Intervention at Greek Minister Giannitsis speech in the Netherlands about ‘growth after reform’ in Greece

republished from

Thursday 22 of March Minister Giannitsis was invited to talk about “growth after reform” by the Greek embassy and the Clingendael institute in the Hague.

Greeks living in the Netherlands made an intervention exposing lies and inaccurate information during his speech. It was made clear that the nature of reforms and measures for the so called growth is nothing more than the same neoliberal recipes that have been applied to many countries around the world.

At some point Giannitsis responding to the intervention he admitted that all enforced policies so far have spectacularly failed.

He told that the taxation system of Greece is unfair and in favor of the rich.

He agreed that the social cost is unbearable.

And although he has been a member of the government that had applied those measures he tried to distance himself from the policies of PASOK .

The event ended with the comment of the Director EU studies, A. Schout, that the people of all EU countries will soon feel the pain of the same austerity policies.

The following text summarizes the main points of the intervention and was distributed to the attendees

After reform comes growth
or the operation was successful but the patient died

What is ‘reform’ in Greece:

Reform in Greece means the impoverishment of the people that had nothing to do with the crisis. The unemployment reached 21% and 51% for young people. Salaries have been reduced to the levels of the social assistance in the Netherlands: the new minimum salary amounts to €467 a newly-hired teacher receives €560 per month. People cannot make ends meet: the unemployment benefit amounts to €359, while it expires after 12 months and no social assistance benefit exists. More than 20,000 homeless live in the streets of Athens. 200,000 people escape hunger by joining the daily common meals of the church (this number does not include the tens of thousands that depend on the common meals of municipalities and other organizations), while the ministry of education has started providing food to poor school children that faint at school due to hunger. Hundreds of thousands of people cannot pay their electricity or heating bills.

Reform means also that people cannot access public goods: 1,000 schools and 330 hospital clinics have already closed. This is only the beginning: according to the plans of the Troika, 150,000 civil servants will be laid off until 2015.

Growth of profits was the target…

While the German and Dutch media were hammering on the ‘lazy’ Greeks that ‘live beyond their potential’, the consecutive bail-outs along with the EU-IMF-reform initiated a large-scale income redistribution in favour of the banks and the multinationals. While financially-healthy Greek pension funds will see their funds vanishing, Greek banks will receive €48 billion to compensate for the debt restructuring. State-owned companies are privatized in prices well below what neoliberal economists would call the ‘market price’. To give an example: recently 10% of the Greek Telecommunication Agency (OTE) was sold to Deutsche Telecom for €400 million. In 2009, 30% of the same company was sold to the same buyer for €3.8 billion… While regressive taxation leads people to the edge, ship-owners are exempted from taxation and the effective taxation of gross revenues of Greek companies (those that are not located in the tax-heaven of the Netherlands to avoid taxation…) amounts to 7.6%.

To those that suggest that low taxation of the rich leads to investments, we remind that since the introduction of the euro €600 billion owned by rich Greeks have fled to Switzerland are remain untouchable by the Troika…

…and more of this growth

The recipe of the Troika and the puppet-government of the banker Papademos is well-known from it’s disastrous implementation in other parts of the world. People experienced it in countries such as Argentina, Chile, Equador, Latvia. It is a growth of profits of the 1% at the expense of the 99%. It is a growth of fast-truck investments that destroy the environment and the cultural heritage of countries. It is the growth of Special Economic Zones where people are forced to work in medieval conditions.

When the first austerity measures were applied in 2010, the government of mr Giannitsis and the Troika promised ‘growth’ for 2011. Instead of growth, the Greek economy landed to a deeper recession: the GDP contracted with 6% and it is expected to contract even more in 2012. Tens of thousands of companies closed, producing hundreds of thousands of unemployed. As in all countries that the same IMF-recipe was applied, the policy of ‘internal devaluation’ resulted into misery for the people and huge profits for the elite.


#M31 – 31.03.2012 – a european day of anti-capitalist action, also on dutch streets

Saturday March 31th, people across Europe will take to the streets against the capitalist organization of our lives. Groups from all over Europe have been organizing local events, to show internationalist solidarity and further discussion and cooperation across nationalist borders. We reproduce the call for action in English below. For more information, check
In the Netherlands (this is where we most of the time are) we walk a demonstration in the city of Utrecht. Afterwards, a peoples assembly, chances to inform (yourself) and organize, music.

Call for Action

European Day of Action against Capitalism
March 31st, 2012 |

Europe is in a continuous state of upheaval. For months now, its credit- and sovereign debt crises have been escalating. A number of hectic European Union (EU) summits have introduced emergency measures to rescue capitalism. Should the­se measures fail, governments and the media assure us, collapse, recession and mass poverty would be the result. This apocalyptic rhetoric paves the way for even more neoliberal reforms whose social impact will be felt for decades to come – if we don‘t resist. Throughout the crisis, we were told that capitalism needed to be reined in, and that banks and corporations would have to carry some of the burden they, too, had created. What is happening now is the exact opposite: The EU, its member states and other European countries are intensifying competition and introducing devastating public austerity programmes to secure private profits. In doing so, however, they are reproducing the destructive logic of capitalism. The existence of crises, widespread powerlessness and poverty, contrasted by private, i.e. exclusive wealth, are inherent elements of capitalism. Let’s get organized for a better society!

It‘s the system!
Over the past decades, capitalist globalisation has intensified competition between private corporations and national economies alike. All leading industrial nations have thoroughly deregulated their markets, and have imposed that model on others. They have cut benefits, privatised public goods, cut labour rights, and increased social control – all in the interest of unimpeded capitalist growth. In Europe, supposedly on the sunny side of world capitalism, our lives are becoming ever more precarious, and social divisions increase. The so called “emerging markets” find themselves in a state of constant social crisis, with rigid expropriation and ruthless exploitation, backed by governments in the interest of a national growth that only serves the privileged few. In an obsessive hunt for competitive advantages, neoliberal policies have brought financial markets to a boiling point. Be it the dotcom boom, the bonanza of real-estate-funds and derivatives – those bubbles have burst one after the other. This is not the result of individual “greed” or the “corruption” of a tiny elite, as many claim, but of the trivial systemic imperatives of capitalism as a social order. That’s why the system needs to be changed.

Overcoming the EU Regime
In 2011, the european debt- and monetary crisis has escalated. A number of EU member states are facing bankruptcy, which is endangering the Euro as a common currency. According to superficial and populist assessments, these states have “lived beyond their means”. In reality, they have only tried to generate economic growth through loans. They adopted the same practices as all other countries, only with less success. As a condition of the financial backing dispensed by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the newly established Euro bailout funds, these governments are now forced to introduce a new round of austerity measures. A European debt limit is supposed to restore the “confidence of the markets”, obviously on the backs of workers, students and the unemployed. At the same time, private profits are not affected. In much the same way, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the EU and other international institutions are pressuring emerging and transitional economies to make all sorts of cuts and to privatize much of the public sector. All this is geared towards a restoration of the crisis-ridden and exploitative EU regime, serving the interests of its dominant economies. Despite certain disagreements among themselves, France and Germany have succeeded in asserting their policies without much opposition. There has of course been widespread protest. Grassroots initiatives have sprung up all over the continent, trying to overcome civic disempowerment. But up to now, even mass demonstrations and general strikes haven’t achieved much. Natio­nal unions generally bow to the demands and constraints of domestic capitalism. There is no effective transnational solidarity between unions. If we want this to change, we’ll have to do it ourselves.

We can do better
Current policies in the EU and in Europe as a whole are as speculative as capitalism has ever been. That’s because austerity measures are jeopardising economic stability just as much as debt-inflated growth. There can never be salvation in capitalism, only endlessly recurring crises. So why continue wasting our lives for this? Let’s fight neoliberal ideology, let’s get organised on a European level. Our Day of Action on March 31st 2012 will be a first step. Simultaneous demonstrations in many European countries are more than just a signal of solidarity. They’re already sparking transnational discussion and cooperation. We invite all emancipatory initiatives to join this process. We strive to grow independent of official institutions, and are prepared for a persistent struggle. The crisis may manifest in varying ways in different countries, but we all share a common goal: We don’t want to save capitalism, we want to overcome it. We oppose nationalism. It is crucial to fight against the continued erosion of social standards, but we need to aim higher. We want to get rid of the fatal constraints of capitalism and its political institutions. That’s the only way the widespread demand for “real democracy” can be fulfilled.

Solidarity to the Greek General Strike

By some Greeks living in the Netherlands

The past two years the Greek population is witnessing the harshest austerity measures since the introduction of the Euro. Greece became the ‘black sheep’-member of the European Union and had to be punished hard. In 2010 the first austerity package was imposed by the Greek government under the commands of the Troika (the IMF, the EU and the ECB). As a result, last month unemployment reached 18% and 40% among the youths. Numerous small and medium companies went bankrupt and a series of massive lay-offs were initiated both in the public and the private sector. Wages and pensions of civil servants were reduced up to 500 Euros. One year after the first austerity package, the forecasts of the IMF and the Greek government concerning the public deficit were proved completely wrong. Instead of the growth that they promised us for 2011, the economy is expected to contract with another 5.5%.

Last June hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Syntagma Square and other squares around the country to demonstrate their opposition to the new bail-out that was imposed by the Troika and the Papandreou – government. The agreement was monstrous. According to the standard neo-liberal recipe, Greece not only had to completely liberalize its economy, to privatize all state-owned enterprises – in extremely low prices – and to abolish the majority of welfare benefits but also to lose its sovereignty which consists a major constitutional violation. The Greek workers have to accept wage cuts up to 40% and the rapid privatization of health, social security and education. Clearly, although the initial plan failed miserably, the recipe remained the same.

At that time the resistance of the people reached its peak. The so-called socialist Papandreou government responded with a massive wave of police suppression. For two days, the centre of Athens became a warzone. Several people were severely injured and hundreds of demonstrators were arrested. Terrorism is the only word that comes to our mind when we watch the pictures of those days.

Even though the Greek government and its European counterparts have tried everything, the people still resist. In the coming two days, a general strike has been called. The new plan of the government is to lay off 30.000 people from the public sector, to apply even more wage cuts and most importantly to abolish the collective wage agreements. In times were the minimum wage is Greece is 592 Euros and more than 600 billion have been transferred by rich Greeks to Swiss banks, the president of the socialist international, G. Papandreou wants to completely destroy the only legal way for working people to support their right to employment.

Because we believe that after the events of the 28th and 29th of June in Syntagma Square the Papandreou government has lost any legitimacy to rule and legislate.

Because we believe that the European Union has been converted to an oligarchic institution driven by the interests of the banks, the multinationals and some lobbyists.

Because every day we see our families and friends to be driven to poverty and to be forced to immigrate.

Because we would like ourselves to be able to return to our home-country whenever we want and live decently.

Because people all over the world have started to rise up.

We, some Greeks living in the Netherlands, would like to strongly express our solidarity to the people in Greece who will participate to the general strike of the coming two days and send a message to everyone, saying that we will do whatever is possible to reverse the situation in Greece and in Europe.


Τα τελευταία δύο χρόνια, ο ελληνικός λαός έχει γίνει μάρτυρας των πιο σκληρών μέτρων λιτότητας από τότε που το ευρώ έγινε το κοινό ευρωπαϊκό μας νόμισμα. Η Ελλάδα ήταν το άπιστο παιδί της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης και το πλήρωσε ακριβά. Το 2010 η ελληνική κυβέρνηση εφάρμοσε τα πρώτα μέτρα λιτότητας κάτω από τις επιταγές του ΔΝΤ, της ΕΕ και της ΕΚΤ. Συνέπεια των μέτρων αυτών είναι η εκτόξευση της ανεργίας στο 18% και ανάμεσα στους νέους στο 40%. Πολλές μικρομεσαίες επιχειρήσεις ήρθαν αντιμέτωπες με την χρεοκοπία και σειρές απολύσεων εφαρμόστηκαν στον δημόσιο και ιδιωτικό τομέα. Οι μισθοί και οι συντάξεις του δημοσίου μειώθηκαν έως και 500 ευρώ. Ένα χρόνο αργότερα, οι προβλέψεις του ΔΝΤ και της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης σχετικά με το δημόσιο χρέος και έλλειμμα του προϋπολογισμού αποδείχθηκαν λανθασμένες. Σύμφωνα με τα επίσημα στοιχεία, το σχέδιο ήταν μια καθαρή αποτυχία.

Τον περασμένο Ιούνη, εκατοντάδες χιλιάδες άνθρωποι μαζεύτηκαν στην πλατεία Συντάγματος για να εκφράσουν την αντίθεση τους κατά του νέου δανείου που επιβλήθηκε ξανά από το ΔΝΤ, την ΕΕ και την ΕΚΤ με την συγκατάθεση πάντα της κυβέρνησης Παπανδρέου. Η συμφωνία ήταν τερατώδης. Σύμφωνα με την νεο- φιλελευθερη συνταγή, η Ελλάδα όχι μόνο πρέπει να ιδιωτικοποιήσει σειρά επιχειρήσεων του δημοσίου σε εξαιρετικά χαμηλές τιμές και να καταργήσει την πλειοψηφία των κοινωνικών παροχών πρόνοιας αλλά και να χάσει την εθνική της κυριαρχία της, πράγμα που καθιστά επικίνδυνη για την ίδια την δημοκρατία συνταγματική παρέκκλιση. Οι Έλληνες εργαζόμενοι αναγκάστηκαν να δεχτούν περικοπές μισθών ύψους έως και 40% και το σύστημα υγείας, κοινωνικής πρόνοιας και εκπαίδευσης θα πρέπει να ιδιωτικοποιηθεί το συντομότερο δυνατόν. Ενώ ξεκάθαρα το αρχικό σχέδιο διάσωσης απέτυχε παταγωδώς, η συνταγή παρέμεινε η ίδια.

Εκείνη την περίοδο η αντίσταση του Ελληνικού λαού έφτασε την κορύφωση της. Παρ’ όλα αυτά η λεγόμενη ‘’σοσιαλιστική’’ κυβέρνηση Παπανδρέου απάντησε με μαζική αστυνομική καταστολή. Το κέντρο της Αθήνας για δύο μέρες μετατράπηκε σε εμπόλεμη ζώνη. Δεκάδες κόσμου τραυματίστηκε και η αστυνομία έκανε εκατοντάδες “προληπτικές” προσαγωγές. Τρομοκρατία είναι η μόνη λέξη που έρχεται στο μυαλό κάποιου όταν βλέπει εικόνες από εκείνες τις μέρες.

Παρ’ όλο που η ελληνική κυβέρνηση και οι Ευρωπαίοι ομόλογοι προσπάθησαν τα πάντα, οι Έλληνες εργαζόμενοι αντιστέκονται ακόμη. Για τις επόμενες δύο μέρες έχει ανακοινωθεί γενική απεργία από συνδικάτα και σωματεία του δημοσίου και ιδιωτικού τομέα. Η γενική απεργία στρέφεται ενάντια στο νέο σχέδιο της κυβέρνησης είναι να απολύσει 30.000 εργαζόμενους του δημοσίου τομέα, να επιβάλει μεγαλύτερες περικοπές μισθών και να καταργήσει της συλλογικές συμβάσεις εργασίας. Σε εποχές όπου ο κατώτατος μισθός στην Ελλάδα είναι 592 ευρώ και παραπάνω από 600 δισεκατομμύρια ευρώ έχουν μεταφερθεί από την Ελληνική ελίτ σε τράπεζες της Ελβετίας, ο πρόεδρος της σοσιαλιστικής διεθνής, Γιώργος Παπανδρέου θέλει να διαλύσει τον μοναδικό νόμιμο τρόπο των εργαζομένων να υπερασπίζονται τα εργασιακά τους δικαιώματα.

Γιατί πιστεύουμε πως η σημερινή κυβέρνηση μετά και τα γεγονότα στις 28 και 29 Ιουνίου έχει χάσει κάθε νομιμότητα να κυβερνά και να νομοθετεί.

Γιατί πιστεύουμε πως η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση έχει μετατραπεί σε ένα ολιγαρχικό καθεστώς με κυρίαρχο συμφέρον τους στόχους των τραπεζών, τις πολυεθνικές και μερικά λόμπυ.

Γιατί καθημερινά βλέπουμε τις οικογένειες μας και τους φίλους μας να αντιμετωπίζουν την φτώχεια και την καταναγκαστική μετανάστευση.

Γιατί και εμείς οι ίδιοι θα θέλαμε να γυρίσουμε πίσω στην πατρίδα μας και να ζήσουμε με αξιοπρέπεια.

Γιατί ολόκληρη η υφήλιος συγκλονίζεται από εξεγέρσεις καταπιεσμένων.

Εμείς, κάποιοι Έλληνες της Ολλανδίας θα θέλαμε να εκφράσουμε την βαθιά μας αλληλεγγύη σε όλο τον κόσμο που θα συμμετάσχει αύριο στην απεργία και να στείλουμε ένα μήνυμα σε όλους λέγοντας ότι θα κάνουμε ότι περνάει από το χέρι μας για να αναστρέψουμε την τωρινή κατάσταση που επικρατεί τόσο στην Ελλάδα όσο και την Ευρώπη


October 15th


To paraphrase Heinrich Heine,

Common knowledge
Since the get-go of this latest episode of turmoil in world economy, the mainstream narrative made mention of several types of crises transforming one into another, as well as several geographic hotspots whose hardships were of a nature specific –if not limited- to them. Empirical evidence to support its claims were drawn from the (sometimes dubious) domain of “common knowledge” and overall, there has been a very consistent effort to make things appear as compartmentalized as possible. After all, what made capitalism look more robust than its cold war adversary, was partly its ability to create and properly utilize bulkheads.

A bipolar disorder
Instead of following a narrative that stresses what sets turbulent hotspots apart, we could start differently, by asking what connects them together. A different narrative suggests that the current situation is not that fragmented and did not start in 2008 as a finance/credit crisis. The 2008 events are not the cause, but a recent manifestation of a much deeper and longer crisis that started back in the stagnation years of the 1970s. It is a crisis of capital accumulation instead. What back in the 70s was called a “crisis”, later went by the much more positive name of “globalization”, before ending up again as a “crisis”. A typical bipolar behavior.

The mother of all bubbles
The last thirty years of neoliberal economic dominance are essentially a long and not very successful attempt to overcome the stagnation capitalism experienced in the 70s. The declining capacity for profit in the developed economies of the west stands at the base of a series of interconnected phenomena, such as the “freezing” of real wages, rising unemployment, deindustrialization, the expansion of the credit economy and most importantly, the booming of financial capital, with all its inherent bubble-forming tendencies. In 2009, the total world GDP was estimated at 55 trillion dollars. At the same time, the total value of financial derivatives (public and private bonds, CDSs, hedge funds) stood at a staggering 900 trillion dollars.

The Matrix gets unplugged
From the early 90s until the late 00s, developed capitalist nations seemed to enjoy a period of economic rejoicing to the level of historical hybris. After having danced on the decomposing corpses of socialist regimes, they declared liberal democracy to be the terminal station of pretty much the evolution of human societies. The bad news were that apparently, what was been measured as “development” is turning out to be a long series of gravity-defying account imbalances, inflated asset values and mass expansion of debt on state, corporate and household levels. The era of globalization was not a period of no crisis, it was a time where the underlying crisis had been masqueraded to resemble prosperity and as long as this illusion could be maintained, going along seemed like the rational thing to do. The bursting of the US real-estate bubble triggered the beginning of the disintegration of this Matrix-style reality. It was time for it to be unplugged.

A way out?
As different (but interconnected) parts of the present economic system are starting to shake, the violently enforced “remedies” for returning to “normality” prove detrimental to the lives of millions of people world-wide. The realization that there should be a fundamental change in how we understand and implement our socioeconomic realities is starting to noticeably compete on the arena of “common knowledge”. Everyone’s looking for a way out of the current situation, but a critical question to be answered is: Towards what?

Reclaiming words, learning to speak out
Liberal democracy, inseparably linked to free market capitalism, emerged victorious out of the cold war and its ultimate trophy was the privilege to define what democracy is. Once and for all, democracy had to consist exclusively of massively representational political processes, formal “equality” to social entities that can squash any individual like a bug if they wish so, freedom of speech where voices of dissent can be drowned into a sea of static with the flip of a switch. Many people today would consider past forms of socioeconomic organization (such as a slave-based economy) as vulgar and inhuman. We need to seriously consider the possibility that future historians will look at our own form and consider it as nothing else other than a clever scam. We already have this word, democracy. We need to load it with content that could make it worthy of its name. And we need to learn to speak it aloud in ways that make people proud of taking part in it and not just content that it saves them from something even worse.

Scratching an itch where the sun don’t shine
There is one key sector of social life that liberal democracy, quite consciously, chooses to touch very superficially, if it touches it at all. It is the production of goods and services. For sake of safeguarding the “natural” right of ownership of their means, it leaves their managerial right to a tiny minority, exclusively motivated by short-term profit and accountable only to itself, while the actual producers of wealth just follow orders and get compensated with a small fraction of the wealth they have produced. The right of ownership of means of production is something radically different than the right of ownership of the means an individual or a community has, in order to achieve and maintain an acceptable level of dignity and well-being. This is a sharp distinction that needs to be investigated for the equal benefit and empowerment of all members of the community.

Asking the right questions
A meaningful form of direct democracy ought to collectively address not only the issues we consider political but also the ones that currently lie in the economic sphere, not just as taxation or redistribution, but down to the level of the work floor. It needs to dissolve the suspiciously artificial separation between the political and the economic and do it at a human scale. We should envision a production system that the questions of who, why, how and how much, are answered in a direct way, by all the relevant participants in it and always in close cooperation with the community that makes that production unit possible and necessary. The true empowerment of citizens not as voters once per four years, but as producers of wealth every single day of their lives is an ideal that, however far it might look at this moment, it can equip people with a strong sense of direction out of the current crisis. And of course it goes without saying that making capitalism history, unsurprisingly takes care of its crises, structural or not.

And for the sake of accuracy, Heinrich Heine spoke not of crisis, but of revolution.

George P. 09-2011

Report & foto’s van protest en assembly in Amsterdam, 10 juli

Afgelopen zondagmiddag en -avond, 10 juli, voeren ettelijke tientallen, uiteindelijk rond de honderd, mensen actie in Amsterdam. Het betrof een pleinprotest en aansluitende demonstratie uit solidariteit met de bevolking van Griekenland, en uit protest tegen het politiegeweld tegen demonstranten daar. Het was een vriendelijk maar juist daardoor ook aanstekelijke soort strijdlust die deze actie typeerde.[Lees de rest van het verslag op Rooieravotr: “Plezierig pleinprotest-plus in Amsterdam]

Korte video:

People of Greece rise up!

People of Greece rise up! from Phil Kimby on Vimeo.

“People of Greece rise up to protect their right to a decent living while the goverment answers with a violent crackdown in the streets of Athens.
The song is “crack of doom” from the live performance of the Tiger Lillies in Sydagma square, in support of the struggle of the people of Greece.”

Oproep voor protest-bijeenkomst en open vergadering, zondag 10 juli, de Dam, Amsterdam.

[english version]
Sinds het doorbreken van de financiële crisis in 2008 is er een niet aflatende aanval geweest op de rechten van mensen. Deze aanval mag op het eerste gezicht verschillend lijken voor ieder land, maar wanneer je dieper kijkt wordt het duidelijk dat deze aanval eigenlijk dezelfde is. De redenering die Europese regeringen, de EU en de IMF volgen is simpel: er is een crisis en om daar mee om te gaan zijn bezuinigingen nodig. Wat ze express achterwege laten zijn de redenen die tot die crisis geleid hebben. Ook dat ze op hetzelfde moment dat ze bezuinigingen afdwingen ook de banken helpen met miljoenen wordt niet hardop gezegd.

De situatie van Griekenland laat dat goed zien. Na een jaar van bezuinigingen en een hulppakket dat de recessie en werkloosheid deed vergrootten (in maart 2011 was de algemene werkloosheid 16.2% en onder jongeren 40%), is niets opgelost en staat Griekenland er nog slechter voor, met meer schulden en heeft het weer een hulppakket nodig. De IMF en EU beweren dat het eerste hulppakket goed was, maar gewoon verkeerd uitgevoerd. Maar ook hier, als je dieper kijkt zie je de leugen. De Griekse overheid, EU en IMF wisten dat hun plan geen kans van slagen had (je hoeft hier geen econoom voor te zijn: we kunnen zien wat de gevolgen zijn door naar landen te kijken die ook tot dergelijke veranderingen werden gedwongen, bijvoorbeeld Argentinië, Chili, Mexico, Equador). Het beschermen van de belangen van de financiële sector is de werkelijke reden voor de afdwinging van zo’n ‘hulppakket’. In andere woorden, Griekenland werd en wordt gebruikt als een excuus om de banken verder te helpen.
En nu, na het mislukken van het eerste hulppakket hebben de Griekse overheid, IMF en de EU een nieuwe overeenkomst gesloten voor een tweede hulppakket met als gevolg nog meer bezuinigingen en met nog zwaardere voorwaarden. Volgens dit tweede hulpplan zou de Griekse overheid de nieuwe lening moeten gebruiken om openstaande leningen terug te betalen, moet ze nog meer bezuinigingen afdwingen, de publieke sector drastisch verminderen, onderwijs, zorg, openbaar vervoer privatiseren en staatseigendommen verkopen (welke vaak voor een appel en ei verkocht worden aan private partijen). Het meest verontrustende deel van dit hele verhaal is dat dit tweede pakket ook gedoemd is te mislukken, de Griekse economie in een nog diepere recessie zal brengen en mensen in Griekenland tot verdere armoe. Soortgelijke bezuinigingen worden opgelegd aan Spanje, Portugal, Italië en gedurende de laatste maanden werd ook voor Nederland meer van de bezuinigingsplannen duidelijk (zie bijvoorbeeld wat er gebeurd in de sector van de geestelijke zorg, cultuur, onderwijs en openbaar vervoer).

Wij zijn niet blij met deze situatie. Wij zien dat de belangen van de banken en bedrijven hoger worden geacht dan de kwaliteit van leven voor de meeste mensen. We willen de IMF, EU en Europese regeringen laten weten dat de winsten van de banken en bedrijven ons niets kan schelen. We willen ze ook laten weten dat we de schulden van welk land dan ook niet erkennen en we eisen dat deze schulden afgeschreven worden. We betuigen onze solidariteit aan de mensen in Griekenland en aan iedereen die tegen de bezuinigingen strijd en van een samenleving droomt waar samenleven georganiseerd is op basis van gelijkheid en de behoeften en belangen van mensen, niet die van de markt, staat of heersende klasse..

Door heel Europa (en daarbuiten) hebben we mensen de straat op zien gaan, pleinen zien bezetten en gebruiken voor open volksvergaderingen. Politieke partijen en vakbonden hebben hun autoriteit verloren en mensen zoeken een manier om het heft in eigen handen. Ook in Nederland hebben we enkele van deze samenkomsten (natuurlijk nog niet van de intensiteit en grootte als in Griekenland of Spanje), begonnen op de Dam in Amsterdam, maar later ook in Groningen, Delft, Rotterdam, Tilburg.
Wij roepen iedereen die solidair is met hen die momenteel in verzet komen, en die wil nadenken over hoe in Nederland verder te gaan met de strijd tegen bezuinigingen, om zondag 10 juli om 17:00 uur naar de Dam in Amsterdam te komen voor een protestbijeenkomst en open vergadering.

Let’s think, discuss and eventually do something for our lives! – Protest & Assembly, Sunday July 10th, de Dam, A’dam

Protest-gathering & open assembly on Sunday 10th July, 17:00, Dam Square, Amsterdam

[Link to the call-out for same day by the Amsterdam assembly]

Let’s think, discuss and eventually do something for our lives!

Since the outburst of the financial crisis back in 2008, there is an on-going attack on the rights of the people. This attack may at first sight seem to be different across countries, but at a closer inspection, it becomes obvious that this attack is actually the same. The argumentation used by european governments, EU officials and IMF is quite simple, there is a crisis and to deal with the crisis, budget cuts are needed. What all these officials do not say deliberately is the reasons that led to this crisis, and what these officials do not mention is that at the same time that they are imposing austerity measures, they are supporting the banks, providing them millions of euros.

The case of Greece is quite revealing of the situation. After a year of austerity measures and a rescue plan that led into further recession and increase of unemployement rates (in March 2011, the general unemployment rate was 16.2% and 40% for the youth), nothing has been solved and Greece is in even worse state, with more loans and in need of a new rescue plan. IMF and EU officials claim that the first rescue plan was right, but the implementation was wrong. However, a closer inspection shows that this is just a lie. The Greek government, EU and IMF knew that this kind of plan has no chance to succeed (one does not even need to be an economist to foresee failure: it is enough to see what happened in countries that followed similar plans, see for example, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Equador). The reason for implementing such a plan lies in the protection of the interests of the banks and of the interests of rich Greeks. In other words, EU used the Greek crisis as an excuse in order to subsidize further the banks. And after the failure of the first rescue plan, IMF, EU and the Greek government agreed on a second rescue plan with even more budget cuts and more severe terms. According to this second rescue plan, the Greek government should use the new loan to finance previous loans, needs to impose new austerity measures, reduce the public sector, privatise education, health and transportation and sell state property. What it means to sell state property becomes clear when examining what happened with the Greek telecommunication company (OTE) and Deutsche Telecom, a couple of weeks ago, Deutsche Telecom bought 10% of OTE for €400, while in 2008, Deutsche Telecom bought 30% of OTE for 3.8 millions… The most worrying part of the story is that this second rescue plan is also condemned to failure, leading Greek economy to further recession and Greek people to poverty. Similar budget cuts are imposed upon Spain, Portugal, Italy and during the last months some cuts were announced for The Netherlands too (look for instance what is happening in the mental health sectors, the culture sector, education and the public transport sector).

We are not happy with this situation. We feel that the profits of the banks and the industries are valued more than the quality of life of the people. We want to let IMF, EU and european governments know that we do not value the profits of banks and industries. We want to let IMF, EU and the european governments know also that we do not recognise the debt of any country and that we demand that the debts of the countries are written off.We express our solidarity to the Greek people and to every person that fights against the austerity measures and dreams of a society of the people, where life will be organised on the basis of equality and on the basis of the needs of people, instead of the needs of market, nation or ruling class.

Throughout Europe we have seen people taking to the streets, occupying squares and starting to have people’s assemblies. With the authority of the political parties and unions fading, they have started to take things in their own hands. Also in the Netherlands we have seen some of these assemblies taking place, initially at the Dam square in Amsterdam, but later on also in Groningen, Delft, Rotterdam, Tilburg.
We call on everyone, who is in solidarity with the people in Europe rising up and who wants to think about how to move on in the Netherlands, to join us for a protest-gathering and open assembly at the Dam Square, Amsterdam, on Sunday 10th July at 17:00.


Short report and videos from Athens

A short report made by Greeks that participated in the demo, filled with videos about what happened yesterday in Athens.

People in Greece are shouting the same slogans as back in the ’70 during the colonel’s dictatorship, just by adding a second verse:

“Bread, Education, Freedom,
the junta was not ended in ’73”

The ruling class is frightened by the huge demonstrations and responds with uncontrolled and brutal violence. The people are intimidated. People resist, regroup and return to the squares empowered by the sense of righteousness and against the lives of misery they are leading us to.
Old and young, women and men, children all come forward to push back the state oppression forces.

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