Σάββατο, 4 Ιουλίου 2015

Why I vote NO in the Greek referendum

It's true we Greeks have lived beyond our means for al long time and we cant' blame no one else for that but ourselves, some of us more and some other less. But what happened to Greece these last five years of the memorandums? A disaster no other western country has lived at this climax after World War II: my country lost 25% of its GDP since 2010, around 3.000.000 people in a whole population of 10.000.000 live near or under the poverty line, 1.500.000 are unemployed (over 60% between ages 18-34 years old), hundreds of thousands immigrated to other countries, those still working in Greece have lost many of their labour rights, are underpaid, there are delays on their payments or they' re not paid at all! Not to mention the rise in the number of common meals, of the homeless and of those committing suicide. All those happened because those ruling Europe (Germany, I talk about you) didn't want to cure Greek economy but to punish Greece because of  the"Greek statistics" and other sort of misbehaviour in the past. The troika policies forced someone almost dead on the surgery table to run up and down the corridor until he collapsed. That's mainly why the two parties which ruled Greece after the overthrowing of the military dictatorship in 1974-PASOK and Nea Dimokratia- are no longer in power and they have been replaced by a radical left party-SYRIZA- for the first time in Greek history...

The memorandums imposed to my country were much harder compared to those imposed to Ireland or Portugal. The price Greek society had to pay in order to achieve primary surpluses in its budget was immense. It's true we didn't proceed with the necessary promptitude to the structural reforms needed to restart our economy. But this was not a priority for E.U.-ECB and IMF who put pressure only for the repayment of their loans and not for productive reforms, a "haircut" of Greek debt or for the contribution of a growth package which would bring immediate positive effects compared to those made by the structural reforms. That's why more than 90% of the troika's loans went to the payment of previous ones. With a few words, the memorandums were a vicious circle which only deteriorated people's lives and didn't bring any sustainable solutions...

Having all those in mind you realise how easy it was eventually for Alexis Tsipras to win the elections last January (even though mass media were totally against him) on an agenda based on giving an end to the memorandums era and focusing on the healing of the wounds, especially for the non-privileged, with a fair demand for new lending under better conditions for the Greek people. All the previous five months the new Greek prime minster, together with the minister of Finance, Yanis Varoufakis, negotiated hard, taking into consideration their voters wish to end austerity but at the same time to stay in the euro area and in the E.U. At the end they offered a deal which stands quite far from SYRIZA's promises before the elections, with quite a few measures which could trigger recession, but still an honest compromise because, besides all others, it includes a debt arrangement and a demand for a growth package. Nonetheless, the so called "institutions" (former troika) rejected them making even more believable the scenario German chancellor, Angela Merkel not wanting to reach an agreement with Greece but to overthrow Tsipras in order not to transmit the "left disease" to other countries, especially in those having elections  this year, meaning Portugal and Spain...

Tsipras proved he wants Greece to stay in the core of the European Union. But not at any cost because his people are not willing any more for hopeless sacrifices which will affect the generations to come as well. We feel we were punished and terrorised enough so far. Greece belongs to Europe, it's the birthplace of european civilisation. The same name of Europe ("Evropi") is Greek. If Tsipras wins it will be a strong message to any other european country that austerity is not the solution for our common future. The founders of the EU, leaders who experienced World War II and its consequences, realised only social justice and honest solidarity could prevent World War III from taking place. After three decades of demolishion of the welfare state and the prevalence of neoliberalism it's time for a world change. It could start or it could die in Greece. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, real democracy has returned and it's asking questions the elites would prefer them to remain unasked. And that's a pretty good first step...



   

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