Basta Yani ! The good fight has been fought, but it is time to stop.

This is an open letter to Syriza in general and Yanis Varoufakis in particular.

basta

Yani, I (like many academics abroad) have supported you when you ran as a candidate in the 25.1.15 election and congratulated you on your election and your subsequent ministerial position.

I support your analysis and have written along very similar lines myself (albeit utilising different literature). I also supported your European tour trying to explain to those who refuse to listen how the Troika/Eurogroup programme has locked Greece into a recessionary spiral from which there is no escape. I agree that comprehensive debt cancellation is necessary and that a selective default may be the only way forward eventually if another negotiated haircut is not forthcoming.

However, while your arguments are correct and the fight just, it has not worked. The Germans locked within their ideological blindfolds are unable to see the failures of orthodoxy. Countries in the European Periphery do not support Greece for the simple reason that acknowledgement of different paths will undo the elites that supported austerity so far.

We are now at a crossroads. We cannot convince the Europeans to change their disastrous policies and we cannot survive without their help.

Syriza does not have a mandate to lead the country to default and/or Grexit.

Syriza should not default internally or externally right now and cannot risk the destruction of the banking system by endangering ECB support. Yani, you have no mandate for such a rupture.

A banking failure with the inevitable capital controls, disruption and liquidity problems will destroy what is left of the economy and also drive away tourists at a time when most of the country lives hand to mouth.

I repeat, Syriza does not have a mandate for this.

Yani, you need to sign on the dotted line, agree to whatever you need to agree to secure the release of the bailout money and after the immediate liquidity problems are addressed you need to resign along with the rest of the government and call an election.

Rupture and Grexit needs to be an explicit choice. The people must choose whether to become a German protectorate to maintain a semblance of normality, or to revert to emerging economy norms with living standards akin to 1970s. There are no good choices here, but the choice is not yours to make.

I consider myself a patriot the same as you, but I have no skin in the game, I live abroad (as you did). I cannot make the choice on behalf of anyone. I despise the Europeans for bringing us to this position. Shame on Germany for killing the European dream.

Sign, live to fight another day and call an election so those who face this horrible choice get to make it.

pan

@iGlinavos

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17 thoughts on “Basta Yani ! The good fight has been fought, but it is time to stop.

  1. H.Trickler says:

    Imho the argumentation of Mr. Glinavos is wrong in two but correct in a third perspective.

    a) It is correct that the Greek population should have had the opportunity to show it’s preference in a referendum years ago. Now it is too late and I see no advantage any more.

    b) The formal legal rules say that the current government may decide whatever it sees as best solution for the country, assuming that such decisions are also accepted by formal voting in parliament and do not contradict the constitution of the country.

    c) Up to a few weeks before elections Syriza always said that Grexit is the only possibility to regain sovereignty and dignity. Only in the very last weeks they also said that they do not intend to establish Grexit right away. Those who have voted for the current government must have known that Grexit could be the consequence of a firm strategy of the Eurogroup.

    For this reason denying the current government having a mandate to continue their fight imho is unfounded.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. GONTIER Willaim says:

    “I despise the Europeans for bringing us to this position. Shame on Germany for killing the European dream”. Looks quite unfair ! “who pays, decides”. You can still decide. There is only one bad option: not geting the money and having to apply the Angela’s plans in 6 months. Europeans just ask you to make the job they are paying for. This is probably a though job but this is a lot of money as well. Everybody agrees that you will never pay the debt back. But before this, the job must have been done. Does not look as a so bad deal. So now this is your decision, You make the Russian/Chinese choice or you stay at home. But be prepared to take your responsability for and don’t blame Europeans for their future judgements about Greece’s decision.

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  3. Lloretta says:

    “Europeans for bringing us to this position. Shame on Germany for killing the European dream.”
    How about your former governments? Who made this size of debts? They are responsible. They have brought you in this situation., not Germany. Apart from the fact that some measures are maybe doubtful.

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    • How about your banks who made those loans?
      How about your governments, which instead of letting YOUR banks pay for their share of responsibility, decided instead to put all the blame on Greeks and implicitly on all Europeans?

      Like

  4. Philipp says:

    Why always blaming Germany? IMF, EU institutions and many other European lenders all agree that Greece should stick to what it agreed to prior to last election. If the Greek government wants to spent money it does not have fine but then it cannot expect the lenders to pay for it. We should not forget that a big chunk of Greek debt has been written off already in the past why is this not mentioned anymore? I think it is now for Greece and its ruling class to show it is able to reform and to stop playing ordinary people with wrong promises and excuses. Once you start reorganizing your institutions there is nothing stopping you. Please do not blame the lenders for protecting the elite. It is up to you to tax your wealthy and enforce such taxes. Looking at Mr. Varoufakis he wants to prove something but this is not the right moment nor position to do so he is not in university anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sleeplessinwer says:

    The European dream was not destroyed by the Germans. Neither are the other European countries to blame. The Greek governments from the past are responsible for the situation your country is in. Greece only made it in the EU because your government submitted documents that outlined numbers that were massaged in order to meet the criteria. Over years your country lived far beyond your means. If you do not collect taxes, do not fight corruption, just to mention two issues, no wonder your bank accounts are constantly empty.
    So, maybe Greece should face their own issues and not constantly blame others.

    Like

  6. Yuri Sokolov says:

    The sweet Greek life previously sponsored by overdraft, shall now continue forever at the expense of the German taxpayer, as the Greeks themselves don’t like to pay taxes.
    Don’t question the Greek tax amnesty for the wealthy, all those public servants, their early & high pensions, their high minimum wage, free food & electricity, their refusal of privatizations, highest military budget, their constantly broken promises, procrastinations & accusations .
    The Germans locked within their ideological blindfolds should simply pay, then the Greeks could continue their spending spree.
    To be kept by others worked the past 200 years and is so much simpler than to fix the broken country. Shame on Germany for killing the European dream by trying to persuade the Greeks that it is time to contribute to their own living.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Silvia Schulz says:

    Excuse my english, wasn’t my first language at school.
    I’m German.
    Our schools in Germany are ruins. They have rats in the toilets. Our hospitals are old, in Neukölln its raining though the roof. Children don’t have any books at school, we have to buy it, and they are really expensive.
    The parents have to clean the schools or to paint the rooms.
    Our streets are a disaster. Our old people are searching dustbins for bottles. Our children in the lower working class have to go to churches for a free meal.
    My husband is working 12 hours a day and they take half of his money to pay the greek party. We don’t have time for our family and the gouverment takes everything and gives us nothing.
    We are Your problem?
    Yes, of course: we have to pay for everyone in this damned world, our children, our grandchildren, for ever and ever.
    And our taxpayers can work until they are eighty, until they are dying.
    My city is poor, my people are working hard and we are furious.
    But our own gouverment is working aganist my people.
    We don’t need the hate of the world, our own politicans are hating my poor people enough.
    My children will be no slaves for the perverse EU.
    Basta!

    Like

    • Pancho says:

      Dear Silvia,
      I’m German, too, and have a fairly good picture of the ridiculously devastated public infrastructure in some areas of Germany, especially when it comes to schools. I know very well the desperate financial situation of numerous local governments, requiring them to cost-cut whatever is not co-financed by some other authority and/or doesn’t offer the prospect of near-term returns-on-investment. Some municipalities lost billions in obscure PPP deals or speculation, which they irresponsibly signed upon to avoid even more cost-cuts.

      This is both deplorable and ridiculous in one of the wealthiest countries of the world that could easily afford to do whatever needs to be done, all the more whatever contributes to future economic growth and wealth.
      This ridiculous situation has one name, and it is precisely the same thing that has mangled Greek society so hard, thereby destructing in a massive scale both public infrastructure and human capital, as economists would say.
      The name of this destructive force is: austerity. And it’s implemented upon leaders’ explicite decisions rather than being some kind of natural condition or whatever.

      The ideology of Austerianism wasn’t exactly invented in Germany (though inheriting from the Austrian School of economics), and has been mastered by Maggie Thatcher much before becoming the all dominant ideology in German politics it today is. But it is Germany, who played a leading role in imposing Austerian ideology all over Europe, trying to write it into the European institutions’ DNA wherever possible.

      Yes, among other aspects, austerity exactly contributes to this kind of race-to-the-bottom: people tend to insist on playing hard with the Greeks if and because their own government plays hard with themselves. At its core, austerity is an educational strategy propagating subjugating democracy under the interests of capital. It isn’t more than a bridge ideology though, as in the end it destroys society without even taking responsibility of the devastating (and also vastly more expensive) consequences.

      Now, instead of embarking on the despicable game the German government and leading media plays in order to degrade and subjugate the rebellious Greeks, ordinary people in Germany should unite with them in their fight against austerity. Not the US, nor some abstract EU apparatus, but our own German government is the main enemy of you and me and both the workers and the unemployed not just in Greece.

      It’s quite impressive how much the Greek government (and large parts of the population) is ready to wage this battle from within the Eurosystem. They obviously remain aimed at repairing Europe rather than just repairing Greece, something Yanis Varoufakis has been very outspoken about. This outspokenness however turned out to be a mistake as the German Austerians and their sherpas felt too much offended, so a less outspoken strategy will work better now.

      In the meantime, we should be thankful that the Greek government wages this battle for all of us, and should eventually join in. Every day they keep negotiating rather than signing a compromise is a precious sacrifice to help building a better Europe.

      Like

    • Franz says:

      Silvia is right (but not all schools in Germany are bad, in Bavaria we have some very nice and well equipped schools – but thats a different story), overall we (Germany) have now a accountability of 80 billions just for greece. Thats 1000 Euro for each german, child, tax payer, grandfather. Thats a lot.
      And what has happend in Greece since 2010? Maybe that some of the the reforms were not a good idea and counterproductive, that is very likely the case.
      But:
      – In Greece there is still NO efficient and well balanced tax system
      – NO efficient administration
      – rich people are still not paying taxes, their money is abroad, still no contract with Switzerland
      – you spend still too much money for defence activities (per inhabitant more than every other European country)
      – your country is still on the top list of corruption in Europe ( see http://www.transparency.org/cpi2014/results)
      – and your productivity is still very low, you import much more than you export (main reason too expensive, see http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/refreshTableAction.do?tab=table&plugin=0&pcode=teibp050&language=de)
      – Greek has still no competitiveness in a lot of products, for example food, greece is importing more food than exporting (as at least in parts greece is an agricultural country).

      For most of this items the resposibilty lays IN GREECE, in the greek society, in the government and in other section of the greek state and so on. But NOT in Europe, neither in Bruessel of Frankfurt or Berlin.
      And I shall still pay? For Greece? 5 years and most of the important items (which can hardly be influenced by Europe) are still not solved?
      Not with me! Not with my money!!
      Greece IS NOT willing to change anything, thats my impression.
      So please, leave the Euro (so I have not to pay more than 1000 Euro) and I would appreciate if Greece would also leave the EU. I personally would prefer that money in Europe, if available, will be used to solve the problems in Africa or other locations in the world.
      In Greece you will just buy Porsches and will not solve your problems (At 2010 in Athens there was one of the highest density of Porsches in whole Europe).
      Bye Greece.

      Like

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