The Greek Austerity Referendum Is A Question of Democracy

June 30, 2015
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The Greek Austerity Referendum Is A Question of Democracy

So, here we are then. We now have the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), plus the Ice Queen and Ice Queen Mutter of the world’s very own, here-and-now, live-and-direct Hunger Games, Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel respectively (the former an ossified, unwrapped Egyptian mummy; the latter probably physically and emotionally constricted – we can only assume – by a purposefully too tight leather thong with studding on the inside), strutting about thinking that they’re the modern equivalent of the Kray twins.

Except, of course, even the Krays had at least a minimal ethical code.

Having put themselves in an incredibly embarrassing situation, thanks to bullying tactics and pigheaded intransigence (born, it’s not too great a leap to imagine, from the fear and shame of losing face so publicly – and the powerful absolutely detest losing face), with the tiny Greek David unflinchingly staring down the European Goliath, this unholy trinity are now focused on taking away even the choice of choices the Greek people can make.

No matter how much the EC, ECB, IMF and the Borgia Girls try to take hold of and control the narrative to manipulate the question (and the Greek people), the Greek referendum is NOT about staying in Europe (forget for now that it can’t be anyway because Greece is part of Europe, no matter how much the reptiles of global economics want to treat membership of the continent like a football league); it is about whether a nation wants to bow down to the imposition of extreme poverty to appease unaccountable neoliberal economic fascists… or instead oblige those fascists to think of something else, something workable; something that doesn’t strip the country of money, of dignity, of absolutely everything.

The panting Troika might well have a throbbing erection for owning its very first country, but like all abusers it must learn that no means no, and try to wrap its bull-stubborn head around a new alternative.

Smug self-satisfaction and an entirely unwarranted sense of moral superiority aside (and that’s moral in the old protestant capitalist sense), the rest of the EU has no right to co-opt the Greek referendum to make the choice about what it wants, which is essentially to turn the question into yet another threat. Never mind that the referendum is fundamentally a reiteration of what Syriza was voted in for in the first place – a complete rejection of more externally imposed austerity (which, incidentally, has failed to yield even an iota’s worth of the growth and recovery promised by the monetary technocrats who imposed it) – and should therefore be of no surprise whatsoever to all the EU ministers now feigning shock at Alexis Tsipras’ (now risky) move to repeat the question, whatever the result, the Greeks have a tough road ahead.

Fear is, as people say, indeed a weapon and it is one that is being deployed mercilessly by powerful vested interests right now, but personally, I think the Greeks should go ahead and call the Troika’s bluff. In the end, yes, Greece is not in any way going to be better off economically, not for a good long while, but since that particular outcome would still be the case if they were scared into accepted yet more austerity (if that were even possible), at least if they decided to go the other way, the Greeks would be dealing with the crisis on their own terms, rather than serving eternal penance in what would essentially amount to an abstract, geopolitical debtors’ prison.

Of course, I’m not the one on the receiving end of the threats; I’m not the one who cannot access my pension or my savings; I’m not the one who’s worrying about how to feed my children or pay my energy bills; I’m not the one living an Ayn Randian nightmare, so I risk nothing by advising resistance.

We should all be watching how these events unfold very closely, and we should all be supporting the ordinary people of Greece, because if there is a wider context to the Greek referendum, it is not about club membership; it is about how much the democratic will of a nation of people is worth in the face of bloodless financial calculation (the same bloodless calculation that blithely dismantles worker rights, deregulates business to the point of exploitative criminality and crushes welfare for the masses while pouring wealth into the coffers of failed banks).

Make no mistake, Greece is the experimental training ground for a Friedman/Hayek-inspired corporate takeover of democratic Europe, symbolically fought out in the birthplace of democracy of all places (psychology, anyone?), and if the Greek people lose, we all do.

The lesson here of all this for the 99% is clear: damn the Troika or whatever technocratic equivalent you have lording it over you in your part of the world; damn the inhuman cruelty and exigencies of neoliberal economics; and refuse to be bought. No price is high enough for the loss of your freedom.

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