How I stopped being a yellow coward and learned to love Grexit

What follows is a short letter on how I learned to stop worrying and love Grexit.

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Dear Greek Public,

I am often accused by readers of my blog and commenters on social media that I am a coward, generally yellow, lacking in stamina and insufficiently resilient during these lovely 5 months of negotiations between Greece and our ‘partners’. I took therefore some time to reflect on my cowardly ways and arrived at the conclusion that yes, I too can support Grexit. Here is how I arrived at this gilded conclusion.

Some of the feedback on my commentary is that in a ‘game’ such as this, one does not reveal weakness and does not show willingness to compromise till the time is right. Of course, this may have looked like the future of the country was gambled, and it is! It is like high stakes poker, but even better, as the negotiator (eg Prof Varoufakis) is not betting his own money, he is betting everyone else’s!

It has been suggested to me that Grexit may not be so bad. First of all, some people have been so badly affected by the crisis that they have nothing to lose. Secondly, the growth potential of the country will be better after the Euro. Absolutely! Everyone who is now poor and relies on poor quality public services will be so much better served once the country defaults and state provision totally collapses. What difference will it make if the hospital closes, its no good anyway. And of course the growth potential of the country will be better. In 10 years or so, Greece will have returned (will have reached slowly) the living standards of the 1980s and we all remember what a great time we had as kids. Should we worry about the lack of a development plan outside the Euro? Why? Should we worry about the lack of a political vision beyond European integration? Of course not, we could be the North Korea of the Med, I am sure Mr Lafazanis can help up us on that one.

I have been told off for not having faith in Prof Lapavitsas and the Grexit advocates. I repent, I see the error of my ways. Who needs a plan for Grexit? We will make it up as we go along, no need to worry about re-capitalising the banking system without ECB support, no need to think about the logistics of printing money, no need to worry about the destruction of tourism during capital controls and border restrictions. It will all be fine. Professors who have lived abroad all their lives know perfectly well how to guide Greece through this crisis, and after all, if it does not work out, they can return to SOAS, and Texas, so no downside! I should know, I am one of them!

Finally, I have been needlesly distrustful of the Greek political class. I did not trust them to carry the country through the adjustment Grexit will bring. To keep security during the tough times when wages and pensions have gone unpaid, when the police has gone home (for not being paid), When the doctors and nurses and everyone has gone to the beach (for not being paid). I was so wrong to worry. The Greek political establishment has managed so well during the good times, that there is no reason to worry it will not manage during the bad times. Syriza is filled with people known for their acumen and efficiency. After all they reopened ERT didn’t they? It will all be fine.

That’s it my fellow compatriots. Now I am like you, I am courageous, I am strong, I am full of pride. I am thinking of wearing a tunic over my T-shirt Kamenos style. I will be the Varoufakis with an extra ‘n’. Go Grexit!

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@iGlinavos

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8 thoughts on “How I stopped being a yellow coward and learned to love Grexit

  1. Bill says:

    Dear Glivanos,

    Nice post. I would like to take the time elaborate as i assume you consider me as a Grexit advocate.
    I wasn’t, i am, i am not…..

    Let’s weigh some facts with not many details.

    After 5 years of austerity plated by the bewishings of our “partners,” should have brought us on the correct road. Even though they admitted to their mistakes. Even though former IMF reps state, debt relief should be awarded, as the debt is unsustainable. Meanwhile pre election they continued on with the measures and new measures and future measures and threats of a new package and so on and so on. I will agree with you that many aspects of the deal where not met by our politicians, which on the most part are useless as you correctly point out. So what are our options. Lets see. Continue a deal on a destructive infinate path which our “partners” would like to mold us into. Or Some kind of a Grexit.

    After making some readings last night, it dawned on me, that we are treating a country as if it was a business with quarterly figures and goals and respective adjustments, as so the “business” goes on as usually. When in the last 20 years did country a of people turned into a business with souless “sources”? Nothing more than a battery to give to the common system, only to be tossed away upon sucked dry of its existance. To some extent a country must have some kind of organization, but not even in businesses who do not meet their goals, do they not instill new measures. People are not money nor sources or resources. People are people.

    Grexit: I agree with everything you stated with one missing aspect and one disagreement. Utter chaos. It is much worse than what you describe it to be. Many more things will break down and their is also a likely hood of a possible civil war. I disagree that we will become N. Korea and you are really exagerating there, but things will be bad. And with no plan i am sure indeed it will take us 10 years to come to a level of 1980. But there is one big difference of the two bads. In the 2nd we decide our own fate. It is not decided for us even if it is with blood between us. Only then under a new system can we lift our heads and be free. The alternative is do as they tell us make us poorer day by day and turn us in the USA. It is as simple as a copy paste. I should know i lived in both countries. I chose Greece though. Also in Grexit it will prove at face value who are our friends…. nobody and who is are foes, just about everydody.

    Have you ever read the latest figures of the western worlds most powerful nation (USA)? Welfare funds on the increase year by year for the last 20 years. Food stamps the same. 90% of the wealth is owned by the 0,5%. Not even the 1% but the 0,1% has exponetially increased its wealth in the last 20 years. Crime is rampant, something virtually non existant in Greece pre euro. Not to mention the police which is more of a gastapo than to serve the public.

    Personally, i have alot to lose in a grexit, alot!, but i can not stand by and not say anything while seeing a large portion of my compatriots starve. I tear everytime when i see the late 80 year old couple whom come by bus to northern heights after sunday lunch to search garbage because obviously the pickings are better.

    Let us think how many of those 80 year olds lived during the WW2 period. Lets not get into the details. Had a piece of land, made families and brought up their children for so little. With a pension from OGA they now ask those 80 years olds to pay for property taxes. Why? Because “they” can’t stand by and allow the 50% of the relaestate wealth to be in the hands of the people. The “little people.” No i can’t stand by this, i can not support a system which sees only value a not people. I am a quite logical person but when a “partner’ asks me to make souless decisions what does it make him. An incompassionate egotistical warmonger. These are souless people. They do not care about us nor our economy nor our future. They care only what they can get out of us, in the meantime destroy our will and character life style because it does not meet their agenda.

    I do not see you as a coward, i see you as someone who is enlightened with a different opinion. Your views are different and that is fine. That is the beauty of democracy. We all have a say. Don;t we? Shouldn’t we? If we say yes to them we give up that right. I am for the eu but not this eu which nothing more than a theater played by puppets while the puppet masters guide the show. Thank you but no. I do not ask you to be an advocate of Grexit. I ask you to seek inside and see the truth. Stop playing with the numbers and who said what and when. I ask you to see what is truely going on. Then see it for what it is.

    Lets be honest with ourselves anyway. Even if tsipras turns and says outloud “we are leaving the euro….” they won’t let us leave. because this all part of the theater.

    So Mr. Glivanos, as to sum it up, greeks and greece is fcked no matter what. I am sure you agree with this point. But it is our decision if we are to take it in the *** 2-3 times by a large one, rather than 100’s of times with with a small size with vaseline sometimes. In any case, what has been born within me is NO FEAR. A bit frustrated, but i don’t fear anything anymore. What goal i have in my life is to educate my children, of who we are and what is our character, not what they wanted to make our character. And by the way i don’t need schools to educate them. Only being my true self is education alone to my children. As my father was and our forefathers. They will never understand us.

    Sincerely,

    Bill

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    • Thank you for your thoughts. A principled position in favour of Grexit, on the facts, is legitimate. If Greeks chose that, then it would make for a more peaceful transition. This is why I have argued for an election where parties align themselves along euro-exit lines.

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  2. Dear Mr. Glinavos,

    Let me start with telling you I am Dutch, 55 years old, have followed EC politics quite closely, have studied macro-economics and was during my study an intern with the IMF.

    There is no doubt in my mind that previous governments in Greece have made many mistakes which have led to the situation Greece finds itself in right now. On the other hand, also the EC, the banks and other institutions have made mistakes which contributed to this situation.

    I do not think that there really are bad intentions behind the actions of the troyka or the current Greek government. The former is in my view heavily lacking in realism, vision and in braveness to currently do the right things for Greece and for the EC. However for the European Community, survival depends on these 3 items.

    I think your current government shows it these 3 items remarkedly well and I hope the vast majority of your people will show it this weekend as well. The reality of a NO vote will force the troyka to face the facts and change their attitude. The can not disrespect the results of the referendum. A YES vote will encourage the troyka to continue the way they are currently handling matters. Not only will this lead to a further worsening of the situation in Greece, but it will also further undermine the foundations of the EC and strengthen the forces that might well pull Europe apart.

    The “heads” of the EC are saying a NO vote is a vote against Europe. I voted NO against the proposal for a new European treaty, like the majority of the Dutch at that time. I did not vote against Europe (or the treaty itself), as they said that time as well, I voted against the way the EC was running Europe. If you think the EC is handling matters with Greece the right way, you should vote YES, if not, think again.

    Sincerely yours,

    Paul Nelissen.

    Like

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