Europe’s holding its breath waiting for the outcome of the Greek parliamentary election… it’ll determine the future of the Eurozone. However, it’s clear, no matter which faction gains political power, serious problems await the victor. Perhaps, the best thing is that it spurred EU leaders to begin to develop mechanisms to remove individual countries from the Eurozone. The main issues of the election campaign for Athens were the attitude of the various parties to Greece’s membership in the Eurozone and to the fulfilment of the conditions demanded by the EU and IMF for economic assistance. In exchange for writing off part of the debt and advancing new loans, European officials demanded that the Greeks impose austerity… cut public sector wages, slash social benefits, etc. Ordinary Greeks aren’t buying it.
The centre-right New Democracy and the socialist PASOK weakened their position by the very fact that they gave European officials their written assurance that they’d continue the policy of reform and fiscal austerity. Greek communists and ultranationalists such as Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn say that they can solve the country’s problems by withdrawing from the Eurozone and the EU. This isn’t a very popular position. Many understand that the Greek economy is stagnant, and it won’t get of the present crisis without EU assistance. Even Greeks realise that they owed their prosperity to subsidies and cheap credit, access to which opened with Greece’s accession to the Eurozone. GDP per capita in Greece is only about a quarter lower than that of Germany. They don’t want this level to drop.
The greatest popular support, so far, is for the programme of the radical left-wing coalition SYRIZA, which calls for Greece to stay in the Eurozone, but rejects the demands of the EU/IMF for austerity and reform. Is this possible? Simply put, SYRIZA leaders winkled out Brussels’ weak spot. Greece would threaten to default, which would collapse the Euro, leading to an economic collapse throughout the Eurozone. Spain, Portugal, and others would then “crumble”. To avoid this, the EU will have to either save the stubborn Greeks in spite of everything, or kick Greece out of the Eurozone. However, a “Velvet Divorce” wouldn’t occur, for the creators of the EU and the Eurozone didn’t provide for mechanisms to remove members from these structures. There aren’t any legal, economic, or political levers for them to pull.
Therefore, Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the SYRIZA, intends to pressure the EU for six months, using the threat of a Greek default over their heads. The pundits say that he can’t do it, the Greeks have already used the EU; they say, go save yourself, we don’t need you. Yet, mass protests against austerity measures, the militant traditions of the Greek Left, and the strengthening of the extreme right are additional arguments that Tsipras could use as bargaining chips. Nevertheless, this game is on the brink of a foul. In the event of a Greek default or a Greek exit from the Eurozone, the consequences for Athens would be far more disastrous than for the main EU donors, Germany or France, whom Tsipras is trying to pressure.
Therefore, it’s possible that if SYRIZA wins the election, its leaders would have to break their campaign promises, they’d have to fulfil the EU/IMF demands. Besides which, the Greeks are beginning to realise that they would save in exchange for the loans, through which the government would be able to pay public sector wages, social benefits, etc. However, everyone knows something else… compliance of the requirements for a new tranche wouldn’t cure the Greek economy, but only stabilise it for the time being. “Wrath in the public square” could re-awaken. It’s possible that, if they came to power, the fear of social upheaval would force conservatives and socialists to ask the EU and IMF to revise the conditions of their assistance. The total uncertainty that this situation creates for Brussels and leading EU states gives them an additional incentive to develop, finally, mechanisms for smooth expulsions of “runty” members from the Eurozone.
16 June 2012
Voice of Russia World Service
“Reform” is a euphemism for, “Screw the ordinary people so that the affluent effluent has no pain”. “Austerity” is a euphemism for, “All the pain to the salaried classes; all the gain to the affluent effluent”. Somebody’s getting a screwing in this Three-card Monte game… and it’s not the banksters and their pals. The bankers truly believe that they can hold society up to ransom. They may find out otherwise very soon.
We have a situation much like that of the early twentieth century. It’s time for the state to step in, and muzzle the affluent effluent. They’ve harmed many societies through their greedy policies. Do be careful… many of them are “nice”… need I remind you that “nice” and “good” are NOT synonyms? Shiny surface gloss and deep-rooted goodness of character often are in profound opposition to one another. You forget that at your peril. The top Five Percent are demanding that the rest of us “tighten our belts” so that they can maintain their above-median incomes. I say that’s evil… and that’s that. If you defend such a situation, you defend evil… and reflect on this… many of the affluent effluent aren’t phased by that at all. They say, “Money talks and bullshit walks” and “I can buy whomever I will”… that’s what Wafflin’ Willy really believes. Not only the Greeks are holding an election this year. On 6 November, mark that ballot, remembering that Mittens wants YOU to pay for his gain. Now, that’s a point to ponder…