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by Par Patrick Le Hyaric

We are all Greeks !

Translated Wednesday 28 April 2010, by Kristina Wischenkamper and reviewed by Henry Crapo

To all the people in all the European countries, it’s time to unite.

Every tragedy has its Prologue. There is a fear that the very grave situation facing Greece at the moment is but a worrying prologue to a far greater tragedy for all of the European Union. One that’s been in rehearsal since the day the self-proclaimed lone guardians of the European Ideal forced Greece to adopt the Euro whilst allowing the country to conceal the true extent of its public debt. And today the private ratings agencies, friends of the financial sharks, are issuing junk bonds pushing the interest rates ever higher on the loan that the country is now forced to take out. The yield on the bonds has soared well above 8%; Germany has them at 2.3%. So who exactly benefits from this alarmist situation? The banks and the private insurance companies of course. Every day they rake in colossal profits that they then make the Greek people pay for by lowering salaries, reducing useful public spending, raising various taxes, extending retirement age, privatisations. But not a mention of putting an end to the tax breaks and sweeteners handed out to big business and the richest classes; or taxing capital revenues or private pensions or even reducing arms expenditure.

The European Central Bank massively lent money to private banks but it is not authorised – constrained by article 123 of the Lisbon Treaty – to do the same favour for countries. That takes the biscuit! This is exactly the opposite of the possibilities open to the American Federal Reserve. Those same banks, even the Greek ones, that received billions of euros from public funds in the name of their bailout are today avidly speculating on the public debt and getting away with it. And meanwhile the likes of Barroso and Van Rompuy, Merkel and Sarkozy play to the gallery and dialogue endlessly, leaving Greece, and very soon Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and the whole of Europe to drift into economic stagnation and misery for its populations.

Any right-thinking person has to be revolted by this situation. The debate that took place at the time of the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty, then on the European Constitution, finds a particular resonance here. In effect a few months after the Lisbon Treaty has been put in place we are beginning to see the detrimental effects of a strategy that created, all too eagerly, a single currency and a central European bank independent of its constituent States but very dependent on the financial markets. The mood of ever-increasing panic created since yesterday morning is intended quite simply to hide this deplorable failure; giving free rein to the speculators and above all preparing hyper-austerity measures, the dismantling of social systems and pension schemes throughout the countries of Europe. Enough already! Before it’s too late voices must be raised against this capitalist Europe and its leaders who are taking us to the wall.

People of Europe, let’s join hands so that the European Community can bring real and urgent help to Greece. Let’s gather together to change these treaties, to demand a just redistribution of wealth, increase in salaries, a different public credit, job security, social security, decent pensions, the reduction of arms spending.

People of Europe, let’s unite to smash the Money God’s Tablets of Law and let’s build a social Europe, one of solidarity, and respectful of the environment. Such is the spirit and scale of the campaign that l’Humanité is launching, a campaign of solidarity with the Greek people and a campaign to transform Europe.

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