Sunday, July 05, 2015

Next Up, Spain

As events unfold over the next few weeks following today's No victory in Greece there'll be plenty of people watching in Spain.  That country's Podemos movement promotes a similar sort of anti-austerity platform to that of Greece's Syrzia.  It's hard to imagine today's defiant events in Greece not having a knock on effect in Spain and perhaps Italy also.

I've spent some time this afternoon prowling the web for online European newspapers, stopping to look at their photos of street celebrations across Greece. What struck me is how generational this seems.  Unlike the earlier protest marches where the crowds were of all ages, today seems to be a day for young Greeks to rejoice.

Greek youth, after all, had the most to lose.  Just coming into adulthood they faced the prospect of either having to emigrate or face a future of perpetual penury.  They grew up with five years of punitive austerity, saw what it did to their parents.  They understood that a Yes win would be "game over" for their future.  They fought and they won even if it victory only means the right to fight again another day.

By contrast it was the wealthiest Greeks who were the most outspoken proponents of the Yes side.  The austerity measures the Euro Bank and IMF were using to crush ordinary Greeks really didn't matter to the oligarchs who, in many cases, were the real tax dodgers contributing to the debt crisis.  The shipping magnates remain unscathed, still venerated as de facto nobility.

The Spanish go to the polls in a general election some time before 20 December. Podemos has gone up and down in the polls but today's events might give a much needed boost to anti-austerity supporters.


Steve said...

I predict Greece will get a sweetheart deal from the cabal and Ireland will go ballistic. Italy, Spain and Portugal will all want a cut.

The Mound of Sound said...

What you foresee, Steve, would create an enormous north/south rift in the EU that the union might find unworkable. End of Days, Euro-style?

Anonymous said...

One question is; why is Germany turning out to be "bull-headed" regarding Greece? Submitted...Anyong.

The Mound of Sound said...

The Germans perceive a real threat to the stability of the Euro that could undermine their own relative prosperity if the Greeks don't submit to the bail out demands and accept recession without end. The Germans are one of the creditors who can't bring themselves to entertain serious debt forgiveness without which, at this point, Greek society probably can't survive. Even the most 'get tough on Greece' Germans seem to realize the deal they demand leaves Greece with debts they will never be able to get out from under. Yet when a debtor - an individual, a corporation, even a country - is in that position there is no solution but for the creditors to take their losses. There is no viable alternative, none.

Ordinary, working-class Greeks have been barely surviving under crushing austerity for 5-years. Affluent Greeks, those who dodged their taxes and helped create this disaster, haven't been similarly affected. The solution the creditors demand transfers the obligation to Greek youth who are just entering adulthood and who did absolutely nothing to contribute to their country's default. The creditors are telling them that, by virtue of birth, they must live their adult lives without hope, in perpetual penury, as indentured servants. That sounds to me like the perfect formula for spawning insurrectionist groups.

The major creditors are beginning to have second thoughts as the idea of a possible bailout from the Chinese that would see Greece leave NATO is kicked about. The notion of China picking off an EU member and long-time NATO partner is pretty unsettling.