An appeal to the Greek people and the peoples of the world by Greek personalities
Let’s defend the Greek people’s NO! Let’s defend Motherland and Democracy!
On July 5th, Greek people rejected by an overwhelming majority the ultimatum of the Creditors, who are constantly acting as ruthless colonialists and destroyers of our country. Greek people asked to put an end at the Memorandum’s path of destruction and looting of the country, to put an end at the colonization of Greece launched in May 2010.
This “NO”, which astonished the whole world, was expressed under the most difficult circumstances, in conditions of terrorism by almost the entire media-system; it was expressed under circumstances of threats and blackmails by the most powerful international forces and an incipient economic war by ECB, which led to the closure of Greek banks. This “NO” is commensurate with the big “’NOs” in our history such as those of 1821, 1940, 1941-1944 (*) and many others, with whom the Greek people have maintained their dignity, culture and the most basic moral conditions of their existence as a coherent nation.
According to the most basic principles of our constitution, this NO excels all decisions of the government and the Parliament. The Greek government and the European institutions must respect it, especially as absolutely nothing has changed from the conditions prevailing on the 5th of July (if something really happened, it is that the conditions imposed by the lenders to the Greek people became even harsher).
The decision of a referendum can be changed only by another referendum. The compliance with these rules, the respect of the direct expression of Greek people’s will and the respect of the main essence of our constitution is not just a serious legal, political and economic issue. It is the most important prerequisite for the maintenance of democracy in Greece and in Europe. It is the only way to maintain peace in Greek society.
It is also the only way to ensure our moral and material survival. It is the only way for Greece to survive as a social, political and cultural identity. The last five years have proved, in the most absolute and tragic way, that these programs, imposed by the Troika (EU, ECB, IMF) to the Greek people (with the consent of several Greek governments which massively violated the Constitution, the will of the electors, and European and International Law as well), led to the greatest economic and social disaster which occurred in Europe since 1945. These Programs are assassination Programs of our country!
The continuation of this Program in a country that has already suffered unprecedented destruction will lead to complete disintegration and dissolution at all levels. Nor those who voted in the Parliament House a series of inhumane measures imposed by the latter “agreement” –which is manifestly illegal and unconstitutional- called upon any of its advantages. Their only argument was “we have no solution but to bow the heads and surrender.” Practically, they are asking us to commit suicide as a country and as people.
The Greek people, all Greek citizens and the world’s public opinion watched aghast all that happened after the referendum. Even today the human mind finds it difficult to understand how a government that asked for and got an overwhelming mandate for resistance from the Greek people, as soon as the polls were closed acted as if we had voted ‘Yes’. Our people find it difficult to understand that, five days later, and without absolutely no change at the conditions prevailing on July 5th, the government agreed, under degrading procedures, in a humiliating and devastating for Greece “Agreement”. An “agreement” that the Greek government did not dare to submit to the Parliament for approval (as provided in the Constitution), but, alternatively, it submitted for approval (alike what has happened by previous government in May 2010), a bill that was baptized “the Agreement”, as five years ago they had baptized it “Memorandum”. The humiliation of Greece and its Constitution was completed symbolically with the publication in the Official Journal of the Government of all the measures undertaken, with the name of the President of the Republic posed above the Law but unsigned. Above the printed Law which was voted, it figures the non voted by the Parliament text of the “Agreement in English and Greek,”, as a kind of “supreme will”.
In an effort to justify the unjustifiable and explain its unbelievable transformations, the Greek government now became the chief propagandist of all arguments of ‘Yes’. The government itself is now spreading itself feelings of fear and panic among Greeks citizens. The Government has put the prestige gained by its previous anti-memorandum stance and also the prestige of the Greek Left Movement, which has given heroic struggles in the past, to the service of opposing forces, who want to break Greek people’s morale, to convince Greeks that their state is completely powerless and that the Government cannot do anything else but to surrender, without a fight, Greek national and popular sovereignty to the Creditors; by hoping in their mercy. By the way, as Greeks learned in the past five years, by the dismantling of our country, simply does not exist.
All the arguments that the government uses today were the rhetorical arguments that all the busted politicians used before the Referendum; all the arguments used by parties that bear the responsibility for the destruction and enslavement of Greece. Greek people ignored all these arguments, by giving the government the ‘NO’ that requested, but we don’t know if it really wanted. The actual repetition of all these arguments by the leader of the once anti-memorandum forces fills with fear, doubt and confusion the majority of Greek citizens. In the immediate, material and objective results of the capitulation, we can add the moral decay of the nation, the moral collapse and the collapse of confidence and self-esteem.
The Prime Minister says of course, like his predecessors: “There is no alternative, we cannot do anything.” That’s not true. It would be reliable such an argument only if in the battle for the defence of the sovereignty of his country, of democracy, of human rights, he had used all the ‘weapons’ available in Greece; ‘weapons’ that were not used and have been thoroughly concealed.
When a government has a determined people behind it, there is always an alternative. Besides, the primary responsibility to organize the defense of our state and its people, who are been attacked and are under a weird war – for five years now- is the Prime Minister himself and his government. They should encourage the people instead of spreading panic. They should put at the service of the endangered state and the people all the means they have at their disposal. And certainly what they shouldn’t do is to order fearful the retreat of people and the state at the time of enemy’s attack!
Moreover, why, for two and a half years (since the 2012 election until the elections of 2015) the Prime Minister and the political parties that govern did not prepare themselves for the very likely possibility of a collision with the creditors? Why they didn’t prepare themselves neither when it became clear that they were not going to be given anything from the negotiations? Why they spent the state’s reserves to maintain five months of a parody of ‘negotiations’? Why they misled with fake reassurances the Greek people before and after the elections, instead of preparing them? For, not only they did not seek for financial assistance internationally, outside the EU; but also they ruled out with repeated statements such an option. Whose assurances unwisely they trusted? What for exactly they are thanking now the United States? These are just some of the questions that inexorably are put to them by Greek People and by History.
We call upon the Greek people, at these tragic moments in our history, not to succumb, to maintain their courage and their capacity of good judgment. We call them not to allow anybody to break their confidence and self-esteem, their confidence in their endless, historically proven, strengths. Do not bend!
Our fathers and grandfathers survived the German occupation. They suffered the great famine of the winter of 1941-42. They survived, they resisted and they won at the end over the conqueror. That will happen again.
We urge the Greek citizens to organize and fight directly in order to help the weakest persons to face hunger, disease, destitution, to support people’s dignity. To assist at the first place all those who do not have electricity in their homes, a roof over their heads or the medicine they need.
We urge the Greek people to resist in order that the most basic functions of society and the state not fall apart by the third and worse Memorandum that has been signed.
We call them to resist, in any way they can, to the imposition of new measures against people. This country is ours. We shall not surrender it.
We call upon the Greek people to draw the painful but necessary conclusions from their experience and to build a serious and reliable resistance front, not blindly trusting again improvised saviors, adventurers and opportunists. There is no more important national and popular duty today but to stop as soon as possible, the catastrophic program imposed on Greece and the enslavement of our country. It is preferable that this interruption be agreed together with the other countries of the European Union. If this will not be possible, it must be done unilaterally. We have no other way to be saved, nor the luxury of new illusions. There is no other way to save Greece from complete destruction, to keep the social fabric of our country and the most precious treasure we have, the lively capital of youth, lost today in the way of immigration.
In order to do this, the universal mobilization of the Greek people is necessary; without selfishness, easy slogans and opportunism. We need to search for bases and alliances in all cardinal points of the world. We need courage, selflessness and seriousness. We are destroyed by all the easy slogans, the opportunism, the political cries without content, the adventurers, by the opportunistic exploitation of the tragedy of our people. We need scientifically sound options, wide and serious discussion in Greek society and the Greeks abroad for the alternatives we have and our destiny as a nation.
David can beat Goliath. But he has to be more serious, more disciplined and smarter than Goliath. Today, the Greek people are paying a high price, like so many other times in history, because of their leadership, of the so-called anti-memorandum forces, the parties that govern, and although they professed the stop of the memorandum policies they did not do their duty. They did not get prepared and failed to prepare the people. They were often led by the spirit of opportunism; they trusted assurances and advice of those foreigners who throughout our history have shown that they are not our friends.
Our country has not been in danger when the people, united in one fist, fought for the independence and its prosperity. Our people risked everything and often paid a high price when foreign forces had the upper hand and controlled our country and its political personnel.
We call especially our fellow citizens who succeeded in the time of crisis to maintain some deposits and some guarantees of material comfort and security, to realize that the government is playing with their fear about what a ‘conflict’ with the lenders could mean; but the government does not tell them what will happen if the current direction of the country goes on. For sure, every defence, every resistance, every fight is a conflict with the most powerful forces of destruction and enslavement. For sure, every conflict has dangers for the fighters. But there are times in history when the conflict becomes necessary to save the homeland, the people, the culture and the next generation; to save man’s value and dignity. In any fight, the fighters closed their ears both in pleasant and terrorist sounds of the Sirens of the conqueror.
One of the most inhumane ‘weapons’ used nowadays by all kinds of invaders is the “orderly bankruptcy”, which is commonly and in a falsified way called “solidarity help”. It is one of the most inhumane weapons, because it completely dismantles a nation and the next generations. This weapon, which is used against the Greek people since 2010, is leading to the complete disappearance of Greece as a nation, as a society, as a historical and cultural identity, along with its next generations. This is the bankruptcy we have been imposed today, this is the bankruptcy that our current political leadership has agreed with our lenders to continue and perpetuate. Greek people must not allow it to happen.
If creditors win, they will get everything from the people who still own something. It is only the institution of slavery that Mrs. Merkel hasn’t tried yet to implement in our country. And perhaps this didn’t happen because she has succeeded in imposing its “equivalents”. Those Greeks who still have something preserved of their economies and their sweat, those who have businesses, small, medium or larger should realize that they will lose them. The lenders’ objective is to transform every business and the whole Greek market into a dominion of multinational corporations and speculative finance capital.
The enforcement of the Agreement signed, and in particular its implementation by a government that speaks in the name of the Left, is a triumph of neoliberalism, in its most extreme form. It recommends the complete abolition of social and labor rights, the depreciation of an already heavily affected middle class, the destruction of farmers and of the unemployed.
Protection of the welfare state and labor and social rights, of the social and economic redistribution is not a luxury. It is the most fundamental, the most vital condition for the salvation of our homeland. The nation and the homeland are not abstract concepts. They are identified with vibrant, real Greek people who are striving and struggling. A nation and a homeland cannot exist without its people and without their dignity. Nor of course can Greece be identified with an oligarchy, closely intertwined with foreign interests.
The surrender of state’s sovereignty to the leadership of the eurozone and the IMF is the meeting point of the local “elite” and international financial capital. It is the assignment plan for public but also the private property of the Greeks, their banking system, their homes, whose protection is already lifted, even the land of the peasants. It is the plan of total poverty, misery and enslavement of the Greek people.
We are confident that the pride and patriotism of the Greeks will overcome deep frustration and discouragement that so naturally we all feel now. Creditors are indeed so merciless, that they leave us no other option if we want to survive as individuals and as a nation.
We appeal to all the peoples of the world, to all the nations, and invite them to realize that our fight is also theirs. To understand the kind of forces we face that chose to use Greece as a guinea pig.
We appeal specially to those Europeans who stood by the Greeks during the dark period of military dictatorship and ask them to prevent now the new coup organized by their governments, together with the IMF and the ECB, under the guidance of international finance capital, in order to impose the dictatorship of creditors in Greece today and across Europe tomorrow!
If the forces that are now turning a country of the European Union into an Iraq or Libya through ‘economic’ bombs prevail, they will destroy not only Greece but the whole of humanity. In front of the new totalitarianism of the “Markets”, the same, if not more dangerous than the totalitarianisms of the 1930s and 1940s, we have no choice but to unite and fight. We must do it now. Tomorrow might be too late for all of Europe, for all mankind.
Greece shall win, Democracy shall win, democratic Europe shall win.
Athens, July 29th, 2015
Venios Angelopoulos, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Athens National Polytechnic School, member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA
Dr. Yiorgos Vihas, doctor, member of the administration of the Medical Association of Athens, one of the creators of the movement of Social Medicine in Greece
Dr. Kleanthis Grivas, psychiatrist and writer
Katerina Thanopoulou, Vice-president of the Regional Administration of Attica (the major agglomeration of the Athens region), responsible for social policy, member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA
Kostas Karaiskos, editor of the newspaper “Antifonitis” in Thrace
George Kasimatis, Professor Emeritus of constitutional law, Athens University, founding member and honorary President of the International Association of Constitutional Law, legal advisor of PM Andreas Papandreou
Father Andreas Kefaloyiannis, from the historic town of Anogeia in Crete (the cradle of the Cretan revolutions and of the resistance to the Nazis during the occupation)
Yannis Kimpouropoulos, journalist
Stathis Kouvelakis, Professor of Political Science, King’s College, London, member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA
Nikos Koutsou, MP from Famagusta, one of the two Cypriot deputies resisting to the end the voting of the laws legalizing the financial coup in Cyprus, in 2013
Marios Kritikos, vice president of the General Council of ADEDY (Union of Greek Public Servants)
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos, journalist and writer, member of the editorial committee of the international review for self-management “Utopie Critique”
Lefteris Konstantinides, leading cadre of PAK, one of the main resistance formations during the military dictatorship (1967-74), ex-deputy of PASOK
Spyros Lavdiotis, economist and writer, ex high ranking official of the Central Bank of Canada
Yannis Mavros, member of the National Council for the Claiming of debts of Germany to Greece
Yiorgos Moustakis, filmmaker
Dimitris Bellantis, lawyer, Dr. in Constitutional Law, member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA
Maria Negreponti-Delivanis, Docteur d’Etat ès Sciences Economiques (Sorbonne), three times elected Dean of the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki
Panagiotis Pantelides, economist-researcher
Dimitris Patelis, Prof. of Philosophy, Polytechnic School of Kriti
James Petras, Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, ex-advisor of PM Andreas Papandreou, ex-Director of the Institute of Mediterranean Studies in Athens, advisor of various Latin Americans leaders and movements
Eleni Portaliou, Professor of Architecture, National Polytechnic School of Athens, member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA
Stathis (Stathis Stavropoulos), cartoonist
Themos Stoforopoulos, Ambassador
Μihalis Stylianou, journalist, director of the Greek emission of the French state Radio ORTF, during the military dictatorship in Greece
Dr. Aristomenis Syngelakis, Member of the National Council of Claims of the German War Debts to Greece
Yannis Schizas, writer
Fotis Terzakis, writer
Vaggelis Tsekouras, lawyer
Mikis Theodorakis, composer
Maria Fragiadaki, member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA, ex-member of the direction of GSEE (General Confederation of Workers of Greece)
Stathis Habibis, physicist
A note by the translator
(*) In 1821, eight years after the defeat of Napoleon, Greeks began their national revolution against the Ottoman Empire. It has influenced deeply all Europe and personalities like Victor Hugo, Lord Byron, German romanticists or Pushkin, among many others. Many Europeans came, fought and died for the cause of Greek Independence.
On the 28th of October 1940, Benito Mussolini delivered an ultimatum to the government of Ioannis Metaxas. Metaxas answered no and a Greek-Italian war has erupted. The Greek forces triumphed over the Italian fascists, which was the first military victory over the Axis in the II WW. Hitler had to reconsider its plans and, anxious to control the Balkans, before beginning his campaign against Soviet Russia, he invaded Greece in April 1941. His forces occupied the country after two months, but he paid an enormous price. He did not only lose some of his best elite air-borne forces in the battle of Kriti, but he lost also precious time. His forces had to attack Russia only on June 1941 and they arrived very late at the outskirts of Moscow.
In 1941-44, Greeks have developed by far the most massive armed and civilian resistance in occupied Europe, compared to the magnitutde and population of their country. They obliged the Germans to keep strong forces in Greece and they disturbed seriously the logistical support for Rommel’s troops in Africa. When the German troops begun their retreat, in October 1944, two thirds of the country were controlled by the “Temporary Government” of the “National Liberation Front” (EAM), led by the Communist Party. Its leaders, appointed by Moscow, they never oriented towards keeping the power they won by arms and they have signed the agreement of Varkiza (February 1945), disarming their forces, in application essentially of the Moscow agreement between Stalin-Molotov and Churchill-Eden (October 1944). A civil war has resulted in which communists were defeated, with the help of massive British and then American intervention. It was the beginning of the Cold War, which took a particularly hot form in Greece and of more or less authoritarian regimes in Greece, until 1974.
According to the respected (Marxist) historian Nikos Svoronos, the Resistance to Domination is the generic founding element of the modern, Greek national “project”, after 1204. If history testifies to something, it is that what happens in Greece is often the avant-courrier signal to what may happen internationally. As Churchill put it Greece is producing more history than it can consume. Geopolitically, invasions to Greece from the West, during the last 1000 years, have always preceded huge wars against the East, either Islamic or Slavic.