no more.

Global campaign group Avaaz organized this open letter to Angela Merkel
on the back of a petition, signed by over half a million Europeans,
demanding an end to the failed austerity program in Greece.

As most of the world knew it would, the financial demands made by Europe
have crushed the Greek economy, led to mass unemployment, a collapse of
the banking system, made the external debt crisis far worse, with the
debt problem escalating to an unpayable 175 percent of GDP. The economy
now lies broken with tax receipts nose-diving, output and employment
depressed, and businesses starved of capital.

The humanitarian impact has been colossal—40 percent of children now
live in poverty, infant mortality is sky-rocketing and youth
unemployment is close to 50 percent. Corruption, tax evasion and bad
accounting by previous Greek governments helped create the debt problem.
The Greeks have complied with much of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
call for austerity—cut salaries, cut government spending, slashed
pensions, privatized and deregulated, and raised taxes. But in recent
years the series of so-called adjustment programs inflicted on the likes
of Greece has served only to make a Great Depression the likes of which
have been unseen in Europe since 1929-1933. The medicine prescribed by
the German Finance Ministry and Brussels has bled the patient, not cured
the disease.

Together we urge Chancellor Merkel and the Troika to consider a course
correction, to avoid further disaster and enable Greece to remain in the
eurozone. Right now, the Greek government is being asked to put a gun to
its head and pull the trigger. Sadly, the bullet will not only kill off
Greece’s future in Europe. The collateral damage will kill the Eurozone
as a beacon of hope, democracy and prosperity, and could lead to
far-reaching economic consequences across the world.

“Right now, the Greek government is being asked to put a gun to its head
and pull the trigger.”—Piketty, et al.

In the 1950s, Europe was founded on the forgiveness of past debts,
notably Germany’s, which generated a massive contribution to post-war
economic growth and peace. Today we need to restructure and reduce Greek
debt, give the economy breathing room to recover, and allow Greece to
pay off a reduced burden of debt over a long period of time. Now is the
time for a humane rethink of the punitive and failed program of
austerity of recent years and to agree to a major reduction of Greece’s
debts in conjunction with much needed reforms in Greece.

To Chancellor Merkel our message is clear; we urge you to take this
vital action of leadership for Greece and Germany, and also for the
world. History will remember you for your actions this week. We expect
and count on you to provide the bold and generous steps towards Greece
that will serve Europe for generations to come.


Heiner Flassbeck, former State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry
of Finance

Thomas Piketty, Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development, Professor of
Health Policy and Management, and Director of the Earth Institute at
Columbia University

Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political
Economy, Harvard Kennedy School

Simon Wren-Lewis, Professor of Economic Policy, Blavatnik School of
Government, University of Oxford

(6) Soros short sells Greek banks

June 18, 2015 5:52 pm

Greek regulators battle with short-selling hedge funds

Miles Johnson, Hedge Fund Correspondent


Greek regulators have been waging a behind-the-scenes battle with a
group of mostly London-based hedge funds who have targeted the country’s
crisis-hit banking sector.

More than 20 hedge funds — including George Soros’ Quantum Fund,
Toscafund, Everest Capital and Abbeville Partners — have received fines
in the past three months from the Hellenic Republic Capital Market
Commission as they sought to profit from Greek banks’ plummeting share

The fines revolve around the funds’ so-called “naked” short-selling of
bank shares in a way that the Greek regulator argues breaks pan-European

The saga has unfolded amid heavy declines on the Athens bourse, with
Greece’s financial sector sustaining especially dire losses this year
against a backdrop of haemorrhaging deposits and the threat of a Grexit.

“The Greeks are shooting themselves in the foot,” said an executive at
one of the hedge funds. “All these hedge funds have been helping to
recapitalise the Greek banks at a time when no one else would touch them.”

Conventional short selling of shares consists of paying a fee to another
investor to borrow their shares in a company in the belief that these
will fall in value. On receiving the borrowed shares the hedge fund then
sells them into the market, meaning they can later profit by buying them
back for a lower price when the time comes to return them to the
original owner.

Naked short selling is more controversial. It involves selling shares in
a company without having first secured the right to borrow it from
another investor.

Short selling has become a politically sensitive issue in Europe during
the continent’s debt crisis, with politicians attacking what they view
as greed-driven speculation and national regulators imposing bans on
betting against their banks in moments of acute market turbulence.

In response, a group of hedge funds are lobbying the pan-European
markets authority to pressure Greece into relenting on the fines, which
total over €1m and have so far not been paid, according to several
people close to the funds. More video

They have grouped together through the Alternative Investment Management
Association, a London based industry lobby group, to present their case
to the European Securities and Markets Authority (Esma).

A spokesman for Esma said that the issue had been brought to its
attention by the hedge funds, but that no formal complaint had yet been

The dispute centres on whether the Greek regulator has been overly
strict in its application of pan-European short-selling rules, with the
hedge funds arguing that this results in a lack of consistency between
Greece and other markets.

In 2012 new pan-European regulation came into force requiring all short
positions in European companies over a certain size to be disclosed by
hedge funds in their filings to national regulators. It also introduced
tighter restrictions on “naked” short selling.

Investors point out that short-selling is not without risk. If the price
of the shares rises instead of falls the hedge fund short selling them
will be forced to buy them back at a higher price, resulting in a loss.

(7) Tsipras’ Bailout Reform Package: An Act of Treason - Michel Chossudovsky

Prime Minister Tsipras’ Bailout Reform Package: An Act of Treason
against the Greek People

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, July 11, 2015

After having launched a Referendum to refute and refuse the debt bailout
agreement put together by the Troika, Prime Minister Tsipras together
with his newly instated Finance Minister, comes up four days latter with
an austerity package broadly similar to the one which was turned down by
the Greek government in June.

This about-turn had been carefully engineered. The Greek people were
misled and deceived. The Referendum was an outright ”ritual of democracy”.

Tsipras had made a deal with the creditors. He was in favor of accepting
the demands of the creditors all along.

Tsipras led the “NO” campaign while having already decided that in the
wake of the Referendum, he would say YES to the creditors and cave in to
their demands. This is tantamount to an Act of Treason.

There was no attempt by the Tsipras government in the immediate wake of
the Referendum to renegotiate or extend the deadline on behalf of the
Greek people in response to the NO Vote. On Monday morning, the day
following the Referendum, Yanis Varoufakis who had led the negotiations
with the Troika resigned as Finance minister. Did he wilfully resign or
was he “dismissed” to facilitate an agreement with the Troika?

Creditors are known to influence appointments to key ministerial
positions.(e.g. South Korea, December 1997 at the height of the Asian
Crisis, the Finance minister and the Head of the Central Bank are
dismissed on the orders of Washington).

Varoufakis was hastily replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos, who took office on
Monday morning. His appointment as Finance Minister and chief negotiator
(which must have been known well in advance) was broadly welcomed by the
EU political and financial establishment.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras together with his new finance minister
then held meetings throughout Monday both with Syriza and the
opposition. And by the end of the day, a “joint statement” was speedily
signed “by almost the entire political spectrum backing his efforts to
seek a new deal from the country’s creditors.”

Tsipras later told Parliament that his government had been forced to
cave in to the demands of the creditors. He also said that the
referendum did not authorise the government to envisage the Grexit,
namely an exit from the eurozone.

What he failed to mention is that the NO Vote gave him a political
mandate to renegotiate the deal on behalf of the Greek people with a
view to at least alleviating the deadly impacts of the proposed
austerity measures.

By Thursday, a document of 13-pages containing concrete reforms and
austerity measures was sent to the Troika. The initiative was intended,
according to media reports ”to act as a foundation to free up a new
three-year, 53.5-billion euro bailout package to save the nation from

These proposals outlined in the 13 page document spell disaster for Greece

They involve massive tax hikes, a drastic reduction in public sector
wages, cuts in pensions including an increase in the retirement age to
67, the privatization of state assets including public utilities and
infrastructure: “The government will look at selling off state assets
and will get the ball rolling on privatizing the electricity grid
company, regional airports and ports including Pireaus and Thessaloniki.”

Neoliberalism and deadly “economic medicine” carried out by a Leftist
Party. Below are some of the highlights of these proposals: (emphasis added)

  The proposals include a slew of tax hikes including a 23 per cent
value added tax on restaurants and catering, a reduced 13 per cent tax
on basic foodstuffs, energy hotels and water and a so-called “super
reduced” rate of 6 per cent on such things as pharmaceuticals, books and
theatre — perhaps appropriate for a country that pioneered drama. The
new tax levels will kick into gear this October. [These tax hikes will
kill the Tourist industry and trigger bankruptcies of local restaurants
and hotels]

  Moreover, special tax breaks for the country’s islands — popular
tourist magnets — will be scrapped. Only the most remote islands will
get to keep the coveted tax breaks.

  Military spending will be slashed by 100 million euros this year and
double that in 2016. Corporate tax will increase from 26 to 28 per cent
and farmers will lose preferential tax treatment and fuel subsidies.
[This will trigger bankruptcy of farmers] [...]

  The government will look at selling off state assets and will get the
ball rolling on privatizing the electricity grid company, regional
airports and ports including Pireaus and Thessaloniki. [ A piece of cake
for foreign investors, who will acquire the country's public utilities
and infrastructure]

What is not explicitly mentioned in the 13 page document is the logic of
“vulture investment”, leading to the eventual demise of “Greek
capitalism” including its banking and commercial shipping industry.

(The essential elements of both the joint statement and the 13 page
document were no doubt drafted prior to the Referendum).

Who are the Main Actors?

  The Troika is acting on behalf of the creditor institutions. They do
not call the shots. The ECB is integrated by individuals who are in
close liaison with major banking interests including JP Morgan Chase,
Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.

Similarly, the Washington based IMF (which essentially is a debt
collecting bureaucracy) is part of what is called the Washington
consensus, with links to the US Treasury, Washington’s economic think
tanks and of course Wall Street. [...]

Greece’s acceptance of the creditors demands is tantamount to foregoing
its sovereignty as a nation state.

The economic and social consequences are likely to be devastating.

(8) Greece case reveals EU elitism

Greece isn’t the only victim of EU elitism

Brussels' repulsive treatment of Greece is business as usual.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked.

8 July 2015

It seems finally to have dawned on Europe’s observing classes that the
EU might not be the whiter-than-white embodiment of democracy, liberty
and nice things in general that they thought it was. Following EU
institutions’ use of blackmail and harassment to try to get the Greek
people to accept a stern bailout package, and Greek voters’ big, fat,
brave ‘NO’ to this external warping of their affairs, liberal sections
of the European press have had a pretty healthy smattering of that thing
they normally treat as a pathology when it’s expressed by a fat man with
an En-ger-land tattoo on his forearm: Eurosceptism. As one clearly
miffed liberal editorialist in Britain put it, maybe ‘the dream of
continental solidarity and interdependence is coming to an end’.

Yet even as these one-time Europhiles side, for the first time, with a
national population that has found itself on the receiving end of the
EU’s barbs and threats, still they overlook the depth of the EU’s
hostility to the democratic impulse. They’re treating what has been done
to Greece as an aberration, a twisting of what the EU is meant to be
about. As Fintan O’Toole, who ‘has always supported the European
project’, put it in the Irish Times: ‘The project has taken a decisive
turn away from democracy.’ This is wrong. Really wrong. The problem with
the EU is that it was never democratic. In fact, it arose precisely as a
means for Europe’s political classes to insulate themselves from public
pressure and take decisions in a technocratic rather than democratic
fashion. The EU’s treatment of Greece is not a deviation from the EU
project – it’s a continuation of it, a realisation of it.

It is genuinely alarming how Brussels- and Strasbourg-based bodies have
treated Greece, especially its demos. Essentially they used blackmail –
a threat to withhold emergency funds for a beleaguered nation – as a way
to force Greeks to accept the very austerity measures they voted against
when they chose the left collective Syriza as their government just six
months ago.

 From raising taxes, including sales taxes, to slashing pensions, the
content of the EU bailout package was by its nature undemocratic, since
it went against some of the values Greeks had already democratically
voted for. And the manner in which officials tried to foist the bailout
package on the Greek people was undemocratic, too. Prior to Greece’s
referendum on the bailout at the weekend, Martin Schulz, president of
the European Parliament, said that, whatever the result, ‘Syriza’s time
[is] over’. Syriza should resign, he said, and Greece should be ‘bridged
with a technocratic government, so that we can continue to negotiate’.
Such contempt for democracy. That the Greek people voted by 61.3 per
cent to 38.7 per cent against the bailout package, and implicitly
against Schulz and Co’s oligarchical conviction that they should
determine Greece’s future, was a brilliant, inspiring assertion of
democratic rights in the face of external hectoring.

So it is understandable that in media circles in Europe, including among
the most pro-EU, there has been discomfort, concern, a new willingness
to question the EU’s behaviour. The New Statesman wonders what has
happened to ‘the European Union [that] brought peace and prosperity to
the people of Europe’. A writer for the Herald in Glasgow spoke for many
among the post-nationalist, post-border, post-modern set when he said
‘those of us who believed that the EU was a great achievement of
enlightened internationalism… have been forced to think again’. ‘Where
is the Social Europe?’, he asked; why has it been replaced by
‘pig-headed bureaucrats’? Even at the Guardian, for 20 years effectively
a propaganda sheet for Brussels, there have been mutterings that perhaps
‘the disaster of the Euro [is] strangling the larger European project it
was meant to serve’.

The only possible response to such Greek-related handwringing is: where
have you people been for the past two decades? For EU institutions have
been sneering at democracy, and problematising voters, for years now.
 From the EU’s imposition of diplomatic sanctions on member state
Austria in 2000 after a significant number of its voters gave their
ballots to the far-right Joerg Haider to the constant cajoling of the
Irish people into accepting EU constitutions that they democratically
rejected, the EU’s hostility to the choices made and ideas held by
national populations has been palpable, and grown more intense, in the
post-Cold War period.

Where were these media sympathisers with Greece in 2001, for example,
when Irish voters had the temerity to reject the EU-expanding Nice
Treaty and were widely demonised for having done so? They were branded
by officials and media as ‘ungrateful’, ‘ignorant of the issues’,
‘backward’. Libération, the French daily now posing as
concerned-about-the-EU and pro-Greece, accused the Irish people of
‘treachery’ and wondered how they could be ‘so ungrateful’. The Irish
were made to vote on Nice again, in 2002, and this time, after a
campaign of extraordinary blackmail (in essence: ‘we pay your way, so do
what we say’), they approved Nice. Where were these worriers about
democracy in Europe in 2005, when French and Dutch voters voted against
the EU Constitution and were met with a barrage of abuse for having done
so? One MEP denounced the No voters as ‘an odd bunch of racists,
xenophobes, nationalists, communists… and the generally pissed-off’ – a
view then largely shared in much of the press now so concerned about the
EU’s treatment of the Greek demos.

Where were these EU-rethinkers when, in 2006 and 2007, the elected
leaders of Slovakia, Poland and Hungary were all pressured by Brussels
publicly to renounce some of their more extreme political views or risk
being ‘in breach of EU obligations’? Or in 2008, when the ungrateful
Irish once again rejected an EU treaty – Lisbon – and one EU official
spoke for many when he texted this message to his colleagues: ‘The Irish
people – the bastards – have spoken?’ Even when, in 2011, the EU foisted
utterly unelected, technocratic governments on both Greece and Italy –
which should have been the real giveaway in terms of the EU’s contempt
for democracy – there was not nearly as much fury as there ought to have
been. There was discomfort, sure, and some editorial protesting –
expressions of hope that these techno-governments wouldn’t last too
long. But there was nowhere near the self-questioning among EU-lovers
that we’ve seen in recent days. Indeed, an article in the Guardian,
headlined ‘In defence of Europe’s technocrats’, warned readers that if
they opposed the unelected governments in Greece and Italy then they
would be on the same side as ‘those arch-contrarians at spiked’. Yes,
just four years ago opposing the EU’s imposition of unelected rulers was
treated as a marker for contrarianism.

So the EU has been treating national electorates with naked contempt for
two decades now. And the answer to the question ‘Where was today’s
EU-concerned lobby back then?’ is that they played a key role in echoing
the EU’s distaste for the rough-and-tumble and awkwardness of open,
testy, angry democratic debate and its preference for the cool-headed,
expert-driven politics of the removed EU chamber, and in fact helped to
enforce it. The chattering classes of Europe have for years pathologised
opposition to the EU, treating it as symptomatic of a narrow
nationalistic, racist mindset. Such opposition has even been referred to
as ‘Europhobia’, suggesting it is a mental malaise, a sickness in the
brains of ‘the generally pissed-off’. Such pathologisation of dissent
and debate on the EU, such an intellectual ringfencing of the EU from
ridicule, has unquestionably made it easier for the EU to enforce its
writ against Eastern Europeans with the wrong political views, Western
Europeans who reject new EU treaties, and, yes, against Greeks in recent
years. Until the Greeks rebelled at the weekend. That the same
chattering classes are now posing as sudden critics of the EU and
defenders of the rebelling Greeks shows that what they lack in critical
consistency they more than make up for with brass neck.

There is anger right now that Europe’s financial institutions are trying
to force their values on to Greeks. But for years EU institutions have
been imposing their cultural and political values on apparently
backward, ungrateful plebs who think and vote the ‘wrong’ way – why is
that okay? What we can see in Greece is the playing-out of the very
essence of the EU. This isn’t the EU gone wrong, but staying consistent,
believing it has the authority to override the desires of national
electorates. This is essentially what the EU emerged to do: provide a
new space for Europe’s national political elites that would allow them
to execute decision-making in a post-democratic fashion; which would
help them solve their profound feeling of illegitimacy at home, among
their own publics, by allowing them to pool together behind closed doors
to ‘get things done’. The EU project is fundamentally anti-political,
and therefore anti-democratic, believing bureaucrats are more
trustworthy than the masses. The openly expressed idea that Greece would
be better off ignoring its stupid, grasping public and being ruled by a
technocracy is alarming, and repulsive, but it is not remotely
surprising when one looks at what the EU has done before, and what it is
all about.

This is why, since we were founded in 2001, spiked has devoted so much
energy to criticising the EU and exposing its contemptuous assaults on
voters in Ireland, Holland, France, Hungary, Greece and elsewhere:
because we value democracy and the right of peoples to determine their
own affairs. Our slogan has been ‘For Europe, Against the EU’. It’s
precisely because we love Europe, and think there should be more
cross-border solidarity and interaction, that we oppose the oligarchical
EU, which has divided Europe, not united it, and destroyed democracy,
not expanded it. The current media sympathy for Greece is too late, and,
more importantly, too little. It isn’t enough to worry about this one
instance of alleged ‘neoliberal bullying’ of a people in Europe – we
must expose every act of EU elitism, and put the case for real politics,
however ugly it sometimes gets, over the tyranny of expertise and
consensus preferred by the EU and the new clerisies of Europe which,
even now, support it.

Peter Myers