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#ThisIsACoup: a 'financial coup d’etat' against Greece

Democracy Now!, July 14, 2015 -- Michalis Spourdalakis, professor of political science at Athens University and a founding member of SYRIZA: "The Greek prime minister and the country’s minister of finance were blackmailed by the eurozone people." Read the full transcript HERE.

July 13, 2015 -- Keep Talking Greece, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Twitter hashtag #ThisIsACoup was trending worldwide on Sunday night, July 12, as European leaders were pushing and kicking around and putting pressure on Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to either accept  their deal or exit the euro club in an unprecedented collective action of EU/EURO-blackmail against a member state.

Angry users from all over the world started to lash out at EU officials in general and Germany in particular for imposing their terms to Greece and humiliating a democratically elected prime minister as well as the people of Greece for having voted for a left-wing government.

“By 09:00 GMT on Monday morning the term had been tweeted over 377,000 times and was trending overnight across Europe”, stressed the BBC in an article on the social media phenomenon. #ThisIsACoup had climbed even above #EuroSummit, which was supposed to be ultra-trendy due to its most crucial decision for Greece.

“People were lashing out at what they see as an unfair deal”, said Anne-Marie Tomchak from BBC Trending, “People are really unhappy at the mount of power that the Eurogroup has.”

People were angry to see that the EU was not anymore about the Europe of the people but the Europe of the powerful.

Twitter hashtag-users were particularly critical of Germany’s stance, its hegemonic role in the Eurogroup and compared the current situation to the Nazi occupation of Greece during World War II.

Was what happened a coup? Of course, it was: not a political coup but a financial one that will soon also bear political consequences: SYRIZA’s Left Platform is up in arms with PM Tsipras and SYRIZA’s moderate part. Political developments are due sooner than one would possibly expect despite the fact that Greek government is obliged to pass European leaders' demands through the parliament …"yesterday".

So, yes, it was a coup. A financial coup d’etat.

Coup d’ etat is a coup, or an overthrow, is the sudden and forced seizure of a state, usually instigated by a small group of the existing government establishment to depose the established regime and replace it with a new ruling body. A coup d’état is considered successful when the usurpers establish their dominance. A coup d’état typically uses the extant government’s power to assume political control of a country.

In case of Greece and the financial coup d’etat: after an orchestrated financial asphyxiation via the European Central Bank and an economical blockade of six months, a group of most extremist conservative forces in the EU (so said the Greek PM) decided on July 11 to force seizure of Greece’s public assets. Should the EU's Greek “enemies” not immediately surrender, their banks would have collapsed as of July 13. The #Grexit-threat would get worse as its realisation would take some time.

“What they are trying to do in Greece is launch a financial coup d’etat and convert [Greece] into a protectorate”, said Pablo Echenique, a regional deputy of Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos and a former member of the European Parliament.

Speaking in a television interview, he was the first prominent member of Podemos to react publicly to the deal announced in Brussels, which obliges Greece to make tough cash-saving reforms.

Podemos is a high-profile ally of SYRIZA, sharing its stance of opposing the financial cuts imposed in the financial crisis under pressure from European authorities. Podemos has surged in popularity and ranks as the third-biggest party in Spain ahead of a general election due around the end of the year.

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Yanis Varoufakis: Euro Summit’s Statement : First thougts

On the Euro Summit’s Statement on Greece: First thoughts

In the next hours and days, I shall be sitting in Parliament to assess the legislation that is part of the recent Euro Summit agreement on Greece. I am also looking forward to hearing in person from my comrades, Alexis Tsipras and Euclid Tsakalotos, who have been through so much over the past few days. Till then, I shall reserve judgment regarding the legislation before us. Meanwhile, here are some first, impressionistic thoughts stirred up by the Euro Summit’s Statement.

  • A New Versailles Treaty is haunting Europe – I used that expression back in the Spring of 2010 to describe the first Greek ‘bailout’ that was being prepared at that time. If that allegory was pertinent then it is, sadly, all too germane now.
  • Never before has the European Union made a decision that undermines so fundamentally the project of European Integration. Europe’s leaders, in treating Alexis Tsipras and our government the way they did, dealt a decisive blow against the European project.
  • The project of European integration has, indeed, been fatally wounded over the past few days. And as Paul Krugman rightly says, whatever you think of Syriza, or Greece, it wasn’t the Greeks or Syriza who killed off the dream of a democratic, united Europe.
  • Back in 1971 Nick Kaldor, the noted Cambridge economist, had warned that forging monetary union before a political union was possible would lead not only to a failed monetary union but also to the deconstruction of the European political project. Later on, in 1999, German-British sociologist Ralf Dahrendorf also warned that economic and monetary union would split rather than unite Europe. All these years I hoped that they were wrong. Now, the powers that be in Brussels, in Berlin and in Frankfurt have conspired to prove them right.
  • The Euro Summit statement of yesterday morning reads like a document committing to paper Greece’s Terms of Surrender. It is meant as a statement confirming that Greece acquiesces to becoming a vassal of the Eurogroup.
  • The Euro Summit statement of yesterday morning has nothing to do with economics, nor with any concern for the type of reform agenda capable of lifting Greece out of its mire. It is purely and simply a manifestation of the politics of humiliation in action. Even if one loathes our government one must see that the Eurogroup’s list of demands represents a major departure from decency and reason.
  • The Euro Summit statement of yesterday morning signalled a complete annulment of national sovereignty, without putting in its place a supra-national, pan-European, sovereign body politic. Europeans, even those who give not a damn for Greece, ought to beware.
  • Much energy is expended by the media on whether the Terms of Surrender will pass through Greek Parliament, and in particular on whether MPs like myself will toe the line and vote in favour of the relevant legislation. I do not think this is the most interesting of questions. The crucial question is: Does the Greek economy stand any chance of recovery under these terms? This is the question that will preoccupy me during the Parliamentary sessions that follow in the next hours and days. The greatest worry is that even a complete surrender on our part would lead to a deepening of the never-ending crisis.
  • The recent Euro Summit is indeed nothing short of the culmination of a coup. In 1967 it was the tanks that foreign powers used to end Greek democracy. In my interview with Philip Adams, on ABC Radio National’s LNL, I claimed that in 2015 another coup was staged by foreign powers using, instead of tanks, Greece’s banks. Perhaps the main economic difference is that, whereas in 1967 Greece’s public property was not targeted, in 2015 the powers behind the coup demanded the handing over of all remaining public assets, so that they would be put into the servicing of our un-payble, unsustainable debt.

Statement from Communist Organization of Greece (KOE)

kasamaproject.org

Kasama is reposting the following English translation (the original can be found here) from the parliamentary delegation of the Communist Organization of Greece on their reasons for abstaining from a vote on the third memorandum. Posting this statement does not mean endorsement of its content. We seek to provide information from the point of view of a serious communist group in the heat of the popular struggle in Greece as our audience follows the developing situation there.

STATEMENT

July 11, 2015

We decided not to participate in the voting because: ·

This process is not just a negotiating mandate but it represents our commitment to a Third Memorandum, drawn up on demand of the Troika.

This decision will plunge the country into greater deadlocks. ·

We marched for years in the path of the anti-memorandum movement, we committed ourselves in positions and programs that clearly aimed at solving peoples’ problems.

Our aim was their liberation from the suffocating neoliberal surveillance programs, which made people poorer, which bargained away public wealth, which demolished any collective conquest.

We fought to stop the transformation of our country to a debt colony and to a protectorate. ·

Just few days after the resounding ‘NO’ that Greek people voted in the referendum, we cannot approve, as a basis for discussion with the lenders, the same issues that our people rejected despite the unprecedented conditions of blackmail.

An agreement that, in its outcome (after the negotiation procedures end) will probably be even more burdensome. Moreover we are being asked to approve a package of measures with fast track procedures that directly refer to the practices of previous governments. ·

It is unacceptable that a Left Wing Government loads on its shoulders a Third Memorandum, to implement policies and measures that even the most purebred pro-Memoranda political forces struggled to avoid.

With this plan, many projects and hopes will be canceled. Furthermore it becomes obvious that this plan ignores all the wishes and aspirations of the Greek people. ·

Despite the huge support it received from the people, the Greek government has made strategic mistakes.

Its illusions led to a dead end, which left the country with two painful choices/alternatives: a Third Memorandum or a ”Grexit”, but without any preparation of the people.

All our warnings raised after February 20th were ignored. · Citizens do not want the old political system to return. However, such an agreement does not stabilize the government but brings it into direct conflict with the masses and all the movements developed in the past. ·

To the extent that the government will follow such a hopeless and unpopular policy -and if there are no other political developments- it should be assumed that we cannot, as MPs of SYRIZA, support this course.

We were elected with a program, we are committed to the people to promote an anti-memorandum policy, and we consider that Politics and Morality should meet again. ·

Our choice not to participate in tonight’s vote signifies our opposition to the procedure followed, and mainly states in the clearest way the need for a total change of direction.

The fight for a political, economic and social way out goes on, thanks to the large reserves of courage of our people.
Athens, Saturday 11 July 2015, 04:00 AM

Vassilis Chatzilamprou, MP of SYRIZA for Achaia Dimitris Kodelas, MP of SYRIZA for Argolida Vassilis Kyriakakis, MP of SYRIZA for Fthiotida Eleni Sotiriou, MP of SYRIZA for Attica

Further information study KOE newspaper:
http://edromos.gr/

Red Network statement

socialistworker.org

No new Memorandum in our name!

July 15, 2015

Greece's parliament is being asked to vote on a third Memorandum--a package of austerity measure to be implemented in exchange for financial assistance from European governments and international "institutions," like those negotiated by previous governments. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is pressing for the most drastic austerity measures yet, in direct opposition to the commitments and program of his own party SYRIZA, which won election last January with its promise to overturn the Memorandums.

Tsipras' call for Greek lawmakers to capitulate comes 10 days after a July 5 referendum on the latest proposals for austerity from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker--which were met with an overwhelming "no" ("oxi" in Greek) by workers and the poor in Greece. But now, the government that supported a "no" vote in the referendum is asking for a "yes" on austerity measures that are worse in many ways.

But opposition to this surrender to blackmail is building, with a 24-hour strike called by Greece's public-sector union federation and an uprising of the left within SYRIZA. Here we reprint the text of a leaflet, translated by Leandros Fischer, that the Red Network --an alliance of socialists who are a leading voice in SYRIZA's Left Platform--will distribute during demonstrations on July 15, as the parliament meets to vote on Tsipras' proposals.

Supporters of a "no" vote are mobilizing across Greece

 

JUST ONE week after the July 5 referendum's massive "Oxi!" vote, the governmental leadership and Alexis Tsipras have returned from negotiations in Brussels, having agreed to a gigantic Memorandum, socially and fiscally harsher than the two previous ones, and with a much stronger colonial character.

This Memorandum threatens to crush the social majority that lives from its work and has suffered in the five years of extreme austerity policies under the previous two Memorandums, which have eliminated what remains of its gains over many years.

Tsipras and the government have betrayed the Greek people's shattering "Oxi!" in the referendum by signing an agreement much worse than the Juncker proposal that was rejected in the referendum, at the urging of the government.

With its unprecedented colonial clauses, this Memorandum completes the disastrous task of transforming Greece into a debt colony within the EU. It dishonors the left, since it was agreed to in its name, and by the leadership of a party of the left and a government dominated by this party, which won governmental power based exactly on its historical commitment to abolishing the Memoranda and overthrowing austerity.

This new Memorandum essentially and practically overthrows the government led by SYRIZA: programmatically, but also politically, since it transforms SYRIZA into an austerity government with an increasingly pro-austerity composition (more so after the removal of left-wing cabinet ministers and the potential openings to the austerity camp).

It will have a destructive effect on SYRIZA itself, by blackmailing it to become an apologist for the implementation of austerity policies; to sever its ties to the working-class majority and move against it; to transform itself into a social-liberal party of austerity and authoritarianism.

The new Memorandum strikes a double blow at the left's system of core values and its moral high ground, by cheating the people who believed its longstanding promise to abolish the Memoranda and topple austerity, but also all the people who contributed to the referendum's shattering "Oxi!" vote.

It whitewashes the austerity system and the pro-austerity parties by giving them the chance to claim that SYRIZA and the left have delivered a Memorandum worse than their own. It hinders us in the fight against local and international capitalism, making them look all-powerful and capable of crushing and humiliating a left-wing government.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

FOR ALL these reasons, the new Memorandum poses the serious danger of massive disillusionment among the left and the social movements, while also creating a danger that popular discontent will be exploited by the right, the far right and the fascists.

Yet if all these are dangers arising from this agreement, if its first consequences are already visible, nevertheless, the struggle for its overthrow is not in vain. On the contrary, the potential for blocking and overthrowing the new Memorandum, but also lifting the banner of the left, which some, criminally, want to tread upon, are great!

The people of "Oxi!"--this massive popular force, this class-based alliance of workers, the poor and the youth that surfaced in the battle over the referendum--continues to exist. It proves to us that the will to struggle, as well as the anger at their conditions, not only haven't subsided, but are accumulating at the base of society. The baton of the battle against the new Memorandum can be handed on to new hands! That means the struggle will continue with the same goal as always: abolishing the Memorandums and overthrowing austerity.

And SYRIZA, too--the left-wing SYRIZA, with its radical soul--continues to exist. The government and party moderates rightly consider it to be an obstacle in managing and implementing the new Memorandum, and threaten it with disciplinary measures and expulsions. They call for it to be disciplined to party decisions.

But what counts for the left, above all, is discipline to its program and its political strategy--including abolishing the Memorandums, overthrowing austerity, renouncing the debt and the implementing the basic measures articulated in SYRIZA's Thessaloniki program--discipline to the inviolable principles and values of the left; and discipline to the collective decisions made to realize both of these.

For SYRIZA, this means discipline to the program of its founding congress, to its pre-election commitments, to the Thessaloniki Program, to the popular mandate of the January 25 elections, and to the mandate of the "Oxi!" vote on July 5.

We are the SYRIZA that abides by all this and that calls for discipline from those who dare to trample on the double popular mandate, and the principles, values and collective decisions of SYRIZA. For the left, discipline does not mean discipline to the arbitrary decisions of the "leader" and the tight circle around him!

Now is the time for this SYRIZA to enter the battle and prevent the disastrous decision to sign a new Memorandum agreement.

Last, but not least in importance, there is also the left beyond SYRIZA of the social movements and the "Oxi!" vote. Whatever the mistakes made and disagreements we have had, we found ourselves in the streets and in struggles in recent years, and we won the battle of the July 5 referendum. In this new cycle of social and political struggles, we must and can stand side by side!

This battle of ours is, at the same time, a battle against demoralization and disappointment--for a new commitment to our part in the mass struggle. Not by way of moralizing and not because it is our "duty," but on the basis of both reason and imagination, based on the realistic assumption that we can win!

Together, the people of "Oxi!" and the party of "Oxi!" which is SYRIZA--the forces of SYRIZA, but also the forces of the rest of the left, for whom "no" means no and cannot become maybe or, even worse, "yes"--can enter this battle, and win as well!

Translation by Leandros Fischer

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