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Note: the article below, published initially on Histologion last month, was posted and update by its author, talos, on European Tribune and he has kindly authorised me to repost it here in full as it is largely relevant to the economic debates here. All the text below this paragraph is from him (without the images on the original, as they are not posted on authorised servers)

Takis Michas' article in the WSJ, written a month ago, about Greece and what he describes as its Descent into Anarchy (full article reproduced here) is a stunning piece of disinformation on the situation in Greece, an outlandish view of the disaster unfolding in the country, tainted by class prejudices and ideolepsy. It is so utterly unrooted in reality, that, were it published in Greece anonymously, it would be unclear whether this was perhaps a parody. This is the pinnacle of a genre of alarmist anti-left writings that seem to pop-up regularly in the local MSM to lecture the restless natives on the vileness of resistance to Authority and its true Prophet, the IMF, and blame the Left as sole instigator of all sorts of violence: A "violence" however, which on closer inspection mostly consists of jeering a corrupt politician or two, staging a protest against the pauperization of this or that social group, peaceful civil disobedience and strikes. In a zoology of militantly conformist, fear-mongering tall tales on display in the government-friendly media (and that's 90% of all MSM media), Michas' piece is Godzilla. That's why it was perhaps too tall for the Greek press and required a global newspaper to print it.

The WSJ readership of course, needs this potent injection of fear-mongering anyway, as the plebes in the US are rapidly becoming unruly themselves, faced with shouldering the costs of the banker bailout and this cautionary tale form the exotic Near East, complete with leftist dragons, is perfectly timed for domestic use.

As I said, if this was published in a Greek newspaper, in Greek, it would offer a hilarious peek at the paranoia that the crisis has bred among the country's upper classes, and would not merit a response significantly different from "you should go out more often". Since it is published in English, in a paper as broadly read among ruling elites as the WSJ, and might skew the perception of what is actually happening in Greece, it requires debunking, especially as I have seen the article being referred to on the www as some sort of authoritative picture of Greek "anarchy," since its publication. In the process it will provide an opportunity to relate the true story of the budding, if still incoherent, mass resistance to the ECB/IMF fiscal stormtroopers and their caretaker government in this peripheral ECB province I'm writing from, but also the truly darker side of collapsing neighbourhoods, mindless violence and general despair that is emerging from the deep cracks that the prolonged ECB/IMF induced depression has carved on the already decrepit social body. This panoramic view of civil discontent and societal unrest that answering Michas' article must include, and the true dangers lurking as the crisis deepens will be the major theme of this post, along with a discussion of things that have happened after the publication of this article: it has been a month thick with events.

Austerity? What austerity?

Michas begins by lamenting the demise of "the rule of law" in Greece and chiding the government for its inability to "to maintain order and implement its own legislation." While the debt crisis is briefly mentioned, Michas avoids pointing to a rather crucial piece of background info: the developments he "describes" (and misrepresents) are happening as Greece is plunged into the deepest recession in living memory, as unemployment is skyrocketing along with part-time and uninsured jobs, as even nominal wages are collapsing, as a quarter of small businesses have either gone bankrupt or are preparing to do so, as indirect taxes soar and inflation persists.

But all this does not impress Michas:

"Many argue that Greece's disintegration is the unavoidable consequence of the government's attempt to enforce economic austerity. This seems doubtful."

Now why it seems doubtful to Takis Michas, he won't say. It certainly doesn't seem doubtful to the vast majority of people in the country, as the percentage of Greeks expecting social conflict in the next few months as a result of government policies reached 84% three months ago [poll links in Greek, I'm afraid], while when asked to describe their feelings towards these policies in another poll, 35.5% mentioned "anger", 33% "disappointment", and 21% "fear". Pollsters warn that the Greek political system has "passed the point of no return", and is facing a drastic overhaul...

I don't think there is a country in the world where the population can (or should) be expected to passively accept its own impoverishment and the annihilation of lives and prospects. Society is still paralyzed from the Shock Therapy the German Bankers and their local overseers have imposed and are still, to an extent, under the spell of the neoliberal mantra: There Is No Alternative. There are movements however on the ground, local and nation-wide that resist this destruction, stemming both from a sense of injustice and a practical inability to pay for much more than basic necessities. These movements are widely accepted and approved of by the Greek population. However, for Michas to admit to large scale societal desperation, rage and depression would be to accept that there are valid reasons for this anger. But that would by ideologically problematic for a large part of the neoliberal right that he represents and, anyway, it would stand in the way of red-baiting which is the object of this article. Thus Michas proceeds to a string of accusations against the left that are blatantly outrageous and viciously false. They are the kind of accusations an authoritarian government levels against dissident groups. It is highly unlikely that Michas is so secluded and deluded that he doesn't know this already, so this is IMHO inexcusable disinformation.

All protest is lawlessness?

Michas starts his description of the Evil Greek Left with an impressive piece of disinformation:

The country is at the mercy of militant activists, who are mostly inspired by various factions of Greece's hard left. The heaviest hitters are Greece's Communist Party and the anarcho-Stalinist Coalition of the Radical Left, which is comprised of the Ecosocialists of Greece, the "Roza" Radical Left Group and the Internationalist Workers' Left, to name a few. Their followers, with total impunity, have taken to harassing citizens and destroying public property, even taking over whole villages.

First if all let's start with this fact: The "militant activists" of these parties are responsible for zero (0) acts of real physical violence against anyone. They have "harassed" no citizens that I'm aware of, unless "harass citizens" means "demonstrate against politicians" perhaps, they have not destroyed public property as far as I'm aware of, and they have certainly not taken over any villages, at least since the Greek Civil War in the 1940s.

The Communist Party is an ossified relic of a sovietophilic old-school stalinist party, whose intransigence and militancy in workers' movements as well as its historic role in the Greek resistance have guaranteed it a permanent place in parliament - and which is growing stronger by the day as the protest party par excellence. Its actions include the usual old-school labor actions, i.e. ship-workers and sailors blocking ports. The party has no loose canons and has a horror of things getting out of control. No police officers worry about attending a KKE demonstration. Ever.

The description of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SY.RIZ.A in Greek) again is, well, somewhat idiosyncratic. It is indeed a coalition, a block of left and green parties from left social-democracy to post-maoist groups. The three parties Michas chooses to enumerate are however not quite representative of the alliance. It is like saying that "the Italian peninsula is comprised among others of the Vatican and San Marino". The missing elephant, the core political and parliamentary entity around which the alliance was built, is the Coalition of the Left and Ecology (even the similar name sort of gives the deal away) a member of the Party of the European Left (along with Die Linke, Bloco, Sinn Fein, PCF etc.). Interestingly, despite Michas' claims regarding their dastardly final objectives, this party participated in two Greek governments in the late 80s early 90s (along with the Communists - with the Conservatives first and then in a emergency government): there were no gulags built. Kim Il Sung does not seem to feature among the guiding lights of either party... About "Anarchostalinism" I can only say that it is a term that has no proper place outside satire, so I'll leave it at that.

Those evil commies then, have activists who apparently "direct physical attacks primarily at politicians and journalists  who support open societies and market economies". Now, the three "attacks" Michas mentions have indeed happened (as have many more like them); in fact politicians and establishment figures are currently feeling rather unsafe walking around in public without heavy escort. But that isn't because they are "for open societies and market economies" but rather because they are part of a corrupt and/or incompetent political two-party system that has thrown Greece into an unsustainable debt maelstorm, through cronyism, clientilism and theft. This opinion about the two governing parties is shared by a vast majority of the population - 93% of Greeks feel that corrupt politicians should go to jail. According to last year's Transparency International survey, Greeks were the people who ranked their political parties withthe highest marks for corruption in the world. A recent poll shows that 40% of the population are for (and 56% against) violent heckling of governing politicians. As the Greek economy collapses even the "official" narrative for the crisis makes people who are facing destitution rather angry.

Even so, the conservative politician mentioned was most certainly not attacked by organized leftist activists (of any kind). Kostis Hatzidakis, MP and former transport minister, not involved in any personal scandals, was attacked by a couple of elderly men during a huge union demonstration, one carrying an umbrella which he used against the former minister, as other protesters from the crowd protected the MP.

No one credible has, to my knowledge, seriously suggested that the attackers were members of any party. Their photos and the relevant video has travelled around the Greek web and the media many times. Were the perpetrators members of any left party, the MS media, quick to indulge in all sort of wild accusations against those "irresponsible leftists" would no-doubt have unearthed it.  They haven't.

The same is true for both other cases (and there are many more instances of public, intense disapproval, voiced all over Greece and abroad wherever government members appear in public, on a daily basis by now, most of which have nothing to do with physical violence). In one case Michas mentions, we know for a fact that the person that threw yogurt (yogurt! how deadly can you get?) against the Vice-Premier was a voter of the far-right LAOS party, (and we know this because he gave an interview in a Greek newspaper). He was acting as a citizen of Keratea, a town whose inhabitants have immersed themselves in an insurgency against the creation of a landfill next to their homes. The town was a rather conservative - if anything - electoral municipality. This is the only instance of anything that might be legitimately called an insurrection in Greece, and it is very local in its scope. Theodoros Pangalos, the Vice Premier, elected from that particular electoral periphery, had spoken against the locals and for Law and Order, as is par for the course. Again, since local politicians of all colours and stripes have expressed their sympathies with the locals, and the whole town was behind the demonstrations, the claim that the locals were "supported by anarchist 'freedom fighters'" is ridiculous - not to mention in contradiction with the claim that the village was taken over by leftist activists. Keratea is a case study in state intimidation since from day one the government chose to use sticks - not carrots: the police have shown incredible ferocity against the inhabitants of Keratea, including Gaza-style home invasions and violence against the elderly, on orders to support tooth and claw a project that the citizens of Keratea insist is a contract awarded to politically connected construction companies.

This is not the first time in Greece or in Europe, where locals have found being forced to live next to a toxic landfill violently unpalatable. Only previously, no one would have thought it necessary to invoke a conspiracy of anarchostalinists to explain it away. As for Pangalos, who has distinguished himself in heaping scorn against Greek citizens, a recent poll has shown that a full 79% of those questioned agreed with the deprecation and the jeers directed against him. By the way: it seems that these protests might yet have borne fruit... with all that this fact might have to teach us.

Similarly, the "Won't pay" movement, far from being some sort of bloodthirsty extremist group (in fact they are completely non-violent) is a citizens' initiative, mostly, but not solely, from areas where the government has set up toll booths that force the inhabitants of towns to pay in order to be able to leave their towns. At the same time, the toll fee prices had been hiked originally, exactly as general nominal income is steeply declining and inflation is charging on at 4-5%. Frequent commuters find it too much of a drain for their precarious finances to pay extra for driving to and from work, on incomplete roads constructed by the "national" contractors whose contracts are generally believed to be the product of their owners' political "entanglement". The Left certainly supported these movements but hardly initiated them. The movements had managed to win a promise of across the board reduction on toll fees (which it seems now the government has no intention of carrying out). They have also opened up with their actions, both on the road and in the courts, a new area of public inquiry, regarding the enormous costs that Greek roads seem to have incurred, as part of the corrupt relationships between some construction companies' owners and government cadres from both ruling parties...And it's far more than the voters of the Left who are furious with the toll prices: 66% of the public consider that the Minister of Infrastructure is a tool for the contractors. 52% suppport the "Won't pay" activists (vs 33% against). These people are not ideologues of any sort of "hard left" Michas is terrified of. They are people at the edge of bankruptcy and disaster. Even the regional chambers of commerce for Pieria and Thessaloniki are participating actively in these protests. So much for wild-eyed radicals...A similar story pertains to the metro/bus ticket boycott: fares went up by 40% this January, meeting a determined resistance from many commuters who have refused to pay these price hikes. In both cases the government legislated draconian measures to break these movements, and it is rumored that the toll companies are paying police officers and police departments to be present at the toll stations and force payment on anyone who denies payment, while they have tried to scare ticket dodgers with heavy penalties and fines - and even jail for a 1,4 Euro ticket!

Then there is the Marfin Bank incident last May, where, in one of the largest union rallies ever in Athens, a group of hooded "anarchists" threw molotov cocktails inside a bank, a mind-bogglingly criminal act that resulted in the death of three bank employees, who were trapped inside. This was a depraved act, no doubt about it, but the fire-bombers, who were possibly not aware of the fact that there were people inside the shuttered bank, were a small group (3-4 people strong) acting around the main demo, with no connection to Michas' "hard left" at all. Michas' claim, that activists of the main parliamentary leftist parties go after "people who refuse to participate in strikes and demonstrations" stating that: "In May 2010 three employees of the private bank Marfin suffocated to death when a hard-left mob fire-bombed their offices during a riot" is slanderous and dishonest.

The ghost of Greek liberals past

This tale of nefarious leftists firebombing villages and occupying banks or whatever, is of course par for the course for the socialist government and its supporters in the media as well as the ultra-right wing LAOS party.This is not the only policy area where the "serious" parties converge: This January the government, the conservative opposition and the extreme right were trying to outdo each other in anti-immigrant, xenophobic and racist rhetoric when 300 (mainly North African) "illegal" workers went on a hunger strike to demand that they have the opportunity to employ themselves legally. Seeing this as a rare opportunity to gain popular points, the government rode the xenophobic horse almost until the end when, faced with the prospect of dozens of dead hunger strikers, as one after the other were fading in critical condition in Greek hospitals, they accepted some sort of deal - which after the hunger strike was over they made sure to reinterpret. The compliant government-dependent media moguls and their TV stations went on what can only be described as a week of inciting racist hatred: the intensity of rhetoric was at KKK levels and it was truly scary to realize that one was witnessing what amounted to a immigrant hate-fest in the most mainstream of Greek TV news shows. This was unfolding in an already ominous context of sky-rocketing unemployment and Dublin II, an EU treaty on migration which guarantees that Greece is and will remain a massive EU immigrant detention camp for the forseeable future, with a desperate, unemployed and hopeless detainee population that is now dying to get out of the country on top of dying to get in...   The Democratic Alliance, the party which Mr. Michas writes as a representative of in the WSJ article, was a very vocal part of that broad coalition of xenophobia. Note that as an independent journalist Michas showed a libertarian bend, and it is doubly astonishing to read such calls to authoritarianism by him especially...

The immigrant hunger strike was the most obvious example of the "respectable" part of the political spectrum seeming to have decided that, in the face of mass popular delegitimization of the political system, the proper response is to move ever rightwards on social issues. This is some sort of a collective "Sarkozy strategy", which ignores, among other things, how this is currently playing out in France. The marriage of neoliberal economics with extreme conservative, nationalist and xenophobic currents, seems to be a viable vehicle for preserving elite privilege. This has the effect of further strengthening an already empowered extreme right: the Nazi party (not a metaphor - the actual Nazi party) is polling at 1.5% according to a recent poll, ten times its historical size, and the original xenophobic extreme right-wingers at LAOS have also shown signs of a significant rise in the polls. Since Michas' article, the Nazis and the mainstream apologists for xenophobia who have fanned the flames of the racism that feeds them, have gone on an anti-immigrant rampage, a pogrom of real and horrific criminal violence, illustrating where the danger of blind and mindless destruction and societal dissolution come from and wherecriminal intent really is indiscernible from the effects of a programmatically antidemocratic platform. These events happened a month after Michas' aricle in the WSJ, and the trend was visible well before then. Strangely Michas' libertarianism was blind to this actual rather than invented rise of political violence.

What is even more worrying is the fact that these pogroms happened under the indifferent eye of the police, and they were then only peripherally highlighted and lightly condemned by mainstream media. What is more: as the Minister of Public Protection mumbled a few words about dissolving the nuclei of neonazi sympathizers in the police force, "serious" newspapers, the conservative and far-right opposition, members of his own "socialist" party and pundits of every sort, actually protested against "starting witch hunts" in the police force and "hurting an already diminished morale". Thus it is plainly clear that the toleration of the far right is a reasoned choice for sections of the Greek elite.

This will not be the first time the Greek liberal right and center and the elites that run them, will have allied themselves with the extreme right: During the civil war in Greece the "traditional" parties allied themselves with Nazi collaborators, black-marketeers and goons, and proceeded to impose a national security state that, with varying ferocity, continued until 1974, after attempts at democratization were quashed by royalist parliamentary coups and then the brutal military junta of 1967-74. Thus it is truly ironic for Michas to dangle the spectre of an imaginary authoritarian left: in Greece it is the liberal and not too liberal center and conservative parties that have a history of violence, using the extreme right as their "muscle". The parties Michas slanders and their ideological forebears, have been fighting for more not less democracy in Greece over the last 60 years. Kim Il Sung would feel much more comfortable with the government's LAOS allies than he would with the independent (to say the least) minded members of the components of SYRIZA's coalition. much less of course an anarchist of any sort...

Societal Tensions

There are other things happening in Greek society, as well, other ways in which the current increasingly desperate situation expresses itself. Suicide rates have shot up in 2010, and continue unabated in 2011, a quarter of shops in downtown Athens are now empty, people areleaving Athens in panic to become farmers, organized crime is booming, while unemployment almost reached 16% this February, homelessness has become a visible issue, soup kitchens almost cannot serve all the needy...

This collapse has created hopelessness, anger and violence. Criminal violence, racist and nazi violence, police violence and anarchist / protest violence. The events of the past weeks I have described elsewhere, but a day after the brutal and murderous police attack against peaceful demonstrators - a practice so entrenched and widespread that it suggests a permanent strategy of intimidation in order to "discourage" participation -  a gang of anarchists attacked a central police station with molotov cocktails, running through a street market full of people. In the ensuing mess, three bystanders were burned by the fire bombs and one was until yesterday in serious condition, fighting for his life in a hospital...

So this explains somewhat the results that Public Issue, a polling company, published, of a survey that reported that:

  • 62% of Greeks think that the memorandum with the troika has harmed the  country and the same percentage is against it (13% it benefited the  country - 15 support it),
  • 16% think that there is no alternative (69%  think there are alternatives).
  • 77% do not trust the Prime Minister to  manage the economy (22% trust him).
  • 75% have a negative view of the IMF  (69% last year), and 74% of DSK (49% last year).
  • 69% believe that the  IMF must leave Greece now (up 4% from 6 months ago).

  • Only 52% have a  negative view of the ECB (vs 33% positive) and 61% of Trichet. 59% have a  positive view of the EU (up three points from 6 months ago).
  • 53% want  to bargain and default on at least a part of the public debt. 17% want  to default completely and unilaterally.
  • 33% think that the country needs  a revolution and 56% deep changes.
  • Greeks support strikes (74 - 20) and  protests & marches (69 - 25) and are marginally not supportive of  electoral abstention (45 - 54) and public deprecation and jeering of  politicians (43 - 54)...
  • 78% vs 21, believe that a social explosion is  impending...
  • 29% feel mainly angry, 18% dissapointed, 15% anxious, 11% shamed,  8% sadness and 13% all of the above.

Interestingly 48% believes that the stage is set for a successful far right party to emerge, versus 27% for a far left.

Thus contrary to Michas' assertions this is not about a leftist coup d'etat: The natives are restless and unhappy because of the, probably unprecedented during peacetime, drop of living standards they are suffering, with large swathes of the population being pushed to extremes of poverty that were unimaginable a few years ago, at the same time as prices rise, with incredibly high inflation due to a continuous barrage of indirect taxes and the backbone of state services and companies is being privatized in a gigantic sell out:  Schools are being shut down, hospitals are in jeopardy (while corruption in and around them is still rife), as per yesterday the electric utility, the healthiest bank in the country, the state gambling and betting monopolies (very profitable), the power company (again profitable), petroleum, water services etc - are on sale, a true sell out that will happen at fire-sale prices (the depression has driven the Athens stock market at an all time low, it will be interesting in a morbid way to see how low will the sell out prices go). The sad thing about the left in these circumstances is not that it does to much. But that it is still doing too little to stop the asset stripping and the destruction of a whole generation of Greeks. If only they were as dangerous as Michas claims!

Yet this work of political fiction Michas has concocted must serve a purpose. I fear it is one of creating alibis. "If you see us rolling out the tanks, rescinding a few articles of the constitution, or if you see demonstrators being trampled, beaten like it's Mubarak's Tahrir Square, Manama, or Baniya, Syria", signals Michas to US and global elites, "it's OK": It's only communists and "anarchostalinists" who are being punished for their love of Kim Il Sung. Everybody else just loves being reduced to poverty and insecurity.

P.S: And so it was until the #spanishrevolution. There are as we speak twenty or more facebook groups planning  #greekrevolution gatherings around the country, as of 25 May. Let's see how succesful and how nonviolent these turn out to be. Unlike the #spanishrevolution however, everybody expects the #greekrevolution right now...

See also this update (from 29May)

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 11:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by Money and Public Purpose.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (141+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
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  •  Thanks for bringing this too us Jerome. (29+ / 0-)

    The US traditional media has totally bought into the idea that Americans have to follow extreme austerity measures and slash our "bloated" spending on social programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

    Meanwhile, virtually, no one is discussing that unlike Greece, and other EU countries, the US spend more on Defense Spending than the next 42 other countries combined and our tax rates are well below the OECD avereages.  

    My belief is we do not need to impose Greek like austerity measures on America, but rather need to return to Clinton era taxation and defense spending rates.  

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 11:48:49 AM PDT

  •  I blame Arianna Huffington (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    keikekaze

    the self-proclaimed leftist.

    Just kidding,.. really insightful diary as usual.

    A man, a plan, a canal, Panama

    by Karl Rover on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 11:49:22 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for posting information I don't usually (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    keikekaze, maxzj05, leema, JanL, Lujane

    get to see.  Tipped and recommended.

  •  They live in perpetual fear (13+ / 0-)

    that people will just say "no'.  

    Greece has to stop borrowing money.  Well "duh", we all have to stop borrowing money.  Debt is what feeds the monster.  

    What Greece needs to do . . . what every debtor needs to do, in fact, is say "Enough, already" . . . "We will pay back your money . . . it might take a while, but let's sit down and work out a payment schedule.  What we won't do is pay any more "interest" (well, no more than the .01% that the US Fed charges US banks).  Demand interest and you get nothing."

    Apart from that the response to the bankers can be simple and topical . . . "go eat sprouts" . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 12:16:53 PM PDT

    •  What Greece needs to do... (8+ / 0-)

      ...is to impose appropriate haircuts on the debt it owes to foreign banks. It takes two to make a loan, a borrower and a lender. Just like in the Latin American Debt Crisis, banks had money to lend and made unwise loans, in some cases, deliberately conceived to deceive. In other cases the haircuts would compensate for the lack of productivity of the loan due to the corruption of those to whom it was lent. On and on....

      Imposing conditions that only decrease the ability of Greece to pay the loans is merely a pretext for international looting, mostly by European export surplus countries,  who are desperately trying to postpone the bailouts of their own banks, which are grossly under capitalized and have unrecogniced, underwater balance sheets. After Greece sells its telephone system to a German operator and that operator starts extracting even more money from Greece via that company, how will Greece be better able to pay the loans?

      A debt that cannot be paid will not be paid and it is better to recognize that and deal with it sooner rather than later, at least for the sake of the debtor, but also for the sake of the entire Euro-zone economy, except for the banks.  But the USA is doing similar things with regard to its own TBTFs.

      As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

      by ARGeezer on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 01:20:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same position so many home owners found (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jagger

        themselves in the last few years.  Banks aren't budging.  Hence the impasse.

        I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, "Marseillaise of Peace," 1841

        by notdarkyet on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 08:12:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  debt and interest isn't the problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melo, Jagger

      As you said, debtors need to have reasonable interest rates and payment schedules.  With appropriate government involvement (who helps seize a debtor's property if they don't pay up?  The same guys who are supposed to make sure a lender's terms are clear and fair) debt can be good.

      The banking industry has several roles that benefit society.  It's where individuals park their cash (insured by the FDIC) which is then used to make loans to businesses and homeowners.

      That's the part of banking that's good for everyone involved.  It's also boring and doesn't provide very much opportunity for the kind of profits you need to afford much hookers and blow.  So, bankers turn to one kind of scam or another.  Making a subprime loan, selling the expected cash flow from it as if it was a normal loan, and then foreclosing on the house involved pays bonuses.

  •  Rec'ing and running, alas (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    keikekaze, MartyM, foucaultspendulum, melo

    Thanks for posting this, Jerome. Will be back a bit later to read it thoroughly. Nice to have something more than the surface skim we've been getting in "financial" news.

    Amount of federal money to National Public Radio in 2010: $2,700,000 / Amount to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University: $446,000,000 / Source -- Harper's Index, June 2011

    by Mnemosyne on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 12:39:53 PM PDT

  •  Excellent, fantastic coverage and so important (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, farbuska, melo

    A story soon to be brought to our local US cities and neighborhoods...The world's financial markets seem to believe they need a real life sovereign bankruptcy to demonstrate (mainly to the US?) that they mean business,

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 01:31:24 PM PDT

  •  Jerome, another well researched and written diary, (7+ / 0-)

    thank you.  You made one comment that should be a wake up call for all.

    "Interestingly 48% believes that the stage is set for a successful far right party to emerge, versus 27% for a far left."

    The world is becoming the stage where the far right wing voices echo loudly in the corporate owned media.

  •  Second round of "bailouts" coming (0+ / 0-)

    According to the WSJ.  Reading this it sounds like Greece is about to have a revolution and default on it's debts in the near future.

    http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD.pdf From Dictatorship to Democracy, Guide to Non Violent Protests.

    by sdelear on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 01:53:15 PM PDT

    •  remember what a "bailout" is (17+ / 0-)

      It means that the IMF and EU loan money to Greece to bail out its oligarchs (who borrowed from German and French and UK banks) and make Greek citizens pay for them by cutting off social services and jacking up taxes (but not on the rich).

      So default does not seem such a bad thing, for the Greeks.

      The reason it's not happening is that the Germans (and French and British) governments are happy to blame swarthy Southerners rather than having to explain why they need to give yet more money to their stupid criminal banks.

      So in effect the poorer Greeks will be saving the shareholders (or creditors) of rich Europe's irresponsible banks.

      •  I still have not seen much of an analysis (7+ / 0-)

        of Greece's debt from any source whatsoever. It's like the great untouchable topic. How did they get into this mess. Daniel Cohn-Bendit touched on this in a speech at the EC. But so far, part of the question, "Why in the world did you lend Greece this much money?" always returns the reply that the big banks had so much excess capacity for lending given the economic situation in the host countries, where they had fewer customers willing to take on debt. But beyond that, I sometimes wonder if the transfers from banks to foreign countries (or in the case of foreign aid) are simply repatriated as corporate contracts for goods, and in the case of Greece, primarily military weaponry. And when Greece defaults, the bank losses are underwritten by the taxpayers. The whole virtuous circle could then be thought of as a massive case of money laundering.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 02:28:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  OT: For foreign language pages (4+ / 0-)

    Google Chrome web browser offers a translation whenever you go to a foreign language link.

    The translations are not brilliant, but you can usually get the gist of the thing.

    I've had Safari offer me a translation, but that seems to be only now and then.

    If you have neither browser, you can always go to http://translate.google.com/ and enter the web address.


    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 02:13:04 PM PDT

  •  Here is some interesting additional (5+ / 0-)

    background.

    Greece's new austerity package, in addition to firing public workers and further slashing pensions, etc., requires that Greece privatize its assets. It has already begun.

    http://www.dailynewsreport.net/...

    The 10% ownership transfer from OTE to Deutsche Telekom for EUR 410.7 million euros will be done before the end of June.

    In 2008, Deutsche Telekom AG has spent 3.8 billion euros to take over a 30% package of OTE and has also an option to take another 10% package, an option that can activated by December 2011

    Note here, that Greece sold 10% of OTE to DT at a price of 1.3 billion in 2008, and will sell 10% for 410 million now.

    That's pretty good for Greece compared to the other assets it will be forced to sale, some of which have been recently assessed at 10% of their value in early 2010, like the big profit-making state lottery. That feeds Greece's education system. It too is going to be auctioned off at firesale prices.

    Some think this is not such a good idea:

    http://www.ekathimerini.com/...

    This illustrates once more that the key problem for Greece is not so much the size of its government deficit and debt; rather, the problem arises from the fact that most of its debt is foreign debt and the country does not generate enough domestic savings. The government’s funding problems can be alleviated only if foreigners are willing to buy large amounts of local Greek assets. But acquiring a controlling stake in an enterprise or a large chunk of land is usually classified as foreign direct investment (FDI). And how much of this could Greece hope to attract over the next year or so?

    When a country is in distress, its assets lose value, even timeless assets such as islands and beachfront property--which are to be auctioned.

    Others argue that forcing a country to sell itself off at firesale prices causes more longterm damage:

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    As the price for its help, the E.U. will undoubtedly demand a commitment to early and comprehensive privatization. But dumping the Greek government’s property onto the market would be inefficient and unfair. Forcing the government to liquidate its assets at fire-sale prices would depress the revenue it takes in. This would also be seen as squandering the national patrimony. It wouldn’t fly politically.

    Right now, we're in the middle of the blame game. As part of its initial austerity package, Greece undertook to sell 7 billion of assets by 2010. But since the austerity measures depressed the economy much further than anyone estimated, the EU started making new demands. Many politicians accused Greece of not hewing to the austerity agreement (even though Greece had cut MORE from its federal budget than the IMF and EU had asked it to cut originally). This is more than a bit of prevarication from the EU and IMF since no country can make an "agreement" to achieve a growth target. If it were that easy, we wouldn't be in this mess. Subsequently, the IMF and EU have engaged in an exercise of constantly moving the goalposts. The agreement to sell 7 billion by 2015 was changed to 50 billion by 2015, and when Greece agreed, there was a further proviso, 25 billion by 2012. After that, the EU's Ollie Rehn said Greece should better plan on selling 80 billion. And to top it off, the ECB's Jurgen Stark went in with all his chips...

    http://news.yahoo.com/...

    Why not 300 billion?

    Although we can certainly guess that the EU wants to extend the day that Greece will default, so as to shore up European banks that own Greek debt, the extension also offers other benefits as in the short-term, countries profit from a high interest rate of short-term loans to Greece (all of which receive primacy in the queue that Greece will be paid back, and these loans WILL be paid), they demand Greece continue to purchase billions in arms from European manufacturers (Greece doesn't need this, and you can see one parliamentarian's reaction to this new here: http://www.youtube.com/...), and most concerning, is there an incentive for corporations and banks to buy Greek assets at firesale prices?

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 02:17:32 PM PDT

  •  This is great and all Jerome... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa

    ...but what is Greece supposed to do? Greece is very very dependent on deficit spending to fuel its economy, and it cannot raise that money in the private market anymore because no one believes its promises to repay.

    So, Greece is going to be in a world of hurt whether it pays the debt or it doesn't. There's no conspiracy here: no one else in the world cares about Greece's problems except to the extent that Greece either can or cannot pay its obligations.

    What is even the proper liberal solution to Greece's problems? In some manner or other, Greece will have to force its deficits back to parity or surplus. It can either do it voluntarily, or be forced to do so by the market. There isn't another solution!

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 02:42:24 PM PDT

    •  It Will Eventually Do (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus, shrike, melo

      What it has always done:

      Default.

      The country has defaulted on its loans like clock-work since it got its independence from Turkey.

      Yes -- that will make it more difficult to borrow.

      And the problems it has raising money in the international lending markets will discipline its spending -- until lenders forget again and believe that the country has "reformed."

      Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

      by bink on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 02:56:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and default is a cold-turkey austerity program (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        since spending would be automatically reduced to tax receipts/income.  

        Greece will get their austerity one way or another.  

        "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

        by shrike on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 03:27:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Plus Aid (0+ / 0-)

          From Europe/Eurozone ...

          At which point the EU and EUR countries must decide whether the expense of keeping Greece on is worth it to them.

          It doesn't seem like being a part of the Euro is really worth it to the Greeks, if you ask me ...

          Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

          by bink on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 03:33:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  They are already at par (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          buddabelly, ARGeezer, petral, Jagger

          The problem is they owe.

          They are at sub 7k a year average for public workers in income.

          The part that most miss out on is the asset sales of the public common. The end of this scenario ends in one of two ways.

          Default with their public commons looted.
          Default with their public commons intact.

          Which would you prefer?

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 03:49:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So exclusive of interest payments they are (0+ / 0-)

            in a balanced budget?

            I thought their foreign debt was equal to 100% of GDP.

            I guess both conditions could be true.   I am just now reading this to catch up:

            http://www.neurope.eu/...

            "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

            by shrike on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 04:02:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Interest payments and the 5% of GDP (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              petral, shrike

              they are forced to spend on military weaponry from Euro defense corporations. There are articles on this quid pro quo, and I linked in this thread to a speech in the EC on this issue.

              If they're broke, they shouldn't buy anymore weapons. And they already probably wouldn't if they had a choice.

              That's 5% GDP right there.
              10% in interest service.

              Their foreign debt is slated to end the year at 154% debt to GDP, not 100%. It's been at 100% until last year for over 2 decades now.

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 04:42:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Which would you prefer? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            upstate NY, Jagger

            Depends on whether you are a banker or, more acutely, if you are on the hook, as a taxpayer, to bail out your bankers who made the stupid loans counting on the bailout.

            As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

            by ARGeezer on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 04:16:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Indeed (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              petral, shrike, Sparhawk, PatriciaVa, ARGeezer

              There really is no example in world history of a country that owed 154% of GDP to non-native sources that eventually clawed its way back to solvency. This means that the end is 99% certain.

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 04:43:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Thats's an answer you won't get (0+ / 0-)

              from the libertarian " birds " upthread. It wasn't the banks' fault, don't you know? Responsibility rolls downhill, passing the taxpayer bailouts on their way up.

              "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time." ~ Harry Truman

              by ozsea1 on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 11:10:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  The default thing is a canard (8+ / 0-)

        and I think Rogoff has done Greece a great disservice by painting it as a country of perpetual defaults. Three of the defaults he associated with Greece were of loans given to a Bavarian Prince to entice him to take over as Greece's king. All three loans were completed PRIOR to Greece's incorporation as a country in 1832, and none of that money ever made it to Greece proper.

        The fourth default Rogoff writes about occurred in the first decade after Greece became a country when the Great Powers paid the Ottomans an idemnity for the loss of lands it incurred. Greece liberated those lands through wars with the ottomans, and they did not sign off on the idemnity, nor was the payment treated as a legal tradeoff by the Ottomans who continued to fight for military control of Greek territory over the next century.

        The fifth default Rogoff attributes occurred in the mid 1940s, during 4 years of Nazi occupation, when Germany looted the country of tens of billions of dollars in gold, forced it to pay to fund the occupation, and brought about widespread murder and famine.

        The only legitimate default occurred during the Great depression in the mid 1930s.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 03:47:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  fair question (8+ / 0-)

      especially as Greece still has a primary deficit and a negative trade balance.

      But the ECB could have lent it some money a year ago at decent rates and killed the crisis of trust right in the bud. Part of the problem today is a self-fulfilling prediction that the debt burden is impossible to bear because the interest rates are too high, which, naturally, causes interest rates to go further up. By rolling some debt over at low rates, or buying (not that much) at the same, the ECB could have avoided the vicious circle we're in.

      But that would have avoided the asset grab we're seeing now...

      •  2010 estimate of Greek debt... (4+ / 0-)

        ...is 142.8% of GDP with a deficit of 10.5% of GDP (wiki). That means that to reduce its debt to (say) 50% of GDP by 2020 or so, Greece would need to contract its economy by around 20% to pay the debt, even if its interest rate was zero (i.e. it would need to surplus 10%).

        In contrast, simply defaulting on its debt would only require a 10.5% contraction (the amount of the current deficit). It seems like simple default is a better option.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 03:35:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  ECB should have lent "at decent rates"??? (0+ / 0-)

        Jerome, that would have been an explicit fiscal transfer to Greece, not viable politically in Germany.

        The truth is, you can't have a fiscal union without a political union, and there is no appetite in Europe for a central Treasury.

        The EU is not the United States of America.

        Solution?

        Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece should all adopt their own currency, and take back control of their monetary policy.

        I recall when Argentina was going through something very similar.  Argentina can't leave the dollar, for the country would implode.  Argentina can't leave the dollar, for the majority of contracts in Buenos Aires were dollar-based.

        Well, Argentina did abandon the dollar, and the world didn't end.

        And it won't end when Greece and the rest of the peripheral nations adopt their own currencies.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

        by PatriciaVa on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 04:30:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not necessarily a fiscal transfer (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, Daneel, ARGeezer

          The loans are at 3.5% above the rates the donor countries are borrowing it.

          What's your definition of decent rates?

          it must be recognized that these loans go right to the front of the queue, and that they are not like bonds or loans from other foreign buyers, creditors, private banks, or hell, China. The IMF/EU deal with Greece puts those loans first in the queue, and unless you assume that Greece defaults 100% on its debt, those loans WILL get paid. The IMF money is coming in at 1.5%. You can certainly call that a fiscal transfer. The EU money is at 5.5%. All short-term.

          Jerome's main point though was that if they had made those transfers early on and nipped the problem right away, instead of voicing urges toward "punishing" (not an exaggeration) wayward countries, they would have SAVED money in the end.

          We can figure this out easily. If Greece received 60 billion so far, and is due another 60 billion for this year, we are fast approaching the point of no return for Europe. The total debt is 320-350 billion. The EU and IMF (whose loans are primary) are now up to 120 billion after 2012, and maybe another 40-50 billion after that for 2013, we've reached the point where it will be the IMF and EU that experience a haircut.

          That will be a real fiscal transfer.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 05:12:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  As for those "Asset Grabs" (0+ / 0-)

        Jerome, given where Greece is today, I would use a discount rate of at least 70% on any bidding of Greek assets.

        To me, to invest in Greece right now would be equivalent to buying a lottery ticket.  

        The most likely scenario is that the country adopts the Drachma and seizes any assets which may be privatized.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

        by PatriciaVa on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 04:33:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We're talking about an EU country (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Daneel

          They are being asked to sell beachfront property, the national lottery system that feeds education.

          How is an EU country going to seize corporate assets when they are signatories to EU laws?

          It would be no different than Latvia or Bulgaria trying to seize foreign assets right now. How would that go over in the EU?

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 05:14:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Have you looked at Greece's budget? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ARGeezer, PatriciaVa, petral, wu ming

      Over 10% services debt.

      Assuming their current 154% debt to GDP is brought down to that line where a country is assumed to manage its debt (around 90%), then Greece can service its debt with 4% of GDP. That's a huge swath of money right there. Greece has options AFTER a default.

      Not to mention its weapons procurement of 5% GDP, much of which is require of it by its European partners.

      Greece's ONLY concern is food. A decade and a half ago, it was reliant on national production, but now the scales have tipped to the other side and it imports more. The only question is, how quickly can it turn that around. One way to begin: stop being the #1 purchaser in the world of French beef, and go back to the Mediterranean diet.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 03:41:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jerome, Do you use twitter? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania

    And if so, what is your handle?

    When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

    by Unbozo on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 02:47:32 PM PDT

  •  The Siphon From Greek Households (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ActivistGuy, melo

    To German and French banks must be kept open, even if that means that Greece has to privatize and sell its infrastructure off to interests in northern and western Europe.  The cash must flow to Frankfurt and Paris.

    Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

    by bink on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 02:54:40 PM PDT

  •  Thanks Jerome. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ARGeezer, melo, Jagger
    But that isn't because they are "for open societies and market economies" but rather because they are part of a corrupt and/or incompetent political two-party system that has thrown Greece into an unsustainable debt maelstorm, through cronyism, clientilism and theft. This opinion about the two governing parties is shared by a vast majority of the population

    Hmmmm. No wonder the MSM in both the US and the UK are repeating the mantra about leftist agitators. They're more than a little worried that the majority of the population might have caught on to the machinations of State.
    •  This is precisely it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ARGeezer, farbuska, northsylvania

      One of the major demands of protesters is for a non-partisan commission to establish how the deficit was wrung up in the first place.

      The vast majority of the populace suspect that this is how it happened:

      http://archive.ekathimerini.com/...

      There are 3 different bribery trials going on right now, involving this outfit, Thyssen Kruppe, one involving Siemens, and one other that escapes me at the moment.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 03:53:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just returned from Greece (7+ / 0-)

    The people in Greece seemed resigned for the worst.  But they also seemed rather blase (sp?) about all of this.  They have been through two invasions, 4-5 major depressions, several dictatorships, and inumerable currency devaluations - all in the last 100 years.  This little old lady told me on a city bench a few days ago - it can't get as bad as the Nazi occupation can it? (100,000 died the first year of Nazi occupation from hunger, in Athens alone.  I told the little old lady "listen Yaya (grandma in Greek) - you have children with homes and grandchildren and a Greek society that values family - and you have survived the last 85 years - we will all get through this).  Then I went out that night, fought massive traffic jams, enormous lines outside of clubs, drove past hundreds of packed outdoor cafes - thousands of boutiques - and millions of beautifully dressed Greeks strolling the streets of Athens.  They have survived 4000 years, and they'll survive the crooked American and European bank failures.

  •  What the Germans owe Greece (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SingleVoter, ozsea1, melo, ARGeezer

    Germany (which supposedly holds one of the top levers of a Greek financial bail-out plan) has its people opposing any German-Greek bail-out package by up to 70 percent in a recent poll. But did the Germans contribute to the current situation stemming from their World War II illegal occupation and rape of Greece?

    In the Paris Reparations Agreement of 1946 the German war crimes against Greece were billed at 7.1 billion US dollars. A few years later, under the threat of the oncoming Cold War, Germany was already needed by the Allies in the struggle against communism. For this reason, it was agreed in the London Agreement of 1953 that the recognised reparation demands against Germany should be postponed – until a final settlement in a later peace treaty.

    Germany also during occupation (1941-1944) was given a mandatory loan from Greece (yes from Greece to Germany) to the size of 3,5 billions USD.

    A total sum of 10,6 billions USD at 1938 prices, not today. Even at a modest interest of 4%, this money accounts to 130 billions USD, half of the total debt of Greece!

    This war reparations does not take into account the cultural objects stolen of Greece stolen during occupation, neither the massacres of civilians in several cities as a revenge for the rebel fighters - over 300,000 Greeks died during the occupation and ensuing civil war.

    Before the minister of economy of Germany says that Germans are not liable of the faults of Greeks, he should pay back the faults of his ancestors, money that was lawfully is to be given to Greece, and then half of Greek debt will be paid!

  •  The Anarchist and the Stalinist can be friends! (5+ / 0-)

    There's a humorous parody of this clown Michas' creation: anarcho-Stalinism (an oxymoron).

    Takis Michas, the international secretary of Greece’s new centrist-liberal party Democratic Alliance, revealed that their evil rival, the Coalition of the Radical Left, is Anarcho-Stalinist. Some people interpret this as a hint that Democratic Alliance, opposing everything Coalition of the Radical Left stands for, is actually the first Stalino-Anarchist party....

    In a 2022 transcripted argument between Ayn Rand and Joseph Stalin, both make some harsh criticism:

    Ayn Rand:

    "Society will never buy into that tripe!! I am an anarcho individualist and I see that as being the worst thing that could happen to anarchism."

    Joseph Stalin

    "In reply Ayn, I believe that this could potentially work. That is solely because my name is in the title. Other than that it won't work. This is because the people of Russia are too used to getting fukced over by oligarchs and they wouldn't know what to do if that stopped!! On the other hand Ayn your anarchist views are so disillusioned that I want to bite your head off, and I shall order someone to do so."

    Sadly, I can imagine some American politician like Joe Lieberman saying the same thing.

    •  goinsouth, your comment reminds me of this: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1

      "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts (I say minds) of men (or women)?

      http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/...

      "But only perhaps the Shadow knows his secretive past which is shrouded with mystery and speculation. The Shadow has worn many faces over the years and many more names and identities, shifting between them like a chameleon. ..... Some believe that he originally hails from France but other sources claim that he is actually British."

    •  An anarcho-syndicalist commune! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melo

      (Via Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in the unlikely event someone doesn't get the reference)

      "We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune.  We take turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.  But all the decision of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting.  By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs, but by a two-thirds majority in the case of ... "

      It's crazy when Monty Python skits are better connected to reality than the MSM...

  •  t & r for "ideolepsy" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geiiga, ozsea1

    but what does it mean ?

    big badda boom : GRB 080913

    by squarewheel on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 05:12:55 PM PDT

  •  So is there any chance they'll get a government (0+ / 0-)

    that won't side with the banksters?

  •  Is there any chance... (0+ / 0-)

    ... that, after the current government accepts colonization by bond holders, an opposing party will promise to default, sweep elections, only to have the elections nullified by the current government thereby extinguishing democracy?

    To play this out further, one could imagine the government getting some beneficial deals from creditors after retaining power so that they can pay the military and police to control the population.  Of course, this action would cause them to be ejected from the EU, then the real fun would begin.

    Freedom of religion is freedom FROM religion. Tweeting @dmiller23

    by DailyDrew on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 05:29:40 PM PDT

    •  Greece's history when it comes (0+ / 0-)

      to military/police control of the population is an interesting one, and it's perhaps less likely that this could happen in Greece than in a great many European countries, for historical reasons.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 07:10:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for a well researched diary about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SingleVoter

    a troubling situation that really isn't featured in the traditional and untraditionla news media here in the states.  I have a very good friend (Kosta, my Best Man from our wedding) living in Athens and I have not heard from him in about 6 months, and need to try to another way to contact him to see if he is okay.  He hasn't returned any e-mails, and that has me concerned.

    Hey Boehner and the Republicans: WHERE ARE THOSE JOBS YOU PROMISED????

    by LamontCranston on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 05:31:34 PM PDT

  •  I've been following the Greek protests at (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ActivistGuy, ozsea1

    http://www.occupiedlondon.org/...

    Once in a while an anarchist communique slips through on this blog. I'm not afraid of the word "anarchist" - I know what it means, so I usually read the whole damn thing. It can be some interesting stuff as I thought this one was:

    "Democracy Shall Not Win"

    http://www.occupiedlondon.org/...

    "WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY FOX NEWS IS JOURNALISM"

    by FakeNews on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 06:23:26 PM PDT

  •  It's happening here too. Ty for a very good (0+ / 0-)

    perspective on the situation.  We just haven't reached the breaking point, but if economic news and reality doesn't get better, it will all get worse.

    I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, "Marseillaise of Peace," 1841

    by notdarkyet on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 08:10:12 PM PDT

  •  Comments about the WSJ (0+ / 0-)

    Once upon a time, the WSJ tended to separate its right wing editorial rants from the content of its news pages, which were usually pretty solid -- the elite, after all, want the straight scoop, and tend to look down on "Fair and Balanced" reporting.

    Unfortunately, Rupert Murdoch owns it now.  So what you've got is an upscale version of the "New York Post." And what would Fox news be without lots of wild eyed, promiscuous anarchists (Stalinist anarchists, no less, obviously the dogs and cats have been cohabiting) running amok in the streets?  

  •  And yet people voted in center right (0+ / 0-)

    governments in Spain (last month) and Portugal (today) who are going to double down on austerity programs. Go figure.

    One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists.
    A No-Drama Obama Site & Some Straight Talkin'

    by amk for obama on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 08:28:06 PM PDT

    •  Only because the socalled "left" parties (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      offered "center-right" solutions.  If you're going to get the same thing one way or the other, you may as well take the authentic original rather than the cheap imitation by amateurs.

      "Tu vida es ahora" ~graffiti in Madrid's Puerta del Sol, May, 2011.

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Jun 05, 2011 at 11:24:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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