Saturday, 18 July 2015

Round Up of the Greek Crisis

The Facebook feed is streaming updates on the Greek debt crisis from mainstream news sites, opinion pieces and, also alternative analysis.

We apologise to Marxists worldwide for Greece refusing to commit ritual suicide to further the cause. You have suffered from your sofas.It is revealing of the political landscape in Europe - indeed, the world - that everyone's dreams of socialism seemed to rest on the shoulders of the young Prime Minister of a small country. There seemed to be a fervent, irrational, almost evangelical belief that a tiny country, drowning in debt, gasping for liquidity, would somehow (and that somehow is never specified) defeat global capitalism, armed only with sticks and rocks.In the last few hours I have been told that Greece "should just ‪#‎Grexit‬NOW"; that we have "a wonderful climate and could easily be self-sufficient"; that we "should adopt bitcoin and crowdfunding to circumvent monetarism"; that "the US would send us medicine". None of these people are suggesting that this should happen in their own country, you understand. Just Greece, so they can see what happens. Most of them live in states with centrist governments, which espouse austerity, but guarantee a steady supply of the latest iPad to the shops. All of them, without exception, could have negotiated a much better deal with a knife to their throat; could have been braver.
See Angela Merkel must act now for Greece, Germany and the world:
We urge Chancellor Merkel and the troika to consider a course correction to avoid further disaster and enable Greece to remain in the eurozone. The Greek government is being asked to put a gun to its head and pull the trigger. Sadly, the bullet will not only kill off Greece’s future in Europe. The collateral damage will kill the eurozone as a beacon of hope, democracy and prosperity, and could lead to far-reaching economic consequences across the world.
See the news as it broke when Varoufakis resigned -  Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis resigns despite referendum no vote. The words we remembered from this headline are 'And I shall wear the creditors' loathing with pride.' 

Announcing his resignation in a blog post entitled “Minister No More!” on Monday, he wrote: “Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants [eurozone finance ministers], and assorted ‘partners’, for my … ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.
“I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum. 
“And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.”
Read Zoe Williams' piece The moral crusade against Greece must be opposed. It is a compelling opinion piece and asks why is it so important to paint Greeks as irresponsible, tax-evading, free loaders who deserve austerity:
In 2012 the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, said in an interview with this newspaper, “Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax. And I think they should also help themselves collectively.” How? “By all paying their tax.” At the time, it sounded strange: how, in a country of cripplingly high unemployment, with whole families living off the depleted income of one pensioner, was the answer going to come from tax?
She was offering not a solution but a narrative: the Greeks were in this situation because they were bad people. They wanted a beneficent state, but they didn’t want to pool their resources to create one. The IMF was merely the instrument of a discipline they dearly needed. This line has broadly held – the debtors are presented as morally weaker than the creditors. To give them any concessions would be to reward their laziness and selfishness. The fact that debt is a two-way street – that the returns on debt exist because of the risk that the money might be lost, and creditors have their own moral duty to accept losses when they arise – is erased by this telling of the events.

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