Thoughts on Greek Referendum

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On Sunday 5th July, Greeks will vote in a referendum. They will have to vote Yes or No, as it is the case for any referendum.
The subject is the whole set of proposals made by “institutions” (i.e. EU, ECB and IMF, the lenders) to Greek government.
Here are some thoughts on the overall picture:

– The proposals-terms set by the institutions are the “product” of five month-long negotiations with Greek officials. During these negotiations the Greek government has changed several times their own proposals and counter-proposals. Nevertheless, they have insisted, at least, in refusing measures on cuts and reductions of pensions and on further deregulation of labor rights.
– Amendments on Greek proposals have led to an indirect acceptance of several measures of austerity which initially had been rejected.
– After each retract and reviewed proposals of Greek government, the lenders have either rejected them or have answered with tougher demands.
– Sy.Riz.A (Coalition of Radical Left), the main governmental party, is pro-European and advocates reforms inside EU for the benefit of the people, while it claims that EU has substantially deviated from its founding principles.
– Although named radical and consisting of moderate lefts (even social-democrats) as well as communists, Syriza stands for parliamentary (bourgeois) democracy with left principles.
– Greek government has been obliged by circumstances (pressure from lenders) to leave apart its elections program such as: Raise of minimum wage, more fair distribution of wealth as well as burdens, abolish of charges imposed on poor and middle class, tackle of humanitarian crisis, fight against corruption and tax avoidance, respect of labor rights etc.
– Internal opposition has repeatedly blamed government for not applying their program and for having lied to the people. Opposition implies that it is not possible to materialize such principles and promises because they oppose to lenders’ demands which promote development (as perceived with neo-liberal terms).
– Expanding requirements of lenders are in fact consistent and representative of neo-liberal EU and IMF’s principles.
– Lenders also press for privatizations of state property, which previous governments have partly executed in most cases under pressure and therefore without sufficient programming and with little or no profit.
– Lenders’ more recent demands (among others) include reduction of defense spending, at the same time when both EU and NATO manufacture additional “threat” from North (FYROM – article TWTP) apart from the “traditional” Eastern and in the middle of  several west induced turbulence in the area of eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.
– Although reluctantly and in contradiction with party’s principles, Mr. Tsipras’ government has showed its willingness to reach an agreement and has accepted to continue privatizations, to keep contributions through taxes (even on law incomes) and to increase VAT rates.
– Greek citizens appear to support country’s staying inside EU and euro zone and a strong propaganda is exercised by the Media and by conservative circles to this direction.
– Greeks are also tired after five years of austerity, so-called negotiations which have always led to dead ends and more cruel measures in return of receiving loan installments.
– Greek people have suffered a lot (to the limits of exhaustion) and the vast majority of middle and poor class experiences a severe degradation of life quality.
– Any production process and consuming (apart from basic necessities) has stopped and the one remaining productive sector of tourism will be mutilated if increased VAT would be imposed. Even banks’ only service provided to consumers is accepting deposits and sending funds abroad when at the same time they receive expensive capital from ELA.
– Even faint attempts of the government to cooperate with other countries such as Russia (well, especially Russia), has met hostility from EU and West in general.
– At the same time, lack of real negotiations of previous governments together with punitive austerity policies and declarations from the part of the lenders has created a sense of humiliation.
– The main request of elections on 25th January which elected Syriza has been the discharge from the terms-measures of memoranda.
– Since then, all negotiations proved fruitless initially because Greece requested change of policies, suggested less recession and claimed sovereignty.
– In the meantime, almost any attempt of government to rule inside the country and the parliament has been rejected by the lenders. In fact, lenders blackmailed and argued that laws against their will would be considered as “unilateral actions” and would lead to failing of negotiations and funding refusal.
– They have also rejected or discouraged any negotiation concerning reduction of the non viable debt.

– From their part, lenders have exercised stronger pressure which a progressive government could not accept (as previous governments of liberal ideology did).
– After five months, after strong contradictions inside Syriza and from Greek people, after extended propaganda and cause of fear by the Media and following a repetitive undermining of negotiations by the lenders, Greek Prime Minister and the Greek government decided a referendum. Referendum will call Greeks to say Yes or No to certain proposals of lenders which concern reforms, debt viability and financing needs of the country.
– During parliamentary voting on referendum, Communist Party of Greece has submitted a proposal which suggests that the Greek citizens should vote Yes or No both to lenders’ and to government’s proposals and to releasing from EU. They say that government’s proposals are in fact a new memorandum and imply recession and measures against the people.
– Right wing, on the other side, claim that the question at stake consists decision on staying or exiting from EU and euro-zone, although government has made clear that the meaning is anything but that.
– If presidium of Parliament had accept the proposal of Communist Party, any ambiguity (manufactured by the Media and the conservative opposition) would be clarified and people would also decide on government’s measures.

– Mr. Tsipras’ government and party envision reforms inside EU and targets to empower movements and parties born by the wave of massive discontent in south-European countries due to inequalities and measures of austerity.
– While parliamentary and political processes are taking place inside Greece, while people face a major decision and while they are going to exercise an important democratic right, “institutions” continue to blackmail with indirect threats, with ambiguous statements and with deprivation of banks’ liquidity, causing reasonable fears to Greek people.
– It is useful to remind here that Greeks, unlike other nations, have never decided themselves about Greece’s participation in EU or euro-zone.

As a conclusion, if lenders had made half of Greek government’s retreats and compromises, a decent and mutually beneficial agreement could have been achieved.
Now, it’s up to the people to consider and decide on their future, with the expectation and the belief that by empowering their government new opportunities will emerge for their country.

Also published in Reader Supported News

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Week In Brief (#1)

By this article, we introduce a new category, which will present in brief, seven interesting events of the week, though not necessarily the most debated.

 

Pope_FrancisPope Francis angered Turkey for a second time after June 2013, when he publicly called the mass killing of 1.5 million Armenians, 100 years ago a genocide. Turkey, which does not recognize the Armenian massacre, summoned Vatican’s ambassador. A few days later, on April 15th, European Parliament voted for the official recognition of the genocide. The European decision prompted a furious response from Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “Such decisions are nothing but expressions of enmity against Turkey by abusing Armenians,” he said while on a visit to Kazakhstan. “Come on, let’s leave history to historians.” Earlier he had made an implicit threat to deport Armenian citizens, many of whom work in Turkey, writes The Telegraph.

More about this:
Why Pope Francis was right to call the Armenian massacres genocide

Pope Francis’ Armenian genocide remarks prompt strong response

 

 HillaryClintonOn April 12th, Hillary Clinton formally announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in the 2016 election on April 12, 2015. Though this is not a surprise, she remains a controversial politician who during her term as Secretary of State and afterwards, has kept balancing on the edge of conservatism. Many of her views and practices match to these of a republican rather that a democrat.

Read also:
Hillary Clinton Announces Candidacy: ‘Everyday Americans Need a Champion’

 

Eduardo GaleanoEduardo Galleano the Uruguayan author and journalist, died on April 13th of lung cancer at age 74 in Montevideo, Uruguay. He is the writer of 35 books and is considered to be one of the most notable authors of Latin American literature. His death is a severe loss of the global intellectual world.

Read also:
Uruguay Honors the Life of Eduardo Galeano in Wake Ceremony

 

 gunter_grassOn the same day, the German Nobel literature prize winner, author of The Tin Drum and political activist Günter Grass also died at the age of 87. Double loss for the world of literature and intellect.

Read from Spiegel:
Günter Grass Obituary: Farewell to Germany’s Towering Literary Figure

 

Chibok-marchOne year before, on April 14th 2014, the terrorist group Boko Haram abducted 276 teenage girls from their school hostel in Chibok, Borno State, in Nigeria. The majority remain captive, their whereabouts unknown. The global public opinion and the movement #BringBackOurGirls demands action. The families still mourn their children.

See more at:
UN Women-Statement of the executive director of UN Women on the one year anniversary  

 

Draghi terrifiedMario Draghi, the President of European Central Bank, was “attacked” with confetti by Josephine Witt, the 21-year-old protester and activist, during a press conference which turned interesting thanks to Josephine. Photos of frightened/surprised Draghi and “super-Josephine”, have made rounds all over the web after the event on April 15th. A rather awkward moment for mighty president.

See also:
Interview: ECB Protester Josephine Witt: ‘If Greece Falls, the Whole European Idea Has Failed’

Protester Attacks ECB President Mario Draghi

 

Islamic State Archaeological Sites GlanceOne more video was released by ISIS on April 12th showing the attack and the destroy of the monuments at Nimrud an archeological site of Iraq by ISIS terrorists. Islamic State militants used bulldozers and explosives. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said on April 14th that the action constitutes a war crime.

Read also:
ISIS Video Shows Apparent Destruction of Nimrud Archaeological Site

UN: Islamic State Group’s Ruin of Iraq’s Nimrud a ‘War Crime’

Have a nice and interesting week!