The people of Greece have lost the ability to determine their own fate as foreign bodies discuss austerity measures to tackle the country’s debt crisis, a political activist tells Press TV.
This comes as the European Union and the International Monetary Fund required a new round of cuts to Greek wages and pensions in order to release almost 50 billion euros in loan disbursement, agreed last month.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Danny Schechter, editor with mediachannel.org, from New York, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: What we’re seeing taking place in Greece is just yet another example of how people are being forced to work longer and harder for lesser pay as this economic downturn takes its toll. What do you make of it?
Schechter: You have to understand that the situation in Greece was engineered by hedge funds of various kinds pouring money into that country and then trying to pull it out. So, they created a tremendous debt crisis.
Right now, the big issue really is about the terms of a debt repayment deal with the opposition opposing a deal that was negotiated not with Greece but between the IMF’s Christine Lagarde and Germany’s Angela Merkel.
The Greeks are feeling that their future is not even being determined by their own people in Greece, and this is a serious problem there because, of course, Greece was the home of democracy and people are used to having a say in decisions that affect their country.
This protest “Never on Sunday” is a protest against efforts by the government to impose a schedule of more work on people without adequate compensation and pay. So, in a way, the idea of “Never on Sunday” goes back to a movie that was a very famous movie in Greece, “1960”.
That phase continues to resonate but it now has a political meaning. There’s going to be increased protests there, I believe, because the situation is not being solved.
It’s a structural crisis in Greece and the Greek people are finding themselves in a situation of downward mobility. In a sense, working harder and making less.
Press TV: Now, the Greek people are being forced to pay for a mistake that was made by their government as well as the banks. As the government of Greece continues to negotiate to save the banks and the elites, do you think an economy can even survive when the multitude are left destitute?
Schechter: The question of economy is a question of ‘who benefits from it?’ Do the people benefit from it? Does the one percent benefit from it? Do the foreign investors actually get taken care of before the people of Greece? That’s the issues that are being debated there.
The Greek people are losing sovereignty, losing their power to influence their own economy. These protests and pressure will continue, and have been going on and intensifying, really, for months now with no end in sight, unfortunately
This model of austerity that’s been imposed on Greece has now been imposed on other countries as well.
That’s the meaning of this fiscal cliff debate in the United States. It’s a form of austerity cutbacks on social programs and very little tax relief for working people. These are the issues that are really common in this economic crisis across the globe beyond boundaries, beyond borders.