Friday, February 17, 2012

Moisis Litsis Explains It All For you: about Greece

This is the most informed and thorough analysis of what is going on in Greece I've found. It is an interview with Moisis Litsis a journalist with the Greek daily "Eleftherotypia".

A sample:

:D.: Why is Greece different? I mean, why has Greece been the first one? Greek activist Sonia Mitralia says that Troika was using Greece as a lab to see how far they could go. What do you think?

M.L.: Ι think she is right. Even our former Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou once said for a different reason that we are a “world lab”. As well you know, Greece has a very small proportion of the Eurozone economy (a mere 2% of GDP, in comparison to 11% for example of Spain) and far less of the world economy. So why is there so much noise about the Greek crisis in the last two years, saying that it threatens to destabilize the whole world economy?

Greece was the first example of what everyone nowadays acknowledges: the world debt crisis, with the focus in the Eurozone as a whole. If Greece failed, there was a fear of a domino of defaults in other European countries and maybe the end of the Eurozone process. That’s way they tried to solve the Greek problem, of course without any success. Now there is a common discussion about how the debt crisis threatens to dismantle the whole Eurozone, of course not because of Greece, but because the crisis affects bigger economies, like Spain, Italy and France.

With the harsh austerity, the threat of an immediate default and exit from the euro, the troika first tried to persuade the Greeks that there is no other solution and second to terrorize other peoples, that if they don’t follow the Greek road, they will quickly find themselves in a similar situation.

Later they tried to how far the people would go in their reaction. Despite the continuous strikes, demonstrations, criticisms and polemics, no social explosion happened in Greece, so the rulers of Eurozone may think that they control the playing field, managing to suppress successfully any kind of discontent in other countries. I think that Greece is today the example of what shouldn’t happen in other European countries: To believe that there is no other solution to the debt crisis outside of the troika's policies that impoverished Greek people.

D.: And what about the Greek people? Are they fighting back? Is Greek society united in the struggles? Is there a real counterweight? What is the role of 'aganaktismeni'? (the Greek indignant ones)

M.L.: We had a ton of strikes. Some of them massive, especially in the beginning of the crisis. But Greeks didn’t see any real change. A big moment was last summer when the “aganaktismeni” movement started with thousands of Greeks surrounding parliament, hoping that the majority of PASOK (socialist party) in the end would not vote in the new measures that the troika imposed after the July agreement for a new loan. The only achievement was the replacement of the socialist Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou with the “technocrat” former central banker Lukas Papademos with the support of the opposition parties of the rightwing New Democracy and the far right LAOS.

I think Greek people was exhausted from not seeing a real change, they are still hesitant to follow the traditional unionists, even the traditional left parties, despite the good results they reached in the latest polls. There are many new initiatives on a local level, but not a general massive movement with a central demand. But the struggle continues.

I think there is a need for a total rejection of current policies and the debt, even to question the Greek involvement in euro. After all, despite the differences about this question in the policies of the different left forces, there is high probability that Greece will be forced to leave the euro, without a real movement ready to counteract the harsh consequences of a move like this. If this happens, there will be tremendous political and social changes.

D.: Why hasn't Greece declared, up to now, an indefinite general strike?

M.L.: For many years I remember the far left to try to promote indefinite general strike without any success. The last two years we had many general strikes, even more than we did in the first years after the fall of junta in 1974, which was a period characterized by a great radicalization and a great youth movement.

People lost also a lot of money from the strikes, mainly those in the public sector, so in these difficult times they are hesitant to go on an indefinite strike, something that the traditional trade union forces don’t really want and are unable to promote.

There is much more at the link.

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