Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | May 14, 2012

The Merchants of Nations

Being a dissident is admittedly difficult. Yet the need to moralize and to not compromise is because I see the Big Picture. To speak truth to power and challenge us all to be better by putting a human face on the European hasty integration into a German led Federal Republic, that leaves scores of victims in it’s wake, is the  story that might inspire the less brave to act properly and in turn to save Europe from itself…

So forgive my personalization for the purposes of this self examination of a pivotal  instance in the life of the European Union.

The European Project is a common dream of the Peoples of Europe and as such it mandates a long term view. And as it meanders forward it should also be fairly democratic, transparent and equally representational of all the European Peoples. And this project of unification in a federal Democracy, or a community of nations or even a Hohenzollern trade and customs union, demands a long term approach for an effective yet timely integration. Yet in the current moment, we are faced with the short termism necessary of Democracy in action. The method, and it’s mechanics on the ground – especially when national economies are at stake – transpire soonest. And this, when compared with the two and a half thousand year building process of the Democracy project, it is a very short time indeed…

In the results of the much anticipated Greek elections this Sunday May 6th 2012, one thing became clear:

There are no Victors.

Democracy fell victim to the political extremism of the radical left and the radical right and worse is expected to follow…

Because Greece is going down the same slippery slope the German Weimar Republic had gone down before her, back in the 1930’s, with the well known and catastrophic outcomes of austerity, the rise of national socialism and the subsequent nasty results. It all turned out pear-shaped, but do we learn?

Still it appears, that history must be repeated by those who are willing to forget. Maybe this way Life enforces the lessons we all need to learn…

Roughly six and a half million Greek people voted in Sunday’s pivotal ballot, that pulled the country to the polar opposite extremes in a signal dissatisfaction with the Austerity policies imposed upon the country by the powerful German government lobby and the IMF scheduled government of Papandreou – Papademos. And people voted in extremes, because of the resultant disgust of the electoral public with the foreign led austerity and the blood sucking of Greece’s economy by the German vampire, we now have a new wave of extreme anti-austerity, anti- Berlin, and anti-European protest politicos entering the Greek Parliament for the first time.

Of course voter abstention also grew along with extremism, this time around, because apart from the voters flocking to the smaller extreme ideological spectrum parties, abstention is also viewed as a form of protest.  Misguided no-vote protest and apathy is the lazy choice for the voter, but there you have it. More than half of all young Greek people eligible for the ballot, just didn’t bother to go out and vote — even though their future depends upon this election. And thus about three million Greeks decided not to vote, and this is a terrible blow to Democracy and to the inclusion of young voters in the affairs of their country. Even the daft European doctrine as espoused by Brussels states that priority has to be given to get the young people to vote in all parliamentary elections something that is even enshrined in law in Greece. Yet this law and the get out the vote effort, went the way of European solidarity, the family Union of Europeans and the camaraderie of nations making up this old continent. In other words it went to hell, and that is bad news for the Union.

All in all 60,95 % of all stressed out eligible Greek electors voted.

And although the low turnout expresses anger, it has actually benefited the two major political parties and saved them from a complete and final electoral rout. Thus the two – rotten, long governing and responsible for this mess political parties are now still barely alive. Albeit only so – and now will try to form the country’s new coalition government by renewing their pro-Europe, pro-austerity alliance after these hung parliament elections. Still the coalition government to emerge – if it ever emerges – is a weakling and a soon to be dismissed puppet. Yet most likely it will not come to being. And this isn’t good news for the Union.

The two incumbent parties, managed this sleight of hand, mainly because of their most die-hard supporters, party clients, favourited by the party’s “largesse,” beneficiaries and older life-long acolytes of one or the other party and people who are most likely to organize and get other people to show up for the vote. By contrast the young, the 54% unemployed people, are almost completely absent from these elections. Apathy and disenfranchisement is a complete defeat for the Young Greeks who prefer to smoke cigarettes and drink instant coffee for a couple of hours in the coffee shops or even smoke dope and be stoned for the day, since any prospects for gainful and meaningful work have been trashed by the Austerity masters. Depression and teen suicides — a byproduct of this vicious cycle are also rife amongst young Greeks. This doesn’t bode well for the Union either…

And the tally continues in a way reminiscent of the 1930’s and the state of affairs in Germany, that brought good old Hitler to power and decimated all of Europe and half the world plunging us all in a blood bath that claimed in total more than a hundred million people’s lives. And it had all started with the Weimar Republic’s proviso to accept the austerity programs imposed upon Germany by the allied powers after her defeat of World War One. This is the true cost of Austerity for the Greek people and the other weaker Peoples of Europe. And just as much as in the days of the Weimar Republic, austerity bred discord, discord bred civil society break downs and violence followed that brought Hitler to power, this new Weimar Republic that emerged in Greece today, is a harbinger of the looming civil war inside the European Union. And that surely doesn’t bode well for the Union either…

All because Greece was plunged into political uncertainty Sunday after voters bolstered the communist far left and the neo-Nazi far right in a wave of protest ballots that saw the crushing defeat of the dominant political parties. The two main political parties PASOK & ND, that held power for the last forty years are the parties the people rightfully  blame for Greece’s economic collapse. And especially the PASOK party being in the government that was made up of the 13th Greek Parliament since the military junta of 1967-73. This PASOK government convened in 2009 and running also as the Berlin and IMF scheduled Greek government of Papandreou – Papademos that ruined the country fully. Damn thirteenth parliament and the woes it brought to Greece, and if you are superstitious this is a telling sign…

Yet now the parliamentary elections of the 6th of May, were the first elections, where Greece’s austerity program, the bailout Memorandum, the German lead in the federal European model, and the IMF / foreign loan agreement, have all been put to a democratic test, and the outcome is clear. A total rejection of the terms of the austerity / bailout, a rejection of a Federal Europe under German leadership and a fragmentation of the Greek vote, so severe that the two major establishment power groups – the parties responsible – are left in shambles. For now, PASOK and ND are scrambling to form alliances in the very distant hope to form a coalition government, in order to lead and get a chance to govern as proxies of Berlin, again, in a hung Greek Parliament. Because the 14th Greek parliament to emerge since the restoration of Democracy in 1973 – after the horrible junta – is hopelessly divided and certain to come to this world stillborn.

Take a look at the electoral office counting results: With most all votes already counted overnight, the center-right New Democracy was in first place with nearly 20 % of the vote, or 110 seats in the 300-member Parliament. This represents a sharp drop from the 34 % the ND party had won in the 2009 elections. In another major shift, the PASSOK socialists, who dominated Greece for decades, who looted the Greek state and the Treasury, and who were in power when Greece had to go hat in hand and beg for foreign aid in 2010 — appeared to have only 13.5 % of the vote, or 41 seats. This is way down from their 43 % share of elector votes, back in 2009 that gave them the mandate to form the disgraceful government that betrayed this country and sold it down the garden path…

PASOK the ruling socialist party. got it’s just deserts, because it was justly served the current results for their ludicrous efforts that put them far behind the new Communist party, as the distant third party. The second spot now solidly claimed by the communists called SYRIZA. Syriza is a communist party whose charismatic young leader, Alexis Tsipras opposes Europe, the Euro and all of the terms of Greece’s austerity & loan program stemming from Greece’s agreements for bailout monies, with the Germans, the IMF and the other foreign lenders. Tsipras’ Syriza communists, drew 16.4 % of the vote, and gained about 51 Parliament seats. Syriza’s complete denial of anything European can’t be good news for the Union either.

In a sign of the depth of the social unrest, political turmoil and voter dissatisfaction with the austerity programs, the voting results also showed the far-right radical neo-nazist Golden Dawn Party — whose members perform Nazi salutes when greeting each other as well as when they parade and stage frequent public rallies — pulled in about 7 % of the vote and twenty one Parliamentary seats. This guarantees them a strong place in parliament and this result is a far cry when compared with the less than 1 % the neo-nazis received back in the 2009 elections. These seven points are more than enough to allow them to enter Parliament for the first time with 21 seats. To me this is another scary reminder of the Weimar Republic days. Hitler’s rise to power — redux — indeed. The serpent’s egg has hatched in Southern Europe again because of Frau Merkel in Berlin. How strange that sounds… and yet it’s true.

And the success of the neo-nazist Golden Dawn party is both the ultimate expression of a protest vote against the Memorandum and the austerity / bailout loan program and also it represents the deep seated animosity the people feel about the Greek politicians – come traitors – that governed them for personal profit and private gain these last thirty years. Naturally this neo-nazist party has gained ground by campaigning on the streets of Athens in fancy dress black uniforms and fascist salutes… Athens, where many residents fear a sharp rise in illegal immigration, has been creating illegal immigrant ghettos out of the old city’s classic neighborhoods whose residents have no choice but to move or seek protection from the black shirted squads – macho squads of steroid enhanced body builders and security forces workers – minions and members of the displaced Greek poor and unemployed youth. These neo nazis  dress in black shirts, roam the streets in squad formations at night, and harass anyone they choose to and especially those seemingly alien. At dusk they come out and they beat up the occasional unsuspecting immigrant falling victim to ill fortune placing him/her on their path… Naturally they prefer to find people of colour to beat up, and thus exercise their thug mentality.  And apparently this is the new order of thugs that will enter the Greek parliament.  Certainly not good news for the Union…

And in a purely Freudian twist, the Golden Dawn party’s Neo-Nazist leader, Niko Mihaloliakos, who last year celebrated Hitler’s birthday with a big bash — now has pledged to “fight the memorandum of the German junta inside and outside the Greek Parliament,” referring to Greece’s austerity / debt deal with the German and IMF creditors. And this man’s day job is as an owner / pimp of a couple of comfort hotels with “butterfly tarts” in the centre of Athens. Rich Greek drama with Greek Tragedy written all over, is the setting here. Next we had Mrs Merkel admonishing Greeks and Greece for their choice of voting neo-Nazis in Parliament, saying that there is no place in the European family of parliaments for these neo-Nazis and that nazi parties like that are illegal under European law. Her statement provided further fuel in the fire of Greece’s temporal and temperamental political choices and the sentiments of the extremist angry mobs. And alas, Frau Merkel, must have forgotten to mention that both of the extreme parties that played such a pivotal role in the Greek elections, were in large part heavily financed by the German state through intermediaries and institutions, in order to destabilize Greece and rule her remotely from Berlin. The modern Hunns have become civilized and forgo the brute force, because they must have learned something from the old Roman diplomacy manual of Marcus Aurelius and choose to go softly-softly to undermine the state of their objective conquest. Seems as the old British foreign diplomacy adage, “Divide and Rule” works rather better these days, than gunboat diplomacy…

How fitting that a meddling and usurious German leader now gives lessons of democracy to the Greek people.

A true perversion this one….

Still, Frau Merkel must remember to not play with matches when living in the tinderbox called Europe. Because she needs to be reminded that Hitler’s meteoric rise to power started with 12 parliamentary seats in 1932, during the time of the German troubles.

Yet now the next Greek government to emerge out of this shambles, is inheriting a deepening recession in it’s fifth year, and is facing massive social unrest, because it will have to enforce a stiff austerity / loan program as agreed with its creditors – the German government, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The deal stipulates slashing more than $25.5 billion from the state budget over the next two years and completing a crucial bank recapitalization. And this on the back of slashing more than one hundred billion from the state budget last year too. And with the economic contraction in it’s twentieth quarter, the possibility of killing off the Greek economy and society as well is strong.

So with the “Median” or rather the “German Gold”  of the foreign meddling powers, the two extreme and admittedly romantic throwback to old times parties – those of the golden dawn and of the rose sunset – are rocking the Greek Society boat. Water is already streaming over the gunwales and with no good helmsman steering us through the storm, and no captain to plot a course, we are in for a certain bath in the drink. You can see now why it is so difficult to form a coalition government in Greece. And why the two leading parties have such a hard time doing this… Yet this is good for Frau Merkel and the Good Germans because the European instability carries forth their export economy and makes for a favourable trade wind to their products since it keeps the Euro very low, and makes for a healthy export climate. And this is all due to old Greece. Sacrifice Greece and it’s people to keep the German exports cheap and the great German production engine humming. Not a bad play considering how little “German Gold”  it takes to buy the whole of Tsipras and Syriza and the Golden Dawn and Mihaloliakos and use their unsuspecting fools to sow the seeds of discord, by turning them against their very own Greek people as Trojan horses of yore.

And Greece remaining ungoverned and ungovernable is a good thing for Germany because the Frankfurt based European Central Bank keeps pumping the austerity message and applies it’s measures unmolested. And the Berlin based, Pro-Consul Mr Horst Reichenbach is in Athens doing the governing job behind the curtains, drawing on the purse strings of this soon to be bankrupt nation. And all this is done in proxy by Berlin, quietly, unseen and  unobstructed by the Greek Democracy’s humane processes, constitutional considerations and legal hindrances. A full fledged form of occupation by a foreign power is what Mr Reichenbach’s presence in Athens represents in their efforts to steal the wealth of the nation and thus further justify their forced austerity  in a vicious circle routine, by replaying the game they exercised on stripping East Germany of it’s full employment power, wealth, and industrial base, during the time of the re-unification after the fall of the communists. And he has done well in implementing this plot, when he set up the Greek “Treuhand” with the help of PASOK and ND parties and their setting up of the legal frame work to allow for this. And now he goes on to sell off all of the Greek state owned assets at fire sale prices, without anyone noticing or protesting, because they are involved in an endless ballot box stuffing and fighting for the elections. Horst Reichenbach – a modern day “Gauleiter” – has done well for Berlin, through the assistance of a bunch of Greek traitors, as he goes on to sell all the wealth of the nation and the jewels of the Greek people to the German Mittelstand cronies and the Frankfurt finance vultures. And he does this counting on the appeasement of the Greek people and solely based on the laws and agreements that were forcibly passed in haste under the last PASOK socialist government led by Papandreou along with the willy Banker Papademos who was imposed upon Greece by Berlin.

And in this eleventh hour of it’s existence, Greek Democracy, Greece and the Greek people still have no government. And one isn’t likely to emerge any time soon within the week’s mandate to form a government. After all this is the time frame given by the Constitution before snap elections are to be called. Yet if a coalition fails to emerge, we shall have a new election this June 17th. But for the German pro-Consul Mr Horst Reichenbach and the Greek “Treuhand” is business as ususal, no matter who is, or who isn’t in power in Athens. As a matter of fact the power vacuum serves them best. And with the prospect of buying off some more Greek politicians with the German Gold and with the new elections coming up, all dirty dancing players will recommence the political corruption Tango. Because as always it takes two to dance. And thus when the Germans buy off a Greek politician, the Greek patriots should look in the mirror to find out where this travesty originated from. Because to be playing the nasty game of Greek sold out Politics is a shame, but then the so called true patriots of the big governing parties play the game all too well too… for forty years now being bought off by the German companies “selling” to Greece useless military hardware, such as sinking and listing submarines, substandard Siemens telephone exchanges so the German can listen in to the Greek people’s gossip and broken down used Leopold tanks and all other manner of military industrial munitions crap that became obsolete with the end of the Cold War. And with the two leading parties being so corrupt in their Berlin led pro-European stance, PASOK & NEW DEMOCRACY will not be able to form a coalition government, no matter how much they try. Nor will the two extreme parties who experienced meteoric rises in the popularity contest — because of their use of the German Gold  — will succeed to make a coalition government, where the two majors fail. Because the parties of the Rose Sunset / communist “Syriza” and of the “Golden Dawn” / Nazi right wing, will not be able nor will they be allowed to undermine the Greek Democracy for too long. Not for lack of trying, but because the Greek people are smarter Democrats, than they bargained them for.

New forces and honest trends will surely emerge. New Leaders will be sought out and they will choose to serve Greece and represent the people. Greece will surely rise again.

And not only rise, but lead. Am fairly certain that Greece out of sheer force of necessity will innovate and reinvent itself within the European Union and lead the whole Union in a new age of transparency and European Community. Greece will come out swinging and will show the way out of the crisis to the other sister nations. It’s happened before and somehow it appears to be her destiny to do so again. Because Greece goes through this process of rebirth often as a way to recreate itself though change. Like a recurring comet, it will rise and fall periodically, and all the while fulfill her role, same as she has done many times in the past, during the many ups and downs in it’s long and fairly illustrious Democratic leadership history.

And as for the current crop of sycophants and political lackeys of the Germans and others, they will be erased from the map too. None too soon, the two big governing parties exploiting the Greek people for four decades now, same as the two extreme ones, will be phased out and forgotten soonest – as this is the destiny of those that don’t serve their people anymore. Because making a new government isn’t up to them anymore. It’s up to the people. Only. And as for these politicians addicted to power and thievery, there is public outcry and facing the law waiting for them too. Seems like all these years of using the governing power as a personal ATM cash machine made them “like” their nasty role but alas made them also forget that they are only temporary servants of the people and nothing more. Seems they really didn’t like the job of service, but rather wanted to lord it over the people as unaccountable princes of darkness… And wanting something more than liking it, is considered an indication of addiction. And in all cases, the Greek major parties, were addicted to power because they like the rewards that come with power, more than they want to serve, govern and earn it, and that is the significant difference between the two big ones and the smaller parties that really want to govern and remake Greek Society in their image. Fancy dress party clothes and all.

And now with the German financed, Syriza neo-communist party, being the second biggest party of the land, we best remember their follies of yore. Both the follies of Germany and those of the Communists when they were facing the same landscape back in the 1930’s in the years of the Weimar Republic that gave rise to the Nazis and Hitler with the well known and felt disastrous results. Still despite all this the German government du jour, finances these Communists and the other fringe extremists and undermines the Greek Democracy and destabilizes the country to it’s peril. Because when Greece is destabilized, the whole of Europe suffers and the Good Germans are placing at grave danger the European Union. On the other hand the Germans are financing the Greek fears and national insecurities by funding the extremists and thus stoking the suicidal tendency of the Greek people in their leaderless march to oblivion, hoping that this will be the way to self-eject them from the Euro-zone. This is because there is absolutely no other constitutional way to get Greece out of the Euro except by it’s own accord. Therefore by funding this suicide pact through the Tsipras / Mihaloliakos variety of vegetable they hope to accomplish just that.

But let us see what happened back in the Weimar days of old…

Back in 1927, German manufacturing and borrowing along with sovereign debt, were at  a postwar high with twenty-two percent production above what it had been in 1913. In September 1928 Germany had 650,000 unemployed. yet a few months later, in the wake of the great fall of stock market prices and equity debt, starting again in Wall Street, lenders from the US gave Germany ninety days to start repayment of loans. An austerity program ensued and a contraction of the economy. By September 1930 Germany’s austerity and loan payment of bailout monies, had caused great contractions in the economy, the austerity had bitten into every family, and the unemployment had risen to 3,000,000. By 1930 Germany’s manufacturing had fallen by 27% percent from that 1927 level. Bankruptcies were increasing. Families were going without and even the great German productive farmers were hurting. Most all people in the middle classes feared sliding into the lower class, and into the poor and unemployed. And also most people in the middle classes blamed the economic decline on unemployed people being unwilling to work. The syndrome of lazy people is a regular scapegoat in German myth — then and now. All this while hunger was becoming widespread. Foreign influences in the country were widespread and nationalism was rising in response. Yet the German Communists fueled the desperation of the German people — instead of helping them, because according to the communist Stalinist dogma, a crisis in capitalism and its attendant people suffering was supposed to produce a rise in class consciousness among working people and thus it was going to advance the cause of a real communist revolution and the eventual rise to power of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The Communist Party in Germany did find strong support — same as in Greece now — but rather than Germany having the kind of revolution the Communists yearned for, Hitler and the Fascists, campaigning against Communism, were also gaining strength and counterbalancing.

In 1930 the parliamentary coalition that governed Germany fell apart, and new elections were held. The biggest meteoric winner in these elections was Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Party. From 12 seats in parliament they increased their seats to 107, becoming Germany’s second largest political party. The largest party was still the Social Democrats, and this party won 143 seats and 24.5 percent of the vote. Communist Party candidates won 13.1 percent of the vote — roughly 50 times better than the Communist Party did in Greece’s 1932 elections — and together the Social Democrats and the Communists were large enough to claim the right to make a government. But Communists and the Social Democrats remained hostile toward one another. The Comintern at this time was opposed to Communists working with reformers, and the Communists believed that a collapse of parliamentary government would hasten the revolutionary crisis that would propel them to power. Instead Hitler forced their hand and came to rule the day that was followed by Hitler’s Proclamation to the German Nation: “We “take” the responsibility of the leadership of the German Reich, so shall we one day lead this German Reich back to life and to greatness.”

Same as his descendants now want to “take” the responsibility of the leadership for Greece….   But I should remind them that poor Greece will rise again same as it did when it won the battles against their fascist hordes in the second world war. And it eventually also won the war against enormous odds. But Thank God, we are not there yet.

Still if you see any parallels between now and then, you are not alone.

And yet the new communist Alex Tsipras of SYRIZA acts just like the Good old German Communists did back in the 1930’s and methinks with predictably the same end game results. He eschews governing power thinking that avoiding responsibility will allow him to grow his electoral power to become the first party of the land in the next elections. And he also avoids forming a coalition in order to drive the country to the skids and appear as the saviour all along following the old communist mantra. Drive the society to ruin in order to wake up the class warfare and bring about permanent dictatorship of the proletariat. Because modern as well as old school communists, are a serious lot, and true zealots at heart. They never change their ideology even if it’s to save their political lives. And just to understand their desires, and modus operandi, we best be reminded of the words of Rosa Luxembourg known as Red Rose, and the best brain of communism, back in Germany during the early years leading to the Weimar Republic period:  “We stand today… before the awful proposition: either the triumph of nazi imperialism and the destruction of all culture, and, as in ancient Rome, depopulation, desolation, degeneration, a vast cemetery; or, the victory of socialism.”

And this reflects rather well, today’s polarization of Greek Society and its electoral choices — almost a century after Rosa’s astute observation. Except in my mind both these outcomes, are terrible choices.

Yet the picture is not quite that simple.

That being said, with the two major parties garnering only around 32% of the vote combined — and with maybe only seven out of ten voters actually casting a ballot — there are lingering doubts about whether the new pro-austerity, pro-Europe, coalition government in the making will even have a legitimate mandate to govern.

Then again no one is certain that there will be a coalition government that emerges from this wreckage of hopes.

And with this much uncertainty, chances are that we will have elections all over again in the next few weeks.

Or is revolution and civil war once more inevitable?

And here I will go back and ask Red Rosa this question…

Because Rosa Luxemburg’s last known words, written on the evening of her murder, were about her belief in the masses — same as mine — and in what she saw as the inevitability of revolution:

” The leadership has failed. Even so, the leadership can and must be recreated from the masses and out of the masses. The masses are the decisive element, they are the rock on which the final victory of the revolution will be built. The masses were on the heights; they have developed this ‘defeat’ into one of the historical defeats which are the pride and strength of international socialism. And that is why the future victory will bloom from this ‘defeat’.
‘Order reigns in Berlin!’ You stupid henchmen! Your ‘order’ is built on sand. Tomorrow the revolution will already ‘raise itself with a rattle’ and announce with fanfare, to your terror:
I was, I am, I shall be! ”

So these are the truly Sisyphean forces at work here in old Greece pulling asunder all my romantic notions about Democratic politics… in this birthplace of Democracy on a full moon shinning on Acropolis.

Awesome…

Yours,

Pano

PS:

I surely hope this isn’t a signal of things to come and that it doesn’t  portend vast difficulties for Greece. Yet one must be wary, because when Democracy fails, violence follows and Peace gets shattered. And Peace gets shattered everywhere when it’s shattered right here. There is no denying that things are bad in Athens.

Strange how this place and it’s current course of ruined hopes, makes one want to relive Oedipus Rex in the classic Greek tragedy, no matter that this is a poisoned chalice and a Memento Mori.

The Greek Athenian Democracy is the holiest of the holies…

Sacred for the whole world.

And the Real Tragedy is that if Democracy fails here — then Democracy fails everywhere else too.


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