Why I am running for a parliamentary seat on SYRIZA’s ticket

CRC_3299Critical engagement is a form of praxis. But there comes a time when, to retain its relevance, critical thinking must transform itself into direct political action.

It was never my intention to enter the electoral game. Ever since the crisis began, I entertained hopes of maintaining an open dialogue with reasonable politicians from different political parties. Alas, the ‘bailouts’ made such an open dialogue impossible.

As the Eurozone’s inevitable crisis was addressed by a cynical transfer of banking losses onto the shoulders of the weakest taxpayers, politicians and commentators who tied their colours onto the so-called bailouts’ mast demonstrated precisely no interest in rational debate.

Instead of discussing, in the European Union’s fora, the nature of our systemic crisis, the powers-that-be were busy fiscally waterboarding proud nations, letting them take a few short breaths before submerging them again into the waters of illiquidity. Thus Europe began to lose its integrity and its soul, turning from a realm of shared prosperity to an iron cage, a debt prison, a form of Victorian workhouse.

At the economic front, this crisis-denial led to contagion in the sovereign bond markets, beginning with Greece where the combination of savage austerity and huge loans was tried and tested, before being exported to the rest of the Eurozone. Predictably (as this blog was illustrating day in day out) the contagion was only made worse, reaching Italy with extreme prejudice and forcing the ECB to step in in the summer of 2012 with Mr Draghi’s famous “whatever it takes” moment. Only the crisis never went away but, rather, it was transferred from the bond markets to the real economy, yielding vicious deflationary forces that have now rendered Spain, Italy and France fiscally unsustainable.

At the social front, crisis-denial and the logic of the bailouts gave rise to a humanitarian crisis that Europe should be deeply ashamed of. Again predictably, the result was the fanning of the flames of misanthropy, of racist nationalism, of all those sinister forces that are demolishing European democracy and replacing it with self-propagating authoritarianism. The results of the last European Parliament elections confirmed that sad truth but did nothing to sway the powers-that-be away from the policies of deconstruction that are behind the emergent bigotry.

Greece is where all this started. It must be where a reversal of Europe’s fragmentation begins too. Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my efforts to come up with a sensible, modest proposal for resolving the euro crisis. Such proposals have no chance, I have now understood, until and unless they are tabled at the Eurogroup, in Econfin at the EU summit.

This is the reason that when Alexis Tsipras honoured me with the offer to run for an Athens parliamentary seat, and with a view to play a role in Greece’s negotiation with Berlin, Frankfurt and Brussels, I could not but accept.

My greatest fear, now that I have tossed my hat in the ring, is that I may turn into a politician. As an antidote to that virus I intend to write my resignation letter and keep it in my inside pocket, ready to submit it the moment I sense signs of losing the commitment to speak truth to power.

PS. Readers of this blog have encountered a number of articles in which I have expressed qualified confidence in SYRIZA’s capacity to change Europe for the better (click here and here for examples). It is scary that now I shall have to partake of the effort to prove that prognosis right.

182 thoughts on “Why I am running for a parliamentary seat on SYRIZA’s ticket

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  3. bonjour, première chose il me semble invraisemblable qu’il n’ y ait la présence d’aucune femme dans la compostion de votre nouveau gouvernement, c’est impensable dans l’esprit d’une démocratie moderne. Ensuite je conseille vivement à ce gouvernement Tsipras de prendre ses disrances vis à vis des institutions religieuses, je fais allusion à l’église orthodoxe de Grèce qui est un contre pouvoir totalement illégitime d’un point de vue politique et qui fait des ravages inadmissibles sur un plan économique..cela dit je vous souhaite le meilleur et surtout de prendre réellement le plus grand soin de la grèce et surtout de son peuple..merci ..barakalo

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  8. Yanni

    I don’t trust SYRIZA at all. But at the same time I support your cause as you can be among the few voices needed in this party which, despite they seem not to be mature at all, have justified ends. You should ask from Tsipras to nominate you as a finance minister, or someone who can direct the decisions of this office. We need to get rid of technocratic solutions and go back to simple common sense politics. You can stand for that. Demand it

  9. Really? And what about the rest of Europeans having to bail out while you are doing absolutely nothing? How do you think your economy will improve without WORKING? By having others paying for you? I am leading an initiative for changing the laws and forcing Greece to get out of the EU. I am tired of paying you while you are start working on 25 and you are retiring on 55. Please start working, get some work ethics and stop this drama queen. Zero sympathy. You are punished for being excessively lazy and you deserve it. You haven’t seen the worse. You will suffer much more until you realize the party is over and start doing some bloody work. EU will not fund your lifestyle anymore. No worky no eaty

    • Guess what… we don’t want to be a member of the EUSSR. So good luck with your initiative. We are Greeks and NOT Europeans

    • Be serious and not naive. You shoot the wrong target. Try to understand who is governing you. !!! The Greek people are not lazy no people are lazy. They have been governed by corrupted politicians, EU is responsible for. But slaves will never be to be good to you and the EU. You should not be allowed to be part of this discussion.

  10. I will be very curious on if Syriza takes the parliament, and how they will then handle the fear factor that the media will start putting into the markets and bring hell to Syriza and Greece.. let the poker game begin….

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  12. Dear Mr Varoufakis,
    Is it contradictory for someone to be for Varoufakis and fully against SYRIZA?
    Do you honestly believe you can trust these guys? I am sure you had have the chance to check them up, to look into their background: true and sincere judgment blurred by ideological preconceptions or personal agendas.
    Do you honestly feel that they will back you up in case, say, they want to follow what you suggest?

    Kostas K

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  17. Good Luck from here (Berlin) also ! Syriza will need competent people like you to negotiate with the German Govt.
    If Spain later in the year gets Podemos in Govt perhabs other countries (IRE, PRT) might follow. It could change whole Europe from a nasty neoliberal project to something more bearable.
    If you play a role in the negotiations: that will probably be as Minister of Finance or Economics ?

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  19. Yanis,

    I count myself lucky to have had the opportunity to be your student and teaching assistant. For my own selfish reasons I wish that you had stayed in Austin… our chats and your advice has been very helpful in my academic journey.

    However, I understand your decision and I wish you great success in your new endeavor. We may not agree on all issues, but I have always been impressed with your keen mind and willingness to listen and consider many sides of an argument. There are very few (truly) open-minded academics and politicians in this world. As someone already stated: Europe needs more men and women like you. People willing to hear out the other side, yet hold conviction in their own beliefs are rare.

    Good luck and don’t be stranger!

    Miha

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  21. Σας εύχομαι ειλικρινά καλή αποτυχία. Και σε εσάς και στο ανερμάτιστο ανώριμο κόμμα που υποστήριζετε. Όταν μας πεταξετε από ατύχημα εκτός ευρώ και οι Λαφαζανης Λαπαβιτσας και Μήλιος πανυγηριζουν να θυμάστε οτι εσείς εμφυσά δεκαδικούς αλητηριους με το ένδυμα της ακαδημαϊκής νομιμοποίησης. Λυπούμαι σας θεωρούσαν ελαφρως σοβαρότερο.

    • do you know anything about the european treaties or the politics behind eu? Dont bother to reply is a rhetorical question since u dont.
      the only way for a country to leave the euro is by its own will and it isnt as easy as it sounds.

      Furthemore even if a small country wishes to leave the u.s ( and the rest european countries) wont let them that easy.(eun is pivotal to stand unite for the survival of u.s)

      the only way for e.e to break is for the americans to allow germany to leave europe if some conditions are met( the bric countries stop growing and german interests stop satisfiying from e.e)

      ps good luck yanni and a tip – stop been that polite in your debates vs coalition politicians it wont help you at all

  22. Καλή επιτυχία, Γιάνη! As someone who has been following the blog and agrees with your views within reasonable statistical error, I have an important question. One that may possibly shape my vote as well as that of many others. The vote of those that do not rely on the propaganda, fear mongering and name-calling we are all witness to here in Greece. My question is: It appears to be that your views are not necessarily commonly held throughout Syriza. This is to be expected in any healthy democracy and in any political party even. But how hard will you have to fight the more radical views being voiced by some (even economists) in Syriza? How will Syriza be able to try and bring reason to Europe when it seems to be the hidden desire of some within the party to come to a stand-off with the E.U.? Is this something being exaggerated by the media that back the status quo or will this be an issue the very next day following the 25th? Thanks in advance.

  23. Good luck Mr. Varoufakis,
    It is trivial to say that politics is a risky game, specially in Greece, as Greeks wait for miracles in the European environment who does not know or has not much interested in the Greek problem. European solidarity is not much developed yet, nor European ideal can move all peoples around us. Hope that your thought can enrich SYRIZA economic proposal, it seems still brutal and old-fashioned, a fresh air should blow to this party core, as it is so diverse and contradicted.
    Good luck. You must have always in mind Kavafy’s “Ithaca” in this journey.

    • Oh come on ! This is open door bull$^&) from a british €uro critic.Obviously Greece wil fall into mayhem when leaving the Euro as it will drop immediately into default and will be shut from any financial market thinkable for the next 30 or so many years. The future of Greece lies within Europe and its forsaken €

      And yes i’m Dutch and very much welcome Yanis as the new finance minister of Greece !

  24. Αγαπητέ κε Βαρουφάκη,

    Εξεπλάγην ευχάριστα απο την απόφασή σας να κατεβείτε στις εκλογές, επειδή ελπίζω οτι θα μπορέσετε να συγκρατήσετε κατά κάποιο βαθμό την άκρατη παροχολογία που επικρατεί στον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, ακριβώς επειδή γνωρίζετε την πραγματική κοινωνικοοικονομική κατάσταση της χώρας, καθώς και οτι μόνο ένας λαός που είναι αποφασισμένος να δουλέψει σκληρά, να στερηθεί και να παράξει αντί απλά να αναζητεί σωτήρα που θα του εξασφαλίσει το προ κρίσης βιοτικό του επίπεδο, μπορεί να αντιμετωπίσει με οικονομική αξιοπρέπεια την -κατ’αρχην- αρνητική Ευρώπη.

    Φοβούμαι όμως μήπως πολύ γρήγορα το κομματικό περιβάλλον, σας αναγκάσει να βγάλετε την παραίτηση που -όπως είπατε- φυλάτε απο τώρα στην τσέπη σας… Τότε, εσείς θα είστε απόλυτα συνεπής με τις αρχές και τα πιστεύω σας, εμείς όμως που θα έχουμε ψηφίσει τον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ ακριβώς γιατί πιστεύουμε στον καταλυτικό σας ρόλο, θα νιώθουμε οτι η ψήφος μας υπεκλάπη.

    Μήπως η υποψηφιότητά σας χρησιμοποιείται απο τον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ για να προσελκύσει τους αναποφάσιστους αυτούς ψηφοφόρους, που δέχονται μεν τις γενικές ιδεολογικές κατευθύνσεις του, αλλά αντιμετωπίζουν με σκεπτικισμό την οικονομική του αισιοδοξία ?

    Ευχαριστώ εκ των προτέρων για την απάντησή σας. Θα είναι καθοριστική για την -δική μου τουλάχιστον- απόφαση.

    Με ιδιαίτερη εκτίμηση Γιαννης Στασινόπουλος

    • Συμμεριζομαι απολυτα τις ανησυχιες σας Κε Στασινοπουλε.
      Προσωπικα δεν εχω αμφιβολια για τις ειλικρινεις προθεσεις του Κου Βαρουφακη, και οπως καταλαβαινω απο την αναρτηση σας δεν εχετε και εσεις. Με αυτο το δεδομενο, αν συμβαινει αυτο που διερωτασθε, τοτε ο Κος Βαρουφακης θα εχει εξαπατηθει οσο και οι ψηφοφοροι του…

      Σε αυτο το πλαισιο η ερωτηση σας τυπικα πρεπει να απευθυνθει στην ηγεσια του Συριζα αν και στην περιπτωση που οι ανησυχιες σας ειναι βασιμες, μαλλον δεν θα παρετε ειλικρινη απαντηση.

      Ετσι τελικα το ερωτημα ειναι ρητορικο και στην πραγματικοτητα αυτο ειναι ενα “ρισκο” που πρεπει να το ζυγισουμε και να το παρουμε μονος μας ο καθενας (μετα απο ενημερωση, συζητηση και σκεψη), οπως αλλωστε εκανε και ο Κος Βαρουφακης με την αποφαση του να κατεβει στις εκλογες,…

      Καλη επιτυχια Κε Βαρουφακη,
      μην γινεται σαν και αυτους, καντε τους αν μπορειτε σαν και σας!

    • Αγαπητέ Bill,
      Συμφωνώ απόλυτα με το σκεπτικό σας
      και ιδιαίτερα με την κατακλείδα σας.
      Ας έκανε όμως και ο Yanis τον κόπο να μας απαντήσει
      για να διασκεδάσει τους φόβους μας.
      Εκτός αν έχει κι’αυτός τους ίδιους…

  25. Yanni parakoulouthw edw kai arketo kairo afta pou exeis pei kai pisteuw oti sta perissotera oson afora to xreos kai tn politikh pou prepei na akolouthhsei h Eurwpi exeis polyto dikaio. Spania ews pote omes den se exw akousei na les ti kanan lathos toso kairo oi Ellhnes kai briskontai se authn thn katastash. Eimai sigouros oti den symmerisesai thn apopsi merikwn pws gia ola ftaine oi xenoi. Pisteueis oti o ellhnikos laos xreisaetai ligo perissotero autokritikh kai oti oi perissoteres metarrytmiseis eidika sto asfalistiko kai ston dhmosio tomea tha prepei na synexistoun anexartita pia tha einai h kybernhsh?
    Euxaristw kai kalh tuxh.

    • Η Ελλάδα πάσχει από πολλαπλές κακοήθειες, κορυφαία αναποτελεσματικότητα και ένα καθεστώς κλεπτοκρατίας που δεν θυμίζει άλλη ευρωπαϊκή χώρα. Όλα αυτά είναι σωστά. Όμως όλα αυτά εξηγούν τον λόγο που είμασταν το πρώτο ντόμινο που έπεσε. Όχι την φαινόμενο ντόμινο το οποίο συνεπήρε όλη την Ευρώπη και μας έφερε ένα Μνημόνιο το οποίο δεν μας επιτρέπει να προβούμε στις μεταρρυθμίσεις που απαιτούνται καθώς εκθρέφει την παλαιά και μια νέα κλεπτοκρατία.

  26. Συγχαρητήρια για την απόφαση σας να δώσετε υποψηφιότητα στις εκλογές! Επιτέλους αναμειγνύεται στην πολιτική του τόπου και ένας ικανός οικονομολόγος. Ελπίζω αυτό το γεγονός να σηματοδοτεί οτι οι όροι αρχίζουν να αντιστρέφονται για την Ελλάδα και ίσως και για όλη την Ευρώπη. Και όπως γράφεται και ο ίδιος: παραμείνετε πιστός στις αρχές σας! Καλή επιτυχία! 😉

  27. Dear Yanis,

    I follow your posts, comments, opinions and modest proposals for more than 5 years now.

    Nevertheless, I feel there is a contradiction between your decision to run on the elections and what you were
    writing a few years ago in your article at protagon.gr (http://www.protagon.gr/?i=protagon.el.article&id=14322)

    Is it because all the means you tried to express your opinions didn’t get the desired outcome?

    Many of your potential voters could really use your honest and sensible answer here.

    • Yes. All channels of communication ended with the Papademos government. A veil of silence descended upon the land as the new cleptocracy was built on the foundation of Bailout 2 monies…

  28. Well done Yanis . I’ve read your book The Global Minotaur and followed you blog for three years and now the moment has come – which I hoped it would – when you would have the opportunity to use your considerable abilities to stand up to this wretched cabal – the EU – and you are taking it . Good for you ! I am English and I hope if we elect a Conservative government ( or Conservative dominated coalition ) next May and are given the opportunity to vote in a referendum to stay in or leave the EU ( as MR Cameron has promised we will ) we will vote to leave . Let it crash and burn !

  29. Αγαπητέ μου κ. Βαρουφάκη,
    Καλή σου χρονιά. Σου εύχομαι υγεία και όλα να εξελιχθούν κατ’ επιθυμίαν.
    Με τις επερχόμενες εκλογές, δεν είναι καθόλου απίθανο ότι το κόμμα στο οποίο εντάχθηκες, θα αναλάβει εξουσία, και επομένως ίσως να λάβεις τον κλήρο να παρουσιάσεις νέο σχέδιο εξόδου για την Ελλάδα από την οικονομική κρίση. Τα τελευταία χρόνια παρακολουθώ τις θέσεις σου. Δεν είμαι καθόλου ειδικός, και μάλλον μπορείς κάλλιστα να με κρίνεις άσχετο στα θέματα τα οποία εσύ ειδικεύεσαι. Δεν μπορώ να κρίνω. Μπορώ όμως να καταλάβω τους βασικούς άξονες της λογικής σου, και αυτά τα λίγα που καταλαβαίνω με πείθουν και θα ευχόμουν να εφαρμοστούν για να μετρήσουμε την αποτελεσματικότητα τους και να χαρούμε με βεβαιότητα ότι θα αποδώσουν καρπούς. Σου εύχομαι καλή επιτυχία λοιπόν.

    Λέγοντας τα ανωτέρω, θέλω να καταθέσω ορισμένες σκέψεις, που δεν εκφράζουν μόνο τη δική μου λογική αλλά και άλλων μάλιστα συναδέλφων του ακαδημαϊκού κόσμου. Η κρίση αυτή δεν είναι απλά οικονομική. Εκτός του γεγονότος ότι οφείλεται σε μια συστεμική διαφθορά των λειτουργών του κράτους, έχει οπωσδήποτε τα συμπτώματα μιας γενικότερης παρακμής της δημοκρατίας. Για να υπάρξει δημοκρατία, πρέπει να στηριχθούν οι συνθήκες οι οποίες θα την ενισχύσουν. Για μένα και για πολλούς οι συνθήκες αυτές βασίζονται όλες στην ποιότητας παιδείας του πολίτη.

    Εκτός από σας παρακολουθώ και άλλους αναλυτές, οι οποίοι προσεγγίζουν την κρίση από κοινωνιολογικής πλευράς και κοινωνικής συμπεριφοράς. Ένας απ’ αυτούς είναι για μένα ο κ. Χ. Γιανναράς. Ερωτώ λοιπόν, ποιες είναι οι κύριες προτεραιότητες του κόμματος ΣΥΡΙΖΑ; Εάν για το ΣΥΡΗΖΑ η παιδεία δεν είναι μια από τις τρεις πρώτες κυριότερες προτεραιότητες, τότε βέβαια η κατάλυση της δημοκρατίας θα συνεχίζεται. Εάν για παράδειγμα ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ δεν έχει στόχο να εξορκίσει και να εξορίσει τα λεγόμενα φοιτητικά σώματα από τα πανεπιστήμια, εάν δεν διατίθεται στον να αναβαθμίσει την ελληνική γλώσσα, εάν δηλαδή συνεχίσει την εθνομηδενιστική πολιτική (εννοώ κατά της γλώσσας και πολιτισμού μας) των προγενεστέρων κυβερνήσεων, τότε αγαπητέ μου κ. Βαρουφάκη, γιατί να υπάρχει Ελλάδα; Τι θα έχει να προσφέρει στην Ευρώπη η Ελλάδα εάν συνεχίσει τον δρόμο του εθνομηδενισμού; Θα μπορούσαν να λειτουργούσαν οι κρατικοί μας μηχανισμοί με τέλεια λογική και απόδοση, εάν αποφασίζαμε σαν πολίτες να «γερμανοποιηθούμε» ή να «αγγλοποιηθούμε» εξολοκλήρου, και να παύσουμε επί τέλους να κοπανάμε τον άδειο τενεκέ λέγοντας ότι είμαστε «Έλληνες», ενώ αντιθέτως να είμαστε μια καρικατούρα της Δ. Ευρώπης. Η μίμηση ΠΑΝΤΑ οδηγεί με μαθηματική ακρίβεια στην παρωδία. Ιδού, δεν καταντήσαμε παρωδία της Ευρώπης; Τι ανάγκη έχει η Ευρώπη από μια γελοιογραφία του εαυτού της; Γιατί θα πρέπει να πιστεύουμε στα γλαφυρά του Αδ. Κοραή ο οποίος μας έλεγε ότι για να γίνουμε έλληνες πρέπει να μιμηθούμε τα λελαμπρυσμένα έθνη της εσπερίας; Δεν το αποτύχαμε παταγωδώς; Και πως θα τα μιμηθούμε χωρίς να γίνουμε οι ίδιοι γελοίοι; Δεν έχει νόημα ύπαρξης ένα κρατίδιο που να λέγεται Ελλάδα και να κατοικείται από ραγιάδες στο νου και στην ψυχή. Δεν έχουμε τίποτε να προσφέρουμε στην Ευρώπη εκτός από «ντοματούλες και αγγουράκια», και μάλλον ζημιά προκαλούμε στους ετέρους μας. Γι’ αυτό, κύριο μέλημα μας είναι η επανεύρεση του πολιτισμού μας. Να ξεπεράσουμε το κόμπλεξ μιας ρομαντικής εκδοχής αρχαιοελληνισμού. Να αντιληφθούμε με ρεαλισμό την ιστορική μας ταυτότητα.
    Η κρίση δεν είναι η οικονομική και μόνο. Είναι και η κρίση της αλλοτρίωσης. Για να τα ξεπεράσουμε, ή να γίνουμε μια καρικατούρα του ελληνικού πολιτισμού με το να γίνουμε Γάλλοι ή Γερμανοί ή οτιδήποτε άλλο, ή θα αποφασίσουμε τέλος πάντων να είμαστε έλληνες, να συνειδητοποιήσουμε ότι έχουμε δικό μας πολιτισμό, μια απίθανη γλώσσα (το DNA του λαού μας που μας συνδέει με ένα παρελθόν ισόχρονο με την έννοια «ελληνικός πολιτισμός»), για μπορέσουμε να φανούμε χρήσιμοι και να προσφέρουμε αυθεντικές λύσεις όχι μόνο στις δικές μας ανάγκες αλλά και για την παγκόσμια κοινωνία.

    Θα άντεχε ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ να προσφέρει κάτι το νέο, το αυθεντικό; Καλή δύναμη.

  30. I am excited I have a chance to vote for you (na se stavroso). Since game theory and therefore negotiating is your specialty, I trust you will do as a good a job as possibly could be expected dealing with cold hearted eurocrats. I am looking forward to reading an extensive article from you with a first hand account of the process after it’s all done and out, hopefully with success.
    In the mean time, it would be useful if you could explain to all the smart (according to their own thinking) journalists and politicians (the Spirakis and Pretenderis of this world) that revealing from the beginning what you are planning to do after the possible rejection of your opening arguments is a disastrous negotiating mistake.

  31. My advance Congrats on your forthcoming rather certain election.

    I would like to suggest, that among all the other very important things you will have to cope with, you won’t “forget” to pursue the FULL LOGISTICAL and LEGAL review of Greece’s public dept. A really hard, tedious, but also very worthy financially, judicially and historically task.

    No one has currently an idea on how it was created, or details as to where the moneys went, or for what purpose, or how exorbitant and expensive were the various official public agreements signed to date, with many procuring companies or organizations.

    However, it is estimated, that a good part of the Dept and accrued interest, pertains to overly costly, exceedingly unethical and illegal agreements, accepting paying multiple times over the real cost, signed by a large number of crooked politicians, seeking hugely generous bribes.

    If you can organize this campaign, then maybe a lot of the unethical moneys can then be collected, thru court decisions, back from these third parties or companies, helping lower the total public dept as well as to give support to the now completely destroyed social care and social security system.

  32. Good Yanis. I am surprised about your decision to run in this election. It goes against your prior statements. I will vote for you, although I have my serious reservations about SIRIZA’s intentions to change things in Greece and furthermore to be the political power who will change the EUROZONE and the EU from destruction. I only hope that you will implement few of your modest proposal ideas. The political arena is the theatre that your ideas can be implemented! Don’t disappoint your followers. Good luck Yanis.

  33. I ‘ve read all the comments. You say that your worst fear is that you may turn into a politician. You are wrong. You are now carrying the hopes of thousands of people on your shoulders. Who see you, as if you were the mythical sorceress queen, Kirki. They expect from you, to turn all the political and economical pigs back into humans. This is a heavy burden prof, and you will carry it alone. Because being a “greekonomist”, a writer and a blogger is one thing. Creating expectations is another. Politicians are supposed to fulfill expectations. Otherwise they are useless. That should be your worst fear. Always remember. Being a politician does not necessarily make you corrupt. On the other hand, being corrupt, definitely makes you a politician. Finally, in order to explain why you are running for a parliamentary seat. Don’t get me wrong on this one. You could just say, that you sold your soul to the devil, in exchange for becoming “young” again. And when I say “young”, I mean the age when we thought we could change the world. Good luck…

  34. Γιάννη καλή σου επιτυχία… Είμαστε πάντα δίπλα σου με Πίστη και Ελπίδα!!!

  35. Mr, Varoufakis, as a Spaniard who some time ago spent a whole year living and working in Athens, I wish I could voute for Syriza instead of any of the parties we have in Spain. Your theory about the origins of this crisis is one of the deepest and most comprehensive I have yet found, stretching very far back to explain that this crisis is the result of very long term trends. I’m glad that at least one person with a deep understanding of the crisis will sit in an European parliament.

    The only thing I miss in your discourse is a deeper acknowledgement of the internal problems that Greece needs to overcome, the reforms it needs to not repeat its previous mistakes. Let me talk about Spain once more. Spain is not a “proud nation” suffering a “fiscal waterboarding”. Its whole social economy is deeply rotten and unfit to survive. Spanish people and voters actually got what they wanted from their governments: a real estate bubble to boost the prices of their flats so they could feel richer, or sell it and become richer by taking it from the younger generation. The whole economy is adapted to thrive in a real estate bubble, and it has been since long before the introduction of the euro.

    But this message is not being told to the Spanish people. Instead, the parties who sympathize with Syriza talk only about corrupt politicians, tax evasion and bad European policies. That’s why I would prefer to vote for Syriza than for any of them. But I hope that Syriza is as radical in the internal front as it seems to be in the European front.

    Best of luck!

  36. Good luck. It will be interesting to see how the proposals you developed play out in the real world. Don’t be surprised if they fail, though. Because they address the wrong end. Renegotiate the loans – to what, 50 years grace period and 0,1% interest rate? Come on, the taxpayers of the creditor nations ar not *that* stupid. As you know, me advice was always instead of tryinig even more tricks with the loan conditions: Greece should get an outright *big* haircut, because Greece can never pay back the debt. Condition for agreement to the haircut: Greece leaves the Eurozone. So she can get back to full national souvereignity, an own currency is inevitably necessary for this.

    Like many Greeks, you seem to still not have accepted that the huge problems your nations is in were and are caused by Greeks – mainly the so called ‘elites’ which ran and ruined your country. As a consequence, the situation can only get better if Greece changes, in a lot of ways.

  37. Have you ever thought about what the plans, Syriza have, cost the German Taxpayer? You didn’t, because if you did, you did know that you’re asking something that is impossible or is this what all Greek parties are the best in, make promises they can’t fulfill

    • For a necessary Greek haircut of 50 % of the debt, the average Dutch household will loose € 1000 … This will create at least some uproar in somee national newspapers, but afterwards, i believe we will digest this as a necessary means to an end. The latter is getting the Greek issue solved.

      However, we north-europeans would also expect the greek to solve in a rigorous way their own (taxation) issues. The tax institutions should be improved dramatically, corruption has to end and what happened to the Lagarde list of 2000 Greeks noted for tax evasion … ?

  38. Dear Yanis,

    your “Global Minotaur” has been an extremely valuable tool for me in understanding the crisis.

    Although my reference is to the autonomous tradition, this time I am going to vote and my vote will be for SYRIZA. There is an urgent need for representatives, who are armed with epistemic arguments in order to confront the neoliberal estate of the EU institutions.

    From my standing, it is difficult to believe that an MP will be able to withstand the “sweet taste of power” and not become a politician… However, the fact that you are running for the MP seat instead of being an obscure consultant, is another evidence of your devotion to the democratic tradition.

    As an extra antidote to the “sweet taste of power”, please keep reminding everyone Churchill’s quote about “blood, toil, tears, and sweat”, to which you frequently refer.

    The best of luck!

    Btw, do you have any comments on ECB’s decision to postpone for March the announcement of any QE program ??

  39. It is to your honour the fears you expressed here and at your posting at protagon.gr; a healthy point of departure into politics. Your dedication to remain faithful to the basic principals of dialectic should protect you in staying the earnest course….

    Good luck

  40. >>”My greatest fear, now that I have tossed my hat in the ring, is that I may turn into a politician.”

    Sir, you have mad that turn quite some time before. But why should you fear it??

    May I ask if it was really the Troika who waterboarded the Greek population, or the past Greek politicians who abstained from real reforms and preferred to push many of their voters into poverty?

    Only politicians argument with colored light as you brilliantly do in your text above. Keep your intellectual and scientific attitudes and you will hopefully push the next government into the direction it should have gone years ago!

    H.Trickler

  41. Well, you may not have ever anticipated this eventuality but many of us did. Isn’t that clever of us?!
    Good luck. Make a difference!
    Beats playing guitar and singing in the Albert Hall!

  42. Κρίμα που γίνατε μέλος του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ ! Οι ικανότητες σας είναι πολυ ανώτερες να τις χαραμίζετε στο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ. Το ΣΥΡΙΖΑ ΕΙΝΑΙ μόνο Θεωρία, όχι ότι τα αλλά κόμματα είναι καλλίτερα. Όλα τα κόμματα, μικρά, μεγάλα χάνουν και είναι απαράδεκτο ότι έχουν μπερδέψει τον λαό και τον έχουν διαμοιράσει ανάμεσα σε όλα αυτά τα μικρά κόμματα.
    – παρακολουθώ για εβδομάδες τις απαντήσεις του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ και ακόμα δεν έχουν δηλώσει με υπευθυνότητα και ντομπροσυνη από που θα βρουν τα λεφτά να καλύψουν μισθούς, συντάξεις etc….. Έχουν περάσει και τον Παπαντρεου…..κοροϊδεύουν τον Ελληνικό λαό, η νομίζουν ότι η Ευρώπη θα τους φοβηθεί…. Είναι για κλάματα !!! ( δεν ανοικω πουθενά )

    • Δεν έγινα μέλος του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ. Ανταποκρίθηκα στην πρόσκληση να βοηθήσω μια κυβέρνηση με κορμό τον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ.

    • Yanis’s reply mixes the segregation of powers. The role of the members of parliament is to create law and check the government’s actions, not helping government.

  43. Συγχαρητήρια και καλή δύναμη. Κυρίως για το πως θα αντιμετωπίσεις την κατάσταση αν και όταν κληθεί ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ να υλοποιήσει όλη αυτή την ακατάσχετη παροχολογία (ούτε ο Ανδρέας Παπανδρέου δεν έλεγε τόσα “ΘΑ”). Προβλέπονται τρελλά γλέντια με τους ΛαφαζανοΣκουρλετοΠαπαδημούληδες. Συνιστώσες υπάρχουν. Να δούμε αν θα υπάρξει και συνισταμένη.

  44. I wish you all the luck and strength in your new vocation. May the lovely people of Greece benefit from an inspirational man like yourself. Will Greece and Europe be ready for a man with real insight? Time will tell.

    The credibility of Greek politics just improved 1000%.

  45. Congrats Gianni! I am not impressed by SYRIZA’s political program but I will vote it. I believe that a man like you may be useful for our country despite the fact I disagree with you in many things. You are an open minded person and that is exactly what Greece and Europe need. My best wishes and my vote too.

  46. “Why I am running for a parliamentary seat on SYRIZA’s ticket”

    Bacause you realize that it is better to sit on the hay wagon than being one of the donkeys pulling it!

  47. Yanis good luck

    I have been living in Switzerland in the past two years and I had decided not to vote in the upcoming elections.
    However, when I heard that you will participate in these elections, I decided I will come to GREECE only to vote for you.

    Yiannis

  48. Although I have a fundamental different view on almost evry economic and poitical issue, I wish you the most success, because not only greek, but also european politics requires every honest politician. Even if he is so very wrong like you-)

    • Has there been a more contradictory statement in blogland this year than this one?!

  49. Dear Yannis – fair play to you!, as we say in Ireland.

    Europe desperately needs political representatives that have a deep understanding of political economy to help us out of the deflationary rightwards-lurching hell that the EU has become. I’d dearly love to see you on a team negotiating with the likes of Wolfgang Schäuble.

    In the unlikely event that you get time to read this comment – what can we (non-Greek speakers) in the rest of the EU and wider afield do to encourage the Greek citizens to have courage and elect either a Syriza majority of put Syriza in a position to form a workable partliamentary coalition?

    • In answer to your question: Elect a government in Ireland that stands up against organised misanthropy! Fair play to us all.

  50. Pingback: Yani Vaurofakis: ¿Porque me presento a las elecciones al parlamento por SYRIZA? [Eng]

  51. It is veery brave of you to try to prove in praxis what you advocate. Congratulations and good luck in winning the elections.
    It is very smart to have a string in your pocket when entering the maze of compromises, decsions on whome to give projects (business constituency), negotiations with power dealers and groups they bring with in order to slay the Minotaur.
    Be ready to be attacked from all sides if you are disturbing the order, the hierarcy of the established orders. The bankers are used to being begged for funds and expect the major offense from them.

    If i may offer some advices; Remember that the state is poor because it gives low pensions and benefits, not that state is poor so it can not give good pensions.
    Compromise between offering projects to new small businesses that will bring you new votes and to old established project dealers with state not to loose them, not to offend them. Every politician has to deal with this issue.
    Select all kinds of people around and entrust them with projects, do not hold all strings in your hands, there is too many strings to hold if you do not entrust others with work. Now you have to act as an director of a company while pushing for mergers with others. Now you will have to apply micro with macroeconomics at the same time. Hopefully you will have higher position then as a parliamentary and work on macro issues only where you excell.

    Much good luck to you in slaying the Minotaur. We in Croatia need many like you here too.

  52. Exhilarating news to finally give-in and run for office. With you, SYRIZA probably now has formed the best economics team a political party has ever achieved. I do not doubt that you will be elected, I only truly hope that you’ll be the next finance minister and cannot wait to see your encounter with Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble discussing issues on austerity success. Economic policies implemented in USA since the financial crisis is the greatest testimony against the German austerity fossils.
    Wish you the greatest success in your new involvement with “koina” from the bottom of my heart, and I know with certainty that you will not disappoint anyone in our Great Proud Motherland.

  53. Από τους ελάχιστους που διαγνώσατε σωστά και είχατε το θάρρος να διατυπώσετε την άποψή σας για την κρίση. Από τους ελάχιστους που σταθερά, διαρκώς και με συνέπεια εξηγείτε και εκπαιδεύετε τον κόσμο όχι μόνο στην Ελλάδα για την αναποτελεσματικότητα της λύσης που δώθηκε μέσα από την λιτότητα και το μνημόνιο. Από τους ελάχιστους (μεταξύ μας δεν γνωρίζω άλλον) που καταθέτουν μια εναλλακτική πρόταση, ρεαλιστική που αντιμετωπίζει την ουσία του προβλήματος και μάλιστα επωφελεία όλων των λαών της Ευρώπης και που ευτυχώς ο Σύριζα γίνεται φορέας της πρότασης αυτής.
    Σας εύχομαι καλή επιτυχία.

  54. Great news Yanis, goodonyou for taking the plunge.

    Now for Yves Smith or Jamie Galbraith to run in the US, David Malone or Ann Pettifor to run in the UK, and Steve Keen or Bill Mitchell to run here in Oz…

    It was Tony Aspromourgos who put me on to your work years ago. great to see that your views – which manage to be both straightforward and nuanced, and informed by history and phoilosophy as well as economics – will have the opportunity to be heard where it counts.

    All the best.

  55. ” A governing Syriza will raise the minimum wage, reintroduce collective bargaining, and repeal the measures that have led to economic collapse and a humanitarian crisis. ”

    Reverting back to The very outdated thinking, ideology And actions that causes the crisis in Greece.

    Communism does not create economic growth.
    More bureaucracy and state employees does not solve the crisis.
    “A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it.”
    Proper Corperate Governance and economic freedom are the cornerstones of jobs and wealth creation. They go hand in hand.

    Stop living in a fools paradise. The rethoric of Syriza and its actions are nothing more than a short sighted and juvenile rebellion against authority.

    • Six years of misery, a drop of GDP by more than 1/3, debt/gdp ratio unsustainable despite massive bail-out money, unemployment in excess of 30% (one out of two among the young), subsistence wages, millions in the verge of starvation, masses bailing out the cleptocrats bankers, skyrocketing taxes for workers and pensioners, and no sight of ending this misanthropy. These are the indisputable facts my blind friend.
      Who is living in a fools paradise? Open your eyes and look up at reality face to face.

  56. The idea is not to avoid becoming a ‘politician’ like a virus (bubonic plague) but to change the art and science of being a politician. Like changing anything else that needs a damn strict and rigid selection process and Syriza will be blamed if the choice is wrong. All you have to do is trust yourself that you will not become one of the so many thieves, corruptos, liers, immoral supercolotumbes that are so familiar to us. Being in your voting district – B Athinas – I trust you will not so become. Bravo for taking a chance!

  57. Standing for so long at the threshold between theory and applied policy I’m glad you decided to cross the line. It is a bold and ethical move and I’m confident you will maintain the integrity that made us follow your commentary for all these years. Hopefully you will also bring some coherence (to say the least) in our country’s suffering political discourse and a certain bravery in the shallow cockfight that seems to be the norm for our political personnel.

  58. Good luck Yanis
    I’m portuguese and I’m ashamed to say that my goverment has lovingly embraced austerity and stood, as the submissive cowards they are, alongside the germans and their moral view of this crisis thus contributing for the fiscal waterboarding of their own country and citizens.
    I hope you rattle the eurogroup, ecofin and eu summits cages and defend Greece (and consequently all southern europe). We’re all greeks now!

  59. It has been a rumour in Greece for a couple of weeks but now it’s official. This is probably the best piece of news I’ve heard for quite some time. I hope that you will become the country’s next FinMin; a breath of fresh air after the likes of the unelected Simitis’ boys Stournaras and Chardouvelis. Also, with the letter of resignation in your pocket you will make an excellent marker of Syriza’s intentions and honesty. Mind you, most of us Syriza supporters are still tentative and doubtful and we would take your resignation very seriously.

    Best of luck. You will definitely be getting my vote and other peoples’ that I may be able to persuade.

  60. Mr Varoufakis…For somebody who has been labelled incorrectly as a “Greek Economist” and who is temporarily exiled in Texas…somebody who has continued to “Fight the Good Fight”….these responses must be uplifting & heart warming!

  61. Dear Yianni, It is your responsibility to partake in changing the route EU (and Greece) has taken. The “politician” fear is founded only if the definition of the term has to do with “treason”, of what you believe and what those you represent believe. I do not know you personally but your actions up to now show that this is impossible with you. Forget the paper in your pocket and work for change also of the “politicians” integrity, which you have in abundance. I will vote for you and I am sure that you will honour my trust in you.

  62. Yani, you have my sincere thanks for your decision to commit yourself in what will prove to be a Herculean task. Godspeed, my friend!

  63. Γιάννη χαρικα για την απόφαση σου να πολιτευτής. Ανεξάρτητα με το κόμμα της επιλογής σου εύχομαι καλλη επιτυχία. Χριαζονται πολλοί σαν εσένα με φιλία. Μιχάλης Ντοβελλος από Sydney

  64. Dear Mr. Varoufakis,
    One of the main reasons you’ll have my vote for, is your articulated and documented speech, both in it’s verbal and written form. Such quality has been profoundly missing in the latter years of our Parliamentary composition. Good Luck.

  65. I’m very happy for Greece and you, this is excellent news, but selfishly I must ask what of this blog? Your voice has been a wonderful source for me in America in understanding what the hell is happening. I will miss it if the rigors and silliness of political theater prevent your openness on this blog.

    I’m sure you will leave your mark, good luck.

    • I promise to keep his blog going – candidly and without any of the evasions that are a politician’s mark. The only thing that will suffer is the frequency of posts.

    • You have my respect. Do not promise not to be evasive. It is not possible in politics. What Greece and Europe wants is results. Focus on that and everyone will in the end happily accept standard political deviousness. All the truely great state persons had to have recourse to such methods.

  66. Congrats Yanni, bold move
    But I don’t get how Syriza will have any chance to go against the plutocracy that rules Greece, EU and the rest of the world. I’ll stick with the KKE loonies – you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs😉

    Any move that threatens the status quo, they’ll unleash the neanderthals – common species in Greece

    Good luck though:)

  67. Yiani, good luck I trust your courage will not be crushed by the dead hand of Greek and European bureaucracy and inertia, some metaphorical cages will need to be rattled. Hopefully your time at Papandreou’s side and some episodes of ‘Yes minister’ will see you make a difference. Με εκτίμηση.

  68. Dear Yannis,

    When i heard your decision my first thought was negative, because I thought your thinking and knowledge was valuable for the public and from now on, this clear thinking will be diffracted by the party’s strict political and ideological lines. But, my second thinking was, who I would prefer to represent me in the Greek parliament? Αnyone who is representative of specific interests or a man that for 5 years is struggling to reveal the truth against the main distorted view which was established all over Europe. I am certain of your success, but I am afraid that the burden of political compomises that your party will be forced into, will be too heavy for a honest and reliable person as you are. Hope you the best though!

  69. “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

    Thomas Paine winter of 1776 when all seemed lost. Then Washington had a plan. Cross the Delaware on Christmas and attack.
    “Until Washington crossed the Delaware, the triumph of the old order seemed inevitable. Thereafter, things would never be the same again.” David Hackett Fisher in Washington’s Crossing

  70. I assume this means that – given You win that mandate – You will become Greece’s next finance minister?,
    That would certainly make You the only politician in an important position currently known to me across europe, who not only bases his decisions (and the continuation of his political career!) on his own conscience but who also does so out of a profound understanding of what he is talking about. I wish we had a single one of those here in the motherland of austerity.
    So I wish You and Mr Tsipras (and the Greek people) all the best for the very difficult task of opening the eyes of the rest of the european political establishment and finally making them see the error of this undemocratic plutocracy they have let the European Union become.

  71. I’m not such a big fan of having politicians renounce their salaries, or having them live like the ‘average’ person (impossible anyway due to their position). Like term limits, this personal austerity actually invites corruption. I don’t think you can rely too much on people being altruistic and principled, especially in a large organization. Look at priests.

    It’s better that politicians are paid at a comfortable level, so they don’t have to go around begging rich people for money. And so they are not enticed by the prospect.

  72. A long awaited decision. Glad you assume the responsibility of your ideas and hope to carry them out in action. A truly ethical choice that honors you as an intellectual as well as a civilian; wishing you all the best with your endeavors. I will now look forward to your articles with greater anticipation!

  73. Congratulations Yiani. It is an honorable action to be involved in the democratic process. You have the education knowledge and the talent. You are fully qualified for the seat to elevate the very low standards of the Greek parliament.

    I do not want to discourage you but again i think your proposals will fall on deaf ears and will not been encompassed by SYRIZA.

    There are a lot subservient and self interest motivated in the Greek political scene. the rest are the useful idiots who do not understand.

    Anyway good luck and do not forget the starting point of your success is reclaiming the Greek “National Sovereignty” . Do not disappoint the patriot Greeks. Keep your resignation letter date current and handy..

  74. Hi Yani-

    I am a fan of your blog.

    Which of the liberal economic reforms imposed by the troika will syriza reverse? Eg pensions, closed professions, etc?

    Best

  75. Good luck, please take it easy on new legislation and specifically in regards to taxation.
    This is no time for experimentation. The sole reason that Syriza will get elected is because
    of the over taxation initiated by Samaras.

  76. Yanis, I wish you from this forum too, good luck. Only I am already very sorry, cause I already can see, what will be thrown at you at every public discussion and debate. The professor from abroad, who ran away from Greece in the time of crisis, who comments from the safety of the US. I also hope, after your journey into politics you will be still able to go after your profession of teaching people how to make sense of economy and perhaps shape the profession in the future.

    And yes, I wish you, after you had a successful negotiation in Europe, that you are equally successful in the inside, or have the courage to speak out and leave, when confronted with the constraints of the old corrupt political system, deep rooted also in the left, which will only be a matter of time.

  77. Best wishes for the election.

    However, having made your mind to go into politics, I would humbly urge you—contrary to your misgivings, although every Greek understands where they are coming from–to become a politician; the right kind of politician, that speaks his mind to power, and votes where his mouth is, as much as possible. There are plenty of Machiavelli where you are going, but they are short of Themistocles. If you can become a positive role model to the bunch of freshman politicians that the next parliament will likely have, you will have made a great contribution.

    If elected, I wish you will be a radical politician; moderation is good for second-rate minds, who cannot see anything except with their eyes, or those worrying about reelection. Radical vision is lacking in our politics, although there is plenty of hallucination posing for vision.

    PS. Will we miss your analyses?

  78. Κε.Γιαννη σας ειχα για πιο σοβαρό,δυστυχώς και εσείς μας ΓΕΛΑΣΑΤΕ !!!

  79. Quite literally SY.RIZ.A will save the lives of my relatives in Greece and friends, from the youngest to the oldest, by winning.

    I cannot vote in Greece, my father was English, my mum had to leave with him after the war. But whoever I ring in Greece I extol voting SYRIZA.

    With a SYRIZA win, the left in the UK might finally break through the media ignoring them and get a chance to win in May’s general election here in England.

    But whatever the Troika do in Greece, the politicians copy here in England against a nation not in debt to Europe. We starve here by design of the wealthy politicians who equally threaten the wellbeing, if not our lives, of a babe not yet born to the oldest granny.

    Austerity in the UK is a lie. Benefit admin cost is rising by the billions each year, whilst billions are cut from the starving’s food money each and every year. And the UK does not feed the hungry every day, throwing away still edible food to the amount of 400,000 tonnes each year, by design and government subsidy.

    The UK politicians even refused money from the EU to pay direct to the charitable (not state funded) food banks, who cannot feed the hungry every day, or even every week. The nation now has reached 1 million benefit sanctions lasting many months, when it takes a month to starve to death.

    After our general election, the United Nations will return to the UK to investigate the allegations that early deaths and suicides are being caused by benefit sanctions leaving people to starve to death in their homes or on the street.

    Best of luck to all SYRIZA candidates in Greece. When you win, come and run in UK’s May elections. i’ll vote for you here. So will over 15 million of the poorest, 2.6million pensioners just on the state pension so far far below the breadline and the poor over 60s (over half of us) being left with no money forever in old age by wealthy politicians getting an 11 per cent pay rise this year.
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/state-pension-at-60-now

  80. I sincerely hope -and fear- that greece is the foreland for the rest of the european nation states. The total decimation of leftist parties (people feel they were betrayed by leftist parties) and the rise of neo-fascist/extreme nationalist groups in europe worries me. I hope that Syriza can beat the odds and can be an example for the humanistic and social peoples of europe. I wish I could renounce my vote in the netherlands to vote for syriza.
    I hope you will not be outflanked in negotiations. I hope you will not give up your fundamentally uncompromising way of believing in a better, more just world. I hope you will not take your eyes from the priorities in favor of unimportant -so called- “pressing matters”, for losing your focus what is important Yani, will be your downfall.
    I hope that one day, people will look at this time and age and shake their heads in disbelief: How could people have caused so much agony and misery, just out of spite? I hope that they will look at future-europe as a strong federation of peace-loving states. A light in the darkness.

  81. Good luck, Yanis! You have made a very courageous decision. A lot hangs on the Greek election and many people outside Greece are aware of its significance. This is about the very principles of democracy: autonomy and sovereignty. It is fitting that Greece should be the stage where a battle will be fought to reassert these principles. As your fellow countryman Cornelius Castoriadis repeatedly stressed with reference to Athenian democracy, democracy is a tragic regime, constantly haunted by the possibility of self-cancellation. Democracy, especially in Europe, now appears to be but a hypocritical form of oligarchic rule in support of plutocracy. But even if it appears to have become just an empty procedural shell, as a cultural ideal it has not yet died. People like you can breathe new life into it .

  82. Λαμπρά, ευχαριστίες και τις καλύτερες ευχές μου. Είθε να αντέξετε την απύθμενη βλακεία αρκετών εκ των συναδέλφων σας στο κοινοβούλιο. Καλή δύναμη.

  83. Yanis,

    I totally disagree with your party’s platform and don’t think highly of your leader either, but I do wish you well even though I think this was in the making for quite some time.

    Unfortunately, the entire Greek political landscape is hopelessly corrupt and you will get frustrated navigating it and dealing with petty politics.

    A few things I would like you to keep in mind. First, the Greek pension system needs a massive overhaul to make it sustainable over the long-run. This is a big discussion but having worked at two of Canada’s largest public pension funds, I can tell you the governance at Greek pensions is horribly antiquated.

    Second, while I think Greece needs to drastically cut its bloated public sector, the way the coalition government implemented austerity is ridiculous. I know a few Greek university professors that are trying to get by on a shoestring budget. Worse still, many doctors aren’t being paid. In order to preserve the bloated public sector, the leaders made drastic cuts in health and education. This is beyond foolish and threatens the future of the country.

    Wish you the best of luck but having that resignation letter handy is a wise decision. If you have time, read my latest on whether Europe is on the verge of another crisis:

    http://pensionpulse.blogspot.ca/2015/01/on-verge-of-another-euro-crisis.html

    Best regards,

    Leo Kolivakis

    Publisher of Pension Pulse blog.

  84. Θερμά συγχαρητήρια για τη γενναία απόφαση! Παρόλο που η μέχρι σήμερα διαλεκτική του κόμματος που υποστηρίζετε δεν με έχει πείσει, είμαι σίγουρη ότι η παρουσία σας στο ελληνικό κοινοβούλιο θα συμβάλει στην ποιοτική αναβάθμιση του ρόλου του και θα προάγει τον διάλογο..

  85. Congratulations on your decision. I aplaud it and wish you and our country courage and the best of luck. It is time we improve the quality of our parliament that unfortunately has hit rock bottom in the last elections and your participation in it (I consider your entry a certainty) will be a a good start. I take it as a good sign that you find your paticipation in the great effort ahead scary. Only fools dismiss the dangers and challenges ahead ligthly. Anyway, prepare for the good fight and I will leave you with the eternal words of one of our finest poets “Όσοι το χάλκεον χέρι βαρύ του φόβου αισθάνονται, ζυγόν δουλείας ας έχωσι. Θέλει αρετήν και τόλμην η ελευθερία.”.

  86. Good luck Dr.V. you will be sorely missed (from the independent thinkers club). When you transform from thinker to “doer “, it is inevitable that you check out from “the club”. This is not a bad thing as long as you remember the reasons why you left while you are on your path. So keep them in writing in your pocket with your resignation letter…
    I strongly believe in your integrity and good intentions and wish you the best of luck. Do not let vanity get the best of you. I assume you are doing this not for you, but as a service to your fellow citizens. Do not despair if your fellow citizens do not want your help and/or crucify their helper. Get ready to play dirty but not be dirty, as a vilification tsunami will soon be on its way. Do not end up as “successful” as Stournaras. I support you 200%.

  87. You are literally the sole reason I am going to support syriza in these elections.Hopefully you will get your chance to get your words out at the highest and most formal level in the EU.
    Wish you all the best wholeheartedly.

  88. Congratulation Yani! I know you will stand tall for Greeks and a better road out of this mess! It certainly will not be made easy by Euro union banksters.

  89. Good on you:-)
    You stand up and be counted and that’s the spirit.
    I hope you go on to win the election. And that’s when the hard part will start. I believe you’re under no illusions how strong a resistance you’ll face. I hope you can put enough of your ideas into practice to show that there actually is an alternative approach that actually does change things for the better. Enough of the TINA shit. Here’s hoping it’s the beginning of a change of stance in the EU instead of another false dawn. Anyway, good luck to you. If we don’t fight for our believes we might as well pack it in.

  90. Yasou Yani,

    There are some stones that may be too big to carry but must be carried regardless if political victory is to be achieved. That’s why Politics is the art of doing the impossible.

    The Left has been wandering in a neoliberal world of the Global Minotaurs it never created and has suffered within its scorched lands. The impossible task is to kill the Global Minotaurs and rescue of the planet. The impossible is easy when there’s no alternative.

    “Σήμερα, φίλες και φίλοι, είναι η αρχή του τέλους ενός καθεστώτος που βύθισε την Ελλάδα στη φτώχεια, την ανεργία, τη δυστυχία, την απελπισία.” [ http://www.syriza.gr/article/id/59735/–Binteo—Omilia-toy-Proedroy-toy-SYRIZA-Aleksh-Tsipra-sto-Cine-Kerameikos.html#.VLA1tdLF_0d ] These words are sweet words, yet action is dearer. As they say, “It’s time to put our money where our collective mouth is.” It’s historical payback time.

    I will only support your candidacy only if you continue to enact methodically and ethically and rationally all the SYRIZA programmatic policies that will unite Greeks with all Europeans against the Troika Minotaurs of this world with the aim of making it a better world for all.

    We All Either Stand Together or Hang Separately: TINA! => Καλή τύχη

  91. If Yanis cannot pull it of with the Europeans then no one can.
    And it is not an overstatement…
    As a voter of Agii Anargigoi-Kamatero i wish you good luck.
    You nave my vote.

  92. Dear Yanis,

    Wish you the very best luck to the upcoming elections. Finally someone to bring quality to syriza’s positions for the economy and debt management!
    There was some time ago that I heard Alexis tsipras speak about crisys and it was like copy pasting your thoughts… So now it’s official!

    Ps : be aware of the mud! They will use the time you spend aside George papandreou!

  93. ‘My greatest fear, now that I have tossed my hat in the ring, is that I may turn into a politician. As an antidote to that virus I intend to write my resignation letter and keep it in my inside pocket, ready to submit it the moment I sense signs of losing the commitment to speak truth to power.’

    If you don’t want ‘to turn into a Politician’ then renounce the salary – refuse to take a single Euro from the Public Purse.
    Same goes for Syriza – it should refuse public funds; it hasn’t to date to my knowledge.
    Also I believe you get a staff of 5 if elected. Refuse them. You don’t need them, write your own letters – you can type !

    Every Greek politician I have ever met was as corrupt as Hell. It would be very sad to see you go the same way.

    • Let me see if I am getting this: You are advocating that only those with accumulated savings, that can last for 4 years, should serve as members of Parliament. Am I right?

    • If ordinary people begin to believe that they must refuse a salary to serve in gov’t, then you’re going to have only people with good savings and trust funds serving (i.e. the rich). If a professor serves, I suspect he can’t fulfill his duties as an academic any longer, and will need to take a hiatus from his position. Therefore, a gov’t salary is important to allow ordinary people to serve in gov’t.

    • The Dutch socialist party has a different way of dealing with this: everything over a modal salary is donated to the party treasury. By living on a modal salary they make sure they don’t lose touch with the lives of ordinary people, and also show they’re not into politics for the money.

    • The Dutch socialist party has a different way of dealing with this: everything over a modal salary is donated to the party treasury. By living on a modal salary they make sure they don’t lose touch with the lives of ordinary people, and also show they’re not into politics for the money.

    • Couple of points. There is no reason why in the modern world being a Member of Parliament needs to be, nor should be, a full time occupation or even considered as such. It never was. Parliament (certainly in the UK) does not sit 365 days a year. And actually the Commons did not sit until 2:30pm before Labour and the Blair Babes started messing around with everything precisely so members could do other work in the mornings.

      Secondly until 1911 MPs (in the UK) were not paid. Thereafter they got £400 a year and that would today equate to about £4000. A Greek MP has a basic Monthly salary of E5700. As you are not keen on the poverty bit I wonder what you and Syriza would consider to be an appropriate monthly salary ? How about the average Greek salary ? Or perhaps there should be a simple daily allowance paid when Parliament actually sits. Every Greek I know spits feathers at the mere mention of Parliamentarians and much of that rage is premised on the belief that they have their snouts in the public purse. They all feel they pay heavy taxes to fund this largesse.

      And the UK has 650 MPs for a population of over 60+ million. Greece has 300 for a population of around 11 million. I hardly think a Greek MP does more work than a UK MP so that suggests they are under employed. A lot of ours are (Scottish, Welsh, Ulster) because of lop-sided devolution.

    • What type of nonsense is this entire debate about politicians serving for free? One thing is to disagree with them and vote them out of office, but to suggest that only the well-off can serve (because a member of any parliament has to eat as well) is preposterous.

  94. Good luck Yanis.

    From all people, you are the most qualified to to be a negotiator and representative of Greece.

    I wish you could take this role without having to become a politician though. Stournaras was not elected. So Tsipras could have used you too for this position, without you asking for people’s votes. It is clear that Tsipras is looking for the extra votes you will bring.

    Let it be. I still believe in you. Do not disappoint us.

  95. This was a courageous and principled decision: congratulations! It is not easy for policy advisors and analysts to make the shift into everyday politics, but Greece needs as many committed and clever people as it can get. Good luck!

  96. Excellent news. I revel in the fact that the Greek Parliament would benefit from your quality. As to Syriza that’s a matter for the Greek electorate to decide. The important thing is that you will engage in shaping the minds and opinions of the other 299 policy makers at a time of torment for our country and suffering society.

  97. Yani bravo.
    This indeed reminds me of why I had so much respect for you.
    You stand by your ideas. You put yourself in everything you say.
    It’s more than most of us can say.
    If ever I would vote Syriza only now.

  98. Best of luck. I do not share your optimism about taming EU tyranny, preferring a weaker, decentralized system with power back to the nation state members for more grass roots democracy. Also Germans limited to Germany without current hegemony.

    Anyway, I very eager to see a SYRIZA victory in Greece and Alexis Tsipras as PM. Let the Germans suffer the consequences.

  99. Dear Yanis Varoufakis,

    ever since I stumbled upon “The global minotaur” on a flight to Athens in 2011 I am a regular reader of your blog and all your other works. In times when democracy in Europe is seriously threatened and irrationality and untruth prevail, your work has always been enlightening. I think your step into politics is brave and necessary. I wish you all the best at the upcoming elections.

  100. Dear Yanis,
    it is unfortunate that your ideas, although exceptionally rational, are not considered mainstream.
    I am looking forward to find out how will the Europeans respond to them, now that you will officially put them on the table!

    Best wishes and good luck
    Chro

  101. In contrast to all those who “didn’t have time to read” the memoranda, here’s a man who has not only thoroughly deconstructed them, but has proposed internationally acclaimed solutions to the crisis. Good luck to you, I believe you are one of the few people who are worth the honour of a seat in parliament. Do us proud, Yannis.

    A fellow academic.

  102. So glad to hear the great news! I was excited in the first place when I heard you were advising Syriza. Now that you are actually going to be in the government….well, again I’m very excited. Please help Greece! Καλή τύχη!

  103. I was excited when I started hearing you were advising Syriza…..now you are actually going to be in a Syriza government! This is wonderful news. What a great opportunity to actually institute some of your awesome ideas! So many have disappointed her and broken her heart…..Help Greece Yanis!!

  104. I am utterly ecstatic that you have finally chosen to enter the ring. You will be a phenomenal breath of fresh air, Yanis, no doubt.
    “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics, is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” – Plato.

    Best wishes.

  105. A very honorable move, Yannis.
    Everything I have read of you the last few years, which is about everything, makes me trust you.
    You will not fail (keeping that letter in your back pocket).
    Sincerely,
    Frank Lansdorp

  106. I followed youre Posts from the beginning. I visit Greece a lot and it was always important to me to get a different perspective of things besides what I find in the German news. I wish you and Greece all the best and that you get out of the mess of the bailout programms!

  107. good luck Yanis, it would be incredible if you manage to get your Modest Proposal to the EcoFin meetings. A good dose of modest pragmatism is badly needed on our masters euro-menu, but like a roomful of fussy children who refuse their vegetables I imagine you will have to painfully spoon-feed them every bitter mouthful… though perhaps come the end they may even come to enjoy it.

    I wonder will you continue to write your blog if you are elected?

  108. I hope you will pay tax in Greece. Most people don’t pay tax in Greece? Why, corruption. Greece has still to pay a lot back to other europeans. In Netherland we got last year our last money back from Indonesia, after 64 year. Indonesia confiscated dutch companies in 1948.

    • If that’s what you’re waiting for, maybe Greece should get the hundreds of billions in forced loans that Germany foreswore in 1953. But no, you guys have a double standard and like to lecture without looking in the mirror.

    • Worst case scenarios of Argentina, or other scary movies, will be proven wrong. Greece has always been a pioneer in opening new paths for the better, this is one of those times.

  109. Good luck. I am confident you will do well. I also hope that once elected, yourself and your fellow MPs, shock the rest of Europe by eliminating Greece’s kleptocracy and the cozy vendor-finance scams with Europe’s corporate and banking elite.

  110. Yanis Fantastic news! Good luck. After the election please consider a visit to the School of Law here at Queens University in Belfast. Wonderful to see you bringing your thinking to bear in the political realm. Very exciting Dr Peter DoranSchool of LawQueens University BelfastNorthern Ireland+44 (0)7845355064

    Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2015 17:22:26 +0000 To: pfdoran@hotmail.com

  111. Good luck Yanis.
    “The intellectual should constantly disturb, should bear witness to the misery of the world, should be provocative by being independent, should rebel against all hidden and open pressure and manipulations, should be the chief doubter of systems,
    of power and its incantations, should be a witness to their mendacity” ~ Vaclav Havel, Disturbing the Peace: A Conversation with Karel Hvizdala (New York: Vintage Books, 1991), 167.

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