Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | March 4, 2012

Greece: A People’s Democracy or a Bankster’s paradise?

Recent events in Greece have hinged on the tension between the haves and the have nots. And in this case am not speaking about wealth but about the legislative powers. Those who have no power are the masses of citizens and those who have it are the servants of the Bankers and namely the corrupt political classes.

Because the Banksters control the political classes of Greece through the graft they have engaged into with these same politicians over the many years of corrupt governments. And that is why now, they choose to present the grave Greek economic crisis not as their own wrong doing, but as a product of too much democracy. They present it even as a problem of these same corrupt politicians, bowing to the demands of citizens for jobs, pensions and low taxes, instead of the reality that they are nasty losers and screwed the country and it’s citizens both. They prefer an alternate reality because the truth can bite their ass off.

And that is the gospel presented by their Bankster partners who stand to gain the most too. Thus we now see the clear winners of this perceived and manufactured conflict. The troika of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and European Union have stepped forward seemingly to undo this perceived populist damage by attempting to break the ties between the residents of Greece and those who govern them. The troika has imposed strict policy guidelines, formulated by economists and other specialists, and closely monitors the implementation of these policies by the Greek government. Most recently, they have demanded written guarantees from all political parties in Greece that the austerity programs will be continued regardless of any future elections. Any “regressive” movements toward the demands of the Greek people provoke swift retributions from the troika.

Yet what the Troika and it’s allied fail to see, is that there are no ties between the governed and the ones pretending to be doing the governing… anymore in Greece. Any ties that might have existed between the people and these “sell the country to the highest bidder” moron politicians, have been broken and the bridges been burned. There is only a rather virulent form of hate between them as a connection. So much so, that politicians of all stripes are afraid to go out in public. They can’t go to a coffee shop without people throwing their coffee onto them, along with pastries, rotten eggs and any garbage they have handy or can find nearby. In some cases they attack them with their bare fists…

It does indeed make for a grand dilemma…

Indeed the most central and constant dilemma in modern politics has been the choice between the political desires and demands of citizens versus the policy expertise and prudence of bureaucrats and specialists. For the more democratically inclined, those like Machiavelli and Aristotle, the judgments of the many, as flawed as they often may be, are nonetheless more trustworthy than the commands of the elite. The few, no matter their credentials or honors, are never able to match the collective intelligence of the multitude. Crowdsourcing decisions in a Democracy, is always right…

For others, including those who drafted the US Constitution, the whims and desires of the many are a great threat to social order, and the special few must stand as a moderating force between them and the levers of government.

Indeed, the surprising though half-hearted call for a referendum on the debt, by Prime Minister George Papandreou last November brought his immediate ouster. Papandreou, although spineless, and with his technocratic tendencies notwithstanding, obviously felt some obligation as an elected official, to appeal to popular support.  Papandreou failed to carry forth, and he doomed his people, because he was replaced by a Dictator. His replacement, Lucas Papademos, a life long Bankster, was, de facto installed, or if you will, appointed by the troika. Not for his love of Democracy, but for his technical Banking capacities and his dedication to the banking sensibilities of the IMF and the ECB bankster principles. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more credentialed servant of the banking establishment, or vetted technocratic specialist than Papademos, who has a PhD in economics from MIT, taught economics at Columbia University as well as the University of Athens, and was vice president of the ECB.

And as a modern day Dictator, free from the fetters of Democracy and from thinking about re-elections, and without any significant formal opposition (the Papademos government is a coalition of the two major parties, plus the far-right; only the two leftist parties, with a meager 30 out of 300 seats, are outside of the coalition), Papademos put in power the full implementation of  the deep austerity program of cuts and reforms deemed necessary to address the crisis from the Banksters perspective.  Much like a good Dictator, the errant gay bankster, was brought on to finally install “prudent” governance, that would replace reckless populism. Or so they would have you believe – if you believed – the PR propaganda machine of the troika, coming from Berlin and from the IMF.

Yet it should be emphasized that it is not only Angela Merkel, Sarkozy, Mario Draghi, and the Banksters, who desire to minimize the ties between the Greek state and its citizens. The residents of Greece want this also. And a great many Greeks argue that the basic cause of all the current problems in Greece is too little distance between policymakers, acting as a gift shop, and common citizens. In a recent seminar titled “For Greece, Now!” which consisted of a small group of well-known academics and politicians warning of the disaster that would follow if Greece were to leave the euro zone, populism was presented as the key source of Greece’s problems. Many preposterous suggestions were put forward: One funny one is that university professors should also teach some hours each week in a school, and those who have extra money should donate it in order to help alleviate the financial crisis. And the once respected legal scholar Nikos Alivizatos made the laughable argument that the political elites of Greece cannot be held responsible for the present crisis since it was completely unexpected given that even the credit agencies had rated Greek bonds AAA as recently as 2007. Nonetheless, the overarching point of the presentations was that now is the time to finally end populism in Greece and to institute the widespread reforms and transformations needed to make Greece economically competitive. Where do these Greeks come from? Do they work for Turkey? Or are they so clueless that Paris Hilton could have done a better job at it?

And whether voiced by German politicians or by Greek academics, the argument against popular democracy hinges on two key points: One is that Greece’s problems fundamentally derive from politicians pandering to the demands of the citizens, and, even more importantly, second view is that the only proper judge of what is prudent and proper as policy is the nefarious Market. It is further being put forth, that only by appeasing the so-called “Markets” can Greece hope to emerge from otherwise certain ruin. As such, dispassionate and pragmatically minded specialists are the ideal policymakers. Common people, blinded as they are by their self-interests, cannot be trusted, nor are they fully capable of understanding the policy necessities of the moment. The more autonomous that policymakers can be from popular pressures, the better.

And here comes the Dictatorship: Because the first wave of actions taken by the Papademos regime, gives a very good indication of the kinds of policies such a detached and dispassionate group of policymakers would institute. One of their first innovations was to modify a policy first proposed by Papandreou in November of last year, a set of cuts to the pensions given to the disabled. The Papademos administration, in addition to deepening the previously proposed cuts, added a list of additional potential disabilities that included pedophilia and pyromania, among many others. Many foreign newspapers featured reports on this as, once again, a symptom of Greek pathology and mania for pensions and wasting money.  Government representatives quickly corrected such reports by noting that it was simply a list of possible disabilities, not disabilities that would be eligible for public pensions. One can easily imagine the meeting where Greece’s top policy gurus, likely armed with advanced degrees in management and finance, came up with the cynical idea that such a modification would deflect any serious discussion about the merits of cutting pensions to the disabled. This obvious, clumsy and despicable attempt to foreclose any serious discussion and criticism of the proposed law clearly demonstrates how the many are viewed by the few.

Far more significant, however, are the laws passed just a few days ago, on February 12 (at midnight, so that the results were out in time for the Asian “markets”). In addition to the latest austerity package demanded by the troika, with its many cuts to wages and pensions and its plans for decreasing the number of public employees, there was also a repealing of many of the labor laws that existed at the time. Most of the protections and regulations that working people had fought for and won in the last four decades were eliminated, without discussion, in one night. As tens of thousands of protestors were tear-gassed and chased from the center of Athens, decades of laws were undone on behalf of the markets.

These policies are foolish because not only is it a mathematical certainty that such cuts to wages and employment will result in a greater economic downturn, fewer tax revenues and the deepening of the debt crisis, but it is also a certainty that a happy “market” does not equal job growth. The experience of the United States and most of Europe in the last 20 years has been of a great expansion of financialization and speculative capitalism, together with rising rates of unemployment and underemployment. Through automation, there has been a continuing and relentless decrease in demand for labor by capital.

Stanley Aronowitz and William DeFazio have aptly described this process in their book: “The Jobless Future”‘ and there is no indication so far that they have been incorrect in their diagnosis. In Greece, this is doubly true, because never in its entire history has the private-sector labor market ever been more than 25 percent of all employment. Indeed, people who are self-employed in Greece, a staggering 30 percent (the highest rate in the world), outnumber those who work as employees in the private sector. If capitalism was unable to create jobs in Greece during the economic booms and expansions of the post-war era, why should we expect Greek capitalism to suddenly become a job creator now? With official unemployment already at over 20 percent, one can only imagine how dire the situation will become in the months ahead.

Democracy in Greece (and beyond) is thus under attack on two fundamental fronts. On the one hand, and most visibly, external and internal forces are attempting to eliminate the views and demands of the Greek people from the policymaking process. In this way, experts and their technocratic ways would come to displace popular agency. Here, “democracy” would be reduced to some procedural shell, respecting the rule of law rather than the rule of the people (two years of protests, strikes and collapsing support for all of the major political parties has resulted in no modification to the austerity policies).

On the other hand, and on a much deeper level, the attack on democracy – indeed, on politics itself – is being waged through the perceived impossibility of human beings as those who actually decide questions of just and unjust, good and bad. As already noted, it is markets that are seen as the inescapable judges of which policies are necessary and proper. No political considerations can overcome them. Thus, for example, Ed Miliband, head of the Labour Party in Britain, acknowledges that if he were prime minister, he also would cut spending to decrease public debt because the “markets” demand it. It is the same in Spain: neither of the two main political parties present any alternative to following the demands of the markets. The examples of this thinking are too numerous to list. Here, the democratic principle that we as a community are autonomous (self-governing) gives way to the belief that we are governed by something other than ourselves (heteronomy). All questions about what kind of education is best, how much to tax corporations and so on down the line are now understood as decided by markets. For example, a good policy on education is one that produces individuals with the skills and capacities “demanded” by the labour market.

The people of Greece find themselves in this double jeopardy, increasingly isolated from state power and caught within the trap of heteronymous thinking. Heteronymous thinking is schizophrenia pure and simple. The democratic call to be active in political life and to understand society as self-created and autonomous is in serious jeopardy. Pushed into a position of passivity, they can do little more than beg and demand pity.  Blinded by the perceived omnipotence of “markets,” rather than political communities, they see no viable alternative to its dictates. This is a schizophrenic position to be in. And there is good evidence that more and more Greeks lose their marbles… In addition to being depressed and the suicides have increased by a factor of twenty over the previous years.

However, there are many in Greece who still have a healthy disposition and who can recall the democratic impulse. It is the people who have the power. Because in a Democracy, it is the Demos who is omnipotent, not the banksters. Again this is the case, in a Democracy…

Thus the healthy Greeks – and there are still many –  recall the refusal to accept some perceived historical necessity, and they remember being the first people to successfully repel an invasion of the docile Eastern slave Kings a couple of millennia ago, and also the first ones to repel the invasion by the fascist Nazi Axis powers during the second World War, this last century in the 1940’s. This much heavy history and a proud people are not easily intimidated. Nor are they ruled with lies and smokescreens. Cause they are Greeks…

Instead they fight… even if only because they are Greeks.

Because the Greeks recall their ancient fighters and they were all winners. Whether they lost or won it didn’t matter, because they fought on. And fell where they lay to this day in this ancient land.

Because the Greeks remember the courageous group of students who stood up against the guns and against the tanks of the Greek Junta back in 1973, and they won the fight for Democracy.

Because the Greeks recall the words of many of Greece’s greatest poets, who expressed the deepest respect for the fallen Democrats and their love for freedom and truth. Like Cavafy who wrote the poem Thermopylae:  “Honour to those who in the life they lead define and guard a Thermopylae. Never betraying what is right, consistent and just in all they do, but showing pity also, and compassion; generous when they’re rich, and when they’re poor, still generous in small ways, still helping as much as they can; always speaking the truth, yet without hating those who lie. And even more honour is due to them when they foresee (as many do foresee) that Ephialtis will turn up in the end, that the Medes will break through after all.”

Because the Greek people read the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides and can find the answer to the current morass in there — crystal clear…

Because they remember their national anthem: “Freedom and Democracy comes out of the bones of the fallen heroes…”

Because they can see the works of Ictinus and Callicrates atop the Acropolis hill — if only they raise their eyes to stare at Parthenon, the eternal symbol of Democracy, beauty and progress…

Because they can see the bravery of some of their own people even today.

Because the bravery of the current artists and creative people who are enthused to fight on is catching on like a Democracy virus. and it works because it is an inoculation against Dictatorships. It produces great people who fight on, all their lives: People of substance and moral strength, like the brilliant composer and public intellectual, 86-year-old Mikis Theodorakis, who once again stands facing off against the club wielding riot police and is giving voice to a fight against authoritarian rule. Remember he fought against the German occupiers in the 1940’s and against the Dictatorship of the Junta and the colonels in the 1970’s and now is still fighting against the Dictatorship of the Banksters.

And they see many more modern Greeks, willing to guard Thermopylae — all over again…

And some of us might even remember the cry of beloved Leonidas: “Go stranger and tell my people that we lay here observing the laws of our country”

DEMOCRACY IS THE LAW of the land, my friends…

Yours truly,

Pano

PS:

Wake up…

Because until the very end, the possibility exists that the citizens of Greece will awaken and recognize their superiority towards both the Greek political classes and the Bankster elites with their foreign occupiers and their troika technocrats.

And am sincerely hoping that the proud and dignified Greek Peoples will awaken and instead of demanding pity, they will remember that they are the authors of society and the writers of their own fate.

Greeks need to remember their origins. They need to recall their sacred bond to Democracy and their adherence to the moral philosophy of ancient Greece.

They need to remember their own vast inner power, and their capacity to rule themselves as FREE MEN.

They need to turn their gaze towards Acropolis and see the LIGHT. The beautiful clear light that emanates from these sacred rocks. The Rock of Democracy.

And they need to look at their proud past and create their society according to principles of their own invention and of their own choosing.

Same like their progenitors who fought heroically in Salamis and Marathon in order to allow Western Civilization to flourish. It was those along with the folks that died in Thermopylae that sealed the fate of modern Greeks. Because of them the current Greeks cannot be pussies in the face of adversity and foreign occupation via the willy Banksters fake dilemmas.

There is no going back to oligarchy after giving birth to Democracy.

Greeks once more must fight for their own FREEDOM, like Leonidas and his people did, and history will remember them for ever. “Ω ΞΕΙΝ ΑΓΓΕΛΛΕΙΝ ΛΑΚΕΔΑΙΜΟΝΙΟΙΣ ΟΤΙ ΤΗΔΕ ΚΕΙΜΕΘΑ ΤΟΙΣ ΚΕΙΝΩΝ ΡΗΜΑΣΙ ΠΕΙΘΟΜΕΝΟΙ”  = GO TELL THE SPARTANS PASSERBY, THAT HERE OBEDIENT TO THEIR LAWS WE STAND.

No less is expected of the modern Greeks. Because they have deep roots in Democracy and the genius of the species that invented it. And that is why, they must now fight for it.

And fight they will do, once they find their rightful leaders and muster their strength.

I and millions others stand with You.

Let’s fight on.

No other choice…

Otherwise, the schizophrenia in the head will drive Greeks mad, and consign them to a nasty, brutish and long future of being governed by unelected “Techno-Dictators,” of being managed by foreign specialists, and of being ruled by faceless and nameless “markets” made by criminal bands of Banksters.

Because of all that, I call upon You: Wake up Greeks…

Yo, listen up and go ahead.

Take your pick…


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