Greece, Europe and the Neoliberal Nightmare: Is There a Way Out?

Published on truthout, by C.J. Polychroniou, Jan 14, 2015.

In early 2010, Greece became the first among a number of peripheral member states in the euro area, the ultimate neoliberal zone throughout the entire capitalist universe, that fell victim to the global financial crisis of 2008 by being shut out of the international credit markets and subsequently having to end up in the arms of a rescue mechanism designed by the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Union (IMF) in order to avoid an official default that would have caused a massive meltdown in Europe’s banking system since it was mostly major German, French and Swiss banks that had recklessly loaned billions of euros to the Greek government and Greek businesses … //

… Greek Capitalist Accumulation Prior to the 2010 Debt Crisis: … //

… Bailout Plans, Peonage, Economic Collapse and Neo-Feudalism:

1. The “socialist” government of George Papandreou had approached the IMF for possible assistance prior to Greece resorting to the EU-IMF rescue plan as mainstream political parties and their leaders were never able or willing to envision alternative strategies of development and chart a course away from capitalism. In this manner, political parties and organizations of the radical left must not forget that there is a very small difference, if any, between neoliberals and social democrats when it comes to envisioning alternative social orders.

2. The Greek government surrendered every initiative to the EU-IMF duo over the terms of the bailout plan in 2010 as it was politically committed to the EU and ideologically aligned with its neoliberal aspirations. For the same reasons, all Greek governments up to now have been willing to carry out the brutal austerity policies of Greece’s international creditors – they are lackeys of a neoliberal Europe … //

… 10. The Greek crisis has far exceeded anything experienced in the United States during the era of the Great Depression. Under the so-called bailout plans, the debt-to-GDP ratio ballooned even further and even the last vestiges of the nation’s industrial production were destroyed, thereby ensuring that Greece will permanently remain a peripheral, underdeveloped nation in the absence of the formulation of an economic policy outlook that looks not merely to end austerity, but to redesign the economy in a bold and innovative manner.

11. The euro as a protective shield against economic crises constitutes a myth and a shameless pretext used by the ruling class to run roughshod over domestic labor in the various euro area economies.

12. The radical restructuring of a domestic economy is simply impossible inside today’s euro area as the overall policies and institutional framework of the EU preclude the possibility of a transition to a rational and humane economic system, which remains the ultimate vision of a true and authentic left. With the working class in disarray and decomposed due to the structural changes that have taken place in the workplace due to the new technologies of the last three decades, it would be at least naïve for one to expect that the turn to socialism throughout Europe has even a slight chance of materialization. Indeed, if anything – and contemporary political trends seem to support this claim – it could be reactionary right forces that prevail in most European countries, not the likes of Greece’s Syriza and Spain’s Podemos. Thus, the struggle, as ever, is national while international coalition building remains essential. With a neoliberal Europe or not, we are still very far away from sorting out the relationship between ethnicity, nationality and class for the building of a radical international social order.

(full text).

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Market turbulences after Switzerland give up minimum exchange rate, on DPA International, Jan 15, 2015: Frankfurt (dpa) – A Swiss decision to stop supporting a minimum exchange rate with the euro prompted turbulence in financial markets Thursday and cut demand for the eurozone currency. The trigger was the decision by the country’s bank to no longer defend a minimum exchange rate of 1.20 Swiss francs per euro. The policy of buying euros to prevent the franc from becoming too strong and hurting Swiss exports had been in place for more than three years …;

SNB Abandons Key Policy Tool as Jordan Goes for Shock Factor, on Bloomberg, by Catherine Bosley Jan 15, 2015: The Swiss National Bank unexpectedly scrapped its three-year policy of capping the Swiss franc against the euro in a U-turn that may change the perception of a century-old institution known for reliability …;

Swiss Franc Rallies Against Euro as SNB Moves to End 3-Year Cap, on Street Insider, Jan 15, 2015;

Ende des Mindestkurses: Schweizer Notenbank lässt den Euro fallen, im Spiegel online/Wirtschaft, 15. Jan 2015: Die Schweizer Notenbank hebt überraschend den Euro-Mindestkurs für den Franken auf. Die Entscheidung sorgt für Nervosität an den Märkten, auch gegenüber dem Dollar stürzt der Euro ab;

Nous Sommes Tous Charlie… de Gaulle, on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin no 1068, by Sungur Savran, Jan 15, 2015: In politics there is a golden rule: beware agreements that cut across all political currents! The tragedy of Charlie Hebdo has been turned into a farce by the mammoth march in Paris, along with similar ones in cities across France, large and small. It is an insult on human intelligence to tie, in whatever combination, the names of Wolinski, Charb, Cabu and company with people of the ilk of the Camerons, Merkels, Rajoys, Renzis and Junckers of the world. Here is a march that is dedicated to the freedom of expression. And on the first row of the heads of state and government is, lo and behold, Ahmet Davutoglu, successor in the office of prime minister of Turkey to Tayyip Erdogan, newly elected president of the republic, who, in his twelve years as head of government, has ridden roughshod over the freedom of expression in his country! … (my comment: as an example, do not forget Erosion of free speech? Cameron pledges to ban Snapchat and WhatsApp, on Russia Today RT, Jan 12, 2015 – Heidi);

First Step in Republican Campaign Against Bank Reform: HR 37 Passed in House, on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, Jan 14, 2015: Republicans moved forward their first chess piece in their effort to gut already weak financial reform by passing HR 37 in the House …;

Has the ECB to leave economic policy to the politicians? on RWER Blog, by merijnknibbe, Jan 14, 2015;

Meet Egypt’s whizz kids, on Al-Ahram weekly onine, by Ameera Fouad, Jan 8, 2015: enter the minds of young Egyptian robotic enthusiasts who have won international recognition.

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