The Greek people were given an opportunity to say whether or not they were willing to accept the toxic bailout offered by the EU. The result of the referendum was a solid NO! The very next day, Yanou Varoufakis, Finance MInister and the most dedicated, intelligent and articulate spokesman in the Syriza government, who was focused on building an alternative solution, was driven out of his position as the pivotal negotiator.
Within a week, Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsiparas, took the deal the people had voted to reject. The people of Greece, ceased to be news, and the EU package became the central topic of discussion. It is presented in mainstream news as a generous package, critically needed by a desperate. overindebted people, from resentful Germans who ‘earned’ their economic wellbeing, and expect others to do the same. However, the fact is that this is a temporary deal, that involves huge new loans, which create huge amounts of equity in European banks, and which Greece can never pay off even with the extreme austerity conditions that the people have rejected in place. Previous ‘bailouts’ have contributed to the depth of the Greek quagmire, just as the current ‘bailout’ will sink it even deeper.
Greece will now be forced to sell of islands and other assets to wealthy foreigners. Takes will increase. Older people will face a later retirement age, and reduced pensions. Young people under 25 will now be payed 70% or 80% of minimum wage. Layoffs based on ‘redundancy’ will be legalized making downsizing easier, and the creative use of manpower less likely.
I have heard it said that the Greeks, like so many in the western world, in the ‘first’ world, are so wealthy that their travails are unworthy of our attention given the situation of so many in the ‘third’ and ‘fourth’ worlds. However, I think this is a mistaken viewpoint. People here need to understand our own real circumstance before they can understand that those people suffering in the ‘third’ and ‘fourth’ world countries are our brothers and sisters. It is unfortunate that compassion and an awareness of the oneness of humanity, of the inhabitants of the earth, encompassed by the earth herself is not ubiquitous, but it is true.
People who feel like they are alone, desperately clinging to their righteous place in the universe cannot see past their own struggle. Only when they see that they are powerless alone, and the good fortune they are so attached to is a fortunate break in a context that is no more under their control than under the control of the people who were born outside the umbrella of righteous prosperity, will they countenance the possibility of real change, much less grasp the necessity of a transformed society that actually delivers what it advertises. .
There is a real lesson in the Greek drama for those of us in the ‘Democratic’ countries of Europe and the United States. The vote of the people was not only ignored by their elected officials, but was treated as a disruption of business as usual. The politicians in the Syriza government, controled by a left leaning party that promised real change,have sold them out. Those individuals who have taken that promise seriously and supported the will of the people, have been dismissed so they can no longer interfere in negotiations with a predefined endpoint controlled by the EU, a non-democratic technocratic entity controlled by international banking cartels.
Greece is the birthplace of democracy as we know it. Today, that same democracy has apparenlty died there. Of course this is an illusion since, if democracy were not already dead in the EU and beyond, it could not have happened. However, the event is worthy of note.
This is not only the future into which we are heading, but the present state of affairs across the ‘free world’, We need to be very clear on who is setting the policy and calling the shots, and why they are doing it because we are all just fodder for the social mechanisms once devised for the understanding and enhancement of society and now run amok across the globe. The forces of globalization, the EU, the IMF, the World Bank; NATO and the US military, encircle the globe, feeding like sharks on the lives and dreams of humanity; tearing apart the fabric of established societies and cultures with ancient roots just as surely as ISIS is breaking up the artifacts of the history of civlization in Palymyra and Mosul and wherever. We are no different from the Greeks, or the people of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. They know that and our position will be indefensible until we do too.