Thursday, 14 April 2011

Why Greece will fail

I really hate to agree with Takis Michas or advertise his opinions – especially now that he’s a fully-fledged member of Dora Bakoyiannis’ new rump grouping – but his analysis of why Greece is far from the path of economic recovery and social and political regeneration is accurate. Greece will fail not because the economic measures demanded of it are too stringent, but because the Greek state cannot enforce its laws and doesn’t know how to govern the country. (Michas’ article on Greece’s descent into anarchy initially appeared yesterday here, in the Wall Street Journal).

Athens Descends Into Anarchy
Greece’s public debt may reach 150% of GDP this year, an alarming possibility that has captivated outside observers. But in the final analysis, the major issue confronting Greece may not be its solvency, but its governance.

The country is at the mercy of militant activists who are inspired by various factions of the hard left. The heaviest hitters are Greece’s Communist Party and the anarcho-Stalinist Coalition of the Radical Left, which is composed of the Ecosocialists of Greece, the “Roza” Radical Left Group, and the Internationalist Workers' Left, to name a few. With total impunity, their followers have taken to harassing citizens and destroying public property – even taking over whole villages.

In one case last year, a group of militants badly beat a former center-right New Democracy minister in front of television cameras. No arrests were made. In another case, a group of thugs accosted a leading Greek journalist while he ate in a restaurant. A similar incident happened last month, the victim that time being a minister of the governing Panhellenic Socialist Movement. No arrests were made in those cases, either. In May 2010, three employees of the private bank Marfin suffocated to death when a hard-left mob firebombed their offices during a riot. Again, no arrests.

Then there are the various movements of “civil disobedience” organized by Greece’s hard left. These include the “Den plirono” (“I won't pay”) phenomenon, which amounts to supposedly brave refuseniks lifting barriers at motorway toll-booths and driving through without paying. This, even as their co-ideologues destroy bus and metro-ticket machines.

These acts of theft and vandalism have also gone unpunished, though to combat fare-dodging on public transport, the government has dispatched a new team of inspectors. This week one of them was shot twice in the stomach by a bus passenger, and he remains in critical condition.

Last summer, the Communist Party organized hundreds of union members to block tourists from boarding ferries to Greek islands. Yet even after the courts ruled that the move was illegal, no arrests were made.

Is it any surprise, therefore, that there exist today areas of Greece where the government no longer exercises sovereignty? One such area is the village of Keratea, near Athens International Airport. Keratea's inhabitants, supported by anarchist “freedom fighters” from the greater metropolitan area, have been engaged for two months in near daily pitched battles with the police, using firebombs, stones and rubble. Their complaint is the government’s decision to construct a landfill near the village.

“If the Keratea model becomes accepted as a method of protesting,” writes Alexis Papahelas in the daily Kathimerini newspaper, "then the country will enter a very disquieting phase.”

What stands out in all these incidents is the authorities’ inability or unwillingness to enforce the law.

“Even if we arrest them, they will be out in no time,” a police officer in Athens told me on condition of anonymity. “Their political patrons will see to it.”

Many argue that Greece’s disintegration is the unavoidable consequence of the government’s attempt to enforce fiscal austerity. This seems doubtful. This meltdown can be seen as the product of the totalitarian left’s open attempt to exploit the economic crisis and destroy Greece's existing democratic and economic institutions. What we are witnessing is not a descent into chaos, but a descent into organized lawlessness. Sowing pandemonium and forcing Greece to default will, according to Greek Stalinists’ analysis, bring the revolution nearer.

What makes the situation worrisome is not so much the political strength of this movement. After all, the Communist Party and the Coalition of the Radical Left together claim no more than 13% popular support.

The problem, rather, lies with the political and ideological passivity of the parties that do represent Greece's broader middle classes. The tolerance these democrats have shown toward their totalitarian counterparts has allowed the latter to play a leading role in shaping Greek public discourse. Do they imagine the favor would be returned if the Coalition of the Radical Left were in charge?

Unless Greece’s political elite realizes the seriousness of what’s happening and acts now to re-establish the rule of democratic law, their efforts to deal with Greece's economic problems will have been in vain.

Mr. Michas is the international secretary for Greece's new centrist-liberal party, the Democratic Alliance.

15 comments:

Hermes said...

There is some hope. Watch this anarchist moron get pushed off the stage at James D.Watson's speech at the University of Patras. Of course, the law should apply but it shows there are enough decent Greek students around to stop this madness directed towards a Nobel prize winner.

http://infognomonpolitics.blogspot.com/2011/04/james-d-watson.html

lastgreek said...

Greece will fail not because the economic measures demanded of it are too stringent, but because the Greek state cannot enforce its laws and doesn’t know how to govern the country.

In case anyone has not noticed, Greek bonds are now in freefall. No one is buying them, not even the buyer of last resort ... the ECB ... because no one believes they will get paid.

So the Greek government has decided that it has no choice but to start selling the Greek people's assets---such as, the phone and power companies to raise money to lower the debt. Btw, these are income producing assets that will be sold on the cheap. Sorry, but that's how firesales work.

Now I read this quote by G-Pap in Bloomberg's today:

“Greece’s problems won’t be solved by restructuring its debt but by restructuring the country,” Papandreou said earlier today at a Cabinet meeting in comments broadcast by state-run Net TV. “Even if with the wave of a wand the debt disappeared, Greece in a few years would have debts again without these reforms.”

Like or hate the guy, he is absolutely correct.

John Akritas said...

I still don't understand, LG, why you think OTE, OPAP, the casinos, the power company and so on amount to the 'Greek people's assets'. How are they 'assets' and in what way do they belong to or operate on behalf of the Greek people, all 11m of them?

And G-Pap is right, the country and state needs restructuring. All this slashing and burning at the behest of foreigners is easy; it's the stuff that Greeks need to do for themselves – or rather G-Pap and his government need to do on their behalf – that I don't think they'll manage. Greece can't employ Swedish police or German civil servants to enforce the law or run the state, can they?

Hermes said...

OTE, OPAP, the casinos, the power companies were never run on behalf of the people but a small class of employees and associated cronies that stood to benefit from work contracts awarded by these companies. If they were run for the people then people would have recieved a reasonable service. Ask any of my 50 or so relatives in Greece and they will tell you they were run atrociously.

hotcargirl said...

What a dilemma:(

lastgreek said...

I still don't understand, LG, why you think OTE, OPAP, the casinos, the power company and so on amount to the 'Greek people's assets'.

Are you talking about the fact that the government in the last ten years or so has already sold off chunks of these companies?

Ask any of my 50 or so relatives in Greece and they will tell you they were run atrociously.

I am not saying otherwise, Hermes.

What a dilemma:(

Yes, HCG, the Greeks sure have their work cut out for them.

Anonymous said...

Sadly , it takes dignity to admit it.. Greece is a failed state. It is not a question of it " why will fail" ?. It has already failed. Only a reactionary, revolutionary action can have any hope of an instauration of the national kratos.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Hermes I was impressed most students fought back against the protesters of Watson. But back to this topic. I don't like the leftist anarchists but I think the protesting has spread to other sectors of society. I have hope because of this. In all western countries the state is leading people off a cliff. The fact people are revolting against the government is good for me. Papandreau is right about needing reform of the country but he did something much worse by giving foreign invaders ciizenship. As sad as this is I am almost hoping for chaos if it will drive out these invaders and allow greeks to take their country back.
I see dark years ahead because greece will be isolated no matter what. We have western countries that want to see europe de industrialized and resembling the third world. Greece must leave the EU. But to re industrialize it will be hard with no credit as most nations are hell bent on not seeing that happen. Greece is too small to survive isolated on its own and there are no real strategic allies. Maybe russia but they are unreliable at this point in their history. Greece needs to hunker down and just survive as a nation state at this point. The economy is secondary.

Ted

lastgreek said...

From the αλεπού του Ολύμπου blog:

Ο Max Keiser είπε κάτι που η αριστερά δεν το λέει (διότι φοβάται?)

Βγαίνει και το λέει δημόσια ότι πρέπει αυτοί που εκμεταλλεύονται το λαό [οι τραπεζίτες] να εκτελεστούν.

Link: http://wwwaristofanis.blogspot.com/2011/04/max-keiser.html?spref=tw

Here's also the link to Max Keiser's website: www.maxkeiser.com. Like market-ticker.org and zerohedge.com, it's an excellent financial news and commentary site.

lastgreek said...

Wow ....

Which explains why the Greek government has been performing acrobatic feats of denial of rumours of a Greek sovereign debt default.

It appears that the Greek pension funds are loaded with Greek sovereign debt---in other words, garbage. Unless the current and future Greek pensioners can make do with garbage instead of euros, then the proverbial shit just hit the fan.

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for Greece ... they just did!

Two-year Greek bonds are now yielding 20%! It's the market's way of saying that Greek bonds are full of---

Hermes said...

Everyone, a really important documentary, Aghet on the Armenian Genocide produced by a German. All seven parts are available on youtube. Please watch!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPSkdl5GiX8

lastgreek said...

Hermes,

You should send the (genocide) link to both the Greek government and the National Bank of Greece. They are the ones with the short memory.

Hermes said...

Its a great doco. It really shows the Turks in their true colours.

lastgreek said...

Is it any surprise, therefore, that there exist today areas of Greece where the government no longer exercises sovereignty? One such area is the village of Keratea, near Athens International Airport. Keratea's inhabitants, supported by anarchist “freedom fighters” from the greater metropolitan area, have been engaged for two months in near daily pitched battles with the police, using firebombs, stones and rubble. Their complaint is the government’s decision to construct a landfill near the village.

I have the solution: The landfill should be built in Ekali where most of the Greek crooks---politicians, banksters, et al---live.

Yes, I am amazing ;-)

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think it's time for another junta to come into power, kick some anarchic ass, and restore order, employment, productivity and love of country to this long-suffering land.