“If someone today wants to open a profitable business, they should make guillotines”.
“If someone today wants to open a profitable business, they should make guillotines”.
With the above phrase an American journalist describes the size of social rage in the USA. It is the first time historically, where the total of the developed capitalist world boils in rage and desperation for the rulers, for those that are to blame for this crisis, which not only are not punished but continue enjoying their privileges and increasing their profits. It stems from the rage at the poverty that expands, for the marginalization of wider and wider parts of society, for the injustice, since the rulers require that the people are sacrificed in order to face the crisis.
This rage is expressed in the last few months with more and more intensity all over Europe. In one European city after another, millions of people go to the streets with the youth in the front line, in order to express their opposition to the hard neo-liberal attack that the rulers have unleashed against the social and labour vested interests. In France because of the social security changes, in England because of the educational measures, in Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland, demonstrations are turning into revolts. One revolt causes another one and progressively, all over Europe the big social ignition is expected. The phrase “us or them” becomes more and more a common conscience and will become the slogan that will determine the result of the next bigger revolts.
FIGHT THE FASCISTS
It’s the first time historically, that in all European countries – and mainly in those that are affected worse by the economic crisis- every day more and more the fascist face of the modern regime is revealed. Because today the fascists are not only the nationalists, those reminiscent of the Nazis, the military coup d’etat and dictatorships. Fascists are also those that govern us, those that possess the social wealth. Fascists are those same “democrats” that possess the power, the political and economic elite. It’s those that participate in the executive bodies of political power and the economic organisms, like the IMF (International Monetary Fund). It’s these entities that possess the power of money and we meet them in the central banks, like the ECB (European Central Bank) and the FED (Federal Reserve System). Fascists are also those that participate in the major media and that consciously attempt the configuration of consent in the biggest historically social robbery and in the biggest operation to terrorize the people.
In Greece the socialist-fascists PASOK, the government controlled trade unions, such as GSEE (workers trade union), and the major media, that have undertaken with the most blatant way the political cover-up and legalization of political efforts “to rescue the Greek economy”, collaborate for the completion of the big crime that is attempted against the social majority in this country. GSEE, under the fear of out of order social reactions, had declared in September that “the policies that are proposed by the memorandum have been applied and there no other obvious alternative solutions”, in an attempt to stop the antagonistic mood of the social base and plant defeatism, while the media in Greece have made an almost formidable wall of consent around the governmental policies, repeating the blackmailing dilemma “bankruptcy or austerity”, with which the government for roughly a year now has been terrorizing the Greek people.
Fascism in Greece, because the terrible place in which the country has fallen with the economic crisis, has acquired the rawest face, while the international economic and political oligarchy has stepped on the neck of Greek society with the help of its people in the government. The repeated coup d’etats that were caused by the Greek government under the orders of the Troika (Tri-State government of the IMF, ECB, EU) do not have any support from the social base. The government, as any dictator, is indifferent to the absence of social consent in the criminal plans that it imposes in the name of “national salvation”. It is also indifferent however to the political consent and “by-passes” henceforth the parliament completely, when it is to ratify the detestable memorandums, the agreements and contracts that are dictated by the Troika and which it takes to the Parliament only for “discussion and briefing” and not for voting. Papakonstandinou (Greek finance minister) has been promoted by the dictator Papandreou to a supreme authority, since he has been granted with absolute power and his signature is enough to ratify the commands of the economic elite, that are transported via the Troika to Greece for application.
Parliament might have always been the field of ratification of the orders and commands of the economically and politically powerful, the neo-liberal globalization might have essentially abolished it as a field of decision-making regarding the mapping out of a national economic and political strategy -since the real power has passed into the big centres of decisions that are controlled directly by the international elite-, today however it has formally been abolished, since it exists only in order to legalize the governmental coup d’etat, in order to deter the political collapse of the regime. This is why the role of the parties that participate today in the parliament is that of aid and stabilisation of a weak system, because of the crisis and the political devaluation, and they basically support modern fascism.
As for who is really the big power in this land, it was reminded to us by Dominique Strauss-Kahn (Managing Director of the IMF) with his recent visit to Greece and his revealing presence in the Greek parliament, where all the ridiculous politicians dictated, like in an interview, questions for the next policies that the IMF and the rest of the Troika will impose. He admitted that Greece is a guinea-pig for the IMF, since these detestable policies are applied for the first time in a country that is not in the capitalist region, while it brought back memories of the junta of the colonels, when he compared Greece with a patient and himself as a doctor, reminding us of the fascist deliriums of dictator Papadopoulos (Colonel dictator of the junta in Greece 1967-74). Both the presence of Strauss-Kahn as well as that of European delegate Ollie Rehn in the Greek parliament was a reminder of who the big bosses are today.
It has therefore become a conscience for the majority of Greek society that “they are all the same” and this is shouted in the demonstrations, it’s shouted in front of the parliament, which has become the red rag (to a bull) in this period for those that participate in the mobilizations. This was also imprinted in the last local elections, which were a hard slap for the political regime and the parties that support it, since the majority turned their back to all of them, with abstention reaching 54% and the invalid votes 10%. The political system is supported henceforth by a social minority, while the governmental policies are supported by a very small percentage of the Greek population, which in the last local elections did not exceed 10% of the electoral body. If this isn’t a junta, then what is? If these aren’t dictators, then who are? Regarding the left wing drivers of the system, Synaspismos (Left Coalition) and KKE (Communist Party of Greece), are nothing more than political adventurers that, despite the blatant fascism of the rulers, continue legitimising them in order to not lose their possibility of tasting a little power.
YES TO THE BANKRUPTCY OF THE SYSTEM
Seven months after the subordination of Greece to the power of the Troika, the social fascists of PASOK have accomplished imposing a long series of memorandums, bills and measures in the frames of “shock-treatment” that the international economic elite dictate. Wages and pensions are constantly decreasing, the 13th and 14th wage (Christmas and Easter holiday pay) in the public sector are cut, public expenses everywhere are minimized, the age limit for a pension is increased. In only three hours, dictator Papandreou with his ministers reversed labour conquests that took long-lasting and often bloody struggles to win, abolishing the collective contracts and establishing the regime of individualized labour contracts.
This way the bosses are exempted from any restriction in the reduction of wages and redundancies plus the labour conditions soon will begin to compete with those in Asia. Whatever public fortune has not been sold, is being sold now- any activity social or economic that has not been privatized, is privatized now.
This attack on Greek society is for the loan of 110 billion euros that the government has received from the Troika in order to “save Greece from bankruptcy”. However, these neo-liberal recipes not only have not prevented the bankruptcy but bring it closer and closer. Maybe by continuously decreasing the expenses the government seeks the reduction of the deficit, however the economic strangulation that lead to the closure of the enterprises, the redundancies, the wages of hunger and the recession render impossible the increase of income in the government owned funds, a fact that anyone can realize. The unemployment is expected to reach or even exceed 20% by the end of year, the redundancies and the lockups in the enterprises increase, the people in this country that fall under the limit of poverty and those that are marginalized become more and more. The homeless and the poor that resort to the state shelters for a dish of food are so many that the picture of occupied Greece has come alive again.
The “curing of the patient” according to the major criminal Strauss-Kahn will come only through the economic and social extermination of big parts of the population in this country.
What those who have the power are doing one more time is the application of the same recipe that was also used during the big crisis 1930, which had been described by the American minister of finances with the following words: “We liquidate the excess labour, we liquidate the stocks, we liquidate the farmers, we liquidate the automobile market…, we remove the rot from the system”.
A policy of hard austerity for the “abstraction of the rot from the system” or for the “cure of patient” according to our modern Strauss-Kahn is the practical application of the same economic tendency. It is the one that is euphemistically named “economics of offer” and according to which, the austerity, the reduction of wages, the increase of unemployment lead to the reduction of prices and the increase of demand. Despite the fact that this particular recipe not only does not deter the recession but accelerates it (the same happened 1930, the same is happening today), the “specialists” of economic affairs, as the extreme neo-liberal adviser of Papandreou Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa (banker and economist who was Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance), claim that “austerity does not lead to recession” and insist that these devastating policies “lead to growth and prosperity”. as we have said before we don’t think they are stupid, that they are simply following a bad policy.
The reduction of the deficit is basically achieved by the government only with continuous cuts in the public expenses, while on the other side, basic income, because of the recession, is impossible to increase, as widespread as the squeezing of citizens with taxes might be, as much as they might decrease the public wages, as much as they increase the redundancies and cut the fundings in public services, such as health and the education.
After the revision of the deficit that reached 15,5%, the required money in order to reduce it to 7,8% this year is impossible to find, while the objective of its reduction to 3% in 3 years is unachievable. On the the other hand, the public debt will increase continuously and, since it is calculated as a percentage of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which is decreased because of the recession, sooner or later it will reach levels that will be impossible for Greece to manage. For 2012 the debt is calculated to reach 156% of the GDP (the IMF examines the possibility that by the end of 2013 the debt reaches 176% of the GDP), while in the next 5 years we will have to pay interest of over 240 billion – roughly as much as the current GDP -something absolutely unachievable.
The above is evidence that concerns a bankrupt country. The only thing that remains is for it to be formally broke and this will happen when the political heads of the Greek government in the Troika decide to. We remember Papandreou speaking of “the gun on the table”, the markets that “would soften” with the subordination of Greece to the mechanism of support and with the loan of 110 billion Euros. When the Greek government signed the memorandum of long-lasting subjection to the markets, the spread of the Greek bonds were around 400 units of base.
Today, seven months later and while Greek society is sinking deeper and deeper towards hell so that the government pays out the installments of the loan, the disputed but nonetheless real bankruptcy of Greece has “completely infuriated the markets”, launching the spread even above 1000 units of base and have classified the Greek bonds to the “junk bonds” (a bond that is rated below investment grade at the time of purchase ), along with those of the Sub-Saharan countries of Africa. Despite all this the Greek economic and political elite continue whistling along, declaring that this take off of the spreads “does not have a practical result”, since we are borrowing with the “friendly” interest-rate of 5% from the EU. Also, the decision to prolong the time to settle the debt, which in reality is a confession of failure to pay off the loans, the fraudulent Papandreou presented it as a “reward of our efforts”, meaning the extreme neo-liberal attack that he has unleashed against Greek society.
As has been admitted recently by one of the “specialists” that we pay to direct the government to more neo-liberal directions, Schioppa, we have entered a long period of austerity, half of a generation will be sacrificed for the salvation of the system and we can henceforth speak clearly of a permanent memorandum -the fairy tales about measures only until 2013 are not believed by anyone-, for a permanent situation of economic, political and social war of the state and capital against the Greek social majority.
We repeat that neither the IMF or the EU or the government are idiots that do not understand the dead-end. Greece is wiped out long before the elections, a fact that was known not only in the then government but also in that of the PASOK, which was also the board of salvation to the system, since they used deceit to undertake power and with a careful approach opened the way for the subordination of Greece to the power of the Troika.
With the issuing of loans the Greek economy is just given an extension of life, so the viability of the Greek banks is ensured and the European banks have invested in the Greek debt to cover their bad debts. The objective that is to say of the international economic and political oligarchy is not the “salvation of Greece from bankruptcy”, as is claimed by the fraudsters in the government -something that would be useless anyway-, but the salvation of the banking system.
While therefore the underprivileged have gone under a detestable regime of unprecedented poverty and marginalization, the Greek governments do not give sparingly when it comes to maintaining the fluidity of the banks. So, after the package of 28 billion that was granted by the government of “New Democracy” (previous right wing government), PASOK went on to a further banking aid with extra guarantees of 15 billion after the memorandum gets voted in. And while the major investors proceeded to a mass withdrawal of capital of 23 billion from the Greek banks, placing the banking system in greater and greater danger, the social-fascists of PASOK deposited an amendment in August with which they increased the package of guarantees to the banks by 25 billion extra, by command of the Troika that set it as a condition for the payment of the second dose of the loan. If we also add the 10 billion from the loan of the 110 billion that the Troika gave, the total package of support of Greek banks reaches the amount of 78 billion.
A second and very important target, that the international economic and political elite set by providing an extension of life to the Greek economy, is the complete metamorphosis of life in this country. With the dilemma “austerity or bankruptcy and destruction” the fascists of the government unleash a constant and escalating state terrorism, reversing one after another the social, political and labour gains and they attempt to break every social resistance, to transform the proletariat into weak-minded and compliant slaves and Greece into a utopia for bosses.
When finally the banks that have profiteered with the Greek debt, which up to a while ago did offer a big payout because of the high interest-rates, manage to get away from this, then the Greek governments bankruptcy will be announced officially, something that won’t take long to happen. Our exit from the EMU (Economic Monetary Union) is considered a given, in order to ensure the viability of the euro. However, with the crisis of debt deepening and with one European country after another collapsing economically in the near future, it is difficult not only for the EMU to survive but for the EU as well. The most optimistic scenario for the future of the union is the creation of a superstate, where the powerful and more economically healthy countries will lead and the bankrupt countries of the European region will be transformed into protectorates, since they will cede entirely their economic and political authority to the political and economical directorial of Europe. This treaty is being promoted in the EU with the creation of the mechanism of controlled bankruptcy.
Since along with the Greek bonds, we, the oppressed of this country, are also thrown in the garbage and while the confession of the Greek bankruptcy is expected, the attack of the economically and politically powerful not only will not stop but will intensify for many years. Greek society has passed under the possession of the international economic and political oligarchy, in order to keep alive this rotten system and this treaty will not be reversed by any government. As it will not stop the biggest transfer of social wealth from the base to the top of social hierarchy, that is being made by the governments in this historical period because of the worldwide economic crisis.
Therefore to the fake dilemma “bankruptcy or austerity” lets answer “yes to the bankruptcy of the system”.
THE ONLY WAY IS SOCIAL REVOLUTION
Since there is no neutral analysis about the economic crisis and since economy is not numbers, diagrams and statistics but is mainly relations of power, it is obvious that every position taken on the crisis, its origin, the reason it happened and the ways out of it are a product of the political and class position from which it is expressed. In other words, every analysis about the crisis includes also the answer to it and every proposal to surpass it includes the political expectations and aims of who expresses it. The positions taken by the neo-liberals and social-democrats are nothing more than two different views on the method that should be adopted in order to restart the blocked capitalist machine. Even if the possibility existed of the reintroduction of the “economy of demand” we should deter it, since it will be one more short break or even more so a small deviant behavior in the normal functioning of capitalism, that finds its real substance with its complete release from all kinds of social control.
Regarding the position of the “communist” parties, such as the KKE (Communist Party of Greece), that see as an answer to the crisis the central control of the economy, it is known historically that this model leads to another totalitarian economic and political organization, where the party-state becomes the absolute dictator. This model of state owned capitalism has historically failed not only as an economic system but also because of the blatant social and political oppression on which it supported its perpetuation.
For us, the economic crisis, as we have written in our previous texts, is a result of the class nature of the system itself that exists and is perpetuated through the inequality of the class system. The intensity of inequality and the increase of poverty on the planet is what capitalist growth leaves behind. With neo-liberal globalisation, the divisions have deepened, exploitation becomes more raw than ever, poverty, hunger and death prevail. The social and class divisions are the substance of the system, it is also however the reason that makes this system permanently morbid and the crisis an almost permanent condition with continuous booms and busts. The final exit from the crisis is not in any proposal as progressive as it might be, as much as they propagate the reallocation of wealth in favour of the non-privileged and the delivery of social justice, since that proposal does not aim at exiting the system.
Because for us, the only way to ensure not only a perhaps temporary exit from the current economic crisis, but that we will never again live in crisis, is the abolition of the capitalist system, the market economy, parliamentary democracy, the dissuasion of appearance of any young “progressive and more humane” system in the place of the existent, and the guarantee that what will be born will never again encourage the emergence of social and class divisions, the growth of inequality, but will be based on economic equality and political freedom for all.
This is why our own answer to the crisis is social revolution, which we also consider as the only realistic proposal for the exit from this systemic crisis. A social revolution where the people will expropriate the fortunes of the rich, the multinationals and major Greek companies. Where they will expropriate the total of the church and state owned fortune. A social revolution that will abolish once and for all the state and every hierarchical and bureaucratic organization and will create social structures that will deter the reappearance of any form of organized economical and political power. That will socialize everything: The means of production, land, trade, health, education, transport.
A social revolution that will have as a core of social organization the community or commune. That will put every social and economic activity under the management of a network of popular Assemblies and Councils, where each one us in labour, the city, the village, the neighborhood through these collective bodies of management and decision-making will take our life in our own hands.
That will completely leave behind it the industrial society and the current way of life, which is characterized by the greed and the dominance of people over nature.
A social revolution that will abolish every national, racial and religious discrimination, that will bring together populations respecting their diversity, that will finally abolish social classes and their divisions.
A SOCIAL REVOLUTION FOR FREEDOM
Pola Roupa, Nikos Maziotis, Kostas Gournas