Global Independent Analytics
Van Gelis
Van Gelis

Location: Greece

Specialization: Middle East

Greece and the Euro:GREXIT A Divorce Made in Heaven.Part 2

A GREXIT will become inevitable from the moment Greeks decide they want to live in the country and survive once more as a nation instead of decomposing internally or fragmenting to the four corners of the earth.

The old Left, that which came out of the Greek civil war, was involved in a series of debates in the Greek Parliament in the early 1960’s. Whilst most people assume last year was the first time such a large representation of a Left party happened in the Greek Parliament, in 1958 EDA (Enomeni  Dimokratiki Aristera - United Democratic Left) led by Ilia Iliou, became the leading party in opposition.

A series of debates were held in the Greek Parliament regarding the creation of a common market which Greece would be involved in. The position at the time was crystal clear. If Greece would join the big Northern European powerhouses it would be consumed. Without any form of protective barriers to trade, its miniscule industry would be wiped out and its agriculture destroyed by imports.  This they call competition but in reality it’s a free for all for the monopolies. The most famous case in point is the fact that the German market giant LIDL having been given a subsidy by the World Bank to the tune of  Euro 1 billion, now sells Greek produce to Greeks cheaper than Greeks sell to themselves.

Almost two decades after the inauguration of the Euro in Greece we had the absurd phenomenon of Greek agricultural products being sold cheaper in Germany and Greece importing agricultural products from Northern Europe. Instead of securing the sale of produce made within the EU, then asking for imports so domestic production doesn’t get eclipsed, the EU inaugurated a regime of percentages in production. In other words, each country had an amount they could produce which would be covered by the European Agricultural Policy (in order to avoid the food mountains in the 1980’s when produce was buried). Now one was paid to limit production and over the years the subsidy became less and less and the farmers became fewer and fewer, the bigger buying up the smaller and in general leading to a market that wasn’t geared to domestic needs but to what Brussels bureaucrats dictated.

Being an agro-tourist economy, Greece could easily have had a regime whereby first domestic production had to be consumed before imports where brought in. Butter for hotels is imported from Holland whilst Greek butter rots. The logic of illogicality is such that the Troika shut down the last Greek sugar factories and now Greece imports sugar from all places like, you guessed it ...Germany. A similar process in industry occurred whereby despite EU subsidies being banned for big state organisations, France received a massive subsidy for its ports whilst Skaramanga Shipyards in Greece - the biggest in the Mediterranean - where not allowed one. When the Russians bid for railways they were blocked as electrification of tracks between the two main cities of Greece Thessaloniki and Athens still hasn’t occurred (100 years after Thessaloniki re-joined Greece from the fall of the Ottoman Empire!). Business, even basic capitalist business, is no longer about what will provide jobs and growth in the actual Greek economy, but what serves the geopolitics of the region, French and German banks, and the financial oligarchy first of all. All else comes second. These are the politics of the economic madhouse.

Post colonels Junta Left

Despite a formal opposition to the EU, the Communist KKE since 1974 has made adaptation after adaptation. They participate fully in pointless Euroelections, they have gone from a position of Exit from the EU (jointly held by PASOK, KKE, Euros in the 1970s) to ‘Apodesvemsi’ (Disconnecting). They are against the return to a national currency (Drachma) arguing just like Golden Dawn that as we paid dearly to have it, losing it would cripple the working man’s finances (as if they aren’t crippled enough as it is). Up until the rise of Syriza in 2012 the KKE was the largest grouping on the Greek Left hence a brief trajectory of its past needs highlighting. But to its credit it must be said that it has voted against all the EU regulations,  Maastricht in particular (unlike PASOK and Sinaspismos- the precursor to Syriza) and was involved in the anti-NATO campaigns of the 90’s over the US/UK bombardment of Serbia (restoring some of its organisation after it imploded in 1989 and 1990 due to it joining coalition governments with New Democracy and PASOK). But in practice it has adopted the core essentials of the EU: freedom of movement in trade, services, goods and capital, never really putting up a fight against them in case it would be seen to be racist (they played an infamous role in not closing down all plants during the Steelworkers strike, as one employed an overwhelming majority of immigrants and kept on working the orders of the other two which were closed down due to strike action) thus leading to a loss of the strike.

In short both PASOK and the KKE sold out their anti-European line which was predominant in the 1970s. Socialist PASOK didn’t exit the EU but presided over the implementing of all the realities of entry. It didn’t leave NATO either, but ensured due to the Troika regulations that all Greek arms industry were shut down or curtailed so as to not have a competitive advantage with its bigger EU neighbours (France and Germany).

The Euro vs. Drachma Debates of 2011

Illuminating in all of this is the media campaign during the spring/summer protests of 2011 when debates emerged for the first time for a return to a national currency both in the occupied squares and within new political movements like Theodorakis Spitha (from which the socialist economist Kazakis’ EPAM emerged) and others. Subsequently a breakaway from Syriza in the form of its previous leader Alavanos (Plan B) and a split from PASOK (Drachma party of Katsanevas) also emerged. Poll after poll showed a steady but increasing turn back to a national currency and an Exit from the Eurozone to be able to control the national economic policy.

The rapid rise of Syriza in the winter of 2011 to the summer of 2012 and the collapse of the extreme centre (PASOK, New Democracy) led to a media assault that anyone who votes for Syriza wants a return to the Drachma and that once introduced people would end up much poorer than they already are. This was before unemployment fully skyrocketed to 30% of the population and we had cut after cut in pensions and wages.

The main argument from the parties of the extreme centre PASOK and New Democracy were that Greece could not stand on its own two feet, could not default on the debt and could not go back to a national currency. If it did that it would collapse as it has very large needs in imports, for example in oil, medicines, food and so on. Within this propaganda there was also an anti-communist flavour, those wanting the Drachma were portrayed as wanting to turn modern Greece into Albania. Subsequently this has proven to be utter garbage as evidenced by a report commissioned by the Agricultural Unions research departments.

Syriza had voted for Masstricht early on and was essentially absent from the debate. Only a few people were involved from the alleged Left Platform. They adopted a London based Greek economist Costas Lapavitsas who argued timidly for a return to a national currency, but refused to be a candidate in 2012, assuming correctly he probably wouldn’t get elected.

Syriza: From No Sacrifices for the Euro... to Euro at all costs

Despite allegedly repeating many times over when not in power, ‘we will not sacrifice ourselves for the Euro’, the intentions of Syriza were probably clear a long time before by a close analysis of their economic team (foreign born and trained).

As was shown in the book ‘Syriza: Neoliberals in Disguise’ in early 2014, their current Finance Minister Tsakalotos never had any intention of breaking with the Euro straitjacket or even attempting to... ‘end austerity’. Tsakalotos’ role via his Scottish born wife and his close university days’ association with Stournaras (the current Greek ‘central banker’) was just to give a ‘left’ front so as to sell the 3rd Bailout.  The previous head of Syriza’s economics team was removed prior to the election and Varoufakis appeared as Economics Minister out of the blue (He was closely associated in the first bailout with Papandreou and his woman in the World Bank Panariti who earned her spurs in Fujimoris Peru).

One can say why would a 3rd Bailout (with the same austerity medicine as the previous two) succeed where the others failed  and this brings back the old adage ‘if you keep on repeating the same thing and expecting a different outcome, then you are dumb’. But politics is business and there is no way as was often stated by Tsipras with respect to Papandreou Venizelos and Samaras, that they never got a cut for selling debt. The issue is why would it apply to the previous three PM’s and not to Tsipras himself?

Tsakalotos arrived early in February 2015 to the British Parliament and made a presentation to a cross-party committee of MP’s chaired by the current Labour Party’s MP John Cruddas where he was asked what essentially would happen if the Troika didn’t blink. He skirted over the issue but was strong on one point. There never was a left alternative to the single currency. Only the rightists argue that. There never was a left critique of the single currency in the EU. The Euro is here to stay. All critiques of the single currency originate from right populists or outright Nazis...

Most people are old enough to remember Britain’s entry into the ERM (European Monetary System) and its ignominious exit when Soros betted against the sterling and made £ 1 billion overnight. Most people also know that within the parties of the UK such as the Labour Party there were many who argued against the single currency (in particular the Left) as a doomed project which would unravel before all the European countries had joined a single currency. Tsakalotos was aware of these arguments as he was living in England at the time. As a child of the party that voted for Masstricht he is pro-Euro, always has been and always will be. The populist electoral campaign of ‘no more sacrifices to the Euro’ were just that, a campaign much like the infamous September platform of Syriza in 2014, made to ensure a parliamentary victory. They had any intention of ever implementing anything radical or even attempting to do so.

In politics it’s not what one says about their self that counts or what others say about you either. It’s what you do in practice. They allowed a bank run to start from the moment they formed a government without taking any measures. Syriza paid every last penny of the Troika debt when in power, ran state coffers dry, and then attempted to seize any other money that exists in local councils. They did this according to a plan. They also knew one week before the Referendum was announced that the EU would impose capital controls on the banks. By having pensioners queuing in 40 degrees heat to get out 40 euros daily, they created mass panic. The aim was to get the population to vote yes in the OXI referendum.

YES to Europe and OXI in Referendum

About six rallies occurred both for the EU and against it during Syrizas pseudo referendum which will go down in history like the Irish one where they had to vote twice to get the appropriate EU result! The 24/7 media propaganda once more was that Greece with capital controls in the backdrop would collapse ignomiously if it left the Euro. The fact that over 150 countries on earth don’t have the Euro was ignored. The first rally had some people and Syriza allowed them to march all the way to the steps of Parliament.

During every rally against the MoU in the previous period, protestors were either teargassed forcefully or beaten to a pulp if they tried to get near to Parliament. Apart from not being able to breathe some were clubbed on the head and needed operations or had stun grenades thrown at them where they went deaf, but as revealed by Varoufakis in an interview later, Tsipras never really wanted to win and was shocked by the volume of people that turned up to the final OXI rally, which was in size to some of the biggest rallies ever from the heyday of PASOK in the 1980’s.

As interviewed after, Tsipras stated to Paul Mason in the documentary ‘This is a Coup’ that he would have “been a hero for a day if he had said OXI”... to the 3rd Bailout. If one was a journalist and not a paid Presstitute like Mason (who sold the neoliberal Syriza as a radical left movement), why did he hold the referendum in the first place and how could one just basically ignore it? Isn’t that a constitutional crime, a traitorous act worthy of court martial? But no. Paul Mason and the rest of the corporate media went on to propagate the lie that Syriza faced a coup by the Eurogroup as the meeting was held for ...17hours! Everyone knows coups, like the one in Chile that Allende faced, when his team came out of Parliament fighting with guns but lost.

During this period Stournaras, the central bankster of Greece, created the myth that sections of Syriza were going to occupy the printing Euro presses in Athens and start to print Drachmas. They created a remade version of 2012. Wherever you turned there were Drachma terrorists. This task they had assigned to Lafazanis - then Minister of Development.

Tsipras signed away Greece, the Greek banking system, its airports, its ports and its sovereignty like a post-modern irony, the 3rd Bailout completed what the extreme centre of PASOK-ND hadn’t. When it comes to sellouts the Left always produces the greatest and most abysmal.

Syriza and the Debt

Despite setting up a Committee to oversee the Debt and producing a considerate report, the House Speaker Zoi Konstantopoulou played to the gallery as the Committee wasn’t a full Parliamentary Committee but a committee under the auspices of the House Speaker, hence it was just for show as Parliament wasn’t bound by any of its decisions. The report tried of course to make a distinction between odious and real debt, trying to legitimise the notion that part of this debt is repayable, but in reality any analysis of Greek debt which doesn’t take into account the amount of interest payments made since Greece joined the EEC in 1981 only disguises its core nature. You are never supposed to repay the debt; you will always owe money, as that is the nature of these types of debts. Debt servitude is built into the amounts even when you pay off the original amount many times over. This key component was of course hidden by Ms Konstantopoulou.

When the chair of the Report Eric Toussant came to London and gave a speech regarding the issue, he stated publically he had no belief that Syriza and Tsipras personally had any intention from day one of not paying the Debt. This of course was stated once he was no longer in the pay of the Greek state but nevertheless is true as evidenced by Syriza’s actual practice. The issue at stake here is that Toussant was used as a fig leaf to give left credentials to the whole situation but in reality it would just be the same old neoliberal practice.

When Konstantopoulou came to London for the same issue, at a separate meeting she was asked did she believe Tsipras would implement the 3rd Bailout and what made the turn. She could not explain the situation. When confronted that one cannot believe in fairy tales regarding the role of Syriza and that the agreement was made with the creditors a long time ago prior to Syriza assuming power and that anyone selling a debt so large must have taken a cut (after all that was Syriza’s allegation regarding the previous Bailouts and the politicians that implemented them), she said we should have an ....investigation.

A big hue and cry was made regarding the debts owed by Germany, the war loan, the destruction of villages in the war etc. and despite the Foreign Minister mentioning them in passing to Germany’s President, no other issue came up. Syriza was just about being a more prompt payer of debts than the previous administrations by pretending of course they delayed a payment or two to the IMF. Subsequently Japan has stated it will honour war time abuse to the families of women used as prostitutes for their occupation army.  Syriza didn’t even negotiate with Germany, had no intention to do so, and fought for power to implement EU policy as the previous administration had reached an impasse.

Retrofascists of Golden Dawn and the Euro

Despite all the allegations to the contrary from the world’s corporate media regarding the extreme ‘far right’ in Greece, Golden Dawn is just another mainstream extreme centre party. Their origins are the American military junta of the 1960’s and their ideological origins are the collaborators in the German occupation of World War II and subsequently the US/UK backed cold war civil war. Their politics are anything but nationalist, but just like they are termed ‘nazis’ and Syriza are termed ‘radical left’, the concept of the ‘far right’ and ‘far left’ were promoted to cover up for the extreme centre and anyway they are in unison when it comes to the Euro.

Speech after speech, their leader Mihaloliakos has defended the Euro in Parliament, with the absurd argument that first Greece must restore its industry and agriculture within the confines of the EU and then it must break free. This was putting the cart before the horse. If Greece could recover within the EU it would have, it can’t and it won’t, everyone recognises that apart from those in Parliament. The participation in the sham Europarliament indicates their pseudo nationalism when it comes to a national currency. Whomever heard of a nationalist movement wanting the currency of a supranational state or maintaining a currency imposed for instance by an occupation? No one. Without your own currency and your own banking system, you have nothing whatsoever to dictate basic economic policy based on the needs of your industry and agriculture. But once you have no control of them as well, why even bother wanting any controls on your monetary system? No need.

GREXIT is inevitable. The EU project is stalling.

When the Troika arrived in Greece most people didn’t believe it would be possible to continue in the present form indefinitely or that the political elites would be so committed to the Euro... till death do us part. But, you see, the Euro isn’t Greece. It’s a geopolitical construct by the NWO aiming towards a one world government via the merger of nation states, their military, and economic, social and cultural existence. It’s a long term project bigger than lilliputian Greece. Currency unions have on the whole imploded when they don’t operate as part of a unified state. That is what history has shown. The EU is not the USA and cannot become it either. Greece has a history dating back to Ancient Persia and China. To dissolve it implies erasing Greeks from history, but history cannot erase Greeks as they are part of it.

As has been noted elsewhere “the obsession concerning state debt, which has been raging since Maastricht, distracts from the systemic reasons of the crisis and implies radical cuts in state expenditure as the main remedy”. Debt is being used as tool to destroy and loot the economy dry.

The most famous example is the El Dorado Gold mine in Skouries, Thessaloniki. It has no real productive reason to exist as around 1 m live off agro-tourism in the region, yet the blueprints for the future of this alleged mine (it’s just a future conglomerate to raise QE money from foreign stock exchanges), is to destroy the eco habitat of a large section of northern Greece and turn it into a martian landscape.

Despite not being able to tap its own oil and gas reserves Greece is locked out of making independent deals with Russia. Twice the South Stream gas deal was turned down on orders from the US, once with Papandreou and once with Tsipras. That is the only constant in the story. Business has now become openly anti-business. There are no more any economic incentives for the productive centers in Greece only because those that run the Greek economy in Brussels have only one aim in mind: how to prop up the banks and via the banks the large transnationals that rule the world. As technology reduces the necessity of human labour and QE allows the notion of bailouts for banks eternally, large transnationals borrow money to buy up their stock increasing their share price as an alternative to anything else in the process (for example: raising wages, investment etc.).

That is why the poorer Greeks become, the more the remedy has been the original cause of the capitalist crisis - the destruction of more and more jobs. In the last year 250,000 new jobs were created in Bulgaria by 60,000 Greek companies moving north of the border to take advantage of the disparities in wages, taxation and the fact that Bulgaria still has a national currency. This competitive advantage is always short lived but under the circumstances where each individual businessman thinks primarily of his business surviving first and not of the general good, the sacking of Greek employees further makes the crisis worse in Greece and there is less consumer spending, thus leading once more to a downward spiral.

That’s why we end up having one EU with 10 different currencies, open trade in goods services, capital, and labour, different interest rates for the EZ, the arrival of capital controls (for customers - only not banks), the destruction of local banks, and the permanent desire of the EU to keep on expanding eastwards to Ukraine and Turkey for example whilst we have a permanent race to the bottom. Instead of Greece aiming to become like Northern Europe, its aim is now Bangladesh and Northern Europe’s aim is to become like Greece. The bigger the EU becomes, the more it centralizes the centrifuge, and as forces pull it apart there is on the horizon the spectre of Grexit.

It’s no coincidence that the Czech Premier recently said he will only join the Euro once Greece has left. It’s also no coincidence that since the Greek crisis, the world’s corporate media turns up to Greece every time there is an election and the issue of a Grexit emerges. The geopolitical impact of a collapse of the Euro will have far reaching repercussions despite US manipulations of the currency by ensuring it never raises its head above the dollar parapet. We cannot keep on propping up the EU to our detriment. We need to go our separate paths. 

A GREXIT will become inevitable from the moment Greeks decide they want to live in the country and survive once more as a nation instead of decomposing internally or fragmenting to the four corners of the earth. Once that decision is taken, no power on earth can stop a GREXIT, it will become a divorce made on earth but will also be cheered in heaven. 

Above chart shows the Drachma in 1999 and the Euro in 2015. On the left in descending order are basic necessities Green is in Drachma price as was and orange in how it is now in Euros with red being the percentage increases

Basic Wage

Heating oil

Unleaded Petrol

Cheese Pie

Frappe (Coffee)

Cigarettes

Water

Tomatoes

Fresh Milk

Feta Cheese

Bus Tickets

Car (Huyundai Accent & i30)

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