Democracy with Dignity

With their decisive voice—No to cruel creditors—the people in Greece have stood for democracy with dignity. It's a victory for people; it's a victory for democracy; it's a victory for dignity. It's a victory in people's political fight against the brutal bankers that were bleeding Greece white. It's a verdict against austerity, poverty, loot of public property. It's historic.

The overwhelming "No" votes in the just concluded referendum is a show of heroic stand the people in Greece have taken. The painful fight is going for years. At times, the creditors imposed humiliating virtual rule over the Greek people. The crook creditors changed regime in Greece. But, on July 5, in Greece, the people have resoundingly delivered their verdict: Creditors will not be allowed to dictate.

It's a lesson in politics, and it has political implication across borders. Political leaders without self-respect in countries will not learn; but people and their real leaders in countries will learn: Mobilize the people, spread the message of democracy .and dignity, don't kneel down in front of powerful interests. A 'No' vote would certainly enable Prime Minister Alexis Tsiparas to negotiate a better deal with creditors.

The people's verdict has already started impacting palaces of power and conspiracies of creditors. Markets are feeling the power of the verdict. Markets will face hairy moments, as Robert Peston, economics editor BBC writes: "Tomorrow [July 6] will be a very hairy day on markets." Markets will turn bewildered, and markets will jeer. It's also a moment of uncertainty to bankers and central bankers. For the Greek banks and the economy, crucial questions are there. Economic and financial solutions are there also. These will be sorted out. The people in Greece will not walk in wilderness.

The incident—the fight against creditors—is historic. The creditors have not experienced this type of political fight in Europe since they imposed their regime—austerity—in countries.

So, the "No" verdict made a group of Eurozone leaders furious. So, the creditors, their media and their academia were spreading confusion, and threatening the people in Greece since the announcement of the referendum. They were spreading fear among the people. The creditors were intimidating the Greek people. A group of euro leaders tried to halt release of the IMF report that says the Greek debt is unsustainable. The creditors questioned legality of the referendum. They even questioned the framing of question on the ballot paper. Yanis Varoufakis, finance minister of Greece called the eurozone's strategy "terrorism". European officials had openly urged Greeks to vote "Yes". "If after the referendum, the majority is a 'No', they will have to introduce another currency because the euro will no longer be available for a means of payment". That was European parliament President Martin Schulz. It's an open interference in the sovereign domain of people of a country, and an open threat to the people while they were going to execute their democratic right. Before the referendum, there was "a truly vile campaign of bullying and intimidation, an attempt to scare the Greek public, not just into accepting creditor demands, but into getting rid of their government. It was a shameful moment in modern European history, and would have set a truly ugly precedent if it had succeeded."

The creditors' dubious practice with this "democracy" shows they have no trust on democracy with people's participation. So, the Greek people's political fight has turned significant.

Thousands of "common folk" of Greece have delivered their verdict to the creditors. They have asserted: Greece belongs to the Greeks. They have decided the issue.

The "No" vote is compelling the eurozone leaders to meet in an emergency summit. There's call in Germany from a certain section to cut Greece loose from Europe's common currency. Angela Merkel's deputy said Athens had wrecked any hope of compromise with its eurozone partners by overwhelmingly rejecting further austerity. Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, leader of Merkel's centre-left Social Democratic junior coalition partner, said it was hard to conceive of fresh negotiations on lending more billions to Athens after Greeks voted against more austerity. Their intolerance to people's verdict is exposed.

The powerful interests' intolerance with the Greek people's verdict is further exposed as the heads of two leading German business associations expressed their observation after the referendum. They found no way for Greece to remain in the eurozone following the "No" vote. "No, we won't be able to avoid it", said Anton Boerner, head of the German exporters association. Georg Fahrenschon, head of the association of German savings banks, said: "With a 'No' vote, the Greek people have spoken out against the foundations and rules of the single currency bloc. As a consequence, Greece should leave the euro zone." Their statements/observations announce: People have no right to decide questions related to their life; and the powerful will not come into compromise if people decide.

It's completely an anti-people attitude and it shows creditors don't allow people any space to practice people's democratic rights. This shows the Greek people's practice with democracy—the referendum—deserves serious attention. The people will fail in shaping their economy if they fail to assert their claim on politics. This referendum verdict was a step forward.

The powerful "No" has exposed world capitalism's vulnerability. A group of mainstream scholars consider the "No" vote is going to strain the EU  foundations. There's apprehension: Grexit—exit of Greece from the common euro currency—will open up uncertain financial outcomes. Another group considers Grexit will harm Europe's credibility in the world.

Credibility helps capital. So it cares so much about credibility; and fabricates stories to gain credibility!
But, at moments, fabrications get exposed.

Grexit is not a choice of Greece. It's a choice of a faction in the eurozone. Sigmar Gabriel, German deputy chancellor, has said: Greek prime minister Alexis Tspiras has "torn down the last bridges which Europe and Greece could have crossed to find a compromise" making new negotiations "difficult to imagine" after the apparent 'No' vote.

But, can the faction afford it—pushing Greece out? It's difficult for Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel. It's also difficult for some other bankers and their political representatives. Paolo Gentiloni, foreign minister of Italy has tweeted: "There is no escape from the Greek labyrinth with a Europe that's weak and isn't growing." So, there's possibility of a compromise in the significant development in the capitalist system.

The next days will be charged with shifts in positions.

The first lesson of the Greek "No" is political. It's of democracy. It's dignity.


Vol. 48, No. 2, July 19 - 25, 2015