By Joshua Tartakovsky, 21 March 2016
Maybe you can talk about that a little bit…
It’s easy. If I am Mr. Buffet, I know we are not talking about Buffet but a financial elite… in order to create new situation of more profit for my own investment capital, I cannot deal with different states. And I have more then, nominally, we have more than 327 trillion dollars in terms of investment capital worldwide. Controlled by 40 banks… even less. 40 banks. 327 trillion… We have a GDP, a world GDP, from 75 to 77 trillion dollars. And they are only for investment. We’re not talking about derivatives or other aspects of the financial market. We’re talking about 327 trillion dollars. So in order to create opportunities for my capital to provide new, or even more profit, for my portal, we have to destroy and re-destroy the whole… I cannot provide more out of the normal economic cycle. We have to destroy and recreate the cycle itself. And there’s no way I can do that if we have normal states or people or national economies, things like that. We tried that through financial means. We saw that. And we saw how the whole market was destroyed back in 2007 up to 2008. After that, they recreated the whole market and right now they have even a worse situation then back in 2007. So, in order to subsist that kind of a situation in the financial market, we need an army, we need political means – the economy cannot provide any more. You will see that the big international corporations are avoiding from investing. They keep the money on the coffers, and they are using it re-buying equities in the financial market. Things like that. They cannot…
They buy what?
Equities, their own equities. You will see the world commerce going down. So the normal world economy cannot afford to go up on the same level as the financial market. And the difference between the level of the real economy and of the fictitious economy is even bigger than that. What covers the difference is the political means. Creating opportunities for the fictitious capital. That’s the only way. There’s no other way.
That’s why when the equities market went down back in 2014, the US decided that “Ok, forget all about lowering the defense budget. No. Forget all about it. Give more bills to the defense budget.” From 2014, you have the advancement of the defense budget in the US. The same in all over neighboring countries. You will see, new wars erupting all over the planet.
How will they happen in NATO countries? The migrants or…
All over. Germany, went from 4 to 5 billion – if I remember the data correctly from the first budget – right now on 2015, do you know how much was the defense budget of the Federal Republic of Germany? 162 billion euros. That’s huge. And for what? To re-create a world-class army. That’s why the US wanted to give the leadership of the maritime mission of the NATO mission in the Aegean to Germany. It’s the first time after World War II, after the Bonn Treaty of 1951, for the Germans to only participate but to take leadership of a military mission. It’s the first time. And of course, Germany is a world class economy. And they want to keep that kind of status in the world economy. They tried a military partnership with Russia back in 2010. But, of course, the US destroyed that. They tried, through the EU, to create the so-called European Army, the European military force. But it was destroyed by NATO. And now, they are going through NATO military force with the agreement of the US.
That’s why they decided about the Aegean, 4 days after the General Secretary of NATO said it is Ok for the US to quadruple the military installations and military personnel in Europe. Ok? That’s a huge change in the US policy of NATO. And of course, “to defend Europe against Russian aggression.” All these political changes and developments you will see on the background of the situation in the financial markets. And what we have now is that even the BRICS economies cannot provide for the world economy. After 2008, we had the collapse of the Lehman Brothers, the world economy, even the US and, of course, the banks, the economies of capitalism and imperialism, and they had a way out. Through BRICS they invested a lot… and now the BRICS are coming down, especially in China or even in India, Brazil, even in Russia they have big problems. Of course, they cannot do anything. China cannot do anything. Because these are totally dependent on a world scale demand. If you don’t have a world demand for your own economy to grow 8% every year or 10% every year, then you have to recreate your own economy on a basis of a local market. But in doing that, you have to provide your own citizens with more income. More labor rights. And more protection for social situations. Can China, the Chinese Communist Party or the Chinese Government do such a turn? No, I don’t believe that they can do it. Because it would be a fortune for the Chinese to get out of the economic model they had from the 1980s. They cannot do such a social political turn for their own economy. They will destroy the whole system, the political system in China. And if you do that, you will have a Chinese working class demanding more and more and more. And the capitalist world economy would lose the Chinese wage. So, the only way for the world system to go ahead is only through war. There is no other way. They cannot invest anymore. Only in a total destruction. Perpetual war.
But, obviously, that’s not a long-term solution. So we’re just going to see more and more wars throughout the EU?
Exactly. Or up to the point where you will have people’s revolutions – people who want to take back their own country and rebuild it. And in order to rebuild it they have to get rid of all the connections they have with the financial markets, the loan sharks, investment banks, or whatever. That’s the only solution. The alternative.
But any country which would do a revolution, of some kind of gain, any country which would reclaim its sovereignty… would find itself under attack, will find itself under debt, so…
Well, yes. But it’s difficult to find who will fight against sovereignty. It’s difficult for NATO or whomever to create a war situation against Greece because you don’t go up against people that are united and decisive enough to fight for their own country. That’s why they didn’t go against Iran. You will see them trying to use the difference between the government and the people, like they did in Syria. You have the regime, the Assad regime, which is not – you know – “people friendly” let’s say, and create a situation where you can demolish the social cohesion of the whole country. So if you have a social revolution or a popular revolution in Greece and the people are decisive enough to fight for the country, no NATO, no noone can go up against such a people. Or of course we will face an economic war. So what? We don’t want to be part of the financial market. We are not going out on the financial market for loans. We can do without loans. We are not in need of them. Greece is a small economy.
… Greece can be self-sustaining in terms of producing its own food.
Exactly. It’s easy. It’s easy for us to find the oil we need for our economy. Or the industrial profits, or the industrial technology we need. If we want to rebuild our own industries of textiles, we’ll go to Bangladesh, we won’t go to the US. In Bangladesh we can find whatever we like, in industrial technology, in the textile industry. And we will rebuild it.
But I’m not sure how… if you already made the case that NATO and the financial system, at the current crisis that we’re in, how it profits from and encourages and is causing more and more wars. By that same logic then, if we follow that logic, any place that would have a revolution, NATO would attack that place…
Yeah. They will try…
Maybe the people will fight back, as in the case if they would have invaded Iran. But they would still try…
They will try. They will try by going from the backdoor, you know. Not through the front door. Because by going from the front door you risk a revolution in your own country. And they don’t want that. They want to be legitimized in the people’s eyes, even in their own country. The people would have to say that the Greeks are wrong, and NATO is right. For what? Because the Greeks asked for the country back? And because they said no loans, no nothing, we don’t need anything from you?
“We’re going to work our country and prosper. That’s the only thing we are asking for… And of course, we want democracy.”
They need some kind of an excuse. They cannot go and destroy… For example, in Libya, they had the excuse of Gaddafi. In Syria, Assad. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein. In Iran, the Mullahs. In Greece, what? They are leaving the EU? They want to rebuild their own country with their own abilities? And to rely on whatever their own country can provide? It’s quite difficult. Of course, they can say whatever they like. But if we do a good job, if we provide for the people, which is what we are saying. If we create a new kind of a situation, a real democratic situation – not, you know, a sign of democracy – but a real democracy, it’s very very difficult, even for the CIA, to create a situation like this. Even to create a situation we see in Venezuela. They forgot that a revolution everywhere in the world, if you want a revolution, you have to trust the people, not the regime, whatever good it is, not the party, no. The people. The grassroots. And if you forget that, you will pay for that. And that’s what happened back in the Chavez era in Venezuela. Now they are paying for that. Create a grassroots democracy. Take to the people your own things. Give the people the ability to decide…
How are they paying for it in Venezuela?
Because they create a democratic regime, Ok. But they have an election system that provides for someone who takes 44% of the electorate to have 65% in the national assembly. Why? Of course, the Chavistas say this is all work of the reactionary forces. Ok. And now they are facing their own medicine. That’s why I’m talking about going to the people, giving them the ability to decide themselves. Through communes, through councils, through whatever you can find. Let the people’s imagination decide.
Since I was there and studied a little bit my impression of Venezuela is that… their mistake was that they didn’t follow the Cuban way. I’ll tell you what I mean. Basically, first of all, Maduro wasn’t strong enough about crime, there’s a lot of hoarding done by poor people…
And secondly, when you have elections every four years, and you have a socialist government running, you create a situation where you have populism. You just give free goods to the people and you don’t try to do anything that would be painful, like cracking down on crime. And then at some point, the more populist you become, the more they get tired of you, and then they throw you away.
The opposition had two major weapons against Maduro: inflation and crime. What can you do? First of all, socialize the money circulation process. They did not do that.
How do you do that?
You take the banks and destroy the private banking system. Destroy it. Through their own means, through money. Give money to the people, in terms of income or in terms of jobs.
They didn’t do that…
No. They let the private banking system create money through debt. That’s totally destructive. Even nowadays the Venezuelan government is indebted to Goldman Sachs. Are you crazy? What are you doing? And the other situation is exactly the corruption and the crime problems.
The crime situation: You can deal with it in two separate ways. One is the security forces problem. And they had the security forces problem. That’s why we had in 2002 and 2004 a situation of a coup d’état, through the security forces in Venezuela. So they didn’t solve that. They did a, you know, tried to solve it through the personality of Chavez. But that’s Ok; that’s one way to say “Kill my leader in order to leave me without a head and then deal with me easily.” The other way is to provide for the society itself to fight against crime, especially in barrios, and organize the society. We know that. Even from the US history of fighting crime back in the Roosevelt years. The society itself. Not the police, or the justice system. The society itself. Organize.
What would be the incentive? You had a situation in Venezuela where people could get a PhD, they could do a Master and instead they chose to join a gang. What would be the incentive for communities to crack down on crime…?
You provide good jobs for the people.
When you nationalize the…
Yes. And good income out of the good jobs. And more leisure time in order to get involved in the political situation. Provide more of a decision-making process for the people. For, let’s say, a convention in every neighborhood. Call the people from every neighborhood to decide what to do in the neighborhood. And whatever the people decide, it will be implemented. They will implement their own decision. Through that, they will fight to implement their own decision. They will be responsible for implementing their own decision. And through that you will fight gangs, you will fight everything. Most of the people who join gangs do that because they want a different type of an organization. And they find that through gangs. No. They can give them a different organization, and through that organization, they can decide and implement what they decide. They have the first and the last word in their own situation. In the social and political situation they are facing. And through that, who is going to join the opposition or to vote for multimillionaire that doesn’t care even for the people who are working for them. Nobody. Well, you know only the elite or a quasi-elite. How much? 5% of the population? 10% of the population? Whatever.
That’s the same conclusion you draw from the revolutionary process all over Europe from day one. Even if you go back to the great French revolution, or the Paris Commune’s revolution or whatever. You will see the same pattern. If you lose track of money, and if you lose track of grassroot democracy, you will lose permanently. That’s what happened even in the Russian revolution.
But in Cuba they are…
Well, yeah. But in Cuba, it’s a very different story. Because what they realized, even the American elite, realized by now is that the Cuban Revolution survived because of the encirclement of the American hegemony. Because the people, the patriotic people, the Cuban people, created a huge form against any foreign oppression or invasion. So even if the Cubans have any complex about the Castro regime or whatever, Ok, leave it aside, we’ll fight against any kind of foreign invasion and recreation of the Batista regime.
Now, the American polity, the political elite, acknowledge that by going through the back door. They tell to Raul Castro, “Ok. Let’s talk. Let us give you a little bit of money, a few dollars. Instead of having the Americans flying through Canada, Vancouver or Montreal and going to Cuba, Ok, let them go in easily.” They will do the same thing, or try – let’s hope that the Cubans, or the Cuban Party, draw the conclusions we are drawing right now. If they keep the bureaucracy, the party, the state bureaucracy in tact, they will lose the country. One way or another. Because when you have the bureaucracy, it’s easy for someone like the US to buy out their way into the country. No questions asked. We saw that back in the Soviet Union. In a few years’ time, you will see the same. The same one, in a few years’ time, I’m talking about 3 or 4 years, became the worse type of Capitalism in Russia. Party of state bureaucrats. The same thing with Cuba.
I don’t believe that Cuba has any other way out because it has to go through negotiations with the US. But it has to recreate the state apparatus. Give more freedom. Let go of the war-type organization of the society and the economy. Give more space for the people. Invest in the people’s opinion and give them more. Give them more. It’s the only way to defend the regime, of course, and the party – against the new invasion, the invasion of US “friendship” and the takeover of Cuba…
You can fight it easily, but you have to change your own mindset. You see. The type of Ernesto Che Guevara or Fidel Castro type with military clothes has passed… You cannot fight the imperialism, the new stage of imperialism, through these things. Of course, you have to keep up your military alert up to the most possible scenario… you can have a US invasion against you in matter of days. But through that, give more power to the people. Grassroots power, to decide their own decisions. Give them the space to make mistakes. So what?
Going back to Venezuela, some people suggested that if the pro-Chavista military will take over the country that could stabilize things more, they can bring back order…
I don’t know.
Because the way things are going now the opposition will take over the country.
I know, I know. And I see Maduro’s declarations. It’s a very very risky business. If the military decides to come in, you create a precedent that everyone can use. Even the opposition. And the opposition is far more advanced in these matters than you are, then a movement like the Chavistas or Maduro’s PSUV party. The opposition can do whatever they like. They have the backing of the US.
But there are generals who are different, who have good relations with Cuba, China, Russia, and Iran…
I know, I know. But what about a civil war?
That will happen anyway.
I believe that if they try that, they will have the possibility to create a situation of a civil war for decades. Like in Colombia. You see, a civil war since the 1960s. It’s very difficult, a situation like this.
Either way, if the opposition takes over the Chavistas will do a civil war…
I don’t believe it’s an easy way out right now. What they had to do- they didn’t do, years back. Now, it’s very difficult to choose. Whatever you chose, you’ll have cons and…
But in this kind of a situation you have to make an imperfect decision.
…And I think the military can make the situation better for everyone.
If you have the military, and at the same time you will have a popular movement, and the popular movement will try to recreate from the bottom-up the whole situation- that’s a good thing. Of course, it’s a risky business, but that’s a good thing. But in order to do that, you cannot stop at anything. If you use a knife, use it well, without any hesitation. I’m talking in a matter of time, and I’m for it, Ok. If you have to use it, use it. You don’t mess around, use it. If you decide that the whole situation is up to cutting some throats, cut them. No questions asked. Cut them. In a few day’s time, in order to pacify the whole situation. If you prolong it, you create more strife. And that’s my opinion. If you decide that the only way out is using the military, do it. And do it in 24 hours, get rid of them all. And then find a way to legitimize. Are they traitors? Ok, they are traitors. Hang them. And let history judge.
From that time on, you will work to put the people in front of the whole situation. And from that point on you will recreate the whole regime, from the bottom-up. A grassroots democracy. And through that everybody, at the end, will say, Ok, it was a situation. And of course, go out to the people and take the blame yourself. You will say that “Ok, it was my fault, as a movement, that we came to that point. We made certain mistakes. We are not going to do that anymore. We will fight for our country because we are facing an invasion, it is a new type of invasion than Syria, but we will fight,” if you decide to use the military. And tell to the people: “Ok, we made the situation worse but we will rectify, with you. And from that point and on, you [the people] will decide, and we will follow.” That’s the only way, if you come to this. And that’s what we said about Greece. If we come to this situation where we have to use weapons or arms to deal with the enemy, we will do that. No hesitation. No way around it. No. We will do that. And we will do that with the most resourceful and efficient way we can do that. In order to resolve the whole situation in the smallest possible time. No prolonging, no nothing. We will fight. We will get rid of them. And then our recreate our own country, we will build a true democracy. And that’s what back in the 40s, the national revolution movement against the Nazi occupation did. Up in the mountains. From day one, they created a democracy for the people. It was very good. But they did the same mistake again. They didn’t trust the people, the grassroots people. And on a specific… the leadership was not adequate to deal with the political situation and accepted the presence of the British military in the country and that was the start of the civil war.
Their mistake was that they didn’t believe in the people. They fought for the people, but they didn’t believe…
The people need to be educated for you to really believe in them…
No. I believe that the people, when they start to fight, they learn from their own experience. Let’s see, you can see the Egypt situation. When the people without a political leadership or a political program, learn how to deal with the government, and how to dethrone a government or a regime – the Mubarak regime – it’s something that, you know, it’s written on the genes, on the people’s genes. They know the way. If they get rid of the fear of dealing with the regime or the government, then it’s easy, to topple one government, and then topple another government. Of course, when you have a political program it is easy to topple a government and create a new political situation. That’s the deficiency of the Egypt situation right now. But the people know how to deal with them…
But that’s only possible when the people reclaim their rights.
Exactly. You cannot have a successful revolution or social insurrection without a political program, a very specific political program. Ok, we don’t want them. We have to know what we want. What will succeed after the toppling of the government or the regime.
That’s where we are trying to organize, and we are trying to educate the people politically. You know, we need democracy. But what kind of democracy? We don’t need any type of democracy; we need grassroots democracy. We need the people to decide, not only every four years but every time any serious situation involving the people comes. To involve the citizens. To create a situation that even one citizen can make a difference.
Why in the world would Merkel want to accept millions of migrants to Germany after she said in the past that multiculturalism failed?
The main problem of the German economy is the export of capital. The net investment position of the German economy is about 26% of the German GDP. It’s a huge provider of capital for the national market. 26%, out of 20% before the EU. So the main strength of the German economy is to keep exporting capital. It’s a more typically imperialist economy compared to the US. Like an old European imperialist economy. Where I need to export capital in order to provide for the financial and economic elite.
In order to do that, it has to squeeze down all the labor costs and the social costs.
Ok, they did that for 20 years. Now they are facing a social situation. They cannot squeeze now, even more, the German labor or the German working class. They need some external force. The Germans know. The Germans know from the 60s. In order to create a German miracle back then they wanted millions of immigrants. That’s the same thing right now. But the difference is back then, it was a different world situation and European situation. A different capitalism, let’s say. They tried, most of them, especially the German trade unions, they tried to take most of the immigrant people, to take them and create a new kind of a German citizen. Now there is no more of that. “We need, immigrants for the specific time of staying in Germany.” “We need – the German oligarchy needs – a few hundred thousand or 1 million immigrants only for a specific time now. We need to get rid of them as soon as they start asking for rights.”
And how will they do that?
Easy. They take them back to Greece. Easy.
It will create a civil war. You can just do that easily…
So what. They did that.
So there could be a civil war in Germany?
Yes. Because the Germans now – the German worker or the German middle class will lose everything. And that’s why you see Nazi parties in Germany coming up, especially in Bavaria. All over Germany you see people, political factions, that they say that they are not Nazis but Ok, over the political rhetoric you will see that Nazism is coming up again in Germany. Based on the social situation created by that policy.
But not everyone who opposes migration in Germany is a Nazi. They have a right, would you say they have a right to oppose migration?
Yeah, of course. I do. The difference between the Nazis, is the same thing like in the middle war years. The Nazis weren’t against migration. They were for migration, of course using them as slave labor. During the Nazi regime there were 7.5 million migrants working in Germany as slaves. There were more migrants than at any other time in German history. So, they were not against migration; they were for.
Of course, you had… it was like Marx said. The capitalists are for migration using them in order to bribe their own working class. The same thing happened with the Nazis. They were using slave labor in order to bribe the German working class to accept the Nazi regime. Bribing them or through the army or providing more for the Germans against the slave labor force from Eastern Europe or from all over Europe. They were working for jobs the German working man didn’t want; the jobs were not respectful enough. They were working for less than trash, Ok? And of course, all during the war, the German soldier coming from the working class, had the ability to loot the whole Europe to provide for the family. And that’s how, more or less, it was a blind eye, even for the German working class, a blind eye for what the Nazis did all over Europe, and of course, the death camps and things like that. It’s something you know; it was a bribe. Of course, it was quite different under a totalitarian regime. But it was exactly the utmost scale of what the British imperialists did with the British working class using the slave labor of the Irish back in the 19th century. That’s why Engels and Marx said you have to get rid of the bulk of the Irish, in order for the British working class to become revolutionary. And first and foremost, you have to give national sovereignty for the Irish in order for them to stay in their own country and not to come into Britain. It’s the same thing.
What I found interesting is as you said, just as there is a farmers protest here and entire farms are being taken over by corporations and Monsanto’s power grows more and more, we’re seeing the same crisis in the US. Because the government is taking – from what I learned – the government is taking land from private farmers and ranchers, to create a national park, and then they sell off the area to private corporations, even areas with uranium. So what happened now in Oregon, is that a lot of farmers and ranchers, white farmers and ranchers, came out to protest against the government. But the interesting thing is, that the American Left who you would think would be the first ones to join – didn’t join. So what is your opinion about that?
Well, in my opinion, most of the Left, even in Europe and the United States, lost the ability to know or to acknowledge the real problems. In order to provide a revolutionary movement, let’s say. If we consider the Left to be a revolutionary force, you have to know the grassroots’ problem. You are fighting for the working class, that in order become a dominant class, it has to be a dominant class for the nation. That is what the Communist Manifesto said back in 1845. Marx said that the working class doesn’t have countries. But at the same time he said that since the working class has to gain power, it must become the dominant class of the nation. A nation is not something you sign off at the doorsteps of the country or on the constitution. Nation is something that comes from the bottom-up that creates a society. A place where someone can fight for rights, for the rights to self-government. If you lose sight of that, it’s easy to cross sides and to become part of the dominant class and adopt the ideology of imperialism. See how easy it is nowadays internationally to become mixed up with cosmopolitanism – the ideology of imperialism. “You don’t need nations.” Even in our own country, we have Left forces, saying that because of the migrants and the refugee crisis, “Let’s get rid of the national borders.” Ok. NATO did that for us. That’s what NATO did. So, the extreme left, let’s say, the most radical left, by saying “Let’s get rid of the national borders,” invited actually NATO to do that. That’s why I went out and said that “Ok, the radicals of Left saying that are only agents of NATO imperialism.” It’s the same thing. We’re fighting for the people first and foremost, for everyone who has the right to own a land in the country, as a farmer or as a citizen, to have his own traditions, beliefs, even a religion. I don’t believe in any religion but I will fight to death for my people to have their right to have their own religion. That’s what Ernesto Che Guevara said about the theology of liberation in Latin America. He was not a religious man. But he fought and said that a revolutionary or liberation theology was part of parcel of national liberation movements in Latin America. You can see that even in Greece.
For the people in order to become free, first and foremost they have to have national self-determination. National sovereignty. To become a nation. To become a nation is where the last of the last of the citizens has the right to create the state that the citizen lives in. That’s what nations is all about. And on top of that he has the ability, has the right, to create his own tradition, it’s own art, civilization. We don’t have to earn a civilization. We have it. Human civilization, created from different cultures, different historical types of civilization. Every type of civilization, of people’s civilization, has the right, to become the dominant civilization in its own country. And by dominant civilization, I don’t mean “get rid of the minority.” No. Every citizen has the right. In order to do that we have to have national sovereignty. I believe in the Greek tradition. I’m proud of the Greek tradition. Because I know the Greeks that have fought for, the Greeks that came out of the revolution or war of independence, like the US historical textbook I am talking about, and the major slogan from the period was “Freedom or Death.” We were the first people who said “Freedom or Death.” Not “Patria O Muerte” [Homeland or Death] like the Latin Americans. We said that also. But we said “Freedom or Death.” We were fighting not only against Ottomans but against all the empires of Europe, the holy alliance. And I am proud of that tradition. And I have the right to keep to that tradition. And to keep calling myself “I am a Greek.” And since I am a Greek I have a huge tradition looking back. And since I am a Greek, I am living in Greece, I have to fight for democracy. Because it’s my tradition. It’s not only a political demand, it’s my tradition. It was here that the first fight for democracy, real democracy, took place, going back to the classical time. So it is my tradition.
It’s only a world tradition. It’s my tradition, first and foremost. And that’s why they are fighting against Greece. They want to destroy the Greeks. That’s why they slander Greeks. That they are nowadays Jews for Europe. What the Nazis said about the Jews back in the middle war years, they are saying now about the Greeks. Why? Because they want to destroy the classical tradition of Greece. And the classical tradition of Greece was about democracy. Was about how to provide for the people. Demos we called that. The power of Demos, the power of the people. And they recreate the whole classical tradition, through their own imperialist aims.
They say in Berlin, in Paris, in London, and even in Washington, that they are the continuers of the classical tradition. No, the continuers are us. That’s why I see a civilizational collusion. Different civilizations. And I’m not talking about high from bullshit. I’m talking about real civilizations. Our civilization, even through our religion, it’s not mine but most of the Greeks, we’re talking about free will. The Greek Orthodox Church is based on free will. It’s not like Catholicism or Protestantism. We believe in free will. Because even Christianity had to adopt to the classical Greek tradition. And that’s why in the Greek Orthodox Church you will see even the most religious person talking about free will. The free will of the human.
For us, we are fighting for human freedom. And we are facing the Protestant tradition in terms of economics and politics that says first and foremost it’s submission. No. For us, it’s free will. It’s freedom. Freedom to do whatever we like in terms of the person inside a society. That’s the difference between the Greek culture. Even now the European elite call us stubborn, we don’t cooperate with what they say. Their vision of cooperation is the submission of the person to the totality. A totalitarian view of cooperation. No. We say that we can be different. Quite different. For a different road. But we can fight together. That’s how the Greek city-states back in the fourth century BC fought against the Persians. They were fighting each other before, but in the critical moment, the Athenians decided to leave their own city-state in order to go to Salamis to fight effectively against the Persians. And of course, they were fighting for freedom and democracy against Eastern despotism. That’s the whole meaning. And it’s even today. We are very different. We can fight easily each other. Easily. You can see it even in our own close relations. But at the critical moment, we will find a way to unite and fight the common enemy.
And that’s the difficult part also. We’re not soldiers, like the Germans. Following the leader, the Führer. No. We are quite different. You see, our national hero, one our national heroes is Kolokotronis. Kolokotronis is like, I can translate it in English, Kolos is in us, and kotrona is a stone. It means “us, as a stone.” Kolokotronis.
No. Actually, he had a forefather that could jump easily more than 10 meters from a stationary position. And the Albanians, the Turkish Albanians back then said – he was admired by the Albanians, you know, back then, they were very renowned fighters. And the Albanians called him Kolokotronis, he has an “us” out of a stone in order to jump out of a stationary position ten meters away. That’s why he was called Kolokotronis. Kolokotronis said “it’s easy.” He fought for Napoleon and for the English as a mercenary back in the early 19th century. When he was the leader, one of the military leaders of the Greek revolution, he said “It’s easy to lead a European army. It’s easy. You are the general, you have a staff, you deploy your plan, and then you give the orders to your staff, and the commanders and the staff decide what to do next. It’s very difficult to lead a Greek army. Because a Greek army, you have to go out and say good things about someone, say bad things about the other, give presents to the other, and things like that. It’s very difficult. No European can lead a Greek army.” It’s the Greek society, it’s the Greek flavor, it’s the Greek culture. But that’s what we are. That’s our Greek temperament. That what differentiates us from all over Europe and the Balkans. And that’s what we want to keep. If we go back to the 16th century, the 17th century, if you read the Europeans that came here as travelers, you will see the same thing. When they were coming to Ottoman Greece, they were expected to see philosophers discussing philosophy matters and things like that. Instead they met poor people subjected to a very despotic regime, the southern regime. But they liked the term “freedom.” That’s why all over the place, you’ll see easily, you’ll find the names Elefteris and Eleftheria. Elefteris is a very common name, Elefteris means “free,” “freedom.” Eleftheria means “Freedom” in Greek. And you’ll see that all over even in the 16th century. English, Germans, French travelers came here, to Ottoman Greece, from all over the place and heard everywhere people saying to each other “Yasu Elefteris” [Hi Eleftheria]. Elefteris is the Greek name for freedom, or Elefteria – the female name. It’s something, you know, you have to… It goes back centuries. And, we are proud of it, we are not going to get rid of it, and we don’t want to get rid of it, to become a German type of society. And that’s why the human center of civilization started from here, something to do with the climate, and of course, as Hippocrates said back then, “The Greeks are much better fighters than Asians because they are not under a despotic regime.”
It’s the same thing right now. Of course we are trying to keep up because we don’t have a political situation that is free and democratic but it’s inside every Greek. And you want something like that. They didn’t have… We try to fight, our people fought for that kind… it’s easy for the Greeks when they start fighting to find a way to create a democratic situation. It’s easy for us. We did that back in the war. And if you remember the partisans were fighting up in the mountains. And in the villages are the most socially backward socieities, but in these villages a new kind of democracy was created. And it was easy for the most backward village to adapt that type of democracy, a new type. The villagers created their own judges, they created their own political system and they decided themselves what to do. Under an occupation. Even the intelligence secret agents that fought in Greece, who were of course against the Partisans…
Yes. Mr. Woodhouse. Even he said, in his own book, afterwards, that in a period of three years of fighting over the mountains, the Greeks managed to civilize the most uncivilized place, the mountains in Central Greece, because you know it’s something with the Greek people. It’s the same thing. The difficult thing for us to start, but after that it’s easy. It’s our tradition. It will come up. We will find our way to create the most fantastic and admirable democracy. The only problem is to convince people you have to get rid of the whole regime, not only a party or a government. Otherwise, you will lose and die.
Thank you very much. Efhartiso poly.