With the Greek financial crisis continuing to make headlines (and causing untold grief for its citizens) it’s important to ask hard questions about just how this situation arose.
Contrary to much of the propaganda flying around, it’s not the laziness or over-expectations of the Greek people that are at fault here, but the greed and self-aggrandisement of those charged with holding the purse strings.
It’s time we looked long and hard at institutions like the IMF and World Bank (and the WTO), whose mantra of ‘structural adjustment’ and bailouts conditional on ‘austerity’ measures are plunging the Greek people into a dark and unpredictable future.
I urge you to watch the independent documentary Debtocracy, which seeks the causes of the debt crisis and proposes solutions sidelined by the government and the dominant media.
What stands out is the callous and dishonest way these global institutions hobble any real chance of financial recovery through measures designed to bail out their buddies in the banks and stock market, at the expense of ordinary citizens — who not only are now saddled with ever increasing debts to the EU, IMF and World Bank, but also live with the burden of the austerity measures insisted on by this unholy trinity.
Already 20-30% is being shaved off old age pensions; 20% salary cuts have become common, and 30% of public sector workers are likely to lose their jobs. Value-added tax is now imposed on all food items, including 20% on bread.
One of many ‘festering boils’
It’s easy to turn one’s head and say ‘who cares?’ but Greece is only one of many festering boils that risk terminal infection if ordinary citizens allow this power imbalance to continue. The very same rhetoric being espoused by the major EU leaders and institutions is heard here as well: cutting back social services, slashing public service jobs, taking measures to silence the 99%.
As activist Vandana Shiva says: ‘Ending poverty requires knowing how poverty is created… the poor are not those left behind, they are the ones who were pushed out and excluded from access to their own wealth and resources… The elevation of the domain of the market and man-made capital… has led to the neglect and destruction of… ecology and survival… Without clean water, fertile soils and crop and plant diversity, human survival is not possible… People do not die for lack of incomes. They die for lack of resources.’
If the NZ government was really concerned about ordinary Kiwis it wouldn’t be bailing out finance companies and banks, flogging off state-owned assets, and slashing social services, it would be providing sustainable support for those in need.
And it doesn’t even have to do this for altruistic reasons: what it needs to realise is that the tighter it squeezes people in order to prop up its own well-being the sooner the festering boil will burst — and civil unrest will surely follow.
This isn’t loonie left-wing fear-mongering, this is based on history all around the world. From the French revolution to the uprisings in Syria and Greece, ordinary people are eventually pushed to such an extent that they have nothing to lose by taking to the streets.
Educate yourselves. Dig deeper – beyond the cynical propaganda of corporatized media. Watch Debtocracy (and see past the irritating subtitle glitches) and think about its implications for us all.
 http://www.newint.org/blog/2011/10/07/greece-debt-resistance/ Published on October 7, 2011 by Vanessa Baird
 How to end poverty: Making poverty history and the history of poverty.