Will Syriza take power in Greece?

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Greece on a knife edge


The debt is huge and unbearable

The strict continuation of the extreme austerity programme by Europe’s creditors will have truly tragic consequences for the country. It will lead to total economic disaster, which will not be healed for decades, and certainly to an incredibly serious humanitarian crisis for the standards of the continent. The homeless and impoverished citizens who one can already be seen in the streets of Athens will multiply rapidly. Suicides due to hopelessness and despair caused by the inability to survive will continue its frantic growth trend. Children blacking out in schools due to lack of adequate nutrition will become an everyday part of life.

The question then arises with intensification: what should be done in order for Greece to leave the pitch dark tunnel of deep economic crisis and enter the bright avenue of development and progress?


Michael Moriarity

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Why stop there?  Expropriate the property, sell it, then expropriate it from the chump who bought it.  Repeat until financially solvent or until nobody cares to buy stolen property any more.

In fact, to NOT do so would be peculiarly inconsistent, wouldn't it?  You take Bob's property from him, sell it to Jim, and allow Jim to keep and enjoy it??

This reminds me of the old definition of an honest cop: one who stays bought.



"The choice is between rupture and capitulation. There is no third way"


In this talk, Stathis Kouvélakis of the Central Committee of SYRIZA speaks about the situation that SYRIZA finds itself in more than 100 days after being elected.



epaulo13 wrote:

"The choice is between rupture and capitulation. There is no third way"


In this talk, Stathis Kouvélakis of the Central Committee of SYRIZA speaks about the situation that SYRIZA finds itself in more than 100 days after being elected.


That is the choice. The sooner Syriza's leadership realizes it, the better.


Default Ominous in Greece

Dimitri Lascaris say that talk of referendums are in the air in Greece and Germany, what is at stake?



Greece Unable to Pay June IMF Installments: Minister


"I am not going to pay the IMF and not pay pensions in the next few weeks,' he added."


Internal party proposal to stop repayment rejected by Syriza's central committee 95-75.



Greek Govt Backs Down on Red Lines to Secure Deal

The Greek government has been forced to back down on several of its pre-election campaign pledges as negotiations continue at a slow pace while state coffers are emptying at an alarming rate.

The so-called “Thessaloniki program” that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had announced in September 2014 and boosted his popularity is now subject to negotiation with creditors while many items have been abandoned altogether. In other words, the “red lines” the government has set in negotiations are already partially crossed.

The impasse in deliberations over the reforms that need to be implemented in order to secure further financial aid for Greece has forced Tsipras to push back several of his pledges. Government spokesperson Gavriil Sakellaridis indirectly admitted that several of the items of the Thessaloniki program cannot be implemented saying that they will be pushed back to a four-year time frame.



 I hope Podemos doesn' make the mistake that Syriza has. Syriza needs to dump both its leader and the Euro.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

Once all the back taxes were paid back by the Greek aristocracy, the game stops.


Why Does Greece Not Simply Default?


Structural changes in capitalism

The short version of the answer is that Syriza itself is hardly to blame for its forced compliance. In fact, the world has changed in dramatic ways since the mid-1970s. The kind of capitalism we have today is not like the capitalism of yore. It is not like the Keynesian compromise that reigned during the post-war decades and that formed the bedrock of the Bretton Woods regime and the social welfare state. Nor is it like the classical laissez-faire liberalism of the so-called “first wave of globalization” in the classical gold standard era, between 1880 and the start of World War I in 1914, when default was still widespread.

Unlike previous eras, today’s global capitalism has been thoroughly financialized. This, in turn, has had major consequences not only for the centrality of finance within the regime of accumulation; it has also affected the nature of the capitalist state and its relation to private creditors. To summarize a long and complicated story, we can identify at least three structural changes that have been seminal in shifting the loyalty of governments away from their domestic populations and towards international lenders and domestic elites....



Austerity is the Only Deal-Breaker  -  by Yanis Varoufakis


"Our government cannot - and will not - accept a cure that has proven itself over five long years to be worse than the disease."


re why does not Greece default/ structural changes in capitalism...

thanks for this! Some analysis of the default process is vital, but I don´t think much of the logic in this article...

The crucial point, that countries that do default historically fall harder but recover faster is well taken...but this needs elaboration, which is based on the renewed vitality of the natural economic base of a country freed from its debt obligations!

How this is managed is crucial! This is what we must consider in such threads!

What I can´t follow though is the author´s description of the 3 fundamental structural changes to financialized capitalism...e.gthat peripheral countries have become more dependent on foreign credit for their growth prospects? This is patently false...most finance capital being sucked out of such countries only is shuffling paper, not lending itself to economic growth prospects...I could go on at length describing the destructive processes of finance capital........

No Greece has the natural economic resources through its guaranteed tourism (if of course violent civil war is averted) and agriculture to rebuild its economy, its own, not foreign, industrial infrastructure (and decentralized to avoid huge dependence on credit)...I can´t elaborate here...but this is essential for our own concerns as Canada slides into being overwhelmed by its own debt obligations, government, industry and family!


May hope prevail in Greece and Europe': SYRIZA CC statement

May 28, 2015 -- The following is the resolution of the central committee of SYRIZA, published on May 24 and is binding for the party collectively. The resolution is a product of consensus and has been voted for. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal for the information of the international left....




The Reoccurring Financial Woes of Greece

Michael Hudson says a leading economist in the IMF European Division resigned in anger and had written a number of reports that denounced the IMF as captured by private bond holders and speculators when former chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was its head



Athens Defies Washington: Greece to Join Russia’s Turkish Stream Pipeline ProjectBy Stephen LendmanGlobal Research, June 02, 2015

.....beneath all the headlines re finance capital negotiations, GREXIT or no, this is info in the real world!



..i haven't seen that joining reported anywhere else and would like to see some confirmation. to take on the us syriza would need to mobilize people and that doesn't seem to be happening. to take on the us on top of europe would be, i suspect, more than they could handle right now. it might even mean militaries getting involved in a more overt way. syriza needs to tread with care and it would be to their benefit to involve the population much more than they are now. after al it is the people who will pay the price for serious errors in judgement. or so i'm thinking.

The Battle in Syriza

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Syriza member Stathis Kouvelakis debate the future of Greece.

Below, we publish a column by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, written for Le Monde, which includes the first list of concessions accepted by the Greek government in its negotiations with the troika (the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund). Tsipras’s article is followed by a reply from Stathis Kouvelakis, a central figure in Syriza’s Left Platform. Both were translated by David Broder and first appeared on the Verso Books blog.



Greece will not make scheduled payment for tomorrow.  Plans to "bundle" payments at the end of the month.


The delayed payment came as the negotiating stances of the Greek government and its creditors were leaked. These showed differences still remain in key areas such as VAT and pensions.

Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, told Sky News, “objectively speaking, we have until the 30 June because this is when the extension of the agreement with our creditors expires.”



The chorus of warnings from EMU leaders that Grexit would be ruinous for the Greeks is a negotiating ploy, or mere cant. Each of the sweeping claims made by EMU propagandists over the last twenty years has turned out to be untrue.

. . . .

Costas Lapavitsas, a Syriza MP and an economics professor at London University, thinks the new drachma would plunge by 50pc against the euro before rebounding and stabilising at 20pc below current levels. The trauma would be over within six months. “Greece would be growing at a 5pc rate in a year and it would continue for five years,” he said.

There has only been one 'hard' study on the macro-economics of Grexit, by Theodore Mariolis and Apostolis Katsinos at Panteion University in Athens. It concluded tentatively that a 50pc devaluation would not ignite rampant inflation - contrary to widespread claims - and would quickly restore trade competitiveness.




from Zerohedge

Tsipras Plays Putin Pivot Card; Tests Parliament's Patience On Troika Proposal Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/05/2015 07:45 -0400...

...so expect an announcement later today re their gasline project...and with the Greek default expect further crises in the European bond markets...and with the doctored US employment figures just released, forcing the US Fed to raise their rates? The US dollar will soar for sure...

these extreme gyrations in the major indices is a sure sign of imminent serious threats to the stability of the global finances!


Is that only available if you have log in password, cause it says I "don't have access to that information"?



Greece refuses to make €305m IMF payment in show of defiance

Greece will skip its €305m (£218m) payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday in a show of defiance as a deal between Athens and its creditors remains out of reach.

The country invoked a rule created by the IMF in the 1970s that allows it to bundle all of its €1.6bn payments due this month into one.

In a statement, Gerry Rice, the IMF's chief spokesman, said: “The Greek authorities have informed the Fund today that they plan to bundle the country’s four June payments into one, which is now due on June 30....



Greece debt crisis: the unsustainable ultimatum

They came, they saw, they had – as one Syriza MP put it to me last night – “their balls handed to them”.

For all the smiling and calm displayed by Alexis Tsipras after the emergency Brussels meeting last night, the Greeks know they came off the worst.

Four months of trying to persuade their lenders they can pursue an austerity-lite route out of debt servitude have come to nothing. Issues that engrossed technical discussion for the past four weeks were brushed aside....




Five months after Syriza’s victory in Greece, Tariq Ali talks to Stathis Kouvelakis, a leading intellectual on Syriza, about the options now facing the new Government. Will they default on the existing debt, or face surrender to the EU


Excellent video, epaulo13. An excellent analysis compressed into a mere half hour.  I would like to see the southern countries of the EU threaten to split away and form their own progressive European Union.  Perhaps if they threatened to work with Russia, they'd throw enough of a scare into the EU to bring Germany and thr rest of the European bullies to the negotiating table.  Maybe it's a pipedream, but the only alternative is the nightmare of austerity and the oppression that goes with it.  Thanks for sharing; I've bookmarked the website.


..your welcome geoff. this is interesting.

'Scottish Syriza' gains support from left in Greece, Spain and Canada

The new electoral pact, anchored around the Scottish Socialist Party and the grassroots Scottish Left Project, will meet representatives of Greece's ruling party Syriza in Edinburgh today, as well as members of Spain's left-wing Podemos movement.

The gathering is expected to discuss tactics for the 2016 election, when the new Scottish anti-austerity coalition hopes to return Socialist MSPs through the regional list system.

The development comes just days after Quebec Solidaire, the radical coalition in Quebec's National Assembly, agreed to give its support to the Scottish alliance.

Delegates unanimously backed the move at their conference in Montreal last week, at which Scottish trade union activist Cat Boyd spoke on the Left's post-referendum revival.

Amir Khadir, a Quebec Solidaire National Assembly member, said: "Austerity, whether British or Canadian, has left the vulnerable behind and impoverished ordinary people.

"But there is hope, as Cat Boyd reminded us about the struggle of ordinary people in Scotland and how Yes voters said Yes to a new and different country.

"The rising momentum behind the Scottish Left Project gives us hope and courage to fight for justice at home and solidarity abroad."...



Troika Demands Could Create Rupture Within SYRIZA



IMF walks out of Greece bailout talks

The International Monetary Fund dramatically pulled out of talks with debt-stricken Greece on Thursday after it accused Athens of failing to compromise over labour market and pension reforms.

The Washington-based lender of last resort said its team of negotiators had quit talks in Brussels after reaching a stalemate and would be returning to Washington.

The move left the Greek negotiating team with no option but to say it would also be leaving the talks and heading home to Athens.

“The ball is very much in Greece’s court,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said. “There are major differences between us in most key areas. There has been no progress in narrowing these differences recently.”


Until this week Greece had insisted it could not accept further austerity measures being imposed by Brussels as the price for more loans. But in recent days Greek negotiators have offered some concessions after settling on a limited number of “red lines” – EU/IMF proposals for tough labour market reforms, cuts in state pensions costs and a 1% budget surplus.

On Thursday, the Greek national economy minister, Giorgos Stathakis, revealed that any new deal would include higher taxes

Speaking to state-run TV’s newly relaunched channel, ERT, Stathakis said the government would give the green light to privatisations and emergency levies on middle-income salaries.

Publicly owned assets put up for sale would range from the port of Piraeus to the railway network, TrainOSE and regional airports nationwide, he said.

Analysts said the measures would mean Tsipras rolling back on a raft of pre-election pledges, leaving the leader to count on his unrivalled popularity ratings and the widespread support for his Syriza party to carry him through....



Varoufakis Says He Is Against Deal, Disagrees With Negotiation Strategy

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has distanced himself from the SYRIZA party line saying in parliament that he disagrees with the negotiation strategy and would refuse to vote for a “misanthropic deal.”

Speaking in parliament on Thursday, Varoufakis distanced himself from the party leadership and the left platform. He said he disagrees with the strategy in negotiations on a political level. While Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is under pressure to complete the agreement and has German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on his side to accelerate procedures, Varoufakis stated that, “We do not endorse logically inconsistent and misanthropic agreements. People want an agreement but not allegiance to misanthropic nonsense that leaves us in the haze we live in the last five years.”

Then he expressed his disagreement with informal chief negotiator State Minister Nikos Pappas who leaked that the Greek government will accept to increase the primary surplus target to 1 percent in order to accelerate negotiations and close the deal, Varoufakis responded that ” we have not agreed in any case for 1 percent primary surplus.”....



thread drift...

Honduras: 6,500 Gov't Workers Fired in Wake of Agreement with IMF

In the wake of an agreement between the International Monetary Fund and the Honduran government signed last November, 6,500 public employees have been laid off. The public institutions where they worked are being slowly privatized. These include companies that provide water, electricity, and phone services. Labor rights are already weak in Honduras, where 80% of workers do not have a formal contract or collective bargaining agreement and unemployment is on the rise.


...end thread drift


The Looming Austerity Package

The European “institutions” are seeking a public defeat of Syriza and the closing off of any alternative.

Developments in the debt negotiations between Greece and the European institutions have come thick and fast in the last days: the submission of proposals by the Greek side, leaks of lenders’ supposed counter-proposals, their rejection by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, pre-agenda debate in the Parliament — where Tsipras repeated his outright rejection of the counter-proposals — and then a refusal to pay the June 5 installment of the International Monetary Fund loan. We are clearly at a critical turning point.

The only political party capable of moving Greece forward at this time is Syriza. New Democracy is racked with leadership disputes and heading downhill electorally. Potami lacks any kind of credibility. Pasok is moribund. What all three propose is in essence a return to the regime of the memoranda. The Greek Communist Party has bogged itself down in a morass of turbid leftism. The route chosen by Golden Dawn, finally, is one of the country’s total derailment, socially and nationally.

It is in Syriza that the Greek people are continuing to vest their hopes. This is shown by the polls. So it is immensely important that Syriza’s experiment should succeed. The discussions being conducted inside the party automatically acquire a national dimension, for the same reason.

In this crucial historical moment, careful analysis of the Greek government’s proposals, and the lenders’ counter-proposals, is needed to draw some conclusions about the course of the negotiations....



Greece against Europe: a war of narratives—Christian Salmon

When Yanis Varoufakis announced on Tuesday that Greece's creditors have turned the negotiations "into a war", he's no doubt right, although it's perhaps becoming clear as to who constitute the opposing sides. But for Christian Salmon, author of Storytelling: Bewitching the Modern Mind, this war also takes place on the narrative terrain, with mixed metaphors and statistical ambiguities as its weapons. As he reminds us, '"You start by ceding words,' said Freud, 'and you end up ceding on the thing.'" Translated by David Broder; read the original French article here.


The battle over numbers, the quarrel over words, the fight over images and the dispute over values: these are the four ingredients of the war of narratives, seeking to transform the economic and financial compromise Syriza landed in Brussels into a political defeat.


2. The quarrel over words

“We have agreed to disagree”, Wolfgang Schäuble stated in the press conference he held together with Yanis Varoufakis. “We didn’t even agree to disagree from where I’m standing,” the Greek finance minister replied, with a broad grin on his face. This left the door open to misunderstanding, but all commentators presented Varoufakis’s comment as a provocation. One of the points of disagreement between Greece and Germany concerns the role of the “Troika”, the harness formed in February 2010 by the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the IMF to supervise the realisation of the plans to save Greece. Strongly criticised as undemocratic in character, the Troika has become the symbol of Greece’s subjection to a protectorate run by a clutch of international functionaries, some of whom were not even European. And getting rid of this Lernaean Hydra was one of Syriza’s campaign promises!

At the end of the negotiations Athens had to accept four further months of supervision, but in exchange it insisted that the term “Troika” be replaced in all official documents by the words “the institutions”. Similarly, the Greeks did not want any talk of the “extension of the aid programme” but rather a “temporary framework” or “modified programme”.

Manolis Glezos MEP, hero of the Greek Resistance to Nazism, mocked these semantic changes: “Changing the Troika’s name to ‘the institutions’, renaming the memorandum an ‘agreement’ and the lenders as ‘partners’ in reality changes nothing, as compared to the previous situation.” But is that so certain? “Wars are conducted for words on a semantic terrain,” the novelist and essayist Arthur Koestler once said. And diplomats are very well aware of the importance of words to international negotiations. “You start by ceding words,” said Freud, “and you end up ceding on the thing.” If you want to change things, you have to start by changing words. Getting rid of the term “Troika” is a prerequisite of breaking the symbolic domination established by the arbitrary fusion of these three illegitimate bodies, just as Alexis Tsipras told his voters in the aftermath of his victory.

Faced with the encryption hiding what issues are at stake in the European crisis, creating a new political lingua franca is no simple task. Caught in the rhetorical webs that the neoliberal revolution has been weaving for more than thirty years, Greece had been kept in the same situation as the colonial élites compelled to translate their own experience into the coloniser’s language: a form of neoliberal acculturation. The Greek government has tried to put an end to that, with this semantic guerrilla operation. That’s a struggle of no little significance....



Creditors Angered By Greece's Infeasible, Vague Proposals


"Technical talks have ended and now Greece's only chance to secure a deal before the bailout program extension expires is at the June 18 Eurogroup in Luxembourg."


Did the Media and Greece Miss a Meaningful Concession by the Creditors?