The International Treaty and Memorandum which accompany the ‘haircut’ of Greek public debt pushes the populace further into impoverishment. They will enshrine a dramatic drop in both living standards and working conditions, and implicitly enslave us to our creditors. What follows from the reductions in pensions and wages, the abolition of collective bargaining legislation (contrary to Article 22 of our Constitution) and the 150 000 public sector redundancies are mass hunger and wages of 300 or 400 euros a month. Unemployment already abounds, and will reach 30%. The new reduction in social spending, especially in health, will drop our life expectancy and increase mortality rates to reach those similar to Africa’s. The new round of privatisations will hand over the wealth of the Greek populace, denying the state future streams of revenue. We see the new bonds that will be covered by English law and by the duke of Luxembrourg (Article 13 of the new agreement) not only as deeply insulting and degrading for a sovereign state, but also as a form of captivity, as it makes for much more arduous debt renegotiations. It will also protect our creditors from the impact of Greece’s exit from the Eurozone.
For all these reasons the Greek Debt Audit Campaign joins its voice with the people’s and demands that the new Treaty and Memorandum are not voted upon, as they open the road for the completion of the Private Sector Involvement. We demand the immediate and without condition cessation of payments towards our creditors, as well as the opening up of the debt books so we can use debt auditing to ground our demand of non repayment.
An immediate cessation of payments and the subsequent deferral of the bond exchange will deter many evils. Firstly the bankruptcy of our pension funds, which following the PSI agreement will see 12 billion euros wiped from their assets. Secondly, the scandalous repayment of our first bailout loan from the troika of 110 billion euros, which was never even voted in parliament, but today will be repaid as per usual, and will not see a single euro cut from its value. Thirdly, our long-term demand for Germany to repay the loans it was given whilst Greece was under catastrophic Nazi rule may finally be heard.
Cessation of payments towards our creditors is the Greek state’s constitutional requirement seeing as we are in a state of emergency where the simultaneous repayment of our creditors and the running of state services (such health, education, social security) are impossible. The state of emergency as a reason to retract from international obligations, specifically through the announcement of cessation of payments, is recognised by the UN Commission of International Law and by the International Court of The Hague. The European Court of Human Rights recently recognised this same principle regarding Russia’s debt, ruling that the public interest stands above the economic demands made by the creditors.
The policies implemented by the government and the troika are not only catastrophic and inhuman, but they are also illegal and unconstitutional and for this reason all those responsible will one day be held accountable. Only through a referendum could such treaties, like the new International Treaty which so radically alters the conditions of the Greek populace, be legitimised. As long as they have not been validated through a referendum and as long as they tie the Greek populace to enslavement, the Greek people will consider them null and void, as they will consider all Memorandums and polices that accompany it.
Papademo’s government brings upon us a social Armageddon by instating Eurozone summit decisions and catastrophic IMF policy packages. They will not deter default, but bring it closer. Even the Germans are now acknowledging that sooner or later they will come again to bring new austerity packages, new treaties and further impoverishment as they believe there is no alternative.
The government and the troika are inflicting a strategic and violent redistribution of income off the backs of the weakest; the welfare state (health, education, social security and public utilities) is going to fully collapse, and Greece will be turned into a colony with German Gauleiters as governors. The Greek Debt Audit Campaign, together with other social groups had foreseen this as a raw class conflict that will sink society into misery, demolishing rights which took decades to instate.
We, at the antipodes of this strategy, propose immediate cessation of payments, debt audit, immediate income support and income increases on wages, pensions, unemployment benefits, nationalisation of the banking system and a generous contribution towards social safety nets and welfare state. This is the only solution of the people and it is exactly the opposite of the one proposed by the troika and the government. It will bring income redistribution, wealth for the lowest income groups, reduction of inequalities and democratisation of political and social life.
All this is possible, and it may even restart economic growth. But for it to work, society must get out into the streets and remove the bankers from the government. Even now that Papademo’s, the IMF’s and the EU’s monstrous creation has been voted in parliament, nothing is over yet. Their laws will be overturned through the people’s struggle.
Greek Debt Audit Campaign, Athens, 12th February 2012