Greece is edging closer to decision time

Greece is edging closer to decision time

Counterfire.org February 20, 2015 Greece’s Syriza government must decide whether to surrender to the Troika’s demands or exit the Euro.The Nazi Golden Dawn are waiting in the wings should they fail. Joshua Tartakovsky reports from Athens. Syriza, particularly Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, has been playing a long game since the election. It has tried hard to please Germany and the Eurogroup while not compromising on its key principle: namely ending austerity which entailed the continued privatization of public assets and cutting of government social programs at a time when a third of the population is in dire poverty. In the meeting held between the Greek and German finance ministers, Varoufakis and Schäuble, the differences between the two positions were crystal clear. Varoufakis was speaking about his deep respect for Germany and the rich historical cultural heritage it provides. At the same time, he warned that just as in German history in the 1930s, difficult economic times and deep recession means that fascism is on the rise in Greece. “When I return home tonight,” said Varoufakis, “I will find a country where the third-largest party is not a neo-nazi party, but a nazi party.” Varoufakis was referring to the Nazi party Golden Dawn that has been growing in popularity, is highly supported by at least 50% of the anti-terrorist police squads, and whose members have called for and carried out the killing of immigrants. The message was clear: precisely since Varoufakis respected Germany’s immense cultural contributions and the fact that it developed a new society following the fascist era, Varoufakis wanted Germans to realize that...
Dimitrios Papageorgiou and Joshua Tartakovsky: Syriza – Fraud or Savior of Greece?

Dimitrios Papageorgiou and Joshua Tartakovsky: Syriza – Fraud or Savior of Greece?

Syncretic Studies Posted on February 5, 2015 by Joaquin Flores By: Tesha Teshanovic In order to give a picture of the moment, we decided to interview two people with opposing views on Syriza. The first one is Dimitrios Papageorgiou, a Greek right wing journalist from Athens, the second one is Joshua Tartakovsky, an independent left wing journalist and film maker from Jerusalem. What are your comments on the victory of Syriza at this elections? Dimitrios Papageorgiou: It was something bound to happen. The New Democracy’s government had all the aspects of a government that was going to soon crumble.  And since the socialist party is almost non-existent nowadays, a big part of it is part of SYRIZA now, it was the only logical assumption that they too would gain power at some point. Joshua Tartakovsky: The victory of Syriza has immense ramifications for Greece, Europe and even the world. For the first time in Greek history, a party that is truly on the Left, combining Communist, Socialist and Green elements, won the elections in Greece. It should be remembered that it was the so-called socialist PASOK of George Papandreou, that agreed to the bail-out plans laid out by the Troika, which entailed austerity for the Greek people while the center-right party, New Democracy, continued this path. This austerity meant, in real terms, decline in wages, pensions being cut by 40%, the economy shrinking by 26%, wages declining, prices rising, and the government cutting down on health and education. The Greek people saw no future in sight with austerity and recession,and if there is one place where neoliberal capitalism clearly failed, it is in Greece. Therefore, the Greek people decided...
SYRIZA: Uniting Greece and demanding justice

SYRIZA: Uniting Greece and demanding justice

Photo:  Alexis Tsipras By Joshua Tartakovsky What is one to make of the fact that SYRIZA, a progressive party with socialist values, formed a government with Independent Greeks (AN.EL), a populist right-wing party that opposed immigration and was accused of racism? Has it gone mad? Betrayed its initial promises? A short respite had barely passed since the announcement, that an outcry has emerged from the international left, mostly that based in the West. Whereas Venezuela and Cuba congratulated Alexis Tsipras in the friendliest terms, Marxists in Western countries have voiced their alarm at the fact that SYRIZA will not be forming an alliance with the orthodox Communist party KKE and bemoaning the fact that the Left will share a government with a right-wing party. While criticism from Greek voters of SYRIZA who would like to be ruled by a Left-wing government is understandable and justified, international progressives have committed a grave error by intervening in the autonomous decision of the newly elected party without giving it a chance to carry out what appears to be a well-calculated strategy, with a clear purpose and plan. The most central issue facing the newly elected Syriza party, that received 149 seats in a parliament of 300, is to renegotiate Greece’s immense and insurmountable debt and ensure sustainable growth while securing funds to provide electricity, health, and education to the Greek people. Ever since the neoliberal bailout enacted by the European Central Bank, EU and IMF (Troika) in 2010, real wages declined by 25%, pensions have been cut, suicides have numbered in the hundreds per year, and austerity demanded by the Troika prevailed...
Greece’s Revolutionary Moment

Greece’s Revolutionary Moment

Thursday, 22 January 2015By Joshua Tartakovsky, TruthOut | Op-ed How do you know when you are in a country that is experiencing a Revolutionary moment? There is mass unemployment; high numbers of people are radicalized either in the Left (Communists, socialists, anarchists) or Right (fascist, neo-Nazis). Modest poverty that seeks to still disguise itself somewhat is widespread to the point where it can no longer disguise itself as convincingly. There is massive graffiti throughout the city, not merely in certain neighborhoods, but in the downtown area next to luxurious shops. The police do not enter certain neighborhoods, while it stands guard outside of them. Tents of protesters can be seen in parts of the city. People walk into cafes, trying to sell things. Others pass by and ask for a few coins. All this applies in Greece. I am in Athens now. At the same time, cafes and restaurants are still busy with people, even if they spend hours on one cup of coffee. Groups of tourists come and go in perfect safety. The Greeks love tourists and know how to treat them well. The calm around the Acropolis gives one the impression that all is perfect and that no storm is about to emerge. However, locals in cafes I spoke to told me how in past years their earnings have gone down. Prices went up. Everything is expensive. Life is not easy. When they look backwards and around, all they see is national debt and austerity. When they look ahead, they see the same. The time that is ripe for a Revolutionary change is when there is no other choice....