Greece gets a lifejacket made of lead

By Miguel Lamas (Izquierda Socialista-Argentina)

A lifejacket made of lead for Greece

The European Union, the IMF and the German and French bankers agreed to another “rescue” so that Greece won’t go into a “default” (cessation of payments). As in in 2001 in Argentina, the “rescue” (called “swap plan” here) only favors the bankers while the country sinks deeper into crisis.

This new “bailout” of 158 billion euros came after the bankers demanded new commitments –which they got—from the Greek government to apply more adjustments, cut wages and pensions, layoffs and the liquidation of public companies. Let’s remember that last year there was another bailout by 110,000 million euros which was a failure. Far from improving the Greek economy, the bailout worsened it.

The mechanism, which is well known to the Argentine people, is an adjustment to pay interest on a debt of 500,000 million dollars, new loans to continue to pay and then pay the new adjustments for new loans. Even though a “hidden default ” will still continue since this is just a rescheduling of debt expirations. The adjustments produce unemployment and recession and massive bankruptcy of small and medium enterprises. Do not forget that, two years ago, Greece, like most European countries, “rescued” banks with billions of euros which are now part of that debt.

In an interview earlier this month published in Focus magazine from Germany, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the Eurogroup, spoke severely of the Greek crisis, saying that “The sovereignty of Greece will be greatly limited … For the next wave of privatization now need, for example, a solution based on a model of the ‘Treuhand agency’ of Germany, referring to the privatization agency which sold 14,000 firms from the East German between 1990 and 1994 leaving 2 and a half million workers without jobs.”

Junchen said in public what is only said in off the record meetings, provoking a scandal. In the discussions leading to the rescue there were proposals, which look like black humor, as the representative of Finland, who said that Greece was to give up the landmark monument Parthenon and some islands to ensure payment. Someone asked wryly if they were thinking of taking the Parthenon to Finland […]

The plan, which foresees cuts of $ 40 billion for the period 2012-2015 and a privatization program to raise another 72 billion, was approved by 155 votes to 138 and is repudiated by 80% of the population. So-called “democracy” is absolutely empty of content and the alleged sovereignty of the people becomes a mockery when predatory bankers are the ones who decide. The Greek government headed by Papandreou was tied to the designs of the EU and the IMF.

Several countries are in the “tail” of those bankrupt: Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland are the most serious drowning in debt with a crisis of production and its external accounts. The Euro trap prevents them from devaluing their currencies to boost exports, a mechanism used by the capitalist class to “get out” of their economic crises prior to attacking the working class gains. Germany, the dominant power in the Eurozone, has them tied to exports, forcing them to pay the bill with sweat and tears from their people for the benefit of its bankers.

This new chapter in the chronic crisis in the global economy is causing a rebellion in Europe, spreading from country to country. In recent months, Greece beat the record of general strikes and mass demonstrations. Two weeks ago, it was the British working class that was part of the biggest strike in 80 years and Cameron’s Conservative government came into deep crisis over the Murdoch scandal (but weakened by the essentially rebellion social). Strikes and demonstrations against the adjustments are growing and if so far they have failed to either  stop them or make governments pay the cost (with the exception of little Iceland where the people brought down the government), is due to the restraint of the trade union bureaucracy and the lack of working class and militant trade unions. Even though a new vanguard youth and workers have emerged out of the mobilizations who points forward to a struggle for a substantive change with popular and workers’ solution so the bankers and the corporations pay for the crisis instead of the workers and the people of the world.