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Minister No More!

from Yanis Varoufakis

The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.

Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25th June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.

Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.

I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.

And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.

We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office. I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new Minister of Finance, and our government.

The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.

  1. Michael Kowalik
    July 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    It is one thing to govern without care for the privileges of office, and quite another to do the right thing despite the threat it would pose to ones own safety. Does the Greek government have the courage to assert monetary sovereignty of the Greek people and exit the Eruro, nationalise the banks or legislate for 100% reserve banking, and thus gain seigniorage from M3 monetary expansion?

  2. graccibros
    July 6, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    For all the alleged abrasiveness of Yanis Varoufakis at the negotiating table, this resignation is not out of character for those of us who have followed his writings closely over the past few years, a complex and graceful gesture toward the Greek common good. It remains to be seen if the substantive issues can be resolved. I have grave doubts that they can within the reigning philosophy at the Troika, still the dominant one around the world.

    Let’s grasp what leaving the Euro and the Union mean at this point, in this context. It is in some way leaving the main teachings of classical economics and its neoliberal dream of one Europe (and one world Market – John Gray’s “False Dawn” ) and perhaps the chance for any meaningful trade with the members…and perhaps the broader world. So in reality, what the Greeks may be facing is to re-invent political economy. Without necessarily sharing the ecological world view of Richard Smith’s “Green Capitalism: The God that Failed,” the Greeks may have to, out of sheer necessity, build something from almost the ground up – the closest we have come with perhaps the Argentinian example excepted – to facing the ground zero of the 1930’s. And who knows, given events in China, and the aftershocks in the financial system, we may be closer than we now think to those awful days.

    Isn’t it ironic that the Troika, composed of supposedly social democratic governments, has, in reality, rejected the American “social democratic” model based on the New Deal by ignoring the ideas Varoufakis and Galbraith (and Stuart Holland) put forth in 2013, in their “Modest Proposal” (here at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/euro-crisis/modest-proposal/); if they continue that stance after the startling Greek vote, then they will drive Greek solutions to even more radical methods based not on anyone’s ideology, but on sheer survival imperatives. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that…but where things spiral to now is anyone’s guess.

  3. July 6, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Michael: This dismissal of Varoufakis (that’s the real substance of the gesture) speaks no good about the intentions of the Greek prime minister. I don’t think they shall take the path you suggest which is the only one I agree that goes with the dignity mandate the people of Greece ushered yesterday.

    • Blissex
      July 6, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      «This dismissal of Varoufakis (that’s the real substance of the gesture) speaks no good about the intentions of the Greek prime minister.»

      Tsipras is the one that the other 18 EU nations loathe, as it is him who used rethoric and amazing fantasies to call the referendum and win a huge victory for the 18 EU creditor governments, who have now a much stronger democratic mandate from their voters to let Greece fall out of the eurozone and probably also the EU.

      Tsipras apparently promised greek voters that if they voted
      NO:

      * A new agreement with lots more money for consumer spending and imports would happen in 48 hours.

      * Greek euro bank accounts were fully insured.

      * Greece would remain in the eurozone.

  4. July 6, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    I think the vote has raised the stakes one more notch with the Ruskies watching from the sidelines, hoping to get a foothold in Greece.

  5. July 6, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    The period from January 25, 2015 to now has provided an amazing series of historical events.

  6. July 6, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    I for one hope that the Greeks can successfully implement some of the alternative economic ideas which inspire RWER. With the Greek referendum Syriza has a mandate to find an alternative to the neoliberal bs which has a death grip on Brussels. Having lived in France and Germany for 15 years I was touched to see european politicians showing similiar levels of stupidity to what I am accustomed to here in America, I almost got bored living there because most people seemed so reasonable ;)

    The one thing that has baffled me in the process of learning about alternative economics is how scarce the real world application of such ideas actually are. Sure a bit of this and a bit of that, here and there, but there is not one functioning society in the world which represents any kind of real alternative to the neoliberal bs. Maybe Greece can be this. We desperately need some society to finally buck the system and go for it, because the rest of us(the world) seems to be stuck in the same brain death which is the cornerstone of our current neoliberal system. I am sure Greece will make many mistakes in the comming months, but the willingness to make such mistakes is the root of the courage to build an alternate economic reality.

    The sad part is that the rest of the world(neoliberal politicians) will do everything it can to stop/cripple the Greeks. So the results may not end up being a refelction of the soundness of the Greeks going forward but may reflect what happens when someones dares to do things differently.I am saddened to see Varoufakis leave his position, however I can only imagine how stressful it has been for him, hopefully he can still poor his creativity and brilliance into the Greek decisions making process in the comming months/years.

    Unfortunately the US will be the last place where any of these ideas gain any traction. The only hope I see for the US is for individual communities to piecemeal implement some of these ideas, but there will be a mental bloodbath before any real change begins to happen, because every community which attempts change will be faced instantly with hardcore resistance. How many communities will have there hopes dashed, people burnt out/disillusioned, before the tipping point is reached ? I suspect I might live long enough to see the beginnings of such but a different social order, for that is what eonomics is about in thefinal analysis, is probably multiple generations away for the US.

    It really does set my mind at ease that Germans can be just as ignorant about this stuff as so much of America is. What really kills me is all the Germans moralizing about Greeks being lazy and not even grasping 80% of german banking takes place in effectively public banks(with 0 awareness of how the EU has systematically been attempting to unravel this brilliant progressive economic system built largely by Americans during the Marshall plan). Germans are probably the most economically ignorant population in the advanced industrial world, borne mostly out of the fact that there banking system is not even in the same league as most of the rest of the world in terms of being flat out friggin evil. Hell most Germans dont even know what credit is, never once met a a person under 40 who had any personal debt in 15 years!. God bless their ignorance, may we all be forced to endure such ignornace some day…

  7. graccibros
    July 6, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks Karl, I liked your post and the Greeks may have no choice to explore this new terrain. That’s my sense of where the German response is headed as I write now at almost 5:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time, USA.

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