Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Greeks Initiate Revolt against Neo-liberal Capitalism



Greeks Initiate Revolt against Neo-liberal Capitalism


Since the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1990 and the socialist and scientific socialism practiced in USSR ,eastern Europe and elsewhere, corporate interests and warmongers, led by USA and Europe and supported by petrol pumps in the Gulf have run amok bringing death and destruction around the world, especially in greater Middle East and North Africa. The apparent defeat of science has led to rise of extreme religious elements and obscurantism all over the world including USA and India.


A bright and welcome wind of change is the latest the polls in which the Greek leftist Syriza party led by Alexis Tsipras has turned the tables on the historical march of exploitation, loot and criminal acts, led by Western financiers, banks, military industry complex and other corporate interests with the help from the so-called elected leaders in USA, UK and elsewhere. These leaders are nothing but puppets in the hand of bankers who look after them even well after retirement and finance their elections in USA, UK and elsewhere. The suffering masses of Greece have shown that this much and no more.


"Greece leaves behind five years of humiliation and suffering, fear and authoritarianism," says Syriza party leader, Alexis Tsipras.


The head of Greece's far-left Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, has been sworn in as prime minister and is set to lead an anti-austerity coalition government. Turning up for the ceremony without a tie, the leftist leader took the oath less than 24 hours after winning the general election on an anti-austerity platform .Earlier; he formed a coalition with the centre-right Independent Greeks.


European Commission head Jean-Claude Junker has reminded him of the need to "ensure fiscal responsibility". European Central Bank has provided a stimulus of US$ One Trillion (USA's is around $ 3 trillion) but Euro is not a reserve currency like US $ (though being diluted by many trade deals in bilateral currencies instead of Dollars)


The Syriza leader has vowed to renegotiate the bailouts, which are worth €240bn (£179bn; $268bn)


Tsipras will now try to lead an anti-austerity revolution, backed by a strong democratic mandate.

He said in his victory speech that he is willing to negotiate with Greece's European partners. The question is: how much are they prepared to compromise with him?


Syriza wants to reverse cuts in public services and increase salaries and pensions again. It wants to write off a large chunk of Greece's huge public debt, most of which it now owes to other governments in the euro-zone.

In my article "Commonwealth Games Unveil India's Culture of Corruption" of August 2010, I had referred to Greek Economic Crisis follows $ 12 Billion 2004 Athens Olympics

 Were Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the beginning of the Greek Economic Crisis

Even at the time of the 2004 Athens Olympic, the Greek media was full of reports of massive corruption ie, inflation and rigging up of the costs and wrong doings. There appears to be similar pattern in 2010 CWG.

Writing in Aljazeera.net of 10 May 2010 Mark Cochran said that in the biggest multilateral economic bailout ever attempted over the next three years, Greece will receive $146 billion from Euro-zone countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to lift the bankrupt country out of its debt crisis. But Greece's fundamental problems remain unresolved: corruption and massive tax avoidance which fuels the black economy. Popular anger is growing because of the tax rises, wage reductions and savage public spending cuts required as part of the Euro zone/IMF deal.

Blaming the Olympics

Many Athenians believe their economic downfall began with the 12 billion Euros spent hosting the 2004 Olympic games. The world-class sporting facilities now lie largely abandoned.

Costas Bakouris, now the corruption watch dog who ran the Athens Olympics Committee said,

"I have seen many assessments of what it takes to make, let's say, a 15,000 seat stadium and I have seen how much it cost Barcelona and Atlanta and how much it was in Sydney and the estimate we used to have in Greece for some of those, it was anywhere between 50 per cent more to four times more," he says.

"So therefore I knew that there was probably a lot of corruption and other things and therefore it cost a hell of a lot more."

There is a saying that Greece is a poor country full of rich people. As the good times rolled through the 1990s and soft loans and grants poured in from the European Union, fashion was just one industry that boomed.

What makes news is how many Porsches, Bentleys, Mercedes and Ferrari were sold in Greece. It is the easy money from EU 1980s which created a culture of wheeling and dealing rather than hard work guaranteed wealth. He says that a generation or more of Greeks have been lost to that mentality. (In India, where 70% of population subsists on less than a dollar per day, with India's neo-liberal policies favoring the rich and the crooks, you have private jets, helipads, yachts and huge mansions costing US$ Two billion).

Tax evasion is now a national sport and fuelling the black economy. "The rich people don't pay taxes. There's an old saying in Greece – the more money you steal the better off you are. If you steal a few Euros, a few hundred Euros you go to jail ... you steal thousands of Euros, we'll talk about it ... you steal a few million Euros you become a hero," said  Kyriakousis , a taxi driver in Athens.

Such people do not understand that consistent hard work, competitiveness, efficiency, and innovation which pays not wheeling and dealing

'War against governments'

Greece's "nonsense bureaucracy" means that in certain instances, 25 people have to vet one piece of paper to get something agreed to and they have to be bribed. Small business permits, even basic services, such as getting a drivers license or treatment in a public hospital often require an illegal payment called fakelaki

The government has now announced a range of austerity measures - wages and pensions will be cut, taxes increased and government spending slashed. Public servants face 10 per cent pay cuts and an end to early retirement in their forties .Tens of thousands of Greeks have taken to the street to protest against the government's measures.

Hope can be a powerful thing


Yes, Syriza is bound to face some setbacks, including with difficulties in governing.


But many Greeks voted for the party for the first time for a simple reason - they offered hope. And in politics, hope can be a powerful thing.(As in India, where Indians disgusted with the brazen loot and chicanery of the ruling parties , it still goes on in most states ,voted for Modi's BJP .But sofa Modi has mostly performed as a Rock star , he must soon deliver on his promises .Crony appointments and capitalism continue .Only hope is the rising and popular Aam Aadmi party, Aap led by a MK Gandhi like Arvind Kejriwal , scrupulously honest , ascetic ,a fascinating popular leader wearing honesty on his sleeves , with a glint in his eyes and driven by desire to usher in honesty ,openness and public accounting of leaders .


Indian Bollywood films


A similar case of Argentina below,  reminds me of the Indian Bollywood films of 1950s and 1960s which reflected the plight of poor small farmers ( Do Bigha Zemin) , who took loans due to famine or for marriage etc from the village Baniya ,the loan shark .After many songs and dances to please the audience the loan shark was killed .


Presently Bollywood ( now that Bombay has become Mumbai and all films must have attractive and sexy molls ,why not call Mumbai films industry Mollywood ) films have the hero fighting villains , many times, corrupt politicians or their accomplices and with latest techniques of film making about crashes and trick photography , the hero quite often ,an honest and well body built  police officer gets the villains and also his girl friend , a sex candy , with an item number , a revealing and voluptuous dance number  thrown in .In real life the politicians with their cronies continue to rule in India's unrepresentative electoral system .The films only provide group therapy to the audience inside the theatre while outside the criminals masquerading as leaders continue to have their sway .An election only votes in another bunch of brazen group of politicians.



Greece's case is similar to that of Argentina and a few other states .Argentina  began a process of debt restructuring on January 14, 2005, that allowed it to resume payment on the majority of the USD82 billion in sovereign bonds that defaulted in 2002 at the depth of the worst economic crisis in the country's history. A second debt restructuring in 2010 brought the percentage of bonds out of default to 93%, though ongoing disputes with holdouts remained. Bond holders, who participated in the restructuring, accepted repayments of around 30% of face value and deferred payment terms, and began to be paid punctually; the value of their bonds also began to rise. The remaining 7% of bondholders later won the right to be repaid in full


As part of the restructuring process, Argentina drafted agreements in which repayments would be handled through a New York corporation and governed by United States law. The holdout bondholders found themselves unable to seize Argentine sovereign assets in settlement, but realized that Argentina had omitted to provide for holdout situations and had instead deemed all bonds repayable on pari passu (equal) terms that prevented preferential treatment among bondholders. The holdout bondholders therefore sought, and won, an injunction in 2014 that prohibited Argentina from repaying the 93% of bonds that had been renegotiated, unless they simultaneously paid the 7% holdouts their full amount due as well.


Together with the agreement's Rights Upon Future Offers ("RUFO") clause, this created a deadlock in which the 93% of renegotiated bondholders could not be paid without paying the 7% holdouts, but any payment to the holdouts would potentially (according to Argentina) trigger the 93% being due repayment at full value too; a sum of around $100 billion which Argentina could not afford. The courts ruled that as Argentina had itself drafted the agreement, and chosen the terms it wished to propose, it could not now claim the terms were unreasonable or unfair, and that this could not be worked around by asserting sovereign status since the injunction did not affect sovereign assets, but simply ruled that Argentina must not give preferential treatment of any group of bondholders over any other group when making repayments.


Subsequently, though Argentina wanted to repay some creditors, the judgment prevented Argentina from doing so, because being forced to repay all creditors, including the holdouts, would have totaled around $100 billion. The country was therefore categorized as being in selective default by Standard & Poor's and in restricted default by Fitch. The ruling affected New York Law Argentine bonds; Argentine bonds issued under Buenos Aires and European Law was not affected.


 Proposed solutions include seeking waivers of the RUFO clause from bondholders, or waiting for the RUFO clause to expire at the end of 2014. The dilemma raised concerns internationally about the ability of a small minority to forestall an otherwise-agreed debt restructuring of an insolvent country, [ and the ruling that led to it was widely criticized both within the United States and internationally.


Neo-liberal capitalism with the top rich 1% holding as the rest of wealth is not human destiny


US capitalists describe the inequality as a result of hard work –Rubbish .Brahmins in India including pseudo Brahmins ie Kayasthas , Khatris and Menons and neo Brahmins like ruling families of Yadavas, Lals of Haryana ,Reddy's and Raos and Bhadralok describe the increasing inequality as bad Karma in previous life .Utter nonsense .


With all the faults ,destruction along with human progress, surely the goal of one percent rich controlling as much of wealth and power as the rest of the masses in the world was never the goal of philosophers , religious and political leaders and reformers. The current period is probably one of the darkest periods in human history. Even compared to days when absolute rule was the norm. Jokers like Fukuyama, after the collapse of the Soviet Union claimed end of history, these are supposed to be philosophers of neoliberal capitalism.


What the Greeks are doing perhaps is what they had done for millennia, before and after the death of Christ, civilizing and liberating Europe East of Bosporus, the British Islands and further West. The author feels very strongly and has written that what the Europeans call Western civilisations derived from the Greeks is a hoax.


The Greek civilisation is nothing more than an extension of Eastern civilisations which evolved in the river valleys of Euphrates, Tigris, Amu Darya, and Syr Darya, Khorasan and Sindhu and Sharaswati valleys. Philosophy and thought in East had developed to a much higher level than in Greece or the West .The Greeks were civilized by Asian rulers, philosophers in what is now Turkey and known earlier as Anatolia and Asia Minor.


As there was little comparable civilisation in Western Europe and certainly USA in pre Christian era, they claim that their civilisation, culture and thought originates from the Greeks of Aegean and Asia Minor (Turkey).  According to them, Greek civilisation and culture evolved and flourished in Crete and evolved when Greeks (pirates) coming from the Aegean islands settled on the west coast of Asia Minor (called Ionia-Yunnan) Therefore Minoan civilisation of Crete forms the basis of Greek and hence Western civilisation.  

It is too simplistic and illogical, if not downright absurd. Why not Cyprus, Malta, Sicily?  At that time, there were flourishing civilisations in Egypt, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Persia, Sogdiana and India. Persian Empire extended up to western Turkish coast with Sardis as its outpost. Most Greek city states in Asia Minor were under the Persians, who could cross over the Dardanelles or the Bosporus at will or occupy Greek lands.  The first Greek victory over Persians is celebrated as Marathon race in sports.  The first victory of the West over East!  

Cretian civilisation is derived from Egyptian and Phoenician.  Both are indebted to Mesopotamian, verily the mother of all civilisations, which evolved mostly between Tigris in Euphrates in Iraq and southeast Turkey.  The evolution in human progress took off six millennia ago.  But fourth millennia BC was remarkable, not only in Mesopotamia but in the Nile valley and the Indus Valley. From family units polity developed into villages and cities, kingdoms and empires.  The cities were ruled by a god and in his name by the king.  To begin with, the first deity was Earth, Mother Goddess. Civilisations in Mesopotamia were created by Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadians, Assyrians and others. Nile got cylindrical seals from Mesopotamia and the beginnings of writing.  The Nile civilisation is magnificent, well preserved but unidirectional and flourished in isolation, without the stimulus of exchange.  

What goes in the name of democracy in the world now is nothing more than the intermediate stage between feudal, mediaeval, authoritarian, kingdoms and real democracy, which really does not exist anywhere. In between had come tyranny, of those elected and electable. Once someone got elected by hook or crook, he misused his power to be re-elected or made sure that his family or political party with similar ideology continue to be re-elected again and again because of the power ;political, economic and military it had acquired.


K.Gajendra Singh .27 January, 2015 .Delhi