The controversial billboard denouncing George Soros, posted by the Government of Hungary. The Budapest Business Journal wrote that the poster states: “Letʼs not let Soros have the last laugh!” and that the smaller text on the top states: “National Consultation 2017: 99% reject illegal immigration.” Text and photo appeared on the Budapest Business Journal, Photo by LaMography.
By Joshua Tartakovsky
Full text of interview conducted with Dimitris Kazakis, a traditional-leftist economist and leader of the patriotic party United Popular Front (EPAM). The interview was conducted on Saturday, February 25 in Athens.
The core of the interview was published on COMPACT Magazine: “Interview: «Wir müssen raus aus dem Euro» on May 28, 2017.
Dimitris Kazakis is a traditional-leftist economist and leader of the patriotic party United Popular Front (EPAM). The interview was conducted on Saturday, February 25 in Athens.
DK (Dimitris Kazakis): Right now we have more people coming [to EPAM] from the Right, looking for a patriotic organization, that can fight to overthrow the occupation regime of this country. Nowadays everybody feels that we are under occupation. Of course, we are not under a military occupation but we are under occupation. Our state is not our state even formally. In every department of our state you will find foreign emissaries controlling everything. So we have four independent authorities that were created by the Europeans that control everything. For example, we have TAIPED – the independent authority of privatization of the public utilities and public assets. Another independent authority is the General Secretariat Of Public Revenue – the president of this independent authority is Dutch. And another independent authority is the one that gives money to the systemic banks. And the fourth is the new fund, created by the Syriza government, that will control the big utilities of the public, for example electric energy. And of course all kinds of assets that were part and parcel of the Greek Republic. Everything will go to this particular fund. So the laws that created these independent authorities say that you cannot go back. You cannot introduce another law that will take back what you gave to these independent authorities. So we don’t have a constitution. We have laws that we cannot take them back. We have foreigners that control everything. There is no way Greek citizens can find protection in the justice system or in any other institution in Greece. We are under occupation. And everything comes down to the simple truth that they want everything. They want the whole country. IMF in their last report on the debt gave spectacular data about the tax collection system in Greece. They say that in 2015, 55% could not pay their taxes to their tax collection system – the IRS – here in Greece.
JT (Joshua Tartakovsky): They are avoiding taxes?
DK: No. They cannot pay any taxes because they do not have enough income. So the conclusion of the IMF is that we have a huge avoidance of tax-paying citizens so you have to reduce the basis of the income that is not obliged to pay taxes, and of course put more taxes on the citizens. That would create…
JT: Through VAT for example?
DK: Not just VAT. A new kind of tax system where you have to declare anything you have as an asset. Even a car from your grandfather that he gave you and that you keep it as a collection, you have it because it reminds you of your grandfather – you have to declare it. The tax authority will say that Ok, I estimate that since you have an old Beetle from your own grandfather, we estimate that having that you probably have at least 3,000 euros per year, so the tax will be 35% on the 3,000 euros, because of that item. Or you probably have some jewelry, Ok, you have to declare it. And that’s the new kind of taxation.
JT: I understand. But from the perspective of most Europeans nowadays, in northern Europe especially, where they have enough of their own problems. Most people in northern Europe have enough problems right now with migration. They don’t really care about the Greek economic crisis. They say the Greeks overspent, it’s not our problem. Even Sahra Wagenknecht of Die Linke is saying that there should be a Grexit already. So what is your opinion about the migration question, which many people in Germany feel guilty even talking about it. What’s the current situation of migration in Greece at the moment and how is the economic situation affecting the way people relate to migrants? There are obviously much less jobs now, so…
DK: The migration problem in Greece is not acute right now. But it’s only because of geopolitical reasons. Turkey is collapsing and the European Union has other priorities for the geopolitical region here in Greece. The United States had a change in the administration. So they are looking to find new co-relations between Russia, Turkey, EU, US, in the area. We are talking about the Aegean, and of course the islands near Asia Minor, near Turkey. So for the time being we do not have an acute migration problem.
JT: Migration stopped? Or they left? Or they went to Germany?
DK: No, they are here.
JT: How many?
DK: More than 65,000.
JT: And they are in islands or just in camps?
DK: They are all over the country. Of course they are on the islands too. We have around 35-37 hotspots around Greece. And they keep them there. Most of the migrants coming now are from Algeria and Morocco. They are not from Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan. At a rate of around 100 per day, which is not an acute problem like the one we had in 2015, when we had 3,000 per day. The biggest problem right now is that we have an escalation in the Aegean, because of a provocation from Turkey. They are looking for some kind of a war confrontation with Greece that we may have in the next few months. Because Erdogan needs something to support him in terms of the upheaval they have inside Turkey, because of the economic collapse, the social collapse, and of course the retreat that Turkey has in Syria, in Iraq, and of course in Azerbaijan. That’s the main problem. The thing is that no one is doing anything about the 65,000 or more migrants. Right now the NGOs and the United Nations are renting houses in order to get them out of the hotspots and in order to give them a permanent stay in Greece, without any legal papers. Because if you want to face the problem, the first thing is to see what is going on in their own countries. I don’t understand why we don’t have relations with the legal government of Syria. If we had diplomatic relations with Syria, 55% of the whole problem would be solved automatically, because they have their own passports. It’s easy to relate to the Syrian government and see who is who, who is coming to the islands. Because we have a lot of people coming at the ages of 28-30 from Syria. They are not refugees. Either they left their country in order not to fight in the army for their own country, or they were fighting for the other side. One way or the other, the natural law says that you have to relate to the government, give them back to the Syrian government so they can see whatever they need to see according to their own laws. Refugees are those not involved in fighting. The others are migrants: a lot of these migrants, especially from Algeria and Morocco, they have huge problems with the police. Because, as the police authorities told us in Somos, as soon as the migrants come out of the boat they go and steal from shops, they are doing serious crimes, and what the Greek police is doing is jailing them, because they don’t want to put them in the hotspots where there are families. And they don’t know what to do with them. Of course, according to international law, they have to give them back to Turkey. But the European Union doesn’t want to do that because of the special agreement they have with Turkey. And of course, nobody is doing anything against that. For example, most of the Moroccans and Algerians coming from the Turkish shores to the Greek islands are coming via very low budget flights: Turkish Airlines and Ryan Air. This is against the law. This is against IATA laws. Why is the international community, or even the European Union, not taking measures against these two airlines? You cannot transport anyone to wherever he wants. You have to have papers, at least passports from these countries, and of course they have to be checked.
JT: They just let them let them in at the airport?
DK: Yes, they are putting them on special flights to Constantinople, with two airlines: Ryan Air and Turkish airlines.
JT: From Istanbul to Athens?
DK: No, they are taking them from Algeria and Morocco directly to Constantinople and from Constantinople they take them to the Turkish shore. From the Turkish shore they put them on boats and send them off to the Greek islands.
JT: So they continue with the same thing of sending migrants… it’s just that the numbers went down?
DK: Exactly. Instead of 3,000 a day they are now sending 100 a day. But a problem is a problem. Because of the severe weather, a lot of people died in the camps. And a lot of Greeks died too, because they did not have enough income to support the family or to have all the amenities they needed in their apartments. But we had problems with the hotspots and nobody cared. Now Germany wants to send our way around 84,000 migrants that they don’t want. Because of Dublin III. They want to send 3,500 to Crete, that until now had no hotspots. And Germany insists on this. Of course most of the people in Crete refused to this but the Greek government agreed because of Dublin III. That’s why we say that we have to get rid of the Dublin agreement.
JT: Because the migrants came through Greece in the beginning?
DK: No, nobody knows, and nobody asks.
JT: So even according to Dublin III they should not be sent to Greece?
DK: No, Dublin says that you can send the migrants back to the first country of entrance. Who is going to say which country was the first? Because all of these migrants are illegal.
JT: But they didn’t get documents when they first arrived?
DK: No, nobody gives documents to anyone.
JT: Why is Merkel sending back refugees to Greece after having an open-door policy in Germany?
DK: Because of the election year in Germany. The Merkel party needs to show to the German people that they can handle the migrant and refugee problem of Germany. So they want to get rid of the people that they have already in jail. Back in August 2016, when they had a problem with terrorist activities, what they did was to raid all the cities and put in jail a lot of migrants. So they need to get rid of them. They cannot keep them in jail, they have to do something with them. So they came up with the Dublin III and they want send them back to Greece. Germany had to take from Greece, following the agreement of September 2015, more than 4,000 migrants. Up to now they have taken only 195 migrants. Germany now wants to send to Greece 84,000 migrants.
JT: By the way, the general way things have been going for quite a long time now in Germany, the Netherlands, and of course Sweden, is that every time migrants are accused of committing any crime, the liberal mainstream media often does not report on it. And furthermore, there is a sense that the migrant is always innocent. So that even if the local population has to suffer, it doesn’t matter. In Greece for example, people have no homes but migrants get homes. How do you explain this spirit of thinking?
DK: Let me give you an example from Bulgaria. A Bulgarian lady told me that she was working here in Greece for more than 25 years and then she got her pension from Greece and went back to Bulgaria. She gets her pension of 128 euros from Greece. She told me the other day that a migrant family in Bulgaria gets 500 euros from all the European and UN programs, and 25-75 euros per day for food and stuff. She said, why don’t they give me this money in order to bring my daughter and son back to Bulgaria because my daughter is in France as a migrant and my son is in Germany as a migrant. If I had this money, I could take them back and feed them, and work here in Bulgaria. We wouldn’t need to leave Bulgaria and go to Germany and France. And I told her “it’s not the system.” “You need to leave your country in order to bring some other people into your country.” It’s the same thing here in Greece. We lost about 340,000 Greeks from 2011 to 2016. It’s the first time in Greece’s history that we had an absolute reduction of the population. They brought in more than 400,000 migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, whatever. And they forbid us to do something with them. For example, if they are refugees, then give them refugee passports and let them go to wherever they want to go. Or if they are migrants, let’s see if we can do something with them or if we cannot do anything with them, then send them back. Or, do something about Syria and do something about Libya. As long as you have 12 million people out of the 16 million people in Syria deported because of the fighting, because of the war created by the western powers, you have a refugee problem all around Syria and of course in the Balkan and in Europe. Do something about Syria. First and foremost, forget all the measures against the legal government of Assad. The Assad government, like it or not, is the legal government. Do something with the legal government in order to accommodate these 12 million refugees. Help them with medical stuff, whatever they need, in order to keep them inside. The same thing in Libya.
JT: But why do some Europeans – especially the preaching we have been hearing from Merkel or Der Spiegel – there’s really this mentality that Germans have to suffer and that the migrant is always innocent and that the Germans are always guilty – and that everything has to be done for the so-called refugees. I mean, a lot of them, no one even knows where they come from. Where does this moralizing come from?
DK: There’s a philosophy you will see especially in the declaration in New York, from September 2016 I think – about the refugee and migration problem. Article number 1 of the declaration said that “humanity is on the move.” Sorry, humanity is not on the move. A lot of people are on the move because they destroyed their own countries, and they were destroyed in purpose, in order to create huge movement of desperate people, in order for the big economies and imperialist powers, to create a new kind of labor force that is totally dependent on them. And of course, to destroy any kind of national identity. Because if you have a national identity, even the notion of that the country belongs to you, you will fight the policies, the cartels and the trusts that govern your country. You will fight the politicians and the banks. If you don’t have any notion of the country you are in, if you are a desperate people who come from Pakistan – a totally destroyed region of the world – and are looking for some work and for some money, and most of the people that are coming in are being sacrificed for their own family back home, to have some kind of an income, you don’t bloody care about the country you are in. And you are easily used against the population, or the nation, or the people of the specific country. You only have to get paid enough. Like for example, the Golden Dawn here in Greece. Most of the people Golden Dawn are using are Albanian migrants and Pakistani migrants. They are paying them in order to go around and do some robbing against the shops, things like that. As soon as they do that, they come along after them to sell protection. That’s what they are doing. They are using Pakistanis and Albanians for that particular purpose. Nobody cares about the whole situation.
JT: Have there been sexual attacks in Greece, the way there have been in Cologne in Germany?
DK: No, we don’t have that big problem of sexual attacks as in Germany and in other countries. Because most of the migrants and refugees here in Greece are kept inside the hotspots or special detention centers. Of course we had problems inside the hotspots, of prostitution and especially childrens’ prostitution. Of course, other criminality, because nobody is in charge of these detention centers. The police are only guarding the detention centers but nobody knows who is doing what inside the detention centers. Most of them are under NGO supervision. Nobody knows the identity of these NGOs. I saw myself money changing hands in the Chios island, the money that was coming for the NGOs with security vans with yellow Dutch license plates, and they are coming in with suitcases. When I asked the police authorities, you have security guards from Holland bringing bags with money? – Yes, they are coming for the NGOs. Who is giving them money and to whom? Nobody knows.
JT: The Hungarian Prime Minister Mr. Victor Orban has been blaming George Soros… Do you think Soros is involved?
DK: Yes, a lot of the NGOs are on the payroll of Soros.
JT: And what is his agenda in your opinion?
DK: To destroy the national identity of the people. Because if you think that this country belongs to you, you will fight for it. No migrant, no refugee, will fight for this country. Simple.
JT: But many Left parties here in Greece, as Left parties in Germany and in the Netherlands, in France too, they have total blind faith in the innocence of migrants and they seem to be more supportive of migrants than of their own people. How do you explain this discrepancy?
DK: Most of the Euro-Left organizations are on the payroll of Soros. I call them “Soros Leftwing bodies.” You can see. It’s easy. Go to the Open Society official website, go and see on Greece. You will see that most of them, from Antarsya or from LAE (Popular Unity), you will see a lot of people working for NGOs that cooperate with Open Society. They have money, they have a lot of people working for them. In a country where we have more than 30% unemployment, working especially in an area that gives you an opportunity to become a left revolutionary without any substantial costs is easy, it’s nice, and it’s very difficult to renounce it. That’s what we have with all the official Left parties. They say, ok, open up the borders. But opening up the borders, you destroy the legality, or the system of laws, or the rule of law inside the country, and of course the international rule of law. And without the rule of law, we are lost, especially the less powerful countries and the less powerful people are lost. The only way to face such a crisis is to uphold the law. And to decide to follow the main interests of the people. You cannot have 30-35% unemployment here in Greece and give money and food to refugees. You have to do that if they are real refugees. But up to a point. You cannot do that against their own will first and foremost, because most of the migrants want to leave Greece. They want to be legal, have legal papers, and go back to their own country or go to Germany because they have accounts in German banks. Treat them like that. I don’t understand why you have to go, as Ms. Merkel, to Algeria. She said to the Algerian regime, which is awful, it’s a dictatorship, she said: “I’ll send you Algerians back, and you’ll have to accept it.” Is that going through the rule of law? No. It’s a situation of a bilateral agreement that you will send me serfs and slaves and as soon as I don’t want them I’ll send them back.
JT: But isn’t she allowed to send them back to the same country? To the country of origin?
DK: It’s not a solution…
JT: But isn’t it legal? You said even in Syria, why don’t many of the Syrians go back to Syria, so why can’t the Algerians go back to Algeria?
DK: Yes, well the thing is that in Algeria you don’t have a war. It’s migration. If you want to do something about the migration, do something with the country through investment or whatever you like. Stop the EU agreement with the African Union. Because according to this agreement the Dutch and German multinational companies will sell to African countries and the African people have to sell out everything they have because they cannot compete with the multinationals and they become migrants in Germany or in Europe. Let’s see the whole picture, not only migration as it is. Let them be there, in countries of origin. Let the them work there. But if you have for example a multinational down in Somalia, purchasing the whole fishing area of the old villages along the coast then that’s creates a problem. There is a German-Chinese agreement that bought the whole fishing area in the sea outside of Somalia. More than 1,000 traditional villages in Somalia lost their way of living.
JT: Because they can’t go fishing anymore?
DK: No. So, they have two options: either becoming pirates (that’s why we have the pirate problem in the straits) or migrants. There should not be privatization. All the natural resources should go to the country and the people where they belong. As long as we have multinationals going in and buying-out politicians, political regimes and things like that, we will have migration and destruction, especially in Africa, in Asia, even in Latin America. So, we need the people to own their own national resources and work these national resources by themselves. If they do that they don’t need to go anywhere else. And if they go, then return them back. I think this is the holistic view of the whole migration problem. Of course, they don’t want that because for the first time we have a huge demographic problem all around Europe, and this is because of the neoliberal policies – the destruction of the social texture of societies – and of the social state. They no longer have the ability to support their own population, and we have the old saying that the European population is ageing so we don’t have enough labor force, and let’s get the Pakistanis and the Africans. But let’s see why the European population is ageing. It’s been ageing in the last two decades. What happened in the last two decades? We have the open markets, the neoliberal policies and the destruction of the European social system, especially in countries where they had social security and social systems back from the 19th century. The Germans were the first Europeans to have free education, free health system, back from 1875 in the Bismarck era. And they lost everything. Nowadays, an industrial worker in Germany gets up to 1200 – 1500 euros. The industrial worker a decade ago earned 5,000 euros. If you have enough income and social support, you cannot have an ageing population.
JT: What do you think about the fact that now Martin Schultz, the SPD, they are trying to win votes by claiming to have more social policies?
DK: It’s the old trick. If you cannot have the job done by the right-wing, call in the left-wing. When they were trying to sell the idea of the European Union, especially Maastricht, back in the 1990s to the people, they called in the social-democrats. In most countries they had socialist or social-democratic governments that opened the way for most of the countries that created the European Union. In Italy you had D’Alema [Italian Prime Minister between 1998-2000, Massimo D’Alema], who is thinking about D’Alema now? Nobody.
JT: Just like you had Pasok here who take on the bailout….
DK: Exactly, Schröder in Germany, the socialists in Spain, the same thing in France. So, now most of the right-wing parties, like Merkel’s party, have exhausted the political capital they had inside the country and they are calling in now the reserve – the reserve is always the left-wing or the social-democrats or the systemic left parties – that’s what they are doing. In order for them to say to the people, don’t worry, there can be a European Union of a different kind. That’s what they are want to sell to the people. I don’t believe they are going to succeed in this.
JT: But it seems like they will have a Green-SPD government, so what won’t they succeed in? They won’t bring up the minimum wage for example?
DK: They will do the same policies as before. Maybe some things will be even worse than Merkel because SPD-Green are more European and less German than the Christian Democrats. Then they will probably do more against the German people, just like the left-wing party Syriza is doing here in Greece. They don’t care about borders, they don’t care about the national entity called Greece. They don’t bloody care. They don’t even call themselves Greeks, they call themselves Europeans. Because they are “left,” and left are cosmopolitan, internationalists. But of course to be an internationalist you have to be a nationalist first. And that’s why I call them cosmopolitans or globalists. And of course, as an ideology they are working for Soros, or the kind of forces Soros represents. A month ago Mr. Tsipras went to Paris. To meet with whom? The Rothschild bank. How many acting prime ministers go and meet in foreign countries with someone they call an economic coordinator or consultant working for a department of the Greek state? What was the prime minister doing conferring with a quite not-so-reputable bank like the Rothschild bank? What was he doing there? Probably he was discussing about the payoff of the political system here in Greece in the new round of memorandums that are coming towards us. That’s what they were discussing. But it’s out in the open. They want to employ the Rothschild bank in order to be the consultant to the department that is in charge of negotiations for the Greek debt. Of course 3/4th of the Greek debt goes to the European Stability Mechanism. What kind of coordinator or consultant do you need for that kind of debt? Simple. You don’t need anyone. It’s an official debt. So all you need is a political kind of solution for that kind of debt. You don’t need someone from the markets, it’s out of the question. So what are we doing there and why didn’t they inform the parliament and say ‘I met with them in order to give us some solutions or suggestions.’ They said nothing. They said only that they employed the Rothschild bank in order to…
JT: So they actually hired them already? There is a contract?
JT: And no one really knows what’s their role?
DK: No. Nothing. That’s the situation here in Greece. Well yes, it’s an alterado. For the bankers, all kind of vultures of the markets, all they have to do is pay off some politician or minister and they all come through IMF and the European institutions and they make a fortune out of the situation here in Greece.
JT: I’m reading now the book by the former Finance minister Papaconstantinou (“Game Over: Inside the Story of the Greek Crisis”), and he makes the claim that first of all the crisis was caused by everyone, that Pasok was just the one to expose it but it was caused before then. That everyone was guilty and that the bailout was inevitable. Critics would argue if you saw then already that you cannot pay the debt, and that things just kept getting worse and worse, so that while you declare how bad it is, the more things went sliding down the hill, why didn’t you just leave? But Pasok really did believe in the value of being part of the European Union and the Eurozone….
DK: No. The government and the minister, back then they had the option of negotiation with the lenders. Because the major part of the Greek debt was a Greek national loan. If back then the government of Mr. Papandreou or even the Karamanlis government of New Democracy could have said “I cannot pay you” to the lenders. Most of the lenders were German and French banks. You knew when you were buying state bonds from the Greek state, you knew that in order to pay you, I had to go out and sell more bonds. Now I cannot sell any bonds because of the situation in the international markets. We had the collapse of the Lehmann brothers and the collapse of the capital markets, so it was not possible to sell any state bonds. Sit down and discuss it. Let’s negotiate in order to see what we can do.
The other option is, the lenders, the only thing they could say, is to go to the Greek judicial system, and deny the government’s decision. The litigation between the lenders and the Greek government at the Greek justice system would probably take 10-20-30 years. In that situation, up until the end of the litigation, the Greek government wouldn’t pay anything during all this time of the litigation period because it would wait for the final judgment of the judges. The same thing is true with the lenders. So, there was an option back then. Why didn’t Mr. Papaconstantinou take this option? Back then there was the well-known lawyer, Lee Buchheit from New York, who proposed that practical solution to the Greek government. No one in the government wanted to hear anything about it. Why? Because the Europeans wanted to save their own banks, and support the Euro currency. Because according to the Treaty of Lisbon, what to do with state or public debt is up to the state. It has nothing to do with the European Union. So the Greek state had to do whatever the government wanted to do with the debt. There is no legal way for the European Union to intervene, or for the organs and institutions to intervene in the way the Greek government wanted to manage the public debt. But if the Greek government would have decided to negotiate with the lenders as I suggested, as soon they made a public statement, “I don’t have the money to pay and I call for the lenders to sit down and negotiate with me,” the Euro would have lost against the dollar probably 50 to 60% and of course the big German and French banks would have lost against the capital markets, especially in CDS (Credit Default Swaps) and of course not only Greek debt but all over the market. And that’s what they protected. They protected the bank cartel inside the Eurozone and the Euro currency. Back back in January 2009, when the Greek government was unable to sell government bonds, the EU created the committee that does not exist. A committee presided by Christine Lagarde, who was back then the French finance minister. That particular committee called the two main parties in Greece, New Democracy and Pasok, and decided to do exactly what happened in Greece in 2010 with the participation of both parties: To go to elections in October 2009, change over the government, and with the new Pasok and Papandreu government, open up the road to the first memorandum in order to support the capital markets inside the Eurozone, the banks and the Euro.
JT: And by the way, there’s also the Lagarde List which she gave apparently to Mr. Papaconstantinou, which basically was a list of hundreds of Greeks who evaded taxes and had bank accounts in Switzerland, what do you have to say about that story?
DK: In the book, Papaconstantinou says that they gave me the list, and I lost it. And when they found it by some kind of magic the names of the Papaconstantinou family were out although they were in on the original list. I believe the list was kind of a blackmail against the Greek political system.
JT: But then many Europeans would say, it’s quite possible that all this is true, but ultimately the Greeks overspent, the Greeks didn’t pay the debt…
DK: That’s not true….
JT:…No one forced Greece to become part of the European Union and no one forced Greeks to vote for Syriza and Pasok and all these parties. So ultimately as long as you stand within the Euro, you have to pay. How would you respond?
DK: Yes, that’s why we say we have to leave. From the first day of this crisis we said that we have to leave the European Union and the Euro.
JT: Well, actually most Greeks now say that it was a mistake to join and most Germans want Greece to leave…
DK: It’s easy, because back then there was a side-agreement between Schröder’s government and Mr. Simitis’ government. Schröder’s government wanted Greece inside the Eurozone. In order to do that they accepted all falsified data from the Greek government.
JT: You are referring to Goldman Sachs?
DK: Exactly. They knew that. They knew about the falsified statistics and they knew about the debt. Well, the debt for the German banks was a fortune. Up to that point most of the public debt was in drachmas and it was in favor of the Greek banks because mainly the Greek banks were lending to the Greek state. As soon as got rid of the drachma we came to the Euro, and from the point onwards, the Greek debt was denominated in Euros, and it was easy for the German and French banks to take most of the debt and profit out of it. For example, the German bank lending to the German government would take about 1.5% as interest on the loans. Lending to the Greek government, it would take 4%. And on top of that when Schröder’s government and the Simitis government decided to get Greece inside the Eurozone, they changed over the denomination of the state bonds without changing the interest. For example, I have a 100,000 drachmas in government bonds. Because I have them in drachmas, the interest was 18% or 20%. When we changed the denomination and went into the Euro, my denomination instead of being 100,000 drachmas was 3,000 Euros because of the difference between the drachma and Euro. But the interest remained the same at 18 to 20%! You see? They gained a lot. That’s why on 31 December 2001, the public debt of the Greek state – most of it denominated in drachmas – was 145 billion euros. It was created in a time span of about 170 years, from 1830 to 2001. Since we went into the euro on 1 January 2002, during the seven years inside the Euro, we paid 480 billion euros in monetization for our debt. We started with 145 billion euros, and paid on that debt 480. And we ended up with 300 billion euros on 31 December 2009. In the seven years in the euro we had twice as much public debt as we had in the last 120, 150 years. How is that possible? Because of the interest and because of the speculation on the Greek debt by German and French banks.
JT: So you wouldn’t be sad if Germany would kick Greece out of the Euro?
DK: No, of course not. The thing is that we don’t want to leave based on the proposition of Schäuble, because Schäuble doesn’t want us to leave on our own terms. But we want to leave on our own terms. We propose using Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and announcing that we are leaving the European Union and the Eurozone, that we are not going to pay any damages and things like that, because the damage that we sustained as an economy, as a society, inside the Euro, is profound. And from that point and on we will introduce our own national currency, and follow our own path. New alliances, economically and of course geo-strategically. Invest in our own production infrastructure, a new kind of economy.
JT: But Mr. Tsipras said that austerity is over now….
DK: In the next few months they have to go down with their cutting of the pensions. The Institutions insist on having the higher pension increase, must be 1,200 Euros including taxes, which normally is around 800 or 900 euros. The highest. Which means that we have to go down to 300 euros – a medium pension. That’s around 6,000 euros per year for a retiree. And the statistical agency says that in order for someone to be over the poverty limit they have to have 8,000 euros income per year. So austerity will be even worse.
JT: Many people are very afraid that if Greece moves to the drachma it will become like North Korea. It will become totally isolated, everything will be very expensive. They won’t have money to buy anything. And also historically Greece exported more than it imported. So what would be your response to that?
DK: If you want to be isolated, the only way to be isolated is by your own decision. Especially nowadays. North Korea is isolated because they decided to be isolated, not because the international community wanted to isolate them. Of course the only example of an embargo situation was Cuba. Even in Cuba now we have an opening up with the US, because even the US decided that the embargo was going nowhere. It’s even harder to do that in Greece. Because the Eurozone has 60% of its commerce with the east and it passes through our waters and through our ports. For example, if someone decides to shut down the ports of Greece, the bulk that is coming from China or the Pacific region has to reach the Italian ports but that’s another day or two. Every day that passes needs more than a million in costs for the shipments in terms of security agreements and things like that. That will make the prices for the goods higher in the EU. So nobody would do that.
JT: So Greece is lucky to be located in a very strategic place?
DK: Exactly. And if you use it, for your own good, it’s very useful because everybody will negotiate their relation with you. So, there will be no such thing as total isolation. We probably have enough food. In Greece it’s a joke matter to say that we don’t because right now we have in Greece food sufficiency of 90% according to official data. Of course, if we get rid of the European restrictions our own production will climb to new heights. And we will cover every aspect of our food production. We take most of our oil and natural gas from Russia. Why would Russia want to make things difficult for us? We are located in a very important geostrategic position. Russia would love to have access to the Aegean. Right now they cannot do that because NATO is controlling the Aegean. As soon as we leave the European Union, everything will open up, even for Russia.
JT: So that would mean you would have to leave NATO too…
DK: At least we will re-negotiate with NATO and we will see. Of course we are against NATO.
JT: From what I understand, Trump’s advisor Stephen Bannon is against the European Union and he believes in strong European national states. Do you think there is a chance that Trump will wage a trade war against Germany and try to bring down the Euro?
DK: It’s not an easy option for the US to go into a trade war right now. Things will probably escalate. The actions they were taking against European corporations, banks and Volkswagen will escalate. They will try to support political moves away from the hard core of the EU. And that’s why we believe that with the changeover of the American administration it will be easier for Greece to leave the Eurozone and the EU without a lot of trouble. We are not going to have a particular problem. The major problem will be to regain all the industrial capacity we had as an economy that we lost it in the last 7 years. But we don’t need to get this industrial capacity from Germany. We were discussing with the Czech ministry here in Greece the possibility of leaving the EU. The Czech ministry said that officially I cannot say anything because my government is inside the Eurozone but personally because I’m an economist, I’m in favor of even my country leaving the EU. And we asked him if Greece would leave, would Czech Republic agree to cooperate and help with industrial expertise and in building capacities, and he said just say ask and we will do it.
JT: But I don’t think it’s possible to have bilateral relations inside the EU. It’s all in theory.
DK: No. All you have to do is to have mutual relations on a mutual basis. You don’t need to have to order us to do something.
JT: Do you think Britain will work to bring down the Euro and will pursue bilateral agreements with member states?
DK: Well if I believe that if Britain goes ahead and creates a new pole in the international system, on terms of international economic policy, because it has more than 20 or 25 countries around Britain in the Commonwealth, if it uses the Commonwealth as a new pole in international relations, in an economic or political level, then the EU cannot hold anymore. You will have the US, you will have something new created by China, Russia, BRICS, the Far East with Japan going their own way with the rest, you will have the British once again having their own way in the international level. And for the first time you will have a truly multipolar world. In a multipolar world the EU cannot be sustained. No way.
JT: What do you think about the elections in France? Actually, in France and in Germany, the only two parties that oppose the EU are the Front National and Alternative for Deutschland. What would you have to say about each one?
DK: About Le Pen, I read the proposition about going back to the French franc and paying the French debt in French francs and I’m not for it. Because it will create a situation where you will have to bailout the French banks in French francs. And the French people will pay very dearly. And you will be open to any kind of speculation and blackmail by the capital markets. We have to think in terms of banks. The French banks, even Pariba for example, has assets that are bigger than the GDP of France. So you cannot bail-out such a bank. You have to close it down and rebuild it.
JT: And what do you think about Alternative for Germany, who are being accused of racism?
DK: I don’t know a lot about them. I know about the official position against this party. They are saying that they are extremist, they are right-wing, they are racists and things like that. But we were called racists. For example, a lot of Greeks tried to do have an event in Berlin a couple of months ago, there was a huge commotion against that particular event. Because we were involved in the organization of the event, there was huge commotion that we were a right-wing racist party from Greece, a small racist party from Greece…
JT: According to who?
DK: We don’t know who was behind it. And a lot of mail was sent to the Greek restaurant owner where the event was supposed to take place and the event actually didn’t take place because the owner was afraid of the repercussions. And they called us a small right-wing and racist party. So I can understand that if you call someone like us racists, it’s easy to call everyone racist just because they don’t agree with you. I don’t know a lot about Alternative for Germany party. I haven’t read the program and I haven’t followed the declarations.
JT: But they are the only ones, formally at least, to oppose the EU.
DK: I know. But I haven’t seen their proposition on what to do with Germany and how to leave.
JT: What do you think about Geert Wilders’ criticism of Islam and his saying that you need to forget about political correctness when it comes to the migration problem?
DK: That’s true, it’s a similar position to the one we are taking here in Greece. But we don’t have any problem with Islam. We were under the occupation of Islam for 400 years and despite this we still did not lose our national identity or culture. So the problem is not with Islam, it’s with imperialism. Imperialism is using Islam against Christianity and vice versa. And we don’t want multicultural societies. We want national societies, with the ability and the rights of the people, their human rights, to have their own heritage, their own religion, their own beliefs. That’s a human right. But that’s why the state has to be based on a national community and on a national civilization.
JT: So what you are telling Germany is don’t send us your refugees, we want to be Greek, we want to have our own society?
DK: Exactly. And I believe that Germany must be for the Germans. First and foremost the Germans have to get rid of all the past autocratic traditions they had. Not as a people, of course, but as a political system. First and foremost they have to have a Constitution. They don’t even have a Constitution. They have the occupation basic law created by the occupation forces in 1946. Now Germany is united. They are not two states. They are one state. Then they should go on and create a new democratic constitution.
If I remember correctly, the last paragraph of the basic law says that the German people will create a constitution when they reunite. Ok, they are reunited now. Create a democratic constitution. Without lenders, without federal arrangements… create a national state. They don’t have a national state right now. That should be the main democratic objective of German patriotic forces. They should get rid of the rest and see then, how democratic do you want your own society to be. For example, you need a constitution in order for the people to decide everything. Not every four years but from the bottom-up. Without having only two parties and satellites revolving around them. You need new political structures. And that’s why I believe the main thing is to have a democratic constitution and a democratic republic that is different from just a republic. You don’t have to have lenders. Why? As a Bavarian are you different from an East German? No, you’re a German. Decide to have its own state and through that regain your national sovereignty. Because Germany now has no national sovereignty. The only sovereignty it has is the banking sovereignty. That’s all.