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Forum Post: Greek Leftists Lead Poll; Vow to Kill Bailout, Nationalize Banks

Posted 6 years ago on June 1, 2012, 11:05 p.m. EST by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

As the June 16 elections in Greece near, the final public polls show that the leftist Syriza party continues to build on it's strong showing in the May 6th elections. Syriza maintains a clear lead over second place New Democracy party: 31.5% to 26.5%. (Public Issue poll for the Kathimerini newspaper)

Greek election law bans the publication of any new polls in the 2 weeks before an election. The ban enters into force on Saturday.

The number of people who would vote for Syriza continues to grow. In the May 6th elections Syriza received 16.7% of the vote. Now all opinion polls consistently show Syriza's support between 25% and 31.5%.

Also Friday, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras laid out his party's economic program. Tsipras said that a Syriza-led government would reject the terms of Greece’s bailout, repeal some of the measures that have been passed and increase public spending.

"The first act of a government of the left, as soon as the new Parliament is sworn in, will be a cancellation of the bailout and its implementation laws," Tsipras said.

Athen's newspaper Kathimerini reports:

Going into Final Stretch, SYRIZA Builds Poll Lead

In the last opinion poll to be published by Kathimerini before the June 17 elections, leftist SYRIZA maintains a clear lead over New Democracy, although short of enough support for a clear parliamentary majority.

According to the Public Issue survey, SYRIZA garners 31.5 percent of the vote, 1.5 more than just a week ago. Support for New Democracy is largely unchanged at 25.5. PASOK has lost 2 percent and falls to 13.5. It is followed by Democratic Left (DIMAR) on 7.5 percent and the weakening Independent Greeks on 5.5. The Communist Party (KKE) also has 5.5 percent, while the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) has fallen to 4.5 percent. The liberal alliance of Dimiourgia Xana (Recreate Greece) and Drasi attracts 2.5 percent.

Agence France Presse reports:

ATHENS — Greece's radical leftist party Syriza laid out Friday a manifesto likely to leave the country's eurozone future hanging by a thread if it wins elections later this month.

Tsipras promised to boost the minimum wage, hike taxes on the rich and freeze a major privatization drive designed to raise $24.2 billion, a key condition of its bailout deal. He also pledged to "nationalize and socialize" Greek banks.A bailout deal with the EU and IMF in return for painful austerity cuts "is an automatic pilot to utter disaster," Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said, vowing if elected to scrap the accord and to freeze repayments on Greece's debt mountain.

"We ask for the vote of the Greek people in order to annul it" so that it can be renegotiated, the 37-year-old told a packed auditorium in a run-down Athens neighborhood.

Supporters interrupted him, chanting: "The time of the Left has come."

Syriza surprised Europe on May 6 by placing second in an inconclusive election that saw voters fed up with salary and pension cuts shift their loyalties to radical parties. [...]

Tsipras promised to boost the minimum wage, hike taxes on the rich and freeze a major privatization drive designed to raise $24.2 billion, a key condition of its bailout deal.

He also pledged to "nationalize and socialize" Greek banks that draw on European support funds to recapitalize themselves after a landmark state debt cut brokered by the previous government in March.

This would evidently include Greece's top four lenders, which received 18 billion euros from the European Financial Stability Fund (Ehttp://www.commondreams.org/node/add/headlineFSF) this week.

Tsipras insists Greece can still stay in the eurozone and draw on European support funds, while arguing Friday that the bailout deal itself "is tantamount to returning to the drachma" because of its effects on the economy.

He likened the loan agreement to a "deadly medicine" which has caused a "tragedy" in Greece, where more than a million people are jobless and suicides are mounting in an economy now in its fifth year of recession.

"You don't save a patient's life by changing the dosage of a deadly medicine. You need to change the medicine itself," Tsipras said.

He said his government would also "seek a new renegotiation of the debt at European level, aiming to drastically reduce it, or a debt moratorium and a suspension of interest payments until conditions for the stabilization and recovery of the economy are created."

On foreign policy, the leftists plan a withdrawal from NATO operations, starting with Greece's mission to Afghanistan, and a future "disengagement" from the alliance altogether.

They also want to pursue closer relations with Russia and Latin America and an arms moratorium with historic arch rival Turkey.

But they climbed down from an earlier pledge to shut down NATO bases in Greece.




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[-] 3 points by francismjenkins (3713) 6 years ago

After departure from the Euro (which is becoming exceedingly imminent), I think Greece will have to nationalize their largest banks (and maybe all banks). I feel empathy for Greece, and I do oppose austerity measures (in the face of a bleak economy) ... but we also have to be honest, the Greeks have not managed their country very well.

Here's an excerpt from a Wikipedia article on taxation in Greece:

Social Security Tax An employer is obligated to deduct tax at source from an employee and to make additional contributions to social security as in many other EU member states. The employer's contribution amounts to 28.06% of the salary. The employee's contribution is 16%.


An employer contribution of 28% and an employee contribution of 16%? That's fucking insane (I hope this Wiki article is bullshit, because if not, it's very easy to see why Greece is in the tank).

I mean, that totals around 40% of wages, just to support their retirement system (by comparison, our combined social security and Medicare payroll tax, adding both the employer and employee contribution, is less than 15% of wages).

[-] 1 points by cJessgo (729) from Port Jervis, PA 6 years ago

Bloomberg took dracma off board on currency trading for Greece.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 6 years ago

Like you, I'm not sure I believe those figures.

Though I believe the premiums for Social Security and Medicare in this country should be raised slightly (about 1-2%) and the income cap removed on Social Security deductions to make both completely self-sustaining, you are right; a 44% combined premium would not only be ridiculous, it would be unsustainable.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 6 years ago

Right, and I completely agree. The fear mongering (e.g. the implication that if we raise payroll taxes even slightly, we'll somehow wind up like Greece) is simply detached from reality. We would only need a slight increase in payroll taxes to sustain our retirement system as it is (we're not talking about enhancing benefits, but rather, sustaining current benefit levels). Moreover, a slight increase in the payroll tax would solve the problem now and forever (because in our case it isn't a matter of absurd benefit levels, it's a demographic problem, which only exists with the baby boomer generation, after that ... it's smooth sailing, and even with a slight increase in payroll taxes, our retirement taxes will remain very low).

But in the case of Greece, if the Wiki numbers are accurate (and again, I hope they're not), they have a real monster on their hands. They've put themselves in a situation where conflict between generations almost seems inevitable. It may not happen this year, or next (right now they're facing an acute situation, which is overshadowing everything else), but if they don't do something about this, they will eventually face a bad cascade of events.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 6 years ago

The election and aftermath should prove very interesting. If Tsipras succeeds in reviving the moribund Greek economy, I would expect other crisis-torn European countries to follow his lead.

Still, I don't believe Syriza will accomplish any miracles. The real battle will be behind the scenes, because the European right-wing will wage an all-out war to defeat any tangible economic success by the leftists.

[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 6 years ago

Yes it should be interesting. I wonder if Ireland votes against the bailout will this possibly spell the beginning of the end of the euro?

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 6 years ago

I just read that the Irish approved the treaty by a large margin, though only about half the voters cast ballots.

Evidently, the voters are giving Prime Minister Enda Kenny the chance to fulfil his promises of more jobs and a revitalized economy by accepting the EU's terms. Time will tell, but the austerity hasn't worked in other places, as Tsipras points out.

I believe that Iceland is really the ideal model; the people of the country let the banks fail, chucked international debts, rewrote the country's constitution, and turned the economy onto the road to a firm recovery benefitting most citizens, while much of the rest of Europe appears to have followed the well-worn path laid out by the 1%.

[-] 3 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 6 years ago

Well it looks like Irelands biggest export for years to come will be immigrants. Yeah you are right about Iceland they did it right.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 6 years ago

On the matter of "Nationalizing Banks" : http://occupywallst.org/forum/why-the-banks-must-be-nationalized-the-insolvent-u/ & with reference to "The Theory of Money", please do try to catch the new, insightful & excellent Video Documentary :

When money drives almost all activity on the planet, it's essential that we understand it. Yet simple questions often get overlooked - questions like : Where does money come from ? Who creates it ? Who decides how it gets used ? And what does that mean for the millions of ordinary people who suffer when money and finance breaks down ?

People should have an opportunity to bank with ethical (& perhaps publicly owned) banks. The best ethical practices should be present in the 'market place' and should be promoted, incentivised and rewarded 'in the market place' so we the people - The 99% - can make informed choices and perhaps only 'Publicly Owned Banks' can do this - which is exactly why The Infernal Banksters will fight this idea tooth and nail !!!

Further, some other points on the matter of 'Publicly Owned Banks' :

1) Democratic Accountability and oversight over behaviour such as led to The 2008 Financial Crisis ;

2) Prevention / removal of a culture of short-termism and 'perverse incentives' and of "moral hazard" ;

3) Profits to be ploughed back into "Society" rather than to 'private shareholders' (Foreign or otherwise) ;

4) Driving out 'bad banking practice' and favour / instil 'ethical' practices and behaviour ;

5) Genuine rewarding of savers - NOT fleecing them and driving them towards 'sharks' ;

6) A far more fair, rational, longer-term & more socially responsible outlook for lending ;

7) Reigning in dubious practices ("Innovative Financial Products" - CDOs, CDS's, 'Mortgage Backed Securities', et al & outright fraudulent behaviour - Bernie Madoff / Jon Corzine / MF Global, et al) ;

8) Re-instilling Public Confidence by Accepting / Realising that Banking & Financial Services can NOT just be left to 'Selfish Short-Term Profit Motives' ;

9) Have you ever heard of 'The State Owned "Bank Of North Dakota ?' IF NOT, why not d'you think ? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_North_Dakota and http://banknd.nd.gov/ ) ;

10) The urgent reintroduction of 'Glass Steagal' and a 'Financial Transaction' / Tobin Tax.

There is some degree of overlap in my points and almost guaranteed that one could argue the toss, so from a purely US perspective - something more substantial to read, reflect and ruminate upon :

e tenebris lux ...

[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 6 years ago

Thanks man I'll check that out.

[-] 0 points by RealityTime (-224) 6 years ago

"All-out war", aka, no longer being willing to be suckers paying for the recklessness of the Greeks.

Welfare states eventually run out of money. There's no surprise here.

[-] 3 points by francismjenkins (3713) 6 years ago

Unfortunately, you guys are always unwilling to make rational distinctions, and understand that life is a matter of degree. A good social safety net does not require a Greece like slippery slope. In the US, we spend less on our social safety net than virtually every other developed nation on earth (speaking proportionately), and yet, it's always the first thing conservatives attack.

You guys don't seem to mind spending absurd sums of money on vast homeland security bureaucracies (that's making a mess out of every agency it gets its hands on), you don't mind an exceedingly encroaching police state, Patriot Acts, the militarization of our police departments, the ever growing surveillance state, and so on.

These are REAL assaults against American liberty. If we're spending too much on some welfare program, at least we don't have to worry about getting attacked or wiretapped by something like food stamps, we don't create a giant militarized bureaucracy (and if you guys can't understand why a militarized bureaucracy is more dangerous than a welfare bureaucracy, then you'll have to excuse me for thinking you're a bunch of idiots).

This is not to say we can spend unlimited sums of money on welfare programs, but we need to think rationally, and get our priorities in order. I would have far more respect for conservatives if they simply remained consistent in their rhetoric.

I mean, this stuff is so draconian, it really does sound like a wild conspiracy theory or something out of an Orwell book, but unfortunately, every single thing I listed is IN FACT happening.

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 6 years ago

That's the point, don't you see? To have people like you, who do all the moaning and complaining about footing the bills, pay all the bills, while we the protestors drink and frolic on your money.

[-] 0 points by RealityTime (-224) 6 years ago

Until it's gone, like in Greece. Exactly.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 6 years ago

I'm having fun, how about you?

[-] 0 points by RealityTime (-224) 6 years ago

It's just so completely deserved. The unions especially protest as though money just comes from the sky. Their detachment from reality is profound. They can't in the least comprehend the end of the line. But here it is. Literally, Greece will miss payroll this summer. So, it'll either pay in new currency or IOUs like California did for a time. But it won't pay in Euros because there won't be any more Euros.

Thing is, those retards still won't get it. They'll still think the borrowed money bubble machine can just get turned back on. They're pissed at the banks, but the banks will blow up too on depositor runs and because the banks have been lending so much money to the government. It's a shit sandwich of their own making.

The cool thing is that they'll reform one way or the other. What can't happen won't happen and that welfare state they build can't happen. So, it won't. It's all coming down.

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 6 years ago

If Syriza wins the Greek election, which looks likely, the main issue will be whether Tsipras has the backing and the guts to detach Greece from the combined currency, the international banking system, and the pressure of other governments to follow in the footsteps of Iceland and forge a stronger, better, and independent economy for Greece.

I agree with you that in any successful society, those able to work, should work. I also believe they should be guaranteed long-term benefits for their lifetimes of work, such as universal health care, decent housing, old-age pensions, and adequate food.

No one "succeeds" on his or her own. The accomplishments of any one of us is a product of the collective effort of all workers now and in the past. That means, no worker--and I emphasize worker--should ever face the prospect of destitution. Also, those unable to work should not be penalized for their inability to shoulder that burden.

I don't believe calling people names because you disagree accomplishes any constructive purpose, aside from displaying personal inability to communicate rationally. Let's forget the name calling. I don't care if you're a bonafide member of the Ku Klux Klan (not personal, just used for emphasis and certainly extreme), if we're working toward the same goals, we should concentrate on achieving those goals.

I want a just society that really does treat all people equally. I don't know what you want.

[-] -1 points by RealityTime (-224) 6 years ago

Stronger and better economy? How? Sure, they'll stick it to their creditors and walk away from their obligations, I get that part. Here are few things that'll happen: 1) banks collapse and with it remaining credit availability and depositor money; 2) immediate lack of funds to buy imported goods. That includes pharmaceuticals, for example. Swiss drug companies aren't going to take drachmas or put anything else on Greek card credit; 3) Inflation. Anyone getting the new currency will seek to get rid of it ASAP. Pounding inflation will make the standard of living reduction the leftists claimed was optional; 4) Banishment. People from the rest of Europe aren't going to consider closer ties with Greece for 100 years after the fucking they endured at their hands this time; 5) Removal from European financial system which will create a permanent cost of inefficiency; 6) mass corporate bankruptcy as local firms become impossibly unable to meet their Euro-denominated foreign obligations. Individuals too will enter mass default on their foreign Euro obligations. Many Europeans borrow cross-border for things like cars and houses.

Maybe once and for all the liberal word "deserve" will get the burial it deserves. You can make the list of what you "deserve" as long as you'd like, but it still has to be paid for. Shocking, huh? The Greeks are shocked too, but they're shock is only just beginning. Now all the attempts to protect everyone from everything will mean misery for everyone. But will the leftists learn? Doubtful.

[-] 3 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 6 years ago

You should study the Icelandic reaction to their economic meltdown. So far, it has succeeded, with none of the catastrophic results you mention. Of course Britain now sneers at any mention of Iceland, but that's to be expected, when investments go sour.

Iceland has responded by establishing closer ties to Russia and other Russian-friendly countries. The world offers a lot of options. It ain't over till it's over.

By the way "deserve" doesn't hold much meaning in a society where the ruling class steals most of the proceeds. They certainly don't "deserve" excessive wealth but have it anyway. If "deserve" had anything to do with wealth distribution, the workers would have taken all the wealth long ago.

[-] -1 points by RealityTime (-224) 6 years ago

Greece is going to work out great. I can't wait.

Iceland's issue wasn't about an insolvent and broken government and a defective and broken ethic among its people. It was about a giant banking sector compared to GDP. That banking sector drew depositors from across Europe, especially from Britain, and those countries were trying to protect their own people as they should. Iceland's bank assets were about 10x GDP. When they failed, the government at first tried to hold it together, but gave up. But what was left wasn't a broken country.

Greece, however, is much more than international bank failure. It's societal failure.

[-] 2 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 6 years ago

If you look at the figures for Iceland, the banks caused the meltdown, but the banks caused the crisis in this country. Still, Iceland faced many of the same problems Greece now faces. If Syriza wins the election and they implement the plans, which have only by outlined by Tsipras, I would expect to see them recover, though not so miraculously as Iceland.

Greece has no societal failure. Their government failed them. The Greek people relied on the politicians, while those so-called leaders played economic patty cake, sort of like the supply-side economists in this country. That's what happens when you trust rulers, who nearly always are more interested in self-aggrandizement than the well-being of their constituents; stark evidence of this play-loose-with-the-people's-money attitude in this country is the Ryan budget, which seeks to cheat Americans out of the insurance benefits they've already paid for. Now, that's fraud, my friend, and if that budget succeeds, those politicians should be imprisoned.

[-] 0 points by RealityTime (-224) 6 years ago

In Iceland, it's small country and the banks grew ridiculously large in comparison. Bank assets in the US were something like 2.3x GDP. But in Iceland it was 10x.

Banks didn't cause the crisis by themselves. It was leverage across the system. If not yourself even, I bet you don't have to look hard to find someone deep into credit card, mortgage, or auto debt. You can easily find someone with a zero savings rate or a kid that without a care in the world ran up student loan debt. All that borrowing has a hangover; it was hardly just the banks.

Social security and Medicare are ponzi schemes. Ryan is one of the few that's willing to call it what it is. His reforms don't go far enough. They allow existing payees to continue to walk off with excessive benefits compared to payments and compared to what future generations will receive. It's a political compromise, but hardly fair. Ponzi schemes all fall apart at some point.

[-] 3 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 6 years ago

You can always find excuses for the success of Iceland after the meltdown. The point is the country has succeeded in turning it around using all the tactics, which you insist will result in doom. The sky fell for Iceland, and some politicians with guts to buck the supply-side economists turned it around.

The US is in the worst economic situation since the Great Depression, and trickle-down economics has been the cause of both. As Will Rogers sarcastically observed in the midst of the Great Depression, "Money was all appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy." He was the one that coined the term "trickle down" in its application to a so-called economic theory, which is nothing more than an affirmation of Marx's observation of capitalism in action: "The rich get richer and poor get poorer."

Social Security and Medicare are both federal insurance programs, funded by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act: FICA. If a life-insurance company reneges on paying benefits, it can be sued for fraud and the perpetrators imprisoned. The same goes for Social Security and Medicare. You should re-educate yourself on the definition of a Ponzi scheme, which has nothing to do with insurance.

[-] -1 points by RealityTime (-224) 6 years ago

It isn't excesses, it's analysis. Iceland has seen some success and would've had bigger problems if it had accepted complete state responsibility for other European depositors. But that's hardly Greece's problem. Greece has a severe banking problem, but it also has severe ongoing deficits, governance problems, and lunatic unions. When Greece goes down, austerity will really begin because borrowing will stop cold turkey.

So, dig up FDR and put him in jail. Recourse to the "perpetrators" does nothing to relieve the consequences of the Ponzi scheme. Medicare and Social Security are every bit ponzi schemes protected by pandering politicians and selfish elderly voters that don't mind fucking young people for what they're convinced is theirs. Of course, they'll be dead when the people taking promises in exchange for cash today come up short when they retire. Oh well, I guess. Truth is, Ryan doesn't go far enough to make things fair again.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 6 years ago

My goodness, you are bitter.

Too bad it's directed toward the wrong people. Education is for those smart enough to take advantage of it.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 6 years ago

societal failure.

Sounds like you hole digger.

[-] -1 points by RealityTime (-224) 6 years ago

But I pay my own bills, and the bills of a fair number of other people via government.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 6 years ago

You have no compassion or understanding for your fellow man. I pay taxes and I also try to lead government on a path for health and prosperity. You support the corrupt greedy criminal status-quo.

[-] 0 points by RealityTime (-224) 6 years ago

Compassion doesn't require stupidity. The status quo is what liberals fight to preserve, witness the recall attempt in Wisconsin.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 6 years ago

I'd tell you to get bent but it is obvious you already are.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 6 years ago

What is a surprise is that few recognize the contributions of the greedy corrupt criminal elite as having caused the collapse of society/economy in their pursuit of profit over people.

But not to worry the people are beginning to take real notice.

[-] -1 points by RealityTime (-224) 6 years ago

Yeah, the bubble machine finally turned off. Greece was utterly unsustainable. All the down-turn did was make the rot more apparent and meant the crisis happened in 2012 rather than a few years down the road.

Profit over people? What profit? Greece is about what happens when you mix half a country working for the government with no fucking idea how the bills get paid, tax evasion at every level, borrowed money, and everything thinking they can quit work at 50. Greece is a wholly dysfunctional late-stage welfare state.

Profit over people? Borrowing and entitlement over reason and responsibily-taking is more like it.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 6 years ago

Corrupt and ineffective government have their hand in this - that is truth.

But it is also true that governments have been taken advantage of by criminal lenders or Investment sellers. Selling toxic product that they push as a sound investment knowing up front they are selling doomed to fail derivatives.

It is also many ( all ? ) governments mistakes not to properly tax the wealthy individual as well as corporation/business. Trickle down is a known non-starter.

Greece is in a truly bad position as beside olives and olive oil and such things like that they really have no natural resources to bank on.

[-] -2 points by RealityTime (-224) 6 years ago

Greece drove itself over the edge. Even now, the socialists and stupid fucks with government jobs still don't get that missing payrolls is just around the corner. I hope CNN gets in there to show the faces of these idiots the day their paychecks bounce. Huh, someone has to pay for this stuff after all. Who knew?

Greece is going to reform one way or the other. The socialists think it's a choice. It isn't. This is going to be fun.

[-] 0 points by fiftyfourforty (1077) from New York, NY 6 years ago

I hope these guys win the vote. It's not a good sign that they bent on the NATO presence in Greece. Greece already has a phony "NATO Socialist" Party and probably doesn't need another to betray socialist principles. I hope they stay the course but they've already displayed a sign of bending.