Friday, 3 July 2015

Athens Is Being Blackmailed Says Former EU Commission Economic Adviser

Former economic adviser to the President of the European Commission, Phillippe Legrain says that Athens is being blackmailed, and that the ECB has clearly acted politically in withdrawing limiting liquidity assistance to Greece.

Legrain, who is author of "European Spring" says that Greece's debt is unsustainable, and everyone knows that it is unsustainable, and should be written down.  That comes on the back of a fairly clearly, and pointedly worded statement from the IMF, which clearly had the backing of the US, which also says that Greece's debt is unsustainable and should be written down.  It says not only that Greece should be provided with an additional $50 billion of assistance, but calls for a large part of the debt to be written off, whilst the rest is basically written off for 20 years, only then to be repaid over a further 20 years at a low rate of interest.

The IMF's statement is a thinly veiled criticism of the conservative leaders of Europe like Angela Merkel, and Jean Claude Juncker, who are seen to have handled the situation extremely badly.  It follows other fairly thinly veiled criticism from US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.  Its notable that on the same day that the EU leaders were inflicting further hardship on the people of Greece, Obama and Brazilian President Rousseff, were announcing addition fiscal stimulus and investment in capital projects for the rebuilding of infrastructure, whilst Obama was also putting forward legislation to guarantee millions of US workers a legal right to overtime pay.

Yesterday also saw a fairly thinly veiled attack on Merkel from President Hollande.  Its clear that there are significant fractures opening up.  The working class should open them further by providing critical support for Syriza in opposing the irrational and damaging policy of austerity being imposed on the country.  We need a mobilisation across Europe, of workers against austerity and in defence of the Syriza government.

We need to give Greek workers the confidence to vote No to austerity on Sunday, on the basis that their fight is our fight, as a basic element of working-class solidarity, as we would give to any group of workers in dispute with an employer.  But, we should do so on the basis that the Greek workers are also merely the advanced guard in the struggle of all workers across Europe against the irrational policy of austerity.

Austerity is not even in the interests of capital, it is simply an attempt to protect the fictitious paper wealth of a handful of money lenders, and the value of their stocks and bonds.  It is even more irrational, in that it kills the goose that lays the golden egg even for these money lenders.  They seem to think that their money returns an interest like Jack's magic beans, whereas it only does so, because real capital creates real wealth via production.  Austerity by contrast is decimating production, decimating productive-capital, and thereby decimating the potential to produce profits out of which the interest of the money lenders could be paid.

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