Today Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minster raised the threat of Nazi – i.e. Golden Dawn – intervention in response to the implacable stance of the German-led austerity eurocrats, the continued haemorrhaging of money from Greek banks and the freezing of Greek bonds by the ECB. The battle lines have been drawn. But it would be an error to see this drama as merely a struggle between political representatives; rather it is between those who seek to impose austerity indefinitely as a way of life and those, not just in Greece, who seek escape from poverty and demand hope. It’s also about solidarity: but will the millions of people across Europe who are fighting the same struggle rise to the occasion? 2015 may well be a defining year – a battle of wills, ideas and of survival.
Last night thousands of Greeks rallied in Syntagma Square, Athens, to demand that their mandate for change be realised. There were no police present. Hundreds of thousands of protesters are expected to rally in the square at the weekend.
Meanwhile, Varoufakis commented “No one understands better than the people of this land [Greece] how a severely depressed economy, combined with a ritual national humiliation and unending hopelessness, can hatch the serpent’s egg within its society. When I return home tonight I will find a country where the third largest party is not a mere neo-nazi party, but a nazi party.” He asked the people – not the politicians – of Germany for their support (and, implicitly, the dispossessed across Europe).
Two years ago a coup attempt by Golden Dawn was exposed. While the attempt was laughable, it revealed how the government of the day had plans in place to exploit the attempt by cracking down on leftist and anarchist protesters.
Meanwhile, Varoufakis has been rebuffed across Europe as Merkel refuses to back down on her hardline stance on the Greek debt or even to offer compromise. Reuters reported that it had seen a document prepared in Berlin demanding Greece reverse its promises to raise the minimum wage, halt the sale of national assets (such as the sale of the port of Piraeus) and to rehire sacked public workers. The ECB announced that Greek bonds would no longer be accepted as collateral, causing fears of a fresh run on deposits held in Greece’s banks. In short, the eurocrats are threatening to bankrupt Greece.
To see the options open to Greece, click here.