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Greece: 'Troika stop! Give them back their democracy!'

Click HERE for more on SYRIZA.

Translated by Liam Flenady

Statement released in French on January 5, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- European Union, European directors, International Monetary Fund, ratings agencies: stop your blackmail, end your interference in the Greek election campaign! Let the people decide!

In a context where harsh blows are multiplying in Greece (corruption of elected representatives, disinformation, restriction of democratic liberties), in order to prevent the possible victory of the left-wing movement SYRIZA in the legislative elections on January 25, we see the IMF announce the suspension of its “aid”, and the European commissioner for the economy Pierre Moscovici address himself directly fo the Greek electorate to tell them which way they should vote.

For his part, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, declared that he “would not like it if the extreme forces come to power” in Athens. In Germany, the finance minister Wolfgang Schaüble reaffirmed in passing that there is “no alternative” to the reforms underway in Greece.

The ratings agencies have begun to threaten a downgrading – is it still possible! -- of the rating of the Greek economy. In the European press, they have taken it upon themselves to spread fear of change in order to dissuade the peoples of the EU from turning towards progressive formations proposing the same type of economic rupture as SYRIZA.

It is true that a victory for SYRIZA in Greece could call into question for the whole of the European Union the politics of austerity imposed by the Troika (the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the IMF) upon the people against their will. As has been demonstrated by the massive demonstrations in Portugal, in Spain and more recently in Italy, or the general strike in Belgium, it is no longer accepted that the the holders of capital must be reimbursed for their illegitimate debts at the price of the destruction of a social model that allowed for the softening of the evils of capitalism and pointed towards the possibility of a different social model.

Before this threat to their interests – the example of Iceland still unsettles them – the servants of finance in Europe are readying all kinds of blackmail to confiscate democracy from Greece and elsewhere. Those who allow freedom to be muzzled in Victor Orban’s Hungary in the name of respect for universal suffrage this time find it legitimate to insert themselves into the internal political life of a state: the preservations of the interests of the banks and the multinationals is more important for them than the defence of liberties!

It is up to the people of Greece, father of democracy but today matyr of austerity, to decide, in sovereignty, upon their future.

We, citizens of Europe, demand that the international financial institutions, the ratings agencies and the European authorities immediately cease their shameful pressuring. It is not up to the current European institutions and finance to dictate to the people for whom they should vote! Austerity is a political choice that they should be able to reject democratically!

We are in chorus with SYRIZA in saying that Greece’s problem is the same as that of all of Europe and that what is playing out here could signal the beginning of a new European adventure.

We, citizens of Europe say to the Greek people: do not fear, you can count on us, we are at your side. Our Europe is not theirs; it is yours.

* * *

APPEL – Union européenne, dirigeants européens, FMI, agences de notation : cessez votre chantage, votre ingérence dans la campagne électorale grecque ! Laissez le peuple décider!

Dans un contexte où les mauvais coups se multiplient en Grèce (corruption de députés, désinformation, restriction des libertés démocratiques…) pour empêcher la victoire possible du mouvement de gauche Syriza aux élections législatives prévues le 25 janvier, voilà que le FMI annonce la suspension de son "aide" et que le commissaire européen à l’économie Pierre Moscovici s’adresse directement aux électeurs grecs pour leur dire dans quel sens voter. Jean-Claude Juncker, président de la Commission européenne, déclare quant à lui qu’il « n’aimerait pas que des forces extrêmes arrivent au pouvoir » à Athènes. En Allemagne, le ministre des Finances Wolfgang Schaüble réaffirme au passage qu’il n’y a « aucune alternative » aux réformes conduites en Grèce. Les agences de notation commencent à menacer de dégrader – est-il encore possible ! - la note de l’économie grecque. Dans la presse européenne, on s’emploie à diffuser la peur du changement afin de dissuader les peuples de l’Union de se tourner vers des formations politiques progressistes proposant le même type de rupture économique que Syriza.

Il est vrai qu’une victoire de Syriza en Grèce pourrait remettre en cause pour l’ensemble de l’Union européenne les politiques d’austérité imposées par la Troïka (banque européenne, commission européenne et FMI) aux peuples contre leur volonté : comme le montrent les manifestations massives au Portugal, en Espagne et plus récemment en Italie, ou la grève générale en Belgique, ne passe plus l’injonction de rembourser aux détenteurs de capitaux des dettes illégitimes au prix de la destruction d’un modèle social qui permettait d’atténuer les maux du capitalisme et de pointer qu’une autre logique est possible. Devant cette menace pour leurs intérêts – l’exemple islandais les inquiète encore - les serviteurs de la finance en Europe sont prêts à tous les chantages pour confisquer la démocratie en Grèce et ailleurs. Eux qui laissent museler les libertés dans la Hongrie de Victor Orban au nom du respect du suffrage universel trouvent cette fois légitime de s’ingérer dans la vie politique intérieure d’un État : la préservation des intérêts des banques et des multinationales leur est plus importante que la défense des libertés !

C’est au peuple grec, père de la démocratie mais aujourd’hui martyr de l’austérité, de décider souverainement de son avenir. Nous, citoyens et citoyennes d’Europe, exigeons des institutions financières internationales, des agences de notations comme des autorités européennes qu’elles cessent immédiatement leurs pressions indignes. Ce n’est pas aux institutions européennes actuelles et à la finance de dicter aux peuples ce qu’ils doivent voter ! L’austérité est un choix politique qu’ils doivent pouvoir rejeter démocratiquement ! Nous faisons chorus avec les dirigeants de Syriza pour dire que le problème de la Grèce est celui de toute l’Europe et que ce qui s’y joue pourrait sonner le début d’une nouvelle aventure européenne. Nous, citoyens et citoyennes d’Europe disons au peuple grec : n’ayez pas peur, comptez sur nous, nous sommes à vos côtés. Notre Europe n’est pas la leur ; elle est la vôtre.

Signatories/Signer la pétition.

Christophe Aguiton, union militant; Françoise Alamartine, EELV (Green Party); Loïc Annoot, Les plumés de l’austérité 93; Paul Aries, editor in chief of the monthly publication Z’indigné(e)s; Clémentine Autain, spokesperson of Ensemble ! (Together!); Benjamin Ball, Les désobeïsssants; Alain Bascoulergue, retired journalist; Francine Bavay, EELV; Julien Bayou, regional councillor EELV; Delphine Beauvois, author of youth and feminist books; Esther Benbassa, senator of EELV in Val-de-Marne; Fatima Benomar, les efFRONTé-e-s; Bruno Bessières, association des communistes unitaires, Ensemble !, Front de gauche (Left Front); Martine Billard, former deputy for Paris, Parti de Gauche (Left Party); Thierry Bonus, militant union militant ; Alima Boumediene Thiery, lawyer; Michel Bourgain, mayor of l’Île-Saint-Denis ; Joseph Boussion, Nouvelle Donne (New Deal); Jacques Boutault, EELV mayor for Paris 2e; Judith Butler; Leïla Chaibi, PG ; Laura Chatel (federal secretary for Jeunes Ecolos (Young Ecologists)); Luc Chatel, journalist and editor; Fethi Chouder, PG93; Eric Coquerel, political coordinator of PG, regional councillor for Ile de France; Alexis Corbière national secretary for Parti de Gauche ; Mathieu Colloghan, painter; Philippe Corcuff, political figure; Sergio Coronado, EELV deputy; Emmanuelle Cosse, national secretary of EELV; Simon Cottin-Marx, co-editor in chief of the revue Mouvements and member of Jeudi Noir ; Alain Coulombel, regional councill for EELV; Pierre Cours-Salies, professor at Paris 8, member of FASE (Ensemble !); Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, sociologist; Philippe Derudder, economist; Véronique Dubarry, assistant to the mayor of Île-Saint-Denis, EELV93, Les plumés de l’austérité 93; Héloïse Duché, feminist activist; Frédéric Durand, president of the group FdG in Plaine Commune ; Eric Fassin, sociologist, Université Paris-8; Michel Feher, philosopher; Fabrice Flipo, philosopher; Guillaume Floris, unionist; Bruno Gaccio, Nouvelle Donne; Gilles Garnier, European deputy for PCF (Communist Party of France); Raquel Garrido national secretary of PG ; Elisabeth Gautier, Transform! Europe/Espaces Marx; Jean-Marie Gleize, writer; Jérome Gleize, councillor for Paris EELV; Pierre-François Grond, Ensemble !; Janette Habel, academic; Kaddour Hadadi, Hk et les saltimbanks; Magalie Houziaux, Vivre mieux ensemble à Aulnay (93), Les plumés de l’austérité; Benjamin Joyeux, European ecologist, Federal Council of EELV ; Wandrille Jumeaux, EELV; Pierre Khalfa, copresident of the Fondation Copernic ; Pierre Larotourou, copresident of Nouvelle Donne; Sandra Laugier, philosopher; Pierre Laurent, National Secretary of PCF, president of the Party of the European Left; Stéphane Lavignotte, pastor, Christianisme social; Bénédicte Lefebvre, Fondation Copernic; Mathurin Levis, member of the Bureau National du Mouvement des Jeunes Socialistes; François Longérinas, PG activist, ecologist and self-manager; Isabelle Lorand, Chirurgienne, PCF; Michael Löwy, sociologist, Emeritus Director of Research, CNRS; Elise Lowy, EELV; Noël Mamère, ecologist deputy; Philippe Mangeot, Vacarme; Philippe Marlière, political analyst; Myriam Martin, spokesperson for Ensemble !; Luis Martinez Andrade, sociologist; Christiane Marty, feminist, Fondation Copernic; Ramon Martinez, Ensemble! Aubervilliers; Caroline Mecary, Fondation Copernic; Jean-Luc Mélenchon, European Deputy; Roland MERIEUX, Ensemble!; Corinne Morel Darleux, regional councillor in Rhône Alpes (FdG-PG) ; Arno Munster, philosopher; Albert Ogien, sociologist; André Pacco, Ensemble! Auxerre; Francis Parny, PCF, vice-president of the regional council of Île de France; Willy Pelletier, sociologist, Fondation Copernic; Jean-François Pellissier, regional councillor for IdF, spokesperson for Ensemble !; Sylvain Pattieu, senior lecturer in history and writer; Philippe Pignarre, editor; Claude Poliak, sociologist, PG; Xavier Renou, Les désobeissants; Anne Sabourin, representative for the PCF to the Party of the European Left; Christian Salmon, writer; Benoit Schneckenburger, philosopher; Danielle Simonnet, national secretary of the PG, concillor for Paris. ; Francis Sitel, political analyst, ContreTemps; Philippe Sultan, Fondation Copernic; François Taillandier, writer; Azzedine Taïbi, mayor (PCF-FdG) of Stains (93); Jacques Testart, honorary director of research at l’Inserm ; Sylvain Thevoz, municipal councillor, Genève; Marie-Pierre Thoubas, spokesperson for Ensemble !; Jean-Luc Touly, Regional councillor Île-de-France et representative of Fondation France Libertés Danielle Mitterrand; Catherine Tricot, editor in chief at Regards; Eleni Varikas, Emeritus Professor Paris 8 ; Victor Vauquois, representative for external relations of the young ecologists; Christian Vélot, scientist; Christophe Ventura, Mémoire des luttes; Marie-Christine Vergiat, European Deputy FdG; Patrick Viveret, philosopher; Louis Weber, Fondation Copernic; Francis Wurtz, PCF, honorary European deputy.

Comments

Retreat from Grexit

By Mark Gilbert

The euro region is stepping back from the abyss. After weeks of media reports claiming that German officials were ready to accept losing Greece from the euro, saner thinking seems to have prevailed – as the drastic drop in Greek bond yields today demonstrates. The whole episode is a timely reminder, though, that while European Union law describes the euro as irrevocable, investors aren't so sure about its permanence.

A more conciliatory tone from Alexis Tsipras, the most likely winner of the Greek election on January 25, is helping make everyone more realistic. Over the weekend, he pledged to maintain the country's euro membership and to honor Greece's debt obligations. The nation is to repay more than 5.6 billion euros in March, up from the 1.4 billion euros it needs to pay this month and the 2.8 billion euros that come due in in February, according to Bloomberg data.

Comments from German officials have also soothed investors. Volker Kauder, the chief whip for Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, told Focus magazine that talk of Greece exiting the euro was "nonsense,'' and would prompt speculation about other countries leaving. The less sanguine Germany seems about a break-up of the euro, the better.

The rest of the euro region is less financially exposed to Greece than it was in 2009, when a newly elected Greek government confessed that the nation had for years been less than truthful about its budget deficit. The private sector now owns only about a fifth of Greek government debts, following the country's bailout by the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Nevertheless, Greece leaving the euro would still be a disaster for the common currency project.

This is because, once one country departs and proves that euro membership can go the way of all flesh, traders won't be able to resist picking off the currency's weaker members by shorting their bonds and driving their borrowing costs through the roof. While a Greek revival of the drachma would have zero implications for a return of the escudo, the peseta or the lire, that's no deterrent to a hedge-fund that smells profit, no matter what logic, economics or politics might suggest.

While Greece's borrowing costs are dropping on Monday, with three-year yields down to less than 12 percent, after jumping above 16 percent last week, the banking system remains vulnerable to a run. Deposits, which plummeted at the start of the crisis and haven't really recovered, dropped by about 3 billion euros in December:



The Greek central bank said on Sunday that the outflow of deposits is "completely under control.'' Those 2009 withdrawals, though, show that money can flee quickly when depositors feel threatened.

Rapprochement between EU leaders and the new Greek government will require both sides to cede ground. Tsipras is understandably exploiting Greece's austerity fatigue for his own political ends, but he shouldn't make promises he can't afford. The EU, for its part, has to acknowledge that it needs to do more to boost growth and create jobs, and not just in Greece. Perversely, the Greek election could end up doing the euro region a favor by jolting Germany out of its fiscal intransigence, thus ushering in more growth-friendly policies to accompany the European Central Bank's increasingly loose monetary stance.
[Bloomberg]

 
 
ekathimerini.com , Monday Jan 12, 2015 (15:50)  

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