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National strike in Greece
Via the aggregator web site "What Really Happened [dot] com", thorugh Google translator services, comes this:

Greek police stormed a government printing

[Image: 1268071353_0553.250x200.jpeg]

В Афинах сотрудники МВД Греции штурмом взяли государственную типографию.
In Athens, Greek Ministry of Internal Affairs officers stormed the state printing office.
Об этом сообщает телеканал "Россия 24".
It is reported by TV channel "Russia 24".
Греческие полицейские хотят воспрепятствовать изданию правительственной газеты с текстом закона о новых жёстких мерах экономии средств федерального бюджета.
Greek police want to prevent the publication of government paper with the text of the law of the new stringent economy measures of the federal budget.
Согласно законодательству страны, принятый закон может вступить в силу только после опубликования в официальной газете правительства Греции.
According to the law of the country, passed a law can come into force only after publication in the official newspaper of the Government of Greece.
Законопроект, вызвавший такую реакцию, предусматривает существенное сокращение зарплат, премиальных и праздничных выплат, рост других налогов и акцизов.
The bill, which caused such a reaction, provides a significant reduction in salaries, bonuses and holiday pay, the growth of other taxes and excise taxes.
Правительство ожидает, что дополнительные жёсткие меры экономии принесут в бюджет 4,8 млрд евро дополнительных доходов, что обеспечит снижение дефицита госбюджета до уровня 4% против дефицита Греции в 8,7% ВВП.
The Government expects that additional austerity measures will bring the budget 4.8 billion euros of additional revenue that would allow reduction in the state budget deficit to the level of 4% against the deficit of Greece to 8.7% of GDP.
Напомним также, что сотрудники главной греческой авиакомпании Olympic Airlines, уволенные после передачи авиакомпании в частные руки, пятый день подряд удерживают в своих руках здание Главного финансового управления (казначейства) Греции.
Recall also that the principal officers of the Greek airline Olympic Airlines, the airline laid off after the transfer into private hands, the fifth consecutive day hold in their hands the building of the Chief Financial Management (Treasury), Greece.
Из-за их действий частично перекрыта центральная афинская улица Панепистимиу.
Because of their actions partially offset by a central Athens street Panepistimiu.
08 марта 2010г.
08 марта 2010.

"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
One of the best journalists around I think.

The Fall of Greece
Yes, It Really is a Capitalist Plot

By Diana Johnstone

URL of this article:

Global Research, March 4, 2010
Counterpunch - 2010-03-01

For Europes poorest countries, European Union membership has long held out the promise of tranquil prosperity. The current Greek financial crisis ought to dispel some of their illusions.

There are two strikingly significant levels to the current crisis. While primarily economic, the European Economic Community also claims to be a community, based on solidarity -- the sisterhood of nations and brotherhood of peoples. However, the economic deficit is nothing compared to the human deficit it exposes.

To put it simply, the Greek crisis shows what happens when a weak member of this Union is in trouble. It is the same as what happens on the world scale, where there is no such morally pretentious union perpetually congratulating itself on its devotion to human rights. The economically strong protect their own interests at the expense of the economically weak.

The crisis broke last autumn after George Papandreous PASOK party won elections, took office and discovered that the cupboard was bare. The Greek government had cheated to get into the EUs euro zone in 2001 by cooking the books to cover deficits that would have disqualified it from membership in the common currency. The European Treaties capped the acceptable budget deficit at 3 per cent and public debt at 60 per cent of GDP respectively. In fact, this limit is being widely transgressed, quite openly by France. But major scandal arrived with revelations that Greeces budget deficit reached 12.7 per cent in 2009, with a gross debt forecast for 2010 amounting to 125 per cent of GDP.

Of course, European leaders got together to declare solidarity. But their speeches were designed not so much to reassure the increasingly angry and desperate Greek people as to soothe the markets  the real hidden almighty gods of the European Union. The markets, like the ancient gods, have a great old time tormenting mere mortals in trouble, so their response to the Greek problem was naturally to rush to profit from it. For instance, when Greece is obliged to issue new bonds this year, the markets can blithely demand that Greece double its interest rates, on grounds of increased risk that Greece wont pay, thus making it that much harder for Greece to pay. Such is the logic of the free market.

What the EU leaders meant by solidarity in their appeal to the gods was not that they were going to pour public money into Greece, as they poured it into their troubled banks, but that they intended to squeeze the money owed the banks out of the Greek people.

The squeezing is to take the forms made familiar over the past disastrous decades by the International Monetary Fund: the Greek state is enjoined to cut public expenses, which means firing public employees, cutting their overall earnings, delaying retirement, economizing on health care, raising taxes, and incidentally probably raising the jobless rate from 9.6 per cent to around 16 per cent, all with the glorious aim of bringing the deficit down to 8.7 per cent this year and thus appeasing the invisible gods of the market.

This just might propitiate both the gods and German leaders, who above all want to maintain the value of the euro. The financial markets will no doubt grab their pound of flesh in the form of increased interest rates, while the Greeks are bled by IMF-style shock treatment.

And what about that great theater of human rights and universal brotherhood, the European Parliament? In that forum everyone gets to speak for a carefully clocked 1, 2, or 3 minutes, but when it comes to the most serious matter, the budget, the authoritative voices are all German.

Thus the chairman of the EPs special committee on the economic and financial crisis, Wolf Klinz, has called for sending a high representative of the EU to Greece, an economies commissar to make sure the Greeks carry out the austerity measures properly. The Greek crisis can allow the EU to put into practice for the first time its Treaty instruments concerning supervision of budgetary and economic policy. Interest rates may go up because of risk, but there is to be no risk. The pound of flesh will be delivered.

There was no such supervision of the financial fiddling which caused this mess. The EU statistics agency Eurostat recently discovered and revealed that in 2001, Goldman Sachs secretly (but legally, protest its executive officers) helped the right-wing Greek government meet EU membership criteria by using a complicated currency swap that masked the extent of public deficit and national debt. [See Andrew Cockburn and Marshall Auerback, on this site.] Who understands how that worked? I think it is fair to guess that not even Angela Merkel, who is trained as a scientist, understands clearly what went on, much less the incompetent Greek politicians who accepted the Goldman Sachs trickery. It allowed them to create an illusion of success  for a while. Success meant being a member of the club of the rich, and it can be argued that this notion of success has actually favored bad government at the national level. Belonging to the EU gave a false sense of security that contributed to the irresponsibility of incompetent political leaders.

Having euros to buy imported goods (notably from Germany) pleased rich consumers, while the euro priced Greek goods out of their previous markets. Now the debt trap is closing. The traditional way out for Greece would be to leave the euro and return to a devaluated drachma, in order to cut imports and favor exports. This way, the burden of necessary sacrifices would not be borne solely by the working class. But the embrace of EU solidarity is there to prevent this from happening. German authorities are preparing to lay down the law to the Greeks, after reducing the income of their own working class in order to benefit Germanys export-oriented economy.

Austerity measures are the opposite of what is needed in a time of looming depression. Rather, what is needed are Keynesian measures to stimulate employment and strengthen the domestic market. But Germany is firmly attached to the export model, for itself and everyone else (globalization). For a country like Greece, which cannot compete successfully within the EU, exports outside the EU are crippled by its use of a strong currency, the euro. Bound to the euro, Greece can neither stimulate its domestic market nor export successfully. But it is not going to be allowed to extricate itself from the debt trap and return to its traditional currency, the drachma. Poverty appears to be the only solution.

There is discontent within the German working class at their countrys policies aimed at shrinking wages and social benefits for the sake of selling abroad. In an ideal social Europe, workers in Germany would come to the aid of workers in Greece by demanding a radical revision of economic policy, away from catering to the international financial markets toward building a solid social democracy. The reality is quite different.

The Greek financial crisis exposes the absence of any real community spirit in the EU. The solidarity declared by the countrys EU partners is a solidarity with their own investments. There is no popular solidarity between peoples. The EU has established a surrogate ideology of internationalism: rejection of the nation-state as source of all evil, a pompous pride in Europe as the center of human rights, giver of moral lessons to the world, which happens to fit in perfectly with its subservience to United States imperial foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond. The paradox is that European unification has coincided with decreasing curiosity in the larger EU states about what happens to their neighbors.

Despite a certain amount of specialized training needed to create a Eurocrat class, the general population of each EU member is only superficially acquainted with the others. They see them as teams in soccer matches. They go on holiday around the Mediterranean, but this mostly involves meeting fellow tourists, and study of foreign languages has declined, except for English (omnipresent, if mangled). Mass media news reports are turned inward, featuring missing children and pedophiles ahead of even major political events in other EU member states.

Northern European media portray Greece practically as a Third World country, peripheral and picturesque, where people speak an impossible language, dance in circles on islands, and live beyond their means in their carefree way. The crickets in the Aesop fable, scorned by the assiduous ants.

Media in Germany and the Netherlands imply that IMF-style shock treatment is almost too good for them. The widening polarization between rich and poor, between and within EU member states, is taken for granted.

The smaller indebted countries within the EU are amiably designated by the English-speaking financial priesthood as the PIGS  Portugal, Italy (perhaps Ireland), Greece, Spain  an appropriate designation for an animal farm where some are so much more equal than others.

Diana Johnstone is author of Fools Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions (Monthly Review Press). She can be reached at
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Off topic, but Italy also got into the Eurozone by cooking its books. This story was hidden in the mass of news stories that hit the newsstands following the collapse of the Wall Street Wallahs Long Term Capital Management. When it came to leveraging of assets LTCM still takes the cookie at nearly 600:1.

Okay, sorry about that, back to the topic at hand.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

Published on Thursday, March 11, 2010 by The Telegraph/UK

Greek Rioters Clash With Police as 10,000 Protesters Take to the Streets

Protesters clashed with riot police as more than 10,000 people marched through central Athens during a nationwide general strike against the government's harsh new austerity measures.

The strike grounded all flights and brought public transport to a halt. State hospitals were left with emergency staff only and all news broadcasts were suspended as workers walked off the job for 24 hours to protest spending cuts and tax hikes designed to tackle the country's debt crisis.

[Image: greece_10000protesters.jpg]Protesters march during a 24-hour labour strike in Athens March 11, 2010. Greek public and private sector workers went on strike on Thursday, grounding flights, shutting schools and halting public transport in the second nationwide walkout in a fortnight in protest against austerity plans. (REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis)

Riot police fired tear gas to disperse rock-throwing protesters at one point of the demonstration as more than 10,000 strikers and protesters marched through central Athens, banging drums and chanting slogans such as "no sacrifice for plutocracy," and "real jobs, higher pay." People draped banners from apartment buildings reading: "No more sacrifices, war against war."

The demonstrators included a group of about 100 youths wearing crash helmets and ski masks, some of whom smashed windows of a department store and bank, and sprayed riot police with brown paint. Shopkeepers along the demonstration route scrambled to roll down their shutters, while a few blocks away, people sat at outdoor restaurants, continuing their meals.

Fears of a Greek default have undermined the euro for all 16 countries that share it, putting the Greek government under intense European Union pressure to quickly show fiscal improvement.
It has announced an additional 4.8 billion euro (£4.4 billion) in savings through public sector salary cuts, hiring and pension freezes and consumer tax hikes to deal with its ballooning deficit, but the measures have led to a new wave of labour discontent.

The cutbacks, added to a previous 11.2 billion euro (£10.2 billion) austerity plan, seek to reduce the country's budget deficit from 12.7 per cent of annual output to 8.7 per cent this year. The long-term target is to bring overspending below the EU ceiling of 3 per cent of GDP in 2012.
The new plan sparked a wave of strikes and protests from labour unions whose reaction to the initial austerity measures had been muted. Thursday's strike was the second major walkout in a week, shutting down all public services and schools, leaving ferries tied up at port and suspending all news broadcasts for the day. However, some private bank branches were open despite calls from the bank employees' union to participate in the strike.

While their colleagues clashed with groups of protesters, some police joined the demonstration.
About 200 uniformed police, coast guard and fire brigade officers, who cannot go on strike but can hold protests, gathered at a square in the centre of the city shortly before the marches got under way.
"The police and other security forces have been particularly hard hit by the new measures because our salaries are very low," said Yiannis Fanariotis, general secretary of one police association. He said the average policeman made about 1,200 euros (£1,000) a month if weekend and night shifts were included.

Joining the protest "doesn't feel strange, because we are working people like everybody else and we are all shouting out for our rights," he said.
The government says the tough cuts are its only way to dig Greece out of a crisis that has hammered the common European currency and alarmed international markets - inflating the loan-dependent country's borrowing costs.

But unions say ordinary Greeks are being called to pay a disproportionate price for past fiscal mismanagement.
"They are trying to make workers pay the price for this crisis," said Yiannis Panagopoulos, leader of Greece's largest union, the GSEE.
"These measures will not be effective and will throw the economy into deep freeze."

A general strike last Friday was marred by violence during a large protest march. Riot police used tear gas and baton charges against rock-throwing protesters, who smashed banks and storefronts.
The unrest could spark fears that the government will have trouble in implementing its new measures.

Greece insists it doesn't need a bail-out, and its European partners are reluctant to fund one. But it has called for European and international support for its program, saying that unless it receives that support and the cost for it to borrow on the market falls, it might have to appeal to the International Monetary Fund for help.
© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2010
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller

TPTB are getting worried. No way is that a measly 10,000 protesting Greeks.

Whilst I see that the 93% Icelandic NO vote, democracy in action, has barely been reported by MSM.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Good point Jan. Diminishing the actual figures diminishes the story.

Blair and the Brit MSM did the same thing with the Brit march against the planned Iraqi war. As I recall somewhere around 500,000 people were diminished overnight.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
[Image: pict48.jpg]

More photos here:
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
The soldier is outside the bank protecting it and its contents I suppose. Meanwhile who will protect the people of Greece (and elsewhere) from the banks?

Its looking more and more like Argentina circa 2000 everyday. Shock therapy for all.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

Published on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 by The Telegraph/UK Greek Crisis: Clashes Turn Deadly as Thousands Protest Against Cuts

Greek protests turned deadly on Wednesday as three died in an Athens bank set alight while tens of thousands demonstrated against harsh new spending cuts aimed at saving Greece from bankruptcy.

Protesters set a bank in the Greek capital on fire as scores of demonstrators tried to storm parliament, throwing chunks of marble at police, who responded with volleys of tear gas and stun grenades. The fire brigade said at least three people had died in the fire.

[Image: greece_clashes_deadly.jpg]Demonstrators pass the parliament building in Athens. A fire-bomb attack on a bank in Greece killed at least three people as police fought pitched battles with striking protestors furious at brutal spending cuts designed to avoid bankruptcy.(AFP/Aris Messinis)

The clashes took place during a march against austerity measures, the largest since the country was gripped by a debt crisis in October last year.

Violence also broke out in the northern city of Thessaloniki, with youths smashing windows of stores and fast food restaurants.

The demonstrations came as Greece ground to a halt on Wednesday, paralysed by a nationwide general strike in the first major test of the socialist government's resolve to push through unprecedented austerity cuts needed to avert a fiscal meltdown.

Public transport was halted, ferries were holding at docks and air traffic was grounded as unions went on the warpath against the latest wave of spending cuts and tax hikes.

As the violence escalated in Greece, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, warned that the future of the European Union was at stake as the crisis over the Greek bailout pushed the euro to a 13-month low against the dollar.

Ms Merkel defended her decision to back the unpopular measure and called on fellow politicians to give their support.

"The future of Europe and the future of Germany within Europe is at stake," Ms Merkel told the German parliament, which will vote on Friday on a package that would see Germany lend 22.4 billion euros (£19 billion) in taxpayers' money to Greece.

Ms Merkel's cabinet agreed on Monday to the German contribution to a three-year €110bn (£95bn) EU and International Monetary Fund bail-out for Greece. But investors doubt that the loan will be able to stop contagion to other vulnerable eurozone countries, including Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy, which also have debt problems. Investors have warned that these countries may require even larger bailouts.

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2010
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
It is all going to come crashing down here too and in the rest of Europe. Once any of these clones get in in Britain tomorrow (or even if there is a hung
parliament it will make no difference) the austerity measures will surely zip in - cos' they all think alike anyway and are all bloody crooks so I suspect there will be more of what's happening in Greece at present.
At least the Greeks are fighting back. In Britain I think everyone is asleep or watching the soaps. They are going to get a nasty shock very, very soon.
God help us all.

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