Hopeful reasons for the Greek people to vote 'No'

By Simon Barrow
July 5, 2015

The referendum in Greece on Sunday 5 July 2015 is an important moment in history. Will democracy and human economy win through, or will the interests of financial oligarchs and the Troika have their way and the Eurozone return to 'business as usual'?

Actually, whatever happens, the Eurozone crisis will continue until there is a major fork in the policy road. But this is undoubtedly a defining moment, and it is clear that a 'yes' vote would be a significant setback for the struggle to end the the inhumanity and economic illiteracy of austerity.

Meanwhile, the case for rejecting the current, absurd terms 'offered' to Greece have been set out in six succinct points by the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis – who I remember as a relatively obscure (but fascinating and remarkably astute) economist back in the day, at a conference at the LSE in the early '90s.

As Varoufakis says:

1. Negotiations have stalled because Greece’s creditors (a) refused to reduce our un-payable public debt and (b) insisted that it should be repaid ‘parametrically’ by the weakest members of our society, their children and their grandchildren.

2. The IMF, the United States’ government, many other governments around the globe, and most independent economists believe — along with us — that the debt must be restructured.

3 The Eurogroup had previously (November 2012) conceded that the debt ought to be restructured but is refusing to commit to a debt restructure.

4. Since the announcement of the referendum, official Europe has sent signals that they are ready to discuss debt restructuring. These signals show that official Europe too would vote NO on its own ‘final’ offer.

5. Greece will stay in the euro. Deposits in Greece’s banks are safe. Creditors have chosen the strategy of blackmail based on bank closures. The current impasse is due to this choice by the creditors and not by the Greek government discontinuing the negotiations or any Greek thoughts of Grexit and devaluation. Greece’s place in the Eurozone and in the European Union is non-negotiable.

6. The future demands a proud Greece within the Eurozone and at the heart of Europe. This future demands that Greeks say a big NO on Sunday, that we stay in the Euro Area, and that, with the power vested upon us by that NO, we renegotiate Greece’s public debt as well as the distribution of burdens between the haves and the have nots.

Yanis Varoufaskis' thoughts for a post-2008 world can be followed here: http://yanisvaroufakis.eu

Renegotiating Greek debt and other debts built up by reckless lending and speculation for financial gain is in the interests of all of us in Europe – as even the IMF is belatedly recognising. I hope the people of Greece do not flinch at this crucial moment. But I understand what a tough call it is, and how fear (and the playing on it by self-interested creditors) will be a big factor.

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© Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia.

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