Friday , January 19 2018
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My Big Fat Greek Funeral: SYRIZA, 3. bailout and capital controls

I am speechless. Not since yesterday or last week. I have been speechless since July 13th when the Greek left-wing coalition government agreed to burden the country and the people with a new loan, the third bailout for Greece since 2010 together with the strictest austerity program ever. I have been speechless ever since and for  more than a week I thought I cannot blog anymore. I took me time to swallow and absorb the shock. And still. I am unable to deal with it.

I am unable to comprehend how a left-wing government ended up signing the worst austerity program ever. For the simple reason that if a left-wing government signs such an agreement, what should I expect from a right-wing or a neo-liberal government to do? Raid my apartment, steal my kitchen pans, my pottery cats collection and my underwear? When the left-wing government signs such an agreement, we can say that the political system in Greece is over. And there is no alternative.

First, we blamed the creditors for wanting to crack down SYRIZA in order to avoid creating other examples of the same kind within the eurozone. Then we blamed again the creditors and specifically German finance minister Schaeuble and his Grexit plan: 5 years bailouts, 5 years temporary Grexit, before Greece could return to the markets. That was original tone by Schaeuble in 2011. Then we blamed the disagreement between the IMF and Germany in terms of “Greek debt relief”.  And finally we blamed the ‘dilettantism of the Greek government” that sent to Eurogroup its economic team to explain to Greece’s creditors, how the Eurozone should be changed. It took Varoufakis & Co two months to understand that creditors are not in the mood to listen to some economic theories and revolutionary manifestos but that they simply wanted their money back.  All our blames were right and wrong at the same time because the game was f;ixed’ form the very beginning.

When the Greek team started to work on its proposals, it was too late. Schaeuble was determined to kick Greece out of the euro and furthermore to ‘help it’ bridge the Grexit time with a loan of some 50 billion euros. Either way, with or without euro, with or without drachma, with or without Schaeuble or SYRIZA, the result is the same: a third bailout of 50-84 billion euro and another bailout program. There is no hope for this country, for the people – at least, for some of them.

I really don’t care, if Varoufakis wears tasteless shirts and why he wanted to ‘hack’ taxpayers’ numbers while sitting with his team of skilled hackers and childhood friends. Varoufakis is not my cup of tea. He never was. But while our Greek life is falling apart day by day, I have to read Varoufakis’ interview Nr 2034 explaining his game theory and his academic hypothesis, hi smother’s story and his cousins pain. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a dam. Frankly, my dear, I’m fed up.

I am also fed up to listen to opposition lawmakers complaining about the Parliament Speaker and claiming “Zoi Konstantopoulou is torturing MPs with her pedantism.” I honestly don’t give a dam. Frankly, my dear, I’m fed up to see ‘tortured’ MPs earning €5,000+ per month and enjoy tax-free, while the rest of us is literally bleeding: financially, psychologically, physically and morally.

Neither do I care whether SYRIZA is falling apart, whether the Prime Minister wants early elections in September in order to secure a clear majority in Parliament so that he can pass the austerity bills that lead to nowhere.

I am deaf to government ministers and party officials and opposition lawmakers debating on whether Varoufakis should be indict for high or for low treason.

I just don’t care. It doesn’t affect my life, not even a tiny little bit. I give neither a a whole dam nor half of it for this so-called Greek political agenda after July 13th.

What do I care about is to watch my country and the people falling into pieces. I see our Greek lives suffering another ‘internal devaluation’ minute by minute, day by day, week by week. When the 3. bailout deal will be sealed by 15 or 20 August I will be also able to say “I see our Greek lives suffering another ‘internal devaluation’ minute by minute, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year.”

The 40% internal devaluation settled in Greece since 2010, experiences a new peak even though the 3. bailout has not been signed yet. The Capital Controls imposed on June 29th in order to save the banks from draining, have ruined the lives of many Greeks. Friends of mine who have been working for more than two decades in private companies, were “sent to enforced holiday” together with the banks: their full time job turned into 1 or maximum 2 days work per week. That is 4 or 8 work days per month. In relation, their also salary plunged by end of July.  Many employees in the private sector saw their working hours and already low salaries been reduced. How can these people get along without income? Nobody cares and nobody talks about. Neither national nor international media talk about it. We whisper these hazardous circumstances  among ourselves. In quiet. Because we are ashamed. And we wonder endlessly.

Others, plagued by long term unemployment and no perspective to get a job or even a pension, felt obliged to sell their home. That’s not possible under capital controls. The selling amount will remain in the bank and it may even fall victim to “deposits haircut” by the end of the year. Another friend who needs to sell her second flat  – an inheritance – so that she has money to live, cannot sell it either. Ten years ago, the flat was worth 130,000 euro. Now, if she finds a buyer she will have to sell it for 45,000-50,000 euro. She is trying to sell it for the last 1.5 year. Not a single buyer came around the corner.

With the new Value Added Tax hikes, the amount we need to spend for our weekly basic groceries now extra 15-20 euro. “Just 15 euro?” one may ask. Yes. That’s a huge amount, if you don’t have it and you have kids to feed and bills to pay. The 50-euro banknote that will go for groceries will be missed at the end of the month. Bills will remain unpaid, the extra for a health emergency, for example, will simply be not there. It’s either eat or die.

In hospitals and public health care the situation is getting from worse to worst. Shortage of doctors, of nurses, of administration personnel, of material. You need a portion of fluid iron? Average waiting time is 3 days. The same for special creams, for this and that. You need some cotton? “Oh, not so much, please, a tiny piece,” the nurse tells you politely. Sometimes, the drugs or creams never come, you get the prescription upon exiting the hospital.

In the night shift a nurse is in charge for 40-50 patients, even in the public hospital they proudly call “the biggest in Greece, in the whole Balkans, indeed.”  Neither this nor the previous governments managed to raise the working hours of civil servants.

Patients that need night care need to hire a private nurse. They charge €8.5        per hour,  €55 for six and a half hours, and one nice green 100-euro banknote on Saturdays. Union rights as before the crisis. Is this the competitiveness the Troika has been talking about? They work at fixed shifts and by the clock: 11:00 pm to 5:40 am, for example. A 24-hours care will cost you more than 200 euro, the overtime they charge is without receipt. One day, the doctor sends you home, half fixed, half broken and totally broke. Then you will need to consult another doctor and get skilled caretakers at home, all paid by your own pocket. Or lay down and die.

A pair of low-pensioners next door with a bed-ridden and dementia-sick wife  have been going in and out the hospitals for the last 5 months. The woman needs 24/7 care but they cannot afford neither a caretaker or even better a care home for the elderly. Their last savings were spent on private nurses when the woman was hospitalized. The man was in shock and awe when he heard that they both will have 20-euro less because of the rises in health care contributions. The man was in such a shock that he forgot to go pick their pensions on Friday. And on Monday.

And then I read about the Financial Crimes Units (SDOE) that have caught in flagranti tourism businesses with fake cash registers in Mykonos and Santorini. Cash registers that have not been registered to the tax office. The customer gets his receipt, but the businessman pockets the money without giving the state the V.A.T. or taxes. The Finance Ministry got alarmed from this new phenomenon of tax evasion by the evergreen smart “Greeks”.  But “personnel shortage” hinders a raid to all fake cash registers… One of the fake cash registers was located in Mykonos, two in Santorini, two of the richest islands of Greece. In fact: in the richest regions of the debt-ridden country with impoverished families and ruined economy.

And then, I get this damned feeling that I live in another planet in a far away universe. And I want to stay there forever. In a bubble. Away from this Greece, where half of its population starves and is in dire need and the other half, the ‘clever Greeks’ keep cheating and evading taxes and enjoy a real life of fake registration and exorbitant per hour charge, away from austerity agreements, Troika’s demands and the hateful “Mnimonia” (memoranda) as they take advantage of the shortages of the public system.

*** The title is a proposal by Thomais Papaioannou, Correspondent of ERT & RIK in Paris. I had run out of ideas when I finished this post…

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  1. If only some cash registers were fake…
    What about the words being used, supposedly to make the word understandable?
    European solidarity
    Economic development
    European citizenship

    Maybe we should better be prepared for a real war as our friends in Greece were hit by the first bomb modern style.

    The description you made is absolutely outstanding.

  2. costa sakellariou

    where are all the posters?

    i think you have blown their minds!


  3. Sadly, I am with you 100% KTG – I too have been in shock – what the hell happened –
    No more austerity – Euphoria that Greece stood proud and yelled NO – followed by switch back rides – Greek exit and the constant degradation of the Greek people – along with all the frills, fear mongering, dire warnings bank closure and downright blackmail and the ultimate – total capitulation.

    At the end of all this we have lost everything just as you describe. It’s done and dusted.

    Not one word can I find anywhere that lifts my spirits, all I see from Syriza past and present Ministers is ‘it’s not my fault’ repeated over and over again without a single sentence that I could grasp and hold onto regards future plans.

    In short, what I find hardest of all to lose is Syriza’s promise of HOPE even that is in shreds.

  4. keeptalkinggreece

    oh that’s an issue of another post ‘the Orwellian austerity language’ – I had been planning to write this since 2012 lol

  5. keeptalkinggreece

    I know, Molly, I know.

  6. “To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people.”

    Keep rocking KTG !!!

  7. Well there was sufficient warning, I don’t want to blame the Greek population, just to be clear. However it was pretty clear to pretty much everyone that did not fall into the left ideology(which is not a bad or stupid thing) that Syriza pretty much just offered empty promises they could never, ever fulfill.

    Even with Drachma, Grexit yada yada, the times would not have turned better, only worse and Greece would recognize how poor it really was.

    I don’t say Greeks are lazy, I don’t say Greeks are not productive, neither of that is true.

    However what happened when the country did enter the Eurozone was that the actual economic output of Greece didn’t really matter. The standard of living was raised with loans the government now could easily get, it enjoyed prime interest rates.

    So despite a dysfunctional public system and lets not mince words, it is a dysfunctional, highly over budget, highly corrupt and ineffective system. Be that tax collection, law or anything really. Just starting a new business in Greece is a nightmare compared to other countries for example.

    Despite all of these problems, the standard of living increased, the spending habits, the prices, the wages. When the bubble did burst, reality came crushing down and the government could no longer extend the artificial reality of a rich Greece, out of a sudden the standard of living was gone, worse then ever.

    This should have been apparent to anyone who knows anything about economics really. I remember my Dad telling me about it I think about 12 years ago when we where on vacation in Greece.

    Of course that does not in any form or fashion help mitigate the pain and humiliation the Greek people are currently going through.

    The only real solution I can see is to reform the entire state apparatus, to become more efficient. That can’t be avoided either way anyway, austerity or no.

    Even if recovery will set in and that is a big if, it would take at least a decade for the country to recover even a bit, probably more.

  8. You have summed it up perfectly. People are just shell shocked and there will be worse to come I fear. So so sorry for the Greek people

  9. One thing I beg of you is NOT to close down – you are amongst the very few who presents the here and now ‘reality’ in Greece and this is absolutely vital.

  10. Don’t give up hope; keep fighting. You can still win ( but you have to say goodbye to the Euro…..)

  11. “When the left-wing government signs such an agreement, we can say that the political system in Greece is over. And there is no alternative.”
    That about sums it up, KTG… But please, Keep Talking! I was shocked to read: “We whisper these hazardous circumstances among ourselves. In quiet. Because we are ashamed. And we wonder endlessly.” I had hoped that after 5 years of all this the culture of shame would have disappeared or would be greatly diminished. But as it is not it serves but one purpose: shutting people up and letting the other half getting away with their way of doing things over the backs of others… Didn’t you start this blog because Greece had to keep on talking?

  12. A beautifully written piece KT .. What happened between the sheer power of the OXI vote and this current mess is certainly the question, but the real answer is the sordid misery of so many people’s lives as you so rightly say. But when hope is dead nothing resists and I think there IS hope within Greece, with it’s people who help each other and remain so resolutely human. Maybe its time to imagine other ways of living..creating communities that function outside of teh current system.. Maybe that is one of the ways forward for Greece..

  13. keeptalkinggreece

    well, not closing down means: have funds to pay servers…

  14. keeptalkinggreece

    culture of shame cannot disappear as long as every once people get a new slap on their faces.

  15. I agree with all that you have written. My own view, taken more comfortably from outside Greece, is that we live in a time comparable with past periods just before war became inevitable. In such periods, ordinary people have no power, they struggle with everyday existence, and look to politicians to solve problems that they either cannot or will not. After all, when did politicians in any country solve even quite simple problems? Now, we have massive structural problems — mostly involving banks and international finance.
    Essentially, we do need some sort of war to regain the power of ordinary people vis-a-vis financial power. Across the EU, only Greek politicians sought to do so: that is why Greece is in a minority of one in the EU (not only in the EZ). A perverted neoliberal ideology has emerged since 2009 — one that applies market forces across the board — except in the case of banks and financial institutions.

    Of course, there is political pretence. Here in the UK, yesterday there was a court case against a bank employee. He was given a 14-year prison sentence for carrying out his job as he understood it and his employer understood it. Banks have been given large fines (in the billions) yet they remain operational and their senior staff and owners remain untouched. This is scapegoating by politicians of the junior staff (in a very nasty way) with the intention of not challenging the existence and modus operandi of international finance.
    This is where Tsipras and Varoufakis failed, in not understanding the politics of financial power. They naively believed in the power of rational argument and economic logic. There is no logic to what is goin on — other than the logic of power and the abuse of power. That is probably the basis of war: without war, we can expect slavery.

  16. Das Kommentariat

    I might be able to help you out a bit. Contact me if you like.

  17. When you get to that point, please put a page here asking for donations or whatever. I am sure that people will assist — even if it is a lot of small donations.

  18. Birgit Tersteegen

    This article is the first one in this debate about the “greek- affair” that I can FEEL as absolute RIGHT and my heart suffers really pain—because it´s so true……. I was so proud about the greece population because of the vote in the referendum and so shocked about the treachery of Tsipras….i hope,he has a plan B after the new bailout…but I don´t know if he is integer…I hope the very best and I think the only way for all of us is to leave the Euro and the corrupt EU….BEST WISHES -from Germany. Birgit

  19. Birgit Tersteegen

    YES HEIDI!!!

  20. KTG, I can get you a free site on a server in Oregon, USA. I have a resale account there. Just send me a private message on FB whenever you need it.

  21. Ok. I can understand, I can even sympathize with your words. But… be carefull. That “I don’t give a damn” and “they earn €5,000+ per month and enjoy tax-free” speach, drives people to vote in Golden Dawn. In the end of the day, we all have to make choices.

  22. Would you please send me an email enabling me keep talking Greece? With just a little piece of information, an IBAN.

  23. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    If you figured some lies about Greece why don’t you look a bit closer and see that your big fat “BUT” is founded on even more heavier statistically lies? The Greek economy was until 2008 like a “tiger”, all this what happened after is rooted in a big fraud with the numbers, the IMF takes these fake numbers of BoG until today for serious but they are all wrong, the exports were strong as the German and the economy was competitive but it’s all covered under the “missing fleet” like the Swiss banker Michael Bernegger found out and Norbert Häring introduces to in “Greece: A Secret Exporting Power?” on June 15 2015 in Handelsblatt and it’s also a secret how “cheap” the loans really were but one is for sure the ones that broke Karamanlis neck were not cheap.
    And regarding the spin of election promises no-one, except militants, could foresee what kind of dicks Saugosch and Dieselboom really are and unless the big conspiracy isn’t proven SYRIZA was brought on its knees with iron bars and had so far good luck that it weren’t bullets.
    Anyway to point out the “warning” German-European media-propaganda is a really funny example of virtual reality as 6 months ago no voter read this shit, most of it is also only available in English now since the German media started their English sites to focus on Greece so that Greek “liberal” media can copy-paste it but who will read their lies after 5 years anyway?

  24. I am looking into setting up a just giving page to help KTG out with server costs etc…I will keep you updated.

  25. Gerrit Zeilemaker

    I am speechless after reading your story. In the Netherlands we say: the shore will turn the ship, but I doubt now.
    The only thing I can say is, changes in politics are going fast.
    Do not despair.

  26. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    Right! This is still taking place and is necessary as an example for independent electricity supply shows as no EU/IWF will “invest” anything in it as long it’s not for capitalists to make more money out of it.
    But with some billions one could create 300.000 jobs with sustainable forestry, wooden-framed wind-mill-towers, the whole Aegean fleet run by wind-turbines and ships putting their unused energy into power-batteries on rocky islands and in harbours and in the end electricity will be very cheap and can boost the agriculture with free water-pumps instead of putting solar-parks on good fields.
    This indeed is easier to organize regional and say good bye to the state but who knows…

  27. Hire couple polish guys.
    In other words, hire people that were at the bottom and managed, over 20 years, to get to pretty comfortable place.
    They had to fight corruption, bloated government, old, inefficient industry. Mismanagement everywhere. On top of that, laws had to change, because the ones from communist era only supported all that was bad about economy and social life.
    Don’t recall if they actually used IMF but reforms were done in IMF style. Went through a lot of pain to rebuild the country from the ground up but got it done.
    Not smart enough to tell if this transformation can be achieved without Grexit.
    Look forward to positive changes and be wise.

  28. keeptalkinggreece

    thanks a lot @elace, another friend is about to setting up a Just Giving page, so, pls, do not do anything until further notice.

  29. keeptalkinggreece

    Thanks a lot to all KTG readers willing to contribute to server & other costs of the blog. I will let you know as soon as action is taking in this direction.
    You Rock 🙂

  30. You guys in Greece voted communist government after your party was over. What else you expected?
    EU countries to come with money, more money and even more money?
    Poor countries like India, Kenya e.t.c. to give you more and more money via IMF?

    It is time to start REAL reforms.

  31. I think you are missing the point, yes Greece did expand rapidly, invested huge amounts of money and would have done well… until everything came crushing down and the loans could no longer be served.

    It matters absolutely not what you or I believe about what constitutes a fair or cheap interest rate, fact is though that the interest rates for Greece were low(about 3% in 2000), like for most Eurozone members. If you refuse to understand that a government in a poverty stricken country, with no allies, no leverage and next to no funding, is lying when it promises you that everything will be better now just because you voted for them, you are part of the problem. Yes to anyone outside of Greece it was clear that they would not be able to deliver what they promised, regardless of their political or ideological alignment.

    Except for those looking for hope, that are on the ideological spectrum of Syriza and Co or those that are hopelessly naive.

  32. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    Do you mean to work 14 hours a day to get your rent in Warsaw in or the welfare system?

  33. Not really. That +5.000 tax free applies to Golden Dawn too.

  34. Yeah but…the Poles are still fighting, they are not there yet, though booting out the old NATO loving government last spring was commendable :))

  35. Compared to countries such as Bosnia, Serbia and FYROM, Greece has not hit rock bottom yet. But it is getting close. You have been betrayed by your government, just one week after ‘Oxi!’.
    ‘They’ (Troika, Greek political and financial system) have reached what they wanted to reach: an apathetic and lethargic Greek population that forcibly bows its head and says “I don’t care anymore”. This is they model that they will impose on the whole of Europe.

    Only the Greek people can rebuild their communities but for that they need to come together and work together: barter, volunteer, bring tax evaders to justice. Your political and financial system won’t help you.

  36. Count me in too! When you’re ready give us the donation account info. We can’t do without you!

  37. keeptalkinggreece

    what you will never be able to understand is whether Tsipras, Schaeuble or Goofy rules Greece, people will bleed till the end. Your ideology-companions like conservatives & PASOK they did not better.

  38. keeptalkinggreece

    of course, GiGi is missing the point: it was fake growth based on borrowed money and overspending & kickbacks as if there was no tomorrow.

  39. Don’t ever underestimate demagoguery. They are in parliament to defend the real people, they hate politics, and they’ll use those 5.000 to buy food to give to the real greeks.
    Brilliant, isn’t it?

  40. No, heidi. I’m sorry, but people can’t get a decent, normal, life outside the current system. People don’t live in “communities”, anymore, besides some british or german expats in rural areas of southern countries, with the confort of social security checks from home.

  41. @KTG, I also think if your web hosting provider charges more than 10-20 euros / month (depending on the software you need installed on the server), you should look for an alternative. I will be happy to help if you need it.

    Also, it will be easy for all readers to contribute if you let us know how your ad revenues can be increased. Is it based just on page views alone, or people need to click-though on an ad, or they actually are supposed to purchase something that was advertised?

  42. Tsipras can fix this. People will put up with this austerity thing if they feel that big issues are being addressed. Here are some starter ideas:
    Sense of community – create feeling that “we’re all in this together”, everybody needs to contribute effort and sacrifice.
    Oligarchs – some things are being done but need more. Real danger that oligarchs will be the ones to benefit from privatization, as happened in Russia. Foreigners will be looking to use Greek names (oligarchs) to front their purchases. Also, selling to an oligarch is not different than selling to a foreigner, money will not stay in Greece.
    Tax collection – helps that feeling that everybody contributes.
    Government – reduce size, privatization helps here.
    Rent seeking – hard to change (“money for nothing”) behavior. This includes eliminating low value government positions but also early retirements, too generous retirement benefits, any other “handouts” to both businesses and individuals, etc. Support for the most needy must be there but make sure it doesn’t promote rent seeking.
    Unemployment – change laws and regulations to promote new business creation and investment. Promote foreign investment that creates new jobs.
    Spend wisely – resist (natural) desire to spend money mainly on people needs. Invest in things that will help economy grow the most.

  43. @KTG, @Franz, I could not agree more.

    Of course, understanding what led to the current state of the Greek economy is not enough. It is critical to have hope and follow a path that would lead to a brighter future (even if that means having to go through a dark period before it). I hope the Greek people (maybe, by now) are smart enough to understand that you cannot wish away (or vote away) deep structural problems. They require hard work day in and day out, solidarity and pride (which Greece has plenty of), as well as honest and smart leaders.

  44. I don’t know what to say, really. I live a hard life here, in Portugal, myself, earning 400 euros a month, and my wife had the supreme luck of being offered 300 euros to work in a call center, plus some crappy bonus. No holydays and struggling to buy spectales to my son. I don’t even dare to use the word “hope”. I’m in a survival mode. I would only say that I believe the politics aren’t all the same, even if they approve hard measures, and we have to trust someone, anyway. We have a prime minister who speaks about austerity with pride (is is softnening now, elections oblige…).. You have a prime minister who speaks about it with grief, and he sounds sincere. Do you want to trade? 😉

  45. @Heidi, @Birgit, @Joe, I also believe the vast majority of the Greek people (like most other people in the modern world) want to live in a “normal” state, not in the Utopia you describe. Read again KTG’s article above: Do you really think you can barter modern medicines and Internet connectivity within your “community outside the current system”? Yes, you can live for awhile off the charity of other people, but this is not what the proud Greek people want!

    Greek people voted for SYRIZA in January to get the best deal possible _within the eurozone_. They did not vote to get rid of money; they want to keep their money. Moreover, they want money that have value in the modern world; this is why they do not want to leave the eurozone. Tsipras is a shrewd politician and he understands that, despite his leftist beginnings. This is why he followed the path of (1) satisfying the voters that a better deal was not possible, and (2) agreeing to everything that was required to keep Greece in the eurozone.

    @Joe, I agree with you on the need to fight tax evasion (I would add corruption to that). It is all part of living in a “normal” state.

  46. Yup I’ll contribute too KTG and willingly – Greece deserves sites like yours that tell the plain (sometimes unpalatable) truth, but also teh good side. and Pedro, the world is changing very fast and there are people who are already creating parallel communities- and they arent old style hippy communities, but modern communities where groups of people get together and creating a new way forward. there is a town near madrid (Im afraid I dont remember the name- maybe someone else does?) where the mayor reinvests taxes in his own community and everyone is employed-its now being hailed as a model for the rest of the crisis hit country. Of course its possible to live differently, but only if you start realising that money is not everything and that maybe you can live with a lot less. certainly in Greece there are plenty of natural resources to build with..

  47. Reread ‘Work and Days’ It was written at the end of the Eastern Med. societal Collapse more than 27 centuries ago. From what I have been reading the Greeks in the best shape right now are those that live out in the country. A villager with a little bit of land to grow vegetables and figs, a chicken coop and a few goats can eat and barter. If they are near the sea and can do a little fishing I think that will pass for good living. Those in the worst shape are urban dwellers dependent on the promises of the entitlement state.

    What went wrong is the Greeks developed a taste for government entitlements.

  48. René Henri Pasche

    I agree with you. It was not Gandhi but Jawaharlal Nehru that brought freedom and progress to modern India.

  49. René Henri Pasche

    you are right, there is no logic to what is going on. Can be that T. and V. naivly believed in the power of rational arguments. Unfortunatly the other side, the technocrats, experts, German politicians that cannot live without having a “Theorie” or ” Weltanschauung” believed also in the power of the rational argument. So everybody thinks he is on the right road like 1914 and before and later.

  50. thanks for this post. A very good one.
    What can I say ?
    I have to thank you for this wonderful blog.
    I believe i understand your shock.
    In a way you believed Syriza..,and suddenly everything came crashing down.
    I dont know what more can I say.
    I live in portugal.., I can be the next one to feel the pain if EU desintegrates.
    Thanks again for your blog.

  51. keeptalkinggreece

    thanks for your offer to help, but web hosting is an issue that normally costs money if one has an archive like KTG has. ‘my’ IT guy did a hell of a work to avoid site outage due to high/higher traffic, a frequent phenomenon in the past. the host we use now is the fourth or fifth since 2010.
    I cannot tell about the ads – it depends on the ads…

  52. keeptalkinggreece

    trade prime ministers? I’ll have to think about it… I know the situation in Portugal is miserable for many people, but we hardly read anything about it.

  53. keeptalkinggreece

    I suppose the villager would also need money to pay his electricity bills, health care etc. He needs no internet as he is not a blogger.

  54. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    Aha, and how comes that trade and alternative currencies are reality in 70 cities and free clinics in 50?

  55. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    To not make the same mistakes again creation of new business is only possible without bosses, take over their business and run it collectively and kick the greedy patrons out if they haven’t abandoned it already

  56. Count me in for a contribution too – cannot bear to let you go – and hey – here’s one fight we CAN win

  57. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    Fishing? With really good luck you can get a freezer full but no-one has the money to buy fish, the car to bring it to Pireas wrecked and anyway it will take 3 days out on the sea, sometimes for nothing, you need gas, you need food and batteries for the radio and you need a safe harbour but harbours get hit and destroyed by storms, no-one will rebuild it if the tourists come by bus and not by ship; it makes more sense to rob the fish from a market in Libya.
    And if you think of fishing from the shores you can try it with a trick: take a snorkel, a mask and hold the fishing line to the face of the fish, I guess if you see one the taverna will give you a big party and et you instead. Fishing in the Aegean.

  58. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    Your “normal states” can only exist because they are pillaging, gassing and mass-murdering the rest of worlds population, as they are all part of the imperialist bastardocracy

  59. keeptalkinggreece

    and there is one person to know very well about fighting that’s you MollY ! 🙂

  60. keeptalkinggreece

    I see a very good point here. vut why a fisherman need a radio? Ohhh for the weather forecast

  61. @zarjad, all of these are excellent ideas!

    I’d add one more: Sense of optimism — show people that all the sacrifice will bring the nation to a better future, and it is up to the people to achieve it.

    That is obviously missing at the moment. I am not smart enough to know whether it is because objectively there is no light at the end of the tunnel (unlikely, since eventually a bottom will be reached), a tactical move (Tsipras has to be “on his people’s side” in condemning his own agreement; that can help them to grudgingly accept it), or because people are not willing to follow an optimistic messenger (is there something in the Balkan psyche after centuries of Ottoman domination?)

  62. keeptalkinggreece

    you need a Present to get a Future

  63. Night is darkest before the dawn.
    Im pretty sure a haircut/longterm debt extension will be agreed upon within the next 6 month as well as lowerde targets for primary deficits.
    Whether or not that happens no economy can go down indefinetly

    As for personal advice against depression but also as good suggestion against the huge problem of unemployed youth. go travel.
    Seeing other countries, other cultures and people, getting out of the bubble but in a good way will not only make your life immediatly better it can clar ones head to let us see what path to take.

    Despite all the shenanigans from the politicians there are things I love about europe, first and foremeost the freedom to travel anywhere you like on this planet.

  64. One does not necessarily need a bright Present to have a bright Future. They say the night sky is darkest right before sunrise.

  65. Thank you for writing this. I can only imagine the sheer incomprehension going on, I too am still struggling to understand what is going on.
    The thing is though, what do you genuinely expect the party to do? The Greek people don’t want to leave the Eurozone – or at least that is what the polls say. How can any party do anything when the population want two such contradictory things.
    Also it sounds as though Greek society is very divided, there are some who are incredibly rich, as you imply in the last part of your essay. It seems as though until some of the more privileged really register the suffering of their fellow Greeks not much will change.

  66. I am speechless to, I think Tsipras and Greece are blackmailed

  67. Too sick tonight to post. BUT never to sick to stand up and salute a friend. KTG you are amazing!

  68. costa sakellariou

    NO…there was never a ‘tiger’ in greece…

    what tiger when the country produces nothing! i remember that economy of post-dated cheques…all ‘aera’…

    your entire generation grew up in a bubble of unreality…(because i am taking a guess and figuring you to be in your early 30’s) and now the consumerist bubble has burst and it will be very hard for people from here on in…

    get out the trichorda bouzoukia, drink some retsina, and learn how to enjoy company without spending money – because this is what the future holds…

  69. costa sakellariou

    it sounds like a giving page is overdue…

    get it up!

  70. Very well said. You are breaking my heart. I, too, would like to help support keeping the words flowing.

  71. ALL growth is fake… growth in the neo-liberal vulture economic model is the transfer of wealth, not the creation of wealth. That is what happens when economies are fuelled by debt instead of production. You can blame whatever government (and @KTG, μράβο! Excellent piece, 100% hitting the nail on the head), as long as we and our governments keep on accepting this vulture system as our economic model, things will only get worse, irrespective of who or what the government is, irrespective of how corrupt that government is or isn’t. The solution does not lie in putting band-aids on a wooden leg, EU/EZ,IMF style, the ONLY solution is to ditch the whole system. EU/EZ, etc. are all beating the drum called “reform and deregulation”. Things will only change when we deregulate ourselves from the anonymous power brokers in Brussels and Frankfurt. The sooner people realise just what kind of a monster this whole EU/EZ set-up is, to sooner they ditch this, the sooner things will improve…

  72. What ideology? It’s math. Costs were/are higher than erarnings.

  73. keeptalkinggreece

    Greek people might want Grexit if they’d know the comprehensive and thoroughly worked-out plan and would trust the government that would lead to national currency.

  74. keeptalkinggreece

    unemployed youth = so you think my age is 15-25?

  75. We can live with a lot less? Maybe you can, Heidi. Is that sort of condescendent paternalism that drives me mad, I’m sorry.
    Are you talking about Marinaleda, in Spain? A interesting experience, but can´t be replicated in a entire country. And, by the way, it as nothing to do with living with less; the average salary, there, is much higher than mine.

  76. In compensation, we read a lot about Greece in Portugal. We even have fierce debates about your country in talk shows, crazy stuff. Varoufakis is like a rock star, etc. Everyone here is a passionate specialist in greek things, wich may sound ridicule for you.

    You, KTG, are a source to the our main press:

  77. René Henri Pasche

    For God’s sake don’t do that! Although it might have been wrong to have Greece in the EZ it is impossible to go back now to the status quo ante. Greece would become definitively a “balkan country” like its neighbors. Everything would be worse and Greece would be split into the “have and have not Euros”. There is no comprehensive and worked out plan for Grexit. And if there was one it will never function. The bad forces that want Greece to leave the EZ are becoming stronger, there is a lot of popaganda activities now preparing the terrain for Grexit. Be carefull! Everybody is waiting in Germany and other countries for the day when the Greek people will shout at Sintagma “we want Grexit!” So less strikes and more manifestations for the Euro and EU. Put 1000 European Flags on the Accropolis! And never trust a government. Trust can be found at the end of a long process of confidence building only.

  78. Wooow… It seems that I am a bit late here, but still even though we often don’t share the same ideas, I just want to give my full support to you KTG for all this and pls continue

  79. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    broadcast and receive mayday

  80. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    Stalinism as what you and the capitalist bastards call reforms are no reforms because they make nothing better for the people, they are only cuts and cuts can only be called something like reform if the rich pigs get cut not if the poor get murdered in social genocide and everything justified by fraud numbers with forgetting all the Greek ships

  81. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    They don’t need this money as they run brothels with foreign prostitutes, cheat tax for this and work as extortion-rings, force foreign street vendors to sell their shit and also they smuggle, guess what?

  82. We whisper these hazardous circumstances among ourselves. In quiet. Because we are ashamed. And we wonder endlessly.

    In a very timely article, William Engdahl addresses precisely this issue. I will only quote this small piece (I know KTG hate links):
    Typically we feel ashamed of our feelings of guilt.

    I hope the ones interested on the matter can find this article, using the above quotation and the author’s name as keyword in the search.
    William Engdahl, as a German, is well positioned to speak on this subject. A whole generation of German citizens – the post-WWII generation – was forced to live under fierce conditions, including a trans-generation cultural gap.
    At the same time, I’m fully confident that the Greek readers – and the author – of this blog are brave enough to overcome the present situation. Why am I so sure? Because there is no silence here, instead an overwhelming refusal of the law of silence. As long as the law of silence remains meaningless, hope prevails.

  83. Where is greek people, why nothing is heard from them? That’s main cause of abuse from European Commission.

  84. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    No, as the propaganda about non competitiveness and no exports roots in wrong numbers as just like tourism fleet counts as exports. The true reason why in spring 2009 the interest rate jumped extremely was the December Revolt, it’s all about revolution and counter-revolution. Before it was no real problem even after Lehman but with 3 weeks of revolts all over Greece and even on small islands, followed by never seen before activity of hundreds of urban guerilla groups no “investor” would lend money cheap.
    But using wrong numbers is a brilliant help for speculators and interesting enough is that all the same people that “warned” about Syriza warn about that Italy would become the next aim of speculators but how can one take these people for serious as they just accept speculators as “normal”? They are speculators also…
    “Cheap loans” are also the IMF-loans for 3.6% but together with the ECB-loans Greece pays therefore 150 billion interest until 2030, this is very cheap, indeed!
    Greece – that “never pays back” and every few weeks half a billion European idiots never wonder about what it is then what Greece pays to IMF and EU – made the mistake to pay back 17.5 billion this year plus 10.9 billion that she spared from the bank-recapitalization funds Varoufakis also gave back this year.

  85. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    Fleet is export and counts as production!
    If you find time you should read into said article – the original version was published on Social Europe

  86. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    What? Unemployed youth shall travel. Please send some bicycles and provisions…
    This fits brilliant into your forgetting the 10.9 billion Greece paid back from all the money Greek banks received (means recapitalization 40 instead of 50 billion) via haircut or that you try to sell Greek banks that were owned by French and German banks as Greek banks; and this although lots of journalists who provide facts like Harald Schumann can be read in Germoney…
    Until January just 360.000 people had asked the authorities for the necessary papers to travel to find jobs abroad but hey, as they don’t have the money to find jobs outside of Greece they surely have the money to “travel”.

    When SYRIZA was elected I wrote a comment on Professor As’ad BauKhalil’s website – THE ANGRY ARAB.
    It went along these lines.
    ” The only reason the establishment HAS allowed a party like SYRIZA to be voted into office is because they are there to dupe the people of Greece & deliver the head of Greece to the EU on a platter ”
    SYRIZA will say –
    ” We did everything & look what happened ”
    The Right Wing will say –
    ” You should have trusted us instead ”
    ” It is your fault – you the voters of Greece for voting the skanks in in the first place ”
    As far as I am concerned this was all ment to happen & the blame is squarely on the sholders of the Greek people ”
    A CLEVER PLOY = The Game –

  88. yes Tsipras was blackmailed by the Greek people and by the Eurocrates.
    They do not want to leave the Euro, but also they do not want to change the system.
    Now they have to live again with the Troika. To stay in the Euro is only good for the rich people in greece not for the poor and workers. In German we have a sentence
    Lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende.
    I have a lot of Greek friends in Germany, they all think the same. Leave the Euro and the pain you have to live with, the next years and years.

  89. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    It’s all fake or do you know any business to found that doesn’t need loans or a rich family, except from collectives?

  90. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    Total overspending in 2008: 28 billion rescue-package for Greek banks, for Greece Zero

  91. It is imperative that we pursue the battle for our rights and freedoms, for justice and morality. for Greece, for Europe and for the World! No, it will not be easy, but we can not permit ourselves to buckle at every obstacle along the path! We must look at the bigger picture and the long-term success, rather than short-term pain! There will always be the opportunity to go back and change what needs to be changed, but this opportunity to fight for freedom from enslavement by those who control us, within a United Europe, will not often present itself. The World is watching and is supportive! Justice will prevail!

  92. keeptalkinggreece

    I’m willing to allow a link here…. BTW: not all Greeks feel ashamed in any direction, specifically those who keep cheating & stealing. Of course, you cannot compare the German “feelings of giult” with the Greek one. My blog post sentence was referring to ‘good people who cannot survive anymore with the salaries they receive resp. the loss of work + income, that is they turned impoverished due to econ crisis/austerity/ etc etc” and to “those who tolerated corrupt governments for very long time.”

  93. And before 2008?

  94. no, i said for you personal AND…
    im over 30 and ive fought with frustration about this world(you know the word weltschmerz?)and with actaul depression at various stages in my life and what you describe on how you feel towards the end of the article sounds rather familiar to me.
    Just saying, seeing other places and people or even just getting out of everything and surrounding yourself with nature for a few weeks(im an extensive hiker) always gets me out of this pretty fast(for a time at least) and taking a break like that can sometimes make on see whole new options/paths to the future.

  95. On the contrary, do it, and do it as soon as possible. Leave the EU and the EZ, and take the who;e scam down with you. That is the only solution for everybody, not just Greece. Why? Here is a quote directly from the mouth of the founding father of the Euro,

    The euro would really do its work when crises hit. Removing a government’s control over currency would prevent nasty little elected officials from using Keynesian monetary and fiscal juice to pull a nation out of recession. It puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians, without fiscal policy, the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business.

    Couple that with the stated objectives about removing constitutions, labour laws, social laws, etc by amongst other JPMorgan bank, and you know exactly what the whole idea behind the EU and the Euro is. It is simply a device to enrich the have’s at the expense of the have nots, nothing more, nothing less…
    get rid of it now before it is too late. Short pain is a lot better than permanent pain which is the result of staying with this scam…

  96. gigi as to this i will tell you where theres a will theres a way.
    my younger brother is in new wzealand right now doing work and travel, he started out with a plane ticket that was a gift and 350 euros (in a country where you pay almsot 20€ for a pack of cigarettes).
    Myself i was in nepal for 3 month last year. spent less then a 1000e for 3month of food,housing transportation, everything (minus the flight). so long as you dont insist on 5 star hotels lack of money is not really a hindrance to traveling.
    as for permanently working, I know young greeks italians poles estonians… you name it working here in ger no problem. If you dont like ger go to france or sweden or wherever you like. Lowers youth unemployment, gives de facto exports when people bring the monesy they earned abroad back home and most importantly it will create loads of positive experiences for a generation that doesnt have that much to be positive about.

  97. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    The big point with all those Drachma supporters worldwide is that too many of them are not honest enough, they just see their chances to live on welfare or mini-pensions in Greece, that with Euro would be impossible. Do they bring their slaves also or their kids, I mean Greece will be empty of people…

  98. And all this for a debt that was not even created by the greek people, an illegal and odious debt made by banksters.

  99. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    The revolt is squatting beaches on islands as they always do in the summer if they manage to get some cash together, the protest-season normally starts with the annual fair in Salonika in early September but who knows may be there were some riots on remote islands because the ATM was empty

  100. keeptalkinggreece

    I don’t have Weltschmerz or depression. I am not even angry. I am frustrated about a situation with no perspective other than degradation of life. I have lots of obligations that hinder me from traveling, not to mention the lack of money. For me an hour swim or brisk walking give me the break I need. In extreme situations like this, one learns to get along with very short breaks.

  101. Sadly true: Not all Greeks feel ashamed. The ones that should be, they are not. The others that have no personal responsibility, cause they never have been informed about the consequences of too many political decisions, now are feeling very bad. Had Syriza respected the democratic vote, the reverse would be true by now.
    Thanks for the permission:
    Greek Guilt and Syriza Perfidy

  102. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    IF you would have the money how will you travel in times of capital controls and you weren’t fast enough to install an American paypal-account?
    It’s not like in the sixties, jumping on a truck and enjoy the cosy Autoput in your back for days and end up in a host set up by big companies, you need more money to travel, you need money to eat and even more to rent a hole and you need money for the case you don’t get paid – the latter is 50% for sure and the Greek diaspora can’t care about everybody; Greeks have already problems to get legal to Australia or to not end up in a detention camp.
    Anyway what brings sent in money if it ends up like “Greece’s Biggest Brain Drain Since the Time of Socrates”?
    Not to mention that in Junta times money send back home sometimes didn’t came but I guess that was just a special kind of Capital Control and was not imposed on everybody

  103. I know lots of people who travel super cheap and sometimes even make money during their travels and thats not even considering the people going to another country specifically to work.
    The brain drain argument is just plain wrong. In every other situation young people get told to go out and see the world and i dont see why that would change when another reason for it are dire economic circumstances.
    Now I can see that it might be problematic if for example too many doctors leave, but im not telling your 40+year old heart surgeaons to come rather the 20-30 year old should come either to work or to go university(its free after all :-)) to become the next generation of heart surgeons.

  104. “I am not even angry. I am frustrated about a situation with no perspective…”
    Certainly sound like a mild depression to me, I didnt get angry either sometimes I didnt even get frustrated anymore just resigned. anyhow if a walk or a swim does the trick for you thats fine as well, everyones gotta find his or her own way, at the very least i hope you cheer up a bit at those comments for this article, always good to have people to share, even if its frustration.

  105. keeptalkinggreece

    hm… I cut the debate here. but you’re right: the many comments by KTG-readers certainly have cheered me up

  106. What do you propose?

  107. BTW KTG: In Slovak press I red an article about Strike of Greek Air dispatchers. It seems that they protest not against austerity but for more reforms in aviation, for EU norms and independent control mechanisms (like statistics??) in their sector. I am not sure I understand it. Do you have something more about it?


    I believe that this is perhaps the BEST post KTG has published. You demonstrate so vividly what it feels like to have to suffer by living in the country I still love.

    While studying Foreign Service at Georgetown University, my favorite professor, Jan Karski told his students, “There is no such thing as a good government or a bad government. Only, governments which are supported by the people, in which case such governments will survive, or governments which are not supported by the people, in which case such governments will fall. Democracy is a powerful thing and the power of the people to effect change through voting is tremendous. Somehow, the referendum the Greeks voted OXI for sent the wrong message: staying in the Euro is worth the suffering. Greeks need to rethink that.

  109. What he means is that he can’t think of any instance where a company would not need a loan in order to be founded.

    I don’t see what his point is beyond that.

  110. René Henri Pasche

    Ok! You want to build a new house to live more confortable and you destroy the old one before you finished the new one. Where do you sleep in the meantime? Its the period between the old and new that will be very insecure. Leave the EU and EZ ok! But Greece will sooner or later have a new master. Do you think you can create new jobs without the help of EU/Euro? The sad reality is that in Greece the population below the poverty line is 44 pc and 20 pc of the population is 65 or more years old and does not have an efficient social safety net. Moral help in concreto is needed!

  111. The brain drain is a reality, in every country that has had austerity economics forced on it by Germany. And the principal beneficiary of both the brain drain and the banking outflows is Germany: skilled young people go there to work, and the rich put their money in German banks.

    As for the long-term impact on a country of brain drain, this happened to Greece in the 1960s when the economy was unable to grow with lack of skills and capital. When the Greek migrants returned, they were typically refused good jobs as a punishment for leaving Greece. Or look at the original country for the term “brain drain” — the UK. After decades of skilled emigration, with the largest global stock of skilled expatriates, the UK has very serious skills shortages, many of the people in top jobs are basically morons, and the educational standards (despite the grade fixing scandals) are very low, with university graduates lacking basic reading and comprehension skills. As for school-leavers — forget it.

  112. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    How about 13 billion for Olympic bullshit, more billions for tanks, bomber-jets and yellow submarines plus the 2 billion for the German world-champs in corruption which were the reason for overspending, overpricing and needs to get refinanced also. This, the big fire that killed tens of people and destroyed huge areas that afterwards went cheap to British tourism multis and was leaving lots of farmers without any compensation and these 28 for Lehman let to the revolt in December 2008.
    What you call overspending never happened as there is no typical European welfare state in Greece with public assistance for food, utilities, rent, healthcare aso

  113. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    But this has nothing to do with Greek reality as for travelling where do you leave your stuff? At the meanwhile overcrowded house of your parents they may be loose the next years?
    “Greece’s Biggest Brain Drain Since the Time of Socrates” is a small take in GreekReporter
    Another one is “more that 7,000 doctors left Greece”, not to forget that 2.500 ended up in Germoney

  114. Reality is that the old “house” is not a house but a prison, which is why it needs to be destroyed BEFORE anything new can flourish. You cannot build what needs building on a foundation designed to prevent this…

  115. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    What I propose? “PROJECT MELTEMI”: Ban all concrete wind-mills from Greece as nobody can remove their wrecks after 25 years…
    How about 300.000 jobs in sustainable forestry to create wooden-framed wind-mill-towers that make the grass green again and will boost agriculture instead of wasting the fields for solar-parks? Plus banning all engine-run ships that don’t propeller with wind-turbines which would add up to another 200.000 jobs and all these ships can put their unused energy into Tesla Powerwall batteries on remote islands and in harbours.
    Bicycle industries or as it’s normally called “messenger-industry” (bikes, frames, pedicabs, fashion, shoes, bags) connected with tourism will bring another 200.000 jobs; the first thing would be if it’s getting forever that the small track train from Corinth to Kalamata will never drive again make a bike path out of the tracks. (It’s very easy, if a courier-company doesn’t have fuel-money for their scooters get’em on real bikes but most idiots decide on sending them by feet)
    In 5-10 years Greece will be the most progressive nation and those debts can be paid off with Kalamata-Grass as legalization of Marijuana is on its way in Europe, also the privatization-fund can be filled with weed powered by Greek sun.

  116. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    This starts directly with logical nonsense, as in 2009 the real debt was still hidden, it came to public later on: The 1st “rescue”-austerity-package in early 2010 without any EU/IMF involvement was “only” around 5 billion strong and that added up exactly to the lost tax from big business as the result of Karamanlis “reform” to lower it from 42% to 20/25% and who sits inside the horse is most important not what’s the name of the horse; it’s just another stupid metaphor like Kraken (communist, Mafia, Data) or “Lemmings” (those ‘mass-suicide’ was a fake by Walt Disney) and to call Varoufakis a friend to oligarchs will lead to who are the concurrent oligarchs behind this propaganda

  117. René Henri Pasche

    OK. here science ends and metaphysics begins “A man lives by believing something, not by debating and arguing about many things.” (Carlyle) Wait and See. When I was young I was romantic, too, but experience and old age taught me something better.

  118. René Henri Pasche

    And my professor told me that the biggest enemies of democracies are
    -excessive wealth
    -excessive poverty
    -corrupt political parties
    i.e. without a strong middle class democracy cannot function. Where is this middle class in Greece? Can you tell me?
    I need not tell you that in international relations democracy seldom functions because of the oligarchic and plutocratic nature of the international system.

  119. Im not saying there is no braindrain or that it wouldnt be a problem.
    I am saying that young people abroad is a good thing even if the reason for it (dire econmic circumstances) are shitty.
    Like i said above xenos, it depends on who is coming. If the people who already have degrees and/or years of experience in their jobs leave, then of course at some point its a problem. But say a 23 year old who can come here (or any other country you like) work part time throughout and full time for 3-4 months a year in between semesters and thereby finance his or her living expenses while studying thats win win for everyone.

    “When the Greek migrants returned, they were typically refused good jobs as a punishment for leaving Greece. ”
    This I would hope to have changed by now otherwhise…, well lets say it like this, I wouldnt want to live near people who discriminate against someone open enough to go out into the world.

  120. where do you leave your stuff? if thats whats keeping you from seeing other places in the world then i dont know how to help you.

  121. and here i took you for someone who wanted to leave all the capitalist gimmicks behind…

  122. Interestingly, the newly elected Polish president Andrzej Duda called for an increased NATO presence in the region.

  123. It’s rather difficult to talk about economic classes in Greece. Much of what might pass for middle class emerged in the 1980s as Pasok’s “Green Guards” — that is, Party supporters who got their jobs through political connection as opposed to qualification or expertise. Even where there are minimal requirements (such as a doctorate for university teaching) the political, along with social, connections were paramount.

    I suppose the most middle class professions are doctors and lawyers — both riddled with corruption, nepotism and non-payment of taxes. Maybe journalists are there too, but they are also caught up explicitly in politics.

  124. I can assure you that few countries do not punish their returning expatriates. In the case of the UK, for example, I am prevented from applying for government jobs, as the secret service cannot investigate me over the last 5 years. The fact that I was living in Greece, worked for EU and international agencies, and even advised governments, counts for nothing.

    EU countries are dominated by petty national politicians and the European idea has now more or less failed: Germany has made sure of that, in its behaviour with the eurozone. Those skilled workers who leave will probably never return — except perhaps as pensioners.

  125. When I was young I was romantic, too, but experience and old age taught me something better

    or, the polite way to say “shut up and do as you are told because you don’t know what you are talking about” (reminds of the old Cat Stevens song “Father and son” “From the moment I could talk I was told to listen…”

    It is also good to know that with my 5th GREAT grand child on the way I can still be accused of being too young to have a valid opinion or life-experience…

    I, my friend, have lived with the growth of what is known today as the EU from it’s very conception. Guess what? It started as a dream, and it was a good dream. A dream of preventing Europe from going through another barbaric experience like it just had, ie WW2. And then, the power freaks took over. The result is todays EU/EZ dictatorship which imposes the very same barbarity of hunger, poverty and depravation on ever growing numbers in the EU, with the devasting consequences of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain etc as the result. The EU propaganda in playing down this devastation is very good, with the EU believers being the biggest victims of this make-belief propaganda. Obviusly including yourself.
    You may want to go and have a look in the streets of Athens, Lisbon, Dublin, Madrid, and other places. What you see is the direct result of long term EU policy. Current EU policy is simply designed to protect the elite from the very same fate, at the expense of an ever increasing number of “EU citizens”. What you see is the EU elite waging war on the citizens of the various members of the club. Nothing more, nothing less. The weapons of choice this time are not tanks, stukka’s or V2’s, it’s money. Far more lethal than any nuclear bomb will ever be, as an ever increasing number of people in the EU are finding out. The EU elite has turned the EU into a giant Colloseum, where your punishment is not death but eternal poverty for you and your children, their children and those to come afterwards. That is why it must be stopped now, immediately, as a first priority. As long as there is a single trace of this monstrosity left, it is a danger to humanity…

  126. This I would hope to have changed by now otherwhise…, well lets say it like this, I wouldnt want to live near people who discriminate against someone open enough to go out into the world.

    But this is precisely what happens… Same thing in Ireland. Who leaves? those who have the means, the brains and/or the guts. Who stays behind? Those who don’t have these. They are left looking after the country, the land, etc. They build up their power house and then the emigrant returns. Of course he/she is a threat to that powerhouse. I’ve seen it happen in Ireland on a number of occassions. Emigrants returning to the country full of hope and ideas of making a difference for the better. They walk into a wall of ignorance and often outright enmity. Which is why a country ends up with the bunch of nobody’s they have running the place. The powers that are, are not interested in the country or it’s people, they are interested in preserving their power. If you want to make a difference, stay at home and stand your ground. But then of course the, in this case German economy, would not benefit as much from the drainbrain it organises elsewhere. On it other hand, would it be so easy to organise a drainbrain and economic collapse for a country if those who have the means and brains stay put and pull those less well endowed up with them?

  127. I appreciate your reply.
    This starts directly with logical nonsense, as in 2009 the real debt was still hidden, it came to public later on: (Giaourti Giaourtaki)
    In a world of opaque decision centers, I would not take public awareness as a measure of universal knowledge.
    We are supposed to believe that the PASOK … was able to keep its dirty secret from the officials of the European Central Bank and of EUROSTAT… (William Engdahl)

  128. ephilant:
    Finding an European – as opposed to strictly Greek – perspective here is really nice.
    I fully endorse your words.

  129. Thank you Antonio. It is very hard to find something about other places in Europe suffering the same fate as Greece. That is one of the reasons why you don’t find a European perspective, unless you bump in to somebody who has been around a bit. Which I can say I have. What is Portugal like today? Don’t you guys have elections coming up soon? What’s the mood like? It would be very good to hear a Portuguese perspective on all of this.

  130. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    But this got not so much to do with the 28 billion to Greek banks in 2008 under ND and the extreme expensive loans in early 2009 that let to snap-elections the same year; months after still no clear numbers existed. Varoufakis was an adviser to Papandreou from 2004-06, the only thing he got to do with the April 2010 deal with EU/IMF was his strict opposition to.
    And I still don’t get it what a Goldman deal in 2002 got to do with getting a Euro-member that was secured years before. This “cooked books” is still a story where Anglo-Saxon media put a question-mark to but here one can see the crazy impact of German propaganda; German to English translators in German media looks like being of interest for job-statistics the last months.

  131. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    So it’s not an “article” if the Slovak press can’t provide this information

  132. Relax, people.
    Samaras did nothing in structural reforms, even being called the gofer for the big bosses in EU. He should have sacked the public workers who obstructed this.
    Tsipras has already now declared, that every measure of austerity put upon GR because of package nr. 3 will be met with countermeasures from the government.

    So do not be afraid, my friends. Tsipras will bring us back to before 1953 with all the good life.
    PS. One has to be a true beliver to be member of KKE youth pioneers well after the fall of the Soviet Union.

  133. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    German Goebbels media lies! Greek civil service has shrunk by 340,000 workers since 2009, that’s a whole lotta nuthing and structural reforms would be destroying all prisons, abolish state and buy-sell-import-export-money-bullshit and sending all cars to planet Mars

  134. keeptalkinggreece

    it shrunk becasue civil servants went to retirement or even worse: to early retirement. and were never replaced with the effct that nothing works properly in the public services

  135. (Repply level exhausted)
    Portugal will have elections next October, 4th.
    In today’s electoral poll, Socialist Party heads with 36%; Coalition Social Democratic Party + Christian Democratic Party, 34%; Communist Party: 10%; Left Bloc (close to Syriza), 5%.
    Coalition parties are still in charge of the government, where they have applied fiercely the IMF “recommendations”. For instance, VAT in restaurants are in effect since 3 years ago.
    Communist Party and Left Bloc refused to sign the Troyka agreement. Also, both are convinced that the national dept restructure is unavoidable. Communist Party is proposing to start negotiating the exit from the Euro in an ordered manner and indexing loan repayments to budget surplus.
    Socialist Party is from the same European Group as PASOK.
    Unemployment is officially at the level of 12%. This excludes long term unemployed without any assistance, unemployed attending professional courses and unemployed working part-time in low administrative functions in the public sector and the effects of emigration. All together, the level grows to 22%.
    Troyka remedy broke the GDP by 7%.

  136. keeptalkinggreece

    thanks a lot for the report. priceless.