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Syriza: Plunder, Pillage and Prostration
How the ‘Hard Left’ embraces the policies of the Hard Right
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Introduction: Greece has been in the headlines of the world’s financial press for the past five months, as a newly elected leftist party, ‘Syriza’, which ostensibly opposes so-called ‘austerity measures’, faces off against the “Troika” (International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and European Central Bank).

Early on, the Syriza leadership, headed by Alexis Tsipras, adopted several strategic positions with fatal consequences – in terms of implementing their electoral promises to raise living standards, end vassalage to the ‘Troika’ and pursue an independent foreign policy.

We will proceed by outlining the initial systemic failures of Syriza and the subsequent concessions further eroding Greek living standards and deepening Greece’s role as an active collaborator of US and Israeli imperialism.

Winning Elections and Surrendering Power

The North American and European Left celebrated Syriza’s election victory as a break with neo-liberal austerity programs and the launch of a radical alternative, which would implement popular initiatives for basic social changes, including measures generating employment, restoring pensions, reversing privatizations, reordering government priorities and favoring payments to employees over foreign banks. The “evidence” for the radical reform agenda was contained in the ‘Thessaloniki Manifesto’ which Syriza promised to be the program guiding their newly elected officials.

However, prior to, and immediately after being elected, Syriza leaders adopted three basic decisions precluding any basic changes: Indeed, these decisions set it on a reactionary course.

First and foremost, Syriza accepted as legitimate the foreign debt of over $350 billion dollars, although most had been signed by previous government Kleptocrats, corrupt banks, business, real estate and financial interests. Virtually none of this debt was used to finance productive activity or vital services which would strengthen the economy and Greece’s future ability to payback the loans.

Hundreds of billions of Euros were stashed away in foreign bank accounts and foreign real estate or invested in overseas stocks and bonds. After affirming the ‘legitimacy’ of the illicit debt, Syriza followed up by declaring its ‘willingness’ to pay the debt. The ‘Troika’ immediately understood that the new Syriza government would be a willing hostage to further coercion, blackmail and debt payments.

Secondly, and related to the above, Syriza declared its determination to remain in the European Union and Eurozone and thus accepted the surrender of its sovereignty and ability to fashion an independent policy. It declared its willingness to submit to the dictates of the Troika. Once under the thumb of the Troika, Syriza’s only policy would be to ‘negotiate’, ‘renegotiate’ and make further concessions to the EU overseas banks in a totally one-sided process. Syriza’s rapid submission to the Troika was their second strategic, but not their last, betrayal of its electoral program.

Once Syriza demonstrated to the Troika, its willingness to betray its popular program, the Troika escalated its demands and hardened its intransigence. Brussels discounted Syriza’s leftist rhetoric and radical theatrical gestures as blowing smoke in the eyes of the Greek electorate. The EU bankers knew that when it came time to negotiate new loan agreements, the Syriza leadership would capitulate. Meanwhile, the Euro-American Left swallowed Syriza’s entire radical rhetoric without looking at its actual practice.

Thirdly, on taking office, Syriza negotiated a coalition with the far-right, pro-NATO, xenophobic, anti-immigrant Independent Greeks Party, guaranteeing that Greece would continue to support NATO’s military policies in the Middle East, the Ukraine and Israel’s brutal campaign against Palestine.

Fourthly, the bulk of Prime Minister Tsipras cabinet appointees had no experience of class struggle .Worse still, most were academics and former PASOK advisers without any capacity or willingness to break with the dictates of the Troika. Their academic ‘practice’ consisted largely of theoretical ‘combat’, ill-suited for real-world confrontation with aggressive imperial powers.

From a Scratch to Gangrene

By capitulating to the EU from the outset, including accepting to pay the illegitimate debt, hooking up with the Far Right and submitting to the dictates of the Troika, the stage was set for SYRIZA to betray all its promises and to worsen the economic burden for its supporters. The worst betrayals include: (1) not restoring pension payments; (2) not restoring the minimum wage; (3) not reversing privatizations; (4) not ending austerity programs; and (5) not increasing funds for education, health, housing and local development.

The Troika and its publicists in the financial press are demanding that Syriza cut the Greek pension system even further ,impoverishing over 1.5 million retired workers. Contrary to the media’s planted ‘examples’ of fat pensions enjoyed by less then 5% of pensioners, the Greeks have suffered the deepest pension reductions in Europe over the past century. In just the last past 4 years the Troika cut Greek pensions eight times. The vast majority of pensions have been slashed by nearly 50% since 2010.The average pension is 700 Euros a month but 45%of Greek pensioners receive less than 665 Euros a month – below the poverty line. Yet the Troika demands even greater reductions. These include an end of budget subsidies for pensioners living in extreme poverty, an increase in the retirement age to 67, an abolition of pension provisions tied to hazardous occupations and for working mothers. The earlier regressive measures, imposed by the Troika and implemented by the previous right-wing coalition regime, severely depleted the Greek pension fund. In 2012, the Troika’s ‘debt restructuring’ program led to the loss of 25 billion Euros of reserves held by the Greek government in government bonds. Troika austerity policies ensured that the pension reserves would not be replenished. Contributions plummeted as unemployment soared to nearly 30% (Financial Times 6/5/15 p4). Despite the Troika’s frontal assault on the Greek pension system, Syriza’s “economic team” expressed its willingness to raise the retirement age, cut pensions by 5% and negotiate further betrayals of pensioners facing destitution. Syriza has not only failed to fulfill its campaign promise to reverse the previous regressive policies, but is engaged in its own ‘pragmatic’ sellouts with the Troika.

ORDER IT NOW

Worse still, Syriza has deepened and extended the policies of its reactionary predecessors. (1)Syriza promised to freeze privatizations: Now it vows to extend them by 3.2 billion Euros and privatize new public sectors. (2) Syriza has agreed to shift scarce public resources to the military, including an investment of $500 million Euros to upgrade the Greek Air Force. (3) Syriza plundered the national pension fund and municipal treasuries of over a billion Euros to meet debt payments to the Troika. (4) Syriza is cutting public investments in job creating infrastructure projects to meet Troika deadlines. ( 5) Syriza has agreed to a budget surplus of 0.6% at a time when Greece is running a 0.7% deficit this year – meaning more cuts later this year. (6) Syriza promised to reduce the VAT on essentials like food; now it accepts a 23% rate.

Syriza’s foreign policy mimics its predecessors. Syriza’s far right Defense Minister, Panos Kammenos, has been a vocal supporter of the US and EU sanctions against Russia- despite the usual flurry of Syriza’s faked “dissent” to NATO policies, followed by total capitulation – to remain in good standing with NATO. The Syriza regime has allowed each and every well-known kleptocrat and tax evader to retain their illicit wealth and to add to their overseas holdings with massive transfers of their current ‘savings’ out of the country. By the end of May 2015, Prime Minister Tsipras and Finance Minister Varofakis have emptied the Treasury to meet debt payments, increasing the prospects that pensioners and public sector workers will not receive their benefits. Having emptied the Greek Treasury, Syriza will now impose the “Troika solution” on the backs of the impoverished Greek masses: either sign-off on a new “austerity” plan, lowering pensions, increasing retirement age, eliminating labor laws protecting workers’ job security and negotiating rights or face an empty treasury, no pensions, rising unemployment and deepening economic depression. Syriza has deliberately emptied the Treasury, plundered pension funds and local municipal holdings in order to blackmail the population to accept as a ‘fait accompli’ the regressive policies of hardline EU bankers – the so-called “austerity programs”.

From the very beginning, Syriza gave into the Troika’s dictates, even as they play-acted their ‘principled resistance’. First they lied to the Greek public, calling the Troika ‘international partners’. Then they lied again calling the Troika memorandum for greater austerity a ‘negotiating document’. Syriza’s deceptions were meant to hide their continuation of the highly unpopular ‘framework’ imposed by the previous discredited hard rightwing regime.

As Syriza plundered the country of resources to pay the bankers, it escalated its international groveling. Its Defense Minister offered new military bases for NATO, including an air-maritime base on the Greek island of Karpathos. Syriza escalated Greece’s political and military support for EU and US military intervention and support of “moderate” terrorists in the Middle East, ludicrously in the name of “protecting Christians”. Syriza, currying favor with European and US Zionists, strengthened its ties with Israel, evoking a ‘strategic alliance’ with the terrorist-apartheid state. From his first days in office, the hard right Defense Minister Kammenos proposed the creation of a “common defense space” including Cyprus and Israel – thus supporting Israel’s air and sea blockade of Gaza.

Conclusion

Syriza’s political decision to ‘embed’ in the EU and the Eurozone, at all costs, signals that Greece will continue to be vassal state, betraying its program and adopting deeply reactionary policies, even while trumpeting its phony leftist rhetoric, and feigning ‘resistance’ to the Troika. Despite the fact that Syriza plundered domestic pensions and local treasuries, many deluded Leftists in Europe and the US continue to accept and rationalize what they choose to dub its “realistic and pragmatic compromises”.

Syriza could have confiscated and used the $32 billion of real estate properties owned by the Greek Armed Forces to implement an alternative investment and development plan – leasing these properties for commercial maritime ports, airports and tourist facilities.

Syriza buried Greece even deeper into the hierarchy dominated by German finance,by surrendering its sovereign power to impose a debt moratorium, leave the Eurozone, husband its financial resources, reinstate a national currency, impose capital controls, confiscate billions of Euros in illicit overseas accounts, mobilize local funds to finance economic recovery and reactivate the public and private sector. The fake “Left sector” within Syriza repeatedly mouthed impotent “objections”, while the Tsipras -Varofakis sell-out charade proceeded to the ultimate capitulation.

In the end, Syriza has deepened poverty and unemployment, increased foreign control over the economy, further eroded the public sector, facilitated the firing of workers and slashed severance pay- while increasing the role of the Greek military by deepening its ties to NATO and Israel.

Equally important, Syriza has totally emptied leftist phraseology of any cognitive meaning: for them – national sovereignty is translated into international vassalage and anti-austerity becomes pragmatic capitulations to new austerity. When the Tsipras – Troika agreement is finally signed and the terrible toll of austerity for the next decades finally sinks into the consciousness of the Greek public, the betrayals will hopefully evoke mass revulsion. Perhaps Syriza will split, and the “left” will finally abandon their cushy Cabinet posts and join the disaffected millions in forming an alternative Party.

(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: Eurozone, Greece, Syriza 
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  1. Tom_R says:

    GREAT ARTICLE, SIR, EXCEPT FOR TWO POINTS.

    Sir, you make some great points and thanks.

    But 2 things:

    I think the far right is correct to stand up against 3rd world immigration. 3rd world immigration needs to be banned and aliens deported. This is just common sense. Immigration is the cancer of USA and EU.

    Secondly, the stupid Greeks voted for Syriza. They have gone from the frying pan into the fire.

    The solution for Greece is to get out of the EU (which is a Jewish cabal), get out of the Euro and default on the Euro.

    Those whom the Gods want to destroy, he first makes mad. The Europeans are mad to support EU and vote for left parties. The far right is their savior.

    When will they wake up? How do we wake them up?

  2. MarkinLA says:

    xenophobic, anti-immigrant Independent Greeks Party

    You say xenophobic and anti-immigrant like it is a bad thing. Yes lets take the Greek out of Greece and the Italian out of Italy. What good can come of maintaining cultures that have been around for centuries?

    • Replies: @Jim
  3. rod1963 says:

    Syriza was fraudulent from the outset. There was no way they do much of anything without first defaulting on all foreign debts.

    It is the only way to wipe the slate clean and start over. But that’s a bitter pill to take. Afterwards the economy has to be rebuilt on solid foundation. The folks of Syriza weren’t into that.

    They evidently wanted a bit of the good life by selling out to the EU and IMF and the hell with everyone else.

    As it is, Greece will continue to stagger along as a zombie and the EU will play pretend that Greece has enough cash to make payments. Because if they don’t, that means Greece is in default and it will set off a chain reaction that kills the EU in short order and probably the U.S. markets as well given the way they are all interlinked.

  4. The article is a bit harsh. Syriza genuinely meant well, and Tzipras is about as hardcore a leftist as a man can be. But Syriza found itself in an untenable position.

    Leaving the Eurozone would be brutal for both Greece and Europe. So Syriza decided to try to show good faith and negotiate a deal. They supposed that the Europeans would realize that (1) a Grexit would be bad for everybody, and (2) the current arrangement in Greece is impossible. The Eurocrats, however, seem to be both utterly merciless and immune to reason. They have basically told Greece to shut up, bend over, and take it.

    So now the Greek government is at an impasse. They face a Catch-22.

  5. The Greeks have been living on other peoples’ money for decades. They’ve lied through their teeth to get more loans to contnue their deadbeat lifestyle. (In fact, within the last decade they imprisoned an eoconmist the government hired to evaluate their credit worthiness because he told the truth.) I hope the current government does repudiate its debt, return to the Drachma and leave the EU because when that happens the deadbeat Greeks will have to earn a living for the first time in decades. No one in his right mind will lend them further money to support their corruption. When that happens Greeks will get a taste of what reeal austerity means. Perhaps they’ll learn the lesson that with democracy comes responsibility. But I’m not sure. The country may just sink into a deeper cesspit of decadence and corruption.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  6. ‘First and foremost, Syriza accepted as legitimate the foreign debt of over $350 billion dollars, although most had been signed by previous government Kleptocrats, corrupt banks, business, real estate and financial interests. Virtually none of this debt was used to finance productive activity or vital services which would strengthen the economy and Greece’s future ability to payback the loans.’

    You’re right mr Petras, they just used it to hire millions of government workers and give pensions to millions more who never paid into the system. Clearly the EU should accept blame for this and keep on paying the costs of the Greek Soviet state for all eternity.

  7. Moron article. Without the Independent Greeks in coalition, Syriza couldn’t have formed a government to attempt taking on imposed austerity. Syriza was in a no win circumstance to start, default from day one, with exiting the Euro, was not in the cards on account of there was no possibility to take the reins of governing with that platform, the larger Greek people weren’t ready to go so far.

    The worst can be stated is, Syriza played it’s hand poorly:

    http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2015/06/13/greek-hubris/

    If the Syriza leadership had been honest with the Greek people from the beginning, they might have the political capital they needed by now to wring some concessions. But they took the Troika bait and it’s likely too late

  8. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    Petras

    Can you explain to us why you want to flood Greece with young high fertility Africans and Muslims?…At the end of the day, you want to demographically exterminate the Native Greeks.

    Bring on the Golden Dawn!!!!

    • Replies: @Jim
  9. MarkinLA says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    Well they must have been taking lessons from the US.

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
  10. MarkinLA says:

    You do have to wonder why anybody would lend 350 billion to Greece. There must be people smart enough to know that it could never be paid back. Remember that book “Confessions of an economic hitman” where it was claimed the loans to poor Latin American countries were expected to be unpaid so that the countries could be coerced by the US government. I wonder how much of that is going on here?

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
  11. Jim says:
    @MarkinLA

    Long ago the xenophobic Greeks repelled the invasion of the Persan immigants. If the Greek people want their freedom they need to emulate the Greeks orf 480 BC.

  12. Jim says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    Petras is a leftist and as such his stated support for the national sovereignty of Greeks is a complete lie. Leftists want to destroy ethnic identities and replace societies built on them with totalitarian slave societies. The last thing in the world that Petras favors is the survival of the Greek people.

  13. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:
    @Jim

    Noam Chomsky doesn’t really support Scottish Independence…what he supports is flooding Scottland with highly racialized and high fertility Africans and Pakistani Muslims. Chomsky probably believes the Scottish Nationalist 700 years ago wanted to break away from England so that they could flood Scottland with Africans and Pakistani Muslims and make themselves a racial minority.

    Chomsky is a piece of shit….

    Support The Golden Dawn!!!!!

  14. Noam Chomsky is Ashkenazy piece of shizen.

    Petras isn’t much better…

  15. @MarkinLA

    Our day of reckoning will come. But the Greeks and Americans took different primrose paths to perdition. The Greeks had a borderline developed economy and used their apparent solvency to connive and lie their way into their current position. Americans frittered away their pre-eminent economic position through a combination of arrogance and stupidity. Federal, state, and local sovereign obligations in the US are at the point of no return. But a mild form of austerity – modestly increased taxes, drastically reduced spending, and repudiation of some pension and welfare obligations — could still save the country. I’m not saying these measures will be adopted. But if they were the country could recover it’s economic health within a decade or less. The Greeks are past the point where moderate measures like these can succeed.

  16. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    The Troika should be viewed as mafiosa loan sharking operation like the kind that John Gotti used to run in his youth. The intent from day one was to steal the assets of Greece for German Eurotrash Bankster Gangsters.

    Abolish the Greek debt. If the German Bankster-Gangsters try to pass this illegitimate debt off to the German People…the German People should rise up and pack the German Banksters-Gangsters Wives-Daughters-Sisters and Nieces into sexual slavery in the Sudan.

    A repellant fat cockroach German Bulldyke Lesbian should not be allowed to bankster carpet bomb the Greek Civilian Population with austerity.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  17. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    That’s like saying that some working class slob in Queens NY during the 1970’s lied and convinced John Gotti to give him a loan sharking loan so he could pay for his daughters kidney operation…only to have his kidneys kicked and traumatized by Sonny The Bull Gravano because he was unable to pay the loan sharking interest rates set by John Gotti.

    Stop using the fat cockroach Glenn Beck as an authority on the Greek debt crisis. Beck…another creepy Kraut.

    • Replies: @random observer
  18. To ignorant, arrogant and racists who complain against immigrants, where have been created by the war and destruction by the criminal West and support of ignorant population.
    First you have to stop meddling in other countries’ affairs, stop bombing other countries, stealing other people resources, killing other people scientists.

    You are waging wars based on lies and deception in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia and elsewhere to create chaos to kill millions of innocent people, in order to steal their resources, and capture their markets. As a result YOU are creating millions of refugees, death bodies, bombing of the infrastructure which leads to unemployment, creating “NFZ”, like in Iraq and Iran, to rob and control other nations’ market and economy.

    YOU put one community against the other to control communities by ‘divide and rule’ to create wealth for your criminal elite and some service jobs for YOU to buy your silence and cooperation for their crimes against humanity in the world.
    If you don’t want immigrants, then you should raise your voices and go into the street to bring these criminals down. You should rely on your own resources not stealing from others. As long as they buy your silence and you feel comfortable with the status quo, and continue shopping at the mall, then nothing is going to change.

  19. Dutch Boy says:

    Had Syriza’s leaders come out for debt repudiation and /or leaving the Eurozone, they would have been arrested before the election.

  20. @No Second Israel

    “Don’t feed the trolls” is the conventional wisdom. Some of these guys profile as professional provocateurs who distract from intelligent discussion and purposely so.

    http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2014/04/18/military-sock-puppets-nsa-trolls-cia-shills/

    The last thing minions of empire wish is to see intelligent discussion in the comment forum and these guys work to bury just that, intelligent discussion. If you’re going to yell at them, call them gay Nazis for Christ or whatever, just don’t expect they’re completely ignorant, there is a method to the madness

  21. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:
    @No Second Israel

    And who voted to install the Kenyan Foriegner War Criminal twice as POTUS?

    Answer:the imported highly racialized nonwhite legal immigrant and nonwhite illegal alien Democratic Party Voting bloc…and their “American” born children.

    There are absolutely no reasons why The Historic Native Born White American Majority should tolerate the open and deliberate policy of race-replacement via post-1965 Immigration Policy.

  22. None of what Petras writes here really surprises me.

    I had my suspicions regarding Tsipras from the start, back in 2012 when he first founded Syriza. His adamant refusal even to consider the mere possibility of a Grexit left me wondering what other leverage Greece could possibly have vis-à-vis the Troika.

    I became even more suspicious when they won the election several months ago. I did a little digging on Tsipras’ ‘main man’ Varoufakis, and it turns out that he was (is?) a visiting scholar at the Institute for New Economic Thinking in New York (http://beta.ineteconomics.org/community/experts/yvaroufakis). A little more digging revealed that INET was founded by–drumroll please!–George Soros, along with other donations from people like David Rockefeller (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_for_New_Economic_Thinking#Funding). Yawn… another NWO fake-left party. Soros just loves the EU and apparently wants to keep expanding it. (He’s presently working on Ukraine.)

    It could actually happen that Germans lose their patience with Greece–long before Syriza loses its patience with the Troika–and force the Greeks out of the EU against their will.

  23. @MarkinLA

    Your mention of Confessions of an Economic Hitman is the correct reference in this case.

    You do have to wonder why anybody would lend 350 billion to Greece.

    Well, if you, as an investor, know that you’re going to get a bailout in case of default, then where’s the risk? And if, as a consequence of that default, the IMF then forces that country to ‘privatize’ everything, then you can step right back in with your bailout money and scoop up prime real-estate and vital infrastructure at fire-sale prices. What a deal! For the money-men, this has been a total bonanza from start to finish; it’s the German taxpayer who has to pick up the tab for all this, and it’s the Greek worker who loses his job.

    See how the world works?

  24. @War for Blair Mountain

    No, it’s like saying “some working class slob” etc. lied and convinced a regular bank to give him a loan at normal rates like everyone else pays so he could have income while sitting around on his fat ass doing nothing but swilling cheap wine all day while paying all his no account relatives to also sit around on their fat asses all day, while all the time whining like a little girl about how he is being oppressed by the banks because those unconscionable blackguards actually want their money back with the agreed interest.

    There is a case to be made in such situations that the lenders were fools and should lose their money. There is NO case to be made that the borrower is an injured party or should get to withhold payment as of right.

  25. @Jus' Sayin'...

    Americans frittered away their pre-eminent economic position through a combination of arrogance and stupidity.

    Not exactly. The money-men frittered away our jobs and made themselves a killing in the process. This was no accident; everything has gone according to plan: “free” trade, uncontrolled immigration, hyper-financialization.

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    , @annamaria
  26. @No Second Israel

    As an isolationist myself, I’d be more than willing to pull our bases out of other people’s countries and stop taking in all of their unemployed.

  27. Once upon a time Calvin Coolidge was supposed to have said, of a plan to restructure British and other WW1 debts, “well, they hired the money, didn’t they?” [It is now considered apocryphal. Great and Coolidgean line, though].

    On a certain level, that is an unwarranted attitude. Even in the America of that day, banks could be persuaded to restructure loans in the hope of a more likely or even better eventual payout, and the practice was well known among countries. America itself had benefited from such commercial pragmatism in its early indebted days [and if it hasn’t happened again already, it will soon enough]. It was perhaps even more unwarranted given the debts were incurred fighting a war America ultimately decided was in its own interest and joined.

    Still, the principle is an honourable one. Borrow money, pay it back on time and according to the terms.

    At least the British and French were fighting for their futures. The Greeks hired money for decades so they could pay the civil service 13 months wages for every 12 month period, for at most 6 months of work from those who even had to show up. And a variety of similar nonsense. Those who think civil servants everywhere are coddled, fair enough. None in the English speaking world were ever paid or given benefits the way the Greeks were, or expected to work as poorly or infrequently for them. And the Greeks have already had their share of restructurings and pragmatic interventions.

    They hired the money and used it in such a way they might as well have blown it all at the track, and now they won’t pay it back. Stuff them. If they don’t pay, may the Germans grind them into the dirt.

  28. Jason A says:

    Thirdly, on taking office, Syriza negotiated a coalition with the far-right, pro-NATO, xenophobic, anti-immigrant Independent Greeks Party, guaranteeing that Greece would continue to support NATO’s military policies in the Middle East, the Ukraine and Israel’s brutal campaign against Palestine.

    This is simply false. ANEL(The Independent Greeks) has always supported a more independent foreign policy and some have even called it “pro Russian.”

  29. Priss Factor [AKA "AOL"] says: • Website

    “First and foremost, Syriza accepted as legitimate the foreign debt of over $350 billion dollars, although most had been signed by previous government Kleptocrats, corrupt banks, business, real estate and financial interests.”

    But the Greek people elected those scum into office, and the entire Greek politics, from top to bottom, has been corrupt. And Greek people are expert liars and cheaters.

    Greeks brought this upon themselves.

    If Greeks don’t want go along with US and EU, then it should just drop out of the EU, reject all debt obligations, and go its own way.

    But Greeks don’t want to do this because they want MORE free money from the EU.

    A race of thieves.

    Greece is the Puerto Rico of Europe.

    It could be called Puerto Greeco.

    It’s not really a nation. It is a commonwealth.

    It’s like Puerto Ricans make much fuss about their pride but don’t want national independence because they are economically so dependent on the US.

    Same with Greece. If Greece breaks free, it will turn into the Cuba of Europe. So, it hangs on as the commonwealth of the EU.

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
    , @MarkinLA
  30. @Priss Factor

    But the Greek people elected those scum into office…

    Golly, I hope nobody ever calls you to account for the scum that ‘we’ elected into office. Seriously, how many people in the US have trouble wrapping their little minds around the total mess that our government’s finances are in? Some day, when this sucker goes down (as Baby Bush would say), there are going to be a lot of moist eyes and a lot of empty bank accounts in this country, too.

    You got a point about the Greeks not wanting to leave the EU though. Utter cowardice. It’s time they wised up… and manned up.

  31. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:
    @random observer

    No..it is completely like the John Gotti Loan Sharking analogy. The Government that was suppose represent the Greek People was guilty of bad faith. It was a corrupt Goverment dominated by banking interests eager strip the Greek People of their National assets. The Troika went in knowing full-well that with high probability Greece would not be able to pay back the debt. The game was rigged against the Greek Civilian Population from the start…the rigged game was structured around the euro, making sure that national currency devaluation would never be an option.

    Greece’s comparative advantage just prior the 2008 debt crisis was quite respectable…so the claim about “subhuman” Greek laziness is a lie.

    Pre-crisis Spain was running a surplus with a low debt ratio….what did Troika austerity accomplish? Spain thrown into an economic depression.

    As far as your last point…is that a “Divine Edict” from the Greedy Kraut Bankers?…They can take their “Divine Edict” and shove it up their filthy stinking Kraut arses.

    Germany is back to waging war again…and it started with the Balkan Crisis in the 1990’s. Germany ignited the Balkan crisis.

  32. @Seamus Padraig

    You’re right to a degree and I was grossly oversimplifying. Neither ordinary Greek nor ordinary American citizens are entirely responsible for the economic disasters that are looming over them. But both countries are democracies and the ordinary citizens of both countries have been more than happy to vote for the politicians who promise early retirement, great pensions, free or at least inexpensive unlimited medical care, and many other expensive programs all to be paid for by taxing the imaginary unlimited resources of some ill-defined upper class. If the entire income and wealth of every American worth more than say a million dollars were to be taken away tomorrow it would cover only a small fraction of government obligations. Yet many American voters continue to assume that all economic problems can be solved by taxing the rich. The really wacky ones talk about going after banks, insurance companies, and big stock holders; not realizing that it is precisely these folks who are managing the union pension funds that cut them a check every month. As long as most voters are greedy, ignorant and stupid democracies will fail as they are beginning to fail now in the USA and Greece.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  33. MarkinLA says:
    @No Second Israel

    racists

    racist, racist, racist, blah, blah, blah, get new material. I stopped reading at that point.

  34. MarkinLA says:
    @Priss Factor

    The Greeks should hire Donald Trump. He is an expert at screwing people that lent him money and constantly restructuring debt in bankruptcy court.

  35. MarkinLA says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    expensive programs all to be paid for by taxing the imaginary unlimited resources of some ill-defined upper class.

    Not quite. What they mostly promise is 4 or 5 % “growth” which will magically pay down the debt and allow everybody to become millionaires if the people only back the GOP who have another free trade or guest worker program up their sleeves.

  36. My impression is that in a lot of the smaller European countries in southern and eastern Europe, the ruling classes do not give a flying **** about the natives. The ruling classes look to Berlin, Brussels, and London, and simply want to be good Eurocrats, send their kids to expensive private schools / universities, and retire into some cozy post in a European government / major European corporation / “thinktank” or w/e. It’s so bad that in many places there is practically no one to vote for.

    There is 0 accountability. The rulers follow the bidding of the bankers and the Eurocrats, and can basically bail their countries if things go south. Though not quite in the EU, the freak Sakashvili offers a highly illustrative example of what I’m talking about.

    The people of the marginal European countries were told – or at least allowed to understand that – joining Europe would mean acquiring European living standards within reasonable time. Instead, the marginal European countries have been used as dumping grounds for the goods produced in the core countries – and thus, by proxy, for the unemployment in the core countries. This is utterly untenable.

    Europe needs heavy-duty debt reduction, massive industrial and infrastructure works in the fringes, far better mechanisms for producing accountability, and more solidarity. The current model is badly dysfunctional. It is possible to have a Europe where the fringes are sort of like the American south – underdeveloped, but still a part of the whole. But you can’t have a Europe in which the fringes are just one big dump.

  37. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    Those rape fantasies appear to be a constant theme in your comments.

  38. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    “… and shove it up their filthy stinking Kraut arses.”

    God, you’re such an embarrassement for any decent Greek out there. Get offline and take your meds for once.

  39. @War for Blair Mountain

    It’s not a divine edict, but not so long ago it would have been a widely understood pair of ideas.

    1. If you are a lender and lend to someone you know or suspect can’t repay, you deserve to lose your money. I still think this. I merely bow to pragmatism in cases where the lenders have been SO stupid that applying this rule will bring the economy down, and idly wish governments would legislate in such a way that we might be able to apply the rule next time. I also have some charity for the lenders in those few situations under which they lent stupidly because the law requires them not to discriminate against borrowers on the racist grounds that the borrowers have no money or any prospect of money to repay. If anything, I see some agreement between us here. You also note the eurocrats and bankers should have known Greece would eventually be in this state, and imply they should now lose their money. I am tempted to agree based on this very principle. Although I would note that in fact Greece could have paid if they weren’t a nation of self-deluded profligates and had actually done something productive with the money.

    2. Even in situations where lenders should be told they were fools and must give up hope of their money ever being repaid, it is not correspondingly the case that the defaulting borrower is morally elevated to the status of innocent. They still borrowed money they could never repay and likely knew they had no interest in repaying. Either they were desperate and took a gamble, in which case we can pity them, even try to help. Or they took the money because they wanted to show off like a rich man and live larger than they could afford for 30 odd years and then expect to be treated like hapless victims of fate. In that case, they are thieves.

    Since the corrupt Greek elite are also Greeks, as far as I am concerned “Greece” writ large, the entity that is so often being discussed, is to blame. As the corrupt Greek political class was repeatedly elected, there is no reason not to include the citizens. All the more so since the basis of those repeated elections was the promises said elite made to the voters of endless comfort and free stuff at the expense of other nations. Greek citizens benefited, now Greek citizens owe.

    As to the Gotti analogy, no. The Greeks were not asked to pay the international equivalent of loan shark rates. They paid what any country would pay in their financial state, if even that. They were not borrowing to finance the national equivalent of their daughter’s kidney operation, but rather to finance an upper middle class lifestyle on pauper’s resources and wastrel’s work ethic.

    Nobody said the Greeks were subhuman, or subhumanly lazy. Don’t put words in my mouth. All this is VERY human. It doesn’t even imply laziness on the part of individual Greek people. Just refusal to pay money back that was borrowed. We all might be in that place one day. It doesn’t mean we aren’t reneging on a debt.

    I quite agree that the Greek government was corrupt. The ministers and MPs were all Greeks and so were the bankers and economists at the Athens end of the deals. They were the leaders and professionals that Greece produced, they had the support of the Greek people. If that means they snowed the Greeks with lies and fantasies and paid them off with goodies, I don’t disagree with you there. But the Greeks bought the lies and took the goodies and now the price is left to be paid.

    And if Greeks are willing to free themselves, they have only to reintroduce the drachma and devalue. It would have hurt less 10 years ago, less still if they had never joined the euro. It will hurt a lot now. But just as the only reason to join the euro was to borrow at euro-rates, the only reason not to leave now is to keep borrowing. Why should the Germans back that play if they can’t expect returns?

  40. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    As far as the obligation to repay:CONTEXT OF THE AGREEMENT IS EVERYTHING….this how Bruce Springstien got out of a horrible contract with his corrupt predatory first manager.

    The Troika and the Greek Government=Wolves in sheeps’ clothing.

    • Replies: @Wally
  41. Wally [AKA "BobbyBeGood"] says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    The question is … why don’t the Greeks just default, leave the EU, and go with their own currency?

    Because the lazy, incompetent Greeks realize they cannot carry their own weight. The drachma would be absurdly inflated, it would make the Euro look like the gold standard.

    Much like welfare anywhere, why work when someone else will pay the bills?

    The Greeks are pathetic hypocrites, they haven’t the integrity to live off their own efforts.

    They REPEATEDLY took the money at rates better than the norm, the terms were well known, not some secret handshake terms as their equally lazy Marxist apologists here suggest.

    Time for the incompetent, lazy Marxist Greeks to stand up and stop living off others money.

  42. annamaria says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    “… everything has gone according to plan: “free” trade, uncontrolled immigration, hyper-financialization“free” trade, uncontrolled immigration, hyper-financialization.”
    Absolutely on point. The killings were made by way of destroying the local businesses with the “invisible” hand of lobbyists for mega-corporations, with the cheap and no-strong-attached immigrant labor that have been very profitable for the corporations (this is why the “pro-business” government looked other way instead of dealing with the waves of the illegals), and via the crookery of “socialism” for the financiers and “capitalism” for the middle class. What else should be expected from a plutocracy?

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