The temple of neo-liberalism and its ideology of social suicide in the interests of the banks has been breached. The hysteria in European capitals (particularly Germany) after the resounding “No” vote by the people of Greece is entirely appropriate. For decades now developed country governments and their enforcers, the IMF and the World Bank, have managed to bamboozle people in country after country, convincing them that up is down and black is white — that austerity and recession are nirvana — pie in the sky, bye and bye.
The “No” vote — accomplished despite a hysterical campaign of fear by literally the entire Greek and EU media — is like a bright flash of light, however momentary, revealing the true nature of the conditions imposed by international finance and its political puppets in Western capitals. And who better to wield that bright light than Greece’s heretic economist and (now former) finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. An accomplished economist and an even better propagandist, he single-handedly reframed the Greek crisis from one of blaming lazy Greeks to blaming greedy EU banks.
Talk about great theatre: to contrast himself with the endless stream of men in suits from the euro-zone bureaucracy, he gave a news conference the day of the vote wearing a T-shirt. He was rejected by his fellow finance ministers as a negotiator because he, unlike most of them, actually understood economics and was prone to ridiculing their constant repetition of neo-liberal slogans.
The war between democracy and international finance, effectively suppressed for decades by complicit Western politicians and co-conspirators in the corporate media, is now out in the open for all to see. And what we see should have us declare that we are all Greeks now. Because we are all (except the one per cent) suffering, to one degree or another, from this ideological lunacy of austerity in the midst of recession. The source of the madness is a radical cult of free market economists and trade lawyers who have occupied the temples of state power and captured the loyalty of elected representatives.
The Greek/EU stand-off should highlight the actual struggle behind the debt crisis. This is not primarily about numbers and assigning blame — it is about nation building versus globalization, democracy versus austerity and general prosperity versus crushing inequality. The visceral contempt for democracy has been revealed for all to see in the reaction of the right-wing governments and political commentators of the euro-zone. Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, effectively called for the overthrow of the Greek government. “In an outburst that was extraordinary coming from the most senior official in the EU parliament, he argued that the radical left Syriza government should be replaced by a technocratic administration,” wrote The Guardian.
The global significance of the Greek crisis is that it pulls the curtain from this hijacking of democratic decision-making — though the mainstream media will do everything it can to pull it back as quickly as possible.