The job of alternative media is to debate, explain, and analyse the news context – not report events
Greece fails to make repayment – live. Watch the failure to make IMF repayment as it happened. Varoufakis confirms Athens did not make the payment. IMF’s Lagarde confirms IMF did not receive the payment. The payment has not been made. Payment was not made in currency invented by nuts. May contain nuts. Watch live as Christine Lagarde opens her electronic IMF Greek ledger and finds she is a payment short of a loan. Lagarde confirms absence of Greek euros in the ledger. And nuts.
24/7 news stations and the internet have created an events storm that hits all of us like a whirlwind of dissembling pretending to be facts. Everything is ‘breaking’, everyone is getting in and out of limos, cops are talking to camera about suspects shot 31 times at close range, but the three things missing at all times in 2015 are analysis, perspective and insight. Nowhere has this been clearer than in the Greek marathon…a snail’s race that has held us not so much gripped as guessing since February 21st.
“And it’s Varoufakis with the ball now. He’s taunting this Eurogroupe defence, looking for an opening. He passes to Tsipras and oh dear that’s a terribly late tackle from Dijesslbleom…is he going to get a red card, no, er, that is….both of them are going off. Looks like a reshuffle there in midfield, with stalwart midfielder Merkel going into central defence as goalkeeper Schäuble barks at his full backs. Free-kick expert Odius Debtalotopolous steps up to take the shot, as Tsipras shadows Merkel and well look at that, Merkel sat on Tsipras there, but referee Juncker missed it. Odius takes the free kick AND IT’S THERE! But no, Juncker has ruled the goal offside…and now yes, Syriza captain Tsipras has walked off in disgust…”
Looking up one or two opinion surveys over recent weeks, it’s not been hard to discern what the vast majority of EU and US citizens think about what they see as Athens 0 Eurogroupe 0: that Greek duplicity is about to cost every EU citizen a lot of money, and then Grexit will happen and good riddance to these Greek idiots who voted for a bunch of Commie amateurs.
So in playing the “Time is very short and the Greeks are wasting it, hoping we’ll forgive their debt but we will stand firm” music to the public beyond Greece, the Eurogroupe was kicking at an open door. A door, by the way, that is still open if you, the Greek people, show us your willingness to do the right thing and vote yes to another five years of economy-healing austerity.
Those who have followed events with an empirical as opposed to jaundiced eye know that this ridiculous version is 100% pernicious and untrue – and to be fair, some western media have latterly been pointing this out. Yes, the tide of opinion is turning…but not among the 75% of those on the cosy sofa: the decent 9% are seeing the light, and the greedy 3% are being seen in a very different light. But that’s it. Wayne Sun and Viktowryyah Heat are as ignorant as they ever were, albeit hoping for a cheap drachma so they can large it darn Spetse in August viv deir mites an’ shit.
Those of us in the decency niche have to learn to accept that – whatever the issue from now on – it’s going to be like this for the foreseeable future: tongues will be bitten and lips sealed when Derek and Samantha Smug tell us they don’t want to pay the Greeks’ debt for them just so they can continue evading tax, and how sorry they feel for the ordinary German and of course they’re angry, wouldn’t you be? Well quite – I mean, there you are.
As to the real perspective on what all this game theory and second-guessed briefing has been about, there’s no real insight required. Frances Coppola blogged last Sunday to announce the death of the euro, and the Greek economy (and retail infrastructure) has indeed been destroyed – no other word will do – in order to scare the wits out of other eurozone States getting any clever ideas about resistance…a strategy aimed at keeping countries as varied as Hungary and France in their respective boxes.
That tactic has quite obviously failed, and so ‘resistance contagion’ is now a near certainty – unless the Brussels/Frankfurt/Berlin axis decides on draconian action…in my view, still a possibility.
But whether that means the rebirth of European democracy is another matter entirely. Looking at Greece itself, I do not embrace or share in any way (beyond its professed community-level mutualism) the politics of Syriza. I think once the Greeks have the euronauts out of their face, they are going to have to think carefully about just how controlling Tsipras and co might turn out to be, and how the Right may respond to that: the soi-disant democratic Opposition has all but imploded, and so the privileged classes and Golden Dawn could easily start to regain lost ground.
Further, just because the eurozone and the Union are going to fail in no way prefaces any certainty of either individual freedom, personal responsibility, or social justice. The UK is turning hell for leather into a fully-fledged corporate State, the US remains ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice Meets Zero Compassion’, France has a devil’s brew of economic failure and neo-Nazism, while Italy’s implosion will also, quite obviously, polarise extremes there.
However, at a higher level still I do have one insight to offer. We will learn nothing from this insane jamboree until we start asking ourselves, ‘Why is the Union going to fail?’ I think it will fail because, once federalism became the name of the game, the belief system adopted by those playing the game required all of them to abandon every known and field-tested tenet upon which social anthropology is based. That reality had to be replaced by the bad science of trying to turn 27 cultures into one nationality.
The EU has been, in the end, simply one more example of the unthinking pc belief in multiculturalism. Instead of capturing best practice in every culture via a loose trading bloc model, the bankers and the Germans tried to mould the Union in their own image. That goose was never going to fly, but it is almost certainly going to fry: and when it does, there will be incandescent fat spitting in all directions.
From Day One, the Commission was given the power, and the European Parliament the rubber stamp. That was the wrong way round if democracy was to flourish, it was the wrong way round if planners were to stay in touch with the People, but it was exactly the right way round to be hijacked by neoliberal corporatocracy. Not surprisingly, it has produced an élite consisting of a psychopathic banker, a wheelchair-bound mendacious control freak, a Dutch political failure with dictatorial aspirations, and a Luxembourgeois who equates elections with mistakes.
The longer-term future is not global, or suprastate or élite corporacratic, but rather a switch to smaller group units, within which democracy and the rule of law are protected by the mutual interests of the majority.
The medium term looks totally unpredictable, messy and totalitarian to me. I wish you all luck in getting through it.