Shoks Mnisi Mzolo – Cii News | 06 Rabi uth Thani 1436/28 January 2015
Socialists have taken over in the troubled Greece, where capitalist policies have worsened poverty levels and drove joblessness up. Syriza, a socialist movement, came just two seats short of an absolute majority, a scenario which is likely to see it forming an alliance with the right wing. Greek 40-year-old new prime minister Alexis Tsipras, whose demographic has been the hardest hit by the euphemistically termed “structural adjustment programme” (SAP) – a scam authored by the West to formalise the abuse of the poor by the rich – is known for his opposition to the scam.
Syriza’s rise to power marks an end to the 40-year monopoly of a mighty Pasok, a centrist outfit, and right-wing New Democracy in Greece. The latter was tipped to win the race. But, in the end, the masses – bearing the brunt of austerity-linked soaring joblessness – endorsed an openly anti-SAP Syriza. The defeated parties have SAP to blame.
That said, the left-wing’s slim victory is seen as ordinary people’s open opposition to the often-destructive austerity. It also puts Syriza in both powerful and desperate position of renegotiating the terms of what is termed bail-out. Lenders, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), obsessed with SAP, have no incentive to see reason. Also, the global establishment could fret that letting Tsipras’ Greece renegotiate the €240bn (R3 trillion) debt could open the door for heavily indebted states notably in the Mediterranean: Italy, Portugal and Spain. Ages ago, Mauritius tried, with limited but commendable success, to stop lenders from hurting its economy through SAP.
“The biggest problem that Greece faces, along with the other countries on the Mediterranean such as Italy and Spain and Portugal, is structural adjustment that has been imposed on them as a result of their membership of the European Union,” independent political analyst David van Wyk told Cii, following the socialist party’s win. “The IMF, the World Bank and the European Union, specifically under great pressure from Germany, have suggested programmes of structural adjustments where a lot of cuts took place in terms of state services, people’s pensions and so on were compromised.”
In terms of SAP, the country’s budgets have been geared towards business and away from services so that ordinary Greek people suddenly found themselves in a very precarious situation in terms of their prospects in old age – with regard to old age pension and so on – and services from the state, the analyst said.
“(The IMF, the World Bank and the EU are) trying to force on Greece, as was the case with Italy and Spain, a situation where the population accepts severe cutbacks in return for loans from Germany to the Greek economy – so-called bailouts from the European Union, and especially Germany. The conditions (of those loans) made life very, very difficult for ordinary Greek citizens. And, I think, the election that took place towards the end of last week, the Greek people responded to those austerity programmes,” Van Wyk told Sabahul Khair.
Referring to Africa, a case study of the evils of SAP, a London-Washington scam to perpetuate poverty as well as dependency while maintaining a colonial-style economic set-up, he said the results of “austerity programmes” include the destruction of healthcare. The inability to respond to Ebola, which has killed thousands of Africans in poor states, is an example of how the West’s favoured adjustment programmes, noted the political analyst.
For Greece, the conditionality of the loans in question was what Oxfam terms “a cold shower” of measures such as “rapid reduction in public spending (and) privatisation”. The effects of such a shower push prices higher which in turn hit the have-nots and working class the most because the cost of living becomes too high. Greeks can attest.
“Thousands of civil servants lost their jobs. Services like healthcare and education are under tremendous pressure to be privatized and to be reduced. The conditionalities of the loans that Greece got was that they should cut back on state spending and, usually, when states cut back on spending they cut back on both basic and essential services for ordinary people. And so, what you get is a growth of inequality in the society with only the rich being able to afford privatised services and the poor being exposed to ever-declining services,” Van Wyk explained to Cii listeners.
He asserts that the outcome of the election, with the masses shunning the right wing capitalist bloc, doesn’t resonate with the self-appointed powers that be: the EU, and notably Germany, and the IMF-World Bank complex.
“The IMF and Angela Merkel, specifically, and the World Bank wanted pro-business president and leadership in Greece, and prime minister, that would impose this austerity and what they would call discipline on the Greek population. But, in the elections last week, it seems as if Syriza – the very, very radical left wing organisation – won the majority of seats and could be able to form a new government in coalition with other parties,” noted Van Wyk.
Looking ahead, he expected the movement towards economic justice, a London-Washington complex project, to pick up after the formation of a new government. Van Wyk believed that the fact that Tripras-led Syriza, a 10-year-old socialist party derided as populist by the right, did not score an outright majority will not reverse the trend.
“What is going to happen in Greece is that alliances will have to be formed in order to create a new government but it would seem as if it would be a government that is going to move away from austerity, away from the European Union towards a more independent direction in future,” he explained. Some wonder whether this can work in practice. Van Wyk says yes. “Countries like Bolivia, Venezuela, and so on, have shown that it is possible to do so.”