Mathew D. Rose: Greece – Plus ça change

Yves here. Readers will recognize that I differ with Rose on some of his reading of the Greek government strategy, most important, in how defiant they have actually been. For instance, calling the Troika “the institutions” does not make them any less the Troika. See James Petras for his take, which is caustic, on the gap between Syriza’s PR and its actions.

Nevertheless, whether the Greek government’s protests are substantive or mere grandstanding, any show of opposition is more that the Eurocrats are prepared to accept. And a successful left-leaning government is also seen as a threat in quite a few quarters.

By Mathew D. Rose, a freelance journalist in Berlin

If there is one satisfying aspect of being an investigative journalist, it is not having to chase, create or falsify stories. One has plenty of time to gather the facts to come to a reliable result. I have rarely appreciated this situation more than in the past two months. That is how long Syriza has been in office. It has been truly impressive watching my colleagues racing from one purported crisis meeting to the next, sitting in press centres until the early hours of the morning, attempting to top each other with their scoops and inside information. After two exhausting months, however, nothing has really changed; or as the French would say: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Yes, the Greek treasury and banks are strapped for cash. But both institutions, like the Syriza government, are still standing. They may well be doing so for some time to come. The problem is that Germany and the rest of the euro-nations, who really do not matter politically, want Greece to remain in the Eurozone. On the other hand, Germany and Europe’s ruling class, who really do matter, want the leftist Syriza out of the Eurozone, out of Greece and even better still, totally obliterated. This has apparently become a conundrum: how to get rid of Syriza and keep Greece in the Eurozone. Not long ago a military coup would have been the tidy solution for this sort of situation, but those things do not happen in the EU anymore – I hope.

Syriza is simply not doing what Germany wants. Syriza politicians should be falling on their knees, begging forgiveness for speaking the truth concerning Greece’s debt, rolling out the red carpet for the Troika bureaucrats and reinstating the policy dictated to them by Germany. I constantly read and hear in the media that Syriza has capitulated, hauled up the white flag, reneged on its promises to the Greek people, yet somehow they seem to keep plugging on, fulfilling their election promises, speaking their mind. Yes, there has been no debt relief, but Syriza did not have a mandate to take Greece out of the Eurozone either and they may feel this is binding.

Germany could effortlessly force Greece out of the Eurozone. That, however, could politically and financially turn into a messy and possibly dangerous affair; and how will they ever get Greece back into the eurozone? The other problem is, as far as I can judge from Berlin, only the Germans and their Quislings want Syriza out of the Greek government. The German propaganda machine – and I mean propaganda in the objective sense – is working in high gear to whip up hate – and I do not mean this polemically – among the Germans against Syriza and Greece. The rest of the populations in the EU may not be agreed if Greece should receive some sort of debt relief or not, but there is not the frenzy of enmity that has been whipped up in Germany. I cannot discover this sort of vitriol in the media of other European nations.

There have been claims that the citizens of countries, which have been “bailed out” by the Troika and are supposedly recovering, such as Spain, Portugal and Ireland resent Greece’s demands for debt relief. That is not the way these things work. People who have just gone through such a harrowing experience know what austerity is and tend to show solidarity with fellow victims, for example in Dublin last week, where many of the protestors at the demonstration against the introduction of water charges carried Greek flags – not a single German flag was sighted. The Irish know only too well how they and the Greeks have been exploited after bank bailouts turned private debt into public debt in 2010.

Obviously the financial blitzkrieg, throwing Greece out of the Eurozone, has not been viable; otherwise it would surely have already occurred. Thus Germany will have to figure out a way to get rid of Syriza and keep Greece in the Eurozone. The question is, if financial counter-insurgency, destabilisation and attrition, have now become the plan of action? Counter-insurgency, with both military and economic elements, was often a successful means of disposing of a democratically elected government. The same result can be surely attained solely by subverting the financial system and sabotaging the economy of Greece. In fact, this is already occurring.

The script is basic: Germany and the Eurocrats will all be very nice to the Greeks (we have not heard from Wolfgang Schäuble for quite a while). Ms Merkel invites Alexis Tsirpas to supper in Berlin, Mario Draghi claims to be doing his best to help Greece, the IMF keeps a very low profile. Unfortunately Greece goes to the wall. No one wanted this result, but Syriza made a mess of the affair. The event will be termed “Grexident”. The Troika will offer a token sum (new debts) out of solidarity with the Greek people, with the condition that there is a new government excluding Syriza. The previous status quo is re-established. It sounds similar to 2011, as the then Greek Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou called for a national referendum concerning the Troika’s austerity plans for Greece.

There is only one problem with this scenario: it relegates the Greeks to the role of victims, passive spectators of their own destiny. That is however where the current situation began two months ago. The Greeks have already lived through six years of being victims, deciding two months ago that enough is enough. Should a Grexident occur, Merkel, Schäuble, Draghi, Legarde, Dijsselbloem and their cohorts may be able to throw a party in the top floor of the new ECB building in Frankfurt in celebration of “mission accomplished”, but ask George Bush how elusive such victories can be.

It could just as well be that there is a continuation of the muddling along policy. Syriza will introduce its reforms, Germany and the Troika will claim they have forced Syriza into submission while continuing to provide the Greek government with a perpetual, but minimal financial lifeline to avoid a Grexident, hoping to grind the Greeks down so that they will vote Sytiza out at the next elections. This would be accompanied with a defamation campaign in the media to convince Europeans that Syriza blackmails, lies, cheats, is anti-European, bullies, is an ally of Putin etc… Germany has publicly well-funded political foundations in Greece, which are known to actively undermine democratically elected leftist governments.

What we do not know much about, because all my colleagues are sitting in press centres fabricating exciting stories about boring events, is what is truly happening in Greece itself. What shall be decisive in the end is not financial or monetary machinations of the Troika, but the Greek people; and to be honest, I do not have the remotest idea of what is occurring there, search in the internet as I may.

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  1. cassiodorus

    It’s all speculation at this point. Either Greece is out, or SYRIZA will conform to each and every dictate issued from Berlin and Brussels. We might see an outcome soon. Shouldn’t there be an announcement soon about some sort of public referendum in Greece on the revival of the drachma? I eagerly await Costas Lapavitsas’ next column in The Guardian on this topic.

    As for Petras, he seems to have it in for bland reformism. Didn’t Hugo Chavez start out as a bland reformist? What’s disappointing about bland reformists is that they stay bland reformists — they might enact this measure or that, without disturbing the neoliberal status quo in the least. Hasn’t the PT done a couple of good things for the poor in Brazil? Meanwhile, and neither Petras nor SYRIZA mentions this, neoliberalism is on track to kill us all.

    1. susan the other

      Thanks for the link. The correlation of all the environmental categories’ take-off was around 1950: “The Great Acceleration”. And driven by pure ideology. They say that Russia polluted itself even worse than we did. And history shows an inability of civilizations to change in time to save themselves. I keep remembering the German professor who did tutorials on how economically destabilizing even a little interest is over time and how at some point it goes parabolic. Much like population growth. There is a profound underlying truth here. That neoliberals stick to their economic principles (no matter how half-baked) is tragedy.

      1. cassiodorus

        Well the bland reformists who run the government in Brazil ought to recognize at some point that “more capitalism” is not going to resolve the water situation in Sao Paulo.

        1. susan the other

          I just went to Links and read Petras and I’m still trying to catch my breath. I believe his accounting is accurate. The phrase (cliche as he puts it) “It’s capitalism or chaos” is new to me. But I can certainly see how neoliberal capitalism brought the entire world to this perceived crossroad. More like a perfect storm. Capitalism once was credited with providing the jobs. OK. Let’s look at jobs. Even better, lets look at the sum total of all value on the planet. The air we breathe is valuable; our thoughts are valuable. Money? Money is not valuable. We have been the victims of a shell game. Our next new and improved concept of money design should include a “use by” date because money is a very perishable commodity. And yes, time is valuable. And yes, money rots.

          1. cassiodorus

            Petras’ accounting is accurate, but only so far. The situation will probably change, either vindicating Petras’ judgments, or not.

  2. ErnstThalmann

    Enough, already. This whole thing has been going on too long. The obvious solution is the creation of a workers’ state, the confiscation of private property and the arrest and public trial of all counter-revolutionary elements. Who believes that the purposes of the capitalist troika are anything but to steal the Greek people blind? One deals with filth of this kind precisely as outlined above.

  3. susan the other

    I do not understand how Draghi can instruct Greek banks not to buy any government debt. He is essentially saying that that debt isn’t worth the paper it is written on and the ECB is too pure to touch it. It is a takeover of sovereignty before Greece has even achieved sovereignty. Or “democracy” as Varoufakis says. The EU pretends it is preventing a clever Greek ponzi scheme. When the ponzi of all ponzis crashed in 2008 and immediately turned itself into “debt ponzi” – also as Varoufakis tells it. It is as if the EU thinks it can fix the whole mess by sticking to the rules. The rules. Those things that got us all here – not just Greece alone… We have all run up a tab of unpayable debts, not just because interest compounds itself, but because we have failed to mind the environment. Completely failed.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      If you read the treaties that established the EU, they are explicit that member states transferred much of their decision-making power to the EU level entities, as in they sacrificed national sovereignity. So the Greek government’s assertions of its rights as a national sovereign are wrongheaded. It is not sovereign. That is why the Eurocrats are losing patience. Mind you, I wish it were otherwise, but Greece joined a roach motel.

      Moreover, as Frank Herbert said in Dune, “The people who can destroy a thing, they control it.” The ECB can destroy the Greek banking system. All modern banking systems have deposit guarantees. A deposit guarantee from a bankrupt state like Greece is worthless. No one would keep a dime in a Greek bank were it not for the ELA backstopping the Greek government.

      1. gordon

        ‘…as Frank Herbert said in Dune, “The people who can destroy a thing, they control it.”’

        Not so sure about that. It’s more true, I think, that the people who can’t control a thing may destroy it to prevent a rival gaining control. In the Greek case, that would be the Germans destroying Greece because Syriza prevents their gaining control.

        As far as sovereignty is concerned, it’s inalienable. Ask any Pole.

          1. Chris Grimley

            They would have done better to live their lives as slaves, or “right-to-work” factory workers.

            But you’re right, they would beg to differ.

      2. Calgacus

        If you read the treaties that established the EU, they are explicit that member states transferred much of their decision-making power to the EU level entities, as in they sacrificed national sovereignty. So the Greek government’s assertions of its rights as a national sovereign are wrongheaded.

        That is a profound misreading of international law, while Greece’s assertion of its sovereign rights to exit austerity, if needs be the EZ/EU, are entirely consonant with rights recognized under international law by every nation, jurist and commentator. I would argue it is even thus becoming obligatory. Greece most certainly is still sovereign, it has a seat at the UN and no commentator disagrees. Reading the supposedly sui generis Euro-treaties- which are universally recognized as NOT Greece’s & other members’ highest international obligations- to alienate Greek sovereignty to the extent claimed is insupportable – and nobody does. Initial impressions to the contrary mean the source should be read more carefully.

        Members of the US Confederacy would beg to differ.
        This comparison – of the EU to the Union, of Greece to the Confederacy is so outre that it strongly suggests further reading of international law books and academic writing on Grexit. But it is an instructive mistake because it makes things clearer – legally – and practically, in showing how the Euro tyrants are behaving, for civil wars like the USA’s, of which there have been dozens since 1865, since 1945 are a very different matter legally and practically from Greece v. EU.
        If Greece said “We’re checking out of the EZ” – what would happen? Could/ would the EU invade? Would the tanks roll? As I have been saying all along, the catastrophe prophesized for Greece upon separating from the EZ is more appropriate to a nation about to be bombed, invaded or under Iraq-level sanctions.
        After Greece said: we default on our debts and introduce the drachma – could / would Germany declare war? In 2015, this isn’t going to happen. Almost as unlikely as the whole world in 2015 solemnly, formally agreeing slavery, genocide and cannibalism are not banned anymore, but fine, dandy and even obligatory. To agree with this Captain Obviousity – is to say Greece is sovereign, has the sovereignty that counts.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You had that wrong.

          The governing treaties are explicit that the member states accept the unique framework of the EU and look only to the jurisdiction of EU courts. They explicitly renounce any laws that conflict with EU governing laws.

          Do your homework before spouting off.

          1. Calgacus

            Nothing from these treaties has been quoted. Rightly, because understanding the structure of modern international law means it just doesn’t matter what the treaties say on these points.

            The governing treaties are explicit that the member states accept the unique framework of the EU and look only to the jurisdiction of EU courts. They explicitly renounce any laws that conflict with EU governing laws.
            But can the governing treaties make such assertions and renunciations binding as interpreted here? Can the governing treaties override the UN Charter or erga omnes or jus cogens norms for self-determination, against slavery, genocide etc even if they said so in so many words? Did anybody signing the governing treaties think they were creating a body of law that was higher than the UN charter!? If the treaties said everyone in Europe must jump a kilometer, would those words make people jump that far?
            No. The Euro governing treaties and their wording must be interpreted in light of laws that all recognize as higher “constitutional” law, and the law of gravity, too. When the Euro governing treaties conflict with the UN Charter or the law of gravity – the latter two win. No commentator or interpreter agrees with the italicized position above. E.g. the Euro governing treaties did not and could not remove the Security Council’s recognized jurisdictions and powers. I agree, of course, with Athanassiou’s paper and his citations on essentially this point – see the top of p.22 – and some of his preceding discussion. It is a human custom that the most vital parts of any discussion are preceded by “Needless to say”.

            In particular – 3 simple yes or no questions.
            What would happen if Greece just up and left? War, yes or no?
            Would this subsequent war on Greece be legal under international law, or not?
            Do the Euro governing treaties supersede, override the UN Charter and norms erga omnes, or not?

            I always think doing ones’ homework is a good idea. Doing the background reading necessary to understand the homework is a good idea too. I am grateful for this discussion, for reminding and showing me that there was an international political/economic order grounding the positions I call insupportable above: 19th century / classical international law and gold/metal standards. Great thinkers back then saw that this system could and usually did mean nothing more than a gang of thieves agreeing on dividing plunder, the gold standard being one price to enter the gang. The EU/EZ has partly been an illusory, attempted return to this bygone age. But that age, to which the point of view I am criticizing above belongs, when Europe and a few more could call themselves “civilized nations” while assaulting the rest of the world, is bygone. While the Eurocrats are plainly nostalgic for it, at some level they understand it is not 1800 or 1900, but 2015, three score and ten after 1945. Everyone else should as well.

  4. Santi

    February, first time enterprise credit grows since June 2012, according to Bank of Greece. This in spite of big deflation, which in February Greece toppled in the Eurozone with -2.16 %, followed by Spain, with -1.07% (BTW, the “excellent” 0.8% GDP advance for Spain should be tempered: in nominative terms Spain still has stagnating economy, and thus fast growing debt).

    In the micro I’m trying to get more information from sources in Greece, but it is taking time to get reliable people on the field, friends of friends… :)

  5. Cugel

    Short version of this story: The Germans want PASOK back in power to implement the Memorandum. Well, they’re not going to get it. The difference between Spain and Ireland where they successfully managed to force austerity down the people’s throats and Greece where they have repeatedly failed is that Greece is a weaker economy, and is further down the rabbit hole. With unemployment at 25%, which is already Great Depression level, and getting worse, it’s not going to work.

    As a result of trying to implement Troika policies, PASOK fell from 44% in 2009 to 4% in the latest election. They’re not coming back to power. The reason SYRIZA is in power is that none of the accommodationist parties, whether they call themselves “New Democracy” or “Olive Tree” can gather any support.

    The Germans may hate and want to get rid of SYRIZA but they have no alternative partner. German opinion is that if SYRIZA won’t capitulate then Greece must be forced out, end the bank support, and then “make the economy scream” in Nixon’s famous phrase about Chile.

    But, this will simply cause massive resentment and fear in Southern Europe and the rise in support of parties promising to exit the Eurozone. What happens to the Eurozone if someone like Le Pen takes over in France? It won’t even matter, just as it didn’t matter in the ’30s, whether the policies these nationalist parties support will work or not. If you crush the left, you will get Nazis. And no, the Euro bankers really aren’t going to do better with them in charge. That is a bit of history they seem to have forgotten.

  6. docg

    “Obviously the financial blitzkrieg, throwing Greece out of the Eurozone, has not been viable; otherwise it would surely have already occurred.”

    Precisely! There has been one “deadline” after another since February, so clearly the Eurozone powers will never bring themselves to take any action likely to trigger that moment of truth.

    Greece need not any longer prostrate itself before the Furies of the Troika (aka “Institutions”). The best bet for Tsipras and Varoufakis is to simply tell them: “It’s now up to you. The ball is in your court. We have nothing more to say. If you want to see Greece default, then cancel the damned bailout and watch the Eurozone go under.”

    Oh and by the way, just in case Greece does leave the Euro, I have a suggestion for what to call the new currency. Instead of the “Drachma,” I nominate: the “Grexit.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please tell me about these deadlines. Links? You are making stuff up.

      The only one is the end of April one in the written memorandum that Greece agreed to. The one to get the detailed reform list in by next Monday was NOT initiated by the creditors, as you insinuate, but by Tsipras asking Merkel for a break. The response was. “you want the money sooner, you need to get the reform list to us by Monday. If you do that, we can have the Eurogroup discuss it next week if the Troika finds it acceptable.”

      That’s not an ultimatum. That’s the creditors trying to be responsive to Greece’s pleading.

      Greece has no dough and is getting desperate and the creditors are unmoved. You are seriously trying to tell me Greece is in a position of strength? They refused to give Greece 1.2 billion euros out of ESFS funds where Greece has a good case that the money belongs to it. Not only that, but the Telegraph reports that Greece got a lecture on the phone call when it was turned down to boot.

      1. docg

        “Dijsselbloem gives Greece a Feb 16 deadline to apply for bailout extension,” Keep Talking Greece, Feb. 6, 2015 (

        “Greece will send a list of reforms aimed at securing a bailout extension to EU partners on Tuesday morning, missing a Monday deadline, officials say.” BBC News, Feb. 23, 2015 (

        “Greece misses midnight deadline for reform plan,” The Times, Feb. 24, 2015 (

        “Dijsselbloem said a decision on the bailout deadline would be reached before the end of February . . . ” Reuters, Jan. 31, 2015 (

        “Deadline Looms As Greece Haggles with Euro-Creditors Over Bailout Terms,” Vice News, March 9, 2015 (

        “As previously discussed, the path of redemptions to public creditors in 2015 is dominated by repayments to the IMF, T-Bills rollover and, in July and August, repayment of bonds held by the ECB. In March, Greece has 1.2 billion euros left to repay to the IMF, in three tranches: 335 million will be due on the 13th of March, 558 million on the 16th of March and 335 million on the 20th. On top of this, Greece will need to roll over 1.3 billion of T-Bills expiring on March 13th and 1.6 billion on March 20th. Once the March deadlines have passed, April and May will be relatively quiet, before funding challenges resume in June . . .,” Naked Capitalism, March 11 (

        “Greece presented with a deadline to produce reform package…again,” The Press Project, Mar. 20, 2015 (

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You seem to have ignored what I wrote in producing this list. The items do not support your argument, that the various dates are signs of creditor weakness.

          The first four were all the result of the fact that Greece needed to get a formal extension to its current bailout agreed by the end of February. If that did not happen, Greece would not get 7.2 billion of Euros (which it still has yet to receive) and the absence of a deal was widely believed to mean that the ECB would have to yank the ELA, which would destroy the Greek banks and force a disorderly Grexit. The proof of who had the upper hand here was that Greece did not negotiate the memo. Varoufakis was excluded from the negotiations and the text was presented to Tsipras as a take-it-or-leave-it deal. And as we explained at the time, the memo clearly bound Greece to hew to the existing structural reform program (although the Troika will graciously allow Greece to swap reform provided that they do not have a negative fiscal impact). The creditor deadlines look a lot like deadlines in book publishing: deliberately set a bit early to try to pressure the parties to move faster since odds were high that they would slip.

          The Vice link is irrelevant, it refers only to the end of April deadline in the February memorandum. Vice is also far from a good source on finance and economics.

          My link simply refers to payments due. These are pre-existing and have squat to do with deadlines imposed by the creditors as part of the negotiation process. Again, irrelevant to your argument.

          The last one I already rebutted. The Monday “deadline” is in response to Greece’s desperate request to get money ASAP. The Troika has said, basically, “OK, if you want things to move faster, you need to move faster. Get us that reform list you’ve refused to produce by Monday and if it is in good order, we’ll expedite the process on our end.” Pray tell, how is this a show of weakness on the creditors’ part?

          1. docg

            OK, Yves, fair enough. You asked for the links, I provided some, and you’ve provided a meaningful response that clarifies your position. From where you stand there is no contradiction, and I accept that. Thank you.

            Obviously we have different perspectives on the events of the last few months with respect to the wrangle between Greece and “the Institutions.” As I see it, each of these “deadlines” provided the Eurozone powers with the opportunity to say, “Sorry, Mr. Varoufakis, what you’ve provided is insufficient and overly vague. We’re going to have to deny you any bailout money. Let the chips fall where they may. Bonne chance.” As that never happened, my inclination is to believe it will never happen and that Greece will be able to extend the ambiguities indefinitely because the Eurozone leadership is painfully aware that the consequences of a Greek default would have serious repercussions for Europe generally. Not to mention the US, which is also imo reluctant to see a default and pressuring the “institutions” to tread lightly.

            Imo, therefore, Greece is in the stronger position, at least for the moment, because as it seems to me, enough bailout money will always be provided to forestall default, regardless of how Greece responds to the various “demands.” On the other hand, this is only a temporary advantage, because Greece need much more than a “bailout” of that sort, which would prevent Grexit, but not solve any of its more fundamental problems.

            So, in the long run, I don’t think our views are all that different. Greece is still in a very weak position regardless of what the “institutions” decide.

  7. JEHR

    “Nevertheless, whether the Greek government’s protests are substantive or mere grandstanding, any show of opposition is more that [sic] the Eurocrats are prepared to accept. And a successful left-leaning government is also seen as a threat in quite a few quarters.”

  8. Pookah Harvey

    I still believe Varoufakis is the key. Petras places Varoufakis with Papandreou’s failed left wing government., Yet when Papandreou gave in to the Troika in 2011 Veroufakis vehemently broke with him, as he states in his blog:

    Mr Papandreou, you have caused enough damage to the Greek nation; indeed, to Europe. It is time to dismantle your tent, pack it up, and steal gracefully into the night.

    The German game plan is well known, squeeze the offending government until they submit. It has worked over and over( Ireland, Spain, Greece). I can’t believe that Syriza didn’t know what was coming. If Varoufakis believed that Syriza would react as have all the other governments why would he have agreed to join?

    Maybe I’m misreading Varoufakis, but being another failed Finance Minister in the long line of preceding ones does not seem to be his style.

    1. susan the other

      I puzzled over that too. Varoufakis is so eloquent he brings you willingly in to an undefined world where you, at least, think about what reality might be. I’ve been thinking he did everything he did very deliberately. And with good intention.

      1. JohnB

        If you followed Yanis’ writing over the years, he had a clear optimism regarding resolving the crisis from within the EU, and has even said lately that he tends towards optimism politically (I forget the exact quote mind) – he regards a potential Grexit as something disastrous to be avoided, and it would be disastrous.

        So, he’s right to have given a fresh bout of diplomacy a try, but he must be coming to the conclusion now, that – long term – exiting the Euro is the only way for Greece to have a non-stagnant future.

        Personally, I’m getting ever more cynical/pessimistic as I watch things unfold; I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible to have any viable left-leaning parties, in a monetary union like the Euro – because the Euro as it is currently administered, pretty much locks-in all countries into running economic policy in a right-wing/Neo-Liberal fashion, due to the way it emulates the gold standard.

        Left-leaning parties just can’t have any credibility whatsoever while locked in the Euro, because they advocate spending policies which (long story short) aren’t compatible with the current administration of the Euro, but they can’t credibly campaign on a platform of changing how the Euro is administered – as that’s easily mocked as impractical due to dysfunctional EU politics.

        The Euro is pretty much a boon to right-leaning economic ideology in general; completely ruling-out any possibility of progressive economic policy, and economic views like MMT.

        This might be the long-term future of Europe – one where ‘the left’ have less credibility than any other time in the best part of century – unless the Euro is gotten rid of; might make the last 30-40 years of NeoLiberalization look pretty bright in comparison.

    2. Tsigantes

      Varoufakis resigned from his advising job to George Papandreaou back in 2006, when Papandreaou was still in opposition. He was one of several economists brought on board as consultants.

  9. timbers


    If right wing politicians/parties can win re-elections after trashing the economy and breaking their words, who’s to say Syriza couldn’t win re-election by breaking it’s word and trashing the economy with exit from EU?

    Just a thought when reading the drip drip drip of insanity…

  10. Edna M.

    @ Cugel, I agree that none of the parties Germany wants for Greece will make a comeback. And I agree that crushing Syriza will only strengthen the parties that want to exit the Eurozone. However, I don’t necessarily think that the Nazis will come to power if the Left fails. I wonder if the media smears all parties which are anti-EU by calling them fascists. Based on the little I have read about Le Pen, she seems right-wing, but not a fascist. At least she is against the type of foreign intervention that the EU/Nato engage in. (This is not to say that there aren’t genuine Nazis in Europe.)

  11. Oregoncharles

    There are left-wing parties in Greece that are anti-Euro, and a faction of Syriza that is, too. One reason for the stalemate is that if Tsipras calls new elections, Greece will very likely take a wrecking bar to the Euro. With Spain soon to follow, and who knows about France?

    This could drag on for a long time – until the Spanish elections.

  12. gordon

    From the OP: “Germany has publicly well-funded political foundations in Greece, which are known to actively undermine democratically elected leftist governments”

    Do tell!

    1. Mathew D. Rose

      Mathew here. A reply would be too long for a comment. I hereby solemnly promise to write a piece concerning this topic. Currently I am in the midst of two major projects and school hols are round the corner. Thus I should be able to post it at the beginning of May. I hope it can wait. Just this, these foundations, which had closed their offices in the EU nations – things be “politically stable” – reopened them in Greece when due to the crisis Syriza began its march to power. I mentioned this in a previous piece and a bit more: It is Not a Eurozone Crisis, but a European Union Crisis in Naked Capitalism, so please have a look there.

  13. Nigel Goddard

    What we do not know much about, because all my colleagues are sitting in press centres fabricating exciting stories about boring events, is what is truly happening in Greece itself. What shall be decisive in the end is not financial or monetary machinations of the Troika, but the Greek people; and to be honest, I do not have the remotest idea of what is occurring there, search in the internet as I may.

    Follow Paul Mason. @paulmasonnews. His new documentary Dreams Take Revenge should shed some light.

    1. financial matters

      Nice to see that it has already met its funding goal. Not that additional funding wouldn’t be useful.. :)

  14. financial matters

    A speech by Alexis Tsipras on 3/26/15. Sounds pretty focused.

    Through their participation in the general uprising, the fighters of the Revolution, the ordinary people, the peasants who revolted, the guerillas, the pirates, the merchants of land and sea, the captains, the elders and the scholars, were transformed into fighters in the Revolution’s army and navy.

    They demolished the old world by destroying the conditions of their own pre-revolutionary status.
    This is exactly what is happening in all major revolutions, in modern times, in Europe and the Americas: The revolutions create peoples and political nations.

    When people take their fate and their future into their own hands, irrespective of how weak they may be against powerful opponents, they are on the right side of history. With the confidence that this gives them, as well as the confidence in their struggle, they can succeed.

    They constitute part of a new idea concerning Europe, an idea based on the existence of many nation-states, instead of imperial uniformity.

    The revolutionary character embodied in the “nation” concept is derived from the political basis of the principles and values of the American and French Revolutions’ legacies.

    The idea of such a Europe is revolutionary and liberating, not only because it opposes the imperial homogeneity and recognizes national plurality, but also because it is defined on the basis of common political values that were fought for and that attained universality: these are the values of the Enlightenment.

  15. H.Ewerth

    Why must be a little country like Greek, to blamed alone for the false European contracts? Greek made mistakes, but the whole “European Union” made mistakes!!! The idea of “Europe” was never seen, as a united area. The mainly reason, was export, and export and export.

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