Posted 1 year ago on Nov. 9, 2011, 5:22 p.m. EST by SandyEnglish
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from today's perspective on the World Socialist Web Site
Greece and the dictatorship of finance
Ancient Athens is considered to be the cradle of European democracy. Modern Athens is threatening to become its grave. The events that have rocked Greece in recent days are a lesson and a warning for all of Europe.
Three weeks ago a two-day general strike brought the country to a halt. Since then there has been one crisis summit after another—in Athens, Brussels, Cannes. The result is a new government in Greece without any democratic legitimacy intent on imposing the dictates of the financial markets upon the working population.
If one regards democracy to be the determination by the broad masses of the people of their own destiny, or even just the composition of a government, then there is no longer any democracy in Athens. There is no longer the pretense that the sovereign power is the people. It is rather the “troika,” consisting of the European Union (EU), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB). The prospective new prime minister, Lucas Papademos, a former vice-president of the ECB, has been selected by, and is answerable to, the troika.
What is happening in Athens is increasingly the rule rather the exception. In recent months the four other highly indebted countries in the euro zone—Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain—have either gone through, or are on the verge of, a change in government. On each occasion the initiative came from the representatives of finance capital and big business. The most important prerequisite in the selection of each new government is its ability to implement unpopular economic measures while resisting any concessions to public pressure.