You’ve probably read about the remarkable political rise of Syriza in Greece, in an election that was a rebuke of the European austerity model led by Germany. Next up: Spain.
The gun is still being to the head of the people of Greece. Give us more austerity for a better future, cry the bankers. But, truth is more stimulus is the answer.
To be sure, the austerity mongers around the world want to throttle and silence the new Greek government lest the revolt against austerity spread to other countries. But, in this fight, the Greek government–in particular, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis–are really waging another campaign: against right-wing racism and xenophobia. And there’s something to be learned about this for politics in the U.S.
The austerity mongers, who have essentially ravaged economy after economy around the world, are on the brink of destroying Greece. But, Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s finance minister, isn’t ready to be broken.
Thank you, Greece voters.
For all the bemoaning about the the lack of bi-partisanship and abundant political rancor, there is one thing both political parties just revel in: the rah-rah cheering over the notion that the United States is Number One in the world and leading the pack. Well, facts are a bitch, especially when it comes to the reality: globally, the U.S. is leading the way in charting a path of harshness, austerity, and poverty for millions.
To the list of institutions and individuals who totally screwed up the global economy — and the lives of tens of millions of people — let us now read the mea culpa of the International Monetary Fund. But, this isn’t a mea culpa in the sense of “we didn’t understand”. It’s an admission of “we didn’t care what other people said, we didn’t listen, we did what we wanted and none of us will pay the price”. The fucking arrogance.
First things first: I am not at all shocked or surprised by the stupidity flowing from the White House. If you are, you have not been paying attention for the past 5-6 years, or you’ve engaged in willful denial. But, the moronic, and immoral, proposals on Social Security do give us a wonderful moment of clarity about politics and the press.
Banks and elites will wring their hands. How can those Italians just stick a thumb in our eyes, they’ll say. Well, because real people don’t like austerity — especially when it’s imposed by the very people who made a mess of the economy.
I don’t know whether anything will make the austerity mongers around the world — from Wall Street, to the halls of the political leadership — stop for a moment and think, “what the hell are we doing?” Long unemployment lines don’t make them pause. So, if people freeze to death or shiver through cold weather because they can’t pay heating bills, will that matter? Welcome to the reality in Greece.