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Kristallnacht in Athens

by talos Sat May 14th, 2011 at 10:32:59 AM EST

Scenes from the Nazi pogrom against immigrants Athens 12/5

As Greece was reeling from the violent repression that broke up the large anti-austerity demonstration in Athens, and led to a critically wounded demonstrator (who is doing better but is still in danger of losing his life or suffering permananent damage), Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) the local neo nazi party, which last autumn managed to elect a City councilor in Athens, went on a rampage in Athens' decrepit residential neigbourhoods of Kypseli and Patissia attacking immigrants and their shops, breaking windows, invading homes and sending as many as 50 people to the hospital (while dozens more were too afraid to seek medical help) with knife wounds and blows. This unprecedented in scale attack, came after a demonstration in the crime-ridden neighborhood protesting the stabbing and murder of a local inhabitant (who was Greek) in heartbreaking circumstances: the man went to get his car to take his pregnant wife to the hospital where she was to give birth to their child and the robbers attacked him to take the video-camera he was carrying in a pouch.

frontpaged with minor edit - Nomad


The night before the Nazi demo, an immigrant from Bagladesh was violently stabbed in the same area, quite possible a racist "revenge" murder against "immgrants"...

The incident highlighted the extreme increase in violent crime in down-town Athens and was immediately (although no hard evidence regarding the identity of the perpetrators exists) blamed on "illegals". The demo against violence was exactly the sort of event Chryssi Avgi thrives on, as they have imposed themselves as a "citizens militia" in these neighborhoods terrorizing mainly darker skinned immigrants with the full complicity of the Police. There are strong indications that Chryssi Avgi has infiltrated the police force and is operating with its leadership's tacit approval. The government is doing very little about all this - apart from ordering violence against non-nazi protesters that is...

The ongoing developments represent the spillover of economic depression to a society already heaving under the strains of the creaking economy and vast income differentials. It is not completely irrelevant that the same day the racist attacks took place, the unemployment numbers for February were published, showing a record high (since 2004 when monthly unemployment data became available) of 15.9%...

I'm writing a diary with a description of actions and reaction to austerity and depression in Greek society, but it's long, and things move so fast that it's already becoming old a day after I add another chapter to it - anyway I will be back on this soon

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EUObserver: ECB warns of threat to Greek democracy (April 15, 2011)
Greek debt costs were bludgeoned on Thursday (15 April) after news filtered through markets that the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, came out publicly saying that a restructuring of the Hellenic republic's debts may be required.

Separately, the European Central Bank has warned that such restructuring - default by another name - would threaten Greek democracy.

Because, as we're seeing, "bailout" and "austerity" are not a threat to Greek democracy at all...
ECB board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi warned on Thursday: "According to our analysis, a debt restructuring would result in the failure of a large part of Greece's banking system."

He did not mince his words, saying that Greek democracy would be threatened by such a move.

"The Greek economy would be on its knees, with devastating effects on social cohesion and the maintenance of democracy in that country," he told financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

He also subtly told Berlin to not push Athens into a corner.

"Ultimately it's up to Greece to decide the way forward, given that it will suffer the worst consequences. But other countries must avoid pushing it towards a catastrophe."



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 06:07:27 AM EST
I do not think that Greece is the only place where democracy might become an endangered species.

In whatever country which had a recent enough dictatorship, going into a depression will always bring back good memories of the "goold" old times.

The current narrative is especially dangerous. In the "old times" there was no public debt, for instance.

The EU is killing democracy in Greece and Portugal. I hope Spain is not captured in the same spiral.

by cagatacos on Sun May 15th, 2011 at 06:40:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The sad part is that this will just reinforce the detached "these people cannot govern themselves" attitude we're getting from Northern Europe...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 16th, 2011 at 04:50:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah...this situation plays well for conspiracy theory of "one world's government"...I can imagine who would govern, haha.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon May 16th, 2011 at 11:00:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EPP is now, objectively speaking, providing aid and comfort to neo-Nazis.

They are traitors.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 07:02:22 AM EST
This could all have been prevented had the ECB acted as market-maker of last resort for Greek sovereign bonds in February of last year.

The fact is the ECB has now killed its bond-purchasing programme altogether.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 08:28:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
George Papandreou probably does not have any direct connection to Chryssi Avgi, but if his government is to maintain any control he still needs his own Nacht der langen Messer, even if it only involves putting large numbers of Chryssi Avgi in jail.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 10:21:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Papandreou doesn't have a personal connection of course. His Orwellian sounding Ministry of Citizen Protection though, has done nothing, nothing, to remove large and influential far-right/nazi elements from the police force. The reports about Thursday's violence show that immigrants were being clobbered and shops smashed under the vacant and approving eye of the police officers. Some few Nazis who were detained were on a first name basis with the top officers and were released after a few minutes.

I blame Papandreou personally however for riding the anti-immigrant horse as a "popularity saving" mechanism, for demonizing "illegal immigrants" and making harsher laws against them (and blaming the conservatives for being to lax on immigration for crissake), with the MSM, the mass of which is backing his government's austerity programme, shouting their approval and their dismay. This legitimized hatred of immigrants... More about this in the next diary - coming soon I hope...

Right now, the way things are going, I would not be amazed should Chryssi Avgi pass the 3% electoral threshold and be represented in parliament.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 12:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is soooo scary ... but this same pattern is going around the world as plague...
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I blame Papandreou personally however for riding the anti-immigrant horse as a "popularity saving" mechanism, for demonizing "illegal immigrants" and making harsher laws against them (and blaming the conservatives for being too lax on immigration for crissake),
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Similar thing is happening right now here in Australia...It is good I suppose to give people someone to blame for their misery ( or just being worse).Of course it is just to take attention from those who are making money on people's misery and are to be blamed for the crises.
That's how Balkan wars happened. When my husband's relative from Bosnia said that he can only by one bag of laundry powder for his monthly salary we knew that there will be a war.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 07:22:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry to see this. I haven't read it but I imagine that Naomi Klein's Shock doctrine has something about the increasing use of citizen militia's against plausible scapegoats to provide a generalised climate of fear among the excluded and superiority among those who consider themselves included (even if they aren't)

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 08:21:39 AM EST
Included...excluded...Hah
I remember when far right Vojislav Seselj's (now in Hague) Radical party came to power in Zemun (municipality of Belgrade) and started to confiscate some real estate from local Croatians, some local Serbs feeling "included" cheered...Sometime later he started to confiscate from Serbs too and one Serb (on TV) said " Why he is taking from me I am Serb"...Well probably there was no more Croatians in Zemun, haha.
You remember that one: "First they came for Jews..."


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 07:38:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, by creating a victim group and encouraging citizen action against them, they normalise violence so that people can't complain when it's used against less obvious targets cos they're already complicit.

These may be dark times

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 15th, 2011 at 08:21:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by creating a victim group and encouraging citizen action against them, they normalise violence
------------
Right! And it is interesting how yesterday's "normal" and very peaceful people can adapt to this atmosphere and become violent. I suppose that was a tactic that Hitler used during time to get so many Germans on his side at some point...It is actually very easy ...I couldn't believe my eyes and ears during those dark times in Serbia.
Dark times in front of us on a global scene because this is what they use everywhere. Friend from Sydney told me how she has spoken to an old Australian (neighbour) who was actually married to Chinese woman arguing strongly against immigrants...not even seeing controversy in his case...
It is madness....


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun May 15th, 2011 at 10:30:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MRZine: Political Aspects of Full Employment by Michal Kalecki (originally 1943)
One of the important functions of fascism, as typified by the Nazi system, was to remove capitalist objections to full employment.

The dislike of government spending policy as such is overcome under fascism by the fact that the state machinery is under the direct control of a partnership of big business with fascism.  The necessity for the myth of 'sound finance', which served to prevent the government from offsetting a confidence crisis by spending, is removed.  In a democracy, one does not know what the next government will be like.  Under fascism there is no next government.

The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armaments.  Finally, 'discipline in the factories' and 'political stability' under full employment are maintained by the 'new order', which ranges from suppression of the trade unions to the concentration camp.  Political pressure replaces the economic pressure of unemployment.

At present, the EU epitomizes "capitalist objections to full employment", and "sound finance".

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 08:53:07 AM EST
I thought about including a Fascist end in the getting ECB'd diray, but I did not grasp the mechanism of why it stopped the death spiral. Kalecki understood it.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 04:34:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Policy Brief: GERMAN VIEWS ON HOW TO HANDLE THE GREEK DEBT CRISIS (11.05.2011)
Among the leading players in the Christian Democrat/Liberal coalition, there is not a single who believes that Greece can sustainably repay its debt without some form of debt restructuring. The debate inside Germany is how and when the restructuring should happen. Some officials have expressed the hope that a combination of interest rate cuts and maturity extension would suffice, and that a haircut would not be necessary. However, as one source put it, to solve the problem through an extension alone would have to involve a very substantial increase in maturities - we are talking significantly more than two or three years. In parallel, there is hope that the Greek government might be able to negotiate a voluntary debt restructuring with some of its creditors.

But Germany rejects a haircut, for now, out of a fear of a repeat of an Argentine-style situation, but most importantly, Angela Merkel has famously pledged to protect existing bondholders until 2013 - known also as the Deauville, a promise she feels she cannot easily abandon. There is concern that a forced haircut could trigger a financial earthquake with incalculable collateral damage, with similar, or worse, ramifications than the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

But German officials are significantly more open to the idea of a restructuring, than any ECB or EU officials. In particular, they disagree with Klaus Regling's assertion that the banks were pressing for a restructuring on the grounds that this would earn them significant fee income. While that may apply to a few individual institutions, such as Deutsche Bank, it does not apply to the financial sector at large. And even Deutsche Bank would suffer more from financial instability than it would gain in terms of fee income.

(my emphasis)

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 09:26:53 AM EST
There's another reason to extend the bailout prior to restructuring. Right now, the pressure is on Papandreou to privatize public assets such as utilities, telecom and even lottery. DT is currently in talks to buy an even bigger chunk of the Greek telecom OTE, at bargain prices.

I know this may be entirely cynical and untrue, but one way to own another country may be to bail it out with austerity measures, watch as it panics under the ensuing death spiral devaluation, insist then on the sale of assets at firesale prices, then that country takes the proceeds of such sales and sends them to your bank to pay off debts, and then your banks turn around and leverage the income by lending it out to the very corporations that will use the proceeds to then buy ever more assets--until the country being bailed out has been totally looted and nothing's left to buy of any value.

At that point, you can go ahead with the haircuts. But by that point, the one holding the bag will not be the banks, but the European taxpayer.

Greece was 300 billion in debt when this all started. Now they are 400 billion in debt. In the end, the EU might bailout them out with plus 150 to 200 billion, while Greece sells 50 billion in assets.

If Greece had simply been given half the bailout money up front, the debt to GDP would have instantly dropped from 300 billion (or 115% debt to GDP) to $215 (or 80% debt to GDP), a level that Greece hasn't been in many DECADES!!!!!!!

by Upstate NY on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 04:27:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And nobody is even asking (let alone answering) crucial question: Where is 300 and more billions of Greeks debt? Where is that money?
By giving them 100 and more billions in bail out they obviously just postponed (and deepened) Greece catastrophe...to make more time I suppose to move their (money) investments elsewhere...This is all sooo sickening what has been done to Greece.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 07:50:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And also there is a wave of anti-police violence as the police violently attacked an otherwise peaceful demonstration during the General Strike of last Wednesday. This violence resulted to an amateur photographer having a fractured skull and a "near-death" situation, as described by the doctors. He is still in critical condition. You can see his photo-blog here
http://www.diffusedlight.blogspot.com/
You can see the police violence here
http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dcelyhv_P79Y%26featur e%3Dplayer_embedded
or here http://www.tvxs.gr/news/%CE%B5%CE%BB%CE%BB%CE%AC%CE%B4%CE%B1/%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%BF%CE%BA%CE%BF%CF%85%CE %BC%CE%AD%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%BF-%CF%84%CE%BF-%CE%B4%CE%BF%CE%BB%CE%BF%CF%86%CE%BF%CE%BD%CE%B9%CE%BA%CF%8 C-%CF%87%CF%84%CF%8D%CF%80%CE%B7%CE%BC%CE%B1-%CF%84%CF%89%CE%BD-%CE%BC%CE%B1%CF%84

Today the far-left attacked with Molotov cocktails a police station in Exarchia, a radical neighborhood in central Athens with a long history of confrontation with the police. The result was that three people - from the nearby street market - were hospitalized with very severe burns.

So, we have violent crime, police violence, far-left violence and far-right violence. It's massive violence from all sides. It's nothing "usual" and it's difficult to explain to foreigners.

The situation here in Greece is very very severe. Beware, you could be next...

SOS SOS SOS

"Eurozone leaders have turned a 50bn Greek solvency problem into a 1,000bn existential crisis for the European Union." David Miliband

by Kostis Papadimitriou on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 04:24:32 PM EST
So, we have violent crime, police violence, far-left violence and far-right violence. It's massive violence from all sides. It's nothing "usual" and it's difficult to explain to foreigners.

How very 1930's...

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 07:02:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 We keep forgetting history...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 07:56:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The "Weimar of the South" as a Greek blogger put it referring to Papandreou's pre-election slogan of turning Greece into a "Denmark of the South"

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 08:31:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He means the Denmark that has lately been doing things like
Right now, our parliament Folketinget is negotiating the fiscal plan for our country for the next 10 years, the so-called 2020 Plan. In relation to this, it is of course expedient to calculate the expected income and expenditure, so we know what we're dealing with. And it's equally prudent to break down the income and expenditure into different budget headings so you know which knobs to turn up and down to make everything balance.

But this time the MPs are using a calculating principle hitherto unseen. Government officials from five different ministries have made a report splitting up the income and expenditure into different ethnic groups.

No, your eyes do not deceive you. Government officials from five different ministries have actually made a report splitting up the income and expenditure into different ethnic groups. According to this report "immigrants and descendants from less developed countries" (Danish new-speak for `Muslims') "constitute 15 billion kroner in expenses for Danish society" whereas "immigrants and descendants from more developed countries" (Danish new-speak for `everyone other than Muslims') "constitute 2 billion kroner in earnings for the Danish society".

And where the EPP negotiates with the xenophobic Dansk Folkeparti a roll-back of Schengen in exchange for outside parliamentary support for austerity policies? (the quid pro quo is needed given that DFP, as a bona-fide populist extreme right party, leans "socialistic", that is, paternalistic, in its economic policy, and would oppose roll-backs of the welfare state for "Danes and more developed immigrants").

Or does he mean the progressive idea of Denmark that the conventional wisdom of the 70s had given us and which hasn't actually existed for 10 to 15 years?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 15th, 2011 at 05:07:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EPP? Venstre is ALDE.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 15th, 2011 at 06:11:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right...

The government is a Liberal - Conservative minority coalition with outside Ugly support.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 15th, 2011 at 07:10:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a historical coincidence. Venstre corresponds roughly to the CDU, while the Conservative party is more of a mind with FDP (and then there's an even more extremist neoliberal party, but every time they talk about economics they lose voters, so they are hopefully not a permanent fixture).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 15th, 2011 at 07:56:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can anyone explain Golden Dawn to me? From reading about them, they are literally pro-Hitler and pro-Nazi. How is this at all part of the Greek national ethos given the country's severe suffering during WW2 (500k-800k dead including 50-60k Jews)? Are these the remnants of the quisling gov't back then?
by Upstate NY on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 04:29:31 PM EST
They are fringe. They are not openly pro-Hitler or pro-Nazi. They deny being fascist. They claim they are nationalist, against the state and pro-nation, pro-race. They exploit the mismanagement of the situation by the mainstream and the far left. Such groups also exist in countries like Russia, which suffered even more in the WW2 than Greece, or the UK.

"Eurozone leaders have turned a 50bn Greek solvency problem into a 1,000bn existential crisis for the European Union." David Miliband
by Kostis Papadimitriou on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 04:55:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They exist EVERYWHERE...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 07:58:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No Kostis, if you talk with them, or read what they say, they are openly National Socialist and they are White Supremacists and Greek supremacists (the first explains their collaboration with Albanian immigrant groups in Greece, particularly the areas where the pogroms took place, a Sign of the coming Apocalypse I'm sure). They do criticise Hitler but not for reasons sane people would.

The Extreme Nationalist tradition in Greece hails back indeed to WWII and then Gladio groups, the post-civil war para-state and the military junta. There is a black line going back to Nazi collaborators and Civil War right wing death squads. Long story, scary folks...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat May 14th, 2011 at 08:26:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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