Sunday, July 5, 2015

No To Austerity

The macabre Neoliberal project launched in mahogany paneled staterooms in the l970s, sold to the public in the 1980s by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and adopted in the 1990s by Democrats in the US and Social Democratic parties in Europe, enters a new chamber of horrors as Greeks in their referendum demonstrated an unwillingness to give another pound of their flesh to the greedy European and American Capitalist elite.

Although the mainstream media is confused about the specifics of the situation in Greece, it's possible to detect a changed tenor in its reporting here and there. The sneering demands that Greeks face up and knuckle under are largely gone, relegated to fetid corners occupied by publications like the Wall Street Journal. Others in the media have gotten a whiff of the rotting flesh the Journal's Capitalist clientele feeds on and it's beginning to emerge what happened in Greece. It's hard to find an article in which the common tropes of a year ago can be found of lazy Greeks living beyond their means. Like young African Americans have been doing in the US, working class Greeks and their allies across Europe have demanded that the truth be told.

It's becoming understood that the loans being made to the Greek government by the "troika" of the IMF, European Central Bank and IMF, weren't being pumped into the Greek economy -- which has shrunk a full 25 percent since the loan program began -- but were going almost entirely to Greece's creditors -- banks -- to cover loan payments.

The large Greek Capitalist class doesn't pay taxes. They simply don't file or are exempt. The huge Greek shipping companies -- four of the world's five largest shipping companies are Greek -- pay no taxes at all on money they make outside Greece, which means the vast majority of it.

What was going on in Greece is the same as goes on in the rest of Europe, in the US and anywhere Neoliberal Capitalism has entrenched itself -- a massive redistribution of wealth upward. The gutting of pensions, the massive unemployment, the dramatic rise in suicides as futures disappeared overnight, was simply the local manifestation.

In the US, an alert group of activists who know how to use media, consisting of unions and Leftists radicalized in the 1960s and 70s, although unable to halt the onslaught of Neoliberalism, which is endorsed uncritically by the media, have been been able to keep prorams like Social Security and Medicare largely intact, despite Democrats having in the last few years joined Republicans in finding ways to undermine and eat away at those programs. Programs like food stamps and Head Start, which disproportionately benefit minorities, haven't fared as well.

All the current memberts of the New Mexico delegation to the federal legislature have voted to cut Social Security, Medicare and Head Start. Every one of them. There is no alternative media in New Mexico; activists are tied to the Democratic Party, and unions in New Mexico have sat silent, lapping up the puny amount of attention their elected officials give them and endorsing them without imposing a single demand.

The presidential candidacy of the nominal socialist, New Deal Democrat Bernie Sanders, which was propelled entirely by social media until his rising poll numbers brought attacks from conservative mainstream Democrats and forced the media to take note of it, will force Democrats to make promises to the working class constituency it relies on to get elected, but those promises will be broken as soon as the last vote is counted in November 2016. Barring a genuine uprising of the working class, the Neoliberalism of Democrats and Republicans will continue to bring flat wages and declining living standards to US workers, and the bizarre public theater being played out in Greece will eventually come to television screens here.

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