The Neo-Marxist threat to national economies
The theatricals and melodrama of the current Greek crisis mask a far more serious issue than mere political entertainment. The self-created sequence of threats to Greece, i.e. sovereign debt default, bankruptcy, Eurozone exit and relegation to the status of economic and financial backwater, if not international pariah, has already started to become reality.
The EUR 1.6 bln debt repayment to the IMF was not paid on June 30. Over the period of July 10 to 20, Greece has to repay a further EUR 7 bln in various debts (ECB, IMF, national central banks and short-term treasury bills) and has no means to pay. Stringent capital controls are already imposed and financial collapse imminent. A Greek referendum on continued acceptance of the international bailout terms on July 5, on a blatantly false Yes/No prospectus, produced a resounding No result – and a show of pseudo-democracy at its most cynical.
None of this happened either by accident or external malevolence. This was the deliberate internal destruction of a national economy and finances by its own government for the sole purpose of ruthlessly imposing a failed political ideology, namely Marxism dressed up in a modern form.
Debt and debt default have long been an accepted way of life in Greece. Greece has benefitted from several international bailouts since 2010, each with stringent austerity conditions attached, which successive Greek governments failed to implement. However, in 2014 many felt that the situation was controllable. The new factor, which has propelled Greece from ailing but just about manageable economy in 2014 to the verge of economic collapse in July 2015, is the arrival in January 2015 of the new hard left-wing government of the Syriza party and its prime minister Alexis Tsipras.
Syriza won on a populist anti-austerity and anti-Troika agenda. It portrayed all of Greece’s woes as being the fault of its international creditors and especially the troika of the IMF, the European Central Bank and the EU. When Greece was verging on financial bankruptcy in 2010, the Troika stepped in with a bailout package coupled with strict conditions such as economic reform, drastically curbing public expenditure, greatly increasing the effectiveness of tax collection and tackling tax evasion. Little headway in compliance occurred, owing to the Greek government’s reluctance and a general culture of debt default, tax evasion, feather-bedded public sector jobs with early retirement at 50, and generous state pensions. However, eventually the government was forced to cut back. By 2014, the realisation that after nearly five years of austerity and more cuts coming with no end in sight drove many voters into the arms of Syriza who were offering immediate salvation: a quick end to austerity, reversal of public sector job cuts, and a reversal of state pension cuts.
But, the Syriza prospectus was and remains a complete economic and financial fantasy. The money for government largesse has to come from somewhere. For years, Greece’s finances have been propped up by bailout funds from international creditors, but these are primarily loans and they have to be repaid. To do that, Greece absolutely needed to undergo radical reform of its economy, public spending, banks and tax gathering, so as to better balance its books and return to growth. Syriza believes the opposite. They say that what must come first is public pride and dignity, that every citizen is entitled to a basic standard of living, and, crucially, that the state will ensure that the public purse will provide it regardless. They say that the international creditors, and particular foreign governments they don’t like, owe the Greek people a high standard of living which they are entitled to demand and receive. Syriza has absolutely refused to countenance the major reforms needed to deliver such largesse – but nonetheless insists that the international creditors must keep on paying out billions to Greece. Oh, and by the way, Greece will no longer make its sovereign debt repayments (because it has run out of money). On June 30, Greece became the first ever developed country to default on an IMF loan. Greece is now on the cusp of financial collapse and a ruinous future for its population.
preposterous promise to the electorate, based as it was on an endless supply of “other people’s money” and a refusal to reform. The Syriza promise appears to be little more than a cynical confidence trick on a politically naïve and gullible populace: tell them we will fight ferociously to secure their jobs in the over-bloated public sector, their overly-generous pensions, their retirement at 50; they can also borrow as much as like and never have to pay back any debts; it is their right and entitlement and it’s all those nasty foreign capitalists and ‘neo-liberal’ policies of foreign creditors who say otherwise who are to blame for your imposed austerity. The aggressive and often obnoxious rhetoric of demagogues such as Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis against the EU, IMF and ECB built up over Syriza’s first and disastrous six months in power to something of a crescendo.
In Greece, Syriza’s neo-Marxist ideology of feckless entitlement has become the opiate of the austerity weary, benefit claimants, debt defaulters, tax evaders and those unwilling to take any personal responsibility for anything. When Greece was drowning in 2010 as a result of its own incompetence and economic mismanagement, the only lifeline came from the Troika. Yet, having been saved by the Troika, many Greeks believe (encouraged by Syriza propaganda) that their saviours were actually the cause (sic) of their debt-ridden economy and austerity! A drowning man surely does not accept a lifeline and then, having been saved, complain bitterly about the quality of the lifeline and the motives of his saviours – and then blame the saviours for him nearly drowning and, worse, demand yet another lifeline from those saviours as he now threatens to jump over a cliff!
Syriza is openly demanding that the Troika capitulates and hands over yet more billions on an empty ‘Syriza promise’. With their appalling track record to reflect on, the Troika has pulled up the drawbridge. Moreover, the other EU member states are mindful of just how infuriated their own populations have become by Greece’s parasitic behaviour. As EU taxpayers and contributors to the bailouts, they will no longer stand for Greece, in effect, stealing their hard earned money. Not just Germany and other large economies but also small countries such as Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania whose average earnings, pensions and living standards are half those of Greece.
Why would any sane government behave in such a disgraceful and suicidal way?
The Syriza prospectus and modus operandi are not all what they claim. Syriza and its allies and supporters such as Antarsya are really hard-line neo-Marxists masquerading as socialists and social democrats. Their espoused agenda is the protection of Greece’s dignity (whatever that means) and the maintenance of high public sector employment, high wages, early retirement and generous pensions – far beyond what the state can afford and far beyond the levels of comparable EU states. Their real agenda, however, is the destruction of capitalism and the international institutions that maintain capitalism. To that objective, governments such as Syriza are fully prepared to destroy their country’s economy and finances, i.e. the end justifies the means. A toxic mix of incompetence, delusion and megalomania.
Syriza is not alone. Other erstwhile communists and ultra-left radicals have rebranded themselves as new socialist and social democratic parties while in fact carrying forward their old Marxist policies and agendas, for example AKEL in Cyprus, SNP in Scotland and the Chavez regime in Venezuela. These fellow travellers all have a common agenda to destroy capitalism and its institutions at any price. In Cyprus, by 2012 the former AKEL government over five years had destroyed the economy and nearly bankrupted it, only being saved at the last moment by a new non-Marxist government and a Troika bailout. Let the self-imposed destruction of Greece be an object lesson to all.
Greece is on the brink of financial collapse after years of EU and IMF bailouts totalling somewhere in the region of EUR 240 bln. It has failed to repay EUR 1.5 bln to the IMF on time and it has now become the very first European Union country in history to fail to repay such a loan. Greece now joins an unglamorous club containing Zimbabwe, Somalia and Sudan. By the end of this year, it needs to repay SDR 4.4 bln ($6.2 bln) and SDR 18.5 bln ($26 bln) over the course of the next ten years. (Source: Staista.com)