Is Syriza crossing red lines?
Athens gets more like a kind of viral Casablanca every day. It is a mish-mash of rumour, opinion directionalising, plot, counter-plot, cloak, dagger and 95% of the population going about their business with little more than exasperatedly rolled eyes about what’s going on.
As with everything in the tangled online web of distraction, deceit, disinformation and distraction, nothing is certain any more….beyond the eventual failure of the euro. But certain thing do need to be reiterated in the context of media collusion with the Troika – especially the business media.
i. The ruling – catch it here – on Greek debt as being highly odious is both compelling and legally near-watertight. To the best of my knowledge, apart from market ticker not a single site or title or channel outside Greece has even run it, let alone analysed the content
ii. Every US business site and two UK press titles ran stories over the weekend confidently declaring that Syriza worked throughout the weekend and now seems ready to cross every red line they set at the start. I’ve had two Greek confirmations of this, rather more denials, and a lot of “no idea and don’t care”.
iii. Phrases like ‘forced out of the euro’, ‘heading for Grexit’, ‘last-ditch attempt to stay in the EU’ are casually made in relation to the Greek position. They fly in the face of facts, treaties, legal realities and common sense: but they are far more prevalent in the press than, for example, features about the derivative disaster potential if Greece defaults.
iv. The subject of yesterday’s Slogpost (about Hollande coming under pressure to broker a deal) seemed absent (beyond Bloomberg) from all but one or two French print and online media.
There seems to me no logic or reality to the idea that a calm eurogroupe is quietly applying pressure through expected channels while the Greek government runs around like so many headless chickens, increasingly desperate and hysterical and close to the point of begging for mercy. Rather, it is the creditors who are hurling fantasy threats and deadlines around – in the case of the IMF, from 9000 miles away.
It is, we should be clear once and for all, the ECB-Berlin-Brussels-banking axis that stands to lose here. Greece itself has very little left to lose – and those downsides are in my view exaggerated. Writing to friends in Athens yesterday on the subject of Greece as gallant losers, I argued thus:
‘Whatever kind of victory this turns out to be or not be for the Bastards, don’t delude yourselves: you will still have been defeated. In the 21st century, defeat is no longer glorious.
I’m only writing this in the context of what are now two confirmations inside Greece and numerous stories in the foreign media with the same scenario: Syriza’s leaders working through the weekend to come up with a ‘solution’ that involves crossing every red line they’ve set themselves.
What in God’s name are they thinking of?
This is a solution to the EU’s problems, not yours. This is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Let me list the ramifications as I see them:
ND & PASOK will laugh their socks off and kill Syriza for being a bunch of indecisive virgins….and Golden Dawn will double in popularity, condemning Tsipras as leading the usual spineless Left – all mouth, no trousers.
2. The Troika will be reassured that, as with Hitler in 1938, having scammed the Sudetenland they can now walk into the rest of Czechoslovakia without resistance.
3. It will be a kick in the balls for Podemos, leave Tsipras’s Italian supporters in despair, and make the likes of Orban in Hungary more isolated still.
4. It will prolong the agony for Europeans living under the shadow of a neo-fascist corporate entity, convince the Germans yet again that they can do what they want, and confirm a mad US State Department in its deranged belief that Putin is piss, wind and ready to roll over.
5. It means the baton being carried against foreign oppression will pass into the hands of Nazis, overt and otherwise, inside Greece and elsewhere. It could very easily mark a drift into civil war.
6. The democratic but real Left will never again be trusted with power by the Greek electorate.
The victory of the Troika will of course prove to be Pyrrhic. But outside Greece – believe me – the last thing your defeat will be seen as is plucky, glorious, brave or indeed anything approaching honourable.
You have Sonny Liston on his arse: what are you, Muhammed Ali or Floyd Patterson?
I’m now being told to calm down; but a paper has gone from Athens to the eurogroupe. We will have to wait and see whether red lines have been crossed – or whether those ‘reporting’ that outcome were simply more mouthpieces for the New Order. The chief-of-staff to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has this morning tweeted to call the latest Syriza debt proposals a “good basis for progress”.
Frankly, that has me worried.