Oct 28

Dialogos Radio’s Commentary for the Commemoration of “Oxi” Day

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

On October 28, Greeks around the world will commemorate the anniversary of Oxi Day, the day on which in 1940 the Greek government said “no” to the demands of Mussolini to pass his troops through Greece unimpeded. This no has become an annual commemoration in Greece and is remembered as a moment of great resistance for Greece and its people, despite the fact that it came from a fascist, far-right government in its own right.

Today though, the word “no” has been stripped of its significance in Greece. After the supposed referendum of July 5th, a referendum without a clear question posed to the voters and, despite the 62% that voted no, without a clear message on the part of the voters, as the events since then have shown, we have seen the word “no” converted to yes, yes, YES, yes to even harsher austerity measures and cuts than those which were purportedly rejected in the referendum. And in contrast with 1940, there is no longer any semblance of national pride or a national identity in Greece, no backbone to truly stand up to this onslaught.

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Oct 22

Commentary of the Week: October 15-21, 2015

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

Long ago, the Italian business mogul Gianni Agnelli made a statement which has remained in history. Agnelli, who is not noted for his own leftist politics, had stated that there is a certain kind of “left wing” which is more useful than the right wing. It is the left wing that can accomplish all of those things that the right wing wouldn’t dare to do.

It is with these prophetic words that we turn to the harsh political realities of today, where a supposed left-wing party which was, indeed, rewarded with re-election just a few weeks ago is getting ready to implement all sorts of measures that not even the previous corrupt governments in Greece had dared enforce. And all this with the approval of a sizeable amount of brainwashed Greek voters, who continue to criticize the previous ruling parties, New Democracy and PASOK, but who find one excuse after another to justify SYRIZA’s actions, claiming that it is still looking out for the Greek people, that it did not actually want to sign such an agreement with the troika but had no other choice, that they deserve a chance to deliver on their promises.

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Oct 17

Commentary of the Week: October 8-14, 2015

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

On this week’s Dialogos Radio broadcast, we had the opportunity to feature an interview with someone who, according to a so-called journalist at a fairly well-known Greek online news outlet, does not exist. Déborah Berman-Santana, the retired professor who was interviewed on Dialogos Radio, apparently is not a real person, but a figment of my imagination, someone who I created to make it seem like Dialogos Radio has a following on the internet. This from a journalist who has had articles about Greece featured on the front page of the New York Times, just to give an idea of the quality and caliber of journalists who are doing the reporting from Greece.

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Oct 01

Commentary of the Week: September 24-30, 2015

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

As it turns out, there was no hope, and that was plainly evident after the historic referendum of July 5th in Greece. As the SYRIZA-led Greek government was preparing to sell out the result of the referendum and to agree to an even harsher set of austerity measures than that which had just been rejected, the amount of protesters who congregated at Syntagma Square in Athens barely reached 2,000, a far cry from the huge rallies in support of the “no” vote prior to the referendum. Why was this the case? This was the case because prior to the referendum, SYRIZA and its governing partner, the Independent Greeks, made a big show of supposed “resistance” and mobilized tens of thousands of Greeks to come out and rally in support of no. Immediately after the referendum though, the shepherds did not lead the herd back out onto the streets, and without a shepherd, the Greek people won’t go any further than to their local cafe to drink their frappe.

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Sep 22

Commentary of the Week: September 17-23, 2015

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

Well, we said it and it happened. The major capitulation from the supposedly left-wing SYRIZA government, which we had predicted over and over again from prior to the January elections, took place with the rejection of the “no” vote in Greece’s referendum to approve EU-imposed austerity, and with the signing of a memorandum agreement far worse than what Greek voters had previously rejected. The signs were there from the beginning, from the original Eurogroup agreement in February which extended the previous austerity agreements, to the election of corrupt conservative former government minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos as president of the republic, by telling the Greek people that it was their patriotic duty to pay the unconstitutional unified property tax, and through the imposition of a presidential decree which looted all of the cash reserves of the government and public bodies, such as the health and pension systems.

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Jul 07

GREECE’D: We Voted ‘No’ to Slavery, but ‘Yes’ to Our Chains

euroGreek journalist Michael Nevradakis and US investigative journalist Greg Palast have a different take on the Greek ‘No’ vote against Europe’s cruel austerity demands.

By Michael Nevradakis in Athens with Greg Palast in New York  |  Originally published in Oped-News

We Greeks have voted ‘No’ to slavery – but ‘Yes’ to our chains.

Not surprisingly, by nearly two-to-one, Greeks have overwhelmingly rejected the cruel, economically bonkers “austerity” program required by the European Central Bank in return for an ECB loan to pay Greece’s creditors. In doing so, the Greek people overcame an unprecedented campaign of fear from the Greek and international media, the European Union (EU), and most of our political parties.

What’s simply whack-o is that, while voting “No” to austerity, many Greeks wish to remain shackled to the euro, the very cause of our miseries.

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Jul 07

Greece Referendum: SYRIZA Didn’t Get the Message

motorcycleBy Michael Nevradakis
Reporting from Athens

Originally published on 99getsmart.com.

It was November 2011 when I had the opportunity to meet Yanis Varoufakis in person, for the first and so far only time. Upon the invitation of his close friend and promoter James Galbraith, Varoufakis was visiting the University of Texas, where I was studying, to give a talk about the future of the Eurozone and to present his new book. As the host of what was then a locally-produced Greek radio program (Austin Hellenic Radio), I attended Varoufakis’ talk in order to try to get an interview with him on site. And indeed, I did. “Be quick though, eight other media outlets are waiting to speak with me,” Varoufakis told me.

This quote made an impression on me, but is quite indicative of Varoufakis’ personality. His “rock star” status in the world of “anti-austerity” economics was already beginning to be solidified. That same period, Varoufakis made appearances on CBS’ 60 Minutes, on NPR, and on a number of other media outlets across the world. One year later, Varoufakis would be back at the University of Texas, apparently on Galbraith’s invitation, as a visiting scholar. His annual salary of $100,000 (which can be seen through publicly-available records, as the University of Texas is a state university), was more than what many tenured professors earn at the same university. But despite his burgeoning celebrity status, little did I imagine that just a few years later, he would become the finance minister of a Greece which was even deeper in crisis.

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Jul 05

Greece’s True Referendum Begins Now

Photo by Marios Lolos

Photo credit: Marios Lolos

By Michael Nevradakis
Reporting from Athens

Originally published on 99getsmart.com.

With early returns from the referendum coming in, it is clear that a vote of “no” to the austerity measures proposed by the institutions formerly known as the troika will prevail, with a clear majority that will likely surpass 60%. As I write this, the sky is falling on Greece, the sea is drying up, day has become night, trees and flowers and kittens are dying, bullets and missiles are flying, and Greece is feeling the angry wrath of the gods for defying the will of the creditors, the mass media, and the troika.

At least, that’s what the mass media would have had us believe, with their dire warnings as to what a “no” vote would bring for Greece and with their utterly disgraceful coverage of events in Greece over the past two weeks. In reality, as I am writing this, I am sitting on a park bench in an ordinary neighborhood of Athens. It is a beautiful Greek summer evening, there is a light breeze, young people, families, and the elderly are walking about, and there is no sign of anything but life continuing on as normal. A couple of miles away, in Syntagma Square, more Greeks are congregating to celebrate the “no” victory in today’s referendum.

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Jul 04

The Truth About Greece: Syriza’s Creatively Ambiguous Referendum

99 get smartBy Michael Nevradakis

Originally published in 99getsmart.com

It was just four months ago, though it already seems like a lifetime away, when Greece’s celebrity finance minister Yanis Varoufakis publicly stated that “creative ambiguity” won the country a “loan lifeline” from the institutions formerly known as the troika: the European Central Bank, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund. Despite the never-ending soap opera that is Greek crisis politics though, few would have imagined that the SYRIZA-led coalition government would succeed in outdoing itself in terms of its “creative ambiguity,” by calling a referendum which, just days before the polls open, remains remarkably unclear as to its actual meaning and potential consequences.

Setting The Stage for the Referendum

What has been actually happening in Greece though, over the past week? Lots has been heard in the Greek and international media, much of it tainted by either a pro-austerity or pro-SYRIZA bias and a generous dose of sensationalism. Cutting through all of this media-created noise, the realities are as follows: in a peculiarly-timed nationally-televised address which aired live a minute after midnight on June 27, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras announced to the nation that a referendum would be held on whether or not to approve the set of proposals put forth by the “institutions.” The last referendum held in Greece was in 1974, just after Greece’s Western-backed military regime fell, when Greeks overwhelmingly voted “no” for the restoration of the monarchy. This announcement was initially hailed by a majority of the public, as it was seen as a bold step towards giving the Greek people a direct say in the country’s affairs for the first time during the five-plus years of financial crisis.

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Jun 17

Commentary of the Week: June 11-17, 2015

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

If one were to believe the media and the pro-SYRIZA sycophants which seem to be everywhere nowadays, then they would be under the impression that Greece finally has a government which is standing up for the country and its people, which is saying no to austerity and to the demands of the troika, and which is radically changing politics, society, and the economy in Greece.

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Jun 04

Commentary of the Week: May 28-June 3, 2015

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

The theater of the absurd known as the Greek government and the Greek negotiating team continues unabated. Despite the fact that Greece’s public coffers have been depleted, despite the fact that schools and universities are operating with major shortages, and despite the fact that public hospitals are lacking even basic medical supplies at this point, the otherwise “heroic” and “gutsy” celebrity finance minister Yanis Varoufakis continues to state that Greece will pay its next loan installment to the IMF and that the Greek government remains willing to repay all of its lenders, as long as there is an agreement with the so-called “institutions.” The same “institutions” which have thrown Greece into an endless spiral of poverty and hopelessness.

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May 17

Commentary of the Week: May 14-20, 2015

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

Recently, I was informed, somewhat to my surprise, that the criticism that I have been levying through Dialogos Radio and my published articles has become a point of reference for one of the most well-known economists of the United States, Richard Wolff. Approximately one year ago, we had the opportunity here at Dialogos Radio to interview Wolff, an interview which was of great interest and which focused on pertinent economic issues facing Greece. Wolff is an economist with a great reputation and some exceptional ideas and proposals, especially regarding the so-called post-capitalist future.

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May 08

Commentary of the Week: May 7-13, 2015

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

Quite often over the past three months, and especially in recent weeks, the political situation in Greece has made me feel like I am residing in a parallel universe, in a bizarro world, in the twilight zone. One hundred days into the new SYRIZA-led coalition government, with its lofty promises to immediately end austerity, to tear apart the memorandum agreements, and to write off Greece’s debt, we have seen a complete reversal of these pledges, and instead, a continuation of more of the same from Greece’s supposedly “radical” government.

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May 01

Commentary of the Week: April 30-May 6, 2015

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

The government of “hope” and of the “radical left” has struck again! This time with an executive decree which forces all state bodies, ranging from local governments and pension funds to universities, to transfer their cash reserves to the Bank of Greece. Such decrees were a favored practice of the previous government, and indeed, it was through such a decree that they forcibly shut down national state broadcaster ERT in June 2013. Let’s take a moment to look back at what high-ranking members of SYRIZA were saying about such executive decrees when they were still the main opposition party. The current deputy minister of social welfare Dimitris Stratoulis once stated that such executive decrees are equivalent to a stripping away of Greece’s popular sovereignty. The current minister of the interior Nikos Voutsis once stated that such executive decrees draw their inspiration from military dictatorships. Member of the European Parliament Dimitris Papadimoulis had said that in no other country is such an embarrassing practice enforced by the government. And even after the elections, as recently as March 17th, Stratoulis had stated that the government was promising not to touch the cash reserves of the state. Now, Stratoulis is saying that the executive decree is a patriotic act, the same words used by the finance minister of the previous government, Giannis Stournaras, to justify similar actions in 2012.

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Apr 02

Commentary of the Week: April 2-8, 2015

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakais

The supposedly radical new left-wing and progressive government of Greece is at it again! After the “success” of the so-called negotiations which took place at the Eurogroup summit of February 20-21, the Greek government recently followed up with the submission of a list of detailed proposals to the troika, proposals which include the continuation of at least three large-scale privatizations on the part of the Greek state, with projected revenue of €1.5 billion. These privatizations will include the Port of Piraeus, Greece’s largest port, which is slated to be sold to Chinese-owned Cosco, and the selling off of 14 regional airports in Greece. The same privatization program, in other words, that SYRIZA, in its pre-election rhetoric, deemed illegal and unconstitutional and pledged to stop. Instead, we saw a delegation of Greek government ministers travel to China recently to discuss these privatizations, which are now being passed off by the government as agreements of strategic importance for the country.

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