Mark Ames: Austerity & Fascism In Greece – The Real 1% Doctrine

By Mark Ames, the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine. Cross posted from The eXiled

See the guy in the photo there, dangling an ax from his left hand? That’s Greece’s new “Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks” Makis Voridis captured back in the 1980s, when he led a fascist student group called “Student Alternative” at the University of Athens law school. It’s 1985, and Minister Voridis, dressed like some Kajagoogoo Nazi, is caught on camera patrolling the campus with his fellow fascists, hunting for suspected leftist students to bash. Voridis was booted out of law school that year, and sued by Greece’s National Association of Students for taking part in violent attacks on non-fascist law students.

With all the propaganda we’ve been fed about Greece’s new “austerity” government being staffed by non-ideological “technocrats,” it may come as a surprise that fascists are now considered “technocrats” to the mainstream media and Western banking interests. Then again, history shows that fascists have always been favored by the 1-percenters to deliver the austerity medicine.

This rather disturbing definition of what counts as “non-ideological” or “technocratic” in 2011 is something most folks are trying hard to ignore, which might explain why there’s been almost nothing about how Greece’s new EU-imposed austerity government includes neo-Nazis from the LAOS Party (LAOS is the acronym for Greece’s fascist political party, not the Southeast Asian paradise).

Which brings me back to the new Minister of Infrastructure, Makis Voridis. Before he was an ax-wielding law student, Voridis led another fascist youth group that supported the jailed leader of Greece’s 1967 military coup. Greece has been down this fascism route before, all under the guise of saving the nation and complaints about alleged parliamentary weakness. In 1967, the military overthrew democracy, imposed a fascist junta, jailed and tortured suspected leftist dissidents, and ran the country into the ground until the junta was overthrown by popular protest in 1974.

That military junta—and the United States support for it (for which Clinton apologized in 1999)—is a raw and painful memory for Greeks. Most Greeks, anyway. As far as today’s Infrastructure Minister, Makis Voridis, was concerned, the only bad thing about the junta was that it was overthrown by democracy demonstrators. A fascist party was set up in the early 1980s in support of the jailed coup leader, and Voridis headed up that party’s youth wing. That’s when he earned the nickname “Hammer.” You can probably guess by now why Greece’s Infrastructure Minister was given the nickname “Hammer”: Voridis’s favorite sport was hunting down leftist youths and beating them with, yes, a hammer.

Close-up of Minister “Hammer” Voridis’ homemade ax.

After the hammer, he graduated to law school– and the ax; was expelled from law school; and worked his way up the adult world of Greek fascist politics, his ax tucked under the bed somewhere. In 1994, Voridis helped found a new far-right party, The Hellenic Front. In 2004’s elections, Voridis’s “Hellenic Front Party” formed a bloc with the neo-Nazi “Front Party,” headed by Greece’s most notorious Holocaust denier, Konstantinos Plevis, a former fascist terrorist whose book, “Jews: The Whole Truth,” praised Adolph Hitler and called for the extermination of Jews. Plevis was charged and found guilty of “inciting racial hatred” in 2007, but his sentence was overturned on appeal in 2009.

By that time, Makis “Hammer” Voridis had traded up in the world of Greek fascism, merging his Hellenic Front Party into the far-right LAOS party, an umbrella party for all sorts of neo-Nazi and far-right political organizations. LAOS was founded by another raving anti-Semite, Giorgos Karatzeferis—nicknamed “KaratzaFührer” in Greece for alleging that the Holocaust and Auschwitz are Jewish “myths,” and saying that Jews have “no legitimacy to speak in Greece.” The Anti-Defamation League is going ballistic about it; for some reason, the media hasn’t taken notice, except in Israel.

Symbol for the LAOS party (above) and symbol for the KKK (below)

Funny thing is, as far as LAOS party leader “KaratzaFührer” was concerned, while he liked Makis “Hammer” Voridis just as much as the next neo-Nazi, he was worried about what the public might think of putting “Hammer” up for elections on the LAOS party list. Here is LAOS party leader Karatzeferis explaining why to a newspaper last year (big HT to the Greek site “When The Crisis Hits The Fan” for this and much more):

Giorogos Karatzaferis: I was simply afraid that Voridis has a history which I have managed to cover after considerable effort…

Christos Machairas (journalist): What exactly do you mean by “history”?

Giorgos Karatzaferis: About his relation with Jean Marie Le Pen, the axes and all the rest. I am just thinking that suddenly, on the 30th of October (i.e. a bit before the local elections) some guy from New Democracy or from Tsipras’ team (i.e. SYRIZA leftist party) can throw a video on the air and drag me explaining about all these things.

See, that’s the problem with elections, referendums, democracy and the rest: You don’t really know just how qualified and technocratic a guy like Makis “Hammer” Vordis is, which is why it’s such a good thing that the banks instructed the EU to impose “Hammer” on Greece. To deliver some pain. It’s for their own good.

No pain (for the 99%), no gain (for the 1%).

“KaratzaFührer” (left) and Minister “Hammer” (right)

And that is how today, thanks to the EU and the banking interests that control it, Makis “Hammer” Voridis is the new Infrastructure Minister.

Which brings me back to the history of Greece’s coups, and the talk of coups today. Readers who follow our “What You Should Know” section have been reading for months now about all sorts of strange things going on in Greece’s military, culminating with (now ex-) Prime Minister’s Papandreou’s decision to fire his entire military leadership. He fired them on November 1, the same day that he announced that he was putting the EU austerity program to a democratic referendum vote. Here is an account of the firings:

Meanwhile, in a development that has stoked fears of a potential military coup in the country, Papandreou on Tuesday also fired the entire high command of the armed forces along with some dozen other senior officers and replaced them with figures believed to be more supportive of the current political leadership.

The heads of the country’s general staff, army, navy and air force were all dismissed following the meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence, the supreme decision-making body on national defense.

The ministry maintains that the change in the military high command had long been scheduled. But such reshuffles, which take place every two to three years, do not normally result in the dismissal of the entire leadership.

That came during a month of bizarre mass weapons purchases by the Greek military, with the creditor nations—France and the US—as the weapons sellers: In early October, we learned that the US was taking a breather from pushing austerity and bashing lazy Greek public employees to extend a new line of credit to Greece’s military:

According to information of the “Hellenic Defence & Technology” magazine, the U.S. authorities approved to grant 400 M1A1 Abrams tanks to the Greek Army, which will include options between simple refurbishment – worth tens of millions dollars for all the tanks- and upgrading to a higher level of operational capability, with a higher corresponding cost. The relative Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) is expected soon.

Also according to exclusive information of the” Hellenic Defence & Technology” magazine, a Price and Availability letter was sent to U.S. authorities regarding 20 AAV7A1 and a low cost upgrade program for them. This is the first step to cover an operational requirement for 75-100 vehicles.

A couple of weeks later, France extended fresh lines of credit to the same military for desperately-needed stealth battleships, leaving Germany feeling angry and left out, according to Der Spiegel:

A huge arms deal is threatening to put French-German relations under strain. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, France wants to deliver two to four new frigates to the Greek navy and to allow the highly indebted nation to postpone payment of the €300 million ($412 million) purchase price per ship for the next five years.

Under the deal, Greece will have the option of paying up after five years, with a significant discount of €100 million, or returning them to the French navy. The “stealth” frigates are designed to avoid detection by enemy radar and are built by state-owned French defense company DCNS.

The deal is being criticized by German rivals that have been competing for the contract for years.

That last part says it all: What pissed off the Germans wasn’t the profligacy, but losing out in a contract they’d been competing for. What this shows, again, is the lie of “austerity”: They pretend that Greece is too deeply in debt to borrow another penny, yet think nothing of lending a few hundred million to the military.

Looking back at the last-minute maneuvers, it seems pretty clear that Papandreou’s decision to fire all the military leaders on the day he announced his referendum on austerity—his attempt to counterbalance Western banker power and local military power with democratic people power–was essentially an imperialist power-struggle in an uppity colony, whose inhabitants are seen as little more than sources of extraction for banker profits. So we have the creditor nations trying to buy off the military as Banker D(efault)-Day approaches, and Papandreou trying to counter that by both bending to their will, realizing he’s through, and trying to save himself by empowering the people in his country. But Papandreou was far too weak and far too compromised. Ultimately he was no match; he never had a chance. And the popular will of Greece’s citizens is barely an afterthought.

This is how bankers deal with banana republics; it’s how they ran their colonies. Take care of the military, give them gifts and get them in your pocket. The people only exist to be extracted. And when they squeal, characterize them the way the Brits characterized the Irish during the Great Famine: lazy, profligate, it’s all their own fault, what they need is more painful medicine and a swift kick in the ass…for their own good, of course.

And just in case it wasn’t clear to everyone, Forbes magazine came out in favor of a coup. Here is how one Greek columnist reported it:

“Instead of pouring euros down the drain, it would be much wiser for Germany to sponsor a military coup and solve the problem that way.” No, this extract is not from a fascist blog. It is from Forbes magazine and it’s just another one of the provocative articles that follow this insane ongoing anti-Greece campaign of international media.

In the end, the bankers and the West got their coup. And they didn’t need an ugly military spectacle to make it happen. Papandreou was overthrown, the referendum was withdrawn, an austerity regime put in place to carry out the bankers’ demands, without democracy getting in the way. Nice ‘n’ clean.

Not only did the West get its coup, but fascists like Makis “Hammer” Voridis got what they’ve been struggling for all their lives: Power, and vindication for far-right nationalism over democracy.

That’s where we are today. Greece drowning in debt, its democracy broken, and despite fighting the Nazis in World War Two, and taking back democracy from a fascist junta in 1974–in the end, it was the EU and the Western banks that put a guy like Makis “Hammer” Voridis, the guy who patrolled his law school with a makeshift ax, in power, administering banker-pain.

The implications of the EU and bankers forcing Greece, the birthplace of democracy, to cancel a popular plebiscite as “irresponsible,” forcing instead an austerity regime composed partly of neo-Nazis fascists to administer more “pain”–is something that should frighten the shit out of everyone. Because like it or not, we’re all in the cross-hairs of the same banking interests, and we’re all going to face it again and again. Greece just happens to be the first in line.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Foppe

    Here’s a nice companion article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:

    The Greeks were ordered to drop their referendum on measures that reduce their country to a sort of Manchukuo, with EU commissars “on the ground”, installed in each ministry, drawing up lists of state assets to be liquidated to pay foreign creditors.

    Europe had the monetary and fiscal means to contain the EMU debt crisis long enough for Greeks to give or withhold their crucial assent to this ultimatum in December.

    It chose – under German-Dutch pressure – not deploy those means. Instead it forced Greece to capitulate by cutting off an agreed loan payment.

    In Italy, the European Central Bank has engineered the downfall of Silvio Berlusconi by playing the bond markets, switching purchases on and off to enforce compliance with its written dictates (“La Lettera”), and ultimately allowing 10-year yields to spike to 7.45pc to drive him out.

    Europe’s president Herman Van Rompuy swooped in to Rome to clinch the Putsch. “Italy needs reforms not elections,” he said.

    1. sidelarge

      It’s interesting that Evans-Pritchard didn’t even bother to use none of those ever-so-reliable rhetorical devices such as “some say” and “many argue”.

    1. burnside

      . . . except that few uni age men from Athens to Amsterdam in 1985 didn’t possess and wear jeans and leather jacket. I get the points here, but the sartorial slur, minor as it is, is ill-informed.

      The axe says quite enough.

  2. kevinearick

    socialism always ends in fascism, because it crowds out future adaptation. command economies cannot function without a seperate economic growth engine. they always try to kill the black market and kill themselves.

    1. rotter

      wih all due respect Kevin, that analysis shows some major confusion about the terms “socialism” and “fascism”, where when, who, how and why. Not suprising, most American conflate those tags all the time, having never been taught anything except “us free…them good..USA”.

      1. kevinearick


        So, Indonesia is going to save the global economy now. They don’t have an original idea among the whole lot of them. By now, everyone should see that government/corporate has nothing whatsoever to do with the economic growth all depend upon. All it does is redistribute income to legacy systems depending upon how much gravity sling you want, which is why they can’t keep the economy going with $15T in debt. Just keep those orders coming and count them as revenue, with a Fed push, expecting a different outcome. Why not just cut to the chase and ship the entire Boeing enterprise to Indonesia.

        The door closes, and the elevator immediately attempts to go up, down, and change speeds, simultaneously, and everyone in the building pees their pants just thinking about the experience. Loop the controller to itself, with sufficient delay to be sitting in your rocking chair enjoying a cup of tea when it explodes. If they call you to fix it, and they will, charge cash up front for all materials and payroll for the first leg of the job. If they take over the job, and they will, because they always “think” they understand once they see momentum toward completion, let them. Rinse and repeat.

        This is not the first rodeo for Greece and there are plenty of people in that black market that know how the David & Goliath sh** show ends. There are three basic types in the coliseum, those betting on Goliath with their money and their mouth, those betting on David with their mouth and Goliath with their money, and those smart enough to bet on David and keep their mouth shut.

        A living is performing a unique role required by an economy that others cannot or will not provide. A job is make-work to the end of income redistribution, to subsidize the past. Government is in the business of replacing real parents with token parents, to maintain the past. Those employing anxiety know exactly what they are doing, and that’s all, trying to capture others in their black hole, in a black hole of black holes, to delay. The train is leaving for the future and will not be coming back in your lifetime. Choose.

        So, Grays Harbor “suddenly” has $1.8M for the homeless that it states in the media that it doesn’t know what to do with. Are they copying best business practice from Italy again?

        Put up or shut up.

        If you really want to know what to do with that money, here’s what you do:

        Give $5k to every homeless person that enters the office next week with a business prototype, no strings, no administrative overhead, or do the homeless a favor and shut the f&&& up.

        1. bmeisen

          There’s something completely incoherent but meaningful in this comment, literary free-association sort of, on some kind of larger theme. Burn baby burn Kevin! I mean, Indonesia? Where does that come from, though of course it’s unnecessary to ask.

      1. rotter

        Hes conflating capitalist bare bones welfare state programs with “Socialism”, but to get from calling Greece Socialist with a straight face, to Greece being some kind of Universal historical model, is a mark of the Murdoch propaganda system (and Harvard Business School) affected thought process

      2. kevinearick

        if you want to keep arguing about bullsh** definitions of socialism rather than real applications, you go right ahead. The derivatives market is blowing up as I write…

    2. Lewis MacKenzie

      Kevin, that doesn’t make even the remotest ounce of sense. Prior to WW2 the only political groups who opposed fascism in Europe were socialists, anarchists and communists.

      Following the the War, it was the socialists in Greece who fought against those Greek fascists who had supported and fought alongside the Nazis. Guess who the US and UK lent their support to in that fight (clue – it wasn’t the socialists)? To say that socialism always leads to fascism just indicates a stunning level of ignorance as to what the terms “socialism” and “fascism” actually mean.

      1. kevinearick

        the only thing socialists, communists or capitalists can do is redistribute accounting profit once it is realized or print money, hoping to capture the black/white market, resulting in swan events.

    3. patricia

      Every system ends up in fascism when it is not properly structured and carefully tended. Thus, every system ends up in fascism. Humans are not careful or diligent creatures for any length of time.

  3. rotter

    “No, this extract is not from a fascist blog. It is from Forbes”…

    …A facsist magazine.

    Amazing to watch, and horrifying. Remember all that end-of-history, Kumbayah bullshit about the wonderful peace and proseperity the EU was supposed to deliver? Remember the “violent” “Anarchists” in Seattle disagreeing?
    The term “Fascist” can no longer be considered hyperbolic by reasonable people of good faith. Not in Southern Europe and not in the US.

    1. Maju

      Agreed: not at all, we are at the gates of hell at levels of NATO and the whole Earth. We must not forget that Hitler and his minions rose to power with full support of the German “democratic” Right (and the passivity of the Social-Democrats), after taking part in a number of “technocratic” coalition governments. They are grooming this guy to eventually become Greece’s little Hitler (maybe).

      We must not forget that in Spain, the “democratic” Right (then CEDA, now PP) became the Fascist party almost overnight upon Franco’s coup, just adopting the fascist aesthetic and later dropping it. It’s a macabre dance of masks and in Europe, after this Sunday, every single meaningful state will be ruled by the Right (or the ample base “technocratic” governments, which are even worse).

      I’m truly going paranoid as we speak.

      1. casin

        When you say Franco’s coup, you loose a lot of credibility….

        While Franco eventually took over, it was not “his” coup…. Sanjurjo as the head of the coup and Mola as the de facto organizer, were mere tools of the old monarchy and the catholic church…. or put another way: the 1 per-centers and their “moral” propaganda enablers….

        The more things change the more they stay the same….

        1. Ignacio

          Come on! If you say Mola’s coup or Sanjurjo’s coup, very few out of Spain will know what are you talking about. So, Franco’s coup sounds true and good enough to me, or are you going to argue that “Franco didn’t want to…”,

  4. Eagle

    You forgot to explain how the evil banksters legitimized their choice of Voridis by getting him elected to the Greek Parliament in 2007. Obviously, the good, decent 99% of Greece would never democratically vote for a fascist.

    Also, I would hope even a “journalist” like Mark Ames could tell the difference between the Forbes editorial position and a contributor. A contributor who explicitly disclaims the spin Mark has put on his out-of-context quote.

    1. rotter

      What does one have to do with the other? His current position as Germanys Gaulieter in Athens was imposed on the Greek people. Also parlimentary system does not require a getting a majority of votes.

      1. PatriRothbard

        read something about Chile….from a socialist shithole under Allende to an economic powerhouse under Pinochet,a true economic miracle

        I’m not a fascist,I stand for FREEDOM,but fascism is far better than obamasocialism and communism

        1. JohnA

          “I’m not a fascist,I stand for FREEDOM,but fascism is far better than obamasocialism and communism”

          Are you serious? Turn off the Fox News and quit being such a sheepish tool.

        2. earthbound_misfit

          Allende ruled for less than 3 years where the rightwing had the rights to stage strikes and do whatever it can to disrupt his rule.

          Pinochet ruled for 17 years and Chile did not become a powerhouse during his rule, but subsequent to his relinquishing. Also, during his rule, most opposition was killed or went into exile.

          If you want to compare Allende with Pinochet, please take the timescale into account.

          I guess you would also want a Pinochet to come to power next in the US so that we can have a society just like Chile had when Pinochet came to power (since you seem to equate Obama with Allende).

          Perhaps, China is more to your liking, with very little political freedom.

        3. K Ackermann

          Fancy yourself in the 1% there, Rothbard?

          It’s a funny thing about you Libertarians… you never seem to understand who eventually wield’s the real power.

          Get down off your cross, buddy. We need the space to nail the next one up.

          1. PatriRothbard

            Who wield’s the real power?

            Obama,The State,useless burocrats,unions,academic professors(professional brainwasher)and so on

            I’m not the 99%,I’m the 53%

          2. patricia

            Patri: Your list missed the other 99% of power-mongers: trans-national corporations, banks, lobbyists, US military, paid-for judges. And don’t forget those guys who own our mainstream media.

            But it’s a long list and you probably just forgot.

        4. casin

          I bet you can’t find Chile in a map….. and I’ll be shocked to learn that you know what “fascist” means…

        5. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

          “I’m not a fascist,I stand for FREEDOM,but fascism is far better than obamasocialism and communism.”

          Anybody, who’d say such a thing is a Fascist, protestations notwithstanding. Have you forgotten Pinochet’s brutalization of the Chilean population, his torture of his political opponents, his managed elections, and his manipulation of the Chilean economy in the interests of business. Pinochet rules Chile for the benefit of the large corporations. In case you’ve forgotten Mussolini, that’s Fascism.

          Btw, Obama may be going partly down the same road; but if he continues to travel it, it won’t indicate that he’s a socialist, or a communist; but that he’s a fascist.

          These: are not the actions of a socialist or a communist. If you knew anything at all about the two you’d know that.

          1. rotter

            Frankly anyone that would define 0bama as a “socialist” is demented. I understand that it comes from using an intellectual sceptic tank as your only source of knowledge, but until you can get it flushed out, im calling you nuts.

          2. rotter

            sorry, tired. meant to reply to the guy who likes the SS better than “obamaislamasocialorsticcommunamanism”

          3. PQuincy

            Redbeard’s nonsense provides further sad commentary on the state of education in the United States since the Reagan era. Aside from the many elementary errors of composition found in his postings, his words are assembled in ways that defy reason. For the deluded of his ilk, Lewis Carroll’s famous example of Humpty-Dumpty applies, who claimed “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” Redbeard uses words like ‘socialist’ and ‘red’ in ways that bear no relation to their historical trajectory or current semantic fields: the words have instead become labels and synonyms for “bad”, “evil,” and “what I disapprove of.”

            Sadly, it is nearly impossible to debate or discuss sensibly with someone who has succumbed to this modern iteration of orthodox blindness.

        6. Yves Smith Post author

          If you honestly think Pinochet was a success, you are really brainwashed. The Pinochet reforms let to a plutocratic asset grab, a bubble, a crash, a depression, and Keynesian reform, including minimum wages, big time deficit spending, reinstating the unions.

          And bumper sticker slogans in lieu of reasoning are not welcome here.

          1. BondsOfSteel

            Thank you Yves!

            I was about to give up on this whole thread since it was so misinformed, ignorant, and jingoistic.

            Thanks for bringing it back :)

        7. Paul Tioxon

          You know it is all over. The nation state can not move quick enough because their partners, private capital are trying to dissolve the relationship by crippling the state. Then, private capital collapsed. It is still collapsing, failed bank total for USA as of last week, 88. That does not count banks that get merged out of existence before they have to go bad and be given away for next to nothing. So, the 99% will grow in ferocity in relation to the desperate circumstances fabricated by the extreme conservatives. Unless of course, the battle between the moderate conservatives ameliorates the situation before it gets really out of hand. Imagine 15 million PhD and MS degree Americans leaving the country en masse.

          1. Up the Ante

            “The nation state can not move quick enough because their partners, private capital are trying to dissolve the relationship by crippling the state. ”

            Support is being withdrawn, an obvious characteristic. Many baits, many switches.

            Struggling for power becomes hard to hide when tear down is the overriding theme.

            Geithner is a good example, acts like ‘isn’t everything truly wonderful, so many things are falling into place’. Hard to hide that face, for Geithner.

        8. Phil

          I just want to remind everybody of an unremittingly depressing fact of American political life.

          This guy probably votes.

    1. Darren Kenworthy

      He must mean totalitarian governments sensitive to investor interests; few would argue that the market prefers Soviet style state communism.

      1. Darren Kenworthy

        Given the once conventional wisdom that democracies have more vibrant economies, it is illuminating that the interviewer doesn’t pursue this comment. Are we to understand that Fink believes that the USA would please the market more as a totalitarian state? Or that it already is one? What an interesting comment. Thanks for posting this clip.

    1. K Ackermann

      You always come up with interesting history. Thanks.

      B.T.W. N17 is pretty interesting. I was only vaguely aware.

      They were quite selective.

      1. Tao Jonesing

        When it comes to digging up interesting history, nobody can hold a candle to DownSouth. Too bad he doesn’t come around any more.

        1. Skippy

          True Tao, but, it was heavily classicist, romantic, only men can take out other men, protestation. It would seem prudent to look ahead, with out, arm chairs to hold us up.

          Skippy…can we know a thing or if not just admit it, stop using massive assumptions in human modeling?

          1. Tao Jonesing


            Don’t be a hater. DownSouth was serious, yes, but we can’t all be snarxists who refer to ourselves in the third person all the time. :-)

            The reality is that this site is “NC Lite” without DownSouth. For so-called progressives, it is less filling but tastes great. Unfortunately, you are enablers of the very system you pretend to decry.

          2. Skippy

            Tao I think you need to go back and re-read some NC comment threads, DS and myself enjoyed some great conversations and Dan Duncan moments. Now you jump to conclusions of hate, way to diminish one of the most powerful woulds in the English language. And where did you get the idea that I’m a progressive, I’ve stated that my position is non ideological, still waiting on a hole lot of data to come in. Lastly it was their choice to leave, no one made them, no one to blame…

            Skippy…enabler was the best part, as in my book the enablers were – are people that believe in magic.

          3. K Ackermann

            It’s not fair to call this NC Lite without DownSouth. We all enjoyed his comments, but remember that they were reflexive.

            The meat and potatoes are the truthful daily articles that we get nowhere else. The things we care about without hyperbole.

            Why did DownSouth stop commenting?

          4. JTFaraday

            Something about him and Pilkington cross-trading zombie-Marxist and zombie-MMT insults once too often.

            Except, Downsouth wasn’t a Marxist.

          5. Yves Smith Post author

            DownSouth for some reason decided Anonymous Jones was some sort of bad dude right winger and started tearing into him. It was weird. Skippy sided with Anonymous, hence him acting like he had a dog in this fight. I told DS as nicely as possible that his posture towards AJ was a bit de trop (DS’s comments were taking a nasty and vituperative tone) and DS left in a huff.

            Richard Smith later found DS threads on other blogs. Apparently this has happened with him before. He was a very valuable contributor, but even so, no one is allowed to engage in unwarranted personal attacks. I can’t for the life of me figure out what about Anonymous Jones’ remarks triggered the disproportionate reaction from Down South.

  5. Jeff

    That’s not an axe. It’s a rock tied to a club. Pretty
    stupid weapon because it’s going to come untied in the
    heat of action.

    1. reslez

      > That’s not an axe. It’s a rock tied to a club.

      I trust you’ll volunteer your skull to test its deficiencies vs. an axe that meets your standards.

      A crazy weapon is a crazy weapon.

  6. another

    Fellow humans of Greece! Lead us to democracy once again!

    Rise up as before. Fight the fascist menace. They are, as ever, the true enemy of all beings of conscience anywhere. I don’t say they must be destroyed. They must be neutralized. Make their efforts ineffective by refusing to cooperate. You will know when cooperation is being asked. Do not cooperate with fascists. Ever. They will eat your young.

  7. tranz429

    Its a Zeitgeist Baby!…Soon we’ll all be on voucher systems. Just keep feeding the machine to live.
    OWS is the awakening of some, but most are in denial, or blissfully ignorant of the treadmill society is being pushed onto. Short on equities, and long on seeds, and bullets…

  8. John Drinkwater

    During the Nazi occupation, the Greek communists led the successful resistance campaign, but they were quickly betrayed by the post-war government (and their British puppet masters) who, instead of including the heroic communist defenders of Greece as per their agreement, brought on board the Nazi collaborators instead. The Communists could’ve actually taken over Greece themselves as the Nazis retreated, but for the sake of national unity, they held back and instead supported a coalition government. And then they got fucking stabbed in the back by the “pro-democracy” forces! In other words, the fascist element has been there for awhile…

    1. psychohistorian

      An week or so ago I made a comment saying that as goes Greece, so goes the 99%.

      I am not sure I believe that now. While it may be an important bulkhead in our class war the one ring that rules them all is the fascist government of America. We have all the nukes and military. If the American public is not able to rise up and stop our current fascistic system then there is little chance of other “western democracies” breaking the class system completely either.

      Laugh the global inherited rich out of control of our society and into rooms at the Hague.

      1. Nathanael

        Remember one thing: no government survives unless it keeps the vast majority of the population fed, clothed, housed, and busy. Remember a second thing: no violent and abusive government survives unless it keeps the military/paramilitary enforcement divisions happy.

        25% unemployed or hungry is a relatively safe estimate for the trigger level for guaranteed-overthrow-of-government. The level of discontent among the military can be harder to measure.

        The fascists of the 30s understood both of these things. Our current banker-kleptocrat fascists do not. Therefore our current banker-kleptocrat fascists will be overthrown.

        I worry that they will be overthrown by smarter fascists.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      I can’t remember if I saw this here or somewhere else, but the U.S. and NATO conducted secret campaigns against the Left after WWII across Europe, including Greece:

      Any doubt the U.S. isn’t siding with the fascists again?

      The U.S. elite wants fascism. Hitler just took it a bit too far and ruined the brand for a while.

  9. ira

    Even though, I’m usually a fan of Ames, a little fact-checking would be useful: the ‘military coup’ quote from Forbes, is in itself a quote from an article in the notoriously anti-EU British newspaper the Telegraph,,

    ‘Only half in jest is it sometimes said that a better use for Germany’s money than pouring it down the drain of further bail-outs would be to sponsor a Greek military coup and solve the problem that way, since dictatorship is incompatible with EU membership and would therefore automatically lance the problem.’

    The point being that a military coup would be a means of throwing Greece out of the EU (on lack of ‘formal’ democracy grounds), rather than a means of enforcing banker-demanded austerity.

  10. Yan Herreras

    Just to undersign Yves’ point about Pinochet’s “economic miracle”:

    “After the military took over the government in September 1973, there was a year and a half of benign neglect of the economy as the regime consolidated its power. When in April 1975, the so called “Chicago Boys” took control of economic policy, a period of dramatic economic changes began. Chile was transformed gradually from an economy isolated from the rest of the world, with strong government intervention, into a liberalized, world integrated economy, where market forces were left free to guide most of the economy’s decisions. This period was characterized by several important economic achievements, bolstered by increased support from the US administration: inflation was reduced greatly, the government deficit was virtually eliminated, the economy went through a dramatic liberalization of its foreign sector, and a strong market system was established. Along with these achievements, drops occurred in the standard of living of the poorest citizens, poverty jumped dramatically, wages declined, and the gap between rich and poor widened significantly.[4]
    From an economic point of view, the era of General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte (1973–90) can be divided into two periods. The first, from 1975 to 1981, corresponds to the period when most of the reforms were implemented. The period ended with the international debt crisis and the collapse of the Chilean economy. At that point, unemployment was extremely high, above 20 percent, and a large proportion of the banking sector had become bankrupt. During this period, a pragmatic economic policy that emphasized export expansion and growth was implemented. The second period, from 1982 to 1990, is characterized by economic recovery and a further movement towards a free market economy, although at a slower pace than that of the early 1980s.”

    Some miracle.

    1. Chris

      Plenty of full employment among the Lumpin as the Caravan of Death went from town to town eliminating those nasty impediments to national recovery, the trade unionists,
      the local teachers unionists, the university pests,
      the owners of newspapers unfriendly to the government, you know, the usual suspects.

      Chile privatized everything so
      that ITT which had its headquarters for Chilean operations in Beverly Hills could do its work. One thing that the
      government kept was the giant copper mine. Funny how that
      works isn’t it?

      Envision Scientology and Amway taking over all local government and public services and you’ll get a little
      feel for what life in Chile was like during the “recovery”.

      I lived there.

  11. Woodrow Wilson

    “Kajagoogoo Nazi” –

    Now that was funny.

    However, there seems to be an entire time period skipped here; the era of “November 17th”. Are those people still around? My guess is they are out of jail and are not very happy these days. I was there when they were picking off Americans, and just after the bombing at “Bobby’s”. They had a lot of sympathy from locals that were not keen on the American presence, now greatly diminished since.

  12. BS

    The author forgot to mention that every time a Greek Government is about to change hands they turn over the top military brass. This is done to give the lower ranking people who were loyal to the departing government a turn at the top jobs.

    This not too different in that the US military used to promote some people at the very end of their careers so they can retire at higher pay.

  13. Mattski

    A timely reminder–one we need every day–that the underlying tension is always between capitalism and socialism, with fascism as extreme state of the former, and socialism, simply, as the demand by the broad mass of the people for an economic system that addresses our basic needs and offers more direct popular decision-making.

    1. aet

      19th century bs.

      Socialism Marxism Zionism communism fascism and capitalism are doctrines which pre-date the rise of modern medical science! And which pre-date the rise of the great mega-cities throughout the world during the 20th Century! They represent very very old ways of thinking! What makes you think that they are in any way relevant to today’s world? What evidence do you have that those social theories still hold any water – if they indeed they ever did actually hold water?

      The 21st century and the future belongs to empiricism – not dogmatism.

      It seems from the evidence that pragmatism demands no less.

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        No, that’s a reference to a somewhat fictionalized film version of life under the Greek military junta.

        A tad laconic unless you had happened to see it back in the day. Anyone who would have been involved in the glorification of that fascist regime are not people you wish to have anywhere near the levers of power today. Thanks, Eurocrats!

  14. Michael Kenny

    Is this intended to be a satire? Or has Mr Ames fallen for a media scam? Surely he doesn’t think that anybody could take this article seriously?

    1. Element

      Remember all those Islamo-fascists of the Bush v2.0 view of the whirld?

      I believe they were brown.

      Don’t know why people assume a fascist must be a European,, when the Japanese were basically fascist militarists.

      Fascism in its original form, came from the Italian Fascisti, a political movement whose political philosophy was that force is the first-resort of state power, not some wimpy last-resort.

      All the secondary stuff surrounding State corporatism was to engender a more efficent garnering of devastating weaponry in order to meet the aims and demands of their political philosophy.

      The germans did it better, and the Israelis perfected it into a fine-art. The US adopted and adapted from all of the above. Now the rest of the world copies the template.

      Every where you look now it’s the espousing of force or the attitudes of force, especially by the TPTB, in the name of a barely credible peace, and shoddy discredited Nobel Peace Prizes.

  15. Jordi

    “Don’t forget that fascism is also socialism. :)”, yes sure…
    Fascism = Right wing, impose everything, no right to think. Therefore it is a dictatureship.
    Socialism = Taking care of people. Many governments in Europe have socialist parties in the government. For example Spain’s president is from PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español, meaning Spanish workers socialist party), and they are suposed to be left wing (I say this because they are being a little bit right with the crisis and so on they are doing what banks tell them to do).

    In socialism gays can marry, everyone has more rights and can say whatever they think. In fascism is totally the opposite. You don’t need to study to know what I am telling you, I guess you are American and you had to pay for your education (or you need to pay to have a treatment for cancer…).

  16. Psychoanalystus


    Serves them right! Lazy Greek bastards! That’s what they get for cheating on their taxes, retiring at 45, working 30 hours a week, getting 2 months vacation, and staying up late drinking frappes by the beach.

    I say, let’s ship them bastards to the camps! Heil!


    PS — I’m looking forward to readers’ comments…LOL

  17. Paul

    Newbie here, usually over at zerohedge but Yves, you must be doing something right as you have some serious serial trolls over here. Good luck!

  18. George

    Dear Mark. LAOS at best has 5% of the total Greek vote. They are not a threat. LAOS in the past had an anti illegal immigrant policy. In 2003 former PM George Papandreou went and signed Dublin II regulation treaty which means that the 1st EU country illegal immigrants land in that country must process its claims for “asylum” Today in Athens there are hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants (mainly Muslims) that should not be there. Illegal immigration is costing Greece millions of Euros each year.85% of Greeks in a recent survey do not want them in. Athens is also in danger of becoming a strong ISLAMIC city. LAOS is no different to any other far right parties in Europe who do not want illegal immigrants in. What is the alternative ISLAMIC terrorists amongst the Christians. illegal immigrants need to be deported, Greece cannot sustain them in this difficult economic climate where most Greeks are suffering.

  19. Onur

    “In 1967, the military overthrew democracy, imposed a fascist junta, jailed and tortured suspected leftist dissidents, and ran the country into the ground until the junta was overthrown by popular protest in 1974.”

    I have to add something important to this sentence;

    This is something forgotten by the Greeks but their 8 years old brutal junta regime doesn’t get overthrown by just a popular protest because their colonels knew how to suppress ordinary people by driving tanks in to the university buildings and kill 100s of people in Athens if necessary.

    Their junta invaded Cyprus in 1974, with ~20.000 soldiers to commit genocide upon Turkish population of the island. After 5-6 days of their invasion, Turkish army came and kicked them out from the island in 48hours and then Turkish PM demanded from USA to pull back CIA`s support to the Greek colonel regime. Thats when and how democracy returned to Greece in 1974 after 8 years of fascist junta regime.

    Without their major crime and failure in Cyprus and without the pressure of Turkey to the USA, junta regime would surely continue because if USA wouldn’t pull back their support to the junta colonels, there could be a major war between Greece and Turkey.

    OR if we think the other way around; If Turkey wouldn’t organize military operation to the Cyprus, then colonels would be regarded as heroes in Ğreece, soldiers of Sparta, descendants of Achilles… because they would have been successful for hellenizing whole Cyprus and finally achieve the goal of EOKA, megali idea

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      Shades of the invasion of the Falklands (or Malvinas if you prefer) by the decreasingly popular right wing military government of Argentina. Got spanked, and not too long afterwards, got turfed out. Too bad it cost quite a few lives in the offing.

  20. stevefraser

    Time to re read “Liberal Fascism” by J. Goldberg to truly understand Fascism….not all Fascist states are anti-Semitic: Fascist Italy and Franco’s Spain are two examples. Fascism is a deification of the State (run by “specialists” as the “people” are too stupid or uninformed) with a charismatic leader attuned to “…the will of the people…”. It needs continual crises to justify itself….(Remind you of anything in Wash. D.C.?).

  21. Mr Damage

    Yes the Greeks have certainly been given a great deal, who doesn’t love an appointed government of fascists and bankers (basically the same thing). Austerity motivation indeed works better down the barrel of a gun, not to say in all fairness that they were accepting their gross overspending with any grace.

    They should have defaulted, at least they would then own their problems as opposed to becoming perpetual debt slaves.

  22. bluffraise

    So, corporations move jobs offshore. Middle class is gutted but get good deals at Wallmart. Expansionary monetary policies meant to stave off deflation, and prime economic engine, result in current excesses working through system. Nanny states are collapsing – thumbs being pulled out of mouths, looking for a new warm spot, preferable up someone else’s ass.

    And the cave man with rock tapped to stick looks like a poser to me.

  23. aurelius

    don’t blame voridis for being tough-headed instead of tender. if potential victims never bring their own hammers to ‘tenderise’ these bullies of course they’ll just keep acting tough.

  24. CrippleHorse

    Nice article. Just pointing out why Karatzaferis reminded the people of Voridis’ past himself. At that time, a lot of rumours were spreading about Voridis questioning his leadership on the far right party. His excuse for exposing him like that was lame, Greek media always promote him and conceal his party’s fascist past and ideas, so he knew perfectly well that there was nothing to worry. This is one of many things that show how opportunist he is, his political games frequently result in him supporting two opposite positions in just a few days.

  25. Bert

    Thanks Eagle. The dishonesty of this quote: “Forbes magazine came out in favor of a coup” is even more obvious when you see that this quote links you to a Greek blogger’s take on the Forbes article instead of the Forbes article itself. Which, if you bother to read, does not come out in favor of a coup at all. You may have very important information to report, some of which may even be true, Mr. Ames, but lying undermines your credibility. Now, for me, you have none.

  26. Alastair McGowan

    Anyone concerned about the rise of fascism – I thoroughly recommend prof Bob Altemeyer’s (free online) book about his lifetimes work researching authoritarian/right/fascism personality, what it is, how leaders co-opt followers, and a lot more information that shows us what this disease is and most importantly giving insights that will enable us to limit or reduce its effects. The book has a forward by Sen. John Dean who warns of the growing neo-liberal form of fascism poised to turn into something nasty in the US.
    You will finish the book more worried than when you started it! People who have this disorder are all around us, from the distinct right-wingers in every community to our neighbours whose aversion to uncertainty quickly switches to marching in step with co-sufferers and searching for ‘strong leaders’ when times become less certain. And BTW, I am a Brit and I see the same undercurrents growing in our own society. No nation is immune except those societies with non-hierarchical structures.

  27. Richard Currly

    “Hi, my name is Mark Ames! Please disregard the fact that my daddy’s a millionaire lawyer and I’ve always been a part of the 1%.”

  28. N

    A few notes:

    1) The name is PlevRis, with an “R”.

    2) Nobody calls the new Greek government “technocrats”. The only one considered a technocrat is the new Prime Minister. Everybody else in the 40-member cabinet is a politician. Most of them for a long time too. The new “technocrat” PM kept about half of the ministers of the resigned Papandreou government. So it’s somewhat of a coalition government that includes 3 parties: center-left, center-right and far right. Everyone has appointed some of their members as ministers and the PM obviously didn’t have much of a saying on this. He’s supposed to cooperate with them and organize their priorities but he did Not choose them nor did he appoint any of his fellow technocrats in the group. It was reported early in the negotiations that he’d do it but in the end it didn’t happen. Point is, Voridis and his friends were included for 100% political reasons. The word “technocratic” wasn’t used even as a mask in this case. The banks didn’t ask for Voridis, they asked for the broadest possible inclusion of political parties. The Greek people (unfortunately) voted for Voridis and his party so it’s included in the Parliament. So when it’s time to include virtually “every party that wants to” in the new government, LA.O.S. is one of those parties too. The Communist Party would get some ministries too, if it had simply declared the wish to participate in this.

    3) The cross in the center of LA.O.S. party is inspired by Greece’s first official flag, not the KKK. Check the image of that flag online. Obviously they do share some common “values”. But the party’s symbols and rhetoric usually derive from the nation’s history, (sometimes within ” “, others twisted but nevertheless…) not from foreign organizations. Even if they end up looking and acting in a similar way.

    4) One of the reasons why Karatzaferis’ antisemitic isn’t such a big media issue could be because he toned it down recently and even publicly said he regrets making those comments, after joining the new government. I don’t remember if he used the word Holocaust but he said that what happened was a horrible crime of massive scale and one of the biggest and most atrocious of the 20th century. Of course it was very half-hearted but for his standards it was huge. It was even labeled a “treason” by some of the far-right of his far-right party.

    I’m just clarifying some details, definitely not taking the far-right’s part. I dislike them as well but I think that we should blame them for the right reasons. And, very very unfortunately, it was the Greek people’s vote that gave the LA.O.S. party most of the legitimacy it enjoys today. If it wasn’t in the parliament (as it used to be the case for a couple of decades) and on the rise, then it wouldn’t be included in the government either. Even worse, a “Socialist” leader, the current president of the Socialist International played a huge role in this and definitely never resisted or opposed it.



Comments are closed.