Noel Ignatiev's Blog

Where Are the “Troubled Consciences” over Greece?

by Steven Colatrella

J’accuse! I accuse all the intellectuals, the social democrats, the liberals, the leftists looking elsewhere, especially across Europe, of not speaking out against the atrocities perpetrated on the people of Greece.

Had Stalin done to Greece what the IMF/EU Commission and ECB (the Troika) has done, the nouveau philosophe’s would have issued a new encyclopedia over it, and all the ex-Communist Party members would have taken a break from ringing their hands over the Soviet crushing of workers’ revolutions in Prague, Budapest and Gdansk (never calling them that of course) to beat their breasts over it.

Had Hitler done to Greece what the Troika has done all the anti-fascists around Europe would commemorate it with a national day of memory. 

Had the United States done it all the facile leftist anti-imperialists, searching for a way to not notice the exploitation of their own national firms in Eastern Europe or Asia or Africa would mass in the hundreds of thousands to protest. 

Had a corrupt nationalist government done this, Thomas Friedman and Kristoff would have filled the NY Times with editorials over it by now. 

Only the anti-capitalist movement and the working class have, in their own way, acknowledged the extent of the oppression, in their characteristic way of seeing common interests and common cause – there was general strike last week in Belgium against the EU summit in Brussels, not that the press covered it. Norway had a general strike two weeks ago against an EU mandate over precarious work similar to that which the Monti government in Italy is about to impose.Portugal had its largest demonstration in thirty years this weekend against austerity even as Athens went up in flames. 

Suicides are up 40 percent this past year in Greece as a result of the Troika’s imposed policies under a now unelected government. See:

This means that hundreds, perhaps thousands are dead as a direct result, mirroring the unreported millions of children and adults killed by IMF structural adjustment programs over the past thirty years. First they came for Africa, then Latin America, now Greece, then the rest of Europe . . . Did we stand up?

The Greeks can only be defeated if they must fight alone against the world’s creditors, that is the world’s capitalists, the entire EU state structure and the IMF and all the capitalist and great power weight that is behind it. If they fight together with at least many other countries’ workers across Europe the most basic conditions of civilized life—there are now 20,000 homeless on the streets of Athens—can be defended effectively. 

Most of Greece’s public debt is now in the hands of the ECB anyway, not private creditors, so cancelling all or most of the debt will not mean that anyone goes out of business or bankrupt. The people of Europe, theoretically are the owners of Greek debt. Will we be the executioners of an entire generation, sacrificed for a utopian or dystupian project that is insane and cruel?

Or will history record that we were not silent when an entire country, democracy in Europe, and an entire generation—unemployment in Greece is already 21 percent, the plan passed yesterday will cut 150,000 state jobs by 2015 and cuts the minimum wage by 22 percent—was sacrificed to the cause of greater concentration of wealth and power?

Where are the consciences that always speak out against past horrors, that always say “never forget,” “never again,” when it counts?

The “infame” that Voltaire wanted to “ecrasez” in his time was the power of religious organization over politics in alliance with monarchy, today the “infame” is the alliance of finance capital over politics and its alliance with the Troika.

Ecrasez L’infame!

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