Thursday, 4 May 2017
Greece: 7 Years of IMF Hell
The EU’s Whipping Boy
Originally arriving to save Greece from bankruptcy, the IMF bankrupted Greeks. On all socio-economic indicators they are much worse than before the medicine was applied. Every year after an electoral cycle or another, a boom is arriving and none ever arrives. The permanent status of micromanagement from the Troika and constant inspections serves the purpose of 24/7 propaganda that eventually turned Greece into a full blown debt colony whereby anything that is government property would be sold off, but not necessarily to the highest bidder.
The revelations subsequently that on fraudulent figures Greece entered the Eurozone and on false statistics it allowed the IMF in only highlight the absolute and mercenary corruption of all the posts assigned to all government appointments, leadership positions of political parties and all major institutions from the IMF, to the ECB and the Eurogroup. The absolute venom and class hatred by a decomposing ruling class is such that they only talk about primary budget surpluses whilst at the same time presiding over more than 2m unemployed, 500k emigres and endless cases of schoolchildren fainting in school.
The Whipping Boy of the EU
An EU Internal Colony for a Two Tier Europe
From the moment the breach occurred by the US born Papandreou and the IMF arrived in Greece for the demands of US/EU dollar parity with the Euro a massive 24/7 propaganda blitz occurred by the worlds corporate media and its internal supporters on both fake Left and Right. Greeks were allegedly the most corrupt and lazy people on earth who couldn’t organise a stag do in a bar. They were so useless that they should be penalised with a permanent overseer in the form of the Troika which became the ‘Institutions’ under Syriza.
There has been no let up under Syriza of continued privatisations, labour deregulation and pension cuts. They have continued as before. Pensioners have been beaten up and teargassed, ministers have refused to meet social groups under attack, farmers have been vilified and dragged through the capitalist courts, the unemployed have been humiliated lining up in queues to not claim social welfare assistance, the disabled have had their benefits cut. Before it was the evil right, or the corrupt socialists from PASOK, now it’s the ‘first time Left’. The circus continues, politics becomes a farce and life invariably gets worse and worse.
But there is humanitarianism in neoliberalism. They care about the ‘refugee and migrant’. They are the only ones we only ever hear about. Whether they are freezing in the winter, whether they are being fed. Whether their children can go to Greek schools. All other social issues have been resolved. Syriza has seen to that. Unemployment has gone way way down. Homelessness has evaporated, suicides are down and the hospitals and medicine are modern marvels and school kids are over moon for the non-existent free school meals enjoying many times fainting in class due to food insecurity.
The beauty of the situation is that only a party that originated on paper from the Left but is governing with a breakaway of the Right (when we say Right in Greece we mean the pro-cold war ex-3rd Reich Quisling Right) could have achieved what it has. It instituted what the ECB wanted (capital controls and electronic forms of bank seizures for bad debts) without even the small businessman kicking up a stink as they could sell it as a measure ‘against capital’ ie …communism. The selling point as always was Greeks have lived beyond their means and there is no money in the state coffers. So it’s always better to live with less and less accept cut after cut to avoid …bankruptcy. The future is always worse than the present even when you are faced looking down from a fifth floor balcony or the barrel of a gun.
There are many dangers always lurking round the corner: Turks are about to invade and have been invading almost weekly, the Eurogroup is about to cut our lifeline, Golden Dawn is rampaging the streets chasing the oh so lovely migrant arrivals who are a paragon of decent behaviour. In a nutshell we have to stay cowed and hidden to ensure all functions well, taxes are paid as it’s a moral duty and we are a hospitable nation. After all as a recent MP (Dimitri Kammenos) from the ruling coalition said ‘our pensioners shouldn’t support their unemployed relatives they should accept another Euro 100 pension cut’ Being scum is now synonymous with being in government and it wasn’t long ago another MP said we have to crush our shit to survive on an MPs Euro 8,000 salary when 1/3 of pensioners have to survive on… Euro 500. Beating up pensioners, teargassing the old is now a firm Syriza tradition after stopping them from getting their money alleging under Varoufakis the EU imposed restrictions on cashflow.
Hence under Syriza we have handed over the nations railways to the bankrupt state operator from Italy for less than the price of a large yacht (E45m), we handed over 14 regional airports to a company (Frapport German state owned) with borrowed money from one of our ECB controlled banks so they can refurbish some toilets (as our state sector wasn’t up to the task), we have leased all state assets for 99 years to a debt fund set up by the Troika and we recently sold the state owned armaments factory ELVO for less than the price of house in Kensington, England and 40% of the electricity company is going private to ensure we no longer produce our own energy but import everything so even more people live in the dark. The beauty of it all is, we are handing over everything at below firesale prices and we call it …development. Broken lives, shattered families a constant feeling of despair has destroyed all hope and once hope is destroyed a society starts to unravel. A wing of society wants wages and pensions to fall further below Bulgarias and fall below Bangladeshis and the government wants to just replace all Greeks with another society, one that is globalised and they see this happening by supporting all new arrivals financially, economically and via the medium of MSM with the fake Left parties adding their ‘crocodile tears’.
As with everything this is a fundamental contradiction. If capitalism is to replace all jobs with robots who will they sell the products to? The few that make and service robots? If they ship in 3m people they label as refugees who will support them and sustain them? By cutting pensions down from Euro 500 to 100 or basic wages from E500 to 100? It’s patently beyond parody and ridiculous as no society would function, it would cease to, the law of the jungle would replace all human interactions and not enough propagandists exist in the existing political formations to sustain such an outcome. But that is the trajectory taken and with it a great political and social impasse.
Fake Union Resistance
The fake resistance by the union leaders during endless one day strikes without any real political objectives or purpose achieved what they set out to do. Demobilised the resistance and led eventually to despair. It’s now become fashionable by those who previously limited all their actions to just letting off some steam to criticize the people for choosing the governments they deserve. In other words it’s the people’s fault they are in this predicament.
This is a continuation of the garbage one hears daily that people don’t want to work, jobs exist and the public sector is overbloated. When PASOK-ND was in power the fake union leaders paid lip service to strikes, now they have a majority they have zero strikes. Of course not everything always works to their angle. One cannot list all the situations where the ruling elites were caught offguard nor when they had to mobilise all the forces at their disposal but we need to list a couple.
When Samaras came to power the KKE called off the Steelworkers strike which had gained national prominence and when they had done everything in their power of not allowing all the factories to shut down by enlisting Golden Dawn to this cause (a systemic organization that duly obliged) and when Syriza came to power (2nd time) the KKE helped derail the farmers protest which had gained national prominence. They system obviously has safety valves the extent of which cannot always be known beforehand. But the mere fact that they need Syriza in power and have kept them for so long indicates they haven’t to date got a future safety valve in the making. They seem to have burnt all their bridges with society.
Syriza thought they could ride roughshod over society in its mass replacement migration programme. It origins are from the fake Left and it could sell solidarity and economic hardship of the multitudes of so-called refugees that arrived. It decided to park them in open ‘reception centres’ on the islands it selected and in many parts of Athens. It did not expect armed resistance in Kos or parents conflict over busing migrants into schools. Not enough propaganda could curtail peoples actions nor could it blame everyone as being Golden Dawn (who after all in every serious social disturbance has sided with the government by either demobilizing popular reaction or going into self-imposed hiding.)
The People are Always at Fault
It’s become fashionable to argue that we are at fault, we borrowed the money, we were the tax evaders, that we are lying on the couches that we are being led by the MSM that we are justly being penalized as we are quislings because we are from the Balkans, dumb and stupid, half educated as the enlightenment never arrived, and how could the other nations achieve a breakthrough with the Troika eg. Cyprus or Ireland. That we are first in corruption and as embourgeoisiefied individuals who produce nothing are pointless.
A previous refrain was that people never hit the streets. When they did in a mass way in the city occupations of 2011 which by 2014 had become indefinite strikes in various occupation which were then court martialed back to work using a junta era law, there wasn’t a lack of militancy but there was no leadership as one section of the fake Left (KKE) did not want or seek power and the other (Syriza) wanted to be voted in precisely to use the elections as a way to implement neoliberalism and they took that a step further using a Referendum to produce the mother of all sellouts
The individuals and organisations who espouse these views are the same ones who in a previous period alleged we only vote for PASOK and ND that we vote only for corruption, in other words whilst life moves on we remain stood still. If the provisional acceptance of Syriza in power is the beginning and end of all social and political activity in Greece and the guarantee for a new 99 year Troika occupation of Greece by the banksters then we have history in the making. What the 3rd Reich didn’t achieve the 4th did. If things were that simple then the issue of the return of the Drachma would never hang over the whole political class or the issue of the fragmentation of the EU, in particular with political developments in the UK, France and Italy let alone Hungary.
The mere fact that all the political forces currently in Parliament have to come out and support the Euro and the EU project (KKE in its 20th Congress stated that the re-introduction of the Dracha would essentially be a national calamity).
Having put paid to rest the populists of the ‘Left’ (Syriza) it is now fashionable to do the same with the populists of the ‘right’ eg Austrian, Dutch and possibly France. In other words no one can break out of the straightjacket of the EU. The extreme globalist centre always wins. The theory would apply if capitalism had actually resolved its insoluble contradictions and if it had actually moved away from its mass population replacement agenda, its chronic and systemic unemployment and the precarious work situation. But what is happening is that certain issues are now going mainstream when before they were isolated. The issues which led to the revolt of the periphery have now hit the centre eg. Brexit and the discussions on Frexit. This has created to a certain extent a stalemate which will be resolved one way or another as the capitalist crisis isn’t going on holiday.
1st May 2017
Sunday, 9 April 2017
Greece’s New Deal From European Lenders Delivers More Neoliberalism
By Michael Nevradakis | March 28, 2017
Protesting tax office workers hang a banner from the finance ministry in Athens on Monday, March 20, 2017, that reads: "Reduction of tax free limit means new cuts to salaries and pensions. Stop Austerity." Greece's left-led government is in negotiations with bailout creditors on further budget cuts and reforms required for the release of a new rescue loan installment. (AP/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Protesting tax office workers hang a banner from the finance ministry in Athens on Monday, March 20, 2017, that reads: “Reduction of tax free limit means new cuts to salaries and pensions. Stop Austerity.” (AP/Thanassis Stavrakis)
GREECE– The Greek government recently reached a new agreement with the so-called “troika” of lenders—the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund—on new reforms that are slated to go into effect in 2019.
The SYRIZA-led Greek government touted this agreement as a major success that signifies the end of austerity. According to the Greek government, austerity will be averted via the enactment of “equivalent measures” that will offset cuts. But even if this is the case, the agreement is contingent on Greece fulfilling harsh fiscal targets and austerity measures from now until 2019.
What does this agreement really mean for Greece? Is it the best solution for the country and its economy? Are these targets even realistic? To provide insight into these and other relevant questions, MintPress News recently spoke with Greek economist Dimitris Karousos, a member of the political directorate of Greece’s United Popular Front, a small political party that has advocated in favor of a Greek departure of the eurozone and the EU. In an interview that originally aired on Dialogos Radio in March, Karousos discusses the recent agreement, talk of “Grexit” and other pertinent economic matters.
MintPress News: Let’s begin by discussing the recent deal that was reached between the Greek government and its European lenders. The Greek government has engaged in a big PR show, portraying this new agreement as one that will not deliver even one euro’s worth of new austerity measures as a result of the so-called “equivalent measures” that will be adopted. This raises the question: if the net sum of these new measures is zero, then why enact them? And what does the new agreement actually entail and mean for Greece?
Dimitris Karousos (DK): As we now find ourselves in Oscar season, it is clear that the Oscar for best director should go to the communications team of the Greek government, as their new dogma that claims that “one plus one equals zero” is one of the most absurd things that the Greek people have heard yet. Indeed, “professor” Tsipras [referring to Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras], by claiming that one plus one equals zero seems to be reinventing the rules of mathematics. In other words, the government is attempting to claim that for every euro of austerity measures and cuts that will be enacted, there will be one euro in equivalent measures to offset those cuts. This, of course, is a blatant lie, because if there will indeed be no impact, these measures would not be needed.
The Greek government is lying; this can be demonstrated in three ways. First, the troika—meaning the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund—is not discussing the possibility of cuts in the special property tax and the value added tax. It is not even allowing these issues to be brought to the negotiating table.
Second, the troika, instead of tax cuts, is insisting on the enactment of the so-called Juncker growth package, named after President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. This package is essentially the European Union’s Partnership Agreement, known as ESPA, but this is not a true replacement because Greece already qualifies for funds from this agreement regardless. Therefore, somebody needs to explain how low wage-earners who are now faced with a lower tax-free threshold and will be forced to pay taxes, or how pensioners who will face further cuts to their pensions, will benefit from the European Union’s Partnership Agreement, which in the first place has nothing to do with this group of people, since it concerns only entrepreneurs and supposedly offsets these cuts.
Third, whatever “equivalent” measures are agreed upon will only begin to be enforced if and when Greece has fully and successfully enacted new cuts to wages and pensions, as foreseen in the new austerity package, with 3.6 billion euros worth of cuts.
MPN: The deal that was recently reached foresees the achievement of a primary budget surplus of at least 3.5 percent of the Greek GDP in 2019. We are also hearing that Greece’s primary surplus for the month of January surpassed targets. Is this a good thing? Are primary surpluses a positive thing for a country like Greece, with the economy in the state that it is in?
DKHere, we should first make it clear that no economy that has found itself in a condition similar to that of Greece has been able to recover through the enforcement of strict austerity and the pursuit of surpluses.
The economists Barry Eichengreen and Ugo Panizza, in a study of theirs, examined 235 countries and found that there were only 36 cases in countries were able to maintain, for a five-year period on average, a primary budget surplus of at least 3 percent of their GDP, representing 15 percent of the total sample. In the same study, they found that there were only 17 cases in which countries maintained a primary budget surplus of at least 3 percent of their GDP over an average of eight years, representing just 9 percent of total cases. There were only 12 cases in which countries maintained a primary budget surplus of at least 3 percent of their GDP over a ten-year period. It should be noted that Germany, the strongest economy in Europe, was not one of these countries.
In other words, they are asking Greece to achieve something that not even an economy at the level of Germany’s has ever been able to achieve. It should also be added that Eichengreen and Panizza noted that extraordinarily strict fiscal policies—austerity, in other words—with the goal of achieving a high primary budget surplus may in fact achieve the opposite result, leading to recession and to political and social turmoil. These policies, in other words, may lead to the opposite outcome from that which is intended.
MPN: With this new agreement, do you believe that the risk of a so-called Schäuble-style Grexit, named after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, has been averted, or does it remain a distinct possibility? And continuing on that frame of thought, what would this German-proposed Grexit, which would include the imposition of a dual or parallel currency, mean for Greece?
DKNot only has the threat of a Schäuble-style Grexit and the imposition of a dual or parallel currency not been surpassed, but I believe it remains the plan that will be put into place. I believe that the following will happen: once the Greek government completes the so-called “troika review” of its finances with an agreement for new austerity measures totaling 3.2 to 3.6 billion euros, the troika will break up the next installment of so-called “bailout” funds into sub-installments. Once the German elections have occurred, a fake “crisis” between Greece and its creditors will be orchestrated, and that is when the Schäuble plan, named of course after the German finance minister, will be imposed. This plan would entail Grexit and the imposition of a dual or parallel currency within Greece.
The circulation of a dual or parallel currency will mean an even more rapid internal devaluation and will signify the immediate impoverishment of the Greek populace. There will be one currency used for internal transactions, such as the payment of salaries and pensions, while whatever euros are still in circulation will be collected and used towards the payment of the national debt, which will continue to be denominated in euros.
This would be a terrible development for Greece, as this dual or parallel currency will face constant devaluation versus the euro, as it will not be hard currency and nobody will want it. If you go to the grocery store or the bakery, for instance, they might accept the dual currency at an exchange rate far lower than the official peg set by the government. The black market for euros will flourish and the economic catastrophe will be total and complete. The introduction of what will essentially be an IOU, or script, will not only completely destroy the Greek economy, but it will also discredit the idea of a national domestic currency in the eyes of the populace.
MPN: Something that is not frequently discussed by analysts or the mass media is the difference between a dual or parallel currency on the one hand and a national domestic currency on the other hand. What is the distinction and why is one better than the other?
DKThe differences are as follows. By definition, a parallel or dual currency means that there is one currency in use for domestic transactions and another that is used for external transactions. A national or domestic currency, on the other hand, is a currency that is issued by a nationalized central bank, such as the Bank of Greece, that would be completely state-owned. With a domestic currency, Greece would not be borrowing the currency that it will put into circulation, it will instead mint the currency itself. It is a wealth instrument, not a debt instrument. Furthermore, a national or domestic currency means that the state itself, because it mints its own currency, does not borrow it from any other central bank.
MPN: Explain for us the steps that Greece could follow in order to undertake an orderly departure from the Eurozone and return to a true domestic currency. How could the various dangers that we keep hearing about, such as the risk of hyperinflation or a catastrophic devaluation of the new currency or a difficulty in importing goods, be averted?
DKThe political party that I am a part of, the United Popular Front, also known as EPAM, has described, in detail, 12 necessary steps that are required in order for a smooth transition to take place toward creating a new national domestic currency.
Every step in this process is absolutely necessary and no steps can be skipped, as it will impact the entire transition to a domestic currency. The most important of these steps are as follows:
First, disputing the legality of the debt and declaring an immediate stoppage of payments.
Second, declaring the immediate cancellation of all of the memorandums and associated legislation that have completely altered the legal and political status of the Greek state and imposed the troika-led occupation.
Third, departure from the European Union and the Eurozone.
Fourth, the imposition of a national domestic currency.
Fifth, the nationalization of the Bank of Greece, the country’s central bank.
Sixth, the imposition of capital controls in order to prevent money from leaving the country.
Seventh, the liquidation of Greece’s four major banks while they remain in operation.
Eighth, enacting measures to ensure that transactions are able to take place smoothly during the period of transition to the new currency.
Ninth, ensuring the adequate supply of goods in the marketplace.
Tenth, protecting consumers and vigorously policing the marketplace and the prices of goods.
Eleventh, immediately restoring wages and pensions to pre-memorandum levels.
Finally, the implementation of “seisachtheia,” an ancient Greek precedent that refers to the forgiveness of the debts of households, as well as small- and medium-sized businesses.
MPN: How has Greece’s membership in the European Union since 1981 and in the Eurozone since 2002 impacted Greece’s productive and industrial capacity? As a second part to this question, is there any possibility of Greece’s agricultural or productive or industrial capacity increasing within the European Union and within the Eurozone?
DKThere is absolutely no chance of recovery for the Greek productive sector and Greek industry as long as the country remains within the European Union and the Eurozone, especially when harsh austerity and memorandums are being imposed. How can industry recover when taxes and pension fund contributions surpass 60 percent of a corporation’s revenue? How can the Greek economy recover when its biggest industry, tourism, is saddled with the highest tax rate in the Mediterranean region? How can the Greek economy recover when there is so much bureaucracy and political uncertainty?
The end result of all of this is that Greece’s competitiveness has dropped to 86th place worldwide, despite all of the austerity measures, the memorandums, the economic “growth” that has repeatedly been promised and the constant “fiscal adjustment” policies and “reforms” that have been enacted. Despite all of this, Greece now ranks lower in competitiveness than countries such as Namibia, Tajikistan, Albania and Guatemala.
MPN: You have spoken about the balance of goods and services in Greece and about Greece’s foreign currency reserves. What do these statistics show and what would they mean for Greece in terms of a potential departure from the Eurozone and the EU and a return to a domestic currency?
DKThere is no possibility that there will be shortages of imported goods. This is the case because Greece’s balance of goods and services, after so many years of economic depression and as a result of the internal devaluation that has taken place, is close to being balanced. In very simple terms, this means that Greece, from its exports, tourism, and shipping sectors, earns all of the necessary foreign currency it needs to pay for its imports. Therefore, it follows that there will be no shortage of imported goods.
In addition, according to the most recent figures available from the Bank of Greece from the third quarter of 2016, the central bank has foreign currency in its reserves totaling approximately 31.5 billion euros. At the same time, Greece’s banking system has, among its assets, a long-term foreign bond portfolio totaling 55.7 billion euros. This totals almost 87 billion euros, which could be used as foreign currency reserves in the immediate aftermath of the departure from the Eurozone. Therefore, it is easy to understand that there is no chance of there being any shortages in the marketplace and that Greece’s needs would be met for several years to come.
MPN: There is also the Greek public debt to contend with. Is this debt sustainable to begin with? What would you propose regarding dealing with the debt, and what does international law and international legal precedent have to say regarding what actions Greece could take regarding its debt?
DKThe Greek people have been purposefully led to believe that an “unsustainable” debt is one which is very difficult to repay, but which can, at some point and after the enactment of very strict measures, be repaid. This is absolutely false. We have been led to believe this because first of all, it has been necessary to maintain the hope that Greece, by enforcing these harsh austerity measures, will be able to repay its debt and will, as a result, accept these difficult measures.
In reality, an unsustainable debt is a debt which, no matter what a country does, cannot ever be repaid or even reduced, no matter how many measures are enforced. With mathematical certainty, such a debt will simply increase over time. This is the case in Greece. When Greece received its first so-called “bailout,” the public debt was 122 percent of GDP. From 122 percent it increased to 129 percent, then 148 percent, then 170 percent. It has since reached 177 percent and is projected to increase to 188 percent and later 200 percent of GDP if we continue down this path.
The first loan agreement that Greece signed in 2010 and which, it should be stressed, was not ratified by the Greek Parliament, was a product of fraud and coercion. Articles 48 through 52 of the UN’s Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties allow for the cancellation of a treaty or agreement when it is a product of deceit or threats. This would permit Greece, with a written statement delivered to the UN General Assembly via the UN’s Secretary General, to announce to the international community that it is denouncing its illegal public debt.
In addition, the official report of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights harshly criticizes the Greek government for its methodical and repeated violations of human rights, and specifically the individual, political, economic, social and cultural rights of Greece’s people.
MPN: You have previously spoken about the recapitalization of the Greek banking system, which most recently took place in early 2016. In what condition does the Greek banking sector find itself in today? Are we headed toward yet another recapitalization and what would such a development mean?
DK I would argue that the Greek banking system now finds itself in worse shape than in the beginning of 2016, if we take into consideration something that the mass media and most analysts typically neglect to tell us — namely, that the deferred tax accounts for 40 percent of the equity of Alpha Bank, 71 percent of the equity of the National Bank of Greece, 75 percent of the equity of Eurobank and 58 percent of the equity of Piraeus Bank. This alone means that a new recapitalization is coming.
Another negative and tragic aspect is that, from the beginning of this year, 1.5 to 1.7 billion euros’ worth of new high-risk loans have been added to the banking system. These loans include mortgages, consumer loans and business loans. Eighty percent of these loans have been refinanced.
In addition, 2.7 million loans, totaling almost 100 billion euros, are at the risk of default, as payments towards those loans have not been made in over three months. This is a ticking time bomb for the financial system. While this is happening, the deposits of households and individual depositors in Greece have dipped below 100 billion euros for the first time since 2003!
It is therefore clear to me that we will soon see a new recapitalization of the Greek banking system totaling 7 to 10 billion euros.
MPN: How has the British economy performed since the referendum result in favor of Brexit this past summer, and how do you believe the British economy will perform if and when the process of exiting the European Union is completed? Do you believe the widely-held fears of adverse economic impacts will be proven to be correct, or do you believe the opposite will be true?
DKEven though it is surely too soon to draw a definite conclusion, what we can say from now is that in contrast with the various “Cassandras” who foresaw the total collapse of the economy of Great Britain, what we are seeing is that the British economy grew by 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2016, exceeding expectations.
In fact, the Bank of England once again revised its growth projections for the British economy for 2017, raising its projection of 1.4 percent of GDP, initially forecast in November 2016, to a growth rate of almost 2 percent of GDP. The higher projection is largely a result of increased consumer spending, which has occurred despite the fear-mongering that the British public faced as a result of the Brexit vote.
Two additional aspects that are important and which should also be noted are the reduction of the public deficit by 400 million pounds and the increase in average weekly wages for British workers by 2.8 percent on a year-to-year basis.
MPN: The new president of the United States, Donald Trump, seems to have taken a position in favor of Brexit and against the Eurozone, stating a preference for reaching bilateral trade agreements with individual countries, rather than large-scale trade deals with the Eurozone as a whole. On a domestic basis, Trump has promised the return of domestic jobs, factories, corporations and businesses that have left the country. How do you view the economic policies and promises of the Trump administration and what would they mean for the European and global economies?
DKThe turn inward being undertaken by the United States will gradually lead to the repatriation of U.S. dollars. As a result, it is likely that countries whose national debt is in large part denominated in U.S. dollars, as is the case with Turkey, where 65 percent of its debt as a percentage of GDP is in dollars, as well as developing countries whose major public- and privately-owned industries have outstanding loans in U.S. dollars, will face increased difficulties from upward pressure on the dollar in international financial markets.
In addition to all of this, we need to take into consideration the ongoing trade battle between the United States and China and the efforts of the United States to achieve energy autonomy, especially the elimination of dependence on OPEC nations. This means the replacement of approximately three million barrels of oil per day that are currently imported. They’ll have to be replaced by domestic energy sources. It is easy to understand that this will hurt countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela in particular.
As for Trump’s domestic economic policy, the jury is still out. We will just have to wait and see.
Thursday, 23 March 2017
With the recent 'attack' of the 17th November on the German Embassy (and the subsequent 'murder' of a British defence attaché - translators note) with rockets various leftist commentators considered it their obligation to pre-judge public opinion condemning the true terrorists: the State, imperialism which blows up Embassies as a whole and murders innocents in Yugoslavia.
Their reaction is just and honest if we consider it to apply to events. If in other words the position of the Establishment suffices,that the 'mystery organisation' is truly a left-wing organisation subscribing to methods of individual terrorism.
The other view is also well known which is sometimes aired publically that terrorist organisation are only fronts for secret services, local and foreign, in their provocatory roles.
If this second case is real it becomes evident that every left fighter is obliged to confront the issue in a totally different manner: To condemn the state conspiracy, instead of supporting with pointless articles state lies, which a cover up of a campaign of provocation's continues for two and a half decades now and whose aims are clear beyond doubt.
The belief of the official version, which occurs by some, has surpassed the boundaries of ignorance and it should maybe become an issue for social psychology.
They tell us that if we blame terrorism on the security services we fall on to police explanations of social phenomena, something unattributed to marxist thought.
Truly the activity of secret services and provocations cannot exist in the sphere of sociology. It's very good for the State to attribute attacks to it to writers of police fantasies. On the contrary we would add that true terrorism as an example of revolutionary opportunism belongs in the realm of fantasy, as a phenomenon it is totally unexplainable from whichever serious sociological analysis.
Historically terrorism appears when the masses feel endless hatred. In an era when the peoples are suffering under absolutist regimes, military dictatorships or they have kneeled after great upheavals. For example it is understandable from sociological laws the action of Alexandros Panagoulis to place bombs on the road of the dictator Papadopoulos. But it is totally ridiculous to believe that young 'panagoulides' may appear just as the dictatorship is collapsing and hundreds of thousands of people are on the streets daily demanding their rights inside a climate of hope and newfound enthusiasm. But in these conditions the unexplainable and weird first act of terrorism that we witnessed. The chief of the CIA Wells was killed (his body was never shown) and the torturers of the junta Malios and Babalis...
The phenomenon of terrorism is in opposition not only with the known framework of social conditions but with every type of logic. How can it be possible for a quarter of a century, for civil servants and known citizens be murdered in broad daylight during rush hour and the perpetrators always remain free. Nothing analogous exists for the whole of world history. There is no reason to deal with the arrest of the 'known-unknowns' (Greek phrase meaning security agents) which occur every now and again by the hopeless attempts (which always fail) to manufacture conspiracies, to manufacture terrorists. Up until today all these actions never supported the official line but made it have holes in it.
A terrorist organisation like 17th November with such ardour and constant activity, responsible for acts, which are penalised with the highest sentences, could not recruit young new members, which it must educate as professional killers. If we assume that the organisation remained uncatchable because it remained in its original nucleus, which obviously had good military training would have been retired two and a half decades later! But according to live witnesses the 'terrorists' are always young, able to climb motorbikes and they disappear.
Anyway a typically terrorist group would aim for targets that would provoke confusion in the state mechanism. Politicians whose disappearance would unsettle the fragile balance of forces, state organs that were morally responsible for crimes and attacks against peoples.
Instead of that we see people being killed who are totally irrelevant (e.g. Momferatos) and actions to occur which the state needs the time it needs them. That is the reason why the terrorist attacks have ended up being totally predictable.
People who can play hide and seek under the noses of the Greek security forces, of the FBI and the CIA can not be coincidental and let us not add that for 25 years now their terrorism only damages the popular struggle and only the State gains from it as it appears to be in legal defence, providing it with the necessary excuses so as to advance and strengthen itself continuously its own terrorism.
The official view of terrorism cannot be acceptable without stepping on all the laws of logic. In contrast provocation is a totally justified and explainable practice of the ruling classes in today's conditions. Capitalism achieves a greater centralisation of forces of the political means of deceit and provocation, during the rise of its class strategy, the moment it is threatened the most. The great social disturbances, which the insoluble economic crisis provokes, the dreadful consequences of the wars it itself unavoidably provokes make the class instinct of self-preservation immensely delicate. We must not forget that it is a class that has dominated the world scene for half a millennium. It has accumulated a massive political experience, which is in the blood and bones of the ruling circles. It mobilises all its forces to remain at all costs in power. It mobilises all its forces so as to remain at all costs in power. It acts with such craftiness in such an unbridled manner, the clearer it becomes to its leaders the dangers threatening them.
In eras of great social convulsions provocation becomes one of its most brilliant weapons. It serves the need for a fantastic threat, which allows capitalism to bring together and mobilise all its forces at the opportune moment. To prepare for the true threat. It needs lightning bolts of fake revolutions so as to legalise and launch its own counterrevolution.
Up until a few years ago the communist threat served it well. In Greece they spoke about a northern threat. The EAM-Bulgarians who remained armed to enter our northern borders. Once this 'danger' collapsed the ruling class needed a new invisible threat. As one didn't exist one needed to be invented. The international general staffs uncovered terrorism. In the name of wiping it out the bourgeois state became armed to the teeth. It made anti-terrorist laws. It created Special Forces. It justified the arrival of 'special US teams'. It filled the streets with fully armed Rambos. It set up
roadblocks. It created an undeclared state of emergency, which in other eras no junta could have even dreamed of!
With terrorism, state and citizens for the first time appear to have a common enemy. For the crushing of the common enemy they must use 'blind violence' placing in danger the lives of innocent civilians, all state and citizens, must unite! State repression if it isn't supported becomes acceptable as the lesser evil. Anyone who goes against this automatically becomes a collaborator and supporter of terrorism.
This isn't a Greek phenomenon or a Greek invention. As we all realise imperialism has a need for 'terrorism' as a measure of international relations. Whole countries enter the black list. They are labelled terrorist states, as if they support terrorism or put up with it. With this excuse they are threatened, bombed or condemned to the genocide of the embargo. It is a clearly orchestrated campaign directed from Washington. An international campaign of lies, deceit and violence.
It is true that the imperialist wouldn't have been able to carry it out with success if the collapse of the USSR hadn't predated it. The opposite pole in the realms of propaganda has gone. Without the USSR the 'left' and 'democratic' parties in the western world have given up. Hand in hand with the mass media they are surrendering to the fantastic scenarios of terrorism. They support the lies of the state security agencies. All their gargled and irresponsible conspiracies.
In Greece, no party, not even the KKE ever dared to condemn the secret services and the State as the true organiser of terrorism.
The scenarios, which the state creates, are so provisional, so badly manufactured and they would have collapsed years ago if the extreme left had exposed them. But in this belong the eternally stupid, whom the State uses so it can become believable. In this one finds people who with enthusiasm fall in the trap of terrorism. From 'revolutionary' duty!
Accepting the official myths, they believe they are gaining a section of the 'glory' of the 'terrorists'. As stalinism condemned every revolutionary act as a provocation, the extreme left feels they become legal if they portray every provocation as a revolutionary act. Stalinism survived many decades unearthing everywhere 'counterrevolutionaries'. But they forget that the bourgeois State specialises in finding everywhere 'revolutionaries'. They aren't bothered by the fact that the stalinists for the first time are seeing real terrorists, their where they previously say only 'police spies'.
In conclusion the working class and its most advanced sections confront with deep skepticism the official myths. The issue is to undertake a conscious and courageous campaign to uncover the terrorist conspiracies. So the conspirators remain naked and nothing to stand on. To uncover their aims and their criminal methods. This becomes even more urgent, as the threat of new strangleholds appear on the horizon against the Greek people and to see new dirty games which are being manufactured on both sides of the Atlantic under the excuse of fighting a war on terrorism
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Book Review: Special thanks....from VN Gelis
Vast movements of people have to be organised. The British Empire organised massive population movements, through the slave trade, forced emigration to Australia, and the forced movement of indentured labour from India to Africa.
The vast movements into Greece of people coerced by poverty and misery are privatised, outsourced, to Chinese mafia gangs and Albanian smugglers. The Chinese mafia demands 10,000 euros for every immigrant they bring into Greece from China, Thailand and Pakistan.
A Greek minister, and major employer, said, “Immigrants are God’s blessing, we need them because they work with one third of a Greek worker’s wages, because they cannot go on strike, they cannot form unions, they can do nothing.” The ‘no borders’ anarchists ally with the employing class, denouncing all who disagree with them as racists, driving people into the arms of Golden Dawn. As ever, the ultra-left and the far right are locked in each other’s arms.
Schengen is supposed to defend the EU’s borders from illegal immigrants, but Greece does not prosecute or deport them, instead it legalises them, breaking its own laws. This raises the suspicion that there is some secret EU-Greek government deal to allow this breach of Schengen.
A former MP of the New Democracy party said, “the issue was raised of supporting Albania by showing tolerance in the issue of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, because the neighbouring country had made a definitive turn to the west and should be supported in this course.”
As Marx wrote in 1866 of employers’ recruitment of workers from Europe to defeat a strike in Britain, “The purpose of this importation is the same as that of the importation of Indian coolies to Jamaica, namely, perpetuation of slavery.
Monday, 13 February 2017
Currency Manipulation in the era of Decline
Politics has never had so many clowns on stage, Schauble, Tsipras, Merkel. Not long ago Greece allegedly leaked secret IMF reports when everyone knows the IMF programme for Greece not only went against its own rules but was only supported by the US and the EU. In other words from day one there has been a joint effort to have dual currency control between the US and the Euro. The Wall St crash of 2007/8 led to a massive collapse of the Dollar and a big appreciation of the Euro almost 50% more than when it first appeared.
Russian exports in oil and gas during the first decade of 2000 to the EU led to a massive increases in income for Russia and stabilised it at the same time as the Arab world was being destabilised due to the fake war on terror and US interventions. The collapse of US foreign policy in the Arab world by the end of the 2000 decade meant that if allowed naturally the Euro would have appreciated near enough to 100% of the falling dollar.
Beyond all proportion to its actual economic size and beyond all political expectations Greece became the vehicle through which US currency manipulation would become dominant in appreciating the dollar during in particular the 2012 and 2016 elections. If one traces the rise and flow of the dollar in relation to other currencies one notices that a year or so before America enters an electoral cycle the dollar and stock markets appreciate.
As the EU is an American invention and its leading politicians are vetted and placed in their position by the shadow global governments of the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg groups which essentially represent finance capital, the constant and persistent bailouts and talk of GREXIT created the appropriate global climate for investors to restore faith and return to the …dollar.
Despite the fact that the EU and the USA on paper owe around $40 trillion, Greece’s debt of $300 billion which is just chump change in relation to the previous amounts, it has now come to light via the musings of the alleged future US Ambassador to the EU a Ted Malloch that the Germans are now involved in currency manipulation by keeping a deflated Euro. The same is also said of the Chinese. Americas money printing ie QE to the tune of $5trillion since 2008 does not of course factor. As the old adage goes it’s a case of ‘Do as I say not as I do’.
The problem America now faces is how to reflate the Euro to make it less competitive in relation to exports and this of course cannot be done as the IMF-ECB roadshow has only followed one main policy, no subsidies, tax everyone to death and impose economic genocide from one country to the next (Euro periphery). It cannot be done so for the first time Merkel announced the possibility of accepting a ‘two tier Euro’ as if we had a one tier Euro so far (with Cyprus bail ins and Greek capital controls) different interest rates for different countries in an alleged ‘single currency’. So it might be broken up between a Northern euro and a Southern one. Or with the removal of Greece from the Euro hoping the remaining Eurocurrency reflates. The logical thing would be to remove Germany, but logic to the architects of the single currency with 5 different monetary policies was always in short supply.
It is obviously beyond absurd to see Greek politicians (PASOK, ND, Syriza) on tv and on the radio talking about a return to the Drachma as their bosses have told them to prepare public opinion when in reality they don’t know where to turn as their whole political career and promotion has been made on supporting and promoting the Euro. It’s like seeing a hangman become a Buddhist.
The fact of the matter is they created a mess with so much shit that even with the best sewage company on earth they won’t be able to clean this one up. They don’t know what will happen to the stock markets if the Euro is openly breached, they don’t know what will happen if we return to the Drachma. One thing is for sure, history is going in that direction. Grexit is inevitable and with it will come departure from the EU and the departure of all those migrants who arrived in Greece since the fall of the Soviet Union, for a currency only worth for local consumption will no longer serve a purpose in a post globalised era to globalised citizens.
13th February 2017
Saturday, 4 February 2017
Fellow NATO members Greece and Turkey appear to be on the brink of clashing over disputed islands in the eastern Aegean Sea, but the reason for the present tension isn't limited to a few rocks.
00:00 / 00:00
Reports have streamed in over the past week that a Turkish naval vessel was menacingly circling around disputed islets in what many interpreted as blatant intimidation and warmongering. The historical dispute between Athens and Ankara over these territories predates the establishment of Turkey as a country and occasionally flares up to the forefront of regional politics. This time around, however, there’s a lot more bubbling below the surface than initially meets the eye.
© PHOTO: PIXABAY
'Violation of Int'l Law': Turkey Warns Greece Over Military Drills on Kos Island
In the days preceding the provocation, Greece declared that it would not extradite eight rogue Turkish servicemen who fled in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt against Erdogan; critics argue that remanding the fugitives would be tantamount to complicity in their execution. On the other hand, Turkey warned that this action would have serious consequences for bilateral relations, and in hindsight, it’s plausible that the latest naval tensions between the two neighbors over the Aegean islands is among the responses that Ankara had in mind all along.
An additional bone of contention between the longstanding regional rivals is the immigrant deal signed between Ankara and Brussels last year, which some experts believe could be endangered by the present bilateral dispute between Turkey and Greece. The weather is about to warm up in the coming months and create favorable conditions for large-scale illegal migration to Europe. Knowing this, Turkey might hold out the deal that it reached with the EU as a bargaining chip in pressuring Brussels to force Athens to make concessions. There’s also the larger trend of Turkey becoming more independently assertive in general under President Erdogan, be it through the unprecedented consolidation of executive power, its decisive pivot towards Russia and Iran following the coup, or its recent game of hardball with the West.
Given this visible trajectory, the recent Greek-Turkish naval tensions begin to look like part of a bigger power play representing ambitions much grander than the desire to command a few tiny islands off the Anatolian coast.
To discuss this issue in more detail, we are happy to be joined by Serap Balaman, Turkish political commentator and Evans Agelissopoulos, Greek political commentator.
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
When Greek solidarity over Cyprus Independence broke the post war defeat of the Left on the streets of Athens Part Two
Whites and Mau Mau
Banner reads ‘Disgraceful Americans’ Revenge for the Defeat of the Civil War? | Τ. ΤΡΙΚΚΑΣ, ΕΔΑ 1951-1967 (Αθήνα 2009)
The post war Left was hounded severely being in prisons and on islands with prisons and the irony of the situation is that it ended up on the street with the forces of the ‘nationalist’ far right over Cyprus, not unlike our era today.
In the name of the struggle against British imperialism, traditional ideologies ( of the alleged ‘superiority’ of the Greek nation) was legalized as an example of ‘deflected’ anti-imperialismm.
We read in a banner that the Cypriots aren’t ‘Mau Mau’ (27.10.1955) openly condemning the anticolonial guerrilla movement of Kenya, militant yes but not up to the standards of the white race and its thousand odd year history.
Even more complicated was the relativisation of the dividing line between resistance and being a quisling something which divided people in a blood line previously.
It’s ironic that the Left (EDA United Democratic Left) supported electorally in Arkadia a quisling politician of the 3rd Reich against the supporters of the national sellout Karamanlis – Cyprus being the key here.
Irony of the situation is that those people who under the 3rd Reich had publically declared their support of the legality of the occupier thought their position was justified “It was considered a heresy then that if you though that it wasn’t necessary for us to burn our hut for the sake of England’ wrote Pavlos Palaiologos the day after they deposed Makarios (Vima 11.3.1956).
“But we burnt it. Then liberation came. Everyone was happy. But we had the December events and then the gangsterous war (referring to civil war) a product of all the resistance which England inspired and England funded”….
The issue of our times is that in order to keep Turkey in NATO whilst at the same time supporting moves towards an a controlled Independent Kurdistan (ie break up of Turkey) the NWO wants to offer up the Aegean sea bed as a quid pro quo to Turkey and the only way of doing that is legitimising the Turkish occupation of Cyprus. If the the first three decades of the NWO inaugurated by Bush senior in 1990 could not do it, it seems pretty impossible to occur under a Trump administration as all the indications are this administration is in a geostrategic retreat and May recent attemps at currying favour with Erdogan will fall on deaf ears.
Note of the translator VN Gelis
Throughout the 1950’s Britain’s world Empire was under question having faced a geostrategic defeat during WW2 when ti was forced to hand over its world role to the ascending US Empire. As such India’s Independence started decolonisation in Asia and the same processes occurred in Africa with Ghanas independence leading onto Kenya’s and Northern Rhodesia’s (current Zambia). It was inevitable for the same process to occur in Cyprus from military men who had been England’s and Germany’s quislings during WW2.
The man who led EOKA (Cyprus liberation struggle movement) Grivas (note below) played a role during the December events in Athens killing partisans on behalf of Churchill as his anti-communism took precedent over everything else.
Britain’s insistence on maintaining Cyprus was due to the military bases there which can oversee the Arab world and as such they would try to maintain them tooth as nail as they did. Cypriot Turks on the islands did not participate in the liberation movement it was Greek affair under the slogan of ‘Enosis’ (union) with Greece. Once the English realised they couldn’t militarily defeat EOKA without flooding the island with tens of thousands of troops (when decommissioning was all the rage from Empire in the period of time) they resorted to their well known ‘divide and rule’ tactics by supporting the small Cypriot Turkish community and they created via the London and Zurich treaties equal status for this community bringing in Turkey to the game, proving always there are no allies in war amongst nations (Turkey did not participate in the Allied war against Hitler) creating a ‘constitutional monstrosity’ with respect to the Cypriot Constitution in the words of the General Secretary of the United Nations Galo Plaza…
By 1958 the Greek Left became the official opposition gaining 25% of the votes with EDA (union of Democratic Left) and by 1960 building workers through violent confrontations could bring down governments. The civil war and the defeat of the Left was a but a memory. The struggle for Cypriot independence contributed to that....
During the 3rd Reichs Occupation of Greece, there was a General called Grivas who was part of the 3rd Reichs Occupation forces having served in the Greek Army in both the invasion of Ataturks Turkey and the defence of Greece after the Axis invasion led by Italy he set up a paramilitary organisation called X (Hites) who spent their time crushing communist led partisans. He was from Cyprus and led the Cypriot armed independence struggle against the British Empire for Enosis between Cyprus and Greece. In that conflict he ended up in conflict with the collapsing British Empire. Its ironic how Velouhiotis and Makarios died at the hands of the British whilst Grivas lived all the way to 1974.