Home > Greece > Why we recommend a NO in the referendum – in 6 short bullet points

Why we recommend a NO in the referendum – in 6 short bullet points

from Yanis Varoufakis

  1. Negotiations have stalled because Greece’s creditors (a) refused to reduce our un-payable public debt and (b) insisted that it should be repaid ‘parametrically’ by the weakest members of our society, their children and their grandchildren
  2. The IMF, the United States’ government, many other governments around the globe, and most independent economists believe — along with us — that the debt must be restructured.
  3. The Eurogroup had previously (November 2012) conceded that the debt ought to be restructured but is refusing to commit to a debt restructure
  4. Since the announcement of the referendum, official Europe has sent signals that they are ready to discuss debt restructuring. These signals show that official Europe too would vote NO on its own ‘final’ offer.
  5. Greece will stay in the euro.  Deposits in Greece’s banks are safe.  Creditors have chosen the strategy of blackmail based on bank closures. The current impasse is due to this choice by the creditors and not by the Greek government discontinuing the negotiations or any Greek thoughts of Grexit and devaluation. Greece’s place in the Eurozone and in the European Union is non-negotiable.
  6. The future demands a proud Greece within the Eurozone and at the heart of Europe. This future demands that Greeks say a big NO on Sunday, that we stay in the Euro Area, and that, with the power vested upon us by that NO, we renegotiate Greece’s public debt as well as the distribution of burdens between the haves and the have nots.
  1. Tom Welsh
    July 2, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Greece should immediately slash its defence spending, and cancel any current contracts to buy weapons.

  2. graccibros
    July 2, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I haven’t changed my thinking on the Greek situation at all. I have followed the current government’s positions as closely as I can, and Yanis’ writings as I have seen them for several years now. But I hope that he and the Syriza government can conceive of and consider that the European Troika may not be negotiating in good faith, that they wish to rid Greece of the current government, to get one more amenable to continued fiscal austerity. Now Yanis and Syriza are correct to threaten to resign if Greece votes yes, because there is no way that agreeing to the terms last on the table, or even likely future ones, without major debt write-downs, can work. But this gets to the heart of what neoliberalism is all about, and surely Finance Minister Varoufakis knows that if the Troika sticks to their decades old premises, there is no compromise solution possible: it’s more austerity without debt write-downs…and the stripping away of Greek owned assets and any semblance of a decent middle-class or working class life.

    The structural situation is reminding me more and more of the dilemmas faced by left-socialist governments in Western Europe in the Great Depression, as written about by Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation (1944). They were torn between public spending for jobs/work, and their intellectual inheritance from that long 19th century, and the gold standard, which was inextricably tied to balanced budgets. The list of major political figures that Polanyi gives us as still believing in the gold standard is breathtaking, they span the political spectrum from Bolsheviks to reactionaries…That is why they could not work out a coherent, successful program. In many ways, sticking to the Euro is the equivalent of the gold standard, and even though Yanis and Professor Galbraith have found light and potential aid amidst the policy seams and legal parameters of existing institutions/programs, there is no guarantee, yes vote Sunday or no vote, that Greece will be allowed to implement the policies contained in the roadmap document called “A Modest Proposal.”

    That is why I have been urging, and hoping, that Syriza has a back-up program to cope with a departure, abandonment of the Euro, and the issuance of their own currency, and all that will also go along with a then hostile Europe intent on proving to Spain and Italy and whomever else might chose to be thinking breakaway that it cannot work.

    I do understand Yanis’ insistence on staying in the Euro, but I am seeing grand intellectual contradictions and perhaps all too human motives on the other side pointing to a much harder but intellectually and politically inevitable logic & course of action…I regret to state that an intellectual “conversion” experience on the part of European “orthodoxy” does not seem likely, and while we democrats hope that the general population understands the arguments Yanis is making there is no guarantee of that, any more than in the conditions of 1930 the voters of France would want to keep a left-socialist government.

  3. graccibros
    July 2, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Sorry readers, it took me a while to find first the book, and then passage, from the Great Transformation, to drive home the point because the same general tribulations of austerity are hanging over Europe and Greece, and indeed, capitalism in the West more broadly. So here it is, from Polanyi’s Chapter Two: “Conservative Twenties, Revolutionary Thirties”…for the gold standard substitute the mind of the present day German bankers, and the “formulas” for public debt and GDP ratios which were an attempt to take politics out of governance inside the European Union, and democracy too…just as the gold standard intended in that long 19th century…it didn’t work, and here is the story:

    “Belief in the gold standard was the faith of the age. .. Where Ricardo and Marx were at one, the nineteenth century knew not doubt. …The Russian Bolshevik Sokolnikofff was the first postwar statesman to restore the value of his country’s currency in terms of gold: the German social Democrat Hilferding imperiled his party by his staunch advocacy of sound currency principles:; the Austrian Social Democrat Otto Bauer supported the monetary principles underlying the restoration of the krone attempted by his bitter opponent, Seipel; the English Socialist, Philip Snowden, turned against Labour when he believed the pound sterling not to be safe at their hands; and the Duce had the gold value of the lira at 90 carved in stone, and pledged himself to die in its defense. It would be hard to find any divergence between utterances of Hoover and Lenin, Churchill and Mussolini, on this point… It was the invisible reality to which the will to live could cling..The effort, which failed, was the most comprehensive the world had ever seen. The stabilization of the all-but-destroyed currencies in Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland, Romania or Greece was not only an act of faith on the part of these small and weak countries, which literally starved themselves to reach the golden shores, but it also put their powerful and wealthy sponsors – the Western European victors – to a severe test…Debtors, emaciated by deflation, lived to see the inflated creditor collapse…

  4. July 2, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Finance Capitalism is and always has been more about power and control than even profit. Do I advocate for socialism? Hardly. It too has historically shown itself to be problematically elitist and untrustworthy with power. Even the social democratic Scandinavian governments are in the clutch of the Euro and cow to its financial authorities. When a system is unstable and unworkable and has a dominating monopoly power, itself a glaring inconsistency with free market theory, it is flat out unstable and unworkable….and enslaving to 90 plus percent of the individuals and businesses existing in that system. Tyrannical power, no matter how suave or finely dressed…is tyrannical. We must confront these bald truths and stop the palliative thinking regarding the rule of Finance and its monopoly idea of Debt.

    I advocate a complementary currency, a social credit for Greece….and for every national economy. A paradigm of free monetary Gifting to the individual, to the consumer is the only idea powerful enough to balance the idea of Debt, stabilize economies, create fair and actual competition for businesses of every size and free the individual. Systems were made for Man, not Man for systems. Let us live up to our species designation, homo sapiens, wise and discerning man by choosing to balance Debt with the gracious and powerful idea of monetary Gifting.

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