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Alexis Tsipras Sends Open Letter to Merkel via The Guardian

 Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece’s main opposition party left-wing SYRIZA, published an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel via British The Guardian. Sharply criticizing the bailout program, the vicious circle austerity and recession, Tsipras calls on Merkel to change this devastating policies, “the disastrous political and economic path” that applies also to Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Angela Merkel will find Greece in its fifth consecutive year of recession that was deepened through the bailout program.

“These policies are devastating the Greek people, especially workers, pensioners, small businessmen and women, and of course young people. The Greek economy has contracted by more than 22%, workers and pensioners have lost 32% of their income, and unemployment has reached an unprecedented 24% with youth unemployment at 55%. Austerity policies have led to cuts in benefits, the deregulation of the labour market and the further deterioration of the limited welfare state that had survived a neoliberal onslaught.

All this is known to the European and Greek policymakers and elites, including Merkel, who aim to implement similar programmes in all European countries facing debt problems, such as Spain, Portugal and Italy. Why do they insist so dogmatically on this disastrous political and economic path? We believe that their aim is not to solve the debt crisis but to create a new regulatory framework throughout Europe that is based on cheap labour, deregulation of the labour market, low public spending and tax exemptions for capital. To succeed, this strategy uses a form of political and financial blackmail that aims to convince or coerce Europeans to accept austerity packages without resistance. The politics of fear and blackmail used in Greece is the best illustration of this strategy.”

Alexis Tsipras also addresses the European taxpayers explaining that the bailout money is not used to pay salaries and pensions, but solely to repay loans, interest rates and the recapitalization of the banks.

“My party, Syriza-United Social Front, respects the ordinary European taxpayer who is asked to shoulder loans to countries in distress, including Greece. The European citizens should know, however, that loans to Greece are paid into an “escrow” account and are used exclusively to repay past loans and to re-capitalise near bankrupt private banks. The money cannot be used to pay salaries and pensions, or to buy basic medicine for hospitals and milk for schools. The precondition for these loans is even more austerity, paralysing the Greek economy and increasing the possibility of default. If there is a risk of European taxpayers losing their money, it is created by austerity.”

“Europe needs a new plan to deepen European integration,” concludes Tsipras, and it should give priority to the needs of workers, pensioners and the unemployed.

Full Letter The Guardian

PS priority should be given also to the youth, a generation without work and hope, I would add…

 

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18 comments

  1. He couldn’t convince the Greek voters, he can’t convince other Greek politicians, why should he convince Merkel? Who doesn’t decide about Greek politics anyway.

  2. He doesn’t need to convince anybody anymore!
    While the Fuhrerin is in Athens, and not to bring chocolates, but to emphasize the need for sticking rigidly to “the plan”, meaning more austerity, our other friend Christine and her bunch the IMF release their annual report.

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2012/02/pdf/c1.pdf

    60 pages of waffle, but in it, tucked away at page 40, is a very , very interesting bit of info.
    THE IMF acknowledges that the policies agreed with their partners in the TROIKA are not working, in fact they admit that their errors are “large and significant”!

    By all means, read the report if you’re up for it, the gist of the import bit is this.
    The whole austerity program was based on the now admitted WRONG assumption that removing 100€ from an economy through austerity would result in a shrinkage of 50€, in other words a slow down in economic activity. In the report the IMF admits that removing 100 € from the economy through austerity in fact shrinks that economy by 150 €, meaning, it does what we are all experiencing, IT STRANGLES AN ECONOMY TO DEATH!!!

    Now, this report was not written on the back of a beer mat last night in the pub, it took months to get this together. The study showing what austerity really does was equally so not compiled over a frappe somewhere in the taverna. This info has been known for a good while.

    The question now of course is, knowing what they know, and have known for a good while, WHY IS THIS DISASTROUS POLICY STILL BE FORCED ON GREECE, SPAIN, PORTUGAL, AND IRELAND, and why is Merkel here to emphasise what she MUST know is the wrong thing to do????

    With the knowledge they have, and backed up by their own figures, you cannot but conclude that the sinking of these economies is indeed a deliberate act. Knowing this, if Germany was at the receiving end of their own policies, it would be declared an act of international terrorism and boots would march and tanks would roll.
    And here is their “leader” pushing for more of the same…

  3. Instead of using up a lot of space here, allow me to attach my blogpost on Tsipras’ article in The Guardian.

    http://klauskastner.blogspot.gr/2012/10/disappointing-news-from-mr-tsipras.html

  4. keeptalkinggreece

    “Instead of using up a lot of space here”???

  5. @ Klaus : The most disappointing bit in all this is your obvious attempt to justify the crippling austerity diet imposed on Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland as something that after all does work. It doesn’t, and Joe Soap in all these countries knows, experiences it every day. Even the Lagarde gang has today published their annual report in which they openly admit they got it wrong, and the policies they have based on their wrong assumptions are, to say the least, counter productive.
    Mind you, they didn’t get it “wrong” because Joe Soap is suffering, no no. They got it wrong “because” the goal of realizing the potential wealth locked into debt was in danger of collapsing through accelerated economic collapse.
    The whole Troika policy is designed to safeguard the wealth of the top 5% of rich people, at any cost. The reason for that is very simple. The vast bulk of that “wealth” is investment in debt. Some of cruder ways in which that was done was Subprime lending and derivates. As a banker I’m sure you’ll know a good few other, better polished ways of packaging and selling debt so that somebody else pays for it.
    If that debt doesn’t get paid, the potential wealth locked into it can’t be realized, and the very wealthy stand to lose fortunes. And we get a Lehmans episode. That’s how their sick, twisted mind work. Debt is not a burden, it’s potential wealth. Providing you can get somebody else to pay for it, with interest. 7% seems to be the current going rate.That somebody is Greeek, Spanish, Portuguese and Irish Joe Soap, and the tool used to make him cough up is austerity.
    In that sense, your assertion that austerity can work is correct. It just depends on which side of the fence you sit whether it works or kill you…

  6. I meant that I didn’t want to post my entire comment when I could post it as a link.

  7. I don’t think I said anywhere that the Greek austerity worked. I suggested that if austerity is applied intelligently, it can work. I am not expert at intelligent austerity but I would suspect in general that it would mean measures that hurt purchasing power as little as possible and which have a balnce as regards fairness and social justice. And even then, there has to be a focus on investments, hopefully private investments. What did Greece do? A very large portion of austerity so far was cutting investments!

    Has Greece become a better place to do business since May 2010, the first package? I doubt it. Just today I heard a Greek lamenting that the Greek economy is still governed by monopolies and cartels.

    I can’t say it often enough: Greece needs to build up a value-generating economy, one way or another. Or else accept that it will become a kind of economic Cuba within Europe in the longer term.

  8. Tsipras should read more Guardian, instead of writing letters to it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/21/greece-austerity-measures-military-spending

  9. I don’t think there is such a thing as “intelligent” austerity. It’s, to say the least, a very blunt instrument, applied in a knee-jerk reaction. A bit like using an axe when key-hole surgery would do…
    As the IMF admit in their report , they worked on the presumption that “hurting” the purchasing power of an economy by 1% would result in a shrinkage of 0.5%. Reality is that 1% hurts the economy with a factor of up to 1.7%, meaning an exponential shrinkage, which is what Greece and Spain and Portugal and Ireland are experiencing.

    Irrespective of the finer points pro or con austerity, fact is that Merkel no doubt knows about this report and its findings. As I said elsewhere, this was not constructed overnight in a pub somewhere. The powers that be know this fact, and have known this for quite a while.
    The powers that be also know how Greece is “implementing” the austerity package. In fact, they tell them how to and how not to. Not so long ago one of the national papers reported the TROIKA vetoing the Greek government cutting defense expenditure further, resulting in the further cuts to pensions etc instead.

    So, the question remains, given the knowledge they have, and admitting it through the IMF report:

    WHY DO THE TROIKA, USING MERKEL AS A MASTHEAD, INSIST ON GREECE, PORTUGAL, SPAIN, IRELAND REMAINING ON THIS COURSE LEADING TO TOTAL COLLAPSE?

    There can only be one answer to this. ITS DELIBERATE!

    If they had the slightest bit of interest in the recovery of these economies, they would have not only put the breaks on immediately, bur reversed the whole thing without delay. The fact that they don’t, says everything.
    Tsipras is very right in saying this, and repeating over and over again that this is a European problem that needs a European solution if Europe wants to survive. That survival will, I’m afraid, require a lot of sacrifice from the other end of the European economic spectrum than the one that is currently being destroyed with ineffective, counter productive measures.

  10. Before you start throwing muck, you might want to get your facts in order. None of this spending has anything to do with Tsipras or SYRIZA, past or present, so don’t go implying that somehow it has.
    It is one of the areas he has promised to clean up if he is allowed to. In fact, before last elections, he went and talked to the military command and told them straight out there would be no money for more toys under a SYRIZA government.

    As for the indeed disproportional military spending, maybe you should complain to your own politicians about that? It was made very clear (by amongst others Herr Schauble) to the consecutive Greek governments that cuts in military spending would only be tolerated if

    existing contracts are honoured

    These “existing contracts” ALL, without fail, involve huge amounts of money and All involve German, French and Dutch companies (our so-called benefactors). Included in these “existing contracts” are 100 Euro fighter jets, 4 brand new French Frigates, some 100 military speed boats, electronic equipment to track various killing machines, to make them even deadlier killing machines, etc. etc.
    And there is of course the little matter of billions worth of bribery (currently running at 2 billion in the ongoing investigation) resulting in corrupt “foreign companies” (the famous Siemens list) bribing corrupt Greek politicians into buying billions worth of unnecessary military equipment. Corruption is a 2-way street, but ALWAYS starts with the one who has something to sell needing a buyer…
    So may I suggest that instead of trying to smear people who are quite simply not involved in what you are showing us, that you keep it local and campaign for the death merchants in your part of the world to stop their illegal tactics (and preferably stop all together), and your local politicians to stop backing them.

  11. Cleveland Natives

    Klaus, you got that right. Both Cuba and Greece have very good looking women, so if Greece becomes like Cuba at least some lonely men in wealthier countries might have a chance at getting a more aesthetically pleasing wife should Greece tumble anymore.

  12. Guardian made it pretty clear that Germany is major arms supplier, so I was aware of that part. And it only enforces my impression that Finland is the sucker here, as Germany clearly uses Greece as a proxy for it’s government subsidised arms industry, while preaching austerity. Finland gets nothing for her money thrown at Greece, Germany gets at least industry jobs.

    But I’d like to hear more about this issue from KTG. How does average middle class Greek think about their own military expenses? Where are protest rallies against it?

    By the way, Finnish military is going through serious haircut, lots of jobs will be gone for good by this time next year. And it’s smaller to beging with. AND we have goddamn RUSSIA behind our border. So there.

  13. keeptalkinggreece

    should we protest for the military expenses in particularly or about getting bread to it in generally?
    The French Revolution broke when bread prices were up.
    One has 1000 reasons to protest, one does not protest today for this and tomorrow for that. But I assume Finland has lack of knwoledge on this issue.

  14. French revolution occurred because there was privileged class that spent more than people could bear burden. Military spending has been factor in almost every revolution that history knows.

  15. Finland gets nothing for her money thrown at Greece, Germany gets at least industry jobs.

    You really need to understand something here. Finnish (or Dutch, Swedish, German, French tax payers money) money IS NOT thrown at Greece. This money is routed through Greece straight back into the German banks, and the Greek people pay 7% interest for the privilege of being used for what is to all intents an purposes a massive money laundering operation. Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain (soon to be joined by Italy) are having their economies destroyed in order to extract that 7% out of their peoples. It’s called “austerity”. Show me one Greek, Irish, Portuguese or Spanish person who tells you this charade is helping him/her, and I’ll show a liar. The function of all this European tax payers money being slushed through Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland is to “cleanse” the gambling debts of the banks and financial institutions, without them paying a cent towards it themselves. You, the Finnish people, are, just like us, being taken for a massive, and very expensive ride. You just haven’t realized it yet. But you will, remember that, you will…

    By the way, Finnish military is going through serious haircut, lots of jobs will be gone for good by this time next year. And it’s smaller to beging with. AND we have goddamn RUSSIA behind our border. So there.

    Surely, you are not seriously trying to suggest that a Finnish army would be in any way capable of stopping the Russian army from taking over the country if they so intended? So what is the point of having an army, and the expense of one, in the first place? Civil disobedience is a lot more effective against a military far superior “enemy”, and far less costly or deadly than any army ever will be. Neither does it support the most immoral, inhumane industry known to man.

  16. We get the money-merry-wheel scheme. Our media does report it, or part of the media at least. But our government doesn’t have stomach to pull the plug, they rather keep things at status quo to keep their seats, cross their fingerss and hope for a miracle to clear the mess.

    And about our military: Perhaps not a match for Russia’s decisive attack, but surely enough to persuade it to think twice if outcome is really worth the expense. Reasonably sized army has a stabilizing effect.

  17. our government doesn’t have stomach to pull the plug

    Your government can’t pull the plug, because they are up to their ears involved in the scam. If they weren’t none of this would be happening! this is a vicious circle involving 27 domino stones. If one falls, the lot goes, and an enormous amount of money is lost. More than what is being lost now, because we, the Portuguese, Spanish and Irish are picking up the tab, for now. Next the Italian people will be fleeced of all the have, then, if be, they’ll come looking further North.

    Perhaps not a match for Russia’s decisive attack, but surely enough to persuade it to think twice if outcome is really worth the expense

    The only effect an army has is an even bigger one on the other side, known as “the arms race” Waste of time, waste of effort, waste of money, waste of resources, and ultimately a waste of life. And only one winner, the most immoral industry on earth. Also the most corrupt one.

    http://companies.defenceindex.org/sites/default/files/documents/CI-Report-Single-Hires.pdf

    Rather than thinking in terms of the outcome being worth the expense to the other party, would you not be much better off wondering if the outcome is worth the death and destruction it will no doubt cause in your country and to your own people?