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

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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