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Europe

Knife at its throat, Greece yields to Troika brutality

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

July 22, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In a summing-up speech to the Greek parliament in the earlier hours of July 16, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said of the punitive July 12 funding deal accepted by Greece after negotiations with Eurozone leaders:

I would like to put this question very honestly to each and every one of you who is going to vote today: "The blackmail [of the Eurozone institutions] that you mentioned—was it real or fictional?"

If you think it was fictional, then I am open to hearing different alternatives, and together we can work on them.

Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch: SYRIZA's dilemma

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a swearing-in ceremony this month. Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a swearing-in ceremony this month. Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters.

[The Greece-EU “agreement” has set off debates on the left on why the SYRIZA government "agreed" to such harsh terms and what are the next steps for the left in Greece, and across Europe. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal hopes to contribute to this by providing essential background information, thoughtful comment and presenting the positions of various left organisations.]

By Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch

Greece: SYRIZA central committee member John Milios on how to end austerity

A man receiving food from a solidarity network in Attica, Greece. Greece Reporter

A man receiving food from a solidarity network in Attica, Greece. Photo Greece Reporter.

July 21, 2015 -- Jacobin, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission with permission -- Greece continues to be in flux. On July 5, the Greek people went to the polls and voted over 60% against austerity. One week later, the Greek government agreed to a new memorandum in principle after an all-night negotiation that was described at times as “mental water-boarding”. Finally,on July 15, the first pieces of enabling legislation were passed by the Greek parliament with a large rebellion of SYRIZA members of parliament voting against the laws.

Feminist economists reject EU conditions on Greece

Resolution signed by more than 135 delegates at the 24th Annual Conference of International Association for Feminist Economics as a personal expression of concern.

July 23, 2015 -- Kafila, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We are shocked that the European Union institutions and European leaders are imposing on the people of Greece a further program of austerity that will severely undermine the living conditions of women and men and plunge them into a deep crisis of deprivation. This hits Greek women particularly hard as they will have to provide the safety net of last resort through intensified work of taking care of their families, friends and communities.

Philippines solidarity with the Greek struggle against implementation of austerity

Anti-austerity rally in Athens before the July 5 referendum.

Statement by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines

July 21, 2015 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Under threat of economic collapse and a humanitarian catastrophe, after five months of "negotiations", which have been described as “mental water-boarding”, the Greek government has accepted the punitive funding deal that represents the interests of the big banks and European finance capital and which imposes further austerity and debt on the people of Greece.

Under the deal the VAT system will be made more regressive, pensioners will suffer further cuts, the power sector utility ADMIE will be privatised along with other public assets to service an unserviceable and illegitimate debt and collective bargaining will be eroded.

'New Politics' on 'What next in the Greek crisis?'

[The Greece-EU “agreement” has set off debates on the left on why the SYRIZA government "agreed" to such harsh terms and what are the next steps for the left in Greece, and across Europe. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal hopes to contribute to this by providing essential background information, thoughtful comment and presenting the positions of various left organisations.]

By Barry Finger

Thermopylae or Versailles? Greece deal threatens to destroy European project

By Duroyan Fertl

July 17, 2015 -- Hintadupfing, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The promise of a peaceful integration of capitalist equals lies tattered on the floor of a negotiation room in Brussels. There, the SYRIZA-led Greek government finally succumbed to the blackmail, economic carpet-bombing and “mental water-boarding” of the institutions of European capitalism.

The final weeks of the debt negotiations culminating in a cynical political coup against Greece have laid bare the undemocratic, technocratic nature of the European Union (EU), which operates as a thieves’ kitchen to protect vested financial interests at an incalculable human cost.

Zoe Konstantopoulou: NO a los ultimátum, NO al memorando de la servidumbre

El discurso pronunciado la mañana del 11 de julio de 2015

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4510.]

Por Zoe Konstantopoulou, presidente del Parlamento griego

CADTM

* * *

Señoras y señores, estimados colegas,

En momentos como estos, debemos actuar y hablar con sinceridad institucional y coraje político. Debemos asumir la responsabilidad que recae en todos y cada uno de nosotros.

Debemos defender, de acuerdo a los dictados de nuestra conciencia, las causas justas y los derechos sagrados, inviolables y no negociables de nuestro pueblo y de nuestra sociedad. Debemos proteger el legado de aquellos que dieron sus vidas y su libertad para que hoy podamos vivir como personas libres. Debemos preservar la herencia de las nuevas generaciones y de las futuras, así como la de la civilización humana. También debemos preservar esos valores irrenunciables que definen y alientan nuestra existencia personal y colectiva.

Cómo elige y decide actuar cada persona puede variar y nadie tiene el derecho de trivializar las decisiones que se toman a partir de un juicio personal y existencial, para denigrarlas o explotarlas políticamente.

Socialist Alliance on Greece: 'This is a coup, cancel the debt!'

Statement of the Socialist Alliance (Australia) national executive

July 16, 2015 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance condemns the effective imposition of colonial status on Greece by the ruling institutions of the European Union (EU), which represent the interests of the big banks whose speculative excesses contributed in great part to the accumulation of the “Greek debt” they are now seeking to recover.

This is a coup and a brutal assault on democracy.

The popular will of the Greek people, expressed in the 61.3% "Oxi" (“No”) vote in the July 5 referendum on the previous European Union austerity demands is being denied and even the decisions of the Greek parliament has been put under EU supervision and control.

The struggle continues in Greece: 'Jacobin' interview with Stathis Kouvelakis

In Athens, supporters of the "No" campaign celebrate after the first results of the July 5 referendum. Yannis Kolesids / EPA.

[The Greece-EU “agreement” has inevitablely set off huge debates on the left on why the SYRIZA government "agreed" to such harsh terms and what are the next steps for the left in Greece, and across Europe. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal hopes to contribute to this by providing essential background information, thoughtful comment and presenting the positions of various left organisations.]

Stathis Kouvelakis interviewed by Sebastian Budgen

Majority of SYRIZA leaders against the coup

Introduction by Socialist Worker (USA)

July 15, 2015 -- In a statement issued on Wednesday, July 15, 109 of the 201 members of the Central Committee of SYRIZA took a position against the Greek government and the European creditors, calling it "a new Memorandum, with onerous and humiliating terms". The statement came as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was pressuring parliament to meet the ultimatum of the European authorities by passing core components the latest drastic austerity measures by Wednesday.

Britain's Left Unity on the struggle of the Greek people

Greece solidarity rally in Birmingham, July 13, 2015. Report HERE.

Left Unity (Britain) national secretary Kate Hudson writes.

July 15, 2015 -- Left Unity, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We unreservedly condemn the criminal attacks by the states and institutions of the European Union on Greece and its people. Not satisfied with the imposition of extreme neoliberalism and the destruction of the livelihoods and welfare of millions of people, these so-called European "partners" are now proceeding to strip Greece of its national sovereignty and self-determination.

Greek parliament's president: 'Nο to ultimatums, Nο to the Memoranda of servitude'

President of the parliament of Greece, Zoe Konstantopoulou.

For more analysis and discussion on Greece's struggle against austerity, click HERE

The following speech was delivered early in the morning of July 11, 2015, by Zoe Konstantopoulou, president of the Greek parliament, on the question of the government’s proposal to the creditor institutions. She voted "present", in effect an abstention. Translated by Nicholas Evangelos Levis for Analyze Greece. First published in Greek on left.gr, July 12, 2015. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

* * *

Ladies and gentlemen,

At times like these we must act and speak with binding sincerity and political boldness. We must assume the responsibility that falls to each and every one of us.

Martin Hart-Landsberg: Lessons from a defeat in Europe

For more analysis and discussion on Greece's struggle against austerity, click HERE

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

July 13, 2015 -- Reports from the Economic Front, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Troika are celebrating the end of negotiations with Greece, proclaiming that thanks to their tireless efforts the Eurozone remains whole. And why wouldn’t they celebrate. They have demonstrated their power to crush, at least for now, the Greek effort to end austerity and its associated devastating social consequences. Tragically, SYRIZA has not only surrendered, the nature of its defeat is likely to leave the country worse off, at least both economically and very likely politically as well.

#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.

Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin: Treating SYRIZA responsibly

By Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin, Athens

July 13, 2015 -- The Bullet (Socialist Project, Canada), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As against those on the international left so keen to put the boot in against the SYRIZA government with the charge that they had abjectly "capitulated" already with the plan passed in the Greek parliament, it is instructive to read this document from the German finance ministry.

SYRIZA's unique capacity on the international left to build the type of party capable of both mobilising against neoliberalism and entering the state to try to actually do something about this has always hinged on the way it sought to find room for manoeuvre within a European Union that has neoliberalism in its DNA, going back all the way to the Treaty of Rome let alone the Economic and Monetary Union 30 years later.

Greece's debt is immoral and should be wiped

For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE

By Stuart Munckton

July 12, 2015 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Greece's austerity-and-debt-driven crisis has prompted a humanitarian catastrophe.

The Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign says half of all young people cannot find work, there is a growing shortage of essential medicines and child malnutrition rates have reached levels not seen since World War II.

Pensions, meanwhile, have been cut by 15–44%, with 45% of all pensioners living below the poverty line. Suicide rates have skyrocketed.

All very sad, no doubt, but surely you cannot just allow reckless behaviour by the Greek people without any consequences?

Greece needs our solidarity, in or out of the euro

Soup kitchen, Athens.

For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE

By Dick Nichols, Barcelona

July 10, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Regardless of the result of the latest round of negotiations between the SYRIZA-led government of Greece and the heads of the 28 members of the European Union, one thing is certain: in coming years, the Greek people are going to need all possible solidarity because their struggles and sufferings are bound to continue.

The best imaginable deal with the EU will mean six years of Troika-imposed austerity grinding along to one degree or another. Forced Greek exit from the eurozone will drive the country deeper into recession, further contracting an economy that has shrunk by 25% since 2008.

This awful choice will hang over Greece so long as the country has a government committed to ending the austerity that has created a humanitarian crisis.

Which of these two paths to misery appears least evil will be for Greece to decide. At the time of writing – July 9 – a forced Greek exit from the euro remains possible.

Europe's stance

Volodymyr Ishchenko: Ukraine's Maidan mythologies

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine. For more by Volodymyr Ishchenko.

By Volodymyr Ishchenko

July 9, 2015 -- First published in the June 2015 New Left Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Andrew Wilson’s earlier publications on Ukraine won him a reputation as a serious historian. [1] His first books—notably Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s (1997), The Ukrainians (2002) and Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (2005)—were distinguished by three signal features.

First, Wilson argued strongly that while Ukrainian nationalism was a force in the west of the country—where, bred under Austrian and Polish rule, it had mostly possessed a strong right-wing bent—it had only limited appeal in the country as a whole, due to the existence of deep regional, linguistic and ethnic historical divisions. Ukrainian “national identity”, Wilson insisted in The Ukrainians, was essentially a product of the Soviet era.

Varis Yaroufakis: 'I wear the creditors’ loathing with pride'; New minister 'a change in style, not substance'

Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's finance minister (left), looks daggers at Varis Varoufakis during a news conference in Berlin. 

For more analysis and discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE

By Varis Yaroufakis, Greece's former minister of finance

July 6, 2015 -- Thoughts on a Post-2008 World, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The referendum of July 5, 2015, will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt bondage.

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