Socialist Destruction Unleashed in Greece

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


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Yet even as the package was approved by Parliament, there was much dissent. The socialists and rival conservatives, who comprise the majority of Greece’s interim coalition government, expelled 22 and 21 rebellious lawmakers, respectively. Furthermore, conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, the current frontrunner to be Greece’s next Prime Minister and a man who believes the country should focus more on stimulating growth with tax cuts and privatization, still believes some additional wiggle room is possible. “I am calling on you to vote for the new loan agreement because I want to avoid falling into the abyss, to restore stability,” he said during Sunday’s parliamentary debate, “so that we can have the possibility tomorrow to negotiate and change the policy that is being imposed upon us today.” Vassilis Korkidis, head of Greece’s Commerce Confederation, was far more pessimistic. “Yesterday’s vote in the parliament may have saved the country temporarily from default, but the Greek economy is going bankrupt and the country’s political system is failing,” he contended.

Meanwhile, the people seethe. The country is in its fifth year of recession, unemployment is over 20 percent (rising to 50 percent for younger Greeks), and many of the country’s citizens are inclined to believe that the unknown factors of national bankruptcy might be no worse than the assurance of several years of painful austerity. “We need these protests,” said Babis Xerikos, who runs a stationery shop. “We have filthy politicians who steal from Greece so we need to protest against them.” “Greece will become a protectorate,” said Natalia Stefanou, 45, a shoe store employee. “It’s not me I’m worried about, though,” she added. “I’ve got two children, aged 14 and 15. What kind of country are we going to leave them?”

Much of that anger is focused on Germany. “Greece will pay its debts back, if you let us. But not with a German knife held to our throats,” said Eleftherios Basdekis, who spent part of his life living under the specter of Nazism. “This is worse than the ’40s,” said Stella Papafagou, 82. “This time the government is following the Germans’ orders. I would prefer to die with dignity than with my head bent down.”

Lost in much of the violence and anger is the daunting reality that this deal, even if all parties manage to get to the finish line as currently envisioned, does nothing more than buy time. “It’s a pause, it’s a relief,” said Milton Ezrati, senior economist and market strategist at Lord Abbett & Company. “But it’s short-lived and everyone knows that. We’re buying a few more months before the next round of trouble.” Jerry A. Webman, the senior investment officer and chief economist for Oppenheimer Funds, echoed that sentiment. “It doesn’t solve the problem,” he said, “but it gives everybody the political cover to look for ways to solve the real Greek problem, which is how to get the country and its economy back on more stable footing.”

At this point, it may take a miracle. Without some method of promoting economic growth factored into the austerity equation, all this deal does is temporarily slow down an apparently unavoidable death spiral. Greece is the first European nation that will inevitably “run out of other people’s money to spend.” It will likely not be the last. As for the road ahead, perhaps Spiros Papachelas, a 22-year-old student, expressed it best. “We’re finished. There’s no future here. As soon as I can, I’m going abroad.”

If the European Union continues to embrace the destructive socialist policies that have brought, not just Greece, but Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and possibly France to the brink of insolvency, Mr. Papachelas and others may discover yet another daunting reality: they’re running out of places to go.

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  • Larry

    If I had some spare cash floating around I'd be seriously considering buying a small Greek island, something like Crete looks good, later this year. A couple of thousand dollars should just about do it.

  • PAthena

    One of the main sources of money for Greece is tourism. Those who engage in the destructive antics in Greece – probably organized by the Communists – are destroying this source of Greek income. All their screeching and rioting will not bring in a drachma (or Euro). Who wants to visit a country where such riots are going on and where the rioters destroy valuable sites?

    • Rifleman

      You're right, but they don't care, they just want their free stuff and easy life. They figure if they just raise enough Cain and destroy enough property someone will give it to them Where it comes from is someone else’s problem.

    • ebonystone

      I'd be surprised if the country's sizeable Moslem minority was not also pretty active in the vandalism and rioting.

  • MałyFelek

    the latest austerity measures demanded by other EU nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

    ehm,actually,demanded by f.e Germany and France,who are hiding behind the EU.Especially French banks were very eager to lend money for German products.Now,these two nations are trying to socialize their losses-even Poland and Romania have to chip in for that.Or rather, the stupid politicians of these countries do,Czechs and Britons said NO.

  • antileft

    Greece is finished, sorry to say, nothing can save it. In spite of everything said here and everywhere else, nothing can avert its demise and, let it be said frankly, civil war. Which again would be nothing new for it, its history since the Ottoman times has been such. And, what a surprise,apparently the Greeks know almost nothing about the basic ideas of business legislation, done in the EU, they still think they are the unique nation deserving a special treat from everyone. And, I stumbled upon a few minutes of their national basketball derby two days ago, full stands as if the reality of crisis did not exist, everyone was having fun.Maybe some of the looters and arsonists after the game on their main square were the same people? Socialism, communism or any other leftist atheist religion, it inevitably leads to chaos and war. Sad, but logical.The idea of equality and sameness, what a horrible stupidity, a shocking shocking mental blindness!!

    • Serafino

      "The Greeks still think that they are the unique nation deserving a special treat from everyone"… This is a very accurate observation by Antileft. I have experienced this time and again while working with the Greeks abroad and stateside. Yes, while it is not nice to use stereotypes, it must be said though that when seven out of ten repeat the pattern, one can begin to see a trend, and I do see a trend with people of Greek ethnic background. Oftentimes, they project a sense of entitlement stemming from their great ancient past, but nowadays it is also paired with the socialist mentality that further fuels this destructive view of the world. What a shame.

  • Richard N

    The Greeks never really got over their romance with communism, unlike their Eastern European neighbours who were stuck with it for over forty years after World War II and finally threw it away in horror. Thus the continued protests now in Greece against banks, Germans and capitalism. They still don't really get it.

    Three generations of the Papandreou socialists in power? I'de be asking for a return of the monarchy.

  • Steve Chavez

    If you google our COMMUNIST PARTY USA and Greek Communist Party(KKE) you will find several instances where both brag about that the KKE IS LEADING THE PROTESTS AND THAT CPUSA IS IN "SOLIDARITY" WITH THEM AND THEY SAY THAT THE SAME ACTIONS ARE NEEDED HERE. You can also go to the CPUSA.ORG OR PEOPLESWORLD.and put in Greek Communist Party in the search box. I did this just yesterday since I remembered these links a few months ago when rioting began.

    CODE PINK, a front of the CPUSA, had an advertisement for the Sept. 17 DAY OF RAGE and then I revealed this on several websites and IT WAS REMOVED SINCE IT CONTINUED INTO OCCUPY "A LEADERLESS GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT."

    When the "Audacity of Hope" HAMAS FLOTILLA SHIP (USTOGAZA.ORG), ORGANIZED BY MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY USA/LESLIE CAGAN, was stopped IN GREECE, Medea Benjamin of CODE PINK, and many others WENT TO PROTEST IN ATHENS TO BE "IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE GREEK PROTESTS."

    OCCUPY come spring and summer, will ratchet up their anarchy too and the COMMUNIST PARTY USA WILL BE TO BLAME! THEIR FINGERPRINTS ARE ALL OVER THIS MOVEMENT INCLUDING HERE IN ALBUQUERQUE!

  • Brujo Blanco

    Greece demonstrated the end product of a society in which government provides everything. When the government runs out of money the takers turn to violence. In Greece the cops are apparently on the aide of the takers.

  • edbowan

    Greece needs to play its most powerful had. it owes too much for them to allow it to default. It should simply refuse to take on this austerity because it can never repay the debt. it should threaten to default. If that were to happen a lot of very rich people and some very rich countries would become poorer, but Greece counld devalue and stand a chance to make the recovery it desperately needs

    • Rifleman

      You're assuming they'll do like they haven't done yet and are rioting to prevent.

  • Libertyman

    Keep in mind the current state of the American Psyche… If we went on a much needed government austerity program (or just finance what is Constitutional under Article 1 Section 8) – would not the entrenched receivers of public monies do the same in our beloved Republic? The question – have we gone too far also in socialist mandates also to recover?

    I often wonder if we lost our soul.

  • Rifleman

    The gravy train ran out of track and now greek freeloaders are burning the businesses and destroying infrastructure that enabled their long free ride. Support us ‘til you die from it or we’ll attack and destroy you. Socialists are parasites that’ll kill their host.

  • crypticguise

    The Greeks are indeed INSANE. Just "cut them loose". There is no reason to attempt to reason with anarchists and an insane populace. The military should be shooting these rioters in the streets by the hundreds. THAT would quickly bring this outrage to a halt.

    Bring back the military to clamp down on the idiots.

  • maturin20

    Isn’t the soci.alism of the major banking cartel also evil? They did, after all, override democracy and then wail that violence has no place in a democracy, even though this is a democracy of recently replaced IMF figurehead dictators, fake national referendums, and unfree markets. Are to only blame the people who are being ravaged by austerity? Are we going to blame Americans at large when we are ravaged by austerity? Is our anger at being robbed by Europe going to make us “soc.ialists?”