Dorothea Lange Miserable poverty. Elm Grove, Oklahoma County, OK 1936
So now they do it. Now the IMF comes out with a report that says Greece needs hefty debt restructuring.
Mind you, their numbers are still way off the mark, in the end it’s going to be easily double what they claim. Not even a Yanis Varoufakis haircut will do the trick.
But at least they now have preliminary numbers out. The reason why they have is inevitably linked to the press leak I wrote about earlier this week in Troika Documents Say Greece Needs Huge Debt Relief. If that hadn’t come out, I’m betting they would still not have said a thing.
It’s even been clear for many years to the IMF that debt restructuring for Greece is badly needed, but Lagarde and her troops have come to the Athens talks with an agenda, and stonewalled their own researchers.
Which makes you wonder, why would any economist still want to work at the Fund? What is it about your work being completely ignored by your superiors that tickles your fancy? How about your conscience?
Why go through 5 months of ‘negotiations’ with Greece in which you refuse any and all restructuring, only to come up with a paper that says they desperately need restructuring, mere days after they explicitly say they won’t sign any deal that doesn’t include debt restructuring?
By now I have to start channeling my anger about the whole thing. This is getting beyond stupid. And I did too have an ouzo at the foot of the Acropolis, but I’m not sure whether that channels my anger up or down. The whole shebang is just getting too crazy.
For five whole months the troika refuses to talk debt relief, and mere days after the talks break off they come with this? What then was their intention going into the talks? Certainly not to negotiate, that much is clear, or the IMF would have spoken up a long time ago.
At the very least, all Troika negotiators had access to this IMF document prior to submitting the last proposal, which did not include any debt restructuring, and which caused Syriza to say it was unacceptable for that very reason.
Tsipras said yesterday he hadn’t seen it, but the other side of the table had, up to and including all German MPs. This game obviously carries a nasty odor.
Meanwhile, things are getting out of hand here. It’s not just the grandmas who can’t get to their pensions anymore, rumor has it that within days all cash will be gone from banks. And then what? Oh, that’s right, then there’s a referendum. Which will now effectively be held in a warzone.
It’s insane to see even Greeks claim that this is Alexis Tsipras’ fault, but given the unrelenting anti-Syriza ‘reporting’ in western media as well as the utterly corrupted Greek press, we shouldn’t be surprised.
The real picture is completely different. Tsipras and Varoufakis are the vanguard of a last bastion of freedom fighters who refuse to surrender their country to an occupation force called the Troika. Which seeks to conquer Greece outright through financial oppression and media propaganda.
Tsipras and Varoufakis should have everyone’s loud and clear support for what they do. And not just in Greece. But where is the support in Europe? Or the US, for that matter?
There’s no there there. Europeans are completely clueless about what’s happening here in Athens. They can’t see to save their lives that their silence protects and legitimizes a flat out war against a country that is, just like their respective countries, a member of a union that now seeks to obliterate it.
Europeans need to understand that the EU has no qualms about declaring war on one of its own member states. And that it could be theirs next time around. Where people die of hunger or preventable diseases. Or commit suicide. Or flee.
All Europeans on their TV screens can see the line-ups at ATMs, and the fainting grandmas at the banks, the hunger, the despair. How on earth can they see this as somehow normal, and somehow not connected to their own lives?
They’re part of the same political and monetary union. What happens to Greece happens to all of you. That’s the inevitable result of being in a union together.
Don’t Europeans ever think that enough should be enough when it comes to seeing people being forced into submission, in their name? Or are they too fat and thick to understand that it’s in their name that this happens?
The July 5 referendum here in Greece is not about whether the country will remain in the EU, or the eurozone, no matter what any talking head or politician tries to make of it. The narrow question is about whether Greeks want their government to accept a June 26 Troika proposal that Tsipras felt he could not sign because it fell outside his mandate.
That the Troika after the referendum was announced then pulled a Lucy and Charlie Brown move on Syriza, and retracted the proposal, is of less interest. Lucy always pulls away the football, and Charlie Brown always kicks air. He should wisen up at some point and refuse to play ball.
However, at the same time, though it’s highly unfair to burden the Greeks’ shoulders with this, the referendum has a far broader significance. It is about what and who will rule Europe going forward, and we’re talking decades here.
It will either be a union of functioning democracies, or it will be a totalitarian regime in which all 28 nations surrender their independence, their sovereignty, their votes and then their lives to Brussels and Berlin.
Democracies are about one thing first and foremost: the people decide. If you can’t have that, than why would you have elections and referendums? Those then become mere theater pieces. Like we already have in the US, where if anyone can explain to me the difference between the Clintons and the Kardashians, by all means give it a go.
Since it’s clear that Berlin is by far the strongest voice in the three-headed monster the Troika has become, it’s no exaggeration to say that what we see unfold before our eyes is yet another German occupation of Greece. There are no tanks and boxcars involved yet, but wars can be fought in many ways. And scorched earth can take up many different forms too. It’s the result that counts.
In the meantime it has somehow become entirely acceptable for politicians and media from foreign countries to tell the Greeks what to do, who to vote for, and what to make sure happens after.
European Parliament chief Martin Schulz even dares claim that Syriza should resign if the vote is yes, and it should be replaced with a bunch of technocrats. It’s none of your business, Martin. Or yours, Bloomberg writers, or Schäuble, or anyone else who’s not Greek. Shut up! You’re all way out of -democratic- line.
It’s up to Greeks to decide what happens in their country. It’s both a sovereign state and a democracy. The utmost respect for this should be the very foundation of everything we do as free people, whose ancestors fought so hard to make us free.
How come we moved so far away from that, so fast? What happened to us? What have we become?