This is a Betrayal: Interview with Professor Spyros Marketos

This is a Betrayal: Interview with Professor Spyros Marketos

Photo: telesurtv.net Telesur | Blogs By Joshua Tartakovsky 15 July, 2015 ​Professor Spyros Maketos teaches at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, is a member of the Truth Committee on Public Debt and a member of Antarsya. Joshua Tartakovsky (JT): Professor Spyros Marketos, how are most people in Greece reacting to the memorandum? Obviously people to the left of Syriza or even within Syriza are not happy but, the how does the vast majority, those who voted No in the referendum, view the agreement? and what is the media saying about the agreement? Sypros Marketos (SM): I can only give my impressions. Here we don’t have solid data on this but the first sentiment seems to be a numbing of the public. People were really joyous after the last plebiscite. After all this joy, this victory, the complete turn around of the government left them with no joy and there was agony until last morning and now people don’t really believe what had just happened. There is a large percentage of the people who are incredulous about what is happening but there are others that are very angry because this is not the first time something like this happens in Greece. Papandreou was elected promising to give money, and he imposed the first memorandum. Samaras has been elected as anti-memorandum and he imposed the second memorandum, and now Tsipras has been elected with the promise to tear the memoranda and now he brings the third memoranda. So people are now much less credulous and gullible than they were towards the previous governments before. Secondly, people know that the road to the...
The Greek Referendum: Democracy and Dignity on the Balance

The Greek Referendum: Democracy and Dignity on the Balance

Telesur 4 July 2015| Joshua Tartakovsky   Tomorrow Greeks will be voting in a referendum on their economic future, in an expression of direct democracy that has been greeted with condescension, ridicule and fear by leaders of the Eurogroup, the European Commission and Germany and which is likely to reverberate throughout Europe. It did not have to be this way. Throughout its negotiations on the economic future of the country and a new memoranda, the Greek government was willing to take immense steps to satisfy the demands of the Institutions. Although the current austerity program provides no genuine economic growth nor an end to the recession, the Greek government continued to negotiate with the Troika and made various concessions in nearly every area, conceding to at least 70% of the demands. It did so due to its belief that it is part of European community and since it opposed the fragmentation of Europe. Most recently, the government agreed make cuts in pensions and raise VAT, although pensions were already sliced several times due to the demands of the Troika. Wages declined by 30% since the first bail-out. Despite the difficult economic conditions, ever since its election six months ago, the Greek government did not once hint at the possibility of leaving the Euro nor did it publicly abandon its deeply-held belief that its economic future is inside the European Union. It did not make public pleas to the BRICS, more specifically to Russia and China, on leaving the EU and forming a new alliance, therefore weakening their position in negotiation with the Troika. For German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however,...
Socialist Economist Dimitris Kazakis: Syriza Has No Plan B

Socialist Economist Dimitris Kazakis: Syriza Has No Plan B

Dimitris Kazakis (source: http://www.candianews.gr) Wednesday, 20 May 2015 00:00By Joshua Tartakovsky, Truthout | Interview We live in times when national sovereignty is being eroded in favor of global capital. Syriza plans to continue with austerity and has made no serious plan B. All actions taken so far reveal that Syriza intends to continue with the austerity program and in the summer Greece will probably sign a new contract of continued austerity. The question remains whether the people will rise against the loss of sovereignty. This interview was conducted on April 1, 2015, with Dimitris Kazakis, leader of the United Popular Front (E.PA.M). The party opposes austerity and was founded in 2011 by people who participated in anti-memorandum demonstrations in Greece. Kazakis is a socialist economist who worked in the private sector in the past. The interview has been amended and shortened. Joshua Tartakovsky: Do you think that the current government has some kind of plan B in mind or are they just trying their best? Dimitris Kazakis: I don’t think they even have a plan A. In the first week after the elections, they tried some general idea, like the European Convention on debt issues. The European Union rejected it so they [the Greek government] abandoned the whole idea. On the second level, they tried to negotiate some kind of elimination of debt, but nobody wanted it, and they did not want to go into a confrontation with the lenders, so they lost ground. Since the agreement of February 20, the Greek government abided by the rules of the loan agreement. The agreement of February 20 had contradictions in it. It...
A Bolivaran Tsipras? Syriza’s Call for German Reparation

A Bolivaran Tsipras? Syriza’s Call for German Reparation

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the site where 200 Greek Communist partisans were executed by the Germans in Kaisariani. Photo: Reuters CounterPunchWEEKEND EDITION MARCH 20-22, 2015 A Bolivaran Tsipras? Syriza’s Call for German Reparations by JOSHUA TARTAKOWSKY Athens. Developments are happening faster than the speed of light both in Greece and around the world. It is not often that people are happy to be quickly proven wrong, but luckily the opportunity arrived. Following the Eurogroup agreement and the way it was presented to the public as an end of austerity and as a victory, indicated that the Syriza government is a captive to the Institutions. I expressed the possibility that unless public opposition mounts, Syriza will end up bending to pressure. Recent events, however, suggest that this is untrue. A public mobilization was not necessary, Germany’s humiliating dictates while the Greek public is suffering under the yoke of austerity have already turned the tide and the Syriza Government is resisting Germany’s patronizing and suffocating actions. As argued earlier, Syriza is pursuing a policy of uniting the nation by demanding justice. What goal may it have in mind? What caused this turn? and where may it lead to? In his speech to the Hellenic Parliament, Prime Minister Tsipras touched on the issue which both some Anglo-Saxon socialists and Conservative Germans would wish would have avoided. Tsipras brought to public view the issue of reparations of World War II, and the fact Germany did not pay back the interest-free forced loan made on the Greek bank by the German occupation forces until today. While some reparations were paid in the 1950s, these were quite small considering the...
Unless Faced With Popular Opposition, Syriza Will Turn Into an Empty Promise

Unless Faced With Popular Opposition, Syriza Will Turn Into an Empty Promise

The Syriza government has not shown publicly that it views exiting the Euro as a real option, leaving it at a dead end, captive to the whims of Germany. (Photo: Christos Siarris / Shutterstock.com) Truth-Out.org Friday, 27 February 2015 13:40 By Joshua Tartakovsky, Truthout | News Analysis In the latest agreement with the Eurogroup, in which the Greek government had won four months of respite, Syriza had also managed to backtrack on its election promises and agree to the imperatives laid out by Eurogroup chief, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. It has been untruthful, yet it will inevitably run into problems along the road. Earlier, it could have been suggested that Syriza has a Plan B in mind. One could have interpreted the meeting held between Tsipras and the Russian ambassador to Greece immediately following his appointment as prime minister as a sign indicating that Greece has additional cards on the table. Furthermore, it could be argued that the Greek government intends to pursue a process of radicalizing the public, which is in favor of remaining in the Euro, by making it go through the process of negotiations, rejection and humiliation. Faced with the suffocating demands of the Troika, now renamed Institutions, the public would realize that it cannot free itself from austerity as long as it remains part of the Euro. However, the Syriza government has not shown publicly that it views exiting the Euro as a real option, leaving it at a dead end, captive to the whims of Germany. Following the Eurogroup agreement, Prime Minister Tsipras said that “we succeeded at the end of our main purpose,” while clarifying that Greece “won the battle...