By Henry McRandall
Hundreds of thousands of angry Athenians stormed the centre of the Greek capital today to express their determined opposition to the latest bank bailout ploy and the savage government austerity program that would be part-and-parcel of the deal.
This would be the second Greek bailout by the European Union and the IMF (the International Monetary Fund, of which Amerikkka is the biggest shareholder) in just a matter of months.
The protesters are demanding that the government forego the bank bailout and the government austerity scheme and default on its international loan agreements.
But the political lackeys of the socioeconomic elite are ignoring the clearly expressed will of the vast majority – the masses – collectively the poor, the working class and the middle class – and choosing instead to go to the EU and the IMF hat-in-hand and beg for the bailout, even though most of the lackeys privately acknowledge that a default will almost inevitably occur within two years regardless of what is done now.
The sole effects of not defaulting now would be to bail out the banksters who caused the global economic crisis in the first place and to impose harsh suffering on the Greek masses long before it actually becomes necessary – if it ever truly becomes necessary.
How severe will the agony be for Greece’s poor, working class and middle class?
Consider just some of the measures the EU and the IMF are demanding and to which the Greek political class seems all too willing to acquiesce:
First, the retirement age could be increased to as much as 67 years from a current 61.4 years (not 59 years as the corporate mass media has been reporting, and higher – not lower – than the current retirement age in either Germany or France).
Second, working-class wages would have to fall and working-class taxes would have to rise – primarily because the Greek political class routinely turns a blind eye to the simple reality that a majority of wealthy Greeks choose to evade their tax obligations entirely.
Third, spending on health care, education and social programs would have to be drastically reduced.
And, fourth, a large number and wide assortment of public assets would be sold on the cheap to private corporations, resulting in a wide range of price increases, new road and bridge tolls and other types of user fees for public services now taken for granted.
That a supposedly democratically elected government would have the audacity, the gall and the temerity to subscribe to another insane round of bank-bailouts-and-government-austerity in the face of almost universal mass opposition is almost beyond belief.
But, as they say, truth can sometimes be stanger than fiction. And the truth of everyday reality for the masses – the poor, the working class and the middle class is going to get much weirder before it gets any better – not only in Greece but in much of Europe – as well as the U.S. and Canada – unless the masses find the courage and the cohesion to rise up and demand their fair share of the Gross Economic Pie.
Athens’ sad descent into Greek tragedy
By Henry McRandall