Notes From the Margins…

Austerity: Greece Continues to Fight

  • October 06, 2011
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The political/economic discourse of ‘austerity’ and ‘austerity packages’ tends to present these processes as if they were entirely reasonable, inevitable and a matter of plain common sense.  It’s like going on a diet.   Just ‘tighten your belts’ and reduce your ‘bloated public sector’ (how come no one ever talks about a ‘bloated private sector’ by the way?), ie. sell it off to the waiting predators, and your country will soon return to prosperous normality after a period of common sacrifice.

But if IMF/EU ‘austerity’ means opportunities for the rich, it also means the enforced poverty of large swathes of the population.  It means wage freezes and in some cases massive wage cuts,  unemployment, grimmer working conditions, the privatisation of the social economy, longer working lives and reduced pensions.  If things go really badly, you and your family are obliged to rely on food handouts, as increasing numbers of Britons are now doing.

For many of those who are being asked to show more ‘austerity’, their lives will be very bleak indeed.  The Greeks know this better than most, and they are continuing  to resist the attempts by their own government, with a general strike that brought the country to a halt.

The Guardian‘s Helena Smith describes how

Anger was evident on the faces of the protesters who flooded into the streets. “We have no work, we have no money,” they screamed, denouncing the EU and  IMF which have propped up the near-bankrupt Greek economy with rescue funds. “Erase the debt! Let the rich pay.” There will, there can, be no more sacrifices.

Can’t disagree with that.  The Guardian says that these strikes are pushing Greece closer to ‘chaos.’  I say let’s have more chaos then.   Because resistance like this is pushing the Greek government closer to default.   If that takes place, it will be a major blow to the IMF/EU plans and the brutal culture of ‘austerity’ that threatens to turn  so many lives to dust – and an inspiration to other countries in the same position.

What happens then is anybody’s guess, but it can’t be any worse than the future that is currently being foisted upon us.



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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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