Tag Archives: EU

Political Persecutions in Eastern Europe to prepare War with Russia (and a note on Hungary, Trump and the refugees)

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

We have witnessed during the last two years the multiplication of cases of political repressions in various Eastern European countries, like Poland, where Mateusz Piscorski, leader of the party Smena is detained illegally already for two years, without any accusations formulated against him! But this is not the only authoritarian action of the Polish authorities, which, by the way have been condemned by UN Human Rights Committee and by the Polish Ombudsman (Rzecznik praw obywatelskich) for their actions. Among them the process against the Polish Communist party, the harassment against the trotskyte group “Power to the Councils”, a pro-Palestinian conference and scientific conferences about Karl Marx! To all that you may add the massive expulsion to the streets of impoverished tenants due to the re-privatization process. Continue reading Political Persecutions in Eastern Europe to prepare War with Russia (and a note on Hungary, Trump and the refugees)

Germany intervening again in Greek affairs!

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

The German Government has called upon the political parties of Greece and of FYROM to support the Agreement for the resolution of the dispute on the name of FYROM which was recently signed by Greek FM Kotzias and FYROM’s FM Dimitrov.

This is the latest of numerous German interventions in the Balkans since 1990 and in Greece since 2010, all of them, with no exception, have had absolutely catastrophic consequences for the whole peninsula, but also for Europe as a whole, as well as for the prospects of peace between East and West.

This was not the only outside intervention. The Socialist International, in a rather rare move, also strongly supported the Agreement, in spite of the objections of its Greek section and of the fact that this Agreement is officially not supported by a majority of Greek Deputies! Tsipras and Kotzias did not have any legitimacy to sign it.

The President of the “Movement for Change”, the Greek socialist party, Mrs. Fofi Gennimata, has asked the European Socialists to be very careful regarding issues affecting Greek national issues. Mrs. Gennimata supported the “European prospect” of FYROM, but she underlined that such a prospect requires the cancelling of all forms of irredentism. According to the leaders of the Greek Socialists, this Agreement is bad because it doesn’t solve but rather perpetuates and complicates the problems, without leading to a comprehensive and viable solution of the dispute. The Agreement, according to Mrs. Gennimata, is going to fuel nationalism in both countries and  will undermine the security and stability of the region. She concluded:

«We do understand the interest of European Socialists for an Agreement to be reached, but we don’t accept instructions and we don’t share their belief this Agreement will be effective”

 

A bad agreement

We will further explain in this article why we believe the Agreement signed, but not yet ratified,  is a bad one from the perspective of bringing peace and reconciliation between the Greeks (Macedonian or not) and Macedonian Slavs in the Balkans.

This Agreement will not end the dispute between the two neighboring nations, Greeks and Slavs of Macedonia. It is not the product of a genuine reconciliation between the two sides but rather of outside, backstage intervention by the US against the will of both.

By the way, the US Envoy in Athens is the same man who was serving, before being sent to Greece, in Kiev, Ukraine.

How many Ukrainian-type crises does Berlin need?

We know that most Western media are supporting this Agreement and hail it as a historic one. But most western media also favored destroying Yugoslavia and bombing the Serbs. Let us also not forget how they recently treated Greece, and what they wrote about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and how they contributed to the destruction of Libya etc.etc.

Western media have systematically distorted reality and they have contributed in policies which have led to nothing else than to the transformation of the Balkans and of a large part of Middle East and Africa into a land of ruins.

There was not a single western intervention, during the last decades, be it in the Balkans, the former USSR, the Middle East or Africa, which didn’t produce absolutely catastrophic results.

USA and European pressure on Greece and FYROM to sign a bad agreement which both societies do not like and reject will also have the same catastrophic consequences.

Read more at http://www.defenddemocracy.press/germany-intervening-again-in-greek-affairs/

Greek protests about Macedonia are complicating US-NATO plans for war with Russia

For the BBC (16.00 London time) a revolt in Greece directly threatening the expansion of NATO was not among top stories. It preferred to speak at length about a train crash in the USA and what is going on in Maldives.

But it is clear that today’s monster meeting in Athens is seriously complicating the NATO and EU’s project of incorporating more countries of the Balkan region into Euro-Atlantic structures, thus expelling any remaining Russian influence and solidifying the control of the peninsula by Washington and its generals.

Hundreds of thousands of people (significantly more than 500.000 according to reliable specialists) gathered in the center of Athens to ask their government not to concede to the use of the word Macedonia or its derivatives by the Former Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in one of the biggest demonstrations organized in Athens, comparable to the last great anti-austerity meeting of 2012. Such numbers represent something more than 5% of the whole population of the country.

An agreement between Greece and FYROM about the name of the latter is a precondition for admission of FYROM into NATO and EU.

The central speaker of the meeting was the Greek composer, Mikis Theodorakis, a world known symbol of resistance, who asked for a referendum to be held if the government wants to conclude an agreement. Theodorakis was firm that FYROM must be prevented from joining NATO or the EU if it insisted on keeping the word Macedonia in the name of the country. Professor Kasimatis, one of the top Greek specialists on Constitutional Law spoke also to the crowd, explaining the link between foreign policy concessions, the colonial terms incorporated in the Agreements with Creditors (EU, IMF, ECB) and the betrayal of the 2015 referendum.

The meeting was greeted also by representatives of the hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Church. The Archbishop had originally discouraged people from participating in public meetings for Macedonia, before the Salonica meeting, but he was obliged to change his position under the pressure of its success and of the public opinion.

As for the Greek government and, in particular, Nikos Kotzias, the Greek Foreign Minister, they seem completely detached from reality, if their reactions to today’s demonstrations are anything to go by. Or, alternatively, Kotzias is getting with him the whole government, into his line. Anyway, demonstrating a public ignorance worthy of Marie Antoinette, they dismissed the demonstration as not much of a success! The Greek government is under heavy pressure from the US administration, to whom they have probably made commitments they are finding difficult to fulfill without committing political suicide. Tsipras understands that more than Kotzias, but he does not seem to be able to react to the line of his own Foreign Monster.

The fact is that if they stick to their present position, they will clash frontally with Greek public opinion and provoke a very dangerous crisis in the country. It is not just that 70% of the population is against their policy, it is also that this opposition is very firm and considers the government’s policy a national betrayal. The demonstration today was peaceful today but the demonstrators appear willing to do everything to stop the parliament from ratifying any agreement Athens and Skopje sign.

D.K

Greeks are revolting again

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos *
04/02/2018

In the beginning, nobody paid much attention. Two activists, ex-members of the Movement of Independent Citizens, which was created back in 2011 following an appeal by Mikis Theodorakis, took the initiative to call for a protest meeting in Salonica. The aim was to protest the intention of the Greek government to conclude, under pressure from Washington, an agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), better known internationally as  the “Republic of Macedonia”, terminating the dispute with the latter over its name that has been ongoing since the breakup of Yugoslavia.

After the capitulation, the defeat and the humiliation of 2015, Greeks have seemed unable to mobilize about anything. They were licking their wounds. They were looking more or less passively at the continuing destruction of their country and at its neocolonial plundering, by Germany and other EU countries, under the general direction of the IMF and with the green light of the USA. They had neither the courage nor the will to think through their problems. They did not have leaders or ideas or political subjects to lead a new revolt against the colonialist Troika. Many believed Tsipras and SYRIZA’s dire warnings about the cost and the uncertain outcome of any revolt against the creditors. They tried to forget and survive. This assassination of Hope has inflicted an unprecedented national depression on nearly all the people of the country of Apollo, the God of Sun.

So no one expected any more than five or ten thousand people at the Salonica meeting. But something seemed to emerge from the very depth of the national, collective subconscious. It was the same thing that had happened three days before the referendum of July 5th,, 2015 and conditioned its result.

There were not five or ten thousand in Salonica, they were probably around five hundred thousand, nobody knows exactly. It was not a simple demonstration, it was a revolt, even if peaceful, for the time being. And today, everybody waits a much larger crowd in and around the Constitution Square in the center of Athens, named after the 1843 Revolution which obliged the first King of the Country, the Bavarian Otto, imposed on Greece by the Holy Alliance, to accept constitutional rule.

A demonstration about Macedonia but a cry about Greece

It will be a demonstration about Macedonia, against what many Greeks understand as one more usurpation of their history, their national symbols and their cultural heritage. But behind it, one clearly discerns the desperate cry of a historic European nation that has been insulted and offended, destroyed and plundered, by its own supposed Allies and Partners and by the Union it has adhered to. A nation which has contributed as very few to the defeat of Nazism, only to see now “democratic Germany” destroying it, with help from Brussels bureaucracy, the US and Goldman Sachs.

What Greeks will say to their government today will be essentially: Stop conceding the country to foreign powers. Give us back our country.

For ten years Greeks have witnessed their “allies and partners” destroying their country, pretending they are helping it.

They took and they are taking everything, the banks, the airports, the ports, the railways, the communications and the energy infrastructure. They confiscate even homes of ordinary people. Parents cannot bequeath their homes to their children because of confiscatory taxation, necessary for paying a “highly unsustainable debt” (according to the IMF). They have cut pensions 24 times. They have imposed on a member of the EU neocolonial terms not imposed to any Third World country. Greek mothers used to be the most overprotective of their sons, in all Europe: they wanted their children to live next door all their lives if possible. (Probably, because of what they had suffered under Ottoman occupation, when the Turks were rounding up male children of Christians). Now their dream is to see their children migrating to Australia, Africa or the Emirates to find a job. Greek hospitals are crumbling under German-EU draconian cuts to their expenses, but at the same time Greek doctors, for the education of whom Greeks have paid, are stuffing German or British hospitals.  72% of young people in Greece say to the polls they want to leave the country, if they will find a job somewhere.

As a result of a program that is supposed to help Greece, the country lost 27% of its GDP, something comparable to what happened to US during the Great Depression, or to the Weimar Republic before the rise of Hitler. It is a bigger percentage than the material losses of Germany or France during the First World War. This is not a program of neoliberal “reforms”, it is a program designed to destroy a European nation and its democracy and to transform its state into an instrument of International Finance, with the long term prospect of creating a “Greece (and Cyprus) without Greeks”.

No one can understand reality by taking for real what he believes its actors want or do not want to do. Attention must be paid to what is happening, to what the actors are doing, not what they are pretending to do or any the intentions that can be attributed to them.

Under the cruel light of the available statistics, not beginning from any prefabricated theory or ideological or political or national preference, the program they imposed on Greece is clearly a program of destruction of a nation. If it was a mistake, they would long ago have found a way to correct it. Since they have not, it is because the “Greek experiment” is an important experiment in the advent of a new European totalitarian order. European governments and EU bureaucrats may or may not be conscious of that. But somebody has enough influence on them to impose it.

If somebody has some other serious explanation or theory about what has happened or is happening to Greece, explaining better than the above description what is going on, let him advance it. By the way, I believe the Empire of Finance was right in choosing Greece as its main target for a variety of reasons. I find very symmetrical and quite justified to organize such a crime against the country in the language of which humans, for the first time in history, wrote the word freedom (Eleftheria), in the 8th century B.C. in Homer’ s Iliad).

German newspapers were right in their comments about modern and also ancient Greece in 2009-10. Greeks have always been anarchists. Not only did they write the word Freedom in their language, they have dared to discover Logos, a word which means analogy, reason, motivation, cause, purpose, logic, all at once, and to oppose it to the divine order. In Athens they decided to write off the Debts of the poor people and then, based on that experience, they dared to spell, first in History, the word Democracy.

This is one of the reasons I strongly believe the choice of Greece as the first target of the Financial Totalitarianism was correct. Symbols are always important. They help shape thinking and emotions.

In 2015, the Troika was able to deal a devastating moral and psychological blow to the Greek people by transforming its supposed Left into its instrument. The blow was even more important as partisans of the Greek Left had shed oceans of blood to defend their country, its democracy and the social rights of its people. That was why it was a blow to the sense of dignity of the Greek nation. No nation, especially no nation living in this geographical location, in the intersection of the Slavic, the Middle Eastern and the Western European worlds, no nation bearing the tradition of such a History, can exist without its dignity.

This is why the capacity of the Greek people to project any kind of social resistance was near to zero, after 2015.

But this unequal duel between the Empire and the Greek “national DNA” was not over in 2015. Neither side was satisfied. The empire was not satisfied by simply transforming Greece into a “debt colony”. It wanted more, it wanted the geopolitical and cultural “capital” of the country (and of Cyprus), which is also the main remaining arms of the Greek people, if it will wish one day to reclaim the control of its state. It wants to get from the Greeks their legitimate rights to exercise sovereingty over its country, and in particular in the Aegean, in Cyprus, in Crete, in Northern Greece. Because Greece and Cyprus control the access of Russia to the Warm Seas, they are located between the Middle East and Western Europe.

The Empire deems necessary to control Greece (and Cyrpus) in the strictest possible way, because since 1200 their control is absolutely essential to launch the Crusades against the East, the Islamic or the Russian one.

On the other side, the national feeling and pride of the Greek nation was not dead, in spite of the terrible 2015 defeat. This is pushing now to a new revolt, but, unfortunately, it is a revolt without any leadership, any clear political and social aims or ideas. The Empire was able to “decapitate” the Greek nation, as it has largely achieved with nearly all European nations and to control all its politics and potential representatives.

Greeks will cry today for Macedonia because, as they understand it, somebody wants to take from them their symbols and their cultural heritage, to usurp their History. They will also demonstrate today because they believe all the main political parties of their country are sold to foreign powers and these foreign powers are destroying their country. And they will do it because they have not, for the time being, any tool to challenge, for a second time, the economic and political Imperialism of Germany and the EU.

But behind their slogans about Macedonia, they will cry essentially “give us back our country”. And nobody can now really predict where all this will lead. As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, the father of Dialectics, put it, two and a half thousand years before Ilia Priygozin and his Chaos theories, “Time is a child playing dice. To the child belongs the Kingdom”

The dispute over Macedonia

Since the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Greece has refused to recognize any “Republic of Macedonia” on the grounds that such a name may reflect territorial claims on Greece. Most geographers and historians worldwide define Macedonia as a wider multinational region, following the administrative delineation of the Ottoman Empire, where Macedonia once belonged. More than half of Macedonia, as defined above, belongs today to Greece, about a third is FYROM, most of the remaining is the Bulgarian Pirin Macedonia and a tiny part, about 1%, belongs to Albania.  Because of Greek opposition to the recognition of this new state, produced out of the destruction of Yugoslavia, as “Republic of Macedonia”, it was admitted in the UN as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, until Athens and Skopje agree to a name commonly accepted by both sides.

But Greeks do not define Macedonia in such a way. They identify it with ancient Macedonia which is now Greek Macedonia. And this is an important part of the Greek national ideology.  This is one reason they cannot easily accept a Republic of Macedonia suddenly appearing in their northern frontiers. When Greeks say Macedonia is Greek, which may seem offending to foreigners, they mean Greek Macedonia is Greek. The nature of today’s Greek nationalism is essentially defensive.

The bloody destruction of Yugoslavia, by Western forces using nationalisms (in the name of combating them!) has created a legitimate fear among Greeks that their country may come next, in the context of the “new world order”. Some of President Clinton declarations about Balkans could also be interpreted as an indirect threat.

Those fears are also fuelled by FYROM’s official ideology, which presents all of Macedonia as one country with one legitimate, so to say, nation, the Macedonians. It represents a late mutation of the Komintern slogan of a “United and Independent Macedonia”, “United and Independent Thrace”, which crated a lot of huge problems, at its time, to the Greek communist movement. By the way the use of the word Macedonians to describe the dominant nationality in FYROM (our personal opinion is that the name Macedonian Slavs would be more clear), creates also serious problems, because it is implying that Greek, or Bulgarian, or Albanian Macedonians are not genuine Macedonians. But Macedonia in the wider sense was always a multinational region and it was for that reason French have named their famous salad Macedonian. They did it because it is made of many nationalities, exactly as Macedonia was inhabited by many nationalities.

The first leader of FYROM, Kiro Gligorov, was a serious guy, member of the Yugoslav League of Communists. But later, forces controlled directly by US, the CIA and various “globalisation” think tanks have gradually taken complete control of the state and its political elite. It is widely believed that CIA has played a huge role in bringing the new government in Skopje, in order to use it to “close” this question hindering NATO expansion and undermine any relation between FYROM and Russia.

These forces have begun to construct a completely fake national ideology and history, pretending Macedonian Slavs are heirs of Alexander the Great and his Kingdom. The whole thing is ridiculous, as the first Slavs have come to the Balkans one thousand years after the death of Alexander.

That way they try to refuse to the Greeks the use of their national cultural heritage, a part of which is Alexander’s saga, a heritage which is a strong ideological component of the Greek nation-state, the state chosen as the No1 target of the Empire of Finance in Europe. Indirectly, all that could lead into undermining the cohesion of Greece itself. This is happening also in many other regions of Europe, where nation-states are pressed from above (Globalisation and EU) and from below (“Europe of Regions”). We cannot consider the destruction of the nation-states progressive in any way, because it practically means the destruction of the sole level where there is still some degree of democratic control and social protection. The debate about a European federation is in reality misleading, as long as in reality we are not speaking of any kind of federation but of uniting European under the power of the Finance and of NATO.

This kind of ridiculous ideological “ethnomechanics”, applied in FYROM has another consequence also, it is entrapping Slav Macedonians into defending a completely fake and ridiculous national ideology, thus making them more than ever dependent upon the empire.

It is true that FYROM is too tiny to threaten Greece, but not if it would act as a strategic ally of Turkey or any other power threatening Greece.

But the main wars now are not military, they are economic, political and ideological. The empire needs to destroy historical nations and their states, because they represent objectively a source of potential challenge to itself.

Many British or American intellectuals do not grasp well the fundamental importance of the notion of the nation, an importance which Lenin understood very well and this was one of the secrets of the success of the October and subsequent Communist revolutions. Maybe they don’t grasp it because they come from nations which they believe or believed that all the world belongs to them. They don’t think in terms of Nations, they think in terms of Empires.

By adopting the ideology of Globalization, that is of the World Dictatorship of the Finance, important sections of the Left legitimize imperialism and they inherit all its contradictions regarding nations and nationalisms. Because you cannot dismiss Nations and Nationalisms in general, criticize Serbs, Greeks or Russians for “nationalism”, and then use Croatian, Albanian or Ukrainian nationalisms. You cannot accuse Serbs as nationalists and then use other nationalism to destroy a multinational structure like Yugoslavia.

Greek political parties were caught between their desire to satisfy Western powers, on whom they remain dependent and their own public. As a result, the official position of the country has oscillated from “no Macedonia, no derivatives” (1992) to “composite name with geographical connotation for all uses” (2008). But no Greek nowadays believes his parties are going to defend any position if subjected to western pressure. This is one of the reasons they felt they had to demonstrate.

In 2008 they were believing their government was defending Greek national interests. Only 5.000 people participated in a demonstration similar to those taking place today about Macedonia.

US and NATO come into the equation

This dispute has been ongoing for 25 years now, without creating any particular problem for bilateral relations between the two countries. Nobody really cared very much about solving this problem, except one player, the United States of America. A peace loving power, USA is not confining itself to its peace building activities in the Middle East, the Korean peninsula or Latin America. It is also very interested in promoting prosperity in South Eastern Europe!

FYROM is situated in the center of Balkans, between Greece and Serbia, Bulgaria and Albania. Who controls FYROM, controls the Balkans. Who controls the Balkans can wage war against Russia. It is as simple as that.

Hitler was of the same opinion. This is why he devoted precious time and he lost his best elite paratroopers divisions in 1941 to smash the formidable resistance of the Greeks to the Fascist Axis before attacking Soviet Russia, probably losing the war because of the prior expenditure of effort in his Serbian and Greek campaigns. Germans do not seem to have forgiven Serbs and Greeks for that.

This is the main, strategic reason US administration asked from the SYRIZA-An.Ell. government in Athens to conclude an agreement over the name quickly so that FYROM can become a member of NATO (and in the future of the EU). Berlin and Brussels are also pressing Athens in the same direction.

The Athens government has some very dangerous traits. It does not understand Greek national feelings, it doesn’t have much understanding of foreign, military and international policy or, for that matter, of Greek History. They only want to satisfy the US, Germany, NATO, Israel etc., without even understanding the consequences for themselves and the country. Tsipras is a kind of Gorbachev in Athens, who makes any concession possible, without really realizing what he is doing. Of course this is not valid for all his government. Some of its members, like the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Kotzias, realize too well what they are doing.

Plan A of the Empire is clear: Solve the dispute between Greece and FYROM, dealing one more blow to the strength of the Greek national feeling, a historically un-parallel anti-imperialist force in the Balkans, along with Serb national feeling. Include FYROM in NATO, encircle and discipline Serbia, forcing it to accept the loss of Kosovo, extirpate the last remains of Russian influence in the Balkans and conclude the transformation of the region from the Mediterranean and the Adriatic to the frontier of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics into a zone of strictly controlled protectorates, ready to go to war against the Russia.

By the way, Balkans is also an alternative possible route of attack against Iran, through Greece, Bulgaria, Black Sea and Transcaucasia.

A secondary aim is the inclusion of this region, or large parts of it in the EU, which will help finish any last potential of a united, independent, democratic Europe, leaving two main alternatives for the EU: to complete its transformation into a totalitarian imperial structure, under the control of international Finance and NATO, or to provoke its destruction in a catastrophic way.

But what if the Plan A fails? Empires have always fall back plans. Besides, it is more than obvious that this one is divided between its “Bolshevics” (Huntington, Netanyahu, Trump, Le Pen…) and its “Menshevics” (Fukuyama, Obama, Merkel, Macron, Soros…). The failures of the latter and the general dissatisfaction they provoke, lay the grounds for the others to try making their reckless Chaos strategies dominant western strategies.

One particular characteristic of the “Bolshevic” imperial faction is that it is using the methods of Entryism to put Neocons in all important positions of the western establishment. Another one is that they don’t present clearly their own program as such, they try to use the forces of dissent unleashed by the crisis of the mainstream western strategy, in order to radicalise it.They are producing fake revolts, color revolutions of different kinds, or they prove able to manipulate genuine ones. SYRIZA in Greece, Trump in the USA, Kurds in the Middle East are some of the examples one could cite. Last year, the Masters were debating in Davos about “post-Truth” and “post-Democracy”. The introduction of such terms is reflecting the extent of use of deception methods in contemporary politics.

We cannot explore analytically here what can be at stake in the Balkans if the plan A fails. This is why we limit ourselves to some ideas circulating around, from time to time, like dismemberment of FYROM between Albania and Bulgaria, or trying to create “fake” and pro-imperialist in the last analysis nationalisms in Serbia and Greece, or the open destruction of democratic rule in Greece. In the long run, in case of a crisis of the EU leading to its destruction, one of the ideas and scenarios circulating is to incorporate all Southern Europe and Northern Africa into a kind of Meditarranean Union under the aegis of France and Israel.

The only Plan which we cruelly lack is a Plan of cooperation of the Balkan nations and, beyond them, of Moldova and even Ukraine probably, if it gets rid from its present day dictatorship. All this region is now in ruins, as a result of Western military, political and economic inteventions, the object of a clear neo-colonialist policy. Such a Plan for South Eastern Europe could also be part of a Plan for a new, democratic, united, social and independent Europe, which we also cruelly lack.

Published at http://www.defenddemocracy.press/greek-protests-about-macedonia-are-complicating-us-nato-plans-for-war-with-russia/

Dijsselbloem Speaks: The Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

During a debate in the Committee on Employment of the European Parliament, a Greek Eurodeputy asked the President of the Eurogroup (the informal economic government of the Eurozone) if the Greek bail-out program was an effort to help and save Greece, or an effort to save the banks. Mr Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch Finance Minister, answered that “We have used the money of the taxpayers to save the banks. Those who say that everything was done to save the banks have some point”.

We remind our readers that Mr. Dijsselbloem threatened the Greek government with closure of Greek banks three days after the election of the new SYRIZA-ANEL government in January 2015, asking it to recognize the legitimacy of the debt and the validity of the neocolonial agreements signed by previous Greek governments, both accepted by Tsipras and Varoufakis one month later. He also applied every kind of pressure and blackmail during the first six months of 2015 in order to scupper any attempt by the Greek government to resist the program designed “to save banks” (and destroy Greeks), as he admitted in the Europarliament.

This same Dijsselbloem said more or less the same things in a recent interview to a Greek newspaper. Speaking about the way Europe addressed the problems after the 2008 crisis he answered:

“We improvised. We did it in a very expensive way for the taxpayers, including the Greek taxpayers, but the same goes for almost all the European countries. Banks were saved by the taxpayers at a huge price, leading to very high sovereign debt. Would we do it the same way again? No”.

Of course he did not explain why they “improvised” in such a way. They saved the banks, but they destroyed a member state of the Union. Why did they not improvise in the opposite way – giving priority to saving the population and not the banks? Just in passing,  this “improvisation” in reality required much more preparation time than other run-of-the-mill “improvisations”. Two years before imposing the catastrophic bail-out (in reality bail-down) program on Greece and one year before the German media began the concerted sadistic slander campaign against Greece (very much reminiscent of the propaganda campaigns against Serbs, Iraq, Libya, before the launching of the military campaigns against those nations), the international press began calling Southern Europe PIGS. A year and a half before the “improvised” imposition of the “bail-out” program on Greece, a close friend of Berlin, ex-Prime Minister Simitis, warned in the Greek parliament of the danger of seeing the IMF arrive in the country.

There was not any improvisation. Everything indicates that the program applied to Greece was nothing other than a carefully prepared and executed “experimental program” of abolishing the welfare state, democracy, popular and national sovereignty in a member state of the EU, by destroying its economy and its population. No more, no less. Mrs. Merkel herself went on record, the day the program was imposed, to explain that other Europeans will see what Greeks will suffer and they will get a lesson (BBC, May 10, 2010).

What does a country (or an enterprise or a person) facing the problem of a huge debt do? They invite their creditors (in Greece’s case mainly German and French banks) and they try to negotiate the restructuring of the debt. What happened with Greece? It was obliged, in the context of the bail-out program, first of all to recognize the debt and undertake to pay it to the last cent. To do that it was given money by the Europeans, and this is why the Greek program was indeed a bail-out program, but for the banks, not for Greece. The journalist interviewing the Dutch Eurogroup President asked him exactly that, i.e. if there should be a restructuring at the beginning of the program, and he got the following answer

“If there were to be an up-front restructuring in the future, I would be in favour of it because in the ESM treaty it actually says that before a country can enter a program, there needs to be some debt sustainability up-front. The only way to do that is if you include the private sector. But of course it’s a fundamental change that we have to think about”.

Ok, let them think about it. The fact remains that Mr. Dijsselbloem, along with Merkel, Juncker, Lagarde etc. inflicted upon a European nation damage comparable to what Nazi occupation troops did to it in the past, albeit with very different methods. And they insist on continuing to inflict this damage.

Mr. Dijsselbloem is not alone in making such a self-criticism. The IMF and Oli Rehn did the same in connection with the Greek disaster. But after performing such self-criticism not only do they not propose some compensation for the country they have destroyed: they multiply the pressures to continue with the same policy that is ruining the Greek people.

Here is the interview with Kathimerini: Leave Greek elections till 2019, Dijsselbloem tells Kathimerini, Alexis Papachelas | Kathimerini

Published in http://www.defenddemocracy.press/dijsselbloem-speaks-the-confessions-of-an-economic-hit-man/

Yiğit Bulut: “I am sorry for the Greeks. They have been left with nothing”

Greece will be in a “non-functional condition” until 2020, predicts the advisor to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan  Yiğit Bulut, who characterizes the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as a “tool of the imperialists”.

Speaking on the state television programme “Deep Analysis” he gave the example of Greece to show the consequences of imperialism for global political developments.

”They sold off everything. The banks have passed into the hands of the Germans. They have been left with nothing. People in Greece wait for products from Germany and Italy.  There is a film about 300 Spartans who fall heroically in battle. Those 300 of Leonidas should come back to Greece now, because nothing has remained standing.

The plundering of Greece is so huge that the Greek people don’t realize it. Tsipras doesn’t wear a tie. He was going to stop imperialism. But Tsipras works for them. Do you remember? There was a finance minister who rode around on a motorcycle. An academic. They got rid of him. I mentioned that on this programme in the past. They will sack that Greek finance minister and then Greece will sign the agreement with the INF. I said it. When they had got rid of the finance  minister they brought an Englishman and the Englishman became a minister of the Greek government and they signed. We said that on our programme here before it happened.

The imperialist model hasn’t changed. Countries get into debt. They sink into crisis. The property of the people is transferred and after that they simply change the government. The same thing happened in Turkey in 2001. They sent Kemal Derviş to Turkey to put things in order for the imperialists. They appointed him Roman governor in Turkey.  But fortunately Devlet Bahçeli was found to spoil their game for them,”  Erdoğan’s advisor stated, and continued: “I feel sorry for the Greeks. They are victims of imperialism.”

The above declaration by the Turkish official was made to the Turkish state television. It was translated for DDP from the Greek sites that reproduced it, under the headline “Erdogan’s advisor makes provocative declarations”.

Turkey still occupies a large part of Cyprus after having invaded the island in 1974 and expelled more than 200,000 Greeks from their homes. It has territorial claims on Greek Aegean islands and deploys the world’s largest fleet of landing craft some miles from them. The Turkish National Assembly has voted a resolution threatening Greece with war in the event of use by Athens of its right to expand Greek territorial waters to 12 miles. It is only natural that Greeks do not much appreciate a Turkish official speaking of their country in this way. It is indeed a “provocation” from the point of view of rules of diplomatic behavior, given that Mr. Erdogan is preparing his visit to Greece.

Of course Greeks know only too well that the description of the Turkish official is quite close to the truth. It is probable that the advisor of the Turkish President does not so much have the intention of provoking Greeks as influencing Turkish politics by showing his public opinion what happens to a country that surrenders to “Western Imperialism”.

There is a deep irony to Turkey depicting, as it does here, the EU, Germany, the Eurozone, NATO and big finance destroying a member-state of the EU, and using this argument rhetorically!

D.K.

Published in http://www.defenddemocracy.press/yigit-bulut-i-am-sorry-for-the-greeks-they-have-been-left-with-nothing/

The “Destroy Greeks” operation: Chapter II (Cyprus)

An international legal and political coup d’état is taking place these days, with the help and co-operation of the European Commission, against yet another state of the EU, after Greece: the Republic of Cyprus.  As unbelievable as it may seem, Juncker and Guterres are trying, through application of the guidelines of US and British policy, to destroy a second member of the EU after Greece and to transform it into a kind of post-modern protectorate. What is even more impressive, nearly nobody is speaking about that in international media, or, when they speak, they just reproduce the official narrative.

As 82% of the Cypriot population are Greeks by nationality, this coup should be regarded as continuation and “radicalization” of the “Destroy the Greeks” program that has been under implementation by the EU and the IMF, under supervision from High Finance in alliance with Germany, for the last seven years. From the economy they are now moving on to geopolitics. Up until now they have been usurping Greek sovereignty on matters of economic policy. With the Cyprus coup they are attempting to usurp “hard” sovereignty from the Greek people.

I am not using the term coup d’état as a rhetorical schema, I am using it stricto sensu.

An international conference has been convened in Geneva, with three foreign states (Britain, Turkey, Greece) represented along with representatives of the two largest national groups in Cyprus: Greeks and Turks. The Republic of Cyprus, a member state of the EU, is not officially represented in that conference. Two of the three states (Britain and Turkey) have in the past launched very bloody wars against the Cypriot people.

The purpose of this conference is to draw up a new “Treaty for a Federal Cyprus” and to decide the future constitutional and international regime of this state, without taking into account what the citizens of Cyprus think about this! The reason they have convened such a conference is that they are unable to persuade Cypriots themselves in a referendum to vote the solution the Western powers propose to the ethnic conflict on the island, a solution  tantamount to the suicide of the Cypriot state and its transformation into a protectorate!

The Greek government, which now acts more and more as a representative in Greece of the Troika and the West, not as a representative of the Greek people, has agreed to participate in this criminal farce. The same has happened with the President of Cyprus himself, who is openly, internationally and publicly being blackmailed with various criminal allegations, in  particular the Lebedev scandal, at the hands of the US administration and courts.

Unfortunately for the Greek people in both Greece and Cyprus, its political and ruling class has made the greatest progress in Europe in advancing the totalitarian agenda of the foreign powers that are seeking to subjugate and destroy the Greek people, their states and their democracy.

In the new “state” they want to create in Cyprus, the rule of the majority (the foundation of democracy) will be officially abolished, as the 18% minority will have a veto on all essential decisions, and foreign judges and officials will have to take the decisions in the very likely  contingencies where Greeks and Turks disagree.

The new state will not have any army or police of its own, but will be under the power of an International Police Force!

In fact, their intention is to return Cyprus to the status of a colony, which is what it was before its revolution of 1955-59 and before it achieved independence in 1960!!! They are gestating a monster, a kind of Frankenstein state.

This coup d’état is one more expression of the world-wide attack against popular and national sovereignty, against the social welfare state and against all forms of democracy.

It is the same attack which is also being organized through treaties such as TTIP, CETA, etc. which aim at establishing nothing less than a totalitarian world order, destroying any existing possibility of elected powers, at either the local or national level, having any influence on the decisions affecting people.

Neoliberalism was initially an economic and political proposal. It is now becoming a proposal for regime change.  It is already clear that, since the Maastricht Treaty at least, we have been witnessing a multi-faceted coup d’ état in the West, undermining the very foundations of the Western political order. They are abolishing the principle of popular sovereignty as such, seeking to replace it with a kingdom of Finance, whose power is embodied in various international organizations and their bureaucracies, including the EU institutions and bureaucracies and most “national governments”. They do not state as much openly but they are proceeding through various means, including TTIP, CETA and the other treaties of similar character.

We seem to live through a gigantic international counter-revolution, against the social and political results of the Second World War and the victory of the European peoples against Nazism and Fascism and, in reality, against also the very principles of Enlightenment and the French and similar revolutions (including the Greek one of 1821 and the Cypriot of 1955-59).

Our nations are in jeopardy and our states have already been, more or less, hijacked by globalization, that is, by the international dictatorship of finance capital, or at least its politically and strategically coherent wing, in alliance with the US military-industrial complex and NATO.

The content of the Western political regime as we have known it since 1945 has already been to a great extent abolished and its legal form is now gradually changing to reflect this new reality. One of the means being used is the previously mentioned international treaties. Another relevant factor is the way the European Union, the IMF and the ECB responded to the banking crisis of 2009, transforming it into a debt crisis and using it as a tool to destroy popular and national sovereignty, particularly in southern Europe.

Nowhere has this experiment gone as far as it has in Greece, which is being used, at the same time, as an example to frighten other Europeans, as a scapegoat and as a field of experimentation. The bailout program imposed on the country has already led to an economic and social crisis of unprecedented proportions, deeper than the huge crisis of 1929 in the US or the crisis in the Weimar Republic in 1929-33.

Greece is now the battlefield of the new financial totalitarianism, as between 1936 and 1939 Spain was the experimentation field of the rising Nazi and Fascist totalitarianisms.

The program being applied to Greece is not a classical program of neoliberal reforms. It is a mistake to describe what is happening in Greece using terms like austerity. What we face here is the assassination of a nation. The creditors have already taken away Greek national and popular sovereignty. A troika is running even the everyday affairs of the state and the government. All Greek public property is being looted. The Greek population is shrinking as young people are not having children; young people with specialized qualifications are emigrating in large numbers; mortality is rising among pensioners as a result of the crumbling of the health and social security systems. Greek pensions have been reduced fifteen times in the seven years of the “bail out” program. The psychology and morale of the Greek people are at an all-time low, strikingly similar to the psychology of Mr. K., the accused in the Trial by Franz Kafka.

It is not only a political, an economic, a social experiment. It is a kind of an anthropological one. They want not only to destroy the nation, democracy, the state. They want to destroy the idea of them and the very idea of citizenship. They want to lead Greece into committing a kind of collective suicide and they have up to now been to a large extent successful, especially since the betrayal by SYRIZA, one of the gravest betrayals in the history of the international Leftist movement.

Now, with the Cyprus coup, this attack against Greeks is taking new, unprecedented and even more dangerous forms.

What is happening in Greece, what is happening in the Middle East, what is happening regarding climate, all are proofs that we are faced with a horrible, extremely radical and ruthless offensive by the most dangerous and reactionary forces humankind has ever produced. No illusions are permissible. But most of us do not make a proportionate response to the situation. We frequently condemn these phenomena but we do not behave as if they are a question of life or death for human civilization.

It is important in these conditions to defend every element, everywhere, of popular and national sovereignty. But at the same time we should understand that such a struggle cannot ultimately be won at the local or national level, especially as we are already living, to a large extent, in what objectively is one state, and this state, whether we like it or not, is the EU.  Our opponents already have a sophisticated regional and world agenda, but we try to confront them within the narrow context of national realities that are becoming more and more irrelevant.

We need new political subjects that will take into account the radical character of the offensive we are facing, enshrined in our national realities but also, at the same time, in the objective international reality.

More than ever we need a Zimmerwald B conference, a century aft. ,,er the first one.

 Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

* The above is from an intervention to the Conference on a democratic response to Free Trade Agreements, organized by the Fundación Galiza Sempre and the Centre Maurits Coppieters in Coruna (Galiza).

AFTER THE EU….WHAT?

I must admit that I have been very hesitant about writing the article that follows. I remember that when I went to Moscow to work as a foreign correspondent it took me two years to understand the extent of my ignorance of Russia. I try not to laugh or lose my temper when so many of our foreign friends who come to Greece with good intentions do not seem so interested in asking questions, but nevertheless have answers for everything!

My knowledge of Britain is very superficial and I would like not to have to write about the country in question. If I do so it is because I want to share some thoughts which have emerged out of following the referendum debate, but also because the questions being raised now in Britain concern every European citizen. I admit that I have drawn extensively on my experience from three other referenda that I followed much more closely: in Cyprus (2004), France (2005) and Greece (2015). But I am ready to accept any criticism of having extrapolated from some of the tendencies I have discerned in other cases and then applied these findings to Britain.

In any case, I don’t believe I am in a position to give definite answers. I would be very happy if this text could be considered just once contribution to a wider, and very necessary, debate. If there are mistakes in it, even they could stimulate further discussion. 

by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos (*)

 “To be or not to be?”, was the question that tortured Hamlet. “To be or not to be in Europe?” is the question the British put to themselves time and time again, usually only to avoid giving an unambiguous answer. For the French writer Andre Maurois, England is a country “alone but not isolated” (insulaire mais pas isolée). “We should always remember that we are neighbours, but not part of continental Europe”, was the advice of Bolingbroke (and De Gaulle would be in complete agreement!) And a top secret memo prepared for MacMillan on the post-imperial strategy for Britain, was very clear: “We should not come into a position where we would have to choose between one of the two Atlantic coasts”.

This “ambiguity” is also a dominant characteristic in other fields of the British “collective subconscious”, where coexist the memories of the Empire, but also of the Trade Unions, born in Britain in their modern form, and of its huge workers and socialist movement.

The British “revolt” against the EU is quite similar to other “revolts” in Europe. Cypriots, French, Dutch, Irish, Icelanders, Danes, Greeks etc. have repeatedly expressed their outrage at European institutions and both national and European policies (national elites are, after all, also strictly controlled, as are European institutions, by the “Empire of Finance” and by NATO and the USA, but the mechanism of control has not achieved the totalitarian perfection of the EU). And all those “revolts” included social, political and national elements.

But the British revolt seems also quite different from the previous European revolts, in some important aspects.

For instance in most of the other referanda-revolts people were not refusing European Union, they were implicitly asking a different Union. There was more clarity and less confusion in the debate. Usually, but not always, the ideas of the Left were dominant in initiating and shaping the debates. In the case of the British referendum, a split inside the British ruling class seems to have met a current of unspoken popular reaction to where Britain and the world are going. Those currents are still articulated around ideas created under different conditions, and this is probably one of the reasons there is so much confusion around the British referendum. I wonder for instance, if the strong underground currents which propelled Corbyn into the leadership of the Labor Party are not in fact very similar to the ones that legitimized suddenly some rather marginal rigth wing politicians, propelling them to champions of a national cause. (the same happened also in the United States with Sanders and Tramp supporters some times hating each other but also sharing some common element of anti-establishment revolt.

It is not Corbyn in the Left, or Farage and Johnson in the Right who can create “radicalism”. Radicalism exists in some form and is usually marginal in any given society, until many people feel they need it, either to replace an order they cannot tolerate any more or to defend themselves against a coming, unacceptable and threatening order. We are in the second scenario. People feel it deeply, before they are even able to spell it. They feel it by an instinct of imminent danger all humans (and indeed all animals) we dispose and which, in critical times, can be far superior than any intellectual analysis. Of course, what will happen afterwards, depends very much on the “subjective” factor, on how “radical” politicians are navigating in the sea of conflicting currents, if they want to serve or just to sell ideas they adopt at a given moment. The revolt is grown out of human reaction to what people perceive as a threat or a hope. What will happen with a revolt depends much on the politicians and intellectuals who will be propelled in central roles.

In Greece for instance people did not vote for SYRIZA because of what SYRIZA was, but in spite of what it was. They felt they needed an instrument to save themselves and their country and SYRIZA was the only available. They did not vote No in July 5th, 2015 because they were persuaded by any campaign (nearly all campaign was for a Yes vote).  They did not do it out of any thoughts and rational arguments or calculations. They did it because they felt deeply inside them they had to protect their own dignity, which remains still a basic human need. The fact that sometimes dignity and other moral qualities get in the way of modern politics is, by the way, a source of deep confusion for most established politicians and pollsters, as they are not well acquainted with such notions.

The roots of all recent revolts

European revolts are social in character because of what is called Globalization.

The term is in reality misplaced. We are not facing some kind of “neutral” internationalization, or just a decay of states and nations. We are facing the advent of a global dictatorship of Finance, in alliance with big multinational corporations and the US military-industrial complex. This particular kind of globalization (and of European integration, which is not so much a means of defense against it but rather a way of implementing it), is clearly threatening living standards, post-war social welfare system and any democracy everywhere. It is doing that even in the countries which seem to be its own capitals and the pillars of modern military and financial imperialism, like Britain and even the United States!

European revolts are political because no person in his right mind in the Western world in any way trusts its politicians and Eurocrats, who, even when they are still formally elected, seem in fact to have been selected and appointed by the Empire of Finance (with NATO probably also having a say on whether an appointment should be consented to or vetoed). Everybody understands that popular sovereignty has evaporated. This is happening on the national level and even more so at the level of the EU.

Invoking the necessities of integration, European decision makers are moving more and more powers away from the member states, not for them to reappear at any federal level, but for them to be “lost” in the Brussels bureaucratic labyrinth. The extremely well paid Brussels bureaucracy is intellectually and ideologically completely at odds with what most European citizens believe. The Commission for instance is a machine programmed always to do two things:  “liberate the markets” and “enlarge” the Union indefinitely. The strategy is defined (by whom?), the personnel are educated to implement  it and the politicians are needed to deflect popular opposition from what they are doing! This is why they prefer the term governance, which means governing the masses, as opposed to government, which means the people governing its fate, be it on the national or the European level.

(French citizens voted overwhelmingly in May 2005 to reject the European Constitutional Treaty. In the aftermath of the referendum I asked two friends who held rather high posts in the OECD and the EU how French people working there had voted. They told me that everyone  had expressed an opposite view to the majority of the French population and were even ashamed of the way their compatriots had voted)

This is the EU’s famed “democratic deficit”.  But there is not any power deficit. The national parliaments’ power of decision making is being siphoned off to the Brussels institutions. And it is not staying with the executive branch. It is going to the real decision makers, Goldman Sachs and a number of other mega-banks, the IMF, a handful of multinationals, NATO etc. When a group from the Left in the European “Parliament” asked to be informed about the negotiations on TTIP (a Treaty affecting all fundamental conditions of life for hundreds of millions of citizens), it was allowed to send one deputy in a room to read the relevant documents, without the right to take notes! I doubt that even the CIA is applying such a procedure for US Senators. And by the way, if they are preparing something so good for humanity, why they are hiding it in this way?

European revolts are also national ones. Of course European nations are today a shadow of what they once were but they still represent a formidable psychological and ideological reality, which is not going to change just because some believe it is obsolete. Humans feel the need to belong somewhere and also the need to give a meaning to their existence. The former need is especially strong in a context of massive crisis. The latter pushes people back to their traditions, as all modern paradigms, including the promise of prosperity, of Europe or of socialism have either collapsed or are suffering very serious crises. (The fact that very often some feelings and ideas are just kept in the personal and collective “unconscious” and they are not usually expressed, does not weaken them. On the contrary, being unconscious they are not subject to logical control and if they find the necessary conditions they may escape from where they are with great force and rather primitive character).

Read also:  TTIP – Putting Europeans under the rule of Big Business and USA

But the reasons for people everywhere going back to their national identities are also very real and practical. There is not any other level than the national one in which they can hope to exercise some control over the powers that rule them and enjoy some kind of social protection.

The Left and the Nation

 It is now that the difficulties begin to appear. A large part of the Left, having been incorporated into “globalization”,  has obediently followed the liberal discourse on nations and even legitimized it. It has demonized or devalued the very notion of the nation and does not know how to handle the question when it arises.  It even overlooks the fact that nearly all leftist revolutions of the 20thcentury were of course social but also, and very much so, national revolutions! Its attitude often remains unaffected by the fact that nations are not giving way to some sort of democratic or progressive international structure – they are just being swept away by world financial totalitarianism.

SYRIZA during its rise was something of an exception to this. It was able to adopt a rhetoric incorporating – implicitly, not explicitly – the national with the social and the European element. Tsipras was able to do this by copy-pasting ideas originating from outside his party and in this way acquiring the ability to claim power.  You can secure hegemony only if you have solid national backing, only if you can propose a project for your nation. As it is said in America “all politics is local”.

They are local, but they are also very much global.  This is the limit of nationalism, as a reaction to nowdays threats, and this why European leftists a long time ago should have elaborated a regional and international strategy. The EU is already halfway to being  a state, but also most economic protections of a given policy have been abolished on the international level. You cannot make policy disregarding the national factor (what many leftists like to do), but you also cannot make policy pretending there are still nation-states as we knew them in the past (this is what both leftists and nationalists are often doing).

Only people blinded by “political correctness” and “left” or “right” liberalism could  believe that historic, ex-imperial nations such as Britain or France, (or nations who have resisted Hitler as few in Europe, like Greece), would not react, sooner or later, one way or another against both the Brussels dictatorship and German ambitions. The British, as is often the case with nations exercising trade, cherish their freedom. Britain was able to enjoy more freedom, and for much longer, than most European nations, because the Channel and the Royal Navy protected it from outside threats. The islands were never occupied after 1066.

Even if their politicians would not say so, the British, and everybody else, have also been witnessing how Berlin has been acting since the beginning of the crisis, reserving to itself the right for the final shaping of European policy, behaving like owners of  the European Union, deciding which countries deserve to remain, or not, inside the Eurozone (tomorrow the EU), and even which countries will be completely destroyed or just subjected to pressure.

The fact that the leaders in Berlin hide their nationalism behind “economic reason”, moralistic discourse and the alliance they have forged with Goldman Sachs and the IMF, does not improve anything. It makes things worse. Nobody needs to go through Berlin or Brussels to arrive in the orbit of Washington and New York. There are direct flights.

None of this is usually present in the “official” public debate, it erupts there only rarely. Most people are just in a state of panic and don’t in any way wish to cross swords with the devils that destroyed Europe twice in the past century. But those devils will not disappear just because we don’ talk about them. They will reappear, and indeed they are reappearing, sometimes in the most ugly and destructive forms. In today’s “Animal Farm” that the European Union has become, some animals are certainly more equal than others. But there are also animals that will never accept the status assigned to them.

If some kind of European integration or even co-operation is to be preserved, that cannot mean the abolition of existing nations, especially in crisis conditions. It must mean clear arrangements between the existing European nations, with respect for every one of them.

To attribute the whole situation to the influence of Johnson or Farage is not only an aberration; it is also an enormous gift to the British right and extreme right. In fact we should not overestimate the role they have played. For the political collapse of the European Union, whatever role was also played by the defeat of the European Left in Greece in 2015, the essential responsibility lies with European national and EU leaders. The EU political leadership intervened massively in all referenda to advise people how to vote and frighten them with the consequences to be suffered if they ignored the advice. In all cases this was more than enough to persuade people to do the opposite of what they were being advised to do! Nobody could be more effective than Donald Tusk, or Wolfgang Schaeuble or the IMF to persuade the British to vote for Exit.

In fact, it seems that if Bremain wins finally, very strange as it will be, it will happen not because of the campaign its supporters are doing, but because somebody, who normally would wish the opposite result, has murdered the young and distinguished militant and MP Jo Cox. We live definitely in interesting times.

Corbyn is too recent to be sure about the way he will handle the question of the “nation”. But up to now all “national” questions were the domain of the Right, which was left to play alone. It is more useful to analyze the reasons of the problems, than discuss the sometimes unpleasant or even disgusting results.

Of course it is much more easy to defend your nation if you are for instance a Greek leftist, as Greece is now clearly a nation suffering from a post-modern form of foreign occupation and oppression. Britain and France are nations which are somehow oppressed by the system, but in the same time they are very much part of its center. If their Left is to succeed it has to find a way to address the whole nation, in the same time avoiding to make compromises with its imperialistic characteristics, which would alter its very nature. Easy to say, difficult to implement. (This is also true for Germany, where its history and the role its leaders claim in Europe makes things even more difficult. But the remark is also valid for Germans and Germany).

In this context came the refugee question, which is a very difficult one, reflecting as it does the difficulties the Left has with Nation and Identity. Our full solidarity with the victims of the war we, Europeans and North Americans, have started, is a demand of elementary human dignity. We should try to help them where they are now. But mass immigration of millions of people to Europe is no solution to anything. Even if some believe the refugees have the right to establish themselves wherever they wish, Europeans will not accept it. And such emigration would consummate the ruin of their countries of origin.

The only possible answer to this problem is of course to take care of people in need, but also completely to reverse Western policy in the Middle East, organizing a huge Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of the countries our air forces and proxies have all but erased from the map.

Is the radical Left radical?

The collapse of USSR was a terrible blow to Leftist ideas worldwide, even for forces that  were hostile to the Soviet Union’s bureaucratic regime. It facilitated the replacement of  socialist ideology by “Europeanist” ideology, by the ideology of human rights and by support, sometimes, for supposedly democratic imperialistic interventions. (There was another tendency, a minority one, but one that is getting stronger by the day, especially in France, for socialism to be supplanted by uncritical nationalism).

Some people may still refer to the works of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Gramsci; they may wear  T-shirts with the portrait of Che Guevara on them, but their real psychology and mentality is the total opposite of that of these figures to whom they pay lip service.  Deeply inside themselves, they believe in the stability of the system. They are  conservatives even if they call themselves radical. They want European capitalism more or less to be preserved. They don’t believe that something radically different could replace it. Their inner ambition is to humanize and reform it and the role they reserve for themselves is to constitute its conscience.

Read also:  The face (and the fate) of Europe

History is playing very painful jokes on humanity.  Twenty years after the implosion of the Soviet Union, interpreted as the “End of History” by some Western ideologues (of very poor intellectual background, by the way), the economic and geopolitical forces that  triumphed in 1989-91 have entered their own very serious crisis, which is in fact the most serious since 1929.

It is this crisis that is provoking the EU’s crisis, not the other way around. But who in Europe is radical enough to draw the appropriate conclusions and adapt his policy to this environment of crisis. Sometimes it seems that only bankers are!  Leninism has migrated from the Left to the upper echelons of a world power concentrated as never before in history.

Their terrible illusions about the EU and inner belief in the system was also one of the main reasons for the failure and devastating defeat of SYRIZA in Greece. SYRIZA was right to try to find a compromise, a solution permitting at least some stabilization of the country, given the international correlation of forces and the situation in Greece. But it avoided, at every point, even trying to imagine the prospect of a clash in the event that such a compromise could not be found.

(We should notice at this point that if the majority of the Left clings desperately to the EU, even when it seems very likely that this structure is doomed, there is also a smaller ultra-leftist tendency which believes that everything will be automatically fixed if a country leaves the euro, returning to an impossible paradise of nation-states.  The lack of a real transitional program, belief in one’s capacity to implement it, and the will to try, is compensated for by hoisting the national flag.)

 British nationalism, its character and its contradictions

 It is impossible nowadays to defend your society without defending your nation. This is the mistake typically made by the Left. But the opposite is equally true. You cannot defend your nation without defending its people. After all, the nation is not an abstraction.  It consists of real people. And that is true not only of nations like Greece that are patently under neocolonial rule. It can often also be true of nations much higher in the geopolitical-economic pecking order.

It is obvious that a part of the British ruling class believes it can obtain more of the advantages of globalization from being outside the Union. It is using the “anti-globalization” and “democratic” element of the revolt, not to put in any doubt “globalization”, but to claim for a different set of arrangements for Britain inside the globalization. For the time being this seems a tiny minority in the international establishement, as Obama, NATO, Soros and Rotchild were blunt: They need London inside, not outside the EU.

This could change in two cases. One is the scenario B. If the EU and the neoliberal order is going to collapse, without a different a more democratic European order replacing it, then national antagonisms will be used to dominate the continent, to legitimize authoritarianism, go on with social regression and prepare outside wars against Russia, Islam, China later etc.

Now there is a problem. Can you have a vision for your nation, without having a vision for the world? The nation is nowadays admittedly under ideological attack, but this is not the crux of the matter. The fact is that the nation is also under very practical, material attack from Finance. Brussels “dictatorship” is one form of rule by Finance. But the same rule is organized also for countries outside the EU.

British nationalists say they are anxious about the “invasion of refugees”. But they tend to forget that these refugees are the direct product of NATO bombings and the support Wahhabis receive from the main Western powers! Successive British governments bent over backwards to follow the Middle Eastern policy of the most extremist forces inside the international establishment. Britain participated in all interventions in the Middle East, even when the Germans and French were opposing them, and even when Obama himself indicated some reluctance, as with Libya.

Some British Tories say they are afraid the inclusion of Turkey in the EU will result in millions of refugees coming to Europe. But again it is London that has been, along with Washington, the most stubborn supporter of enlargement of the EU to include Turkey, in order to destroy Europe as a political project, multiply US Trojan Horses inside the EU, “stabilize” the role of Turkey for Middle Eastern interventions, incorporate its cheap labor into European markets and put an end to  European agricultural policy. Are they now protesting about the results of their own policies?

I don’t know if British jobs, social infrastructure and salaries are threatened by these unfortunate refugees. They are certainly threatened by neoliberalism, which will use refugees to reduce workers’ rights and lower their living standards. But again, it has been London all along that has insisted in imposing the most extreme neoliberalism on the EU. It is London that refused any tax or social harmonization in the EU, which was hostile to the agricultural policy and which has struggled very successfully to transform the EU into a mere free exchange zone. This is also the stated aim of Cameron in his Bremain campaign.

Finally, the main question that nationalists and pro-Europeans, leftists and rightists, not only in Britain, but in all Europe are not answering satisfactorily: how can a given nation or a group of nations be protected from the formidable economic and political forces of globalization?

(By the way, it may not be useless to underline the following, because it is of great political importance: the European Union is not yet an accomplished totalitarian structure. It is in the process of transformation from a democratic to a totalitarian structure, both on the level of its functioning and in terms of its ideology. The right of national veto, for instance, has been retained for a number of cases, in theory making even possible a policy like the one to which De Gaulle resorted at one point. In such a situation it makes sense, at least in theory, to push for “reform” rather than proceed directly to “revolution”. The time for revolution is when reform has already proven impossible. Many people believe Greece has proved that this is impossible. Probably yes, but this is still a prediction. Nobody knows what would have happened if the Greek government was prepared not to capitulate. Brussels, Berlin and Washington knew what Tsipras would finally do and this provided them with the certainty they were not taking enormous risks. We don’t know if Mrs. Merkel, the other European leaders, the financial and NATO establishment would be ready to take the risks (political, financial, even geopolitical) of a protracted conflict. They behaved like they behaved because they were sure they were controlling already enough the SYRIZA leadership, at least in a degree to neutralize its capacity to resist, even if it chose to do. Anyway, the problem is not so much to make safe predictions about future crises. It is rather to acquire a sound political strategy. SYRIZA was absolutely right not to advance slogans for the exit from Euro and the EU (especially given that debt and the Memoranda have been more tangible threats than participation in Europe, which provided also Greece with political and institutional weapons it could use if it had the will).  But it should have been prepared to quit the eurozone and block all EU functioning if the EU insisted on capitulation. Events in Britain have taken a different turn, for various reasons, one of them the defeat of the European Left in 2015 and the subsequent fact that the initiative for the present British referendum has come from the Right.

The politics of confusion

All the above contradictions are reflected in the extremely confused and incoherent way that the British debate has taken place, in sharp contrast to what happened in France for instance, in May 2005, leading to the rejection of the European Constitutional Treaty and the end of neoliberal-euroliberal ideological domination in this country.

The French debate of that time was an authentically Cartesian debate, with people even in backstreet restaurants in working-class suburbs discussing questions that nobody would expect anyone but very educated economists and specialists to debate. They were able all the relevant information from analyses of very high quality found throug Internet. The decision that the French people took at that time was an absolutely conscious one.

Confusion is historically bad and worrisome. It is a sign that societies are unable to confront the real problems in a way that is both meaningful and acceptable.

Take for example the debate over whether the British economy will be better in or out the euro. Every side takes it for granted that the international economic (and political-geopolitical) environment is going to remain more or less stable. But that is not the way it is going to be, because we are still very much inside the biggest crisis world capitalism has seen since 1929.

A crisis of this severity has never ended before without a major war. That is not an absolute indication of an inevitable future, but  it remains a dark reminder from the past. Given that the international financial and political system has enormous and unprecedented potentialities for control and manipulation, behind the seemingly chaotic automatism of the “markets”, it has been able to transform the crisis of the financial sector in 2008 into a crisis of the EU and then unload all the economic costs onto the backs of the PIGS, especially Greece, for which this policy has spelt ruin.  The method in question is the politico-economic equivalent of a technique used in modern civil engineering, having been developed in the context of the theory of catastrophes. A huge building inside an urban center can be demolished in a matter of minutes, without there being any necessity even to stop the traffic in the area. One of the reasons the IMF and the German government are arguing about Greece, is that in Washington there is greater understanding of the fact that at some point the destruction process must be attenuated and some of the cost transferred to other European countries. Mr.  Schaeuble prefers to continue destroying Greece at full speed and does not want to accept any transference of the cost.

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By controlling and postponing solution of the crisis, they will not avoid it. They will merely make it worse. The crisis of the EU is not the reason for the underlying economic crisis; it is its reflection. Unfortunately, most discussion of the Euro and EU nowadays is a debate about institutions, carefully segregated from consideration of the coming economic and financial tsunamis.

The EU was accepted as a vehicle for prosperity and democracy, plus – for some – independence. It is in the process of collapse because the liberal post-national order is not able to  secure achievement of these aims. As a result, it is being de-legitimized politically, beyond the point of no return. This has become obvious in the past year, as confirmed in research by the Pew Centre, in the wake of the crashing of Greece and subsequent refugee crisis.  In such conditions everybody tries to save himself, and revolt against Brussels or Berlin becomes generalized. We should not underestimate the explosive significance of the message that was conveyed last year to every person watching the TV coverage of the Greek crash. Even those who don’t like Greeks and/or are indifferent to their problems have seen European Union crashing one of its members. No Union in history has survived the destruction, colonization and looting of one of its members. By crashing Greece the European Union has also destroyed its political raison d’etre. When the next wave of the financial (or anyone) crisis will come, the whole structure is ready to collapse (or reform radically, as there is at least in theory such a possibillity, but it needs somebody to prepare it and there is nobody at sight.

The existing European Union seems hardly sustainable in the medium term. If the poor were unable to explode it, the rich will do it. The real question is not to support in any sense the EU, because the structure seems anyway doomed to a very probable collapse. The real question is what will be the new status quo in Europe. We witnessed what happened to the Soviet Union twenty-five years ago. It was an unacceptable structure for many people but its disappearance, the way and in the direction it was done, represented a huge step backwards, not forwards. It led to the decomposition of the Soviet economy and society, it has made possible all the catastrophic wars in the Middle East. Not many people in states like Moldova or Tajikstan, formally independent though they may be, are today enjoying their independence. They would just lough if you asked them how they feel havinb gained such independence.

The same is possible for the European Union.  A possible collapse of it will not necessarily lead to anything better. It could lead to something much worse, with different countries competing for their shares of a shrinking demand and resorting to social dumping and authoritarian “nationalist” regimes to achieve it, all the while being more than ever at the mercy of International Finance and the USA.

We don’t describe such a worst case scenario as a meansHow toi of persuading anyone to stay in the EU, which is in any case collapsing under the weight of its inner contradictions. Only very deep and radical reform could save and there is no sign of anyone having made serious preparations for any such thing. What we wish to do is underline once more the necessity for building a national and international force able to advance a program that would be acceptable for most European peoples, or at least for a group of them.

The Soviet Union by the way collapsed to the direction it did, because there existed no political force with a sound strategy to reform it to a different direction.

How to unite Europeans

In 2011 I had a meeting with Mr. Tsipras and Mikis Theodorakis. I told them that it will be impossible to face the attack we receive as a nation, only based on our own forces. The Financial Empire had chosen Greece as the first target in a gigantic project of “regime change” in all Europe. We were in the first line of the attack, so we should become also the ones to take the initiative to organize the defense and the counter attack. They were both enthusiastic about the idea and they entrusted me with drafting an appeal to all European peoples, meant as a tool for organizing a large front of international resistance. It was signed by dozens of politicians, personalities and intellectuals around Europe, including the leaders of the German and the French radical left. Tsipras took it with him and read it at a Linke Congress in Germany, receiving also there an enthusiastic welcome. I believe this appeal greatly him to construct an international image.

The main underlying idea was that Finance is transforming its own crisis into a political crisis between European nations. As for national identity, its emergence was unavoidable in crisis conditions, the strategic question was not if national identities would be awakened, but rather to which direction this resurgence, and sometimes revolt of nations would be channeled. We should advance an opposite project, trying to unite European nations against the Finance, perceived as our common enemy. A common enemy is very useful for a union, but a union would be more solid if it had also a common vision. In the appeal there were the very broad outlines of our main aims.

“There is an urgent need for an immediate, cross-border coordination of action by intellectuals, people of the arts and literature, spontaneous movements, social forces and personalities who comprehend the importance of the stakes; we need to create a powerful front of resistance against the advancing “totalitarian empire of globalization”, before it is too late.

Europe can survive only if wepromote a united response against the markets, a challenge bigger than theirs, a new European «New Deal».

– We must immediately stop the attack against Greece and other countries of the EU periphery; we must stop the irresponsible and criminal policy of austerity and privatization, which leads directly to a crisis deeper than the one of 1929.

– Public debts must be radically restructured across the Eurozone, particularly on the expense of the private banking giants. Banks must be recontrolled and the financing of European economy must be under national and European social control. It is not possible to let the financial keys of Europe in the hands of banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, UBS, the Deutsche Bank etc. We must ban the uncontrolled financial derivatives, which are the spearhead of the destructive financial capitalism, and create real economic development, instead of speculative profits.

 

  • The present architecture, based on the Maastricht Treaty and the WTO rules,hasestablished a debt production machine in Europe. We need a radical change of all Treaties, the submission of the ECB under political control by the European peoples, a “goldenrule” for minimum social, fiscal, environmental standards in Europe. We urgently need a change of paradigm; a return to the stimulation of growth through the stimulation of demand, via new European investment programs, a new regulation, taxation and control of international capital and commodities flows; a new form of smart and reasonable protectionism in an independent Europe, which will be the protagonist in the fight for a multipolar, democratic, ecological, social planet”.

There is an urgent need for an immediate, cross-border coordination of action by intellectuals, people of the arts and literature, spontaneous movements, social forces and personalities who comprehend the importance of the stakes; we need to create a powerful front of resistance against the advancing “totalitarian empire of globalization”, before it is too late.

Europe can survive only if wepromote a united response against the markets, a challenge bigger than theirs, a new European «New Deal».

What we did after proclaiming all that and stating the urgency of the situation inb order to realize them. Near to nothing! (A remarkable exception, as Kate Hudson indicated me recently, was Tony Benn, one of the noblest figures of post-war British and European socialism. Inspired by this appeal he made another one for the founding of the Greece Solidarity Campaign in Britain, which has raised and send many thousands of pounds to Greece for Medical Aid to Solidarity Clinics etc.)

If we had done something maybe the result of the 2015 crisis in Greece could be different and the European questions put now in a different form. Anyway it is never too late.

Athens, 21.6.2015

(*) Journalist and writer, ex-Secretary of the Movement of Independent Citizens, ex-Member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA, member of the editorial board of “DefendDemocracy.Press”

http://www.defenddemocracy.press/after-the-eu-what/

HOW GERMANY DESTROYS GREECE, EUROPE AND… GERMANY!

The other day, as I was hearing the polemic between Sheuble and Johnson, I suddenly remembered an article I had written in English back in October 2011. I decided to republish it, as it sheds some light, I believe, on the probably fatal crisis EU is now experiencing. Of course there are some elements which need correction after four and a half years. But on the main mechanisms for self-destruction of the EU I believe the analysis has been confirmed.

At the time I was writing the article I was desperate about the quasi-automatic way Europe was entering into a self-destructive path, by the way it was handling the Greek crisis. My prediction was that the EU could be destroyed as a result. As for Germany, I writing that it had probably enough strength to crash Greece, but not enough to absorb the political fall-out of such a “victory”. This is exactly what we see now.

I decided to write an article more out of despair than out of hope. After all, Robinson Cruse made the same thing. He was writing and putting letters in bottles hoping a ship would gather them and somebody would read them. I did the same, simply using Internet as the sea.

I send the article to many friends in Europe, both conservatives and leftists, including Chancellor Helmut  Schmidt, whom I did no know (I had just found his address in the Inernet). Some of them reacted with great interest. Conservatives were more interested, but also some leftists. Some people from the European People’ s Party even tried to do something, but in vain. I was not waiting any answer from the Chancellor, just because I addressed him an article. But he reacted. He send me a short letter thanking me, two days before delivering a great speech to the SPD party congress, urging Germany to change course. The next day he defended again Greece, in a way no Greek politician has done it, speaking to a TV interview.

I told this story to Alexis Tsipras, with whom I was in close contact at that time, insisting that he should open channels of dialogue with both German society and German elite, trying to establish, even in those very difficult conditions, a kind of frank dialogue with Germans . He promised repeatedly to do it, but he never did. He was more impressed by other international forces and he was less attracted by complicated international questions than by the electoral game he was entering in order to take power. Maybe he did not know also how to do it. Finally he entrusted his chief economist, Dragasakis, to keep talking with Germans. But Dragasakis had never believed the policy announced by Tsipras, he had never shared the analysis adopted by Tsipras on the nature of the program imposed to Greece, he did everything to annul the July referendum after it was announced and, most probably, he was negotiating an unacceptable compromise even before Tsipras comes to power (in his capacity as vice-president of the Greek government, he even thanked publicly the US administration  in July 2015 for helping Athens to capitulate! :Later he went public stating we should not demonize the Memorandums with Creditors, on the opposition to which SYRIZA had become a big party and gained power!).

I don’t know what a serious dialogue between Berlin and Athens could give. What I know for sure is that both sides in this relationship were very problematic, to say the least. And this was making both easy targets for manipulation from interested third parties. Here follows the article as published in October 20th, 2011.

 

How Germany destroys Greece, Europe and … Germany!
(a triumph for the empire of Lloyd Blankfein)

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

SUMMARY: Greece is on the verge of revolt or revolution, at least if its government continues to refuse the early election that everybody in Greece is demanding now. The markets seem to be on the verge of launching an even stronger attack on Italy. There is military tension in the Eastern Mediterranean, increasing the probability of a military conflict involving two members of the EU, a candidate member and Israel. As for Berlin, the way it is handling the European crisis reveals the same pattern of strategic mistakes that contributed to its military defeats in World Wars I and II, the only difference being that in the 20th century we were engaged in military wars whereas now we are faced with all-out financial war.

Germany has a rare historic opportunity to re-establish itself as a normal power, transforming itself into the political and economic leader of all Europe against “the markets”, a worthy and democratic “hegemon” of the continent, investing its ambitions in a radically reformed European project of world significance. Instead of this, its policies are undermining the European project: they are fuelling intra-European political wars and conflicts over debt. Germany, yet again in its history, is falling prey to an extremely narrow, provincial species of nationalism, the same primitive nationalism that has ruined the German Volk in the past. Germans are risking their own “Waterloo”, for the third time in two centuries, a heavier defeat than the one they sustained in 1945. There is not much time left before the historic defeat of the European Idea, collapse of the EU and a global economic crisis worse than that of 1929, which will have catastrophic consequences for Europe, the world and Germany itself.

To adopt a more systemic approach, it is not difficult to discern in the ways the crisis is developing in the European Union – and in the world’s economic architecture – some of the characteristics that led to the rapid demise/self-destruction of the Soviet system and Soviet Union, an entity very different from, but in its way as “closed” as, the current monetarist and neoliberal European and global economic system. The way European leaders are handling the European crisis is strongly reminiscent of the way Gorbachev was acting when he destabilized vital functions of his system and its structures, without having any clear idea of what might replace them. Unlike the Chinese CP, Gorbachev promoted a massive borrowing of Western values, thus legitimizing them. Deploying them in his own internal political struggles, he destroyed the “enemy image” that was at the heart of his political system. This is what we are bearing witness to in Europe right now. The European regime derives its legitimation from the promise of “freedom, prosperity and democracy”. It will simply not survive the current endeavour to ensure more and more profits for the banks, in the process destroying whole communities for the purpose of repaying the mountain of debt it has accumulated.

In this paper we try to show how different financial, political, ideological, national and geopolitical factors are contributing to the current crisis of the EU. We propose a synthesis of two seemingly opposed interpretations: one that posits a financial crisis that is a manifesation of chaos, and another that detects in each successive stage of the crisis the advancing project of an “Empire of Finance”, shaping Europe and the world in accordance with its own interests and its world vision. We focus on German policy because Germany is now the only remaining nation of Europe that is trying to produce a policy for Europe. The only other real actor in Europe is Greece, because it has become the terrain for experimentation with the new economic and social order in Europe. But also because the Greek government, under the direct control of centres of international financial capital, behaves as a real “agent of chaos” in European affairs.

From 1914 and 1939 to 2012

We are at a defining moment in European and, in particular German, history. The same malevolent mechanisms that were witnessed in Europe before World Wars I and II are again in action, in financial not military terms this time (at least for now), but with the same catastrophic potential for European prosperity, democracy and civilization. Everything we have been able to achieve since 1945 is now at stake. As a result of the way the German leadership is handling the European crisis, Germany runs the very real risk of experiencing, finally, an economic, political, geopolitical, moral and strategic defeat comparable to the military defeat it suffered in 1945.

It is difficult for ordinary human intelligence to grasp the situation in all its complexity. Our way of thinking is often still based on the realities and certainties of the world as it was between 1945 and 2008. If we are looking for an analogy, a good one to cite would be how Europeans were completely taken aback by the eruption of World War I in 1914. They were thinking in terms of the Belle Epoque although already well advanced into the new era of wars and revolutions that was the first half of the 20th century. “We aren’t going to pay for the Greeks,” say the Germans, just as the French said, on not such a different occasion “We aren’t going to die for Danzig.” But the “assassination” of Greece may well have comparable consequences to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, in 1914.

The debt crisis is rapidly destroying the political foundations not only of the existing EU, but also of any kind of European integration. A media war has been launched against Greece and other countries of the European periphery, the so called PIGS, reminding us of the psychological campaigns against “hostile” or “rogue” states such as Iraq or Serbia. Such campaigns in fact preceded military attacks against these countries. In much the same way, they preceded speculative attacks against Greece, rapidly transforming a member country of the eurozone into the financial equivalent of Iraq.

Two years further on, the EU summits are coming more and more to resemble gladiatorial contests, and becoming more and more ineffective. Relations between Germany, France, Britain and Italy are worse than they have ever been. The European Central Bank tries to exclude from the restructuring deal for Greek debt the debt it bought at a very low price in the secondary market – that is, from speculating against, and making money out of, a member country of the EU in a situation of distress! The common people in Germany say that they don’t want their hard-earned income to go to pay the debts for Greek crooks, unaware that Greeks work much more than Germans and that anyway German “assistance for Greece” money does not go to Greece but to the international megabanks, who are the real crooks. The Bulgarian Prime Minister says he is happy because Greek society is being destroyed, much as Bulgarian society was destroyed at the fall of communism. Greeks themselves are more and more accusing the Germans of behaving in exactly the same way as in World War II, i.e. looting and destroying their country. They refer increasingly to a 4th Reich and in many cases identify with EAM, the fabled National Liberation Front, the most important resistance movement in all of Europe, active between 1941 and 1944. What does this all mean? It means that less than two years after the eruption of the European sovereign debt crisis, the financial, political and ideological prerequisites for destruction of the whole European project are now in place. Global forces, and in particular the new “Empire of Finance”, interested as they are in dominating or destroying Europe, have new and important tools for accomplishment of their goals. Every European nation is blaming the other member states for the crisis; a crisis for which the world banks and completely unregulated world finance and economy are overwhelmingly to blame!

The German dilemma

For the first time in eighty years Germany now holds in its hands the key to the fate of Europe, its democracy and its civilization. But it will not be holding it for long and does not seem to know what to do with it. Germans have used “the markets” against Greece, employing them as a kind of “Maastricht police”, to punish Greeks and discipline other Europeans, without realizing the terrible price they are going to have to pay, as Faust did, for their pact with the devil. They tore Greece apart economically, just as Stalin and Hitler did with Poland in 1939. Germany is overestimating itself, relying too much on its economic power, in the same way that it overestimated and relied too much on its military power in the first half of the 20th century. Berlin thinks it can play with the markets, as Daladier, Chamberlain or Stalin thought they could play with and use Hitler.

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Between 1939 and 1941 Hitler attacked all Europeans, trying to unite and discipline them prior to addressing his main concern: the conquest of Russia and the defeat of Bolshevism. But Hitler’s project reflected the essentially provincial, narrow and violent character of German nationalism. Germany has never understood its own great theoretician of War, the Prussian Carl von Clausewitz, who rightly saw behind the victories of Napoleon the force of the ideas of the great French Revolution. The more successful and stable hegemonies were those based on general ideas and also including a “carrot” for the nations under their dominion. That was the case with US hegemony, based on the vision of “an independent, free and successful individual”, and with the USSR, based on “socialism”, and with the EU, for as long as it was based on the common dream of “prosperity and freedom for all”.

Hitler failed to conquer Britain and he paid a high price for attacking Greece. He could have beaten the USSR, but when he finally attacked it in June 1941 he had already lost precious energy and time. In a way that would have left Sigmund Freud speechless, Angela Merkel is doing exactly the same. She is trying to punish Greece and discipline all Europeans before, on behalf of all of the EU, addressing the question of the markets. She runs the risk of destroying all of Germany’s political capital with the European Union.

The IMF’s and the markets’ “police”, invited, welcomed, aided and abetted by Germany, not only punished supposedly criminal Greece. They literally destroyed Greece and are now attacking one country after another in Europe and even the USA, proving that Greece is not an exception but an extreme case, enabling us to see and understand the fundamental mechanisms that are in action. For two years everybody has been trying to address the Greek problem, but the only result of these efforts has been an immense increase in this country’s debt and rapid and unprecedented destruction of its economy and society.

No solution inside the system

German and European politicians have been trying to find a solution, but everything that has been proposed and then agreed has failed in the following weeks or months, indicating that the problem is systemic, i.e. there is no solution within the given political and economic model, so-called “liberal globalization”, characterized by the accumulation of enormous economic and political power in the hands of the captains of finance and the total deregulation of financial and other markets, in practice of all financial, economic and trade activity around the globe. What is under way is the destruction of Europe and the precipitation of a world crisis worse than the one we suffered in 1929.

The financial monster created over the last 40 years, a world “Empire of Money”, is now destroying our states, nations and civilization. As long as the solutions being proposed ignore the main cause of the problem, the problem will persist, jeopardizing the very existence not only of the European Union, but of European civilization as a whole, its welfare state, its democracy, in short everything Europeans have been able to achieve since 1945. If we actually try to repay the mountain of debt accumulated by the banks and other financial institutions we will have to destroy our societies, transform European citizens into lifelong slaves, organize the social equivalent of new world wars, or see new military wars being launched on a scale even more massive than the ones in the Middle East over the past decade. And destroy even faster the natural environment of the planet, the very foundation of our existence.

History is confronting Germans with a dramatic strategic dilemma. They now have a really historic chance once more to become a “normal” nation, escaping the mental prison that was imposed on them after their defeat in the Second World War, and because of the way this defeat was handled by both Germans and their conquerors (1). Success would be predicated on Germany achieving leadership of the European nations in their effort to control the financial monster threatening European society, democracy and civilization. It would require that Germans take the lead in a really titanic, hugely difficult, but also absolutely necessary radical paradigm shift towards another economic model, if we really wish to save our continent from the totalitarian force of the so-called “markets”. We need to radically restructure the European debt, to ban or at a minimum strictly regulate credit default swaps and other derivatives, to replace a European economic model that generates debt with a model that generates production, moving towards keynesianism, some form of protectionism and regulation. We need a gigantic redistribution of income and wealth, to reverse the path we have been following for forty years. We need a European government, not governance, but such a government must be democratic and must also meet social, developmental and ecological goals, not just underwrite the value of money, as Maastricht does. We need a new New Deal and, in order to achieve it, a political leadership with the courage and skills of a Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill or Charles de Gaulle, to address the present crisis and save Europe.

The other way for Berlin is to continue doing what it is doing, precipitate the destruction of the Union and alienate the majority of its nations, laying the foundations for the dominance of the “Empire of Money” on the whole continent, including finally Germany itself as one of the subject-states. Germany of course possesses important comparative advantages and will be able to survive longer without the other Europeans, but how, on its own, will it be able to stand up globally to China or India, in 20 years? What kind of “soft” (not only “economic”) power will it possess, after the terrible political and ideological fall-out from total destruction of Europe under its leadership? Such an outcome could in fact signify an economic, moral, political, and strategic defeat worse than the military defeat Germany suffered in 1945.

Empire against Germany

It was the first secretary of NATO, Lord Ismay, who defined the goal of the Atlantic Alliance in his famous formula: “To keep the Americans in, the Germans down, the Russians out”. The British Empire has delivered its mantle to the US Empire, the US Empire has kept its crown through an alliance of financial power and American weapons, the USSR has committed suicide, but the imperial know-how remains intact. The methods and the protagonists are changing but not the fundamental goals. Now it is probably not the Secretary General of NATO who is of greater importance, but the President of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein, who was once heard saying “I do the job of God”. (3)

Blankfein could not afford to make a mistake in 2008. He had everything well planned in advance, but he still could not be sure of the direction things might take. His man Paulson had literally to beg members of Congress to save the banks. Three years later, Lloyd Blankfein and his colleagues are no doubt laughing at the Germans and the Europeans. Merkel, Sarkozy, Obama, all of them humiliating themselves in their efforts to “calm the markets”. Not only were he and his colleagues able to conserve and expand their empire and its fantastic profits; not only were they able to pass their own losses on to the states, thus creating the sovereign debt crisis: they have now got to the point where they are able to regulate the size of state budgets, the level of social expenditure and investment in Europe and the US, even how many members the European Union should have or if it will continue to exist!

A Goldman Sachs’ man was appointed chief of the “European” Central Bank. Another, Otmar Issing, writes in the Financial Times Deutschland, essentially confronting Europeans with the dilemma of whether to put their Union under a dictatorship of “the Markets” or see it dissolve. This same Issing, who is regarded in Germany – heaven knows why – as the greatest of authorities on monetary policy, explained in another famous article in March 2010 why it would be wrong for Europe to help Greece. In this latter article he concealed his role as a paid advisor to Goldman Sachs. This is the bank that, while being employed to advise the Greek government, saw no conflict of interest between doing this and orchestrating, after September 2009, a speculative attack against Athens.

Financiers like Issing or Soros – the latter famed for the great financial attack he launched against British participation in the EMU, an early predecessor of the attack currently being launched against Europe by the empire of finance – are now the main people discussing in European newspapers the fate of the continent in which were created all the basic and vital ideas of modern times, in all spheres of life and knowledge. This is what has become of the Europe of Kant and Voltaire, Marx and Nietsche, Robespierre and Garibaldi, Sartre and Goethe, of the French Revolution, German romanticism, socialism. It is Soros, Issing, Goldman Sachs, or people like Barroso (!), who are discussing and deciding the fate of European civilisation. This is how it is going to be destroyed.

The City’s friendly advice to Germans or the imperial trap for Berlin

At the end of September the London Financial Times published an unusually blunt editorial urging the EU, the ECB, the IMF not to deliver the sixth tranche of the loan they had agreed to provide for Greece. The editorial explained that Greece had no international financial obligations to fulfill until the end of the year. Of course, if the tranche were not delivered, the Greek government would be unable to pay salaries and pensions, conceded the editorial of the newspaper, spokesman for City financiers. (In the weeks following the publication of this editorial, under the threat of a cut-off of financing, the Greek government was thrown into disarray. Its reactions betrayed panic: it embarked on a campaign of slaughter of all social classes in the country, under the close supervision of the EU-ECB-IMF troika that had been sent to Greece to assume the role of economic assassin.)

The British know Greeks and Germans much better than Greeks and Germans know themselves. They are familiar with their respective national characters. They have fought with both repeatedly and in various ways and brought them under their hegemony. The City financiers are in a very good position to predict the probable outcome if their advice is followed, as it is being followed. It will bring about the ruin of Greece, putting this country, and indeed Europe, in a much weaker position for confronting them. It will very probably also push the Greek people sooner or later into some kind of revolt, in the first instance against their government but after that against Germany and the EU. You can accuse Greeks of anything you like but the reality is that they made Europe’s second most important revolution after the French Revolution. They convened a constituent assembly in 1822 when Napoleon was already defeated and a “Holy Alliance” was ruling over Europe that banned any kind of revolt. They also. during the Second World War, organized, in per capita terms, the most massive resistance.

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City financiers know also, very well, the German character: they know that Germans like discipline as much as Greeks like rebelling. They believe that Berlin will respond to a Greek revolt in a harsh, apolitical and inflexible way. Germany and the EU have, probably, the political and economic weight to provoke an even greater disaster for Greece, than the one they have already provoked with their policy, in cooperation with the Greek government. But what they don’t have are the means to escape the financial and, even more important, the terrible political, ideological and geopolitical fallout from destruction of a small, but at the same time the most historic, country in Europe. They can do it. They probably will do it. But they will precipitate their own doom. If Americans spoke about the “law of unintended consequences” after their adventures in the Middle East we will have to introduce into Europe a new “law of assymetrical results”.

The idea of political integration in Europe will receive a fatal blow for decades. Even now the political climate in Europe is becoming quite poisonous. Both “rich” and “poor” nations are beginning to protest against “helping” Greece, unaware that they are not helping Greeks in any way. What they are doing is helping the banks to destroy Greece, sometimes even speculating on the difficulties of a fellow member-country and profiting from this. Everybody in Europe is now beginning now to look to national solutions. In France, always the political barometer of the whole continent, the far right National Front of Marine Le Pen is now a respected political force. The fundamental political axioms, based on which the post-war prosperity, democracy and peace in Europe was created and endured, are now rapidly being undermined, in front of our very eyes.

When the catastrophe occurs, when the dust settles, every European nation will begin to accuse the other Europeans, and all of them will accuse the Greeks. German and other European leaders will no doubt blame Greeks for all the ills of Europe and use them as a pretext to impose draconian economic and social policies in Germany and Europe. Greeks, for their part, will be frustrated at having been rejected by Europe, the continent towards which they have been turned for two and a half centuries. They will turn not so much against “the markets”, which lack an address and telephone number, but against Europe,and Germany in particular. They will blame it for destroying their country for the second time in less than a century. They will remember that Germany did not pay any war reparations and did not even return the gold stolen from the Greek central bank. They will reopen the accounts of Siemens and other contracts, given the fact that European firms were paying massive bribes to Greek politicians. The International Herald Tribune, Time, or even the Financial Times will then publish very accurate reports of hunger in Athens or analyses of how impossible it has proven for Europeans to solve their own problems. The implications will be clear. First, the spectacle of Greek social disaster will be utilized to terrorize all European citizens into accepting the salaries and pensions that their governments will be allowed by the banks to give them. Secondly, everybody outside Germany will come to the same conclusion: “Germans have not changed. They are still the same. We can’ trust them.”

This is precisely the psychological and ideological mechanism used by the Empire to acquire dominion after the war against Germany and Europe and keep the continent divided and dependent, notwithstanding its very important economic, social and intellectual achievements. And it will be a great irony of history that German nationalism will, once again, have contributed to the ruin of German national interests.

Let us remember what happened in 1956. The Soviet Union still enjoyed tremendous prestige in Europe, due to its role in the defeat of Hitler. Nikita Khrushchev was trying to reform the country internally, to free it from its terrible Stalinist legacy. When revolution appeared imminent in Hungary, some forces encouraged Budapest to revolt, assuring the insurgents that they would have western backing. The Hungarians quit the Warsaw Pact. It was more than Moscow could afford to tolerate. Soviet tanks smashed not only the Hungarians but also Soviet prestige in Europe, the Western European Communist movement and the chances of successful reform in the Soviet Union itself. The foundations of Soviet dissolution, decades later, had already been laid. As events were unfolding in Central Europe, Israel, we might note in passing, found an opportunity to unleash another of its wars in the Middle East.

Now put European Union in the place of the Soviet Union, Germany in the place of Russia, Greece in the place of Hungary, credit default swaps in the place of tanks, and you have a probable scenario for the immediate future. There is also a great deal of movement, and more is to be expected, as in 1956, in the Middle East, but our attention will be distracted from it by Europe’s debt wars. This, by the way, is the classic method used by powers outside Europe for dominating the nations of Europe in the 20th century, i.e. by getting Europeans to fight among themselves. In the previous century it was by military means. Now it is financial.

The markets “ultimatum” to Europe: submit or dissolve

The markets’ strategy towards Europe is an important subject which space constraints preclude us from analyzing in depth here. The fact is that we tend to look upon the markets as quasi-automatic mechanisms of capital accumulation. We tend to see the banks and other financial institutions as mere profit-seeking institutions. They are not. We should not confuse the quasi-automatic functioning of the markets with something quite different: the ability of a highly concentrated group of capital holders to orchestrate and catalyze market events. We should not forget that the ten biggest banks in the world are able to mobilize capital equal to the debts of all the countries in the world. They have the same financial power as all nations put together!

Private financial institutions are strategic actors. They represent the greatest concentration of financial power and international political influence the world has ever known. They were even able, through derivatives, partially to hijack the key function of states: issuance of money. Their level of strategic planning is the level required for empires. Our states and politicians do not have anything even remotely comparable, without even taking into account their own dependence on money owners. The only weakness of this “state behind the states” is that it lacks political legitimacy and military force: it is obliged to rely primarily on the US armed forces and military-industrial complex. These players are radical in their thought: it is we who are the conservatives. They manage the radical changes in the system, in the direction they want; we try to manage a more and more unmanageable existing system. They tend to look at the long-term, we do not look beyond management of day-to-day affairs, preparing for the next municipal or national elections. They see the big picture; we see the small. This is why they are winning.

In the geopolitical sphere, the Wolfowitz and Jeremiah reports, which shaped the post-cold-war strategy of the USA and established the foundation for the subsequent wars in the Middle East, constitute a very useful example of the imperial outlook, a model which can also help us understand how these “Leninists of the markets” think and act. The financial attack against Greece followed the same strategic logic as the military attack against Iraq: it is the cornerstone, the overture for radical reshaping of the world.

What the two reports essentially explain is that the Empire must not wait for threats to its dominion to appear or be activated, that there is a need for a proactive strategy, aimed at precluding preemptively the emergence of poles of power with the capacity to challenge American global domination. If the European Union becomes a political entity in its own right it will pose an obvious threat to the geopolitical monopoly of the Empire. If the euro establishes itself as the world’s reserve currency, it will undermine one of the pillars of US domination, weakening the prospects for future financing of the US economy.

On the subject of the economy, the markets know better than anyone else that a second, worse, financial tsunami is on the way. Rather than trying to stop it, they obviously hope to divert it into channels profitable to themselves. They are even obliged to do this, because otherwise, as they rightly fear, some politician may appear who will blame banks and markets for the crisis and demand that they pay a considerable part of the debt., in preference to demolishing the whole European postwar edifice in an attempt to repay it themselves. They also know that times of upheaval present great opportunities to shape developments for decades to come. If they don’t turn them to their own advantage, they could suffer serious, even fatal, losses. The present crisis is, from their perspective, a huge historic opportunity to demolish the European welfare state and probably European democracy along with it, transforming European workers into slaves who will be working all their lives to pay off accumulated debt.

The markets can afford an EU that works in strict accordance with the requirements of the Maastricht monetary monster, in the process becoming a protagonist for their own programme. What they cannot afford is the transformation of the EU into any kind of state power with the ability to bring them under control. If the EU can transform itself successfully into an instrument of Empire, they will probably avail themselves of it. If not, they will take advantage of the environment of chaotic decomposition of the euro and the EU to forge ahead with their own abovementioned political, economic and social goals.

In a revealing recent article, the Wall Street Journal could not resist the temptation of expressing its enormous enthusiasm for the direction the European crisis was taking. Firstly, it said, this crisis has dealt a fatal blow to the dangerous dream of a “European super-nation”. Secondly, the euro has played its role in triggering the crisis. Thirdly, as the Wall Street Journal insisted, the coming crisis represented a truly historic chance to destroy the social state on the continent and in the US.

The markets hate modern social humanism, they hate strong states in general and the Germans in particular. Ancient Athens saw the first restructuring of debt by Solon, leading to the first experiment in Democracy. The theoretician of ancient democracy Protagoras captured the essence of this democracy when he said that “man is the measure of all money”. For the civilization of finance the reverse applies. “Money is the measure of all men” or, more simply, markets regulate everything.

The coming Greek revolt

The programme being applied now in Greece by the EU, the ECB, the IMF and a “Greek government” that finds itself on better terms with the Rothschild family than it does with the Greek people does not leave Greeks with many options other than revolt, even excluding the factor of sly incitement through Financial Times editorials. The ongoing programme is tantamount to economic and social genocide. It has already destroyed the foundations of parliamentary democracy in this country. With European and international “assistance” the Greek economy has been pushed into free fall, at a rate higher than that in the Weimar Republic prior to Hitler’s coming to power. Every single social class, including the middle classes, is being ruined, with the exception of very thin layers of the super rich. The social structure is undergoing rapid transformation towards the typical Latin American model. Average living standards and available income are on a downward reduction spiral, currently at 50% and without any perspective of stabilization. Social security and health care have been destroyed. The state is undergoing meltdown. The historical irony, if this is the right term, is that the “cure” being applied in Greece reserves special punishment for the most productive, hard working and honest of its citizens, thus destroying any prospects of a national renaissance. Most of the young, more talented and better educated and dynamic people in the country dream of emigrating. The morale of the Greek nation is now at its worst level since the first terrible winter of the German occupation, in 1941-42, before the emergence of the enormous resistance movement, the largest in Europe during the Second World War in per capita demographic terms. In the big urban centres Greeks are already experiencing not just poverty but incipient famine. As if this were not enough, various international agencies evidently have their eyes on the totality of the property of the Greek state as realty for defraying part of the costs of debt repayment. In some cases they will even present themselves as the builders of a new Greek nation state, in much the same way that the ex-Soviet republics and Russia were looted during the years of transition to nothing and shock without therapy.

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The forces which have planned the destruction of Greece and are now implementing it probably prefer that the country implode rather than explode. The Germans in particular seem to have this expectation and in any case never understood the “rationalitiy in irrationality” of revolts and revolutions and probably think that Greeks will accept passively the ruination of their life conditions, as occurred in Eastern Europe. Such a scenario cannot be excluded but seems implausible. Greek political traditions are very different from those of Eastern Europeans. For a start, there is no Communism to blame for everything. There is of course a massively corrupt political class and state elite. They were corrupt on their own account, but they were also on the payroll of big European firms like Siemens, which in exchange for the bribes they distributed for decades exploited the Greek market, sometimes literally looting the Greek state and budget.

The rapid destruction of all national conceptions and social bonds that is now under way in Greece as a result of the European and IMF programme is engendering a terrible force that is straining to find expression. The Empire is well aware of this. Rather than see a social explosion in Greece, they would prefer to see the energy channeled in other directions. Leaving aside implosion or explosion, two other possible directions suggest themselves. One is confrontation between Greeks and immigrants. 80-90% of the emigration flows into Europe attempt to use Greece as a transit gate to Europe but stay finally in Greece, exerting a disintegrative influence on social structures that are already problematic. The second possibility is in the direction of low-intensity warfare, nationalism and fascism.

Mars meets Venus

Greece is not just the epicentre of the debt crisis. It is a fractal of all the possible crises with the potential to threaten Europe. Greece and Cyprus, unfortunately for their people, are located in one of the more important geostrategic points in the world, controlling Russia’s access of Russia to the “warm seas”, France and Germany’s access to the energy of the Middle East, Israel’s access to the Western world. They are at the crossroads between the Middle Eastern “world of Mars”, the Slavic world, in temporary retreat and decline, and the European “world of Venus”. Cyprus seems to posses important energy reserves. If anywhere, it is in this region of the world that the explosive dynamics of “geopolitical revisionism” can be combined with action in the Middle East, especially over the last decade, and with “market revisionism”, as part of an endeavour at fundamental reshaping of the state of affairs established in Europe after World War II, for the benefit of those who would like to dispense with social compromise.

For the time being the debt wars in Europe and the military conflicts in the Middle East are on separate trajectories. Both are explosive and what might happen if they combine?
Does the European Union have even the remotest capacity to handle simultaneously its debt crisis and a geopolitical crisis, or does it risk being destroyed before anybody understands what is happening? Look at the map of the region. What do you see? A situation of unprecedented instability after 1989-91. Five countries that are coping with very different but very deep crises (Syria, Libya, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece). And, between Cyprus and Syria, an unprecedented concentration of US, Israeli and Turkish forces, to which a Russian flotilla will be added by the end of November. Greek, British and French ships are also present.

Exercising its indisputable right, the Republic of Cyprus, in co-operation with Israel and Noble Energy, has begun exploratory drilling for gas in its Exclusive Economic Zone. Turkey does not like this at all and has sent a naval flotilla to the region. The conflict risks re-igniting a vast array of Greek-Turkish differences. Israel, which wishes to find an opportunity to include Cyprus in a wider sphere of influence in the region, is proposing its own defense umbrella for Cyprus. Israeli aircraft are now faced off against the Turkish navy in the region. In November Greek aircraft will be engaged in joint exercises with the Israeli air force. At the end of November a Russian flotilla will be added to this mix. Objectively speaking what we see is the deployment of a mechanism which can be used by various players with different potential regional or global agendas to trigger a “limited military conflict” even as early as next month.

Greece was utilized by the “Empire of the Finance” to launch the attack against all of Europe, to bring the IMF into Europe’s internal affairs and to act as a laboratory for the most extreme forms of neoliberal politics to be applied in Europe. It has the potential to be used for the destruction of the EU and also as experimental terrain for the re-imposition of authoritarian regimes in Europe. The Greek nation, citizens of Greece and Cyprus, are in a situation approaching that of Poland in 1939, between Germany and Russia. Now Greeks risk being torn apart economically, between Germany and “the markets”, geopolitically between Israel and Turkey.

We cannot be sure what is going to happen next, and when. The worst case scenario, a “limited military conflict” in the Mediterranean, could serve the purpose of:

Α. deflecting the enormous forces unleashed by the destruction of Greek society against an external enemy, not against the Greek political elite, in this way legitimizing an authoritarian regime in Greece

B. incorporating Cyprus and Greece more decisively into an upgraded Israeli sphere of influence, along with Bulgaria, Romania and other larger members of EU, especially if Greece is thrown out of the EU or if the EU is dissolved. Such events will completely annihilate any German or European strategic influence in South Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean and would constitute a geopolitical defeat of strategic proportions

C. establishing yet another mechanism for “crisis provocation” inside the EU, and one not controlled by any European power

Athens, 19.10.2011

Konstantakopouos.blogspot.com
konstantakopoulosd@yahoo.gr

NOTES
1. The world’s two most educated nations, Germany and Israel, came out of the Second World War with a terrible trauma, which still holds them hostage to their past and now risks repeating itself in other ways. In the case of the Germans, this is the result of a conscious effort by the victors of the war to make Germany incapable of again becoming in any way the maker of its own history. Both nations are still not able really to escape the victim/victor dichotomy. In a broader context the fate of our civilization greatly depends on these two states not “negating” their past but escaping it by becoming normal nations.
It is true that the Hitler regime committed terrible mass crimes. But the unspoken implication of the dominant interpretation of the 20th century, that the Germans are inherently bad, and/or that Jews, victims of a terrible genocide, are a “unique” people, for whom special rights must be recognized, is the way not to overcome the past, but to repeat its legacy in other ways. Only if Germans and Israelis find the courage to rethink their history in rational terms and stop considering themselves unique or special will they be able really to metabolize their history.

Germans have been treated as fundamentally “bad guys”, something which does not free them from domineering or revanchist tendencies. Such tendencies are not characteristic of Germans in particular but are to be found in virtually all nations. They are features of human nature, not German nature. By putting Germans in the position of the eternally guilty party, the victors of the war drove these tendencies deeper into the psyche of this nation, from where they will – if they remain suppressed – always try to escape and find expression, given a plausible pretext.

Human beings tend to punish others for the treatment they have received as children from their own environment. What Germany is now doing to Greece is very similar to what the victors of World War I did to Germany through the Versailles Treaty. What Israelis do to Palestinians is the symbolic reflection of what Nazis did to them. I remember being shocked to read the word “Achtung” at the Israeli check point when crossing the line into the occupied territories. I was travelling to Ramalia and no German-speaking people worth mentioning travel to this area.

There can be no underestimating the horror of Hitler’s mass crimes, but we should admit that Germans were not alone in making the 20th century what it was. Verdun preceded, and contributed to, even if it did not directly cause, Dachau and the Gulag. It was not the other way around. We can talk forever about the impact of Romanticism, Nietsche or Wagner on German history, but the historic truth is that without the Treaty of Versailles there would be probably have been no Hitler. The crimes of the Hitler regime were atrocious, but it is wrong to conclude, as often implied, that the German people were responsible for all the evils and crimes of the 20th century. The levelling of German cities at the end of the War was an equally atrocious crime, serving no military purpose, but evidently aimed at destroying the German nation as such. The annihilation of Nagasaki and Hiroshima is another example of mass murder. There was no reason for overburdening the Germans with guilt after the War other than to hide the responsibilities of the other powers and to impede the German nation from regaining its status as a sovereign country. This is why the nation that produced Hegel and Marx, Clausewitz and Haushofer, seems unwilling or unable to formulate even the most rudimentary historical, strategic or geopolitical project. This is also why German nationalism remains at such a primitive stage, not even perceiving that it is being used against German interests.

2. This phrase of Lloyd Blankfein is cited by Mark Roche, correspondent for Le Monde in London and author of “The Bank”

http://www.defenddemocracy.press/germany-destroys-greece-europe-germany/

 

How “German logic” turns into irrationality

Germany, Greece and the Banks, in the context of the EU crisis

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

I remember the talk I had with the German ambassador in Athens and Mr. Tsipras in February 2013, during a reception at the Russian Embassy. I was speaking with the German ambassador when Tsipras, then leader of the opposition, having finished his own private discussion with the Russian ambassador, saw the German ambassador and myself talking and approached. I was in rather a facetious mood, so I decided, on a sudden impulse, to make a joke, which was not really so much of a joke. As Tsipras joined our company, I said “you will destroy Europe”.

The way I put it, not looking specifically at either of my interlocutors, did not make it clear whom I was really addressing.  They were both startled and asked me: “Who?” (will destroy Europe). “Both”, I answered them. “You will revolt”, I said looking at Tsipras and then, turning to the German ambassador, I added, “and you will suppress him.”

Fifteen years ago I interviewed Karl Lamers on the subject of German strategy towards Europe and the world. He is regarded as the spiritual father of Wolfgang Schäuble and his characteristic brand of German nationalism (“financial”, not military, but not very well dissimulated).

Lamers explained to me, quite frankly, I acknowledge, his idea that Europe had to be “reorganized” in accordance with a principle of “variable geometry”. The gist of what he said was that Greece, since we are speaking of Greece, was to be included in a South-Eastern (Balkan) “pole”.

I professed agreement with Lamers on the “irrational” character of European integration (which, in fact, was not so “irrational”, simply the forces behind the architecture were shaping a very different structure from the one it was claimed they were and they were also capable of anticipating the crisis that would come, thus the “no bail-out” principle in the Maastricht Treaty!). And the irrationality would become much more obvious with the gigantic expansion of the EU in 2004 with 10 new members, of very different economic levels and historical backgrounds, without any mechanism of compensation for the imbalance thus created. The expansion and the way it was planned was more a “globalist” and NATO project than anything European.  And it was also a huge and direct cause of the great “existential” crisis of the EU that erupted in 2010, when Europe had to decide how to handle the aftershock waves of the US financial crisis of 2008 (Brussels and Berlin solved this problem finally by transferring all the burden of the crisis to one of the EU member-states, Greece, literally destroying it. It seems monstrous, and indeed it was, but the idea had its own logic to it. After all if they had not done what they did with Greece, they would have had to try to make banks pay for all the chaos they had created).

The architecture of the EU structure – on this we agreed with Lamers – was deeply flawed. But you don’t correct one error by adding a second. I tried to tell him that if somebody is making a mistake by inviting some friends to join a family, he cannot just say to them later that they have to sit in the kitchen. Nobody wants to be confined to the kitchen, especially if he was invited as a full family member. Nobody got onto the EU train to be in the second or third class wagon. Only Procrustes used such methods to rectify the “faults” in human bodies. (Helmut Schmidt was of the same opinion on inviting Greece. He said it was a mistake to incorporate Greece into the eurozone, but after the mistake had been made Greece had to be helped to remain where it had been invited to be. Of course this would probably presuppose deep, structural reforms in the eurozone, which nobody was willing to undertake).

It goes without saying that I could not persuade Lamers, who was deeply in love with his own intellectual schemas, perhaps believing that they were a means for elaborating a new “grand strategy” for Germany after its unification. He clearly could not have imagined that he was paving the way for banks and the US to keep ruling Europe. About ten years after I took the interview, his disciple Schäuble found in the financial crisis, particularly as manifested in Greece, the opportunity to apply the master’s ideas. He applied the maximum pressure on Greece, probably hoping to make it quit the Eurozone. (Now he keeps saying that the unprecedented catastrophe the country has suffered is due to Greeks themselves. “It is the application (of the “bail-out program”), stupid”, he said to Tsipras in Davos. I once asked his man, Mr. Reichenbach, chief of the European Task Force, to explain the difference between Greece and Portugal. The explanation he gave me was more straightforward than to point to the stupidity of Greeks or the intelligence of Mr. Schäuble. “We extracted from the Greek economy three times more demand than we did from the Portugese economy”, he told me).

 

Turning Greece into the “perfect European province” 

I published the Lamers interview in the newspaper I wrote for in Greece. I don’t remember the exact headline my editor put to it, but it was something like “they want Greece outside the hard core of Europe”. My editor was fond of sensational headlines and also liked the European appeal I was giving to his newspaper with my reporting.

But he was probably the only person in Greece who paid any attention to this interview. Nobody wanted to think about what was said in it. Already sated by the huge handouts Siemens was distributing everywhere in Athens, in exchange for conquest of the Greek market, the Greek “elite” did not even want to read what Lamers was saying. After all, Greeks were fans of “Europe” and Athens was doing everything possible to forget its own “eastern”, “Balkan” identity, not to mention Greek national interests.

The “neoliberal socialist” Minister of Economy Nikos Christodoulakis, a member of the very pro-German, pro-Europe government of Kostas Simitis, along with the President of the National Bank Karatzas, had even devised a pithy precept to convey the essence of Greek foreign policy, shedding an astounding light on the mentality of the forces governing Greece at that time: “We have to identify Greek national interests with the interests of the mighty and the wealthy.”

The fact that Christodoulakis and Karatzas knew nothing about foreign policy had made it easier for them to launch such guidelines, assimilating their inner contradictions. Given the objective character of the national interests of any country, to decide to “identify” them with the interests of the mighty and the wealthy (USA, Germany, EU, NATO, Israel) was in fact tantamount to renouncing them (at least in areas where there was potential divergence). In fact the new “doctrine” was nothing other than a reflection of the fact that, under Simitis, Athens’ “strategy” in all fields was to abolish as much of Greek national policy as possible, making the country “the perfect province” of EU and NATO.

The Greek elite was doing everything Berlin, Brussels, Washington and Paris were asking of it (including manipulating, with the help of Goldman Sachs, statistical data for meeting the Maastricht criteria for inclusion of Greece into the Eurozone). Their mentality was reminiscent of that of some Hellenistic kings in the late Roman Empire who voluntarily ceded their  kingdoms to Rome (receiving in exchange of course guarantees of personal wealth and position). It was at this time that the celebrated “Greek corruption”, in particular the corruption nurtured by Siemens, was at its zenith. The end of this trajectory was, unsurprisingly, the surrender, from 2010 onwards, of the country and its people to “the creditors”.

The Greek elite wanted forever to forget its eastern, Balkan, identity, history, origin. Some were even ashamed of it. The last thing they were prepared to consider was a “return” to the south-eastern, Balkan pole Lamers sought to create. They were willing to do anything to remain in the “first circle” of the EU, which is why the strategy of Schaeuble (to destroy Greece and so provide it with a motive to leave the eurozone) has failed so miserably, bringing about the exact opposite result.

 

The syndrome of the whipped dog 

By ruining Greece Schaeuble had instilled such paralysis and terror in the minds of the Greek elite that they felt (and still do) that the roof of their house is falling in on them. They did, and do not want to consider even for one second leaving the euro. The Greek elite was, and is, simply terrified by the prospect of suddenly being required to run a nation-state that long ago began to stop functioning and started just obeying orders from Brussels and Berlin, following their directives and landing in a terrible state of ruin after six years of the “help” it received from its alleged partners and the IMF.

It may not be entirely pointless to remind in this connection that, as a result of this “help” from the EU, ECB and IMF, Greece since 2010 has sustained greater material loss as a percentage of GDP than France did during the First World War.

For many years German leaders, bankers and Eurocrats played schoolteacher to Greek politicians and the Greek middle classes, who learned to be Europe’s perfect pupil for this was the way that all the country’s problems would be solved.  Now what was required was that Greeks suddenly reverse course and abandon the “Europe” ideology on which everything had been based for decades, without the schoolteacher having anything else to say or propose!

 

Destructive (and self-destructive) “strategy”

I had asked to interview Lamers in 2001 because I was seeking to understand where Germany wanted to go. The last time I had visited Berlin was when, as a journalist, I was covering the Gorbachev visit to East Berlin that decided the fate of Honecker and the Wall. At the turn of the 21st century I was very curious to understand what this country, so important for all Europe, was thinking of its future and the future of the continent. I was amazed to discover that at the very centre of its reunited capital, the scene of some of the most dramatic events that had shaped the history of our world, Germans, as a nation the most romantic of Europeans, had nothing else to put but a huge Sony commercial structure. It seemed to my eyes the symbol of a new marriage between Germany and money. As Faust taught us, this is always a difficult relation, but the total absorption of this country into the pipedream of globalization still came as a shock. This Sony center seemed the German architectural equivalent of the Fukuyama’s “end of History”.

What had happened to German history and Germany’s identity? Where was it? How could it have evaporated? These were the questions I was asking. I am rather suspicious of people, whether Greeks, Germans or anybody, who try to conceal their real identities. And as happens sometimes with music, silence can mean more than sound.

Many Germans love Logic (and the Order and the certainty which is supposed to accompany it). One of their greatest thinkers, Hegel, wrote exactly a (rather obscure) treaty on “Logic”. A student of his in some respects, Karl Marx, also tried to found a comprehensive theory encompassing and explaining all economy and society, by writing his unfinished (and it could not be otherwise) “Das Kapital”. In his introduction he admits that he was inspired by that unparalleled (albeit very closed and deterministic) work of human thought that is the work of Newton. And there is a third German, Albert Einstein, who spent most of his life trying – and failing – to compose a general system to incorporate all the forces of nature. It was Einstein that introduced the notion of the observer into hard-core physics. Still you can feel his horror towards the “uncertainty” introduced by quantum mechanics in the famous phrase he launched to the direction of Niels Bohr, “God does not play dice with the universe” (by the way, the exact opposite of the Greek Heraclitus’ conception of the universe: “Time is a child playing at dice. To the child belongs the kingdom.”)

You look for something when you need it most. What is happening with German leaders, with Greece and with the European Union is not a triumph of Logic. It can be considered, on the contrary, a triumph for psychoanalysis, at least in some aspects. This is also a notion born in the German world (and maybe this was not just a coincidence). It tought us that what we state is not the most important. Feelings, desires, ambitions that go underground don’ t disappear. They come again to the surface with renewed force, hidden behind “economic reason” or necessity to punish and discipline in the context of “Protestant morality”, or whatever else you wish to use. Anyway, we don’ t need Freud, any student in European history can describe a lot of cases of “adverse” use of religions and ideologies, sometimes even rehabilitating sadism as a politically correct and economically sound way of behaving. Even in the Bible you can find nearly everything you need to justify a given action.

As for Keynes and Hayek or Friedman, they do not represent only two schools of economic policy, they represent two very different  philosophies of life.

 

Psychology, politics and manipulations

A leftist (whatever that means nowadays) friend criticized me recently of relying too much on psychology, instead of sticking with “objective”, “material” factors. But this is exactly the difference between human society and the world of Newton. Even Engels, the close friend of Marx, a mind rather more “deterministic” and more “German” than his fellow philosopher, had to resort to ideas and mentalities born many centuries before the facts he tries to explain (in his “War of Peasants in Germany”).

It is simply impossible to explain the policy of any nation without taking into account its history, its national characteristics and the psychology of its leaders. Keeping of course in mind, in the same time, that this is not the whole story. The totalitarian forces in our societies have now an unprecedented scientific and technological capacity to influence events and the power to corrupt and control most politicians – it is becoming even more and more necessary for politicians to be corrupted, because if they are not, they cannot be controlled!

But to do their job, that is to manipulate successfully leaders and entire nations and put them in the desirable trajectories, those forces they cannot do it without exploiting in depth historical, national and psychological factors.

In reality, Mr. Schaeuble, followed by Mrs. Merkel, has tried to rehabilitate an (unspoken) variety of German nationalism and impose “German discipline” over all Europe but their achievement so far (and we have not seen the end yet!) has been only to inflict considerable damage on Germany’s international image and considerably diminish their country’s stock of political capital and their own capacity to “govern” Europe as it staggers towards possible collapse.

Berlin was able to defeat Greeks but it also persuaded French workers and Belgian public servants not to make the slightest concession – “we are not Greeks” was the slogan to be heard in some French demonstrations. All Europeans begun to understand, through the Greek example, what probably awaits them. The British are now wondering if they want to remain in this EU. Even Greece has been pacified only temporarily. The latest monstrous “agreement” with creditors was described by the oldest, and very right-wing Greek newspaper Estia, as a “Treaty of Versailles”. They are mistaken. The terms of this agreement remind seem closer to the ones of Potsdam surrender.

The situation in Greece not only will not be stabilized, it may enter a new and unpredictable phase (with geopolitical connotations). Washington knows that and this is probably why they have sent to Athens their previous ambassador to Kiev, one of the most “energetic” of US diplomats, with no EU background but with a very solid experience in Ukraine, Iran and Latin America.

In 1917 the isolationist and pacifist US President Wilson was excluding any idea of intervention by his country in the European war. Two months after his last such declaration he totally forgot what he had been saying and Washington intervened in Europe, sealing Germany’s defeat in the First World War. The US presence in Europe has been continuous since that time. (And the IMF invited by Germany to run Europe is here to stay, in spite of its negotiating threats to leave).

Through the policy they followed during the last years, in Greece, but also in Ukraine and elsewhere, the Berlin leaders have offered not only to the USA but also to the new, emerging “Empire of Finance” (collectively, “institutionally” represented by big banks and the IMF) their most valuable tool for continued domination of the continent, playing on its divisions. At the same time they destroyed good relations and prospects of cooperation with Russia, which is another basic precondition for Germany, and Europe as a whole, one day to become sovereign. This can hardly be considered as a victory for logic, or for the national interests of the German people.

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LEFT – MORAL COLLAPSE IN GREECE, STRATEGIC CONFUSION IN EUROPE

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

According to a reliable source in Caracas, as Hugo Chávez was dying he called his chosen successor Maduro. Among other things he told him that he strongly insisted that he does everything he can to help Tsipras in Greece. (This was much before Tsipras won the Greek elections).

A very different politician, the distinguished ex-Prime Minister of France Dominique de Villepin, compared Tsipras to De Gaulle when the Greek leader called the 2015 referendum.

I was thinking of those stories while I was looking last Sunday at the “radical leftist” deputies of SYRIZA and their “patriot” colleagues from the right “sovereignist” party “Independent Greeks” (Kammenos) voting with military discipline and without any hint of guilt or trouble of consciousness on the new law proposed by the government. As always, it was terrible. Among many other things it instituted the 12th consecutive reduction of Greek pensions in six years and the cutting of social spending for very poor people. It was instituting new exorbitant taxation (a free professional, engineer or lawyer has to pay more than 75% of its income as taxes and insurance fees). It was also providing for the transfer of all Greek public property to creditors. The Third Memorandum, the one signed by Tsipras in 2015, is par excellence the Memorandum of Transfer (looting) of Greek public, but also private property (through taxation).

All of this was happening in a surreal atmosphere that could make even Ionesco zealous. For example, police officers in uniform occupied SYRIZA offices in Athens protesting their social downgrading. At the same time, special police units proved much more effective against demonstrators than they were under previous governments. Now “leftist”, those special units were able to use the old provocation tactics and, using tear gas in mass quantities in Constitution Square, they were able to disperse the crowds in some minutes. They even sent to the hospital Sofia Papadogianni, an old member of the Secretariat of SYRIZA, who disagreed with the betrayal of Tsipras. Then, SYRIZA issued a condemnation of the police violence they themselves used against the demonstrators!

Of course, this new barbarism will not satisfy Germany and the other European governments, the Commission, and the IMF. They are like sharks. The more blood they consume, the more they want. And they don’t take prisoners. In real life all these measures applied in Greece will not do anything other than make the collapse of the Greek state more probable, the implosion of the country, and a new crisis in the EU.

Chavez and Villepin were not fooled. They were the exact opposite of what Tsipras proved to be. Chavez was a very serious man, a real “radical”, with “empathy” towards his people and the consciousness of the historical moment, which makes great leaders. In the best Bolivarian tradition, he was deeply “national”, “patriotic”, and also deeply “internationalist”, fully understanding the regional and world dimension of the problems his country was facing. A military man, he tried to find ways to attain his aims (I remember him saying, back in 2008, to a group of foreign delegates in congress that a General has to attack his enemy at its strongest, not its the weakest point), but he was also a special kind of “intellectual”. Never posting as such, he always found time to study in order to find weapons for his struggle. He probably paid with his life for the dedication to his nation and his ideas.

As for Villepin, he became the mouthpiece of every man of dignity around the globe with his historic speech in 2003, when he strongly condemned the planned invasion of Iraq by the United States and Britain, in front of the Security Council of the UN. He, along with President Chirac, were the last Gaullists in France – Sarkozy came after to demolish the Gaullist tradition by pretending he is a Gaullist (Tsipras is only an extreme case, unfortunately the practice of saying one thing and doing another is the current rule in European politics).

People like Villepin or Chavez could not imagine that a leader can behave as Tsipras behaved after the July 2015 referendum. Only the secret services closely analyzing the Greek leader and his environment could have anticipated this development, if not working actively for this U-turn to happen. We cite the example of Chavez and Villepin to show what kind of hopes and expectations have been born not only in Europe, but worldwide, from the rise of SYRIZA in Greece – from the peaceful revolt of the Greek people against European neoliberal order and the enslavement of this small, albeit historic European nation. Some leftists in Italy had even the idea of presenting a “Tsipras list” in the 2014 European elections!

This Greek revolt was badly betrayed by its own leaders. A betrayal that represents, before anything else, one of the gravest moral defeats in the history of the international left. Its consequences for the Left, for Greece, and for Europe are still far from being felt and understood. For the Greek Left itself, this moral defeat is more important and definite than even its crushing military defeat during the Greek civil war (1943-49), because, in the long run, it is destroying its raison d’etre.

In the short run it inflicted a heavy psychological and moral blow to the Greek people, to its self-esteem and self-confidence. Who can you believe? What you can do if your own leaders who you have trusted betray you? You vote for something, ignoring all pressure and blackmail, and then your leadership does the opposite. It also split the social base supporting Tsipras last year (80% of the population during the negotiations, 60% in the referendum). Many people think the best thing they can do and maybe the only thing they can do is to try to survive.

SYRIZA has risen to power by promising to stop the neocolonial policy of looting and destroying Greece by its supposed European partners and the IMF (with the unspoken but very real green light of Washington, given the enormous influence of USA and its banks in both Europe and the IMF). Now it is applying the program it promised to stop, which represents a policy much worse than any kind of neoliberalism.

In Greece, Europe is transitioning from a neoliberal to a sort of “disaster capitalism”. The program imposed on Athens is not only transforming the economic structure and the social relations inside the Greek nation-state, it is destroying the nation, the state (or at least its social, national and democratic functions, to be more precise) and also the fundamental conditions for the reproduction of the Greek social formation. It is not an accident – it is an “experiment” in totalitarianism. (And for those who like analogies, it is the financial, European equivalent of the “imperialism of destruction” in the Middle East, where western powers intervened, during the last 15 years, not to control and/or conquer, but to destroy basic Arab countries!).

To have now a party of the “radical left” applying such a policy is a triumph for the most extremist form of late capitalism that very few people could have predicted. The only comparable example from this point of view that one can think of is the fantastic transformation of the Soviet leadership into … fans of the ideas of Reagan and Thatcher, a transformation that could not lead to anything other than the demise of the Soviet Union.

As we have already said, the consequences of the SYRIZA disaster are yet to be fully felt in Greece and Europe. They are already indirectly but deeply affecting the European Left (for example in Spain or Ireland), the entire European situation, and the struggle of European nations against the “Empire of Finance”, who wish to impose, in alliance with Berlin, a dictatorship of the Markets upon the continent.

This is because it is in Greece that the invisible but strong “Markets” try to create their paradigm for the solution of the debt question in Europe and internationally. The accumulated debt in the world economy is not only one of the most serious economic problems, it has also become the weapon par excellence the “empire of globalisation” (of financial capital) is using to destroy democracy, social welfare, and the nations of Europe.

The Greek resistance could serve as a focal point to construct a serious alternative to euroliberalism. Of course, there are now national protest movements in Europe against the euro or EU, and social movements against austerity policies. But we still lack a real European alternative, and even satisfactory national ones.

The only idea “circulating” around is the return to nation-states. Maybe as things evolve and no other serious alternative is present, such dissolution of the Eurozone and/or the EU could become unavoidable at some stage.

Still, one wonders if all these small and medium nation-states will have any degree of independence and capacity of resistance to “International Finance”, globalization, and the US. We should not also forget that, during the last century, the way Washington dominated over Europe was through antagonism and wars of its nations (Which is what London also did in order to dominate continental Europe during the preceding century). The same can be true of today’s “debt wars” among Europeans.