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Sunday, February 19, 2012

More protests against Greek austerity measures



Austerity measures in Greece include a 22 per cent cut to the minimum wage. This is just one of many cuts demanded by Greek creditors and the Troika imposing austerity upon Greece.

Deep budget cuts are a pre-condition of a scheduled 171 billion bailout payment to keep the country from going bankrupt as early as March. Protests turned violent the other day as a number of buildings were torched. An article in the Guardian by John Holloway praises the citizen's resistance to the measures although deploring the senseless destruction.

European finance ministers are scheduled to approve the bailout package on Monday. According to Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter final details were still being worked out. Fekter said:"I don't think there is a majority to go a different way because a different way is enormously arduous and costs lots and lots of money,"

Greek unions both in the private and public sector reject the deal calling the Troika's austerity demands unacceptable. The measures set by the EU and IMF violate workes'rights and collective agreement they complain.

Few commentators note the undemocratic nature of the imposition of the austerity measures. The elected prime minister was replaced by an unelected technocrat but even his government is at the mercy of the Troika representing creditor interests. The power of finance capital over people has never been more stark but there rarely is much commentary on the issue. It is as if this were just part of nature that workers must adjust to.

Supposedly the latest austerity measures are meant to revive the Greek economy and make it more competitive. But the result has been prolonged depression and lack of growth which makes the debt more burdensome than ever.

Apparently the key issue still to be worked out is as to who exactly will hold the whip over the Greek government to make sure it complies with the new austerity measures. At present the Troika has that task: the European Commission, European Central Bank, and IMF. Perhaps the group wants to simplify the oversight. Some analysts believe the rescue passage will just stave off Greek bankruptcy for a period of time but that eventually banrkuptcy is most likely. For more see this article.

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