Third memorandum, worse than the previous ones!
By Leonidas Vatikiotis
Leonidas Vatikiotis has studied Statistics at the University of Piraeus. His doctoral dissertation, at the Sociology Department of Panteion University (2008) considered the causes of the 1970s economic crisis.
It is not only the new austerity measures, which among others include VAT increase, reduction of pensions, reintroduction of the zero deficit clause, Sunday shop opening and implementation of the liberalization measures included in the OECD’s famous toolkit! The deeply unpopular agreement, signed by Tsipras government in the early hours of July 13th, after 17 hours negotiations between the eurozone Heads of State, (here is the full text) introduces for the first time commitments that guarantee the impoverishment of workers in perpetuity and even attempts to eliminate syndicalism, turning Greece into a second or third class capitalist country for the benefit of the German Fourth Reich! Four specific measures make the difference compared to the previous memoranda. More specifically:
First, the “introduction of quasi-automatic spending cuts in case of deviations from ambitious primary surplus ” -which is one of the four measures that ought to be voted by Wednesday, July 15-, eliminates the possibility of divergence from the targets set. Practically, this means that by the time there is a deviation from the forecasts, a school, a clinic of the National Hospital of Nicaea will be shut down or a whole sector will be sacked in order to reduce the costs and achieve the surplus which will service the debt and satisfy the creditors.
Secondly, another safety valve is also included in the privatization program so that the overambitious target of 50 billion EUR revenue is reached and not just remain on paper. The prospect that the 50% or 25 bn. EUR will be returned to the ESM for the recapitalization of the banks and from the remaining 25 bn. euro half will be given away for reducing the debt and the rest for investments, connects the sellout of public property with real interests, paving the way to even convey to the banks public companies and real estate for privatization so that the selling off to achieve the best possible terms and on their own responsibility. But it needs to be done… and not cancelled in practice as happened in the past.
The tremendous implications of the 50 billion EUR privatization program, which also includes the selling off of the Independent Transmission Operator (ITSO) are revealed if we compare the target of 50 billion euros with the revenues from the so far privatizations. For instance, the 2015 government budget reports that in 2013 there were received only 86 million euros, in 2014 230 million, while for this year the (inflated as usual) budget estimate was 474 million euro. The loot that will follow, with the sellout of all traces of public property (Municipalities, Universities, public entities), will be sweeping, in order to manage to gather such a large amount, as the best “pieces” of public property (OTE Olympic Airways etc.) have already been sold.
Third, the “program under the auspices of the European Commission, for de-politicizing the public administration” will attempt to eliminate trade unionism in the public sector and – something far more important – reform the public administration, by abolishing current hierarchies and launching a new generation of managers in the state machine, fully subjugated to the limited sovereignty regime that the new, third, Memorandum de facto establishes, with predictions such as the “unilateral” amend of “roll-back” legislation adopted in 2015. In practice, this means annulment of any populist law: from the reinstatement of the cleaning ladies to the school guards … and it also remains to see if they will include the opening of ERT. Therefore, the strong resistance of the state machine -that was put forward since 2010- will not only surrender to the demands of Memoranda but also, Troika returns reinforced, with its own people in every key position, ready to encapsulate and implement even and the most reactionary measures, by violating laws and ethics. The arbitrariness of Georgiou in ELSTAT, which becomes further independent, is indicative of the morals they wish to impose on public administration and services.
Fourth, the political targeting of the left Memorandum signed by Tsipras is reflected on the commitment for “rigorous review and modernisation of collective bargaining, labor mobilisations and collective redundancies.” No longer do they target the collective-bargaining rights and strikes, but also the protests themselves. “First time left”… first time that the right to protest is put into question!
Furthermore, even the enactment of these measures by 15 and July 22, as explicitly described, does not prejudice the happy ending for the government’s negotiations. Clear statements such as “the opening of negotiations do not prejudice any potential final agreement” or “the Greek offer of reform measures needs to be seriously strengthened to take into account the strongly deteriorated economic and fiscal position of the country during the last year”, guarantee that we are at the beginning of a long and painful process, involving continuous adoption of unpopular laws, that will ensure the approve of the new 82-86 bn. euro loan and the release of the instalments, as happened in the previous five years.While with other humiliating formalities like “the dangers of non-rapid conclusion of the negotiations fully borne Greece”gives the creditors the right to ask for … their mother and father, whenever they wish, from any government, obliging Greece to immediately comply and without objections.
Moreover, the fact that the banks will not open (as explicitly stated by the term “rapid decision on the new program is a condition to allow banks to reopen”)implies that the EU will keep sending ultimatums until its requirements are met in full, such as “decisive action for non-performing loans”, which means that thousands of houses, even first residences will soon go under the hammer… Even if this is about a blackmail that was explicitly rejected by the grand ‘No’ of the Greek people on the a referendum of July 5th.
The third memorandum, which signals the complete humiliation of SYRIZA, puts the last nail in the coffin of the request the public debt cancellation, as claimed by the people and was grounded by the recent findings of the Parliament’s Truth Committee on Public Debt. The clear reference on the penultimate page of the decision that “the Euro Summit stresses that nominal haircuts on the debt cannot be undertaken” in conjunction with the reference”the Greek authorities reiterate their unequivocal commitment to honour their financial obligations to all their creditors fully and in a timely manner”, import -fully and completely- the current government of Alexis Tsipras to the camp of the enemies of the people and society, who from 2010 until today use the debt in order to circumvent rights and conquests of decades!
Translation: Foula Farmakides
Source of the photos: Depression Era Project/Dimitris Michalakis: http://www.depressionera.gr/262731/1607618/works/dimitris-michalakis