The imposed neoliberal austerity measures, a by-product of the capitalist system courtesy of the Troika—the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union (EU) and the European Central Bank (ECB)—especially the German bourgeoisie and its barbaric capitalists under chancellor Angela Merkel, are the ideological means by which social welfare benefits and public assets—the necessities of life—are wholly and forcibly eroded, privatized (in the case of people’s commons, water, etc.), seized, or sold off. The fallout of these devastating measures has affected the overwhelming majority of impoverished Greece like a bubonic plague, the lives of the Greek people having become the sacrificial lambs to serve the demented desires of Merkel and the Troika’s austerity: privatization plans demanded in the wake of the ongoing European economic crisis and their impact on Greece’s burden of debt. Merkel, along with the neoliberal bureaucratic elites in Brussels, represents the insatiable lust for forcing the likes of Greece, Spain, and other sovereign nations of the EU to wear the straightjacket of austerity, discipline, and deregulation. Under their direction, the Greek parliament ceased to be a mechanism of democratic control of government authority, and became the institutional supplement of the government, its existence reduced to unanimously ratifying the Troika’s decisions. In essence, national sovereignty was terminated.

This crisis is commonly considered a mere result of the 2008 banking sector collapse in the United States, but it can be more accurately characterized as the inevitable by-product and expected outcome of global capitalism: a system that perpetually relies on obsessive, limitless growth and competition, on profit maximization, power and wealth accumulation by the oligarchy, on the commodification of public goods and resources, and on the voracious exploitation of the environment and commons. Soon-to-be former Greek Prime Minister Andonis Samaras of the right-wing New Democracy party entered parliament opposed to austerity yet will exit as a neoliberal ally of Merkel, having presided over the harshest of austerity measures that exacerbated an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

Since the economic recession and debt crisis arose years ago, over a million have lost their jobs. Official unemployment in Greece has consistently hovered around 30%, and youth unemployment has escalated to over than 60%, even approaching 70% in the fall of 2013. Thanks to the debt repayment scheme “rescue packages” (solely benefitting the financial sector and capitalist elite of the EU), between 2007 and 2011, the suicide rate rose by 45 percent according to the lowest estimate, though more accurately skyrocketed to well above 50% subsequent to 2011. Although most of these suicides are committed by men, the number of women taking their lives has doubled.

As of 2014, Greece was reported as leading the world in its tragic rising rate of suicides. The IMF has contributed greatly to forcing women in Greece to remain with abusive husbands, refrain from motherhood in a nation now having both the lowest fertility and reproductive rate in Europe, and take the demeaning, exploitative road of prostitution which was up by over 150% in 2013, primarily in areas with high unemployment. Moreover, Greece now has the fourth highest rate of childhood poverty in the EU, exceeded only by Bulgaria, Spain and Romania.

The universal public health care system protected for decades has, under the dictates of the Troika, been privatized. Regarding homelessness in Athens alone, more than 20,000 residents of the capital rely on social structures and services of the municipality for daily survival. 2.5 million have no social security coverage and one million workers are still owed a substantial portion of their deferred wages (50% of workers have not been paid for over 18 months). Roughly 20% of the workforce earns €500 ($680 USD / $631 CAD) a month or less, while another 43% earn €800 ($1088 USD / $1170 CAD) a month or less. There have been reports this year of young workers now being taken on legally on 40-hour a week, €320 ($435 USD / $468 CAD) per month contracts. Hourly wages in the public sector have been cut by around 33%. In short, any increase in worker “productivity” has been achieved solely at the expense of the working class.

The loans given to Greece were intended to destroy rather than help the country’s economy. Since the first “memorandum” agreement signed with the troika in May 2010, real estate taxes have risen by 684%. Meanwhile, Greeks have paid 100 billion euros more than the loans given to their government. Mostly out of desperation, hundreds of thousands have migrated from Greece in recent years, with the emigration rate rising by almost 40% a year. Schools, hospitals and welfare services have shrunk or been closed down. Hundreds of thousands of households have had their electricity cut for unpaid bills. Electricity, water, ports, the national broadcasting service, public clinics and vocational secondary education constitute a mere handful of things suffering the wrath of privatization. Most foreclosed homes have been and continue to be purchased en masse by German banks. Four million Greeks (out of 11 million) live well below the poverty level, and nearly 500,000 families are without any monthly income. Over 300,000 must still bear living without electricity or running water. The real numbers are probably much higher. All of this is to merely affirm that the neoliberal “structural adjustment” memorandum-dictated measures have in fact perpetuated total pauperization, the complete destruction of the economy, the theft of all its public and private property, and the abolition of social and worker rights.

The declared aim of the Troika-controlled government has been to reduce overall debt to 124% of GDP by 2020 from the 176% it stood at in Spring 2014. But the OECD recently published figures indicating that on present trends the public debt will stand at 157%, i.e. practically the same level as in 2012. As expected, however, Greek companies listed on the Athens Stock Exchange recorded over 150% increases in their profitability in 2013—but to whom are those profits going? This dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, instituted by its leading cast of German capitalists, has won out by means of the literal confiscation of stability.

Neither Greeks nor Canadians can be fooled by the global neoliberal agenda any longer. Only a united working class, fighting against capitalism and imperialism, can bring about an end to austerity and mass human suffering.

End all austerity measures now! Down with the Troika! For a socialist Greece and a Socialist Canada!

Circulated by the supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party (PCR-RCP Canada) in Vancouver
e p D T F s