Wednesday’s Strikes Show Greeks Refuse Change



Apergia_Poreia1It is really sad to see the people of a country that was on the brink of bankruptcy three days ago to go on strike and take it to the streets to demonstrate against the deal that saved them from bankruptcy. It is as if this is a strike in favor of bankruptcy.

The new bailout agreement Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has managed to secure after 17 hours of hard negotiations that verged on humiliation is not a bed of roses for Greece. It’s more of a bed of nails. The proposed deal contains some harsh austerity measures and reforms that would make even diehard capitalists cringe. Yet, austerity reforms might be the shock therapy the Greek economy and Greek society need.

A society that has learned to survive on tax evasion, lawlessness and corrupt practices, from the Prime Minister to the last newspaper kiosk owner, and from the hospital manager to the small tavern owner. A society with 35-year-old pensioners, blind taxi drivers, paid sinecures in the public sector, people who receive pensions 10 years after they died, doctors who declare 10,000 euros yearly income and countless other categories of happy Greeks who live splendidly while destroying the economy.

Now all these people, and they are not just a few, see the new reforms as a danger to their well-being. They see the “greedy” Europeans as the ones who want to impose evil things such as tax audits, public employee evaluations, debt repayments and retirement after 60. In other words, they hate to see practices and rules that apply to normal countries apply to Greece because… “we are unique, special people.”

So on Wednesday, public sector employees, municipal workers, pharmacists and doctors will go on strike to protest against the harsh reforms the Greek government is about to bring in order for the country to stay afloat and (hopefully) get on the path of economic recovery.

It is natural, though. Public employees don’t want to be evaluated because many of them do very little actual work. The same applies to municipal employees. Pharmacists want to be the only ones selling vitamins and other parapharmaceuticals and the new bailout deal says that these products can be sold in super markets as well. Public doctors are a different story: They have every right to strike because their salaries have dwindled to humiliating levels. And there’s very few of them left in Greece. The strike is also for unionists and their friends who want to protect their sinecures.

So, in essence, it is special interest groups that don’t want the changes the required reforms will bring. And they go on strike. The right to strike is undeniably an essential right in a democracy. However, in Greece, it is so abused that not only it has lost its sheen, it has also lost its meaning. During the economic crisis there has been a major strike almost every two weeks. Going through the motions, people rally and shout slogans that have lost their meaning. Strikes and demonstrations have become part of the Greek lifestyle. This must be the only country that has a website that tells you what strikes are on each day.

And all strikes and demonstrations are essentially for the same demand: Don’t change anything, we are fine in our corrupt, clientelist, statist existence; we want to keep living on loans we refuse to pay back; we want all the privileges of a European Union membership and none of the obligations; the world owes us because we are the cradle of western civilization; we want free money because we voted so.

Wednesday’s strike, which is the same repeated strike that goes on for five years now, is supposedly against austerity. But if strikers are honest with themselves, they will admit it is a strike against change. Against the changes needed so that Greece will not have to rely on borrowed money and handouts forever.


13 COMMENTS

  1. Demonstrators/strikers are all from the public sector. They are against any changes to the system in order for corruption to continue for more “Fakelakia”. This strike/demonstration has nothing to do with the private sector.

  2. “If our party, Syriza, that has cultivated so much hope in Greece … if we betray this hope and bow our heads to this new form of postmodern occupation, then I cannot see any other possible outcome than the further strengthening of Golden Dawn. They will inherit the mantle of the anti-austerity drive, tragically.” – Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis speaking yesterday to ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

  3. These people do not agree that more debt {86 billion} on top of the debt that already exists and cannot be repaid is any sort of solution.
    Do not misrepresent the facts any other way.
    Greek business production is the only way that things could change but with crippling taxes both before and those proposed Greek production will not pay the debt bill !
    Greece has been put on the mortgage list to have its assets, ports, airports, islands, OTE, etc. taken over by foreign ownership masquerading as private entities.

  4. The deal that is proposed and agreed between the Europeans only guarantees one thing and that is more debt that cannot be repaid.
    Tsipras broke away from the Greek parliamentarians that wanted to stand against being humiliated by and sold out to the other Europeans.
    Tsipras now stands on that side that stands with being mates with the Europeans that will take Greece.

  5. To blame the Greek people for the debt is a joke.
    No Greek that goes to work and earns their money and lives on the money they earn can accept any blame.
    The Governments or more correctly politicians that enacted laws to give away money that was not earned by working for it should go to jail.
    The politicians were happy to buy votes by giving money as pensions and welfare to people that did not work for the money they received.
    The politicians set wages and pay rates, but the politicians did not pay with their own money, for what they determined should be handed out and they did not employ these people.
    The politicians giving away money that was not theirs are the ones to blame, they made the laws.
    Having unlimited numbers of people not working but being paid by politicians not with the politicians money, but instead putting the Greek people into debtr is unjust and should be unlawful.
    The crisis is the fault of the Greek politicians who should be in goal.

  6. I could not say it better, This is nothing to to with Germany which Greeks are so mad at to, it is all GREEK to me

  7. If Pm wants euro so bad, then emigrate to Germany. Greece. Fire him! Go bankrupt, sell assets to recapitalize banks with currency controls like China to avoid flight of capital, borrow new from US. China. Russia. Chile to create $180 billion working fund to start up economy. Still implement reforms as proposed by creditors. Make it a national task to change Greek mentallity of living on borrowed money. Jail or execution to corrupt officials and businesses. Else, prepare to loose country. Simple, re tool and go to work! Reality, loans can not be repaid, Neexxtt!!!

  8. Yeah Greece should be let to go bankrupt.
    The Greeks are stupid if they thing someone will keep giving them money and they will never have to pay them back.
    At this point Greece is an embarrassment for the EU.

  9. A severely watered down editorial, This guy makes the failed European experiment by the bloodsucking banking financial system to have the appearance of being good for Greece, now if it it hasn’t escaped your attention , the whole of the euro-zone is up in arms against this hideous form of Euro slavery, why for instance do Greece have to raise the retirement age up to 67 just like Ireland while the french can retire at 60 and the rest the European nations have to foot the bill, this is a criminal system, and for you to defend it in the manner you do is hypocrisy. There is only one winner here , The New World Order and time will demonstrate at first by intimidation , then they will terrorize you , followed by a slap, and finally this demonic system will kill you off and strip all your assets from you (eventually) before taking away your rights to free speech.

  10. endless strikes by unionists and leftists kept tourists away before Tsipras came to power. When Tsipras came to power, the unions thought he would help them, now Tsipras has betrayed them and they are striking again