Get your knitting needles out, or what ever else it is you do while you watch with distracted attention …
Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia : under EU/IMF/Global Capitalist logic are countries full of lazy people. Sound familiar? It's a Tony government logic too. The Greek people voted 64% OXI [NO] to further austerity measures, and just now, the PM has a new and third EU bailout program to take to parliament. So the big rhetorical possibly unanswerable-yet-question is what did the OXI vote mean for democracy, for Syrizia, for the left in Europe?
There's a terrific forum here, in Zagreb, Croatia, May 2013 -- on the stage (the NOT YET Greek Prime Minister) Alexis Tsipras and Slavoj Zizek. At the time debt-ridden Croatia was about to enter the EU as a result the questions often seem prescient. Zizek is as sharp intellectually and as messy physically as ever (its hot sweaty work all that sharp thinking), whilst Tsipras is measured and hopeful and calm.
I learned that after the second world war the victors in London, forgave Germany its debt to allow it to rebuild, that is, a moratorium on debt was instigated which allowed Germany to rebuild itself as the greatest single industrial and monetary power in Europe today: the biggest powerbroker of all 17 countries within the European Union (see excerpt below from an interview with Economist Richard Wolff).
Alexis Tsipris also notes that Greece 'today' (this was 2013) is most like Germany after world war one -- Golden Dawn is the current Greek version of the Nazis. Demoralised by its losses and poverty the German people were easily swept up by the logic and euphoria of Nationalism, the National Socialists - that is by Nazi understandings, practices, changes to laws and citizenship right and the powerful affects of sharp uniforms, mass rallies, and group violence.
Slavoj Žižek warns the 'radical' left not to rest easy in the euphoria of the moment; camping out in the square and going back to your job in the bank or the design studio afterwards just doesn't cut it. The left is weak without charismatic leaders like Tsipris. He also says he doesn't think the left really wants to be in power because then they'd have to give up being the victims of capitalism, globalism etc.
"... the Germans are therefore afraid they’ll have to bail out all of Europe. They can’t afford it. They’re terrified. On the other hand, if they don’t cut a deal with Greece, then they face the possibility of left-wing governments in these other countries and a whole transformation, and they’re choosing between them.
The irony here, the historical irony, is something I think we need to understand. Back in 1953, the Germans, with a very crushed economy—in that case, because of the Great Depression and the fact that they lost World War II—went to the United States, France and Britain and said, "We can’t join you as a bulwark against the Soviet Union unless you relieve us of our enormous debts, which are hampering our ability to grow." Across 1953, they had meetings in London. When those meetings concluded, with the so-called London Agreement, here’s what Germany got from the United States, France and Britain: 50 percent of their outstanding debt, which was very high, was erased, and the other 50 percent of their debt was stretched out over 30 years. In effect, Germany got the relief of all of its basic indebtedness, based on two world wars that they were held accountable for, and that enabled them to have the so-called Wirtschaftswunder, the economic miracle that happened. They now refuse to give to Greece what they got. They refuse to allow Greece to have the chance to solve its economic problems just the way Germany asked for and got."
Richard Wolff in conversation with Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, 7 July 2015