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The lessons of the Greek referendum
06.07.2015

Over the last nine days, no effort was spared to try to sow fear and doubt in the minds of Greek voters, and even more to misrepresent events to citizens in other EU countries.

 

Day after day, international media claimed against all evidence that the referendum was about staying in the Eurozone or leaving.

 

IN BRIEF

 

  • The Greek people brought the NO vote to win in the referendum by its own independance of mind and ability to overcome fear

     
  • In most EU countries, there is no convincing perspective of progressive alternatives to the existing dominant political forces

     
  • European citizens of all EU countries should understand that it is our destiny and our political future that is at stake

 

The decision of the ECB to refuse to raise the level of support to banks during the brief campaign period for the referendum was a clear political revenge, contrasting with the unlimited support that was given to German and French banks to limit their exposure to the consequences of the crisis since 2009.

 

This did not prevent some anti-Syriza Greek politicians presenting the consequences of these decisions (for instance difficulties in some on-going social actions in Greece) as a consequence of the Greek government’s decision and not of the brutality of the European institutions.

 

Lie after lie, threat after threat, our decaying European ‘elite’ even deluded itself into believing that the YES campaign would win. The incredible brutality of the first comments on the results by Sigmar Gabriel and Martin Schulz are testimony to their frustration.

 

The European leaders are hung-over. They need to refresh their minds very quickly, and we, the work-in-progress European people, must use all our energy to help them sober up.

 

Today Monday July 6th, 2015, a brief period begins during which Europe will choose between two possible paths. It is possible that the Europeans powers, even protected by Yanis Varoufakis' decision to resign because of the trauma of being exposed to bluntly stated truths, will stick to their certainty that they are ‘right’, because they apply ‘rules’.

 

Whether renowned economists or ordinary citizens, many claim that the EU policies are harmful to the point of being criminal. The EU leaders seem nonetheless to consider these people to be poorly-educated children, eligible for an additional round of punishment and gagging laws.

 

It is possible that they will stick to this policy, implemented during nearly six months, of asphyxiating Greece until – they hope – the support for its present government wanes. They would thus appear to prefer Viktor Orban, Golden Dawn and the National Front to Syriza and Podemos.

 

They would welcome a new cold war at the Eastern border of the European Union and a perpetual global low-intensity war in regions of strategic interests rather than the Renaissance of democracy on EU soil.

 

The adhesion of many of the European leaders to market fundamentalism and their dependency on the interests of the powerful is so strong that they face with terror any departure from the existing policies. To them, to create a more open political space is like jumping in the void without a parachute. But one never knows.

 

It will be enough for one or two of the European leaders to realise that this is not just a little political game, it is history, and one can write one's name in it by daring to be the first to break new political ground.

 

By saying this week that the European Union should allow Greece to do three things at the same time: make a large restructuring of its debt, set a non-recessive budget with a margin for reform and actually undertake the reforms that are at the core of Syriza's programme.

 

We, the citizens (meaning also the non-national residents) of Europe, must help this to happen. During the past ten days, the demonstrations of solidarity with the Greek people were real, but far from what they should have been if we had convinced more people in every European country that it is our destiny and our political future that is at stake.

 

The main reason why we have not succeeded yet is that in most EU countries, there is no convincing perspective of progressive alternatives to the existing dominant political forces. 

 

However, there is evidence, for instance from manifestations of solidarity with migrants, that even in countries where the political alternatives are very weak such as in France, they can materialise quickly.

 

All that is required is to understand that they can only emerge from citizens’ groups and new political movements rooted in them. They will not emerge from regrouping the debris of older parties.

 

The Greek people brought the NO vote to win in the referendum by its own independance of mind and ability to overcome fear.

 

The existing powers of Europe govern by fear, stage it and pretend to respond to it when implementing securitarian laws harming our fundamental rights.

 

There is one thing the Greek referendum teaches us: we should not fear the unknown political future. The political future we can see today ahead is much more dangerous than the one we can imagine.

 

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