Greek Fire: Extremist Elites Gone Wild in Democracy's Cradle
If you want to know what is happening in Greece -- and what the powers that be have in mind for your country as well -- see this remarkable story by Mike Whitney at Counterpunch.
What are seeing in Greece is not an" economic" program; it is -- most openly and brazenly -- a political program: a savagely destructive extremist ideology being imposed on ordinary people by force. In its all-pervasive brutality and tyrannical control of every aspect of life, it makes the "Shariah law" bogeyman of right-wing nightmares look like an anarchists' picnic.
And make no mistake: the extremist doctrine being forced on Greece is, in every particular, the ruling ideology of the United States, Great Britain, and all the "great democracies" of the West. The aim of the doctrine is the "final solution" of the "problem" of democracy: i.e., the fact that the rabble keep seeking a decent life for themselves and trying to order their own affairs instead of staying in harness to enrich an all-powerful elite.
There is black irony in the fact that these elites are literally strangling Western democracy in its cradle. But it is also apt; for as Whitney points out, one of the specific points of the new bailout "agreement" for Greece is, incredibly, "lifting constraints [i.e., safety regulations] on restricted product categories such as baby food." As Whitney puts it:
That’s right; according to the authors of this fuliginous memo, the only way Greece is going to be able to lift itself out of the doldrums is by poisoning its kids with banned baby food.
You should read the whole sorry saga as Whitney lays it out, but here are a few excerpts:
On Sunday, the Greek parliament approved a new round of austerity measures that will further deepen the 5-year depression and sever the last fraying threads of social cohesion. In order to secure a 130 billion euro loan, Greek political leaders agreed to comply with a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) that will not only intensify the sacrifices of ordinary working people, but also effectively hand the control of the nation’s economy over to foreign banks and corporations.
The Memorandum is as calculating and mercenary as anything ever written. And while most of the attention has been focused on the deep cuts to supplementary pensions, the minimum wage, and private sector wages; there’s much more to this onerous warrant than meets the eye.... Greece will have to prove that it’s reached various benchmarks before it receives any of the money allotted in the bailout. The Memorandum outlines, in great detail, what those benchmarks are— everything from reduced spending on life-saving drugs to “lift(ing) constraints for retailers to sell restricted product categories such as baby food.”...
Instead of providing fiscal aid so Greece can meet its budget targets and can get back on its feet again, the troika (the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund) is using the crisis to snatch vital state assets and deliver them to its corporate friends. The MOU is opening new avenues for exploitation and plunder. And there’s more:>
“The Government will neither propose nor implement measures which may infringe the rules on the free movement of capital. Neither the State nor other public bodies will conclude shareholder agreements with the intention or effect of hindering the free movement of capital or influence the management or control of companies. The Government will neither initiate nor introduce any voting or acquisition caps, and it will not establish any disproportionate and non-justifiable veto rights or any other form of special rights in privatised companies.”
Well, that’s pretty clear: Capital Rules. The interests of corporations and banks will take precedent over those of the people. The proclamation limits the role of government to rubber stamping the predatory actions of cutthroat speculators whose only interest is fattening the bottom line for their shareholders...
The Memorandum also contains an illuminating section on “Business environment”, which covers everything from perks for industry to unrestricted free trade. Here’s a typical example:
...“Implementation of law 3982/2011 on the fast track licensing procedure for technical professions, manufacturing activities and business parks and other provisions”.
...What does this have to do with anything, you ask? It doesn’t. It just shows what the MOU is really all about. It’s a corporate “wish list”; a mix of punitive belt tightening policies for working people and perks for big oil, big gas, electric, aviation, railroads, communications etc. “Fast track licensing” and “baby food” have nothing to do with helping Greece reach its budget targets. It’s a joke. ... None of this has anything to do with helping Greece. It’s just corporate pillaging gone haywire. Greece is a big pinata that’s just been cracked open and everyone is pushing and shoving to grab their fistful of candy.
All of this is coming soon to a neighborhood near you. If not's already there, that is...
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Milos Bicanski / Getty Images
Article published here: Empire Burlesque