Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wednesday's Greek Vote: The Failure of Democracy

First up, FT Alphaville:
Athens grinds to a halt
The Greek parliament will vote late Wednesday on the structural reforms and budget cuts demanded by the Troika. Reports suggest that the government will be able to get a majority. But in a last minute attempt to derail the vote, the country’s two main labour unions called a 48 hour general strike that started today.
These are the some of the scenes:

From the Kathimerini:

Public transport staff have suspended services on the Athens metro, the Piraeus-Kifissia electrical railway (ISAP) and the tram on Tuesday, while bus and trolley bus drivers are set to walk off the job Tuesday and Wednesday....MORE
And from Golem XIV:
Greece — democracy in the balance

All eyes seem to be glued to the US Presidential Elections, certainly those of our media are, when I think they should be looking at Greece.

OK America is a more puissant nation but let’s say what most of us feel – it hardly matters who wins in America because, as am American comedian noted the other day,  the candidates are just the same model just in two different colours. Either way Wall Street gets its man in the Presidency.  For what it’s worth I think Wall Street, by and large, prefers Obama to win because his presence in the White House will do far more to contain public anger and particularly Black anger at the on-going lootting of the nation’s saving s and coffers than Romney’s would.

Romney has served his purpose which was, I suggest, to pull the debate as far to the right as possible and to help ensure that whoever wins does so without any mandate from the people. No large majority –  no power to stand up to the juggernaught of special interests and Wall Street policies.
But Greece on the other hand stands at a cross roads not just for itself but for Democracy in Europe as a whole. Greece is in disarray but no more so than the rest of EUrope just more visibly so.What ails them is what is eating at us – the creeping failure of Democracy.

This morning, according to my friends there is already a large Police pressence on the Streets in Greece’s main cities. When the parliament votes on imposing the Austerity measures which the Greek peeople already rejected once, there will be trouble.

If the parliament sides with the Austerity Troika and its plan to put banks before people then there will be serious unrest. Not least because many Greeks no longer believe their parliament or their democracy work for them. They are increasingly seen as the mouth-piece of an occupying power.
It is no sure thing the measures will pass.  PASOK, the main coalition partner, is in complete disarray. Already one MP and a senior party official have quit over the austerity measures. 17 members of PASOK refused to support the  draft bill which contains the austerity measures and Privatizations of state assets. The Party leader was forced to call an emergency party meeting from which journalists were barred.
Quoted in the Greek paper Ekathimerini,
Cretan MP Nikos Sifounakis. “If we continue like this, the measures won’t pass. The government and PASOK will collapse.”
Why would the government collapse if it refused to vote for the Troika’s austerity measures? Why does following the will of a sovereign people inevitably lead to the collapse of a government?...MORE