When: Wednesday June 8th, 19:00
Where: Bookshop ‘de Rooie Rat’, Oudegracht 65, Utrecht
Who: Griekenland is Overal
Lees ook hier en hier meer over de volksopstand in in Griekenland.
Since 2008, the strongest and most important crisis of the system takes place and its negative effects are visible at all levels of socio-economic life in the EU and the USA. This crisis originated from the globalized financial sector and was caused by the banks and large enterprises. The way governments have chosen to tackle the crisis is adopting measures which worsen the life of the people.
Currently, the crisis has mainly developed into a sovereign-debt crisis. This was caused by the billion of euros spent by governments to bail out the banks and the financial companies that have heavily invested in ‘toxic’ financial products in the virtual financial economy. The huge sovereign debts and budget deficits emerged as a result of the neoliberal policies that are based on two pillars:
– States loan huge amounts of money from international markets mainly in order to finance projects that are profitable for large enterprises (and not to sustain the welfare state as it is mainly said) and to refinance older state debt.
– States do not apply progressive taxation and actually in most cases they tax much less the upper class and the large companies.
A situation like this has developed in Greece the last 20 years. On the one hand Greek State (like the majority of developed states) borrow huge amounts of money to finance the Greek large companies (e.g. mega projects for the 2004-Olympics that produced a 5-billion deficit) and the Greek and international military industry (Greece is the popular client of these industries by spending 100s of millions in armaments). Since 2008, the subsidies and guarantees that the Greek state has given to the banks amount 140 billion. At the same time, the vast majority of the upper class was engaged in a large scale tax evasion that was encouraged by the state. A very characteristic calculation claims that if Greek taxation was in the average of EU in the 2000-2008 period the revenues of Greek state would have increased 95 billion euros. All this resulted into an unprecedented increase of the budget deficit.
As this crisis evolved, the global and domestic financial capital (the speculators) saw in Greece a great opportunity to make huge loads of money and the EU saw an opportunity of applying for the first time in the EU a ‘shock-therapy’ of ultra-neoliberal policies. With the full agreement of the EU, the socialist Papandreou-government transformed the sovereign-debt problem into a borrowing crisis and presented the EU-IMF 110-billion loan as the only and ultimate solution in May 2010. This loan was accompanied by a full-range austerity measures to reduce the budget deficit and create a competitive neoliberal economy. One year later, the consequences for the Greek people are devastating.
Unemployment rose from 7.7% in 2008 and 9.5% in 2009 to 15.9% in early 2011. Salaries of civil servants and pensions are cut by an average of 15%. Collective wage agreements and employment protection are abolished.
The issue is that the declared aims of these policies are far from being met. Thousands of companies are closed, inflation is increasing and state revenues are collapsing as large companies try to get as much money as possible from the people and they still pay no taxes. The state debt rose to 340 billion or 153% of GDP and it is widely accepted by economists that Greece cannot sustain it. This is because the EU-IMF loan aimed at saving the Greek and European banks and not the Greek people. The loan aimed at giving the time to the banks to sell of the Greek sovereign bonds to the ECB and thus transferring the burden to all citizens of the Eurozone-countries.
The solution that the Papandreou-government and the Troika (EU-ECB-IMF) came up to was that the austerity measures were not enough and that the Greek people have to suffer even more. Now, the second round of reforms is coming with the government selling off state property and reducing salaries of civil servants even more. The banks are going to get another subsidy of 30 billion with the new EU-IMF loan.
In the Netherlands, Dutch media and government attack with the worst way to Greek people characterizing them lazy and unproductive, and prone to tax evasion. In this way, they also justify the less-harsh austerity measures that are applied in the Netherlands.
In current socioeconomic system the debts can show how bad the performance of a national economy is, always in the terms of system; this is a mechanism for new and harder measures which on the one hand deteriorate more the position of the workers and youths, the freedoms and sale of all the public goods and on the other they contribute to the reproduction of the system.
So, debt is the expression of all the choices of governments at the national and international level in this period. The high debts that occur in almost all the states could be characterized only as fake for the majority of the society and could not be separated to odious and non-odious in cases of corruption. These debts cannot be managed with a friendly way for the workers and cannot be disconnected from crisis and the new aggression of capital in order to overcome the crisis. We did not create this debt! We do not recognize it! We will not repay it! The hundreds of thousands of people that flood the squares of Greece, Spain and other countries these days show that the people will not play their game.
To discuss all the aspects of Greek situation and crisis, we organise a documentary event showing the documentary “Debtocracy” that focuses on the ‘Greek crisis’, which is an independent production by 2 Greek journalists (one was dismissed from his tv post when it came out) and based on the support of Greek people. The documentary will be followed by an open discussion on the topic. The initial speakers will be two Greek people (one living in Greece and one living in the Netherlands).