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Re: <nettime> âGreece Brought a Latte to a
t byfield on Mon, 13 Jul 2015 19:52:53 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> âGreece Brought a Latte to a

Felix, I think you're too pessimistic. Greece faced a long, dark tunnel before Tsipras became PM, and they face one now -- maybe on worse objective terms than before, as many think. In the short time Syriza has led Greece, the nation's economy has deteriorated seriously. Tsipras is compromised now, will lose the momentum that was fueled by a succession of dramas and showdowns, and his coalition is more fractious than ever. Even if he can get the agreed-upon reforms approved by parliament, it remains to be seen whether that will translate into effective implementation -- so it's lose-lose, right? If they do implement them, the Greek people will suffer; if they don't the Greek people will suffer. The most likely outcome is that they'll half-implement them, and that it will be a continuing basis for the lenders to argue, stall, demand additional concessions, biding their time until the government collapses.

But: Greece has shown, conclusively and for all the world to say and *say openly*, that the European project is directly opposed to democracy; that it's dominated by Germany; that Germany's political structure is dominated by its financial sector; and that its financial sector is dominated by a clique of sadistic fools.

That's hardly a positive political ideal or end in itself, obviously -- and it isn't even much of a silver lining. But wider recognition of this is an immense change. But I don't think its 'soft' long-term impact should be underestimated. Certainly in Greece, 'Europe' will never be the same again. The dominant paradigm has been to see Greece as historically 'behind' most of Europe in terms of progressive developments. But the Greek people have exposed that historical narrative and have introduced another -- one in which their hard-won political understanding of the European project is very *advanced*. That seems vague to the point of vaporous, I know, but so did local variants of communism in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Poland -- which turned out to be decisive. (I'm not forgetting all our friends in Romania, Bulgaria, etc.)

I suppose Tsipras and Varoufakis can be criticized for the divide between their words and their actions -- in particular, for playing chicken with a Grexit but without preparing. But how exactly could they have prepared? Should they have worked with currency manufacturers like Giesecke & Devrient (based in Munich) or De La Rue (based in England)? Any practical preparations would have been exploited as a step toward one of the same outcomes.


On 13 Jul 2015, at 6:02, Felix Stalder wrote:

[So, Greece caved, it signed up to what even the German media called
"A list of cruelties" and "an offer designed to be refused". So why
didn't they go for an Grexit?

Basically, because they never prepared for one, and doing an
unprepared currency switch would have led to the immediate collapse of
the economy and, and given how dependent the country is on the import
of food, medicine and energy, to a collapse of society. In order
words, while Varafoukis talked about being willing to blow things up,
they did not prepare for it at all, and thus had no choice than
becoming the warning example of what it means not to toe the German
line. Form a purely short-term humanitarian view, and given the hand
they have been dealt (and dealt themselves), it was probably the right
thing to do. What it's unlikely to solve any problems in the medium or
long term. But for now, it's a long dark tunnel, not just for the
Greeks. Felix]

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