Michael HUDSON: The Silence of the Left: Brexit, Euro-Austerity and the T-TIP; Counterpunch, July 1, 2016

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 29.06.2016

We continue the debate on BREXIT with Michael Hudson’s piece „The Silence of the Left: Brexit, Euro-Austerity and the T-TIP“ (see: www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/01/the-silence-of-the-left-brexit-euro-austerity-and-the-ttip )

Key Points:

– Every party that identified with the left in the Progressive Era – the Labour and Socialists parties of Europe, and the progressive Democrats in the United States – have now moved to the neoliberal right as it has become part of “the establishment.” It is as if left and right parties have switched positions politically.

– Europe’s political system offers a way out: New parties can be formed to replace the old, and parliamentary representation reflects approximately the public vote. That is what enabled Italy’s Five Star movement, Spain’s Podemos and even Greece’s Syriza to organize and win parliamentary seats. Their program is to restore a left-wing, pro-labor government regulating the economy to raise wages and living standards, not siphon off income to pay the financial centers and the One Percent.

– The EU is non-reformable under the Lisbon and Maastricht treaties. Therefore it is necessary to break up the eurozone to rebuild a pro-labor Europe.

HUDSON-Brexit, Euro-Austerity-T-TIP160701.pdf

In the center of the evil : PLAN B FOR EUROPE?

Dear all,

a few days ago a podium discussion with Yanis Varoufakis, Franco „Bifo“ Berardi, Srećko Horvat and Guillaume Paoli took place at the Volksbühne theater in Berlin.


(Introduction in German, discussion in English)

See url: https://vimeo.com/141686195


Yanis Varoufakis, former financial minister in the first Syriza government in Greece;

Franco „Bifo“ Berardi, Italian scientist of semiotics and activist;

Srećko Horvat, philosopher and director of the „Subversive festival“ in Zagreb.

The three discuss the crisis in eurozone and the European left and whether or how respectively an alternative for the EU / eurozone was possible.

Varoufakis provides among other things new information about the functioning of eurogroup-meetings.

Berardi asks, whether the tools of democracy are able to overcome the financial and political system. He postulates, that democracy in the old fashioned and known manner is over. It is not able to cut the ties between financial machine and social life.

While Berardi focuses on the question of democracy itself, Varoufakis postulates the end of democracy and politics on the national level and the need for a democratization of the eurozone, beyond national party lines. To destroy and abandon the EU is no solution for Varoufakis, because he fears the victory for nationalists, racists, speculators.

He proposes to democratize the eurozone, the money with creating a

paneuropean network of democrats.



https://vimeo.com/141686195 (Link seems to work in Germany)

+++ please find the English version below +++

Podium mit Yanis Varoufakis, Franco „Bifo“ Berardi, Srećko Horvat und Guillaume Paoli

Der von Medien und Politik meist verleumdete Mann des Jahres 2015 kommt zurück nach Berlin, in die Höhle des Zuchtmeisters, ins „Zentrum des Übels“. Gescheitert an seinem Versuch, sein Land vom Diktat der Gläubiger zu befreien. Und doch erfolgreich: Yanis Varoufakis hat gezeigt, dass Intelligenz, Mut und Integrität zur politischen Praxis gehören können. Genau das wird ihm nicht verziehen.

Die Unnachgiebigkeit der griechischen Bevölkerung war nicht umsonst. Sie offenbart, in welch desolatem Zustand sich das europäische Projekt befindet. Um die Fiktion aufrecht zu erhalten, hochverschuldete Länder werden einmal ihre Schulden zurückzahlen können, werden Ressourcen geplündert und Menschen in die Armut getrieben. Für sie wie zu Breschnews Zeiten im Ostblock gilt nur noch die begrenzte Souveränität. Gegen die von nicht gewählten Institutionen auferlegten „Spielregeln“ wird keine demokratische Wahl geduldet.

Weil er sich weigerte, den Staatsstreich der EU gutzuheißen, trat Yanis Varoufakis als Finanzminister zurück. Seitdem tourt er über den Kontinent mit einer Botschaft: Es gibt keine nationale Lösung. Der Ausgang des Dramas kann nur auf der gesamteuropäischen Bühne entschieden werden. Unter Einschluss der Öffentlichkeit. Europa, Demokratie? Das sind gute Ideen, die noch immer darauf warten, verwirklicht zu werden.

Franco „Bifo“ Berardi (*1948) ist ein italienischer Semiologe und Aktivist. Er war in Bologna eine Galionsfigur der Autonomie-Bewegung und ist Autor zahlreicher Bücher, zuletzt auf Deutsch: Der Aufstand – Über Poesie und Finanzwirtschaft (2014)

Srećko Horvat (*1983) ist ein kroatischer Philosoph und war Direktor des Subversive Festival in Zagreb. Von ihm erschien in deutscher Sprache: Nach Ende der Geschichte (2013) sowie mit Slavoj Žižek: Was will Europa? Rettet uns vor den Rettern (2013).

Guillaume Paoli (*1959) ist ein französischer Autor und Kurator der monatlichen Reihe „Im Zentrum des Übels“ in der Volksbühne. Von ihm erschien zuletzt Demotivational Training (2013) und „Mao siegt – Sieg des Narzissmus-Nihilismus“ (2013).

Anmoderation: Sebastian Kaiser, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz


Podium discussion with Yanis Varoufakis, Franco „Bifo“ Berardi, Srećko Horvat and Guillaume Paoli

In English with simultaneous translation into German.

The most slandered man of the year 2015 is back in Berlin, in the vault of the martinet. Defeated in his attempt to free his land from the diktat of the creditors. And yet successful: Yanis Varoufakis has demonstrated that intelligence, courage and integrity can be part of the exercise of politics. He will not be forgiven for this.

The intransigence of the greek people was not in vain. It has revealed in which desolate state the european project is. Ressources are being plundered and people driven into misery in order to maintain the fiction that debt-ridden countries will be able to pay back some day. Akin to the Eastern bloc under Brezhnev only limited sovereignty is being granted. No democratic vote is tolerated as soon as it opposes the rules of a game dictated by non-elected institutions.

Yanis Varoufakis quit his functions as a finance minister because he refused to support the EU-led coup. Since then, he tours the continent with a message: There is no national solution. The outcome of the drama will be played on the all-european stage. Not behind closed doors, but with the involvement of the public. Europe, democracy? These are good ideas which still await being put into practice.

Introduction: Sebastian Kaiser, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Comment by Yanis VAROUFAKIS: Alexis Tsipras has been set up to fail; the guardian, Sep 21, 2015

Von: „Martin Zeis“ <Martin.zeis>
Datum: 22. September 2015 um 15:40:17 MESZ
An: gc-special-engl%Martin.zeis
Betreff: Comment by Yanis VAROUFAKIS: Alexis Tsipras has been set up to fail; the guardian, Sep 21, 2015

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 22.09.2015

— full text attached (pdf-file) —

the guardian, Monday 21 September 2015 17.26 BST

The lenders are the real winners in Greece –
Alexis Tsipras has been set up to fail
By Yanis Varoufakis

Alexis Tsipras has snatched resounding victory from the jaws of July’s humiliating surrender to the troika of Greece’s lenders. Defying opposition parties, opinion pollsters and critics within his ranks (including this writer), he held on to government with a reduced, albeit workable, majority. The question is whether he can combine remaining in office with being in power.

The greatest losers were smaller parties occupying the extremes of the debate following the referendum. Popular Unity failed stunningly to exploit the grief felt by a majority of “No” voters following Tsipras’s U-turn in favour of a deal that curtailed national sovereignty further and boosted already vicious levels of austerity. Potami, a party positioning itself as the troika’s reformist darling, also failed to rally the smaller “Yes” vote. With the all-conquering Tsipras now firmly on board with the troika’s pro-gramme, new-fangled, pro-troika parties had nothing to offer.

The greatest winner is the troika itself. During the past five years, troika-authored bills made it through parliament on ultra-slim majorities, giving their authors sleepless nights. Now, the bills necessary to prop up the third bailout will pass with comfortable majorities, as Syriza is committed to them. Almost every opposition MP (with the exception of the communists of KKE and the Nazis of Golden Dawn) is also on board.

Of course, to get to this point Greek democracy has had to be deeply wounded (1.6 million Greeks who voted in the July referendum did not bother to turn up at the polling stations on Sunday) – no great loss to bureaucrats in Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington DC for whom democracy appears, in any case, to be a nuisance.

Tsipras must now implement a fiscal consolidation and reform programme that was designed to fail. Illiquid small businesses, with no access to capital markets, have to now pre-pay next year’s tax on their projected 2016 profits. Households will need to fork out outrageous property taxes on non-performing apartments and shops, which they can’t even sell. VAT rate hikes will boost VAT evasion. Week in week out, the troika will be demanding more recessionary, antisocial policies: pension cuts, lower child benefits, more foreclosures. (…)


Varoufakis to launch pan-European anti-austerity movement and political party; keeptalkinggreece, Aug 27, 2015

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS, 27.08.2015


Varoufakis to launch pan-European anti-austerity movement and political party

Varoufakis’ fans get ready! The ex finance minister is preparing to launch a European movement that will develop into a political party. Yanis Varoufakis will push for a Pan-Εuropean network for fight austerity. Instead of running for the upcoming elections, he will put his energy into political action on European level.

Speaking to Late Night Live program of Australian ABC National Radio (1), Yanis Varoufakis described the elections campaign as “sad and fruitless” and said that he will not be running for Greek parliament in the September elections, as he no longer believes in what Syriza and its leader, Tsipras, are doing.

„The party that I served and the leader that I served has decided to change course completely and to espouse an economic policy that makes absolutely no sense, which was imposed upon us.
I don’t believe that we should have signed up to it, simply because within a few months the ship is going to hit the rocks again. And we don’t have the right to stand in front of our courageous people who voted no against this program, and propose to them that we implement it, given that we know that it cannot be implemented.”

Varoufakis indirectly described Alexis Tsipras as a ‘fool’ saying that Tsipras was like mythical Sisyphus “carrying on pushing the same rock of austerity up the hill, against the laws of economics and against very profound ethical principles.” He added “as a child I considered Sisyphus a fool. I would have simply stopped pushing the rock.”

He expressed sympathy for the SYRIZA rebels of Panagiotis Lafazanis and the Popular Unity, but he added that he fundamentally disagrees with their ‘isolationist’ stance of desiring a return to the drachma. (2)

„Instead of becoming engaged in an election campaign which in my mind is quite sad and fruitless, I’m going to be remain politically active — maybe more active than I have been so far — at the European level, trying to establish a European network.”
He criticized the bloc formations of national parties within the European Parliament and stressed that “this model doesn’t work anymore.”
“I think we should try to aim for a European network that at some point evolves into a pan-European party.”

(1) Full interview text & audio – URL: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/yanis-varoufakis-pushes-pan-european-network-to-fight-austerity/6728874
(2) http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2015/08/27/lafazanis-popular-unity-doesnt-exclude-grexit-and-return-to-drachma

Privatisation Programm for Greece – Detailed Table

Dear all,

the privatisation programm of Greek public assets („Asset Development Plan“), imposed by the TROIKA has been leaked. It shows in detail the subject, the privatisation method, the advisers involved (often well-known banks and consulting firms), the current status and the next steps to be taken. (See file attached or http://www.sven-giegold.de/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Privatisation-Programme.pdf)

The privatisation is forced in a time of growing opposition of the peoples against privatisation, despite the failure of former privatisations and despite movements trying to take back energy or water companies into collective ownership. As Michael Hudson put it in „The Financial Attack on Greece“ July 8, 2015: „Most of all, there is no legal framework for writing down debts owed to the IMF, the European Central Bank (ECB), or to European and American creditor governments. […] Governments are unforgiving, and the IMF and ECB act on behalf of banks and bondholders – and are ideologically captured by anti-labor, anti-government financial warriors.

The result is not the “free market economy” it pretends to be, nor is it the rule of economically rational law. A genuine market economy would recognize financial reality and write down debts in keeping with their ability to be paid. But inter-government debt overrides markets and refuses to acknowledge the need for a Clean Slate. Today’s guiding theory – backed by monetarist junk economics – is that debts of any size can be paid, simply by reducing labor’s wages and living standards, plus by selling off a nation’s public domain – its land, oil and gas reserves, minerals and water distribution, roads and transport systems, power plants and sewage systems, and public infrastructure of all forms.

Imposed by the monopoly of inter-governmental financial institutions – the IMF, ECB, U.S. Treasury, and so forth – creditor financial leverage has become the 21 st century’s new mode of warfare. It is as devastating as military war in its effect on population […]“ http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/08/71809

Yours sincerely

Elke Schenk

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS

Privatisation Program Plan FINAL-2015_07_30.pdf

Bailout deal allows Greek oligarchs to maintain grip – The Guardian

Bailout deal allows Greek oligarchs to maintain grip – The Guardian.

Bailout deal allows Greek oligarchs to maintain grip – The Guardian

The Guardian summed up my annotated version of Greece’s Third MoU with this title. Click here for the Guardi . . .

http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/08/18/bailout-deal-allows-gr . . .

Stathis KOUVELAKIS: Greece: The Struggle Continues; Reason in Revolt – JACOBIN, July 2015

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis – martin.zeis


Reason in Revolt – JACOBIN, July 2015 *

Greece: The Struggle Continues

A definitive account of what has transpired over the last few weeks in Greece, and what’s next for Syriza and the European left.

by Sebastian Budgen & Stathis Kouvelakis

Key Points
The government was overtaken by the referendum’s momentum.
The ideology of left-Europeanism was crippling.
Remaining unprepared for Grexit was deliberate.
The government has two main camps.
The „No“ campaign was driven by class.
After the vote, Tsipras revived a discredited opposition.
The Left Platform plans to stay and fight to reclaim Syriza.
Syriza’s leadership want to purge the party.
The new agreement is the worst yet.
It’s unknown what resistance will follow.
Syriza’s left made some errors.
But working within the party wasn’t a mistake.

The latest agreement between the Syriza government and the creditors shocked many on the Left who have been following events in Greece. It seems to signal the end of a whole political cycle.
In this interview with Jacobin contributing editor Sebastian Budgen, Stathis Kouvelakis, a leading member of the Left Platform in the party covers the latest sequence, to what extent expectations have been confirmed or disproved, and the next steps for the radical wing of the party.
Kouvelakis uses this opportunity to reflect more broadly on the balance sheet of the Left Platform’s strategy, whether things could have been done differently, and what the prospects are for a more general left recomposition.

What were the causes of the July referendum? Many saw it as something out of the blue, a wildcard that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pulled out. But there is some uncertainty about his motivations — some even speculate that he thought he would lose. (…)

* Jacobin is a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture. The print magazine is released quarterly and reaches over 10,000 subscribers, in addition to a web audience of 600,000 a month.


John HALLE: Two Lessons From Syriza’s Two (Biggest) Mistakes

Elke Schenk dokumentiert  auf
globalcrisis/globalchange News


Two Lessons From Syriza’s Two (Biggest) Mistakes

Posted By John Halle On In articles 2015,Leading Article | Comments Disabled

That Syriza has made mistakes isn’t in dispute: they themselves have admitted to two main ones.

1) They failed to recognize, despite early

, that the EU was negotiating in bad faith. The EU’s intention was never to reach an agreement but to destroy Syriza and with it the hope that the victims of the endless bleeding of austerity had any democratic recourse. Furthermore, the negotiations were themselves a tactic in that, as former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis now admits, they prevented him from focussing on the one thing which Syriza could have used in its negotiations: a viable plan to exit the Eurozone in a way which minimized disruption to the economy and maximize the chances that it would return to health in the shortest possible time.

2) We now know from Varoufakis that Syriza had “a small group . . . within the ministry, of about five people” that were planning in secret for a Grexit. This was, as he concedes, not even close to what was required to effect a viable transition to a new currency. Of course, no serious person should have any illusions that a Grexit would be “easy”, even with a massive investment in staff and infrastructure, any more than recovering from a major earthquake, hurricane or bombing of a nation’s major cities by a foreign power. Rather, just as a government is expected to prepare for disasters whether these are acts of god or attacks from hostile foreign powers, Syriza was derelict in failing to plan for what Varoufakis now accepts was “a coup” albeit executed not by “tanks” but by “banks”.

1) The Bankruptcy of “Speaking Truth to Power” Liberalism

Despite Syriza’s self-definition as “the party of the radical left”, much of its leadership and many of its advisers would reject the designation, more accurately being categorized within our political lexicon as liberals. Among these is Varoufakis’s close friend and UT Austin colleague Jamie Galbraith who described himself as “a reasonable and hopeful observer” of Syriza’s initial negotiations with the E.U. Rather than dismiss as a right wing ideologue German Chancellor Angela Merkel Galbraith praised her for “having made some of the mildest comments of any German politician,” and for having “chosen with care” her words on the subject of debt relief which, according to him, she had not rejected.

Galbraith’s report of the negotiations gave further grounds for hope that “the German government, having taken a very tough line through the process, took a step back from that tough line in order to secure a basic framework agreement for going forward.”

As we now know, the softening on the German’s hard line was a liberal chimera. Galbraith now recognizes that “the negotiations were a bit of a farce all along” and has admitted that he should have recognized that Chancellor Merkel was always “completely unreceptive.” […]

What is on display is the disenchantment of liberals who operated on a presumption of good intentions and underlying rationality of elite technocrats. Radicals such as Lapavistas do not. For them, providing “arguments” to the institutional representatives of capital makes no more sense than addressing a hyena with its fangs clamped on one’s jugular. The hyena is acting not according to reason but according to its fundamental nature and so are the capitalist hyenas who were the Syriza’s negotiating partners.

It was foolish to negotiate with any other expectation, as both Varoufakis and Galbraith now have effectively conceded.

2) Goldman Sachs DOES care (if you raise chickens)

A second explanation for one of Syriza’s crucial mistakes involves assumptions made by segments of their left, as opposed to (neo-) liberal wing, which includes Varoufakis and others who he refers to as “committed Europeanists.” By that he means that they are committed to the longstanding principle of left internationalism and cosmopolitanism. They also tend to view favorably the comparative advantage accruing to globalized trading networks which provide the economies of scale making possible large efficiencies in production of basic goods and also in making available raw materials at low cost. While their position is reasonable, it also has a negative side in that internationalists tend to denigrate the potential of local, small scale experiments in alternative economic systems of the sort which have been championed by Richard Wolff and Gar Alperowitz among others under the heading of worker self directed enterprises and workplace democracy.

Why this matters is that it is apparent that some form of what Wolff and Alperowitz are proposing will be crucial in the event of a Grexit. Prior to a national currency being re-established, local networks of production and exchange of the sort which globalization has long since eradicated will need to be revived and again made viable. That includes, incidentally, various forms of local food production of the sort denigrated by the verticalist left under the widely circulated meme “Goldman Sachs doesn’t care if you raise chickens.”

In fact, whether Greece will collapse into chaos and starvation will have to do with whether they are able to reduce their reliance on imported goods ramping up local production in all spheres including most crucially in food production-not as a neo-Calvinist moral imperative but to maintain a minimal caloric intake.


full text attached

Yours sincerely

Elke Schenk

globalcrisis/globalchange News