Greece Is Suffering Under Austerity and
Big Power Dictate
Greek people celebrate the NO! victory as referendum results come in July 5, 2015.
Europe is in crisis. The European economy of the monopolies is not working. The big powers and ruling elite in Washington, Berlin, London, Paris and Brussels offer no solution except continuing pain, especially for the peoples of the periphery in Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Ukraine and elsewhere. No alternative to austerity, misery and big power domination is allowed, as any other direction would harm the interests of owners of great social wealth and their monopolies. The incoherence of ruining an economy and destroying a country to save the status quo and privilege of the rich is forced down the throats of Europeans in one place after another.
The Greek people have been told directly and repeatedly that they must accept austerity and big power domination or they will be crushed in ways not seen since the Nazi atrocities of World War Two. No solution to their anguish is offered except a continuation of the same cruel anti-social austerity agenda. The Greek people’s brave rejection of austerity in a national referendum means nothing to the big powers. The ruling elite in the U.S. and Germany dismissed the people’s no to austerity before the vote was even counted.
Anti-austerity protests, July 15, 2015.
The situation is such that even a section of the ruling elite is alarmed that they are spinning their wheels and failing. They see that austerity is simply not working for them as rulers and is making the situation worse. Austerity has gone too far and has become self-fulfilling in its destruction of social wealth and inability to grow the economy.
For example, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs recognizes that the situation is untenable and something different from austerity has to be tried. Sachs is infamous for his shock therapy in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, a policy most hold responsible for the widespread economic collapse at that time. Just before a recent Eurogroup summit, Sachs along with Heiner Flassbeck, former State Secretary in the German Ministry of Finance, and several other prominent economists appealed to German Chancellor Merkel in an open letter asking that she “take the Greek referendum as an opportunity for a course correction in the policy toward Greece…. The never-ending austerity that Europe is force-feeding the Greek people is simply not working. As most of the world knew it would, the financial demands made by Europe have crushed the Greek economy and made the external debt crisis far worse…. The humanitarian impact has been colossal. Forty per cent of children now live in poverty and infant mortality is sky-rocketing. […] The medicine prescribed by Berlin and Brussels has bled the patient,” write the authors, not cured the disease. “It is having an impact on those who were not even born at the beginning of the crisis.” This is why the austerity dictate must end, they conclude.
This advice from some of their own has not swayed one bit those who now hold political power. They have continued on their disastrous austerity course and are attempting to impose yet more of the same anti-social medicine not just on the Greeks but on others as well.
The ruling elite force everyone to talk not about a new direction for the economy but about more of the same: austerity, bailouts, bank loans, the Euro and Grexit. This talk leads nowhere as it deals with redistributing the existing social wealth. None of this talk deals with the economic problems and contradictions faced in Europe and the important issue of a direction to generate new social wealth, put people to work, defend the rights of all and rebuild out of the 2008 crisis.
Large swaths of the European economy are not producing. The rich and their monopolies have focussed their attention on going after the existing social wealth of others. They are using the power of the state institutions to have social wealth flow back to them in various ways, including through war, occupation and parasitic schemes. The IMF and European Central Bank (ECB) loans to Greece and others are not about generating new production; they are mostly to turn over existing loans and to act as an excuse for “conditionalities,” which is Europe’s polite term for draining countries dry of their national assets and public money earmarked for social programs such as pensions, unemployment assistance and welfare. The IMF, ECB and World Bank have taken the medieval practice of usury and turned it into a global racket of unparalleled gangsterism.
The economies of Europe are all modern mature capitalist economies integrated within the imperialist system of states. The economic problems they face emerge out of that reality. The Euro, the banks and whether to lend or not to lend and all the surrounding chatter are all a diversion away from the root contradictions. The ruling elite do not want to admit that the basic problems of monopoly capitalism flow from a socialized economy dominated by privately-owned parts that compete in the interests of their particular monopoly empires. Narrow private interests trump the broad public interests. Monopoly right trumps public right. The economy has no chance to assert its greatest strength, which is its productivity, because all produced goods and services must serve particular private masters and their monopoly empire building not nation-building. Unless monopoly right is restricted, the economies have no chance to rebound.
This anti-human offensive against the people cannot continue. Greeks do not accept it. Europeans do not accept it. The domination of monopoly right and its narrow private interests over public right and its broad public interests must stop. A new pro-social direction for the economies of Greece and the rest of Europe must be found to end the suffering. A way forward towards a pro-social alternative exists to be discovered in the discarding of the old.