Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay: It’s Time for Greece to Say No to the Murderous Austerity of Its Creditors

30.6.15

Anti-austerity protestors in Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece in 2011.I couldn’t let this week pass without a mention of the crisis in Greece, where the left-wing Syriza government has called a referendum for Sunday, so that the Greek people can either approve — or turn down — the latest crippling austerity package from the Troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. If they choose yes, the slow death of the economy and of Greek society will continue — a slow death that appears to have no end and will continue, generation after generation — and if they say no, it looks like they will have to leave the Euro, entering uncharted waters and dealing a major blow to the entire Euro project that will have repercussions way beyond Greece’s borders.

I have not written about Greece for many years, but back in 2011, when revolution was in the air via the Arab Spring, and I had recently visited Greece, for a family holiday, just before the collapse of the Greek economy began in earnest, I wrote a number of articles — The Revolution Reaches Europe: Tens of Thousands Protest in Greece and Spain, Crisis in Greece: Experts Call for Return of the Drachma, As Prime Minister Cancels Bailout Referendum, We Are All Greece: Expert Explains How the Greek Crisis is Being Manipulated by Banks and Governments to Enslave Us All (featuring a video in which, as I explained at the time, “Spanish author and professor Pedro Olalla, who has been living in Athens since 1994, discuss[es] the crisis, what it means for Greece, and for the wider European community, in which, in clear language that can be understood by those without specific economic expertise, he explains how Greece’s crisis has largely been manufactured by financial speculators and their willing and unquestioning servants in government”), New Perspectives on the Euro Crisis, and the Need for Greece to Default, Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay: Greeks Rise Up Against Austerity, and, in 2012, Greek Despair: Will the EU and the Bankers Finally Accept That Austerity is Killing Greece? and Austerity Under Attack in Europe: Can Socialism Offer A Cure, and Keep Fascists and Conservatives at Bay?

Some of those previous articles summed up my position, which hasn’t changed since. The Troika’s punishment of Greece for having lived beyond its means (after it was allowed into the Euro project when it shouldn’t have been) is a disaster of almost unbelievable cruelty — a siege conducted using modern methods; in this case, horrendous austerity measures that are so punishing that, as well as crippling Greek society and the economy, with essential services savagely cut, unemployment rampant, and suicides on the rise, are so severe that the economy cannot recover, and, moreover, the debts will never be paid off.

Unless the Troika realises this, and significant debts are written off, Greece’s living death will continue — possibly without end — which appears to be a form of economic torture. The alternative — leaving the Euro — is fraught with problems, which is, I think, an indictment of the failures of the Euro project, as what Greece should have been able to do from the beginning was to devalue its currency to become competitive, which, for example, would have allowed it to become, once again, the cheap holiday destination it used to be, and would have made its exports viable.

Below I’m posting an article from ROAR Magazine (Reflections on a Revolution), which I first came across in 2011 during the Arab Spring. This particular article is by Leonidas Oikonomakis, a PhD researcher in Social Movement Studies at the European University Institute, a rapper with the Greek hip-hop formation Social Waste, and an editor for ROAR Magazine. An unwilling exile from his home country, he chronicles a few key events in Greece’s recent history, and concludes with a cry for support for a “no” vote on the basis that it restores a necessary dignity to the Greek people. I also recommend his colleague Jerome Roos’ article here, which includes the following key passage:

The gravest irony is that, all this time, there was a very straightforward and socially acceptable way out of the deadlock. The sensible solution would have been to write off a significant chunk of Greece’s debt. But, as even the IMF has since officially admitted, this option was politically unpalatable to Greece’s “partners” from the very start. In the early years, the Europeans feared that a debt write-down would lead to the collapse of some of their biggest private banks. Now that Greece’s debt has effectively been socialized, these same European leaders fear an electoral backlash from their Euroskeptical taxpayers, who now stand to bear the brunt of the impending Greek default.

In other words, it was the very intransigence of the creditors, the utter unwillingness to tell their own voters the truth about the Greek bailout and their stubborn refusal to even contemplate a sustainable and socially just resolution of the crisis, that led us to this dramatic apotheosis.

I’m also cross-posting an article by the economist Joseph Stiglitz, published in the Guardian, in which, while conceding that “[n]either alternative — approval or rejection of the Troika’s terms — will be easy, and both carry huge risks,” a “no” vote to the continuing asphyxiating austerity is marginally preferable.

Stiglitz states, in a blunt condemnation of the Troika’s actions, “I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences: Greece’s rate of youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60%.”

His most penetrating paragraph, however, is the following, which reveals how, throughout the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF, ideology has destroyed common sense and fairness. “We should be clear,” he writes, “almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors — including German and French banks. Greece has gotten but a pittance, but it has paid a high price to preserve these countries’ banking systems. The IMF and the other ‘official’ creditors do not need the money that is being demanded. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the money received would most likely just be lent out again to Greece.”

I hope you find these articles useful, if you haven’t read them already, and that you will share my compassion for the Greek people, who should not be expected to continue living in an economic nightmare that has no end. As Joseph Stiglitz states, “A yes vote would mean depression almost without end,” whereas “a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands.” Or, as Leonidas Oikonomakis puts it, a “no” vote is “a matter of dignity” — and, I should add, a necessary message to Greece’s creditors that the Troika’s debt machine is all-consuming monster, out of control, which is at least as much to blame as those it lent money to for the inability of the indebted to pay back debts that should never have been allowed in the first place.

No more ‘Yes to all’: time for a proud and dignified ‘NO!’
By Leonidas Oikonomakis, ROAR, June 29, 2015

Finally, the Greek people will be able to say a dignified ‘NO!’ to austerity. We owe it to those who suffered, those who migrated — and those who died.

First Scene: Kastelorizo island, April 2010

The then-Prime Minister Giorgakis Papandreou (son of Andreas and grandson of Giorgos) appeared on state television to send his televised message to the Greek people from the harbor of Kastelorizo: “Our ship is sinking,” he said, “and we have to turn to our partners, the IMF and the EU, who will provide us with a safe harbor where we can rebuild it.”

As the saying has it: “a ship is safe in harbor — but that’s not what ships are for.” However, this is how Greece’s self-destructive dance with the Troika began. At the time, the country’s public debt was at 120% of GDP, the unemployment rate at 12%, the youth unemployment rate at around 30%, and suicide rates were an unfamiliar concept.

Second Scene: Syntagma Square, June 29, 2011

All I can remember is my friends’ faces covered in Maalox, teargas grenades and Molotov cocktails all over the place, even inside the Metro, the riot police going on a frenzy and beating up people, and — above all — the repetition of those “Yes to all!” statements on the radio, expressed by the majority of deputies inside the Greek Parliament.

It was the day Parliament would vote on the so-called mid-term agreement, a new round of austerity measures that included the shrinking of the Greek public sector and welfare state and the privatization of key state assets. It was also during the heyday of the  Movement of the Squares, whose activists had called for a 48-hour general strike starting on June 28.

For the day after — the day of the vote — the plan was to “besiege” the Parliament so deputies wouldn’t be able to enter and vote, or if they did so at least they would feel the pressure from outside and vote no. Ambitious plan, you may say, Quixotic even, but that was what the Syntagma Assembly had decided.

It didn’t work.

Yes to all,” the deputies said … gas grenades were falling … Maalox for those affected … chemicals … “Say no, for god’s sake!” … people fainting in the metro … beatings … arrests … the cops in the square destroying the camp … and yet again: “Yes to all …” I think those “Yeses to all” hurt us more than any of the chemicals or the beatings of the cops.

Third Scene: Florence, June 2015

Like many of my friends, a generation of well-educated young people (owing to the fact that education in Greece is free), I don’t live in the country anymore. Still, I follow the political and economic developments and I try to spread the word of the economic and social destruction Greece is going through as much as I can.

You know, when we were finishing our university studies we were known as the “Generation of 700 euros”: a generation of well-educated young people who were obliged to live on 700 euros per month, the lowest salary in Greece at the time, which was considered far too little for anyone to survive in dignity in Athens, Thessaloniki, or any other of the big cities in the country.

Little did we know back then that, five years later, under the austerity measures dictated by the economists of the Troika and imposed by a series of slavish Greek governments, the lowest salary would have fallen to 500 euros, our parents’ salaries and grandparents’ pensions (which were not that generous either) would have been slashed by 30-40%, that the unemployment rate would reach 28%, the youth unemployment rate 50%, that suicide rates would quadruple, and that a neo-Nazi party would be in Parliament.

At the same time, the public debt skyrocketed to 180% of GDP, the rich (who would obviously benefit from the 40% reduction in worker salaries) kept becoming richer, and many of us (200,000, to be more specific, or roughly 2% of the population) would be forced to emigrate as a result of the crisis. The world’s biggest brain drain, as The Guardian called it.

None of the above is a coincidence. All of this is the direct result of the social and economic policies imposed by the Troika with the help of Greece’s “Yes to all” governments. Exactly the same policies that they are trying to blackmail Greece into continuing today.

However, this time we are being asked by the government — that of Alexis Tsipras — what we really want it to do. And for once, we will be able to say a proud and dignified ‘NO!’, as we had always wanted the deputies who were supposed to be representing us to say! We owe it to our friends who migrated, our parents and grandparents who saw their salaries and pensions being slashed, our comrades who were beaten up and arrested by the cops, and to our dead: to Pavlos and Shehzad Luqman, who were assassinated by Golden Dawn, and to the thousands who committed suicide over the course of the past five years.

It is a matter of dignity — something that can not be measured and cannot fit into the Troika’s economic statistics, but that can give strength to the humiliated to rise up against those who have humiliated them for so long.

Joseph Stiglitz: how I would vote in the Greek referendum
The Guardian, June 29, 2015

Neither alternative — approval or rejection of the Troika’s terms — will be easy, and both carry huge risks

The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics.

Of course, the economics behind the programme that the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) foisted on Greece five years ago has been abysmal, resulting in a 25% decline in the country’s GDP. I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences: Greece’s rate of youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60%.

It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned. The troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5% of GDP by 2018.

Economists around the world have condemned that target as punitive, because aiming for it will inevitably result in a deeper downturn. Indeed, even if Greece’s debt is restructured beyond anything imaginable, the country will remain in depression if voters there commit to the troika’s target in the snap referendum to be held this weekend.

In terms of transforming a large primary deficit into a surplus, few countries have accomplished anything like what the Greeks have achieved in the last five years. And, though the cost in terms of human suffering has been extremely high, the Greek government’s recent proposals went a long way toward meeting its creditors’ demands.

We should be clear: almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors — including German and French banks. Greece has gotten but a pittance, but it has paid a high price to preserve these countries’ banking systems. The IMF and the other “official” creditors do not need the money that is being demanded. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the money received would most likely just be lent out again to Greece.

But, again, it’s not about the money. It’s about using “deadlines” to force Greece to knuckle under, and to accept the unacceptable — not only austerity measures, but other regressive and punitive policies.

But why would Europe do this? Why are European Union leaders resisting the referendum and refusing even to extend by a few days the June 30 deadline for Greece’s next payment to the IMF? Isn’t Europe all about democracy?

In January, Greece’s citizens voted for a government committed to ending austerity. If the government were simply fulfilling its campaign promises, it would already have rejected the proposal. But it wanted to give Greeks a chance to weigh in on this issue, so critical for their country’s future wellbeing.

That concern for popular legitimacy is incompatible with the politics of the eurozone, which was never a very democratic project. Most of its members’ governments did not seek their people’s approval to turn over their monetary sovereignty to the ECB. When Sweden’s did, Swedes said no. They understood that unemployment would rise if the country’s monetary policy were set by a central bank that focused single-mindedly on inflation (and also that there would be insufficient attention to financial stability). The economy would suffer, because the economic model underlying the eurozone was predicated on power relationships that disadvantaged workers.

And, sure enough, what we are seeing now, 16 years after the eurozone institutionalised those relationships, is the antithesis of democracy: many European leaders want to see the end of prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist government. After all, it is extremely inconvenient to have in Greece a government that is so opposed to the types of policies that have done so much to increase inequality in so many advanced countries, and that is so committed to curbing the unbridled power of wealth. They seem to believe that they can eventually bring down the Greek government by bullying it into accepting an agreement that contravenes its mandate.

It is hard to advise Greeks how to vote on 5 July. Neither alternative — approval or rejection of the troika’s terms — will be easy, and both carry huge risks. A yes vote would mean depression almost without end. Perhaps a depleted country — one that has sold off all of its assets, and whose bright young people have emigrated — might finally get debt forgiveness; perhaps, having shrivelled into a middle-income economy, Greece might finally be able to get assistance from the World Bank. All of this might happen in the next decade, or perhaps in the decade after that.

By contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands. Greeks might gain the opportunity to shape a future that, though perhaps not as prosperous as the past, is far more hopeful than the unconscionable torture of the present.

I know how I would vote.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, is University Professor at Columbia University. His most recent book, co-authored with Bruce Greenwald, is Creating a Learning Society: A New Approach to Growth, Development, and Social Progress.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers). He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the co-director of “We Stand With Shaker,” calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

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84 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here are my reflections on the Greek crisis, which I haven’t written about for a while, although I took a great interest in it back in 2011-12. Since then, however, I have continued to have enormous sympathy for the Greek people, put through unending economic hell by their ideologically-driven creditors. If the EC, ECB and IMF won’t write off significant debts, will it be time to leave the Euro?

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner wrote:

    Thank you Andy!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Sandrine. Just my small contribution to the many voices calling for an end to this particularly brutal example of austerity. There is a sickness in the banking world – and their colleagues in politics – that is not being challenged anywhere near enough. Here in the UK, for nakedly ideological reasons, the poorest people are being hurled into poverty and having all state support cut, while in Greece almost the entire country is being treated the same way. We need huge write-offs of debt, and the overthrow and takeover of the crooked financial world.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner wrote:

    It’s beyond brutal austerity. The EU granted huge and unreasonable loans to Greece knowingly, and now the whole country has been made to suffer because it cannot pay back. It’s absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable all around. Greece gave us democracy, the least we could do is to not sink them… I’m appalled by this situation. Did you see that a crowdfunding was set up today for Greece? 3 euros per European would cover the whole debt…

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I think we’re not hearing anywhere near enough about the responsibility of the lenders, Sandrine. The banking sector these days behaves as as though it alone must bear no risk – as we found out in 2008, and as Greece is also learning through its seemingly endless punishment. These people are unbelievably privileged crooks.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger shared this, and wrote:

    Andy is always worth reading.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, George. My small contribution to the cause. I recall that we have discussed the Greek crisis often over the years – since 2011.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    That is right Andy. And it is more tense now than previously.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    I fear there is no good solution, George, because of the straitjacket of the Euro, and the intransigence of the creditors, who are very clearly demonstrating how there is no room for the people in the machinery of debt and profit.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Here’s Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jeremy-corbyn/greece-economy_b_7688576.html

  11. Anna says...

    Hi Andy,

    thanks! Haven’t read all of it yet but knowing you, I presume I’ll agree!

    Luckily there increasingly are ‘expert’ voices of support for their battle, which must be motivating not to give up, but unfortunately it seems their resolve is dwindling, which is hardly surprising. The Troika and Eurozone countries in general will do everything they can to defeat Greece, as a harsh example for other countries in a similar position.
    I hugely admire the Greeks’ courage and stamina, as well as Tsipras’ and Varoufakis’ mere physical stamina. Alone against a pack of wolves.

    This tragedy is similar to those of so many individual persons, which started with banks luring them into taking out too many and too big loans “Why wait for your new car until you have saved enough money? Have it now and pay later, use our credit.” and ending with having to sell the house and other assets and becoming homeless.

    Support messages can be sent to info@alexistsipras.eu; apparently a compatriot of yours started a crowdfunding exercise to support Greece :-).
    I suppose the little we all can do, is support their economy by buying their products and spending our holidays in Greece. And urge our governments to show some solidarity and accept more of the international refugees who constitute an additional financial burden on Greece.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner wrote:

    The IMF and the European central bank have a tremendous responsibility for this whole mess. The Greek people cannot pay more than they already have.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    The Guardian has an article, Sandrine, revealing that the IMF, ECB and European Commission know it, but don’t care: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/30/greek-debt-troika-analysis-says-significant-concessions-still-needed

    Greece would face an unsustainable level of debt by 2030 even if it signs up to the full package of tax and spending reforms demanded of it, according to unpublished documents compiled by its three main creditors.

    The documents, drawn up by the so-called troika of lenders, support Greece’s argument that it needs substantial debt relief for a lasting economic recovery. They show that, even after 15 years of sustained strong growth, the country would face a level of debt that the International Monetary Fund deems unsustainable.

    The documents show that the IMF’s baseline estimate – the most likely outcome – is that Greece’s debt would still be 118% of GDP in 2030, even if it signs up to the package of tax and spending reforms demanded. That is well above the 110% the IMF regards as sustainable given Greece’s debt profile, a level set in 2012. The country’s debt level is currently 175% and likely to go higher because of its recent slide back into recession.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Anna. Good to hear from you, and yes, there are certainly voices in support of Greece, but not enough. Too often I see comments about how the Greeks somehow “deserve” a life of unending economic torture because of their perceived economic mismanagement at a micro- and macro- level, and as though those who lend to people who can’t afford the loans – whether they’re sub-prime mortgages, or countries offered more money than they can afford to borrow – are somehow not culpable.
    I’m fed up with these financial services sharks being let off the hook, and I wish others would see it in significant numbers and call for an end to it – a debt jubilee and a new way of doing business.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Andrew Brel wrote:

    Congrats and thanks to Andy Worthington for this accurate summary of events.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the supportive words, Andrew. Much appreciated.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    David J. Clarke wrote:

    Dirty, rotten scoundrels.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, David – albeit in such difficult circumstances for Greece.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner wrote, in response to 13, above:

    Of course they don’t care, they never do. This is not Europe, it’s the United States of Europe, exactly what we don’t want happening over here and the reason why we voted with a majority against its constitution a few years ago. I do hope Greece will make it, with or without Europe…

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    I think it’s a great shame, Sandrine, that the various impulses behind the desire to bring down borders within Europe have ended up in such a mess. The Euro, as we are seeing, was incredibly badly conceived in terms of necessary flexibility and even the anti-immigration hysteria across Europe as a whole is undermining the fact that free movement within Europe ought to have been something positive. We live in very strange times, which, in some ways, are getting darker by the day …

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Neil McKenna wrote:

    This one’s good. Thanks Andy.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Neil​. Glad you ‘like’ it. There’s a good editorial in the Guardian this morning: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/30/the-guardian-view-on-the-greek-crisis-the-european-project-itself-is-at-stake

    Key passages below:

    From the very start, the idea of a common European currency was built on a logical flaw. Put at its crudest, monetary union all but requires fiscal union, which in turn requires political union. Yet when the euro was launched, there were no such institutions or mechanisms, just the perennial but vague hope of ever closer union. What’s more, the world’s largest currency area was run on two unsustainable economic motors: Germany exporting ever more to southern Europe and the rest of the world, and southern Europe relying on cheap credit. That fragile system was crushed under the rubble of the financial crisis.

    Nor is there much dispute that creditors have mismanaged the Greek dossier ever since the first bailout in 2010. The troika of creditors – the European Central Bank, the EU commission and the IMF – told Greece that the only way to fix its economy was to adopt severe austerity, medicine that felt to Greeks like the shredding of cherished labour rights and benefits. This programme not only failed to make the debt sustainable; it has recreated the kind of poverty that western Europe thought it had left behind. Meanwhile, the bulk of the €240bn (£170bn) total bailout money Greece received in 2010 and 2012 went straight back to the banks that lent it money before the crash.

  23. Anna says...

    Re your : We live in very strange times, which, in some ways, are getting darker by the day.

    Couldn’t agree more and in this context, how about Egypt’s Sisi saying “The hands of justice are chained by law. We’ll change the laws” … Couldn’t phrase the present state of the world more cynically.

  24. Anna says...

    And within the broader subject of the world increasingly going off track:

    For those who care about Afghanistan and not only its giant Buddha’s destroyed by the taliban but also its enormous treasure trove of world cultural heritage in Mes Aynak, presently endangered by Chinese copper mining, do watch this:

    #SaveMesAynak Day on July 1 will spark worldwide protest, conversation, and action around Saving Mes Aynak, an award-winning documentary that exposes a Chinese company’s plan to turn a 5,000 year-old archeological site in Afghanistan into a copper mine, destroying priceless Buddhist relics. Thousands of people will watch the film together worldwide.

    How to watch:
    Watch the film here on July 1 – #SaveMesAynak Day
    In Afghanistan? Watch for Free!
    Watch the broadcast on Witness – Al Jazeera at 20 GMT on Al Jazeera English.

    Highly recommended by Kabuli :-).

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I saw that profoundly disturbing comment by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Anna. How sad that the hopes we had in 2011 have come full circle, and Egypt now appears to have an even worse tyrant than Mubarak.
    And in the West, of course, we have our own tyrants, or would-be tyrants – the Tories wanting to scrap the Human Rights Act here in the Uk, for example, because they too are finding that their notions of what constitutes justice are chained by laws and international treaties – in this case, the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention Against Torture. And the US, of course, still has Guantanamo, and now has drones as well. Dark times indeed.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Anna. Sorry I didn’t get this until now. I hope the #SaveMesAynak Day went well. I notice that the documentary is now online on Al-Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/witness/

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Jamal Ajouaou wrote:

    What is happening to Greece is also happening to all Europe , until the day every body in the European community will act sincere and not trying to put money in their pockets . we cannot point fingers but we all know about free tax islands , only the poor is taxed plus his money end up in some treasure island and sky resorts , i have nothing against people who want to make money as long as they work hard for it and earn it . what we have today people work hard to earn living and others hardly work and have your money

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I agree wholeheartedly, Jamal. I wish people would wake up to the extent of the theft from the poor, to give to the rich, that is a major function of government these days.

  29. damo says...

    On a terrable note Andy this disgusting government are trying to stitch up the woman who runs the charity kids company Camila Batmanghelidjh over fake fincial shortcomeings its been on the news……Jesus wot next

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Hi Damo,
    Well, I’m not able to comment on whether or not those claims are accurate, but I saw that the government is planning cuts to those providing services to the most vulnerable children, and that’s pretty disgusting – although entirely predictable, as this bunch of butchers think they have a mandate for cutting all worthy causes funded by taxpayers’ money. As ever, I wonder why there isn’t more of an outcry. Do people really think that using our money to enrich bankers, to undertake huge infrastructure projects, and to make whatever hasn’t been privatised look attractive to private companies by using our money is more important than basic services that are essential for a decent, caring society. Do people really want to be back in pre-Englightenment times?
    Article on Camila Batmanghelidjh here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/03/camila-batmanghelidjh-to-leave-kids-company

  31. damo says...

    camilla batmanghelidjh and kids company has done more for dissadvantaged and vulnerable children than the last 3 governments ever could ,what will be left a feudal baron ,surf wasteland

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    They cut, cut, cut and not enough people are saying no, that’s enough, Damo. How long can it go on for? We need to rise up, or by 2020 the Tories will have privatised almost everything (not their own salaries, of course), and there will be no safety net left for anyone vulnerable or in need. What will it take for people to awaken from their delusional slumber?

  33. damo says...

    It’s like the land of the liveing dead at the moment ,people are in a coma ,distracted ……or do they just not care …???

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    Lots been happening, but I’ve been busy with Shaker Aamer business. Before tomorrow’s referendum, I recommend this video: Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis tells Paul Mason his Syriza party has ‘reintroduced the concept of democracy’ to Europe with the bailout referendum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmqnYHmRg48

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    Distracted, disempowered, despondent, Damo. We’re hitting a wall. More and more people are realising they can’t afford to live here anymore. What does it mean? Should be good for other cities and towns, but not for London. It’s never been ethnically cleansed before. Even under Thatcher, all we had were corrupt Westmnster and Wandsworth, and the creation of parts of Thamesmead to move the working class out. Now we’re looking at a much, much bigger exodus. I like to think there will literally be no one left to wipe the toffs’ bums and they won’t know what to do.
    Perhaps it will be a scorching summer. Historically, that has always been best for insurrection!

  36. damo says...

    Most riffs are so feeble and worthless as humans that they can’t even feed themselves let alone wipe there seeded lol just look at the…windsors…Nazi scum..come on people get up,I wish we had balls like the Greeks,no realy Osborne was on Andrew Marr today saying he’s going to charge full market rents for council houses I mean come on for fucks sake …..come on people don’t just sit there ….do something

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, exactly, Damo. Osborne’s plans took me by surprise – that was a day of misery for myself and my family, and tens of thousands of other people in social housing keeping our heads above water. “Dare to save any money, you scum?” Osborne said to us all. “How dare you? Only people with mortgages are allowed to have any money left over at the end of the week, so we’re going to double or triple your rent.” And all this at the same time that he shamelessly raises the threshold for inheritance tax to £1m.

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    Here’s my friend Jerome Roos (of ROAR Magazine) with a message from Greece as it became clear that the Greek people had voted NO – by 61.3% to 38.7% – to the ongoing misery and cruelty of debt repayments that do nothing but kill all hope for the future, while strangling any prospect of economic recovery. I hope there will now be a huge debt write-off – and that it prompts a wider, trans-European rebellion against the murderous criminality of the bankers, who lent eye-watering amounts of money to the EU’s poorer countries, knowing it couldn’t be repaid, so they could then demand the privatisation of everything, to their benefit, while they stand by and watch an entire country shrivel up and die. It’s time to take our world back!

    Jerome wrote:

    It’s 4:30am. Exarchia smells like teargas and I can still hear people chanting in the distance. Little Greece has shaken the continent with the resounding NO we had all been hoping for. As Markos put it, today marks the end of an era for Greece. This huge victory will set in motion an intensification of the struggle at all levels.

    The opposition has just been entirely eviscerated. The media has been thoroughly discredited. The creditors have been publicly put to shame. The careerists within Syriza have been seriously marginalized. The streets are full. The banks are empty. And the Finance Minister just gave a press conference in a fucking T-shirt.

    It’s difficult not to love this place.

    The most moving episode of the night: the lady who began to cry when Tamara told her she was from the Netherlands. She was simply overwhelmed by the emotion of the night and so deeply touched to realize that she was not alone; that there are still Europeans out there who share the same dreams and desires.

    Tonight we celebrated a glorious moment in modern Greek (and European) history. Starting tomorrow, we will fight ferociously to put the word solidarity back at the heart of Europe.

  39. Andy Worthington says...

    Laurette LaLiberte wrote:

    Hear, hear !!!

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    Cathy Teesdale wrote:

    Absolutely!

  41. Andy Worthington says...

    Jaq White wrote:

    Well said Andy!

  42. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Laurette, Cathy and Jaq. A great result for all of us, as it fundamentally challenges the idiotic suggestion that the criminals in the banking world – and their pimps in politics – who nearly broke the world’s economy in 2008 can continue to exploit everyone and everything. At present the situation for ordinary people is only as bad in the UK if you’re extremely vulnerable – unemployed or disabled – but with the Tories’ gleeful obsession with butchering the state set to continue for another five years, only the rich are safe from a further massive squeeze on living standards, which will be relentless unless we fight back.
    Here’s the Guardian on what the next steps might be for Greece: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/05/greek-referendum-result-who-does-what-next

  43. Andy Worthington says...

    Laurette LaLiberte wrote:

    Thanks, Andy. All the British press seem to be calling for Chaos… so far today, there are yiayias, mothers, and children in the parks as usual, the same queues we would have on any Monday, and the sun is shining. But, I predict an interesting week, we shall see. .. but at least we took the first steps toward self-determination.. I hope others will follow suit. 🙂

  44. Andy Worthington says...

    Hi Laurette, I hadn’t realised you’re in Greece. Best wishes to you! Unfortunately most of the British press – and a majority of the British people – know nothing about anything anymore. Between the wealthy, who are selfish and complacent and exploitative, and those who are poorer and are either distracted by the baubles of late capitalism or have sunk into the hatred of their neighbours encouraged by the deeply cynical government and our mostly right-wing media, are those of us who know how important your struggle is, not just because it is unfair on you, but because it mirrors, in extremely important ways, the direction our own country is taking.

  45. damo says...

    …..I LOVE THE GREEKS…..they have the biggest balls on the planet right now ,real guts to stand up and say no,wonderfull ….if only…..sigh…..people in this country would be as brave.

  46. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it’s a tribute to their tenacity and their hope, Damo, but also, of course, the have been screwed in a way most of Britain hasn’t yet been screwed – apart from the unemployed and disabled, that is (a sign, for those paying attention, of the Tories starting where the Nazis did). However, at present it is completely unimaginable that the British people would rise up in significant numbers however much they were being screwed. Ah well, for now let us at least celebrate Greece’s hope and pride!

  47. Andy Worthington says...

    Laurette LaLiberte wrote, in response to 44, above:

    So I’ve learned in the comments sections of these papers… the average reader seems to just take what they read or hear as established fact and then copy/paste it as their opinion.. America is no better.

  48. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, that’s it, Laurette – people unable to think beyond their prejudices, to realise that there might be dark forces within the mainstream political establishment and the banking sector using debt to secure huge profits – and, in the case of “austerity”, as a weapon.
    What is the mood on the streets now, a day after the referendum?

  49. Andy Worthington says...

    Cathy Teesdale wrote, in response to 44, above:

    And, sadly, Varoufakis has already resigned, so probably won’t be able to help steer a new course.

  50. Andy Worthington says...

    I’m hearing that he stood down to facilitate Alexis Tsipras’s discussions with the Troika, because the creditors hate him so much. As he said in his blog post announcing his resignation, “I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.”
    Here’s the full text of Yanis Varoufakis’ resignation post:

    Minister No More!

    The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.

    Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25th June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.

    Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.

    I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.

    And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.

    We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office. I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new Minister of Finance, and our government.

    The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.

    See: http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/06/minister-no-more/

  51. Andy Worthington says...

  52. damo says...

    I’ve been watching the news ,stock markets tumbling…..give us a fucking brake…God help us ….all of this ,all of this is so out of control ….the neocons the holding us all to randsom you dare protest …and we will crash the economy ….for fucks sake,lol,lol

  53. Andy Worthington says...

    I read that the markets were quite resilient after the referendum, Damo, but yes, you’re right – the neo-cons are holding us all to ransom. Everywhere, profits for the rich at the expense of the poor – even if the poor die. We are becoming – or have become – thoroughly disposable.

  54. damo says...

    but sky news……lol….were trying to frighten people saying the markets were in turmoil..trying to get everyone to blame the greeks,budget day today …god help us

  55. Andy Worthington says...

    Well, that’s shameful reporting then, Damo. I saw this Sky News headline on Google, “Asian Stock Markets Sink After Greece Vote,” but the article’s actual title was “Stock Market Jitters After Greece ‘No’ Vote,” and the article itself began by stating, “There was relatively muted reaction on stock markets across the world concerned about Greece’s possible exit from the eurozone.” Nothing like an exaggerated headline, though, eh? Presumably on the basis that most people can no longer read anything longer than 140 characters.
    http://news.sky.com/story/1513889/stock-market-jitters-after-greece-no-vote
    As for the budget, Westminster Council, working with the police, have apparently refused to allow today’s protest, organised by the People’s Assembly, to go ahead, and the police are threatening to arrest Sam Fairbairn, National Secretary of the People’s Assembly, for an illegal protest.
    Here’s the press release:

    Police threaten to arrest organiser of peaceful Anti-Austerity Protest

    The demonstration called by the People’s Assembly to protest at George Osborne’s budget, on Wednesday 8th July, is under threat from the police, apparently working with Tory controlled Westminster Council.

    In a face to face meeting today, The Metropolitan Police have threatened to arrest Sam Fairbairn, National Secretary of the People’s Assembly, for the supposed crime of organising an anti austerity protest. This comes as Westminster refuse to allow legitimate protest after weeks of attempted negotiations.

    This is a direct attack on our democratic right to protest against what looks likely to be a vicious budget. With a further £12billion in cuts to welfare, hitting the poorest in society hardest.

    In this closed meeting Senior Police Officers Jim Reid and Andy Barnes warned to be prepared for future arrest. They also added: “our preferred option would be to issue the arrest a few days after the protest’

    Sam Fairbairn says: “We oppose this attempt to criminalise protest. We call on people in Britain to reject this attempt to squash growing opposition to the government. There will be many people voicing their opposition to austerity on one of the many protests taking place across the country on Wednesday. We ask everyone to stand with the People’s Assembly in defending our civil liberties and democratic right to protest.”

    The People’s Assembly refuse to be intimidated by the Police and we will protest regardless.

    For further response to this attack please come along to Parliament Square tomorrow evening, Wednesday 8th July.

  56. damo says...

    Do not question the machien and dissodence or dissobedience will be punnished ,….we…..have you the peoples intrests ….obey do not question ,remain silent and awaite my orders ,do …as…we..say……..my God Andy its like some future si fi film population control …..no protests allowed…..you must obey….Logan 5 were is sanctuary…there is no sanctuary…..its becomeing like logans run

  57. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it’s bleak, Damo. I must admit that I’m feeling rather exhausted by it all, and couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to go and join the protest in Parliament Square. I hope it went well.

  58. damo says...

    Ditto Andy I feelin the same ,I’m just kinda sick of it and feeling numb I just didn’t have the energy

  59. Andy Worthington says...

    We’ve got to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back out there again, Damo!
    Might have a listen to Sweet Virginia by the Stones – “got to scrape that sh*t right off your shoes” – or my song “Tory Bullshit Blues”, which is particularly apt right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvpMeq_4BPM
    https://soundcloud.com/thefourfathers/tory-bullshit-blues

  60. damo says...

    Maybe street fightin man by the stones

  61. damo says...

    Technology has moved forward but people have gone backwards,its like the mcarthy era …he,s a red commie….punnish him.the era from the stones record sweet viginya seems like paradice the 60s and 70s seem like paradice even though there was horror going on people seemed to be made of a differant cloth then they had some lead in there pencils and the changes they fought for are still with us today ……I’m looking for the 2015 60s people I’ve seen them at some of the marches,I see them at critical mass the 21 st century 60s people ,people with love enough to spread it around to fight for everybody ,to use the old gay lib slogan …an army of lovers…Mick and keef are right we gotta scrape that shit of our shoe,there no giving up staying positive takes hard work and energy ….but right now there’s no other chouise.

  62. Andy Worthington says...

    How about ‘Urban Guerilla’ by Hawkwind, Damo? Do you know it? It was the follow-up to ‘Silver Machine’, and would have been a hit, but the BBC banned it as its release coincided with IRA bombing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiEUO07R6HI

  63. Andy Worthington says...

    You and me both, Damo, looking for people with passion and politics – what the hippie movement was before the new age side took over in the 70s, transforming the world into the mess it is now. I’m sure you know this, but so many people don’t. The hippies – or, at least, many of those prominent in the 60s – were very political (the whole movement arose during the Vietnam War) and were also questioning the very philosophy of the self as well – partly through sex and drugs, but also through people’s personal philosophies. As the 70s developed, and the often violent (or theoretically violent) political side of the movement waned, the new age side took over – the one that had led people to want to “discover themselves” and involved all manner of gurus and crackpots. As the dust settled, however, guess what we got? The “me me me” generation, the supremacy of the self above all. And how widespread is that? Well, it’s infected everyone, except for those who believe unflinchingly in socialism – and we know we’re in a minority. As for navel-gazing self-obsessed people who are the children of the non-revolutionary hippies, they’re literally everywhere. You can bet that David Cameron is one, for example. It is time for the revolutionary impulses to be revived!

  64. damo says...

    Have a look at BBC iPlayer they have a great documentary …Lemmy the movie….about lemmies life…brilliant people seem nassasistic and obsessed by themselves ,me,me,me, and I find them tireing ,devious and boreing,it is sad how fucked up everything is right now…..but I’m praying that there’s the dawn of a new age some of the young people iv met a …just been a knockout….just full of love,and bursting with energy….fantastic…..there the 21st century new 60s people …they are ……..awake……..I loved that line from the stones song …scrape that shit of your shoe……that applies to many things in this life …..negativity,saddness ….dxx

  65. Andy Worthington says...

    I’m glad you’ve been meeting some inspiring young people, Damo. I love the energy and awareness of my son, who’s 15, and some of his friends, but I’m also aware that they’re quite fortunate in many ways. I think the future is looking very bleak for people growing up in poverty, in a society that only values money, and doesn’t even have any jobs to offer them.

  66. damo says...

    The future is very bleak for the poor in this country also across the world, I have a friend in clacton on the east coast ….clacton is economically dead like a lot of the UK ..there are no jobs …yet thease are the people being punnished the most,I hate to say it but were a….bitter and twisted ….nation. not all thank God

  67. damo says...

    I just don’t understand to wot aim this is all going ,all the rampant selfishness and greed its unsustainable when I said this nation is bitter and twisted I meant it ….how can people hate on the poorest and most vulnerable as seems to be the general ..benefit scroungers mentality…how Andy how …to hate on people with nothing …now that’s bitter and twisted

  68. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I don’t get it either, Damo. Attacking the unemployed for not having jobs ought to be regarded as generally unacceptable, because the jobs don’t exist, as I noted in a recent article, The Scandal of Demonising the Unemployed When There Aren’t Enough Jobs:

    In January, for example, the Department for Work and Pensions claimed that there were 700,000 job opportunities across the country.

    At the same time, however, the Office for National Statistics was pointing out that “There were 1.91 million unemployed people.”

    The only way to demonise 1.91 million people for not getting 700,000 jobs would be if there was a governmental guarantee of full employment, and we haven’t heard that since capitalism pronounced that it had killed socialism, around the time the Berlin Wall fell.

    Now when we look at the unemployment figures closely, there are of course many hidden people, those who’ve dropped out of the system altogether – or been pushed out – and those whose partners are having to support them, whether they are able to or not – but even taking the figures at face value that’s a huge number of people who can’t find jobs because there aren’t any, and the only way the government should be able to get away with attacking the unemployed would be if there were as many job vacancies as there are unemployed people.
    What makes it worse, of course, as you note with the example of Clacton, is that around the country there are places with much higher unemployment, and no work. I don’t really understand why these places aren’t rioting, but on reflection, of course, many have been infected by UKIP and blame immigrants for taking non-existent jobs or for taking the few that do exist – a problem that, if identified correctly, is the fault of the employers not the workers.
    Bitter and twisted indeed. I am still hoping that my fellow citizens wake up to what is really going on in significant numbers, so we can begin to reclaim our country.

  69. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, again, Damo, I wholeheartedly agree. I can’t help feeling that part of the problem is the loss of religion – not that I have any great love for organised religion, but when church attendance was massive, huge swathes of the population used to be told to look after the poor. Now that we’re the most godless nation going, however, it seems to me that that moral message has been replaced with a vacuum – filled by shopping, self-obsession, status insecurity, and, since the Tories and the right-wing tabloid media began exploiting it, hatred of the “other” – not the bankers, who should be the target of people’s huge and implacable ire, but people’s generally poor neighbours, with immigrants, Muslims, the disabled and the unemployed singled out for particular hatred.
    Apart from the fact that this is wrong, in and of itself – and because it’s the crimes of the bankers that got us in this mess in the first place – the Tories and the right-wing media seem persistently to be getting away with encouraging people not to reflect that most of the benefit system that’s being cut applies to working people, who aren’t paid enough to live on, and that the cuts this week will only make their in-work poverty worse. Instead, the Tories lie and spin and get away with it, while the un-Christian hatred of the poor continues. And we have Nazi Germany as a permanent sign of where this kind of mentality takes us …

  70. damo says...

    Ooh God Andy I agree we are a godless nation and I can see exactly the simmilaritys with Nazi Germany ….is this were this is going …..it wouldn’t supprise me the demonisation of the poor ,sick,disabled….other….is like the demonisation of the Jews…..ie those repugnant channel 5 benefit shows I can imagine all the ….tiny minds…out there licking there lips ,gorgeing on peoples misery,feasting on sorrow……this is all just shit ,its nasty shit….and the public are just like those German towns people who lived near the death camps going alonge with it……….we didn’t know…….God help the elites so called if and when people ….do wake up

  71. damo says...

    The rich are the most needy fuckers going,lol they need,need,need,want,want,want 24 hours 365 days a year the have a void inside them that will never be filled ……never satified……vampires

  72. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I think there’s psychological truth there, Damo – power and greed that can never be satisfied, trying to fill an unfillable hole caused by the lovelessness of the elites’ family lives – sent to boarding school as young children, never shown the kind of love that a lot of ordinary people, fortunately, have in their lives. Hence their desire to punish us – that and their belief, hammered into them as part of their upbringing, that they are superior to us.

  73. damo says...

    I’ve just spent 3 days in Madrid away from this miserable island, lol the Spanish have class and I hate to say it they outclass the UK in everyway there is recession there all over Spain the stench of the bankers has spread far and wide ……but people are pulling together they like themselves and each other regardless of there recession they seem to know how to live ,none of the bitterness or bullshit we have here ……just so refreshing so uplifting….viva la Spain

  74. Andy Worthington says...

    I’m glad you had a break, Damo, although I imagine that three days in Madrid wasn’t nearly enough. Yes, the Spanish know who they are, unlike so many British people, who have been played by corporations, the media and politicians so much that they no longer know who they are.

  75. damo says...

    The British don’t know who they are the spannish have a scense of who they are we have lost sight of ours over the last 40 years and yes your right we have been …….truely …rinsed…..of everything by the corperate and political class ..they even want our human rights …..and the public let them??????

  76. damo says...

    I just felt in spain that people were fighting for the common good there were not the petty divitions or primative feudal backwards class system which only benefits the rich and upperclasses everyone eles has through propergander eg the foul benefits type programs…turned on each other…someone or some groupe allways has to be the witch for burning, which is so fucked up and sad we have an I’m better than you mentality which is the only thing that’s …..trickled down……I was watching the idiot clown…..Boris…on the new attempting to play crickett he bowled a crap shot yet run around, I’m the winner, I’m the winner ….I don’t need to say any more…..its time for change it realy is

  77. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I agree, Damo. It’s shocking to me how disposable people’s identities have become in the UK since the twin revolutions of Thatcherism and New Labour. Smug capitalist scum – who think that money is all that life is about – dominate our lives, while far too many ordinary people have abdicated responsibility for their lives, and are only interested in shopping and celebrities. And those opportunists flying the capitalist flag – making sure that there’s more sh*t we don’t need than ever before – they’re also obsessed with shopping and celebrities, albeit “high-end” shopping and meeting celebrities rather than the high street and the reality shows.
    There is a collective amnesia, as though the past never happened, or is completely irrelevant. People are infantilised, or unbelievably dull and smug.

  78. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it really is time for change, Damo. The pigs need to have their snouts permanently removed from their troughs. As Greece shows us, the banking sector, backed by the pimps who are our politicians, don’t care that their profits depend on screwing countries to death. As lenders, I believe their creation of unpayable debts was either negligent (in which case they stand to lose their money) or part of a criminal conspiracy (in which case they should be prosecuted).
    And we see similar things here: the responsibility for the destabilisation of the economy which the global crash of ’08 created hasn’t been put on the banks, where it belongs. Instead, they were bailed out, and we’re the ones having the entire structure of civil society and the welfare state destroyed for ideological reasons, under the pretence that there’s no money, when there is money if it’s for something the government wants (like our war budget, or huge infrastructure projects like Crossrail, for example), and, moreover, the criminal bankers haven’t been made to pay for what they did, and tax evasion and avoidance continues to be an epidemic, largely unchallenged by the government.
    The banks should be taken over, their “creative” criminal enterprises shut down, and their assets used to invest in a society for us all. Nothing else is acceptable.

  79. damo says...

    Your very right Greece has shown us and the rest of the world just how the banking sector and there crocked polititions can go jump……people don’t naturaly want to hate but were in a world now it seems were hate is the order of the day, esp in this country …..the Tories have a Vile ideology a toxic harmfull one. do or do they not see that there ideology is counter productive and actualy creating division and harm in society with the destroying of the welfare state …while the rich flout and rub there grotesqe wealth in peoples faces ….the wealthy of the past litteraly barricaded themselves into there bedrooms at night terrified that there servants or gaurds would slit there throats in the night aren’t thease people on that road ….you can only push people so far.

  80. Andy Worthington says...

    I think the Tories don’t care, Damo. They think the rich deserve everything, and poorer people deserve nothing, and they maintain that as a mantra, along with the promise of lower taxes and the obsession with privatising almost everything. The British people’s Puritan acceptance of suffering in 2010 allowed the Tories to go much further than they had even dreamed of going with their project to destroy the state, using “austerity” as an excuse, and some people – those who are awake – are now realising that the Lib Dems acted as a restraint on them. Now freed of that restraint, the Tories are revealed as the butchers they truly are. I’ve been watching ‘Game of Thrones’ and they’re like the spoilt sadistic Joffrey is when he becomes king as a teenager.
    Since 2010, and even more so now, I fear, responsible, respectable people from all walks of life and all fields are queuing up to tell them how ruinous their policies will be for the lives of millions, and how unfair their bias in favour of the rich is, at the expense of everyone else, and they’re just not bothered. I hope they are made to pay for their arrogance and cruelty, but that still requires far too many of our fellow citizens to shake off their apparently willing conditioning, whereby they have accepted that the rich are more hard-working than everyone else, and deserve everything they get (and why should they pay taxes?) while poorer people are generally not to be trusted, as they’re always after something for nothing. What a disgraceful state of affairs!

  81. damo says...

    What the Tories and the bankers, the oligarchs and the superich don’t seem to relise is that the clocks ticking down on them…tick toc, tick toc,….there days are numbered we unfurtuneatly are entering the days of the enviromental refugee, let alone those poor bastards fleeing war, its gonna get rough we have to wake up and act ….right now, right now.

  82. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I agree, Damo, and you’re right to point out that environmental refugees will be joining those fleeing war and generally those seeking work in countries where there are few opportunities. And the West, of course, bears huge responsibility for all of the above – still wilfully blind to our destruction of the earth, having started so many wars since 2001, and with the IMF and the World Banks having destroyed the economies of so many countries around the world to make the rich richer.
    A revolution in thought and action is needed, and if we don’t wake up to the environmental fallout from our unrestrained appetites, maybe we deserve our extinction. It’s depressing that there are so many fronts on which we need to fight simultaneously – the environment, anti-war, social justice.

  83. damo says...

    The Greeks have taken to the strrets again xxxxx love the Greeks

  84. Andy Worthington says...

    Me too, but it’s so sad, Damo. They have no choice, having been consigned to a slow death forever. I found a few articles of interest about the deal that avoided a “Grexit”, but how Greece is permanently crippled unless there’s a debt write-off: Here’s ‘Europe’s dirty little secret is Greece will never pay back its debt’ in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/07/15/europes-dirty-little-secret-is-greece-will-never-pay-back-its-debt/
    And ‘How bad are things for the people of Greece?’ by the BBC, which includes the line, ‘It is now generally agreed that Greece has experienced an economic crisis on the scale of the US Great Depression of the 1930s.’ No wonder the Greek people are back on the streets: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-33507802

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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