Monday READ – 30 September 2013
Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* BBC – Adonis Georgiadis – Greek Mininster of Health
Source: BBC HARDtalk
Those who think the worst of the Eurozone crisis is over should consider what’s happening in Greece. Public sector job cuts have prompted a new wave of strikes, a third bailout seems likely as the government wrestles with its crippling debt burden, while poverty and extremist violence threaten the country’s social cohesion. HARDtalk speaks to Greece’s controversial health minister, Adonis Georgiadis. His callous comments, which repeatedly disregarded the humanitarian catastrophe in Greece, are absolutely ridiculous and delusional.
* FROM TRAGEDY TO TRAVESTY: SELLING OFF THE CRADLE OF DEMOCRACY
Source: The Automatic Earth
Is it merely a coincidence that the troika rode its Trojan horse into Athens again on the very day Angela Merkel went awfully close to an absolute majority in German elections? I’m sure it is. But it’s still very bad news for the Greeks, who now have their perhaps last chance to throw out the international financial system and decide their own fate, before most of their valuables have been sold off to foreign interests. Greece is where democracy started, and the way things are going, it may be where it will end as well.
The troika starts the new round of talks right off the bat with more pressure on selling off more of the goodies, even as up to now they’ve not sold for anything near targets, at absolute bottom prices, if at all. The Greek population, if it doesn’t call a halt to these negotiations, will end up not owning a single brick in their own country anymore, and still be heavily indebted to foreign banks and investors. And largely unemployed. Their own government, which consists mainly of bankers too, warns of domestic radical elements, but what other choice but radicalization do they leave the people? From Greek news service Ekathimerini:
Creditors insist on acceleration of privatizations projects for the shortfall in revenues to be covered in 2014
The troika of Greece’s creditors on Monday exercised strong pressure on the state privatization fund (TAIPED) to speed up the country’s sell-off projects.
During a meeting at TAIPED’s headquarters, the mission chiefs of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund called for more action so that this year’s revenue shortfall, amounting to €1 billion, can be covered in 2014.
At the troika’s focus were the privatizations of ports, water and sewage companies, and Hellenic Post. According to plans drawn up in January, these sell-off projects should have started in the second quarter of the year, while the aim now is for them to get started in the last quarter, given that the third will be over in a week’s time.
The troika was also updated about delays in the utilization of real estate, and mainly that in the development of Athens old international airport at Elliniko, which is the biggest project in the privatizations package.
The Greek side again cited problems related to the nature of the properties for sale, saying they require a kind of ‘maturing’ before they begin to attract investor interest. TAIPED officials also cited the differing views among the various authorities, with ports being the best such example as their privatization should have started in July.
The fund’s management also presented a list of more than 25 pending legislative and regulatory issues that must be settled before the privatization procedures can begin.
One of these issues was settled just hours before the troika’s arrival in Athens, as the Infrastructure Ministry repaid the debts of the Greek state to Athens water company EYDAP. Last Friday Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis had tabled an amendment in Parliament allowing for the payment of the approximately €600 million owed to EYDAP by the state.
PM Samaras and his crew consistently rely on unrealistic assumptions, not so much to appease the troika, who know the books, but to fool the people, who don’t. And then afterwards, they can claim unforeseeable circumstances led to even worse numbers, and more budget cuts and tax hikes will be needed. And lest we forget: another 25,000 government workers are set to be fired. The pattern is so obvious and so predictable it’s definitely not funny. […]
* GOLDEN DAWN LEADER ARRESTED IN DUBIOUS CRACKDOWN
Greek state cracks down on neo-Nazi movement, but questions remain about how willing and able it truly is to stamp out the fascist threat it created.
By Jerome Roos, ROARmag
It’s quite incredible what difference two weeks can make. Just 10 days ago, government officials and members of Greece’s ruling centrist coalition were openly discussing the possibilities of a future government with the outspokenly neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party. Then, a group of Golden Dawn thugs shamelessly murdered antifascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, and suddenly everything seemed to change. As tens of thousands of antifascist protesters took to the streets, government officials and mainstream media for the first time openly denounced the party as a “criminal organization”. Investigations were launched, senior police officers suspended and Golden Dawn collapsed in the polls.
Today, the sudden state crackdown on the violent extremists took a dramatic turn with the arrest of the party’s undisputed leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, by the national anti-terrorism unit. Three other MPs, a party leader from the Athenian suburb of Nikaia and 12 more party members were also arrested, while further arrest warrants have been issued for several MPs and party members. In an indication of the government’s resolve to finally sweep away the institutional basis of the neo-Nazi movement, today’s crackdown marks the first time since the fall of the military junta in 1974 that sitting MPs — let alone an official party leader — have been arrested.
Unfortunately, the institutional crackdown and criminal charges are long overdue, as the government (with Europe’s blessing) willingly tolerated the proliferation of neo-Nazi violence against immigrants and leftists for years. There are thus good reasons to remain profoundly skeptical of the government’s actual intentions and the broader implications of the arrests for the future of the antifascist struggle. While arresting its leaders will undoubtedly cripple Golden Dawn’s hierarchical organization and may temporarily paralyze the party’s official actions, it does not eradicate the penetration of fascism into the very fabric of the Greek state and society. Most importantly, a very large amount of Greek police officers and key elements of the country’s armed forces still support and adhere to Golden Dawn’s violent and openly racist ideology.
This fact was underlined when, just a few days ago, a group of special force reservists publicly demanded the government to resign and openly called for a military coup should it fail to do so. Since Golden Dawn claims up to 60 percent support from the country’s police force, and since most of its MPs and thugs have so far escaped imprisonment thanks to the right-wing inclinations of the judicial system, it is also unclear how effective the legal crackdown can really be. The current charges may set in motion the criminalization of the party, but it remains unclear how far state institutions are really willing and able to go in their efforts to stamp out the specter of neo-fascism.
These institutional limitations are compounded by the fact that Golden Dawn has traditionally been supported by a powerful sub-section of Greece’s oligarchic capitalist elite, whose financial interests have been neatly served by Golden Dawn’s anti-immigrant narrative and its violent attacks on anarchist and communist organizers. Already a while back, investigations by the Financial Crimes Unit revealed that Golden Dawn is funded by a group of wealthy businessmen, shipowners and orthodox priests (the latter are among the richest landowners in Greece). These are the same people who control the Greek government and media, and the same who are likely to be pulling the strings behind the “sacrificial” moves currently being taken against Golden Dawn. […]
* ATHENS BATTLEFIELD AS POLICE CLASH WITH ANTI-FASCIST PROTESTERS
Police have clashed with anti-fascist protesters in Athens during a rally turned violent, triggered by the murder of a musician at the hands of a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi.