Commentary of the Week: November 19-25, 2015

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

Another year, another commemoration. Thousands of people marched in Athens on November 17 for the 42nd consecutive year, commemorating the anniversary of the Polytechnic Uprising in Athens, a deadly incident where dozens of Greeks who were protesting against the rule of the U.S.-backed military dictatorship were killed. This march, which runs from the Polytechnic campus to the U.S. Embassy in Athens, has become an annual event.

And yet, what is truly being commemorated? The people who were killed on that day? There have been people murdered by governments, militaries, and police forces all throughout history and even to the present day, that unfortunately nobody acknowledges. Perhaps then we are commemorating the fall of the military junta? But this ignores the reality that many of the “leaders” of this uprising became part of Greece’s next generation of corrupt, kleptocrat politicians and government ministers, who helped lead Greece into its current abyss. The reality is that when the military government fell, Greece’s government simply changed hands to another type of junta, one which has today blossomed into a full-fledged dictatorship of the European Union, the Eurozone, the International Monetary Fund, as well as foreign and Greek bankers. Hardly a cause for commemoration.

What really made this year’s commemoration ludicrous though was the sight of SYRIZA’s block of protesters being essentially escorted along the protest route by the riot police, who were protecting them. The same riot police which have broken up essentially every peaceful protest in Greece over the past several years, firing tear gas and physically beating and injuring peaceful protesters, innocent bystanders, and journalists. The same riot police who SYRIZA, prior to the January 2015 elections, had promised to break up and disband. The same riot police that I personally, with my own eyes, witnessed mingling with plain-clothes, hooded provocateurs holding bats in a side street behind the U.S. Embassy a few years ago. These same riot police were protecting SYRIZA’s participants at the November 17th commemoration march.

Does anyone else see what is wrong with this picture?

SYRIZA may not be disbanding the riot police which are now protecting its supporters anytime soon, but no similar protections are being afforded to tens of thousands of suffering homeowners in Greece, whose properties are now at risk of being foreclosed upon, after the latest quote-unquote “deal” with the troika. According to the allegedly leftist Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, the government agreed to “whatever was required” by the lenders, in order to receive the next tranche of so-called “bailout” funds totaling €2 billion. All this from the same government that promised to protect the Greek people against foreclosures, promised to repeal the unconstitutional and illegal unified property tax, and promised to tear up the memorandum agreements and to repeal them with one law and one article.

Compare and contract this to the “Country B” of our previous commentary: Iceland, whose parliament recemtly passed a bill into law which essentially writes off the mortgages of more than half of its population, as the country continues its recovery from its own financial collapse. This bill was passed despite the strong objections of the International Monetary Fund, the OECD, and ratings agency Standard & Poors. So while Iceland is standing up to this international cartel of economic hit men in Armani suits, Greece’s oh so leftist government has, yet again, said yes, yes, YES to everything that the IMF, the European Union, and the rest of this gang of banksters and criminals has demanded from Greece.

There is good news, however. For those households who will be thrown out onto the streets after the newly-permitted foreclosures become reality in Greece, SYRIZA’s member of parliament Eleni Stamataki has a modest proposal: citizens can drop off their leftover food next to trash bins, for the poor to collect and to eat.

This is what is being said by an elected member of parliament of a supposedly “radical” and “left-wing” government in Greece. Nothing about actually alleviating poverty or providing electricity and food to the impoverished, which is what SYRIZA had been claiming it would do prior to its initial election. No, leave your leftover or rotten food next to trash bins, for the poor to eat. Even a year ago, we were warning about SYRIZA on our commentaries here on Dialogos Radio, and got absolutely bashed and trashed–pun intended–by the “hope and change” crowd who refused to harbor any criticism of the great new hope named SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras. What do you all have to say for yourselves now?

Oh, but I forgot, none of these horrible things will happen because the SYRIZA government is implementing its agreement with the troika and its EU so-called “partners” to the letter, and in return, Greece is being, quote, “bailed out” with European money. The same European Disunion…sorry, I meant, Union, which apparently misspent €6.3 billion of its funds in 2014 according to the European Court of Auditors, indeed failing this audit for the 21st consecutive year. So while it’s acceptable when the EU breaks the rules, the EU has the audacity to lecture other countries about their supposed economic misdeeds and for purportedly “living beyond their means.”

Never fear though! Yanis Varoufakis is here, and he will save the day with his supposed pan-European “anti-austerity” movement. The same Yanis Varoufakis whom I can confirm was given, personally, the same proposed solutions for Greece’s economic crisis, including the option to return to the drachma, that we heard in today’s interview with economist Warren Mosler. The same Yanis Varoufakis who has said there is “no alternative option,” “no plan B,” no solution other than a so-called “European solution.” And the same, oh so leftist Yanis Varoufakis who, in an interview with the Observer this past September, stated that when he was in charge of the negotiations as Greece’s finance minister, he proposed standard Thatcherite and Reagan-esque economic policies, including privatizations. The same Varoufakis who, in a recent talk at the People’s Assembly in London, praised Thatcherism for its “dynamic” and “radical” individualism. The same Varoufakis who, as finance minister, brought in former Thatcherite Minister of State for Trade and Industry Norman Lamont as a “consultant.”

Therefore it is no wonder that Varoufakis, just like his former party which is still in power in Greece, SYRIZA, just so happens to say the same thing as Thatcher: there is no alternative. No alternative to Europe, no alternative to the euro, no alternative to foreclosures and privatizations and the vicious, out-of-control riot police tear-gassing people, no alternative to debilitating austerity, no alternative to the European dream which continues to be nothing short of a nightmare.

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