The Rolling Constitutional-Fascist Coup in the World's Most Dangerous Nation
Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair The Rolling Constitutional-Fascist Coup in the World's Most Dangerous Nation by Paul Street “We Want to Get Rid of the Ballots” We are in the middle of a rolling authoritarian and even fascist coup that is working with and through the United States Constitution to no smal
Will the Military Support a Declaration of Martial Law
Will the Military Support a Declaration of Martial Law Garett Reppenhagen, Veterans for Peace, Interviewed by Bill Resnick August 27, 2020 Recently, Veterans for Peace issued a statement condemning the deployment of troops in the U.S.:   “Veterans For Peace condemns the inflammatory statements of Dona
Ernest Mandel et l’écosocialisme
  Ernest Mandel et l’écosocialisme   par Michael Löwy* La préoccupation de l'environnement apparaît avec force dans les écrits de Mandel seulement à partir des années 1970. Elle ne figure pratiquement pas, par exemple, dans le Traité d'économie marxiste (1962). Il est vrai qu’on trou
A boot is crushing the neck of American democracy
A boot is crushing the neck of American democracy by Cornel West The fundamental question at this moment is: can the United States be reformed? Here we go again. Another black person killed by the US police. Another wave of multiracial resistance. Another cycle of race talk on the corporate media. Another displ
COVID-19: The murderous state!
COVID-19: The murderous state! by SUD Santé We are publishing this text from the SUD Santé Sociaux federation, because it reflects the reality encountered by staff in this sector in our different countries. On 17 November 2019, in the city of Wuhan, China, the coronavirus 2019 (COVID 19) appeared. On January
El activista y expreso político del franquismo Chato Galante fallece por coronavirus
El activista y expreso político del franquismo Chato Galante fallece por coronavirus Era miembro de la asociación de presos y represaliados de la dictadura franquista La Comuna y pertenecía a la Liga Comunista Revolucionaria cuando fue detenido y torturado hasta en cuatro ocasiones entre los años 1969 y 197
The Capitalist Pandemic, Coronavirus and the Economic Crisis (Part 1)
The Capitalist Pandemic, Coronavirus and the Economic Crisis (Part 1) by Eric Toussaint A public health crisis The coronavirus pandemic is a serious public health problem and the human suffering caused by the spread of this virus will be enormous. If it massively affects countries of the Global South with ver
La Lega #Hacia La Huelga Feminista - Coro de Mujeres Feministas
La Lega #HaciaLaHuelgaFeminista - Coro de Mujeres Feministas   EL DIA  8 DE MARZOHAREMOS UNA HUELGACON TODAS LAS MUJERESLA CALLE SERÁ NUESTRA ABUELAS, ESTUDIANTES HETEROS, TRANS,  BOLLERASDIVERSAS Y MIGRANTESVAMOS JUNTAS A LA HUELGA O LI OLI OLÁ……..LA HUELGA VENCERÁES LA HUELGA FEMINIS
Thirteen theses on the imminent ecological catastrophe and the (revolutionary) means of averting it
Thirteen theses on the imminent ecological catastrophe and the (revolutionary) means of averting it  by Michael Löwy* I. The ecological crisis is already the most important social and political question of the 21st century, and will become even more so in the coming months and years. The future of the plan
Megafires in Australia: a climate tipping point, live
Megafires in Australia: a climate tipping point, live by TANURO Daniel The expression ‘tipping point’ refers to the point when a system passes from one system of equilibrium to another, the point where it is no longer possible to prevent accumulated quantitative changes from causing a qualitative change
Δεκέμβρης 2019 - Η ζωή στη Γαλλία της μεγάλης ταξικής αναμέτρησης (Επειδή τα δικά μας και τα διεθνή ΜΜΕ δεν λένε λέξη)
Δεκέμβρης 2019 - Η ζωή στη Γαλλία της μεγάλης ταξικής αναμέτρησης (Επειδή τα δικά μας και τα διεθνή ΜΜΕ δεν λένε λέξη)   Μέρα με τη μέρα, η απεργία, οι διαδηλώσεις, η αυτοορ
Olivier Besancenot :
Olivier Besancenot : "C'est peut être une grande page de l'histoire sociale et politique qui est en train de s’écrire..." "Il faudra généraliser le mouvement, saturer la société  de telle manière par le nombre qu'on arrive à régler l'affaire en quelques jours" - “Il vaut mieux quelques jours de
NPA: Vers une grève politique contre Macron et son monde!
NPA: Vers une grève politique contre Macron et son monde! Que la journée de grève du jeudi 5 décembre se traduise par un blocage du pays à un niveau que l’on n’avait pas vu depuis novembre-décembre 1995 est une quasi-certitude. Ce que nous ne savons pas encore, c’est à quel point ce succès de la gr
NPA: Pour nos retraites, pour dégager Macron, construisons la grève générale
NPA: Pour nos retraites, pour dégager Macron, construisons la grève générale Depuis des décennies nous sommes confrontés à la destruction progressive de nos droits sociaux acquis par les luttes. Le projet de contre-réforme des retraites Macron-Delevoye s’inscrit dans cette même logique. Loin de l’uni

Αναζήτηση

For Greece default is the only option

by Costas Lapavitsas

2012-02-03_lapavitsas_kostasNegotiations to reduce Greek debt have been suspended after no agreement could be reached last week. At some point in the near future Greece seems certain to default on its obligations. But the drama surrounding the talks in Athens, Berlin and Paris shows that there will be nothing co-operative about Greek default. It is a ruthless contest dominated by the so-called troika: the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

 

At every turn the interests and rights of people across Europe have been disregarded. Negotiations have proceeded in secrecy. Greece, whose government is led by an unelected central banker, is represented by a team of politicians and technocrats who have performed lamentably during the crisis. They have hired bankers Lazard Freres and lawyers Cleary Gottlieb, renowned sovereign default specialists, although the benefits remain to be seen. Those who are owed money by Greece have been represented by the International Institute of Finance, a self-styled mouthpiece for bankers. Other lenders, including hedge funds, have no collective representative.

The troika has accepted that Greek debt must be reduced to sustainable levels; but it also wants the reduction to appear voluntary because, if the lenders were coerced, Greece would be declared in formal default, and banks and financial markets would be thrown into crisis. The troika would also like the reduction to be on terms that would allow immediate fresh loans to Greece – an urgent step if the country is not to stop repayments altogether – and wants Greek debt held by official bodies, including the ECB, to remain intact. Not surprisingly, the circle is proving hard to square.

The debt in question is €200bn. About half belongs to Greeks – banks, social security funds and others – who are first in line to bear the costs of reduction (the "haircut"). Less than a quarter belongs to international banks, and a good part of the rest to hedge funds.

The deal proposed by the troika is geared to the interests of lenders, particularly international banks. The face value of the debt would be reduced by 50%, and the remaining debt would be replaced by new long-term bonds bearing a low interest rate, perhaps less than 4%. The new bonds would be subject to British law, which favours lenders.

The losses for international banks would be modest. Even so, they are angling for a higher interest rate, although their bargaining power is weakened by reliance on the state for liquidity and capital. The real blow would fall on Greek banks, which would effectively go bankrupt. The Greek state is thus desperately seeking fresh loans to replenish its banks’ capital. Much of the expected reduction of its debt would, therefore, be immediately voided. A cruel blow would also fall on Greek social security funds and small bondholders, with losses probably passing on to pensions and savings.

Meanwhile, hedge funds have been buying Greek debt at low prices in the hope of being paid at, or near, full value. Since Greece has to make debt repayments of almost €15bn in March, huge amounts of European taxpayers’ money could potentially be transferred to these vulture funds. The speculators could possibly be coerced into the deal by applying Greek law, but if the reduction were not voluntary, there could be a chain reaction across financial markets.

The worst aspect of the deal is that it is unlikely to benefit Greece long term. The original plan was to bring debt down to 120% of GDP by 2020, but the "rescue" programmes of the past two years have forced the country into a real depression. The IMF now thinks that Greek debt will be on a much higher level by 2020 – clearly unsustainable. It is seeking deeper reductions, but the price would be even harsher cuts in wages, pensions, and public spending. The social repercussions on an already weakened country would be horrendous, quite apart from the political difficulties of introducing further severe austerity.

It is clear that Greece has little to expect from a debt-reduction process led by the troika. It should take charge of its own predicament, abandoning the charade of voluntary haircuts. For that, it needs to default in a sovereign and democratic way by immediately declaring a cessation of payments.

Greece should then publicly audit its debts to decide what should be paid and how. The objective should be to restart economic growth and to avoid disruption of basic social services. Debt would inevitably be cancelled, including official debt held by the troika, and there should be negotiations with the lenders under full public scrutiny. Only then could this dreadful saga come to a close, allowing Greek society to take the first steps on the long path to recovery.

scroll back to top