The abdication of democracy

José Soeiro translated by Gil Fonseca

The inflexibility of Brussels for negotiating and the recurring"diktats" of Berlin, show that the EU has become "a dictatorship of democracy '. (...) It’s hard to believe that in all the Brussels meetings the score has showed a result of 18-1. Where are the moderates? Where are themembers of the Socialist International? Where the few remaining Christian Democrats?"

The words came from Freitas do Amaral, from a meeting held last night. And they mark a wider confusion: If there's one thing that in recent days has became clear is that the European institutions never truly sought any agreement for Greece. The question is is not finding a solution that both parties can find to be acceptable. The question is trying to replace an elected government that dared to challenge the current European doxa. The value of a insurmountable odd, we are told, is 600 million euros. That is, a crumb in the European budget (or even for the Portuguese budget). Therefore, there is a reason for so little has been reached in an agreement. A political deeper reason: Berlin and Brussels can not tolerate a government having other solutions. So they went into campaign - using all the weapons and force they carry.

Firstly, financial extortion. European Central Bank’s decision in closing the’ tap’ and in undermining banks’ liquidity, forcing the control of capital ‘escape’ and the ATMs control, are nothing but purely political measures. Never this decision was made for Ireland and Portugal. For one simple reason: those governments were "friends." The goal is therefore to create a climate of fear, so to condition the referendum. This explains why European institutions have become facilitators forright-wing governments and embargo mechanisms to any alternative project.

Secondly, the selective shock. What about the chorus of commentators and policymakers who show themselves to be so saddened by the fact that the Greeks can only raise 60 euros per day in ATMs (that is, 1800 euros per month in terms of pocket money, because all operations and ATM payments remain) when at the same time they argue to be mandatory cutting pensions already reduced by 62%? Thus, the public outcry is a screen of hypocrisy: and where was it, after all, when the Greeks qeued for a soup dish or the improvised solidarity medical care, after austerity plans condemned thousands to poverty and casted out 3 million people of health care?

Thirdly, the distortion. On television, a succession of reports on the poverty in Greece, suggesting that this is the "country" created by Syriza, whose government has half a dozen months. It’s a rather strange curious thing, that they not consider this misery as the result of years of austerity, that is, the same prescription implementation which the institutions now insist that the Greek Government is seeking to avoid. Several Nobel prize of economics, like Stiglitz and Krugman, have explained that the institutions’ proposal is unacceptable precisely because it will prolong the misery, and why not appeal to the referendum. Krugman even classified the behavior of governments and lenders as "a monstrous act of madness."

Finally, the manipulation. It continues to say that the Greeks "have received a lot of money" from Europe and that they would not make reforms. It’s not worth wasting too much time in arguing. A chart from TVI (portuguese tv channel), built from the Financial Times data, has denied this misleading narrative: from the 240 billion received by Greece, only 10% was available to the Greek Government. 90%, in fact, went to banks support and to paying bank interests to Germany and France.

When, in 1957, the treaty of Rome, which created the European Common Market was discussed, the French socialist Mendès-France (former prime minister in the '50s), said at the National Assembly, "the abdication of our democracy can be achieved in two ways . Using a new internal dictatorship that concentrates all of the powers in a providential man, or the delegation of those powers to an external authority, which on technical behalf, will exert in fact, political power. And so, in the name of a healthy economy it will easily impose a financial, and social policy, and finally a 'political' policy in the widest sense of the term; both on an national level and on an international level. "

In fact, this is what is happening. There’s a financial ultimatum to defeat any democratic glimpse. The Greeks are, so, being punished for having an intolerable impudence: believing in the possibility of combining Europe and democracy.

Last modified: Sat Jul 4 12:51:58 WET 2011