If you love Greece, help us get rid of Alexis Tsipras and his zombie party

11 July by Zoe Konstantopoulou


Greek pensioners at an anti-austerity rally in Athens. Photograph: Yannis Kolesidis/EPA

The Greek prime minister and Syriza have betrayed their people and their principles. They have to go.

Last week was the third anniversary of the 2015 referendum, in which the Greek people voted no to more austerity, and no to the violation of democracy by the creditors.

The week before Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister who betrayed the brave no of the Greek people, visited London to present his capitulation to the troika Troika Troika: IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank, which together impose austerity measures through the conditions tied to loans to countries in difficulty.

IMF : https://www.ecb.europa.eu/home/html/index.en.html
of the European commission, the International Monetary Fund IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.

http://imf.org
and the European Central Bank as an achievement.

Imagine how the British people would view a prime minister elected to end privatisation, and who instead privatised almost every piece of public property; who was elected to serve peace, and who instead facilitated military action against targets in Syria and agreed to sell weapons to countries accused of committing international crimes; who was elected to protect people’s homes, and who stood by while banks seized them, leaving people homeless; who was elected to serve democracy and the independence of his country, and who instead turned it over to the EU, the IMF and the ECB ECB
European Central Bank
The European Central Bank is a European institution based in Frankfurt, founded in 1998, to which the countries of the Eurozone have transferred their monetary powers. Its official role is to ensure price stability by combating inflation within that Zone. Its three decision-making organs (the Executive Board, the Governing Council and the General Council) are composed of governors of the central banks of the member states and/or recognized specialists. According to its statutes, it is politically ‘independent’ but it is directly influenced by the world of finance.

https://www.ecb.europa.eu/ecb/html/index.en.html
.

This is what Tsipras did to the Greek people.

I was a Syriza MP and president of the Greek parliament during the seven months of the first Syriza government. When Tsipras signed the toxic third memorandum in 2015, I fought hard to protect our parliamentary procedures that he and the troika violated. In spite of continuous pressure, I refused to bend our democratic rules and accept more illegal debt for our people. Together with dozens of other Syriza MPs, I voted against the monstrous agreement.

Tsipras then dissolved parliament prematurely to get rid of me and the dissenting MPs.

Three years on, his capitulation to the troika has proved the disaster many of us predicted. People’s lives have become unbearable. Youth unemployment has become the norm and an estimated 8% of the population has left in search of work. The minimum salary doesn’t pay the bills, and hundreds of thousands of families go without electricity for extended periods of time.

This tragedy began in 2010, but Tsipras’s so-called left government has done everything to prove that it can implement austerity better than its predecessors. It even brags about exceeding the troika’s cruel targets in cuts and taxes.

During the 2015 snap elections Tsipras claimed to have signed the third memorandum because the troika promised him debt-relief discussions. The Eurogroup only agreed on 21 June to a 10-year extension of Greece’s debt repayment schedule. This means more children and youngsters will become indebted against their will. Each newborn child in Greece starts life €40,000 in debt – and fewer and fewer babies are being born since the imposition of austerity measures.

Tsipras celebrated the debt repayment extension with a speech referring to 21 June as “a historic day”. I doubt anyone will remember it next year. Greece’s debt, the source of our troubles, was found to be “illegitimate, illegal, odious and unsustainable” by the parliamentary debt audit committee I convened as president of parliament in 2015. Tsipras never used the committee’s official reports. Under his governance, Greece’s debt increased and is projected to reach explosive levels.

The Eurogroup imposed on Greece budget surplus targets of 2.2% of GDP GDP
Gross Domestic Product
Gross Domestic Product is an aggregate measure of total production within a given territory equal to the sum of the gross values added. The measure is notoriously incomplete; for example it does not take into account any activity that does not enter into a commercial exchange. The GDP takes into account both the production of goods and the production of services. Economic growth is defined as the variation of the GDP from one period to another.
or more until 2060. Tsipras claims that Greece will have a “clean exit” from the memorandum of understanding this August: he has already legislated for new troika-imposed austerity until 2022, accepted surveillance of the economy until 2060 and surrendered control over public property until 2114.

Tsipras had vowed to destroy media oligarchs. Today, the old oligarchs still control Greece’s media, while a new generation, the “Tsipras-era oligarchs”, have established themselves.

His foreign policy met with the same fate. Last October, representing a bankrupt state, he spent $2.4bn to buy F-16 fighters from the US. He then praised Donald Trump for continuing the “tradition of democracy and freedom” that was born in Greece. As Washington’s poodle, Tsipras built close relations with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel, agreed to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia – a regime that has been accused of bombing children in Yemen – and lifted Greece’s veto to Nato NATO
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NATO ensures US military protection for the Europeans in case of aggression, but above all it gives the USA supremacy over the Western Bloc. Western European countries agreed to place their armed forces within a defence system under US command, and thus recognize the preponderance of the USA. NATO was founded in 1949 in Washington, but became less prominent after the end of the Cold War. In 2002, it had 19 members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, the USA, to which were added Greece and Turkey in 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955 (replaced by Unified Germany in 1990), Spain in 1982, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic in 1999.
expansion in the Balkans. He also signed agreements on refugees, bluntly violating international humanitarian law.

Since 2015 he has implemented a shameless privatisation programme, selling our ports, airports, sea-shores, railways, electricity, water and gas companies, archaeological and cultural sites, theatres, court-houses, goldmines and other profitable enterprises for a pittance. None of his neoliberal predecessors dared go this far.

In 2017 his government launched the electronic auction of homes of families unable to pay their debts to banks, using unconstitutional methods and police violence. As a lawyer, I witnessed the police use teargas inside a courthouse. To please the troika, he even criminalised protests against the auctioning of homes.

As leader of the Course to Freedom party, I have called upon the Greek people to resist the troika and its client Syriza government. We ask for the support of all progressives, including our friends in the Labour party.

Syriza is not the leftwing party it claims to be. It has become a political zombie, crushing every progressive value as it sleepwalks to its electoral demise. Its removal from power is the first step towards restoring democracy in Greece.

Zoe Konstantopoulou is the former president of the Hellenic parliament



Source: The Guardian

Zoe Konstantopoulou

Greek human rights lawyer and politician of the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza). President of the Greek Parliament from February to October 2015, she launched in April 2015, an audit of the Greek public debt with the Commission for the truth on the public debt.

Other articles in English by Zoe Konstantopoulou (16)

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