HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Latest Breaking News (Forum) » Greece braces for fresh a...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:25 AM

Greece braces for fresh anti-austerity strike

Source: Al Jazeera

Unions in Greece are set to launch another general strike against austerity measures, amid predictions that unemployment in the crisis-hit country will reach 30 percent this year. The planned protest on Wednesday by unions representing private- and public-sector workers is expected to disrupt flights, halt ferries and cripple public services, in a renewed confrontation between labour groups and the conservative-led government over policies aimed at curbing Greece's overspending. State-run schools, most public transport services, and even neighbourhood farmers markets will stop functioning during the strike. In Athens, up to three thousand police officers will be on duty during union-organised street rallies that are due to start at 10:30am (0830GMT).

Greece's largest union, the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), has called for the strike, arguing that the labour force has been too badly weakened to pay emergency taxes. According to union researchers, two-thirds of employees in the hammered private sector no longer receive regular pay. Antonis Samaras, the country’s prime minister, has won praise from bailout lenders for pushing through major cost-cutting measures after forming a three-party coalition last June. But a new round of tax increases this year and a surge in unemployment to 27 percent have angered unions, as Greeks battle a rapid increase in poverty during a fifth year of recession.

In recent weeks, the Samaras government has twice used rare emergency powers to force an end to strikes by workers on ferry services and the Athens subway. A country of nearly 11 million, Greece now has the highest unemployment in the eurozone, with 27 percent out of work, including 60 percent of youths who have left school and are under age 24.

Read more: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2013/02/20132206394970457.html



With our own Conservative "Austerity Hawks" constantly demanding more and more cuts to government spending, it might be useful to reflect on what happens to a country once it is truly committed to austerity as a ruling policy. That strategy doesn't end a recession or solve a deficit, it makes a recession or a deficit worse, sometimes much worse.

21 replies, 2048 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply Greece braces for fresh anti-austerity strike (Original post)
another_liberal Feb 2013 OP
dipsydoodle Feb 2013 #1
another_liberal Feb 2013 #2
dipsydoodle Feb 2013 #3
another_liberal Feb 2013 #4
dipsydoodle Feb 2013 #5
another_liberal Feb 2013 #10
dipsydoodle Feb 2013 #14
another_liberal Feb 2013 #15
pampango Feb 2013 #18
another_liberal Feb 2013 #20
Freddie Stubbs Feb 2013 #6
another_liberal Feb 2013 #8
Freddie Stubbs Feb 2013 #19
another_liberal Feb 2013 #21
dotymed Feb 2013 #7
another_liberal Feb 2013 #9
hack89 Feb 2013 #11
dipsydoodle Feb 2013 #12
louis-t Feb 2013 #13
another_liberal Feb 2013 #16
Kingofalldems Feb 2013 #17

Response to another_liberal (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:57 AM

1. Its not so much they're committed to austerity as a ruling policy.

They appear to have no other choice. They bluffed their way into the Euro which in doing so gave them access to funds which were largely used to inflate their public sector reducing unemployment in the process. That was all well good other than the fact the loans needed repayments which they were progressively unable to make partly due to an apparent inability to collect taxes. Much of the most recent bailout at lower rate of interest was used to pay previous debt at higher rate. The bailout was conditional on ability to pay and it is that which continues the austerity measures.

The alternative was that they folded and left the Euro and possibly the EU too. Given the choice between that and austerity its up the to the Greeks which they should choose as there seem to be no other viable alternatives. Its foreseen that if the former were to occur it would take c.20 years for Greece to return to anywhere close to its former state.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 07:06 AM

2. Bankers paying bankers . . .

Greece's loan/debt/loan fraud is nothing but bankers paying bankers, and their "technocrat" allies who are ruining Greece with austerity couldn't care less how much the Greek middle and working classes have to suffer. Greece should exit the Euro Zone immediately, which would allow them to devalue their currency and become a growth economy once again. Continuing austerity only serves to further enrich the fatcat investors who hold stock in Deutsche Bank and the ECB. The bankers made bad loans, so don't reward them, let them take the losses they deserve.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 07:16 AM

3. I couldn't agree more

Greece should leave the Euro. That would leave them effectively loan proof and put them in the same basket as the rest of us who manage with what we've got. That's the +20 year scenario.

Be aware however that would not remove their current debt which would remain payable in Euros bought by the government at whatever the exchange rate became.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 07:24 AM

4. Of course they would also default . . .

Of course they would also default on those loans, just as Argentina did about a decade ago. It worked very well for that nation, if I'm not mistaken. As to the +20 year recovery prediction, that is the bankers talking again. They have a vested interest in promoting the worst of scare tactics to preserve the status quo. I'd take their pronouncements with a grain of salt, to say the least.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 07:32 AM

5. You may have overlooked something

Whilst their previous debt was covered only by Greek Law all of the new debt is secured under International law against their state assets. As such comparisons with Argentina are meaningless. Aside from that Argentina is not necessarily a good example of anything given that there true current rate of inflation is suspected to be over 25% a subject which is giving rise to high levels of social unrest and a current inability to raise funds until they prove otherwise.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:32 PM

10. Argentina's current inflation . . .

Argentina's current inflation problems are not caused by their default. A lot of water has passed under the bridge, so to speak, since the 1990's.

As to International law and Greek debt: Are you suggesting the EU will invade if Greece refuses to pay? Maybe Germany will take the lead, eh?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 01:44 PM

14. Invade ?

No - in the event of default bond holders would become the legal owners of the assets.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #14)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 01:56 PM

15. If the Greek government says no?

The undeniable truth is: Nothing short of military occupation can force a sovereign government to do anything it really does not want to do. If the people are behind it, the Greek government could nationalize every foreign holding within the boundaries of the country. That is a plain and simple fact. It has been done before, often for less compelling reasons.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Reply #15)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:29 PM

18. 'Sovereign governments' aren't as 'sovereign' as they used to be.

All countries (except perhaps North Korea and Somalia) have signed international agreements which commit them to do something in exchange for other countries doing something. It is certainly possible that any country could just 'drop out' and stop dealing with the rest of the world (like North Korea and Somalia have done), the cost of doing that would not be negligible.

"If the people are behind it ..." - And that is the crux of the problem for Greek politicians. Polls show that Greeks not only don't want to 'nationalize every foreign holding within the boundaries of the country'; they not only don't want to have Greece leave the EU; they don't even want Greece to stop using the Euro. They apparently still value being a part of Europe and the world, even though they are understandably angry about austerity.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pampango (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 10:52 PM

20. Maybe the better off . . .

Maybe the better-off Greeks still want what you suggest they do, but there are fewer and fewer of the better-off sort with every austerity measure the current "technocrat" government passes. This government will fall apart soon enough, and the next will be based on an anti-austerity coalition, as well as radical in its policy. The mega-bankers won't like it, however, they will have to accept a change in their old ways of doing business. People will have to come first.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 08:05 AM

6. I'll bet this is the strike that stop austerity (as opposed to all of the other ones)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:26 PM

8. Not sure . . .

I'm not sure it will mean the end of anything, but it definitely is another nail in the coffin of the ruling coalition. It will take a whole lot more than bankers' scare stories to get the crowd in power elected next time.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 03:44 PM

19. Greece keeps changing governing coalitions, but each new one pushes austerity

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #19)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 10:54 PM

21. So far, maybe.

The next Greek government, though, may be quite different indeed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 09:42 AM

7. Wasn't it goldman-sachs that

cooked the books for Greece? They charged them $300 million to hide Greek debt so that they could join the EU. I forgot, they get to walk, no responsibility for the major fraud they committed....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dotymed (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:28 PM

9. Good point.

I guess it's as Elizabeth Warren so sagely noted: "Too big to fail has become too big for trial."

The system itself is the problem.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to dotymed (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 01:41 PM

12. Greece joined the EU in 1981

It was loans presented as being currency swaps which GS set up for them which enabled Greece to join the Euro in 2001 - currncy swaps being off balance sheet.

Being in the Euro allowed Greece to issue bonds at lower rates of interest than would have been possible with the Drachma. Problem is that they then went overboard on issuing bonds.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 01:44 PM

13. Isn't it amazing when repugs proclaim "we don't want to be like

(Greece, Spain, Great Britain)" yet all of their ideas are sending us right down the same path to austerity?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to louis-t (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:01 PM

16. The wealthy use austerity . . .

The wealthy use austerity to hold on to their wealth. They are far more concerned with maintaining the status quo than they are with the welfare of our country as a whole. The Republican Party is made up of politicians who are their willing servants and who do their bidding.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to another_liberal (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 02:25 PM

17. Kick and rec

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread