Tag Archives: EU

GREECE: Latest “Proposal” Documents reveal SYRIZA’s Betrayal of Greek Working Class

We republish here three documents previously published by the Financial Times of London which are purported to be the latest cowardly proposals by Alexis Tsipras and his pro-capitalist reformist SYRIZA party to their “partners” among the EU banksters who are attempting to strangle the Greek workers and force them to repay usurious loans made to the Greek capitalists during the economic boom of capitalism that inevitably, predictably came crashing down in 2008.

The first document is a touching letter from the new SYRIZA finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos to “Dear Jeroen” (meaning the President of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem) currently salivating over the money Dijsselbloem and his friends will make after they force Greece to sell off their choicest seaports, airports and other valuable assets to the “partners” of SYRIZA among the EU banksters.

Letter_Tsakalotos-1

The second document is a letter from SYRIZA’s leading betrayer of the Greek working class and likely soon-to-be-deposed “Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic”, Alexis Tsipras:

TsiprasLetter_09-07-2015-1

Finally, we have the betrayal itself, which we have been predicting for the last year based on our Marxist analysis of the class orientation of the pro-capitalist, reformist SYRIZA party: an unprincipled multi-class popular front designed to betray the interests of the Greek working class from the very moment of its inception:

Prior-action-final-version-July-2015

We have just received these documents ourselves; we ill post analysis of them if possible as soon as possible.

– IWPCHI

Advertisements

GREECE – SYRIZA to Greek Workers: “Referendum Just a Ploy for Better Bargaining Position with Our EU ‘Partners'”

As revolutionary Trotskyists, we take an oath to never lie to the workers of the US or the world, no matter how unpleasant the truth.  While many self-styled “revolutionary” socialist parties have praised SYRIZA  as being an authentic revolutionary socialist party, seeing all kinds of revolutionary potential in this thoroughly reformist and pro-capitalist political party, we have steadfastly exposed SYRIZA for what it is.  SYRIZA is leading the Greek working class into a political dead end, determined at all costs to stay in the European Union even if it means administering a brutal austerity programme against the Greek working class at the behest of the EU banksters.  SYRIZA’s pro-capitalist programme is the last, best hope of the disgusting, decrepit Greek capitalist class whose only loyalty is to their own bank accounts.

We don’t posses a crystal ball that enables us to see through the doubletalk of capitalist politicians of SYRIZA and other political formations like them; what we have is the Marxist dialectical method which enables us to analyze the class relationships that exist in every society which enables us to analyze what class is being served by the political party in question.  In the case of SYRIZA, a Marxist analysis of the public pronouncements of SYRIZA’s leader Alexis Tsipras suffices for us to see clearly that this party is absolutely NOT a revolutionary working class party but a pro-capitalist reformist political party.

Here again in two separate statements issued in the past few days Tsipras openly proclaims his allegiance to the capitalist class and its economic system and declares that no matter the outcome of the bogus referendum, he and the leaders of his party have no intention of leading Greece out of the Eurozone.  In fact he declares that the only reason SYRIZA has staged this referendum was to improve their bargaining position and to wrest some concessions from the EU bankers who want the Greeks to hand over their country and rob their citizens as collateral for more EU loans.

The only way out of the crisis that the capitalist class of Greece has brought upon themselves is workers socialist revolution.  A revolutionary socialist workers party would not endeavor, as SYRIZA has, to resuscitate Greek capitalism but would put it out of its misery, helping to give it a long-awaited funeral by repudiating the debt completely and organizing the seizure of power by the Greek working class.  SYRIZA will never do any such thing; and those fake-leftists who continue to sell SYRIZA to the working class as a bona-fide revolutionary party are liars who are betraying the workers and leading them into the abbatoir of austerity being prepared for the working class by the Greek and European capitalists.

Vote ‘No’ in the referendum – and dump SYRIZA, who are more interested in sucking up to their “partners” in the Troika than in making a partnership with the Greek working class!  There is no future for the working class under capitalism!

– IWPCHI

*************

SYRIZA: Two statements from Alexis Tsipras

1) Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ message

July 1, 2015

Greek citizens,

We are at a critical juncture regarding the future of this country.

Sunday’s referendum is not about whether our country will stay in the Eurozone.

This is a given and no one should question this.

On Sunday we will choose whether to accept the institutions’ agreement or whether, with the strength of the people’s verdict, we will seek a viable solution.

In any case, I want to reassure the Greek people of government’s firm intention to reach an agreement with its partners, with conditions that are sustainable and will provide for the long-term.

Since we announced our decision to hold a referendum, better proposals have been offered concerning the debt and its necessary restructuring than those that were on the table on Friday.

We did not ignore them. We immediately submitted our counterproposals asking for a viable solution, and for this reason an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting was convened yesterday, which will continue this afternoon.

Should there be a positive outcome, we will respond immediately. In any case, the Greek government remains willing to negotiate and will do so until an agreement is reached. The government will be at the negotiating table on Monday as well, immediately after the referendum, seeking better terms for the Greek people.

A popular verdict is always so much stronger than the will of a government alone. And I would like to reiterate that democratic choice is a core European tradition. During very important moments in European history, the people have made important decisions through referenda.

This happened in France, and in many other countries, concerning the referendum on the European constitution. This happened in Ireland, where the referendum temporarily voided the Treaty of Lisbon and led to a renegotiation, that resulted in better terms for Ireland. Unfortunately, in Greece’s case, we’ve been subjected to different standards.

Personally, I would have never expected that democratic Europe would not understand the need to give some space and time to a people to sovereignly make a choice about their future.

The prevalence of extreme conservative forces led to the decision to asphyxiate our country’s banks–with the obvious aim of blackmailing not just the government, but each each citizen individually.

It is unacceptable in a Europe of solidarity and mutual respect to have these disgraceful images:

For the banks to be closed, exactly because the government decided to give the people the opportunity to express their will;

And for thousands of elderly people to be deeply inconvenienced. However, the Greek government, despite the financial asphyxiation, took the appropriate measures and made sure that pensions were paid and deposited into the accounts.

We owe an explanation to these people who have been so inconvenienced:

We have been fighting all these months in order to protect your pensions.

To protect your right to a decent pension and not a miserly “tip”.

The proposals that they tried to blackmail us in order to accept demanded huge pension reductions.

And we refused to go along with this.

And this is why they are retaliating today.

The Greek government was given an ultimatum to implement exactly the same austerity measures, and all the outstanding aspects of the memorandum that had not been implemented.

And, in fact, without any provisions on the debt and financing.

This ultimatum was not accepted.

The self-evident alternative was to reach out to the people.

And this is what we have done.

I am well aware that during this period the sirens of destruction have been blaring.

They are trying to blackmail you as well, and ask that you vote YES on all the measures requested by the institutions, without any prospect of exiting the crisis.

They want you to side with those in Parliament who have repeatedly said YES to all the measures that have burdened the country.

To become one with them.

Complicit in perpetuating the memoranda.

It is important to understand, NO is not just a slogan.

NO is a decisive step towards a better deal that we aim to be signed immediately after Sunday’s result.

It constitutes the clear choice of the people concerning how their lives will be going forward.

NO does not mean breaking with Europe, but rather, returning to a Europe of values.

NO means: strong pressure for an economically viable agreement that will solve the debt issue, that will not increase the debt so that it continuously undermines our efforts to rebuild the Greek economy and society.

A socially just agreement that will allocate the burdens to those that can shoulder them, and not the workers and the pensioners.

An agreement that will allow the country, in a short period of time, to access the international financial markets, and thus end the supervision and guardianship.

An agreement containing reforms that will punish, once and for all, those who enable corruption and that have been fueling the political system all these years.

And at the same time, it will address the humanitarian crisis, create a comprehensive safety net for those who are marginalized–precisely because of the policies that have been implemented in our country for so many years.

Greek citizens,

I am fully aware of the difficulties.

I personally pledge that I will do everything possible so that these difficulties are temporary.

Some insist on linking the referendum’s result to the country staying in the euro.

They claim that I have a hidden agenda, if the NO vote prevails, to remove the country from the EU.

They are knowingly lying.

These are same people who used to say the very same thing in the past.

And they do a great disservice to the people and to Europe.

As you are aware, a year ago during the European elections, I was a candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission.

I stood before the Europeans then, just as now, and I argued that austerity policies must stop, that the memoranda will not lead to an end to the crisis.

That the program implemented in Greece failed.

That Europe must stop behaving in an undemocratic manner.

A few months later, in January 2015, the Greek people confirmed these sentiments.

Unfortunately, certain people in Europe refuse to understand this, refuse to admit this.

Those who want a Europe of authoritarianism that fails to respect democracy, those who wish for Europe to be a superficial union with the IMF being the “glue” that binds, are not visionaries for Europe.

They are timid politicians, unable to think as Europeans.

They stand side by side with those in our domestic political system, who are responsible for leading our country to bankruptcy, and that now have the gall to attempt to dump the burden on us–even as we’ve been trying to put an end to the country’s course of destruction.

They dream, indeed, of being restored to power.

This is what they’ve been hoping for—and still hope for, irrespective of whether we accepted the ultimatum–as they have blatantly sought an unelected Prime Minister who would implement it– or whether we gave our people the opportunity to express their will.

They talk of a coup. But democracy is not a coup. Unelected governments intent on manipulating circumstances—that is a coup.

Greek citizens,

I want to wholeheartedly thank you for the calmness and composure you’ve shown during every hour of this difficult week.

I want to assure you that this situation will not drag on.

It will be temporary.

Salaries and pensions will not be lost.

The deposits of citizens who did not withdraw their money or place it abroad will not be sacrificed on the altar of expediency and extortion.

I personally assume responsibility for reaching a solution immediately after the democratic process.

I urge you to strengthen this negotiating effort with your support, I invite you to say NO to the memorandum measures that are destroying Europe.

I invite you to respond positively to the prospect of a viable solution.

To turn a page, that calls for upholding democracy.

With the certain hope that we will reach a better deal.

We owe this to our parents, our children, ourselves.

It is our duty. We owe this to history.

Thank you.

[Source: http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/07/01/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-message/ Retrieved 4 July 2015]

********************

2) Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ message

July 3, 2015

My fellow citizens,

The time for responsibility and democracy has arrived. The fear-mongering and threats of disaster must stop.

When a nation takes a stand on its future, it has nothing to fear.

Let us all go to the polls calmly, and let us make our choice based on the arguments–and not the slogans.

Yesterday an event of major political importance occurred. The International Monetary Fund released a report concerning the Greek economy.

The report is a great vindication for the Greek government; it confirms the obvious–that the Greek debt is unsustainable.

Per the IMF, the only way that the economy can recover and the debt be made sustainable is through a 30% haircut and a 20-year grace period.

The institutions never presented this report to the Greek government during the five months of the negotiation, during the five months that we have been negotiating.

It is also missing from the institutions’ final proposal that the Greek people will be approving or rejecting on Sunday.

The IMF’s report vindicates our choice to not accept a deal that ignores this integral issue, making the debt sustainable.

In short, the main driving force behind the memorandum has confirmed our assessment, the fact that the proposal we were given will not lead to a sustainable exit from the crisis.

We should all recognize this crucial fact.

On Sunday, what will be determined is not whether Greece remains in Europe.

What will be determined is whether, under duress and blackmail, we will accept the continuation of a policy that even its creators are now admitting has failed.

On Sunday, what will be determined is whether we will consent to the slow death of our economy and the impoverishment of our society.

If we will accept to further reduce pensions, so that an unsustainable debt will be repaid with the savings of the pensioners.

Or, if with determination, we will strengthen our negotiating resolve to achieve an agreement that will finally put an end to the destruction of the last five years.

My fellow citizens,

With the polls opening shortly, I urge you to act with civility and to respect opposing views, so that we may present a united front in the negotiation. For our common tomorrow, our common future.

No matter what we vote on Sunday, there will be nothing to divide us on Monday.

Nobody is disputing the country’s membership in Europe. Voting “NO” to an unsustainable agreement does not mean a break with Europe.

It means continuing the negotiation with better conditions for the Greek people. Therefore, I urge you to say “NO” to ultimatums, to blackmail, to fear.

But I urge you to say “NO” to being divided, as well.

NO to those who are trying to incite panic and prevent you from deciding with composure and responsibly for your own future.

I urge you to decide in favor of democracy and dignity.

For a proud Greece that will remain standing in a Europe of democracy and solidarity.

[Source: http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/07/03/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-message-2/  Retrieved 4 July 2015]

 

SYRIZA: European Capitalists, Not Greek and European Workers, Have the Power to Determine the Way Forward

Today we publish English translations of the latest statements of Alexis Tsipras, head of the reformist, pro-capitalist ruling party SYRIZA regarding the crisis in Greece precipitated by the latest failure of the capitalist system to achieve economic stability.  Instead of leading the Greek working class on the difficult road of overthrowing the capitalist system in Greece and launching a workers socialist revolution in Greece, Tsipras and the SYRIZA tops seek to pressure the Eurocapitalist banker-thieves to honor “Europe’s democratic traditions” – whatever that is supposed to mean.  This is what “European democratic traditions” look like today – highway robbery!

Tell us more about this “European democratic tradition” you speak of, O! oracle!:

“The Greek people will sovereignly decide–and we will respect their verdict–whatever it may be. Above all, it is our duty is to defend the Greek constitution, popular sovereignty and the national independence of our country. We have a sacred duty to honor the struggles and sacrifices of the Greek people. We will defend democracy. We will defend popular sovereignty, but we will also defend Europe’s founding principles. And Europe has a long tradition of democracy, which was neither created by the Eurogroup nor the International Monetary Fund—who seem more intent on dividing Europe.

“This tradition was built by the great European leaders: Konrad Adenauer, Helmut Schmidt, Willy Brandt, François Mitterrand, Altiero Spinelli, Enrico Berlinguer. This tradition was built through the people’s struggles. This tradition is Europe’s undisputed democratic acquis.” [Source: Alexis Tsipras at http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/06/28/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-speech-to-parliament-regarding-the-july-5th-referendum/]

That’s clear enough, isn’t it? By their heroes shall ye know them!

“For this reason, I sent a short extension request again today–this time to the President of the European Council and to the 18 Heads of State of the Eurozone, as well as to the heads of the ECB, the European Commission and the European Parliament.  I am awaiting their immediate response to this fundamentally democratic request. They are the only ones who immediately can–even tonight–reverse the Eurogroup’s decision and enable the ECB to restore liquidity to the banks.” [Our emphasis – IWPCHI.  Source: http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/06/28/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-statement-concerning-on-the-latest-developments/]

That is a lie: the Greek working class has the power to immediately reverse the Eurogroup’s decision – by launching a workers socialist revolution in Greece, repudiating the debt and calling on their fellow workers throughout the world to follow their example!  But this is a course that SYRIZA will not take, because they are not revolutionaries – they are reformist, pro-capitalist politicians who, instead of leading the workers on the road to socialist revolution, are attempting to rescue the morally and economically bankrupt Greek and European capitalist classes and their decrepit, tottering capitalist system.  The means that they seek to employ in the short term: a bogus national referendum on July 5 that will be an attempt to acquire political cover for SYRIZA’s next parliamentary maneuver towards this end.

Unwilling to continue defending Greece from the predatory Eurozone banker-swindlers who seek to seize Greek seaports, airports, and squeeze more concessions and profits from the already suffering Greek workers SYRIZA will (after their EU “partners” – which is what SYRIZA calls those who seek to rob Greece blind: “our partners”! – and their news media spread horror stories for a week threatening an economic catastrophe for the Greek workers)… only after a week of this naked economic terrorism being launched against them 24/7 – ask the Greek people” what THEY want to do!

“Earlier this evening, the Cabinet was convened and I proposed holding a referendum, so that the Greek people can decide.  My proposal was unanimously accepted.” [Source: http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/06/27/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-address-concerning-the-referendum-to-be-held-on-the-5th-of-july/]  They’re looking for the exits!  This is not the act of a revolutionary socialist leadership but of scared bourgeois politicians who are losing their nerve and looking to buy themselves more time – to figure out what to do next – because they have no idea where they are going!

The referendum SYRIZA seeks to present to the Greek workers – after 7 days of constant EU and ECB threats of all economic hell breaking loose if the Greek workers vote against the EU’s austerity programme – is a truly fine piece of bourgeois political fuckery (please excuse our French).  See if you can make heads or tails out of this:

“Should the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the June 25 eurogroup and consisting of two parts, which form their single proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled ‘Reforms for the completion of the Current Program and Beyond’ and the second ‘Preliminary Debt sustainability Analysis’.”

Got that?  This is the question being posed to the Greek working class by SYRIZA – while SYRIZA’s capitalist “partners” at the European Central Bank (ECB) through their media holdings throughout Europe threaten to destroy the Greek economy if the Greek workers dare to vote “no”!

We’d like to ask SYRIZA: what, exactly, is your plan of action should the Greek workers do as you pretend to urge them to do by voting “no” on this referendum?  Because if they vote “no”, you can be certain that the ECB, IMF and the rest of your “partners” are going to do all they can to punish the Greek workers for their “impertinence”!  They will try, as the US bankers did to Chile in the ’70s, to “make the Greek economy scream” – and will seek to topple the SYRIZA party by any means necessary.  In Greece, the means are already at hand: the Greek Generals will once again be bribed and groomed by the CIA and THEIR EU “partners” to declare a state of emergency, suspend the Greek Constitution and arrest all the leaders of SYRIZA, the Communist Party of Greece and all the most militant trade union leaders, and we will see a new Golden Dawn government installed in Greece while the Greek capitalist class and SYRIZA’s erstwhile Eurozone “partners” “restore order” in Greece!

Tsipras tells the Greek workers: “I personally commit that I will respect the outcome of your democratic choice, whatever it may be.”  These are not the words of a revolutionary working class leader but of a cringing bourgeois politician preparing his alibi to be used to beg for mercy from his Eurobanker “partners” if the referendum should “go against” the wishes of the ECB, IMF and the rest of the capitalist vultures hovering over the Greek countryside!

If you need to convince yourself whether or not Tsipras is a follower of Adam Smith or Marx, listen to whose ghost he summons at this crucial moment for the workers of Greece:

“Yesterday they were blackmailing us with liquidity, today they are blackmailing us with the banks, fear, panic and scaremongering. Eventually, however, even blackmail attempts fail. I would like to remind you today of a great phrase by a politician from the New Deal era in the United States who had stated that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The only thing that the Greek people have to fear today, after so many years of being pillaged, is fear itself.”

That’s not Eugene Debs’s ghost he’s channeling but that of US imperialist President Franklin Delano Roosevelt!  That’s yet another olive branch being laid at the feet of Barack Obama, whose favor SYRIZA vainly sought to curry in the runup to the last series of phony “negotiations” with the Eurothieves.  Obama took the bouquet of roses offered him by Tsipras and threw it on the floor at the G7 meeting, telling Tsipras that is was “time for the Greeks to make some hard choices”.  Incredibly, even now Tsipras is sending boxes of candy to the White House in order to get Obama to put pressure on the EU to come to terms with SYRIZA!  Fat chance!

“‘What it’s going to require is Greece being serious about making some important reforms, not only to satisfy creditors, but also to create a platform where the Greek economy can start growing again,’ Mr Obama said at a post-summit news conference. ‘The Greeks are going to have to follow through and make some tough political choices that are going to be good in the long term.'”

[SOURCE: Financial Times, “Obama says time for Tsipras to make ‘tough choices’”, 8 June 2015]

Once again we say that the only “solution” to the Greek debt crisis is to put an end to the decrepit capitalist system that is responsible for driving the Greek working class into the blind alley it now finds itself in.  The debt should be repudiated; the Greek generals should all be arrested and jailed and the workers of Greece should be armed and prepared to seize power in the next few weeks or months.

But this would take a revolutionary socialist leadership with a revolutionary programme dedicated to the defense of the rights and interests of the working class – not a gang of lawyers for the capitalist class.  SYRIZA is not such a revolutionary party and can not be expected to lead such a struggle.

What they can be expected to do is to distance themselves from any revolutionary parties that WOULD lead such a struggle; to unleash the cops on those parties the moment they take to the streets in protest against SYRIZA’s referendum-swindle.  SYRIZA’s cops can be expected to be unleashed against the revolutionary socialist worker-militants who oppose SYRIZA’s class-collaborationist strategy, thinly veiled as “principled” opposition to the austerity program being imposed by SYRIZA’s EU “partners”!

We warn the rank and file membership of SYRIZA: your leaders, by proposing this bogus referendum are demonstrating their complete unwillingness and incapacity to lead the Greek working class through the current crisis.  You must carefully analyse every statement made by your leaders and ask yourself: do you consider the EU banker -thieves to be the “partners” of the Greek working class? What will the SYRIZA leadership do in the event of a “no” vote? A “yes” vote will be essentially a vote of “no confidence” in the present government and will precipitate calls for new national elections.  Why did SYRIZA’s leadership place itself in jeopardy of facing such an “no confidence” vote just when it had been given the leadership role by the workers of Greece on 25 January?  Why this desire among the SYRIZA leadership not to lead, but to abdicate responsibility precisely at the moment of greatest danger?  Without revolutionary leadership there can be no revolutionary struggle and consequently no revolutionary victory of the workers!

For workers socialist revolution in Greece! No to austerity; dump the capitalist system and fight for a workers socialist government!

– IWPCHI

*******************

The first statement was presented by SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras to the Greek citizenryon 27 June 2015 and can be found here:

http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/06/27/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-address-concerning-the-referendum-to-be-held-on-the-5th-of-july/

Greek citizens,

For the last six months, the Greek government has been waging a battle under conditions of unprecedented economic asphyxiation, in order to implement your mandate, that of January 25th.

The mandate to negotiate with our partners to bring about an end austerity, and for prosperity and social justice to return to our country once more.

For a sustainable agreement that will respect democracy, as well as European rules, and which will lead to a definitive exit from the crisis.

During the negotiations, we were repeatedly asked to implement memoranda policies agreed to by the previous governments, despite the fact that the memoranda were unequivocally condemned by the Greek people in the recent elections.

We never considered giving in—not even for a moment. Of betraying your trust.

Following five months of tough negotiations, our partners submitted a proposal-ultimatum at the Eurogroup meeting, taking aim at Greek democracy and the Greek people.

An ultimatum that contravenes Europe’s founding principles and values. The values of our common European project.

The Greek government was asked to accept a proposal that will add new unbearable weight to the shoulders of the Greek people, and that will undermine the recovery of the Greek economy and society–not only by fueling uncertainty, but also by further exacerbating social inequalities.

The institutions’ proposal includes measures that will further deregulate the labor market, pension cuts, and further reductions in public sector wages–as well as an increase in VAT on food, restaurants and tourism, while eliminating the tax breaks of the Greek islands.

These proposals–which directly violate the European social acquis and the fundamental rights to work, equality and dignity–prove that certain partners and members of the institutions are not interested in reaching a viable and beneficial agreement for all parties, but rather the humiliation of the Greek people.

These proposals mainly illustrate the IMF’s insistence on harsh and punitive austerity measures. Now is the time for the leading European powers to rise to the occasion and take initiative to definitively end the Greek debt crisis, a crisis affecting other European countries as well, by threatening the very future of European integration.

Greek citizens,

We are facing a historic responsibility to not let the struggles and sacrifices of the Greek people be in vain, and to strengthen democracy and our national sovereignty—and this responsibility weighs upon us.

Our responsibility for our country’s future.

This responsibility obliges us to respond to the ultimatum based on the sovereign will of the Greek people.

Earlier this evening, the Cabinet was convened and I proposed holding a referendum, so that the Greek people can decide.

My proposal was unanimously accepted.

Tomorrow, the Parliament will hold an extraordinary meeting to ratify the Cabinet’s proposal for a referendum to take place next Sunday, on July 5th. The question on the ballot will be whether the institutions’ proposal should be accepted or rejected.

I have already informed the French President, the German Chancellor, and the ECB’s president of my decision, while tomorrow I will ask for a short extension of the program -in writing- from the leaders of the EU and the institutions, so that the Greek people can decide free of pressure and blackmail, as stipulated by our country’s Constitution and Europe’s democratic tradition.

Greek citizens,

I call on you to decide –with sovereignty and dignity as Greek history demands–whether we should accept the extortionate ultimatum that calls for strict and humiliating austerity without end, and without the prospect of ever standing on our own two feet, socially and financially.

We should respond to authoritarianism and harsh austerity with democracy–calmly and decisively.

Greece, the birthplace of democracy, should send a resounding democratic message to the European and global community.

And I personally commit that I will respect the outcome of your democratic choice, whatever it may be.

I am absolutely confident that your choice will honor our country’s history and will send a message of dignity worldwide.

In these critical times, we all have to remember that Europe is the common home of all of its peoples.

That in Europe there are no owners and guests.

Greece is, and will remain, an integral part of Europe, and Europe an integral part of Greece.

But a Europe without democracy will be a Europe without an identity and without a compass.

I call on all of you to act with national unity and composure, and to make a worthy decision.

For us, for our future generations, for Greek history.

For our country’s sovereignty and dignity.

[END OF FIRST STATEMENT – IWPCHI]

***************

The next statement was presented by SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras to the Greek citizenry via a television address on June 28.  Our source can be found here:

http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/06/28/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-statement-concerning-on-the-latest-developments/

Yesterday’s Eurogroup decision to not approve the Greek government’s request for a few days’ extension of the program to give the Greek people a chance to decide by referendum on the institutions’ ultimatum constitutes an unprecedented challenge to European affairs, an action that seeks to bar the right of a sovereign people to exercise their democratic prerogative.

A high and sacred right: the expression of opinion.

The Eurogroup’s decision prompted the ECB to not increase liquidity to Greek banks, and forced the Bank of Greece to recommend that banks remain closed, as well as restrictive measures on withdrawals.

It is clear that the objective of the Eurogroup’s and ECB’s decisions is to attempt to blackmail the will of the Greek people and to hinder democratic processes, namely holding the referendum.

They will not succeed.

These decisions will only serve to bring about the very opposite result.

They will further strengthen the resolve of the Greek people to reject the unacceptable memorandum proposals and the institutions’ ultimatums.

One thing remains certain: the refusal of an extension of a few short days, and the attempt to cancel a purely democratic process is an insult and a great disgrace to Europe’s democratic traditions.

For this reason, I sent a short extension request again today–this time to the President of the European Council and to the 18 Heads of State of the Eurozone, as well as to the heads of the ECB, the European Commission and the European Parliament.

I am awaiting their immediate response to this fundamentally democratic request.

They are the only ones who immediately can–even tonight–reverse the Eurogroup’s decision and enable the ECB to restore liquidity to the banks.

What is needed in the coming days is composure and patience. The bank deposits in the Greek banks are entirely secure.

This holds true for the payment of wages and pensions, as well. We will deal with any difficulties with calmness and determination.

The more calmly we confront difficulties, the sooner we will overcome them and the milder their consequences will be.

Today, we have the chance to prove to ourselves–and indeed, to the world–that justice can prevail.

Once again, we have a historic opportunity to send a message of hope and dignity to Europe and the world.

In these critical hours, as we face history together, we must remember that the only thing to fear is fear itself.

We will not allow it to overcome us.

We will succeed.

The dignity of the Greek people in the face of blackmail and injustice will send a message of hope and pride to all of Europe.

[END – IWPCHI]

******************

The third statement is also by SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras and was delivered to the Greek Parliament on 28 June 2015.  It can be found here:

http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/06/28/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-speech-to-parliament-regarding-the-july-5th-referendum/

Ladies and gentlemen Members of Parliament,

Today’s meeting has historical significance. I could take time to answer the Leader of the Opposition, but I don’t think it makes any sense to do so—given the important historical nature of the issue before us. A petty confrontation would serve no purpose. There isn’t a single Greek citizen who’s not familiar with your [the Opposition’s] actions and their consequences, your motivation to leave office–and had you remained, the measures you would of signed for: totaling not eight, but sixteen billion euro in cuts, based on the primary surpluses that had been determined by the institutions, at 3% and 4.5%.

But going into detail serves no purpose. Right now, we are making history. Right now, we must assume our responsibilities, and be straightforward and honest. What purpose will yet another parliamentary confrontation serve, well past midnight now, a fact that you bear responsibility for since you insisted that the President not be present during your speech?

Ladies and gentlemen Members of Parliament,

This day will be remembered as a bleak day in history, a bleak day in our common European, as some who are outside of and beyond any institutional process, outside of and beyond common regulations and treaties of the European Union, chose to convene the Council of Finance Ministers of the Eurozone and exclude one member. This is a very unfortunate development. Our country is a full member, and was excluded from a key process—something that no one has the right to do.

This will be a black mark on European history—a day when one of the Finance Ministers was excluded from a European Council meeting, and the right of a sovereign people to democratically decide their future was called into question.

And what was the main message of the Finance Ministers–with the exception of course, of a few who adopted a different stance? The message was that they do not allow any breathing room for democracy. The Greek people must, therefore, respond with unity.

Ladies and gentlemen Members of Parliament,

In the birthplace of democracy, we will not ask Mr. Schäuble’s or Mr. Dijsselbloem’s permission to allow the Greek people to voice their opinion! We will not ask Mr. Schäuble’s and Mr. Dijsselbloem’s permission to protect and safeguard democracy. The referendum, which allows the sovereign Greek people to decide on their future, will take place as scheduled next Sunday, whether our partners agree or not.

The Greek people will sovereignly decide–and we will respect their verdict–whatever it may be. Above all, it is our duty is to defend the Greek constitution, popular sovereignty and the national independence of our country. We have a sacred duty to honor the struggles and sacrifices of the Greek people. We will defend democracy. We will defend popular sovereignty, but we will also defend Europe’s founding principles. And Europe has a long tradition of democracy, which was neither created by the Eurogroup nor the International Monetary Fund—who seem more intent on dividing Europe.

This tradition was built by the great European leaders: Konrad Adenauer, Helmut Schmidt, Willy Brandt, François Mitterrand, Altiero Spinelli, Enrico Berlinguer. This tradition was built through the people’s struggles. This tradition is Europe’s undisputed democratic acquis.

The expression of the people’s will through the use of referendums is not a new phenomenon in Europe. Referendums took place in several countries on the Maastricht Treaty, the Treaty of Lisbon and the European Constitution. So, why is a Greek referendum eliciting such a reaction?

Did anyone attempt to sway French citizens when they were deciding on a fundamental European Union issue – what can be more fundamental than the actual European Constitution, which they voted against – against holding a referendum? Did anyone attempt to dictate what the referendum’s question would be? Did anyone tell them that if they voted “No” on the European Constitution, they would essentially be voting in favor of their withdrawal from the European Union? So, why are some people today so afraid of the verdict of the Greek people, and why are they trying to use blackmail to prevent a referendum? They should consider that blackmail sometimes has the exact opposite effect. And I say this, because some people think that the issue of Greece is a game.

The dignity of a people, however, is not a game, ladies and gentlemen, a people that have been pillaged for five years now by unjust and brutal austerity programs. One and a half million unemployed, three million poor, thousands of padlocks, unemployment, young people leaving the country en masse. These circumstances did not come about during the last five months of intense and real negotiation. These occurred during the past five years of the Memorandum, which imposed harsh austerity – a tragedy that must finally be ended. With the verdict of the Greek people on January 25th, and with new verdict of the Greek people this coming Sunday, the stifling policies of the Memoranda must end once and for all.

We should be aware, however, that the greater the extent of the upheaval, of the reactions, or the blackmail, the greater the problem which cannot be hidden, or neatly explained away by the other side.

Perhaps they believe that by employing threats and blackmail, and by trying to create panic, that they will bend the will of a people seeking to live in dignity. They are making a big mistake. Greece cannot turn back, because our people want to live in dignity. What is the value that the credit rating agencies assign to the dignity of a people? How much do they think it’s worth? What is the going price for the dignity of a people on the stock market? With how many instalments, to repay unbearable and unsustainable debts, can one meet this price?

Yesterday they were blackmailing us with liquidity, today they are blackmailing us with the banks, fear, panic and scaremongering. Eventually, however, even blackmail attempts fail. I would like to remind you today of a great phrase by a politician from the New Deal era in the United States who had stated that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The only thing that the Greek people have to fear today, after so many years of being pillaged, is fear itself. And I bring this up because already an incredible propaganda campaign of fear was launched–just last night–that will only escalate in the coming days, as Sunday approaches.

But they should know that sometimes, when the attempts to terrorize are so blatant, the end result is often the opposite of what was desired. People stand their ground. The Greek people – the previous generations – have gone through great difficulties, much worse than today’s. In the course of our modern history, our people have persevered: the Greek people know how to defy fear and resist it. We are a nation that loves peace. But when war is declared on us, we know how to fight and we know how to win.

Ladies and gentlemen Members of Parliament,

For five months, from our first days in office, we have been waging a tough and sincere fight on behalf of our people and our country, to end austerity and change Eurozone policy. We negotiated despite conditions of unprecedented extortion and financial asphyxiation, in order to implement the mandate that we were given.

Despite these conditions, every citizen of this country knows just how hard Greece has tried during these months, and that the Greek Government has made an honest and real effort to negotiate with determination, with dignity.

From day one, we have remained unwavering on the principle of mutual respect as first stipulated in February – if I remember correctly – by the French Minister of Finance, Michel Sapin. Respect for the verdict of the Greek people for change, and respect as well, for the common rules that unite us in the Eurozone. This was our guiding principle.

We negotiated with our cards on the table and with the desire for sincere cooperation, seeking a fair compromise, i.e. to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with our partners. I want to assure you that during these months, I personally did everything I could to attain this. At the end of the day, however, unfortunately, the extreme voices among the partners and the institutions prevailed.

Despite the fact that there were sincere intentions for an agreement – this was especially the case with Mr. Juncker – there was also insistence on the condition that the agreement be approved by the IMF, something that was quite unlikely since the Fund had stopped disbursements for a year. Since the summer of 2014, the IMF has not disbursed funds for the Greek program, because it knows that there is no prospect of the stability and sustainability of the debt.

The stubborn persistence that the IMF be part of the decision, especially since it is obvious to almost everyone that it will not make further disbursements, was a condition that limited, and indeed suffocated, any chance of an honest compromise. I trust that you are all aware that we exhausted the limits on all of our concessions in order to reach an agreement. Perhaps some people perceived this as a sign of weakness or as an opportunity to shrink our political credibility. As an opportunity to seek revenge and punish a different voice within Europe, to make an example of us to other countries so that they would not resist: to create a fait accompli, that there is no breathing room, that there isn’t the slightest expectation or hope for change in Europe and in the Eurozone where hardline conservatives dominate.

You may even remember that even at the last moment – the last moment! – in an effort to reach an agreement, we submitted equivalent measures to the exceedingly high demands of our creditors – exceedingly high demands compared to our assessment concerning the existing fiscal gap for 2015 and 2016 – with the difference being that we chose to allocate the burdens based on criteria of social justice to those who can shoulder them, and not to those who have been shouldering them for the last five years and cannot take it anymore.

Due mainly to the IMF’s insistence, we were asked to remove or mitigate our proposals on the taxation of wealth. We were asked to eliminate the imposition of a special supplementary contribution on business profits over 500,000 euros, and to increase the rate of taxation of corporate bodies by 3%. We were also asked to restore the employers’ contributions to their previous level of 2.9%, which was in place eighteen months ago.

The IMF’s concern is that “non-recessionary” measures be put in place. This is all the more ironic considering that the IMF officially admitted just a few years ago, that they had made a mistake on the multipliers of the recession, a mistake that has condemned our economy to recession for five years now—all in the name of non-recessionary measures. If we ask the wealthiest to shoulder the burden, the IMF believes we will have recessionary measures. However, if we burden pensions and wages, however, we won’t have recessionary measures; if we increase VAT, we won’t have recessionary measures. So, to indulge this obsession of theirs, the IMF asked us to once again have the pensioners shoulder the burden, and that we should decrease pensions–even the allowance for the lowest pensions. Furthermore, they made it clear that they were not interested in additional revenue resulting from controlling illegal wealth, and that they would not include this in their macroeconomic scenarios.

They also asked us to voluntarily opt out of the EU acquis of collective bargaining, which is enshrined in Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and to keep the minimum wage in the private sector at the current, near-poverty levels. They asked us to legislate collective redundancies and employer lock out, conditions that the Troika itself had agreed to exclude from pension reform in 2013.

And while we had agreed to start reforming the pension system in October, the IMF demanded that the reduction in the main and supplementary pensions take place earlier, in order to predetermine the content of the reform. The IMF also demanded a dramatic increase of VAT on tourism, i.e. hotels and catering, from 6.5% to 23%. The IMF’s insistence raises a number of legitimate questions: Whose agenda are they serving? What special interests are they representing? Whose interests are served by condemning the most powerful, competitive advantage of our country internationally—tourism—to sudden death? This is akin to issuing a travel guideline advising tourists to not come to our country.

Furthermore, the IMF did not provide anything more concrete on the issue of the debt, aside from the usual vague promises made to previous governments, that the debt would be dealt with at some point. In addition, they provided an extremely tight schedule of financing, whereas according to the decision of February 20th, the completion of the current evaluation on June 30th automatically results in the disbursement of the last outstanding installment of 7.2 billion euro. By extending the current agreement until December 2015, four monthly evaluations were added.

In short, the IMF told us that they would dispense liquidity drop by drop and under tight supervision, while at the same time they would retain the right to unilaterally decide in October whether or not to disburse the instalments of 3.5 billion euro that have been due since 2014. In other words, they were not asking us to agree. They were asking us to hand over our political dignity. They were asking us to once again attack employees and pensioners. They were asking us to sign another Memorandum with harsh terms that would lead to further recession, and the slow death of the Greek economy.

We did not accept. We refused. This was not a matter of compromise. We refused to hand over our country so that it could serve as a new economic colony to foreign interests, and our economy to a new recessionary blackout.

Ladies and gentlemen Members of Parliament,

Now is not the time for petty arguments between the parties, although I understand that perhaps our stance has surprised you. You were certain that we would surrender. Despite the obvious contradiction, you’ve been saying that we’ll lead the country to destruction if we don’t sign an agreement, but if we do sign, then we’ll be condemning the country to another memorandum. You’ve stated this repeatedly. You were certain that we would cave. There may even be a little envy deep inside some of you because we did what you didn’t dare to do–even though you might have wanted to: to resist!

But now is not the time to fight. We must create conditions of accord, for the widest social and political consensus to defend Democracy and the right of a people to be rid of austerity after five consecutive years. The entire political leadership of the country must, above all, protect the right of our people to be the masters of their decisions and to determine the course of the country. The day following the democratic choice, and a proud ‘No’ to subjugation and to indignity, our country will have a much stronger negotiating position, and it will be the moment of truth for the creditors. They will finally understand that Greece is not going to surrender, that Greece is not a game that is over.

Our intention for a truly honest compromise and for a truly sustainable agreement will permanently remain on the table, but there needs to be sincere desire to negotiate in good faith, not just to engage in blackmail. The wider the social and political consensus of our people who will express their opinion sovereignly as required by the rules of democracy and the stronger the will of our people is, the stronger the country’s position will be in international affairs. Only then will it be possible to achieve an agreement that allows for strong growth, the restoration of social justice and cohesion, and country’s productive reconstruction.

I want to make it absolutely clear that our decision that the Greek people express their will sovereignly is in no way a decision to break with Europe. It is a decision to put an end to extortion and coercion, practices that have become all too common in Europe. It is a decision to return to Europe’s founding values, of respect for the European acquis, a decision to return to the Europe of principles and democracy. And it’s a decision of dignity against practices of raw economic blackmail.

I hear a lot of people saying, both in this room and among hardliners in Berlin, that Europe represents the harsh memoranda, that Europe is equivalent to the constant subjugation to austerity, austerity without a future. Should we accept this? Shouldn’t this be disputed? We have an enormous responsibility both to our people and to all the citizens of Europe who saw the political change in Greece with great hope, hope for the necessary change and transformation of Europe.

If we do not challenge this doctrine now, then we are putting an end to hope. We are putting an end to hope for the necessary transformation of Europe. The peoples’ vision comes to an end, as well as our vision for a Europe of solidarity and social cohesion. We would have to accept, to admit that we have, and will have, a Europe of punishment, a Europe of blackmail, a Europe of ultimatums that its people will not love, but will remain by compulsion and not by choice.

Ladies and gentlemen Members of Parliament,

I am confident that the Greek people will rise to the historical occasion and will reject the ultimatum. In past instances, when an ultimatum was presented to the Greek people, they responded accordingly. It will send a message of democracy and dignity throughout Europe. Because a ‘No’ is at the same time a big “yes”; a big ‘yes’ to the Greek Government’s decision to reject an offensive ultimatum.

It offends not only the Greek people, but also the democratic tradition of Europe, the principles and values ​​of the Enlightenment and of the French Revolution. It offends the post-war democratic tradition, whereby the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats – not the Left, as it wasn’t in power – cooperated to help build the European welfare state, which until yesterday, this European welfare state was a global standard and a feature of Europe’s political diversity. It is these principles and values that ​​we are defending: democracy, equality, solidarity, mutual respect, human dignity and social rights.

We are defending – and will continue to do so at any cost – the right of every European citizen to choose their governments, to make crucial strategic choices concerning their future, to choose their governments regardless of whether they are liked by the bureaucratic elites that unfortunately rule Europe today and have led it to these impasses. For this reason, I ask of the Parliament now to approve yesterday’s Cabinet decision to hold a referendum on Sunday, July 5th, while assuring the Greek people once again that this government will not betray their expectations, it will not kill their hope.

And I am confident that everyone, both inside and outside the country, will respect the democratic right of a people to assume responsibility and decide for themselves on the critical issue before them. I say this, because I have the feeling that many would like to do everything in their power to prevent this option. Some have characterized this inherently democratic process as “coup”. The choice to uphold democracy…a coup! Some have even called for the President of the Republic himself to violate the Constitution and the Parliament’s regulations. Those of you who are appealing to the President of the Republic, what exactly are you requesting? A request that is also a dangerous civic choice? Are you asking that the President of the Republic violate the Constitution and the Parliament’s regulations?

In these critical times we all need to assume our responsibilities. And when the responsibilities are heavy, strong shoulders are required to bear them. Courage is required. Bravery is required. Virtue is required. Patriotism is required. And I assure you that the current President of the Republic has all of the above.

Irrespective of everyone’s political beliefs, all of us will be called upon to fight the battle for democracy, dignity and hope. We pledge that from Monday 6th July, with the strength of the popular verdict, we will continue our efforts.

And of course – perhaps I do not need to repeat this – all of us remain absolutely committed to democracy. The results of the democratic choice of our people will be respected, whatever their choice may be. But I want to make this clear: Any attempt for this referendum to be converted from a referendum to reject the new Memorandum to a referendum on the country’s currency serves to undermine the democratic process itself, and reveals the hidden and underlying aspirations of the Memorandum supporters.

This is exactly what the most extreme and conservative memorandum forces want—those who are mainly outside the country, as well as those who blindly repeat their views here. I want to reiterate that it is neither the intention nor the decision of the government or of the Greek people to equate the memorandum with our country’s membership in the European Union.

Greece is neither a visitor nor a guest in the European project. We are equals among equals. No one has the right, not even institutionally according to the European Treaties that we all signed, to show us the to the door to exit from our common home. We do not intend to concede this right to anyone for any reason whatsoever.

Ladies and gentlemen Members of Parliament,

The political change and the popular mandate of January 25th actually provided Europe with an opportunity to change course. Let’s not give up on this. It provided the Troika with an opportunity to transform, to become institutions that will respect the democratic acquis. They did not embrace this. They chose to remain the Troika, which kills democracy in Europe.

The crucial choice of the Greek people today concerns the future of Europe, as well as the future of Greece. I am certain that the Greek people will not be distracted by threats, blackmail, scaremongering, and provocations, and that next Sunday, they will choose bravely, with courage and virtue–exactly how they define the conditions of their freedom. They will seize this moment in history and will send a strong message across Europe, a strong message of dignity worldwide.

In these hours, Europe is looking to Greece. It is awaiting the “No” vote that upholds the dignity of the Greek people, and we have a strong responsibility to not disappoint these hopes.

Finally, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to say that the Parliament today must support sovereign choice regarding a democratic process. For every citizen of this country, this is a choice to move forward. We have no right to go backwards. We have no right to disappoint the hopes and expectations of the Greek people that our country not be condemned to being a debt colony for decades to come.

We do not have the right, with our choice and our signature, to put an end to democracy in this region, where democracy has been alive for 2,500 years. We do not have the right to afford the opportunity to technocratic institutions, to organizations with no accountability and that have not been elected by European citizens, to prohibit a sovereign people from having the sovereign right to determine the affairs of its territory and future.

The choice lies with all of us, and it is mainly a choice of hope, dignity and democracy. We owe it to our children, we owe it to the future generations, we owe to the struggles and sacrifices of the Greek people so that this country can be sovereign, its people free, so that it can be a country with democracy, popular sovereignty and pride.

We are accountable to those proud struggles, to history, to the future, to the future of our people who deserve to live with a prospect, with hope.

Be well.

 

In Wake of “Charlie Hebdo” Murders – Capitalist Media, Nationalists, Fascists, Liberals Spread Twin Lies of “Christianity Under Attack” and “Imminent Islamicisation”

The enemy of the working classes of Europe and the US are not our working-class sisters and brothers of the “Muslim world”: the mortal enemies of the working class are the bloodthirsty capitalist classes of Europe, the US and the Middle East who are committing mass murder against our working-class Muslim and Arab sisters and brothers every day! US/UN/NATO: Out of the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria! Keep your bloody hands off the world! Workers of the world: let’s unite and overthrow our capitalist masters; for international workers socialist revolution! Oppose anti-immigrant attacks scapegoating immigrant workers for the many failures of the capitalists and their crumbling greed-based economic system! For full citizenship rights for all immigrants! Unions: Create antifascist workers defense guards to crush the fascist vermin in the egg! Build a revolutionary internationalist workers party to fight for a global socialist workers republic!

– IWPCHI

*******************

11 January 2015

This past week, a pair of self-proclaimed “defenders of the Prophet Muhammad” stormed into the editorial offices of vulgar, anticlerical French “satire” magazine “Charlie Hebdo” and murdered a dozen members of the editorial, creative and security staffs. Absurdly driven to commit multiple murders by Hebdo‘s childishly insulting satirical portraits of the Prophet Muhammad and His followers, two lunatic religious fanatics who happened to be Muslim, utterly opposed to any concept of “freedom of expression” when it comes to their own religion, sought to “redeem” what they believed to be the sullied name of Islam by butchering a handful of cartoonists! Even Hollywood couldn’t invent such an outlandish tale – such are the sad realities of life on our Planet Earth in the 21st century under the auspices of a global police state “led” by the financially and morally bankrupt “civilized, Christian” United States of America and the EU!

The way these Islamic fundamentalist wackos act, one might think that Islam was a religious sect so frail and poised on the brink of extinction that creating and broadcasting a popular satirical sketch of the faith on Saturday Night Live might be all it would take to consign it to the long list of once-popular religious faiths that have vanished from the face of the Earth. In fact, Islam needs no repulsive mock-hero heretic-killers to “defend” it: with over 1.8 billion women and men counting themselves among the followers of the Prophet Muhammad, the religion is today the second-largest in the world, only slightly behind Christianity – and growing rapidly.  But of course, rational thought is now and always has been alien to the fanatics of every religion that ever existed; these are not the kind of people who allow objective reality to intrude upon their infinitesimally narrow world-views.

The bourgeois press and the capitalist-financed nationalist and fascist political parties of Europe and the Christian “West” wasted no time in latching on to the Hebdo murders as “proof” that Islam is not, as its adherents claim, “a religion of peace” – like what, Christianity? – but is in fact a religion whose believers, secretly or openly, espouse the doctrine that all who do not accept Muhammad as being a prophet of God are heretics who should be put to the sword. If all Muslims actually did believe this to be true, the world’s 1.8 billion followers of Muhammad would have finished off the world’s 2.2 billion Christians long ago. Of course none of the claims of fascists that the “Hebdo” killers represent “Islam” are based in reality; nor do the resulting frantic and opportunistic cries of the fascists in opposition to the imaginary threat of imminent “Islamicization” have any basis in reality outside of their own appetite to acquire state power for themselves, after which their supposedly much less murderous “Christian” nation-states would presumably embrace the entire world in their egalitarian, peace-loving arms.  Which is what would happen if these “civilized, Christian” fascists came to power, right?

**********************

The propagandists of the endless “War on Terror” led by the United States capitalist class and their allies in NATO are portraying the conflict as one in which a “civilized” Christian world “dedicated” to the defense of freedom of religion and freedom of speech is being wantonly attacked by those in the Muslim world, who all – openly or secretly – seek to impose their world-view and religious beliefs upon the Christian world by force.  Anyone who can take even a cursory glance at the centuries-long history of conflict between Islam and Christianity can see what a farce it is for the “Christian West” to pose in the robes of the “messenger of peace” Jesus Christ. “Christian Europe” fired the first shots in this war during the Crusades long ago, and engaged at that time in brutal, unprovoked attacks on the then relatively far more “civilized” and tolerant Muslim world in which the Christians gave no quarter to the “heretic” Muslim masses, man, woman or child. European Crusaders – (very much like today’s US/NATO crusaders) – bragged in letters they sent back home of heroic “battles” in which they slaughtered unarmed civilians seeking shelter inside Mosques until the blood ran ankle-deep. This was back when their primary weapons were hand-held; swords, spears and clubs; their heavy weaponry consisted of wooden siege engines and catapults.  The only difference between the “civilizing forces” of the “Christian world” of then and now is to be found in their modern capacity to kill far more people in far less time without necessarily having to even personally be on the same continent as their victims!

The Crusader-fanatics of the “civilized, Christian” world of the Middle Ages, who all believed that by forcing their own religious belief system upon the Muslim world through their own Medieval version of NATO-style terrorism they were doing “God’s Work”, find their spiritual descendants in mirror image in the Muslim “terrorists” of today; they can find their predecessors among the religions fanatics of every major religion going all the way back before the dawn of written history.  Killing in the name of religion wasn’t invented by the Muslims on September 11, 2001, nor was it invented by the Christians in the Middle-Ages. And in recent years it hasn’t been the “terrorists” of the “Muslim World” that have been responsible for the vast majority of the indiscriminate slaughtering of non-combatant men, women and children with impunity – as those keeping body counts for both “teams” know all too well.  It is the so-called “civilized, Christian World” that has been at work torturing and butchering Muslims from Egypt to Indonesia for most of the 20th and all of the 21st centuries. It’s only in the last 40 years or so that the “Muslim World” has begun to organize to fight back effectively. In this as well, we see a parallel with the Crusades: after initially being taken by surprise by the unprovoked and furious assaults that came out of Europe over the most flimsy pretexts, the Muslim world organized itself and counterattacked, eventually driving the Christians not just back to the borders of their own countries but driving Christian Europe almost to the brink of its own extinction. It wasn’t until the 1600’s that the wave of Muslim conquest in Europe fell back, receding eventually to its present-day borders in Eastern Europe, Turkey, to the Levant and the shores of North Africa.

When the “civilized” Christian world reconquered its territory in places like Spain and Italy, the “civilized” Christians didn’t create new polities where religionists of all kinds were welcome to worship as they pleased; the Christians either forced Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity, drove them out of the country – or burned them at the stake! “Christian civilization” only allowed the freedom of worship to those who were Catholic – everyone else was a heretic who could be set upon, beaten or lynched at any time. When these same “civilized Christians” first journeyed to the New World, they brought their “one, true faith” with them; and their God, in their rather convenient interpretation of His will as revealed through the  events that were to follow, seemed to smile indulgently upon their mindless butchery of the “heathen” native populations – a butchery that was carried out largely with the consent and acquiescence of the Catholic – and later, the Protestant – clergy. Millions were slaughtered or enslaved by these “civilized” Christians over the next 400 years. When the native populations proved to be unwilling to be used as forced labor on the slave plantations of the “civilized Christians”, these followers of Jesus Christ started kidnapping African “heathen” and selling them into slavery. The number of Africans who died on the slave ships taking them into captivity is unknown but believed to be at least 2 million.

We’ll skip a bit of the long, bloody history of “civilized Christianity” to take a look at how the “civilized Christians” of Europe and the Americas have treated the Muslim and Arab populations of the world since at least the late 1400s. Colonizing the whole of Africa and the Middle East, as well as large parts of Asia and India, these “civilized Christians” enslaved, tortured and murdered their way to the seizure of the most valuable lands, raw materials and human labor of two and a half entire continents. Tribal communities were summarily driven off lands they had occupied for millennia; nation-states that had existed for as long or longer were cut up like so much cloth and distributed to the “civilized, Christian” European plunderers, out to stuff their pockets with gold – by any means necessary.

After World War I, these emissaries from “civilized, Christian” Europe sat down in drawing-rooms and pored over maps of the Middle East and North Africa, chopping up the regions into gerrymandered nation-states ruled over by colonial governments or satraps who plundered these new nation-states wantonly. Anyone who tried to oppose them faced beatings, torture, long-term imprisonment, assassination or execution. These policies continued throughout the 20th century and continue to the present day, in which the massive war machines of “Christian, civilized” USA, UK, France, Germany, the rest of the NATO states and their local proxies have tortured, murdered and bombed civilian populations from Gaza to Iraq to Iran to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over a million and a half Iraqis alone have been murdered in TWO major wars in the past 20 years – wars inflicted upon the people of Iraq by the “Christian, civilized” United States of America. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the “Christian, civilized” US President Bush authorized mass bombings of civilian areas in Iraq and Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children as well as the mass torturing of thousands more; “Christian, civilized” President Obama has authorized remote-controlled drone attacks that have killed thousands of women and children as well as the assassinations of hundreds of men whose only “crime” was simple association with “suspected terrorists”.

In spite of all of this well-known and massive human carnage committed by “civilized, Christian” Europe and the USA against the Muslim world, we are supposed to believe that it is not the Muslims that are being subjected to mass murder at the hands of the “Christian world” but vice versa! What could be more absurd? The US and its NATO allies have mass-murdered well over – WELL over! – 1.5 MILLION Arab and Muslim people in the past 20 years alone!  The “civilized, Christian” world hails the soldiers who committed these monstrous crimes as “heroes”; the churches of the US and Europe sing hosannas to their memories every Sunday and sports stadiums full of brainwashed “civilized, Christian” citizens salute the military organizations that plan and carry out these mass-murders every day; but when a handful of religious fanatics claiming to represent Islam kill a dozen “civilized, Christian” satirists, it’s the crime of the century – and “proof” that Islam, not Christianity is the religion of fanatical murderers!

This monstrous falsification of the historical record is presented to us 24/7 via the “civilized Christian” bourgeois press, which simply ignores the entire history of the “civilized, Christian” world and its many many crimes committed against Muslims all over the globe, and spreads the lie that these obviously retaliatory strikes were “unprovoked attacks”! They tell us with straight faces that the very existence of “civilized, Christian” Europe is at stake unless… more massive military assaults are unleashed against the “uncivilized Muslim world”!  As if we, the “swinish multitude” of “dumb workers” are unable to remember the history of the past 50 years, and the war crimes we and our children were forced to commit as conscript soldiers in the imperialist armies!

****************

Do not misunderstand us: the senseless and cowardly murders of the “Charlie Hebdo” staff are repulsive to us and to every decent human being on this planet of every religious stripe – or lack thereof. The “Hebdo” killers represent the very real threat that exists, incredibly, here in the 21st century from the religious fanatics of EVERY organized religion, whose most deranged and fanatical followers think nothing of butchering men, women and children – without regard to the religions of their victims – in the name of their completely imaginary “gods”!  The threat to human civilization is not just coming from Muslim religious nuts; Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist religious zealots – to name but a few – have all committed mass murders in the past 20 years – with the forces of the supposedly “civilized, Christian” West responsible for the vast majority of murders of civilians by far.  The religious zealots of the world can be expected to continue to keep on killing “heretics” until the working class creates a real 21st-century civilization in which the basic human needs of food, clothing, shelter, education and health care – including mental health care – are guaranteed to all; and until the workers of the world overthrow the warmongering capitalist class and put an end to their phony “War on Terror”!  Only once all human needs are being met in an egalitarian socialist future will the futile practice of begging “God” for food, water, shelter and everything else no longer be necessary for the long-suffering workers of this tragic human race.   Only then will we see religious extremism “wither away” – finally – after thousands of years in which organized religion and its most fanatical adherents have caused at least as much human suffering as they have managed, with their meagre superstitious methods – to relieve.  The inauguration of that glorious religious-zealot-free future will definitely require the overthrow of the greed-based capitalist system, in which religion is a necessary prop keeping the system from toppling over.  The capitalist classes of the US and EU are right now seeking to destabilize the “Muslim world” in order to facilitate massive profit-stealing via their seizure of the easy pickings of the Middle Eastern oil fields.  They plan to lock down the entire planet in a global police state run by the USA and their (for the time being) junior partners in the EU.  It’s in the best interests of the workers of the world to stop the capitalists before they kill again.  No one else can do it.

************************

The men and women committing the terrorist attacks against civilians “in the name of Islam” no more represent “Islam” than the Christian fundamentalists who bomb abortion clinics and torture and murder as soldiers in the US imperialist military represent “Christianity”, the Hindu fanatics who kill Muslims represent all Hindus or the fascistic, murderous Zionist lunatics represent all Jews.   All religious zealots who murder in the name of their religions are, first of all, INSANE; secondly, they are mere criminals. To elevate the murderers of the  Hebdo staff to the level of “terrorists” who represent the will of millions of Muslims all over the world is to give them far more credit than they deserve. Killing these religious fanatics only turns them into instant martyrs; they should be captured, arrested and tried as common criminals, because that’s what they are. They are criminally insane, with delusions of being “messengers from God” who they truly believe sanctions the murder of non-believers in “His” name.   The fact that people like this still exist in the 21st century is stark testament to the failure of the capitalist system to bring real “civilization” to the world.  It is also a tragic reminder of what happens when the efforts of more than a century and a half by the working classes of the whole world – including our sisters and brothers in the Middle East – to overthrow the capitalist system have been driven back by capitalist classes all too willing to commit any crime against the workers. In order to maintain their class rule and to defend an economic system that has robbed the workers of the world and transferred that stolen wealth into the hands of a tiny number of human beings – who now  possess more than half of the world’s wealth, the capitalists have murdered revolutionary worker-leaders all over the Middle East and Asia, from Afghanistan to Iran, from Sri Lanka to Egypt.   It is capitalism and its endless insane quest for more and more profits that financed Islamic fundamentalism as a force with which to batter the workers movements of the Middle East into submission;  it is the capitalist classes of the US and UK that financed, trained and unleashed these religious fanatics on the world in order to crush the USSR in Afghanistan.

The Soviet Union successfully fought Islamist fundamentalism starting in the 1920s, freeing women throughout Central Asia from the bondage of the chador, the bride price and complete social isolation.  We are proud to have been part of the Trotskyist Spartacist movement that proudly declared “Hail Red Army in Afghanistan!” in 1980.  That intervention had the potential to spike resurgent Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan which – had it not been for the CIA’s terrorist training camps that sponsored Osama Bin Laden’s anti-Soviet efforts that eventually drove the USSR out of Afghanistan – might have prevented the rise of fundamentalist Islam throughout the Middle East in the 1980s and ’90s, and the shit-train of human suffering that was ushered in by it.

******************

In the wake of the “Charlie Hebdo” murders, the long, disgusting history of the brutalities the “civilized, Christian” world has heaped upon the Muslim world have been simply erased from the memory banks of the bourgeois press by the fascist and nationalist apologists for bloodthirsty “Christian civilized capitalism”; the capitalist-owned politicians and media hacks are also spreading the ridiculous fraud of the imminent “Islamicization of Europe” which allegedly threatens to destroy “civilized, Christian European” “principles” of “tolerance” and “love for one another” so close to the bloodless hearts of the warmongering “Christian, civilized” capitalist classes of Europe and the USA! Josef Goebbels would enjoy this spectacle of hypocrisy, wouldn’t he, if he was alive today? Stalin, whose “historians” were so adept at erasing national heroes like Leon Trotsky from the pages and photographs of Soviet newspapers and history books – and whose regime was roundly condemned by the “civilized, Christian” west for doing so! – would enjoy this charade as well!

The fact is that in today’s modern world, human beings can easily move across the face of the planet and are – or should be – free to settle anywhere their hearts desire without any obstacles being placed in their way.  We, as revolutionary Trotskyists, consider all workers to be our brothers and sisters; we repudiate the capitalists’ assertions that foreign-born workers are “aliens” and we fight for full citizenship rights for all immigrants!   (Anti-immigrant legislation and propaganda serve to cloak the inherent inability of the capitalist system to provide jobs for all able-bodied workers with the lie that there would be work for everyone if it wasn’t for the immigrants “stealing” “our” jobs!  In fact, the capitalist system, in order to function profitably, maintains a reserve army of the unemployed so as to keep ALL workers’ wages down; the capitalists use the immigrants as scapegoats).

Those who yearn for “the good old days” of national isolation, where natural boundaries like mountain ranges and oceans fostered unique cultural identities – as well as hideous economic, political, cultural and intellectual backwardness –  are yearning for a world that is gone and which – happily for the working classes – isn’t coming back.  The population of the United States represents only 4.5% of the world’s population; “White” Europeans are a tiny minority of the global population as well.  The world is moving rapidly in the direction BACK to the status of a much more homogeneous “racial” makeup that ended maybe 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, when the entire human race was just emerging from Africa.  To revolutionary socialists – THIS IS A GOOD THING!  The increased “racial” mixing via intermarriage should eventually destroy every vestige of racist ideology, bringing all the world’s people much closer together again.  Globally, today, believers in Islam make up approximately 25% of the world’s population.  If all our Muslim brothers and sisters were evenly distributed in every nation, 25% of the population of, say, France, would be Muslim.  But that is not the case; French Muslims make up just 7.5% of the entire population of France!  The French nationalists and fascists screaming that France is being “Islamicised” are crying wolf, desperately attempting to hold back an evolutionary trend that can only be brought to a halt through vicious racist immigration quotas that will not stop the natural global migration of our fellow human beings all over the world.  In other nations where the fascists and nationalists are trying to stoke irrational fears of impending “Islamicization”, the Muslim populations as a percentage of the total populations of those countries are as follows:

Germany: 5.0%

UK: 4.6%

US: 0.8%

Sweden: 4.9%

Netherlands: 5.5%

Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_by_country

Obviously, the Muslim immigration to Europe is going to have to increase exponentially in order to simply reach global parity in our lifetimes.  The massive exodus of people from traditionally Muslim countries to Europe has been driven in the first place by the “Global War on Terror”, which has deliberately destabilized majority-Muslim countries merely in order to facilitate the plundering of those nation-states by the US and EU multinational corporations that dictate US/NATO foreign policy and which seek to make profitable investments in the region – without regional strongmen taking their “cut” of the plunder – or threatening to kick the imperialists out on their asses.  The overthrow of capitalism in the US and EU states would lead to the overthrow of the brutal dictatorships in North Africa and the Middle East, which would result in a cessation of immigration to Europe and quite probably the return of many immigrant workers now living in EU countries to the lands of their birth.  To believe that the rapid influx of immigrants from North Africa into Europe due to the “Global War on Terror” is permanent and irreversible is to believe that the highly unstable political and economic status quo in Europe is also “permanent and irreversible”, which is inherently contradictory.  Workers socialist revolution is both possible and desirable – and necessary! – in Europe and everywhere else; and if the working class can make that happen, the likelihood of a long period of peaceful and rational development of the entire human race becomes a probability instead of highly unlikely under a more and more xenophobic and nationalistic capitalism.

********************

The lies we are having heaped upon us in desperate defense of the tottering capitalist status quo in the EU from the mouths of the bourgeois journalists and the press attaches of the “civilized, Christian” governments of the west require the most strenuous efforts of those of us in the revolutionary socialist workers movement to oppose them and to provide the working classes of the world with the truth about the hideous crimes that the ruling classes of the “civilized, Christian” world have committed against our brother and sister workers in the Muslim world.  The reactionary, anti-immigrant and cynical “Je Suis Charlie” campaigns – orchestrated by the racist and fascist apologists for US/NATO war crimes carried out throughout the Muslim world – must be avoided like the plague by workers all over the world. The capitalist classes of Europe and the Americas are seeking to terrify the working class into giving their approval for more vicious military attacks on our fellow workers in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan – and throughout Europe and the whole world – in order to crush any opposition to the capitalists’ plans to destabilize and re-colonize the Middle East.  The only resource the “civilized, Christian” capitalists care about is the oil under the lands now occupied by our working class brothers and sisters who, in the majority, “happen to be” Muslim. The capitalists know that they will never obtain a green light from the workers to butcher our own Muslim sisters and brothers with impunity until they can turn them in our eyes into cartoonish, hate-filled religious wackos hell-bent on mass murder of civilians in Europe and the Americas. In other words, the capitalist classes that run the US/NATO military murder machine want us to believe that the people of the Middle East are about to do to US what the US and NATO have been doing to THEM all these years, and are using the “Hebdo” murders to justify more war against our sisters and brothers throughout the Muslim world! The enemy of the working classes of Europe and the US are clearly NOT our fellow workers in the Muslim-majority nations; our enemies are the capitalist classes of the entire world who make their billions through the endless mass-murder of their “War on Terror”!

Don’t fall for the lies of the capitalists: our enemies aren’t our sisters and brothers in the “Muslim World” but our capitalist masters here in “civilized, Christian, capitalist” USA and Europe!  Workers of the World, Unite!  For workers socialist revolution in the US, Europe, the Middle East and throughout the capitalist world!

IWPCHI

Interesting article predicting new arrangement between ECB and Greece

Came across an interesting article today in Business Insider from Peter Tchir, “founder of TF Market Advisors, a platform providing macro trading strategies based on insight into the credit markets.” – [IWP Editor]

“Here is my best guess at what will happen with Greece.  In spite of all the rhetoric, Greece will make the May payments.  Whoever is in charge will get calls from Merkel, Lagarde, and Draghi warning them of the global carnage that would ensue if they miss those payments…” [emphasis in original]

So the May debt gets paid.  In return, Greece is allowed to drop some provision about immediate job cuts.  Austerity is out of favor anyways, and it would let the new government safe enough face, on a subject that has become controversial across Europe.”

The first thing that needs to be addressed is the bank recapitalization.  That needs to be done quickly, so that the economy can function better, but it doesn’t need to be done according to the original plan.  Shareholders need to be wiped out.  The banks need to be nationalized, and shareholders and preferred creditors just lose everything.  Depositors need to be fully protected.  I would have bondholders take losses, but since at this point the only bond lenders are probably all domestic, that causes more problems than it solves…”

The other key element of the program will be serious negotiations with the ECB.  For all of their supportive talk, quite frankly the ECB has acted like a jerk in the restructuring of Greece.  After the May payment, the ECB will still own about €50 billion of debt, with the bulk of it maturing in the next 5 years.  Let’s assume that it has an average cost of 85% of par (just a guess, but doesn’t seem to [sic – iwp] far off).  So the ECB’s cost is €42.5 billion.  The ECB will have been paid back at least €10 billion so far on bonds they bought that matured.  Assuming an average price of 90 on those (they were shorter dated), then the ECB has already booked a profit of €1 billion.  On the €60 billion that the ECB held, let’s assume the average coupon 4.5% (possibly a bit low) and that they held for about 18 months on average.  That is about €4 billion of interest that the ECB would have received so far on their Greek bond purchases.  So the “breakeven” for the ECB on their existing bonds only about €37.5 [billion – iwp] (my guess).  The ECB should agree to swap their remaining bonds for about €37.5 billion of the new PSI bonds.  Seriously, it’s not like the ECB is mark to market.  They don’t need a profit and if anyone can live on 2% interest it is an entity that prints money.  This quickly wipes out €12.5 billion of debt for Greece (my guess is the real number using my methodology would be greater).  It also reduces annual interest cost from roughly 4.5% on €50 billion (€2.25 billion) to 2% on €37.5 billion (€0.75 billion).  Annual savings to the country of €1.5 billion – I even know some hedge fund managers who would get out of bed for that sort of money…”

Read more:
http://www.businessinsider.com/this-is-what-happens-in-greece-2012-5