The global economic meltdown began in 2008 ago as a result of neo-liberal policies of banking deregulation which provided conditions for their reckless gambling and the creation of ‘casino capitalism’. However, the western governments decided they should not let the banks pay the price for their recklessness by going bankrupt. The governments argued the banks were ‘too big to fail’, and a few trillion dollars from national savings were poured into them. This created another crisis – a socio-economic crisis – since that money had to be retrieved. This process of retrieval targeted ordinary people who had played no role in the financial meltdown. But the World Bank and IMF decided to impose a policy of ‘austerity’ on them, and this led to the impoverishment of the middle and working classes and the gradual dismemberment of the welfare system, which further impoverished the already poor.
Greece was the first victim of such a policy in Europe and five brutal years of austerity only ensured that the country could never have a chance to stand on its own feet. The victory of Syriza, the left-wing party that committed itself to resisting austerity replacing it with policies of growth was the Greek people’s response to austerity.
This was an anomaly in the EU’s policy of austerity. Hence, in order to nip the bud so other peripheral EU countries like Spain, Portugal and Ireland do not use Greece as a model to follow, the decided to force Syriza to bow to the demands of Brussels (read: wild capitalism). In response, Syriza called for a referendum on whether Greece should accept the suggested austerity package. The EU, primarily Germany (a country which has benefitted enormously from the Eurozone) decided to go for regime change and cut the flow of capital into Greece. This forced the government to close the banks across the country and ration the amount of money people can withdraw from their savings. The EU also resorted to massive fear tactics in other spheres, predicting a nightmare scenario for the Greek people should they say NO. In other words, short of military intervention, the EU used all anti-democratic at its disposal in order to blackmail the Greek people.
Despite this, the majority of courageous Greek people voted NO to blackmail. We don’t know what is going to happen next, but whatever happens, the NO vote has massively boosted the morale of other people in other countries who are in their daily lives paying the price of casino capitalism, which through crisis and out of crisis has made ginormous fortunes. The NO in Greece tells us that the country, more than ever, values its independence and realizes that without independence it will be only a third-rate vassal of “core” countries like Germany.
The whole world should look at Greece. It is here where the fight-back against savage neo-liberal policies begins and we should do our utmost to support them.