Alexis Tsipras at the Kreisky Forum, Vienna (the complete speech/address to Austrian social democrats)

Last week, Alexis Tsipras (SYRIZA’s chair) gave a talk at the Kreisky Forum, in Vienna. In it he addressed Austrian social democrats, in Bruno Kreisky’s old residence. I post Tsipras’ speech here for two reasons: First, because it sends an interesting message to central European social democrats (Austrian and German in particular). Secondly, because this important speech seems to have gone unnoticed by the mainstream media. Your views on the speech below will, as always, be very welcome.

Dear Gertraud, dear all,

Thank you for your kind invitation. I am honoured and glad to be here. In Bruno Kreisky’s home. Among Austrian friends who, I assume, share with me the same concerns regarding our common European home. Our common home which is presently threatened by a dangerous social and political time bomb deep in its foundations. A time bomb which we can and must defuse.

As you know, I am not a social democrat.

But I am deeply aware of Bruno Kreisky’s greatness and of the importance of the social democracy that he believed in and which he practised with honesty and dedication during his lifetime. And I have a huge respect for his achievements.

The reason I begin with the statement that I am not a social democrat is not, of course, because I want to raise an ideological barrier between you and me. Dialogue and political alliances are at the heart of the culture, in the DNA of my party, SYRIZA, as an essential part of the democratic road to socialism with freedom and democracy.

I am sure that with most of you I share the same or similar values. However, I cannot hide my surprise and disappointment with the political turn that most European social democratic parties have taken in recent years.

Dear friends,

As I am sure you are aware, in Greece we have been experiencing lately the revival of the appalling Nazi phenomenon. The atrocious political murder of an anti-fascist musician, Pavlos Fyssas, which took place in a Piraeus neighbourhood, is proof of their goals and methods.

In 1967 Bruno Kreisky was one of the leaders of European solidarity movements to restore democracy in Greece.

Greek democrats will forever be grateful to him and his Austrian comrades for proving their friendship to the Greek people at critical times.

I am afraid that the re-emergence of Nazism is connected to the harsh austerity policies imposed on Greece by the troika of lenders and successive Greek government – notably the one currently in power, which is a coalition government between the conservative New Democracy and PASOK.

Today’s PASOK is in eclipse because it failed to perceive the consequences both of the crisis per se and of the neoliberal management of the crisis for a deficit country, such as Greece, participating in an architecturally flawed monetary union subjugated to an symmetric shock.

There is a lesson to be learned from the crisis for all of us but especially for the social democratic parties

Dear Friends,

In the 1990s, most European social democratic parties gradually divorced themselves from policies that try to regulate capitalism.

However, there were times post-World War II and courageous and inspired European socialists, like Bruno Kreisky, marched on the road of of social democratic values, principles and policies.

In a recent Spiegel article, the Financial Times columnist Wolfgang Munchau argued on the issue:

“The SPD finally gave up on Keynesianism when the last Keynesian in the party, Oskar Lafontaine, quit in 1999, and left the field open to Gerhard Schroeder, who later pursued his supply-side reforms.

Today, the SPD is just another conservative supply side party, where the differences with the CDU are reduced to discussions about distribution, but no longer about fundamental issues. This is why the debate between Merkel and Steinbruck has been so lame – a duet as some newspapers called it”.

I absolutely agree with this view. If social democrats had followed the legacy of statesmen, such as Bruno Kreisky, Willy Brandt or Olof Palme, Europe would not have turned into today’s neoliberal desert.

Dear friends,

Let’s all recall the 1929 Crash.  Allow me to encapsulate what had happened at that time in two sentences:

  1. the so to speak “common currency” of that period, that is the Gold Standard being a system of fixed exchange rates crashed and burned.
  2. the government denied that there was an architectural fault in the whole design, insisted on austerity and in the policy of escaping the crisis through net exports.

That was a set of economic policies that historians associate with the rise of fascism in southern Europe and Nazism in Central and Northern Europe.

Do you notice the similarities with the present situation in Europe?

The Eurozone resembles the Gold Standard with a difference that makes things worse: instead of fixed exchange rates among currencies, there is a single currency from which it is impossible to escape at a time of severe crisis.

But, because it is so badly designed, that common currency did two terrible things to us. Two things that make the analogy with the Gold Standard very, very apt:

First, it caused massive capital movements during the first years of its existence from the surplus developed Eurozone countries toward the Periphery.

Surplus countries have capital intensive oligopolistic industries that produce capital goods and consumer goods which the Periphery cannot produce at all – or at a price that is competitive.

By its very nature, a monetary union between such advanced economies and a less advanced and less capitalized Periphery will generate increasing trade surpluses.

But these trade surpluses immediately create mountains of profits in the surplus countries that far exceed their investment needs.

The result is that the interest rates collapse in the surplus countries and, for this reason, the northern bankers have an incentive to divert their capital to the Periphery, where interest rates are higher. This is why capital flows to the Periphery in large quantities.

And why is this capital flow a problem?

Because the money that flows into the Periphery creates bubbles.

In Greece, it caused a bubble of public debt as the state borrowed on behalf of the developer-cleptocrats who then used the money to create all sorts of bubbles indirectly.

Then, all of a sudden, but very predictably, Wall Street collapsed in 2008. All this capital that had flooded the Periphery left instantly. And those who had never benefitted from any of these bubbles ended up owing all the money.

Just like Hoover, in the late 20´s and 30´s, European conservative and social democratic governments insisted that un-payable debts must be still be paid.

But how?

With new debts that were taken from the surplus countries.

It was in this way that bankrupt Greece ended up, in May 2010, accepting the largest loan in human history which accelerated national income loss.

The absence of social democrats in the tradition of Bruno Kreisky created the political space for anti-crisis policies which gave rise to a new and invisible economic wall between the creditor surplus countries of the North and the debtor deficit countries of the South.

Dear friends

I have been speaking for a while now and I have hardly mentioned Greece.

Let me, therefore, say a few words about my long-suffering country.

Greece is not a special case.

Greece may have been the weakest link of the Eurozone chain.

But even if Greece did not exist, the Eurozone chain would have another weakest link.

Greece was, to put simply, the canary in the mine whose death should sound the alarm – telling the miners – the rest of our European partners – that there is something wrong with the mine.

Instead, the dying canary was starved to almost-death; it was treated like a scapegoat.

Even if Greece had managed to become far leaner, fitter and modernized before 2008, we would have fallen flat on our faces within a Eurozone that could not sustain the earthquake of 2008.

Perhaps we would not have been the first to fall. But we would have fallen anyway. For if Ireland, the country that topped all lists for ‘good’ outcomes, fell, Greece was bound to fall too. As was Portugal, Italy, Spain – eventually even France.

I do not wish to argue that Greece requires no reforms or has no weaknesses. That would be absurd.

All that is true. But no reforms can take place if the economy collapses.

However, there is another truth that you may not have heard of.

It is the fact that our cleptocracy has formed an alliance with Europe’s elites to propagate a number of lies about Greece.

Lies that shift the blame for our country’s weaknesses from the cleptocrats to the common, hard working Greek people.

Lies that help them impose policies that are terrible for Greece, awful for Austria and the rest of Europe but excellent for the bankrupt bankers and convenient for the Eurocrats.

Please allow me to dispel some of these mythical lies:

Myth Number One

Greek labour is over-protected.

Myth Number Two

The Greeks are lazy.

Myth Number Three

       The Greek labour market is too rigid.

Do you know that since 2001, every year one third (33,3%) of waged workers are laid off.

Myth Number Four

Greek unemployed workers are receiving over-generous unemployment insurance payments.

Myth Number Five

Real wages in Greece converged between 2000 to 2009 toward average Eurozone real wages,

They never actually reached that level.

I could go on and on. But I choose to stop here.

If you really want to understand why Greece remains in depression the answer is simple: It is caught up in a Eurozone that imposes austerity upon Greece and upon the rest of the Periphery.

However, now that we are in it, the cost of dismantling it would be horrendous for all of us.

So, even if we think it is a terrible monetary union, one that divides our peoples by means of a single currency, we have a duty to re-designe it.

Unfortunately, such a re-design will not be effected easily.

There are huge vested interests, in keeping things the way they are.

• The bankrupt bankers of Greece and Spain, in total cooperation with the bankrupt bankers of Germany and France, do not want to see any drastic changes.

• The politicians presently in power do not want any radical changes either.

• The Euro-crats are particularly against any admission to having designed bad institutions.

Unfortunately, if the bankers, the ruling politicians and the Euro-crats get their way, Europe will disintegrate.

Do you want a glimpse of what will happen here in Vienna once the disease spreads from the Periphery, as it definitely will?

Then come to Greece and look for yourselves at the boarded up shops, the empty factories, the fear that migrants have on their faces as they walk home at night.

Dear friends

It doesn’t have to come to that.

SYRIZA will win the next elections in Greece and will succeed a fundamental political change.

A government of the Left in Greece will extend a hand to Europe’s social democrats, to Europe’s free thinking liberals, to all Europeans who do not want Europe to slide into a nightmare.

And we will ask them to join us in a common project: The project of stabilising the Eurozone – a first step towards an open, democratic and cohesive Europe.

To do this, we will have to negotiate forcefully with the main levers of institutional neoliberalism in Frankfurt, in Berlin, in Brussels, in Paris.

To do so, we will need your support.

Not just in order to achieve a better outcome for Greece. But in order to forge a better Europe, a humane Europe.

A SYRIZA government will not expect the suffering workers of Germany or Austria to bankroll our recovery, against their interests.

A Syriza government will put on the table a European Marshall Plan, which will include a proper banking union, a centrally managed public debt by the ECB, a massive program of public investment.

Above all, we are requesting a special conference on the european debt in the entire periphery, by analogy to he 1953 London Conference for the German debt at the time, which decided to cut a large portion of it, a moratorium on the payment of interest and a growth clause.

These are the minimum demands of a future Syriza government.

• They can be granted today without any Treaty changes.

• Without any need for the German or the Austrian taxpayers to pay for the Periphery.

• Without any loss of sovereignty of our Parliaments.

My intention is to look at the hard working German or Austrian worker in the eye and say to her or to him:

They made us take the largest loan in history from you. But none of that benefitted our people. It was all a cynical ploy to transfer losses from the northern banks’ books to your shoulders.

It will not be easy to convince Mrs Merkel, Mr Asmussen, Mr Draghi.

We shall have to be ready to suffer the consequences of their resistance.

But I shall suffer these consequences.

The only alternative is to accept the slow death of my nation and the slow disintegration of the Eurozone – which will destroy the European Union itself.

To conclude, my party, Syriza, is intent on promoting a European agenda for the salvation of the Eurozone as a means to giving Greece a chance to breathe.

I do not know whether the Austrian social democratic party will join me in this struggle, for saving Europe from itself.

But I am convinced that Bruno Kreisky would want them to join me.

Let’s join forces to do good. Accross Europe.

Thank you

74 thoughts on “Alexis Tsipras at the Kreisky Forum, Vienna (the complete speech/address to Austrian social democrats)

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  8. A reasonable speech. Syriza may well win the next election however Mr Tsipras is being somewhat optimistic if he thinks that his ( future) government would be able to make the changes he suggests. The, necessary, banking union will still be pushed out into the far future and an effective Greek debt default would start an avalanche in the, already broke, European Banking system. Unless the Creditor countries make some serious changes to the existing Eurozone framework then at some stage a political backlash from the debtor countries, democratic or otherwise, will result in default, unleashing the mother of all banking crises. The fuse is burning.

    • I for one eagerly await that “mother of all banking crisis”. I could not care less if all banks collapse overnight and I know that the solution (socialism) can only be much better than the problem (terminal capitalism sick of a parasitic financier sub-class). Delaying it is only delaying the agony of a system that is bound to die, and therefore the pain of all us who barely survive in it. I’m all for euthanasia in these cases.

      The “problem” you point to is not any problem but the much needed catharsis.

    • I may not share your view completely but I do agree that part of the , very considerable, economic problems that we face today are due to financial institutions being ‘too big to fail ‘. After Lehman the banks should have been left to sink or swim rather than dumping their crisis on the taxpayer. For far too long the banks have been operating mostly for the benefit of their own executives. The period since 2008 has become a holding operation rather than the cathartic period that the economies of the west needed.

    • If a dam is in need of repairs, you may do well to repair it, assuming you support having the dam in the first place. However, if the cracks continue to get worse, it would only be prudent to prepare contingency plans. Those who foolishly try to prop up the dam regardless of circumstance, throwing not only their own bodies against it, but those of innocent bystanders as well, not only risk getting themselves washed away in the flood, but risk the rest of their countrymen as well.

      If they’ve never imagined life without the dam before, when would be a good time to start? Yesterday.

  9. Pingback: They made us take the largest loan in history from you. But none of that benefitted our people. It was all a cynical ploy to transfer losses from the northern banks’ books to your shoulders. « Economics Info

  10. A-G and others,
    Dean first came on this blog as an ND troll, clever in his first posts, cute videos, dishonest trolling about Merkle, etc. But as election time approached he went into hyperdrive to discredit everyone but ND. And like ND, he represents fascism-light. He continues to attack the left, mostly ineffectively, but that’s his job. I would recommend that every contributor to this blog ignore him. He’s a mean piece of work, and won’t leave this blog as long as people respond to him. Every response gives him more chance to filibuster this blog.

    • I have nothing against the Left and only wished that it was better at its job and far more effective. In particular Syriza and the Greek Left does not even meet the minimum requirements as a governing alternative. This is the truth and nothing but the truth. If you have a way of changing it show us how.

      But stop asking for undeserved recognition because at this stage the Greek people have suffered enough and have no more room for error. If you think the Left has an error free solution then let’s hear it.

      BTW, the man who heads the Greek Finance Ministry, Stournaras, comes from a left Greek family and Yanis knows this very well. And since Greece is already governed by a leftist FM (Samaras and the others are only decorative ornaments and just for show) your particular assignment would be to prove that Stathakis (or any other Syriza candidate for the FM position) could perform better than Stournaras. If you can do that we are all ears.

  11. What Tsipras fails to mention is the role his party plays in the destruction of Greece. His party consists of mostly Pasok refugees and unionists who dominate public employment and riot if the govt dares to layoff anyone -even if they lied about their qualifications and don’t show up for work! These are the same unions that strike on a daily basis, riot in the streets every week (to promote tourism?), have ties to terrorists like N17 and the anarchists who set fire to Marfin bank and killed several people inside. Nobody has been arrested for these acts of violence- they are all tied to Pasok/Syriza. It’s not just Golden Dawn that is the problem in Greece. The extreme left which Tsipras leads is splattered with blood and has a leadership which is still intent on fighting the Greek Civil War of 1946-1950. That’s why many Greeks opt for ND which they see as the lesser of two evils. There is also the problem of a debt default leading back to the drachma and mass devaluation of assets which will happen if the EU runs out of patience with reforms in Greece. Reforms which were delayed 4 years by an inept/corrupt Pasok and the constant anti-euro barking of Syriza.

    • “Nobody has been arrested for these acts of violence- they are all tied to Pasok/Syriza.” This is a scandalous, paranoid statement, utterly disconnected from reality. I only posted this comment as a piece of evidence of the dangerous blame game that New Democracy (the conservative govrning party) is playing these days – struggling to make political capital, and to hang on to power, by peddling the narrative that Golden Dawn is merely the other side of the Greek Left. Such games are detrimental to what is left of Greek democracy. Time to cease and desist. Time to forge a common, Left-Right, front against the Nazis.

    • It may not be appropriate to comment about a news site here, but since it is pertinent, please allow me.

      On the English Kathimerini there is a collection of diaspora Greeks with native English and long-term non-Greeks resident in Greece, who appear to be moderately educated and middle class yet are so far to the right that their comments are in breach of criminal law on hate speech. They have been insisting on posting comment after comment, endlessly, attacking Kathimerini for being a “communist newspaper” and for refusing to run critical articles on the “extreme violence of the Left which is less than that of XA”.

      Some of these fascists admitted to having voted XA in the last elections, but are now disavowing them while simultaneouly saying that Golden Dawn is the only political party that listens to the Greek people. Basically, the internet is full of Nazi trolls and sympathisers: it is vital that speech that incites racial or religious hatred, or promotes fascism, is excised from serious websites since by law it is not covered as freedom of speech.

      Yes, this means censoring the filth and obscenities of racists and Nazis. The comment above is a watered-down version, and almost as objectionable. I hope that you will not allow any more like that, Yanni.

    • That’s part of the routine activities of Golden Dawn, along with violent raids and such. They keep track of what each member does online (reports as doing?) as part of their merits for the organization. Probably most those hate-speech trolls you mention are Dawners themselves engaging in militant action.

      I’m all in favor of banning racist, homophobic and sexist, especially when insistent, but in practice that is extremely hard to enforce by any other than forum moderators, especially with police totally penetrated by the Nazis. The first thing any government seriously compromised with anti-fascism in Greece must do is dissolve the police force and build a new one, also purge the Army (some elite corps seem also extremely penetrated by the Nazis, with special forces’ reservists calling for an armed coup online these days). Without that they won’t be able to control the state apparatus.

    • xenos,

      Recall Bush’s infamous “You are either with us or against us”. Hateful, right? Actually, hateful and terrorizing as the Afghans and Iraqis soon found out.

      What about Obama’s calling for the bombardment of Syria with cluster munitions? Does this fall under hate speech? I’d say not only hate speech, but doesn’t it t also fall under the “Biggest Crime” category according to international? Who’s going to arrest the bum?

      Besides American presidents (they are all war criminals, anyway), we have the mainstream media whores calling for continuing sanctions against Iran. You know as well as I do that those are starvation sanctions. (Me, I am surprised more Iranian planes aren’t falling from the sky considering even aircraft parts are part of the sanctions.) Pretty hateful, eh?

      You see, I don’t worry nor care about dummies online ranting and raving and saying stupid things. As long as no threats of violence are made, I consider it free speech. Moreover, you can always ignore it. No, it’s the big boys in position of power and what they have to say that worry me — like that morally depraved guy in the White House I mentioned above.

      I just want to add … Why are the GD thugs, or other extreme right or fascists groups, for that matter, called Nazis and not just neo-Nazis? I find the mixing of the terms a bit confusing. This might sound strange, but I doubt the Nazis of WWII Germany would want anything thing to do with these guys. I mean, they don’t have “Aryan blood”, a necessary prerequisite, to begin with. I mean just look at the leader of GD — he looks like Porky Pig, for souvlaki’s sake😉

    • “Nazi” is a very appropiate term for GD, unlike their ideological spectrum precursor LAOS, who were more like Christian-Fascist. GD is Nazi because of racism being a core principle (including trademark antisemitism) and following Hitler’s ideas (something less emphasized since they began to have chance to win some seats in elections but acknowledged by their members once and again).

      “Neo-Nazi” is an unnecessarily long word: Nazi suffices and is more clear. Can you imagine if we would be using neo- all the time before each label that barely deserves it? Neo-socialdemocrats, neo-eurocommunists, neo-bolivarians, neo-fascists, neo-conservatives, neo-liberals (that one we use but is confusing), neo-christiandemocrats… it’d be a waste of keyboard ware that serves to no purpose.

      Less clear is if we can consider someone like Breivik or other extreme right markedly racist and totalitarian organizations like the EDL, which support Israel and reject antisemitism, as “Nazi”. I think so, because it’s not antisemitism what defines Nazism but just racism and totalitarianism. Probably Hitler would also be happy having Jews settling in Palestine and acting as a colonial vanguard of the “Aryan race” (which does not exist, but whatever). But this is another debate in any case.

    • Porky Pig!
      Exactly!
      dragged to court with his porky family (both sporting XXXL LaCoste polo shirts on Saturday)…
      in fact most of X.A. is quite noticeably “porky”…

    • @lastgreek: hate speech is clearly defined in national laws, and the legal criteria matter. As far as I can recall, the USA doesn;t have any prohibition on hate speech (but I may be wrong). Besides, you can be sure that it would not apply to ranking politicians such as the president…

      IN the case of Greek law, the 1979 law is reasonable but restrictive. It has a threshold requirement of “likely to incite violence”, which is obviously open to interpretation. Previously, the Greek state has refused to prosecute for anti-semitism and really nasty stuff from Plevris and his ilk. Now that it has escalated out of control with GD they will probably revise the law, as required by the EU. Samaras has always resisted passing proper legislation to outlaw all forms of racism, discrimination etc. So has Pasok, They do less than the minimum required by EU law.

      Presumably, considering that GD supporters all cite the lack of such rules in Saudi Arabia, they would like Greece to resemble Sauid Arabia. Perhaps with a Nazi government, Greece would forbid women to drive cars, too. Real progress there.

    • xenos,

      As long as there is no incitement to violence, a person should have the right to his opinion no matter how odious you or I may find it. For example, I think France may pass a law (if it hasn’t already done so, not sure) that punishes the denial of the Armenian Genocide. The evidence that Turkey committed a genocide against the Armenians is irrefutable. There is nothing to discuss. Is it disgusting that a human being would deny that such a horrible event in human history took place? Of course . But as repulsive as it is, it’s his opinion — his freedom of expression. Big difference — paraphrasing Chomsky here; Faurisson Affair — between endorsing someone’s view and defending his right to say it. Big….

      According to a recent Washington Post article, Saudi women have it better than Iranian women. No joke. The WP, in all seriousness, made a comparison between two theocratic dictatorships. And because Saudi Arabia came out a bit better than Iran, there is real progress for Saudi women. (And who knows — maybe in a thousand years they will have the right to walk outside their homes unescorted!) Of course Saudi Arabia happens to be one of America’s greatest allies. Who would have guessed:-)

    • @lastgreek
      Defence of the freedom of speech is all very well, but it has to have limits for the protection of individual and group rights. That is the position that interpretation of law takes — there is a balance between free speech rights and protecting other interests. Each case may be different; and there are great differences between national legislations.

      Your example, of denial of a claimed historical event, is a clear case of where the state should not intervene: France is a country of state control that is oppressive and dysfunctional. Only in the case of Holocaust denial is there a good reason why it is illegal (and I support its criminal offence in certain EU countries). More generally, your argument is weaker. For example, how does an individual’s (or political party’s) freedom of speech to insult Islam benefit society. I do not mean criticism of Islam or of its practice, but downright insults and offensive images or language. That is what was done with the Danish anti-Islam cartoons — and clearly constituted a threat to public order. The Danes, who have become so xenophobic that they will not allow their own citizens to marry foreigner before the age of 23, apparently see no problems with hate speech and hate cartoons. We saw the problems world wide, but they resist with a Teutonic stubborness accepting the need for prohibition of incitements to racial and religious violence.

      Let me put it another way. If I were to start a pressure group, inviting all foreigners in Greece to join, that had the objective of mocking and humiliating the Greek Orthodox Church, you can be sure that I would be arrested, prosecuted and convicted of offences against the Church. Why should one religious/racial group be privileged over others? All recognised religions, ethnic groups and nationalities deserve equal respect under internatioanal law. This automatically means constraining the free speech rights of those who seek to undermine or oppose that principle. Free speech on its own means nothing: this is the central point.

  12. I beg to differ on this latest falsehood called “a Merkel triumph”.

    For starters the Germans have a totalitarian regime masking as a democracy. The Germans themselves are to blame for such incurable condition because of their insistence on contrived consensus. Contrived consensus kills the democratic process because no real opposition exists to take the debate to its proper limits so then people could reach some form of political harmony.

    So in essence Germany is ruled by a monotone, monochromatic political system which is more totalitarian (given the Prussian tendencies for discipline and order) rather than a healthy democratic system.

    So here is Merkel’s coalition today: gets 41.5 % but not enough seats enabling her to govern. So they turn to their opponents and ask to form a coalition based on the German mania for consensus. SPD knows whoever embraces Merkel is toast. So if they cooperate – under the tremendous societal pressure of Germans for order and obedience – then they will be erased as a political force in the next elections. To which Merkel responds with a blackmail: you either cooperate with us or we will have a 2nd election in which we will get the majority anyway and you will be left out in the cold.

    To which I say:

    Do it. Declare a 2nd election and win everything. And govern on your own and allow the SPD to be a true opposition party leveling criticism on the government as a good opposition party should do.

    The problem with Merkel is her fuzzy math. Her coalition partner FDP evaporated which means the loss of 93 seats. In addition to that the goalposts were moved away from her by another 16 seats (it used to be 598 seats in parliament and now 630 and you need at least 315 to govern).

    So the elections had an effect on Merkel of losing 93 seats from a partner who is no more + 16 seats (due to Parliament enlargement) = 109 lost seats. Responding to such loss the CDU/CSU picked up 61+11 = 72 seats and the SPD opposition 46. So the CDU/CSU stand at a negative (-) 37 seats net effect while the SPD gains 46 seats (net effect)

    But of course the SPD is the clear winner. They picked up 46 seats and Merkel gets to chose a new partner if she can (that’s the only thing she won: the right to chose a new partner no more to the right than her but only to the left of her). That’s not a triumph folks; that’s a nightmare:

    http://www.bundeswahlleiter.de

    What would I do if I were SPD? I will tell her to go stick it and go for 2nd elections. There is no way that I would allow SPD to be manipulated and destroyed by that woman.

    Heraklitus of Ephesus tells us from 2500 years ago:

    “Οὐ ξυνίασι ὅκως διαφερόμενον ἑωυτῷ ὁμολογέει· παλίντροπος ἁρμονίη ὅκωσπερ τόξου καὶ λύρης.

    They do not understand: how that which separates unites with itself. It is a harmony of oppositions, as in the case of the bow and of the lyre.”

    And that my friends Germany will never get. A functioning opposition so it could achieve the state of political harmony. Germany is an one-trick pony: obey, obey, obey. A country of slaves and not of free men and women.

    • Dean,

      I fear you are right in every sense. But I still hope that you’re not.

      I may not be a good representative of my people because of certain turns in my personal life that drove me to doubt anything that comes in the guise of general consensus, but due to what I do for a living I get to talk to a lot of different people of all kinds of classes and professions. And please believe me when I tell you that not all of them are obedient little subjects of Her Majesty the sun-queen Angela I. Unfortunately, many of them live in constant fear of losing what little wealth they still have and they are driven into this state of paranoia by a totally reckless conglomerate of irresponsible media outlets that have completely lost whatever sense of critical responsibility they may have once had along the way into what Her Magnificence describes as ‘market-conform democracy’. (bad translation, sorry)

      Just to put this dreadful farce of an election and its likewise farcical reception and amplification via the media into perspective: Only 71% of the potential electorate participated in the whole thing in the first place, which is – after the last election (roughly 70%) – the second lowest number of active voters in the history of this country. The rest of them didn’t care, lost faith in democracy, thought hey had something better to do – who knows? (I guess to many here this won’t seem too bad, but there were times when 94% of germans took part in the elections. It’s even worse for state parliaments and city councils.)

      In Addition to that, a whooping 16% of votes were cast for parties that didn’t make it past the quorum of 5% that every party has to fulfill to even get any seats in parliament. This is a first in german elections. Never before have so many votes been in vain. And while one sadly has to admit that about 10% of these useless votes went to the moronic market fundamentalists of the ‘Free democrats’, who were finally, finally given what they deserve and thrown out of the Bundestag with a vengeance, and the AfD, over whose political demise I will certainly not shed any tears, these votes still didn’t go to Madame Non and her syccophant subordinates.

      So the 41,5% that Ms. Merkel claims to be a vote of confidence by her faithful followers are actually only 29,11% of the votes of every german who had a right to vote last sunday.

      I sincerely hope that what’s left of the SPD will follow your advice and tell this small-minded embodiment of mediocrity, ignorance and self-rightiousness to go eff herself and force her into a minority government.
      Although, my faith in these crypto-neoliberal turncoats calling themselves social democrats who are still in charge of this party has been fading to almost oblivion for many years now and I’m afraid they will once again succumb to their own ambitions and sell out their voters for a place beside the throne.

      And this, I’m afraid, will not only be a catastrophe for my own country but for the whole of Europe.

    • Hubert:

      Of course you know better than I how German politics work.

      My reaction was to the blackmail towards SPD if they fail to fall in line and participate as a gas additive to Merkel’s car for higher mileage. I find this to be political extortion under the guise of the consensus-driven artificial framework.

      I hope SPD has a real plan because embracing Merkel at this point equals extinction for this political party down the road.

      We know that SPD gained 46 seats from the last election. Losing some of those seats in a 2nd round election is not the end of the world. Partnering with Merkel though, is as close to the end of the world for SPD. I hope some clear thinkers could see this and prevent it from happening.

      All the best.

  13. On the article as such, I must say that it does the job of explaining pretty well the harsh reality of not just Greece but of all the European Union and its current nightmare. If, as commented above, the economic part was written by Yanis, then congratulations to him as well; I can only agree 110% with it.

    As for the political part, I guess it is understandable considering the forum and I can just feel the pain implicit in it: that the European socialdemocracy is not anymore even socialdemocratic at all but just liberal, especially in the economic sense. I very much fear that, no matter how politely and sincerely one opens the hand to them, it is completely useless: they are almost indifferent from the conservative electoral options. Where the (ex-)socialdemocrats had to manage the eurocrisis, as happened in Greece and Spain, they did all the wrong things and subsequently collapsed in voter sympathy, not being able to recover at all since then (nor surely in any foreseeable future).

    However a major difference between Greece and Spain is that, while Greece appears to have the right people at the steer of the right political force in the right moment (partly I guess because it has a long tradition of communist and anarchist resistance), in Spain there is no SYRIZA-like fresh alternative but just a weak eurocommunist bloc (IU) with a timid and rather elderly leadership, which seems unable to muster the correct message of eurodisobedience as SYRIZA does and therefore can only attract disgruntled voters to some extent, even if the twin party is clearly collapsing (also they have a problem of chauvinism, not really accepting that Spain is a plurinational state, what really does not work either).

    In the rest of Europe the situation looks even worse: in Italy the communists collapsed, in Germany Die Linke seems to be decaying and in France the Front de Gauche only appears to be growing very slowly.

    So I would say that the problem is not in Greece, which has a healthy alternative, but in the rest of Europe, which mostly seems to lack such a radical renewal option by the moment. This is very bad for all Europe, including Greece.

    • @Maju

      I agree most of your comments. The situation in Spain is even worst than you see, because apparently we have not a european problem but just an internal problem. Here in Catalonia many people think that going out of Spain would solve everything, and in the rest of the country it seems that people still believe that Madrid by its own can manage the situation.

      The northern idea that we and only we are responsible of our crisis has made its work. As Catholics, we accept our guiltiness and its necessary penitence. And, as it’s also truth that we made a lot of mistakes, it has been not so difficult to convince us that we made “all” the mistakes.

  14. Why do we have an economy? Why do we have rules governing an economy? Why are there laws dictating what should be done about loans and debts? What is the purpose of it all? I would say that there are certain people in society that would avoid answering those questions, because the answers would threaten their ideologies.

    We have an economy to produce goods and services. Why do we need goods and services? Because the people in the economy need them to survive. So what happens if the current economic rules are applied in such a way that it works against human survival? Then it defeats the purpose of having economic rules in the first place. This is what is happening in Greece and other parts of the world. Economic rules (like debt enforcement) are being applied that works against the survival of Greeks.

    Social democracy lost its way in Europe because, to state the obvious, democracy has pretty much been broken. If a wealthy financier or media mogul wields more power in political campaigns than a janitor or customer support worker, then like it or not, what you have is not a democracy. It may resemble a democracy in that people vote, but let’s be honest, all it is, is aristocracy dressed up to look like democracy.

    What happened to social democracy is that there is, in fact, no way for them to survive in such a fake democracy. The only way for self-described “social democrats” to be elected in such an environment is to give up being social democrats – otherwise, those who hold economic power would never allow them to be elected in the first place.

    • What we really have is not aristocracy it is cleptocracy. The rules of the economy are now very simple. Those who can they take, the others do whatever they can to survive.

  15. I thought it was an excellent speech, but there are circumstances present in Greece, and perhaps in the EU in general, which I do not understand, but which prevent the message from persuading the people.

    People in Greece are rightly angry, yet I saw that the most recent poll had New Democracy ahead. I don’t understand why Mr. Tsipras is not able to persuade the majority to give his party a chance. I think he should re-examine his strategy. He must be doing something wrong… Perhaps he might also consider reaching out to the people who say they will not vote (or will submit a blank vote).

    • Hi Maria,
      I have a question for you, which I hope you have time to investigate. Following the disintegration of the Weimar Republic in early 1930s Germany…in the “chaos” that followed there were a number of social/political movements that emerged to take advantage of the crisis & offer solutions to the humiliated and besieged people of the German Republic. Iam referring to National Socialists, Anarchists, Communists and Social Democrats. Each brought a set of ideas & agenda to resurrect the economy, national spirits and restore the national pride of Germans who believed in the idea of a strong & united Germany. So my question is…why was it that the Nazis were able to become a powerful political force & take power in the mid 1930’s. Were they better organised, had a better message to sell to the people, had a better organised “police force” in the form of the “brown shirts” did they offer better soup kitchens to the poor & disposed. What made them standout as the other parties fell away & were eventually destroyed by the Nazis?

    • @Alex68: the Socialdemocrats were a core part of the Weimar regime, Alex. Also the Anarchists were never strong in Germany (unlike what happened in Spain or Ukraine for example). The Communists instead were quite strong since very early and some of them attempted to stage a revolution like the Russian one in 1918 (actually the Russian Revolution was close to sweep half Europe, with Germany and Hungary boiling in red banners, but the Polish Socialdemocrats stopped the Red Army at Warsaw and the German, Hungarian and other revolutions failed on their own forces alone). It were death squads (freikorps) under Socialdemocratic command (Noske, Ebert) who put down the revolution and murdered its main leaders, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnecht.

      In 1930 the Weimar bloc (christian-democrats of Zentrum, conservatives of the DNVP, liberals of the DDP and socialdemocrats of the SDP) lost their hegemony in the Reichstag in favor of the Nazis (NSDAP) and to lesser extent to the marginalized KDP (communists), which were excluded by everyone, including the socialdemocrats. The situation worsened in 1932 with the Nazis getting first post (37% of popular vote). However they could not form government and in November of the same year they declined to 33%, while the communists were slowly but steadily still climbing the ladder (17%).

      In spite of that fall, Hitler was appointed chancellor and new elections held under conditions of terror gave them 44% of the votes. Together with the conservatives they held enough seats to form government but needed 2/3 to pass the law of emergency known as Enabling Act, which gave Hitler dictator powers. The communists were expelled from parliament on the pretext of the burning of the Reichstag and fiercely persecuted. Then everyone but the SPD voted in favor of the Enabling Act. Every single right-leaning force in the Reichstag voted for Hitler (while, of course, the City of London and Wall Street looked favorably upon such decision).

    • Thanks Maju for your input…

      The point Iam trying to make in relation to social/politcal forces at play inside Greece working in conjuction with external forces may lead some unexpected results in the future…Alexis Tsipras & his team are important players in this drama…but as we saw in 1930s Germany…when the “animal spirits” are let loose, events may turn against them in unforeseen ways…I hope this is not the case

    • When people’s survival are at stake, it shouldn’t be surprising that “animal spirits” are let loose. And the more people who have their survival put in jeopardy, the greater the collective action they can engage in. If you fear their action may not be what you want, then you shouldn’t have put them in that situation in the first place.

      …and some people are still insisting on their current path of putting the survival of Greeks at risk. After all, Greece is so far away, and they don’t want to be fired by their board of directors.

    • Yes, I am “thinking” , unlike those of your fans who seem to be more interested in reducing the pain of cognitive dissonance. I am not judging, Mr. Varoufakis, you are doing the Greek community a huge favour by making them more happy. It is very important to give people something which makes them more happy in times of crisis! I read somewhere that Greeks tend to get more happy than others if they are told to be innocent victims of a conspiracy. So spot on, good work, I appreciate your work!

    • oh dear: the asymmetric monetary union concept means to recognize that some countries were in a weak position. This is not victimism, I think. Obviously you can think that poor are guilty because they are not enough competitive.

  16. The economic analysis part, which is exactly to the point and easy to comprehend has been written by mr Varoufakis. What lies before and after, all the political mumbo-jumbo, has been written by some british educated Tsipras aide, who is definately more fluent than Tsipras!

  17. The speech is very clear for the way Tsipras will address the external part of the Greek problem. Nevertheless, any plan is based on prerequisites:

    1. Tsipras speaks for consequences and he is right. To end victoriously the struggle he must present in full the possible consequences to the Greek voters. No real struggle will succeed without the real support of the people. And the people deserve to know so that they can decide. If people do not want the consequences then let the struggle NOT to start. The country cannot be saved with half truths.

    2 It is easier to address the “enemy” abroad. But you have a whole System within Greece that tries to continue its life as before. Tsipras has TOTALLY FAILED, so far, to address them through a COMPLETE and SPECIFIC ACTION PLAN. The people in Greece who starve for change are not convinced. They hear of his targets but not of his actions to come. The country has lived for years with the intentions of PASOK. The history cannot be repeated. See the Gallops and you will realize why Syriza remains low.

  18. “…an architecturally flawed monetary union subjugated to an symmetric shock.”
    An symmetric[sic] or an asymmetric shock?
    “A government of the Left in Greece will extend a hand to Europe’s social democrats, to Europe’s free thinking liberals…”
    Liberals in the European-British or the American English sense? 😉

  19. I thought you said this is Tsipras’ speech! You cannot say that if you wrote it! You should have said instead ” Here is a speech recited by Tsipras’ and authored by yours trully.”

    Could be worse I suppose. He could have written it himself. And given the audience, what a nightmare that would have been…

  20. Pingback: Ολόκληρη η ομιλία του Αλέξη Τσίπρα προς τους Σοσιαλδημοκράτες της Αυστρίας στο Kreisky Forum, Βιέννη | "Και να,αδελφε μου, που μαθαμε να κουβεντ

  21. Yanis, the economic part of his speach is a copy of your asymmetrical union post. Nice work at cooperation or advising.
    Just one point tough, no country reduces its debt, even servicing of the debt is done by more debt. When outside debtors blackmail sovereign countries as it was done to Yugoslavia in 1980’s in order to destroy most succesful example of alternative to capitalism and to Greece at the present, it is a sort of finacial war and terorism.
    Most of the countries continually rise their debt levels and only in good times debt does not go up while GDP does making inflation reduce debt burden.
    Knowing that why do you keep saying that banking debts were put on German taxpayers or EU taxpayers? All the transfers of debt were put onto state debts but they never get reduced anyway. It was the new debt (credit creation, not someone’s savings) that replaced bank debt.

    Why do you economists hide such facts from public? why do you have to make your line of resoning on false morality when that makes all other facts harder to explain?
    I have never heard from you that banks print money. They print money so it would allow for capital accumulation without reducing demand and with it the level of production and employment.
    I never heard from you about public debt being a means to put savings back into economy, savings that came from too much profits that are taken out of circulation. Savings in surplus countries which have to be put back into economy via public debt recorded which then becomes a political weapon in destroying social insurances. You are circuitists also but some facts that will open public eyes you still do not dare to write, why is that?
    What, if you say that capitalists take surpluses from workers which are then replaced with bank created debt onto those workers, which enables workers to enjoy fully if not more then they produced, you would be seen as communist and cast out of economists circles? Inflation then reduces debt burden which enables workers to never reduce their enjoyment of how much they produced and capitalist also get to have worker’s surpluses/ profit, a free lunch provided with credit creation that has to expand continously in order not to cause collapse of economic and social orders.

  22. Dear Yanis,
    Even you don’t accept that this speech is not written by you, and I believe you, English of this speech are not so intellectual, to be understood by a person like me that I’m not speaking English so fluently, A. Tsipras is so modest to the SPD audience that it could be written by you. Even he didn’t clarify his policy, even he didn’t delivered an elaborated plan to exit from crisis his style and language is too mild considering the rhetorics developed to the Greek audience. It seems like listening Andreas Papandreou in his first years. And this is Alexis’ model in policy. The problem is that A.P. controlled completely his party, but SYRIZA is something different: a coalition of socialists, leftist, ecologists, reformist communists, etc etc that it is not sure that Alexis can control completely.Anyway, it is a good speech to a European audience, at the moment when Socialdemocracy is not at a peak. Maybe it can be a real contribution to their try to restore their ideological hegemony. .

  23. Forgive me about stating the obvious but Tsipras and the entire European Left is out of focus in the Greek case.

    Greece’s case was never about laziness, lack of competitiveness, labor costs and other convenient fallacies cooked up at the last minute and based on the East German experience so they might sound semi-credible.

    It was never about Greece. It was about Europe and Greece was asked to undergo a huge sacrifice which Greece did (not exactly knowing the extent or true depth of it).

    The Schauble program worked (or perceived to have worked which is one and the same thing for the average folk) and we are well on our way towards a predetermined outcome:

    «Η ελληνική οικονομία σταθεροποιείται, αλλά τα θετικά αποτελέσματα αυτής της σταθεροποίησης θα γίνουν αντιληπτά από τα μεγάλα τμήματα του ελληνικού πληθυσμού μεταγενέστερα» πρόσθεσε ο Κλάους Ρέγκλινγκ.

    Τα χαμηλά επιτόκια και η επιμήκυνση των χρόνων ωρίμανσης των δανείων, που στην περίπτωση της Ελλάδας φθάνουν ως και τα τριάντα χρόνια, είναι οι δύο βασικοί παράγοντες που μπορούν να καταστήσουν το ελληνικό χρέος βιώσιμο, επισήμανε ο Κλάους Ρέγκλιγκ, συγκρίνοντας μάλιστα την περίπτωση της Ελλάδας με την περίπτωση της Ιαπωνίας, της οποίας το δημόσιο χρέος επίσης κινείται σε εξαιρετικά υψηλά επίπεδα.”

    http://www.capital.gr/NewsTheme.asp?id=1876633

    To confuse any of this with issues of justice and/or humanity is the Left’s strategic mistake. The Left might have a legitimate point in saying that while Merkel was at it (her pseudo-saving Greece campaign) she also attacked the labor movement in ways that are very injurious and perhaps non-recoverable from (which happens to be true). As any good Thacherite would do she did her very best towards an ideological triumph. But all the claims of the left (about injustice and lack of fairness) would not reverse the present situation. Call it a “set up” or anything you wish. This was once in a lifetime opportunity to take a huge swipe against the Left and all its ideological enemies would not miss such chance (because chances of this magnitude are very rare indeed).

    So Tsipras could explain this until he gets blue in the face, but if his positions were not adopted before (at the zenith of the crisis) the chances of adopting them now are subzero.

    The only legitimate point the Left has @ this juncture is to say that some of the carnage was excessive and unnecessary but this will not reverse the full scale attack against the Greek Left under the guise of “reforms”. It would only intensify the campaign against it because @ this point the enemies of the Left could smell and taste victory.

    • Dean,

      We’ve had this discussion previously on other sites. Economics cannot be an end in and of itself. It is, one is tempted to say by definition,a means to an end and, as such, it It must necessarily be at the service of a greater social vision.

      Otherwise, we are nothing but cogs and widgets in a numbers game that dresses up in the language of mathematics in order to pass itself off as a rigorous science – much like an old courtesan tries to conceal the ravages of time under layers of make-up.

      One cannot simply accept the Merkel-Schäuble program as “inevitable” and consent to the fact that the wholesale destruction of the Greek population is an unfortunate, yet necessary, speed-bump on the road to saving “the nation” simply because the “numbers say so.”

    • AG:

      Let’s look at you argument more closely.

      You say that the side opposite Left was proven to be corrupt, incompetent and responsible for the mess hence untrustworthy and unable to govern. Of course the argument is a bit more complex than this but let’s keep it simple for now.

      You then propose that the Left whose culpability is next to zero be given the chance to set things right via its better governance.

      If that’s the case in which European country do you see a groundswell of support for the Left? And if the crimes and misdemeanors of the other side are so grave how do you explain the fact that the Left is failing to convince?

      What else do you want to see to satisfy yourself that despite the fact of you being convinced of the Left’s virtues, the Left – for lack of a better word – embodies to date a failed candidacy?

      As to you numbers argument, achieving the highest ever current account surplus in your history is I think an opening point in discussing how to best get rid of the injurious Troika regime. The logic here being that if the justice/fairness part of the argument put forward by the Left is unappealing to the rest of Europe(maybe because people are smug and cozy in their own little worlds of mediocrity) perhaps the numbers part (which tend to be irrefutable) is finally a cause of reversing this odious situation that has befallen Greece for no good reason other than supporting a flawed European architecture.

      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/greece/current-account

      P.S. And wait till you see the Greek current account numbers for August, September and October.

      BTW, I never understood this part. The Greek left is so keen to deny any “success story” which undoubtedly the positive current account is, that is playing the same game Troika is. And in Troika’s case it’s understandable because any admission of success for Greece puts Troika out of a job. So Troika’s job is to scale down your achievements, diminish your efforts and generally speaking find cause for the Troika to stick around. But in Syriza’s case what’s the driving force? Is a perpetual state of negativity good for Greece? Or is there hope for well worn-out arguments to ever turn the corner?

  24. With some minor discrepancies I do support almost all Sypras speech. Where he puts Greece could also say Portugal, Spain o Ireland, however here in Spain most people still prefer to think in Greece as an infected arm.

    The debtors conference is completely necessary to exit the stupid actual situation. Also the creditors know that they will never realize their credits under the actual conditions, but they prefer to take as much money as possible before the collapse and then run away. If they should be really interested in saving the european economy, they should seat at the conference.

    The pending question is, for me, once the past is solved trough this conference: how should we avoid new deficits and new debt in the periphery if we maintain the asymmetries and the fixed parities trough the euro?

    The solution to the strong Golden Standard problems was to quit it. No internal devaluation in the periphery can have similar results, neither a greater inflation in the North, even if this should be much more effective.

    Even if here in Spain sounds horrible, the two euro model maybe could work.

    In any case, our debt is our force! Is we negotiate separately, thinking that we will get better conditions than the others, we are all loosing.

    • It’s been kind of obvious for many years now, that Greece, Portugal and Spain need a common, *their* common, devaluated currency, different from the euro. If you look at their current accounts and their bubbles, you’ll see that they’re almost identical in nature and progression, with the only differences being their size, and the “route” of credit expansion, ie public or private debt.

      Italy is different in a lot of respects, but it’s deeply unfortunate that at least Spain, Portugal and Greece don’t understand their common position and attempt a synchronized exit, or some form of seperate union outside the eurozone.

  25. ” […]which decided to cut a large portion of it, a moratorium on the payment of interest and a growth clause[…]”

    ” Without any need for the German or the Austrian taxpayers to pay for the Periphery.”

    So who pays?

    “They made us take the largest loan in history from you.”

    Who is ‘they’?

    • On the first question “Why pays?”, I would have thouht that, by now, you will have read our Modest Proposal – where the pan-European investment program is managed by the European Investment Bank – without any contributions for taxpayers. On the second questioin “Why made us accept a huge, predatory loan?” the answer is: The Merkel government, with the connivance of the Greek government. And who paid for this? European taxpayers

    • Who pays?

      In the case of Spain, 3 of every 4 mortgages were financed by foreigners banks after analyze risks and alternative investments. They have no responsibility for their mistakes?

    • Yes I’ve read your ‘modest proposal’ and commented already, several times, that a) there are just not enough projects in the periphery for the EIB to support which make sense from an economic point of view and b) the occuring losses will be backstopped by the core nation’s taxpayers, as in any other finance alchemy plan scholars like you come up with.

      As for the ‘huge preadotry loans’, this term is a bad joke in itself since it were the periphery nations themselves who asked for heaps of money during their artifical and unsustainable bubble boom years. Nobody forced it onto them.

    • @ Jordi

      Yes these banks, no matter if residential or foreign, should have to bear the results of their undue dilligence.

      Which in the 1st place means: their shareholders and employees.

      I am since years vividly advocating to let zombie banks go bust instead of propping them up with taxpayer’s money.

    • “Who pays?”

      Obviously those who took the risk of producing uncertain loans: the banskters. Mind you that the peoples of Europe were never consulted about them and, even when Mr. Papandreou attempted to do so, he was brutally scolded by the mercenary bureaucrats that manage the economic union.

      So in my understanding it’s all hateful debt and therefore the peoples of Europe must not pay. Let the oppressive and bloodsucking banking system collapse as it must.

      Anyhow the banks of Europe will end up all sooner or later nationalized: all of them. There’s no other way out.

    • “Modest proposal -without any contributions for taxpayers.”

      But by everybody via higher inflation!

  26. This speech is suspiciously good, too good for Tsipras to have written or even really understood I think…

    The reason that people lack faith in Tsipras, is exactly because he seems an uneducated (at least in economics, science, engineering or bussiness) man, with maybe good intentions, but unfit to lead. At least that’s the impression he gives out. I’ve never heard him speak or analyze further anything like the topics presented in this speach.

    • This is an argument that is regularly trotted out to make the case that Tsipras should not be elected. Tsipras, we are told (or x, y or z… you can fill in the blank – this kind of argument is regularly invoked to invalidate the candidacy of anyone who is a threat to the system), doesn’t have the experience or indeed the “education” needed to lead thecountry out of the mess in which it finds itself.

      Great. So who should we turn to? Let me guess. People with the appropriate experience and education.

      The problem is of course that they’re the same people that got us in this mess to begin with, their experience and education notwithstanding.

    • @very serious

      The case is that the foreigners banks were saved trough the Troika Rescue converting private debt into public. We must now pay for their mistakes.

      About the idea that nobody forced the periphery for external loans, we Can also say that nobody forced the north to get commercial surplus by finance it at its risk.

  27. “Greece was, to put simply, the canary in the mine whose death should sound the alarm – telling the miners – the rest of our European partners – that there is something wrong with the mine.
    Instead, the dying canary was starved to almost-death; it was treated like a scapegoat.”

    Another way to put it: Greece was the infected arm that had to be isolated from the rest of the Eurozone to prevented the disease to spread!
    This, by the way, is now the official metaphor for the Greek story!. Or at least, Mrs Lagarde put it that way, as you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn3OppLv2xA#t=6m30s

    • Yes you’re right, my mistake. The infected arm metaphor is not “another way to put it” but is just another metaphor being used and moreover the official metaphor (I only wanted to stress that).

  28. Yanis, this is either:
    – the speech you’d have wanted Mr. Tsipras to deliver, or
    – a real speech that Mr. Tsipras delivered and it was completely written by you!
    So which one was it?:)

    • Mr. Varoufakis, I’m vacationing in greece and i saw you on greek tv this morning, being interviewed by George Papadakis. For the first time on a greek talk show, when you were speaking everybody shut up. Thanks for the valueable information you provide. Larry Papadakis

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