[Marxism] from Greece’s negotiating team: “We underestimated the power of the creditors"

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Thu Jul 9 09:05:03 MDT 2015

A member of Greece’s negotiating team: “We underestimated the power of
the creditors"
AnalyzeGreece!, July 9

originally in Mediapart, Paris; interview by Christian Salmon

A senior member of Greece’s negotiating team with its European
creditors agreed to a meeting last week in Athens with Mediapart
special correspondent Christian Salmon. Speaking on condition that his
name is withheld, he detailed the history of the protracted and bitter
negotiations between the radical-left Syriza government, elected in
January, and international lenders for the provision of a new bailout
for the debt-ridden country. The almost two-hour interview in English
took place just days before last Sunday’s referendum. The interview
follows below, presented in a continuous series of extracts.

. . .
In the middle of March, finally, some Brussels sources said to the
correspondents in Brussels that "yes, the institutions – the EBD, IMF,
European Commission, are using credit asphyxiation in order to force
the government to comply, accept the reforms, do it quickly, et
cetera.". For me it was an admission that they were using the worst
king of economic blackmail to the country. The worst kind of economic
. . .
At every point they were trying to undermine the prestige that the
Greek [Syriza] government had won during the first months of
negotiation. At the time people said "a new hope for Europe... a new
hope for Germany, Spain... the Greeks are giving us the lead”. If [the
Institutions] said from the beginning "It’s finished, we don't agree,
no more negotiations" - which they said indirectly, for example [Dutch
finance minister and Eurogroup president Jeroen] Dijsselbloem – then
it'd be clear and we would be in a clash: "We are elected, have
prestige and authority. You are wrong etc". But they didn't do that
[…] They created a maze of pseudo-negotiations, time wasted, and it
was on their side. All the time they were carrying negative propaganda
against Varoufakis. Character assassination, and Varoufakis keeps
saying that. But what did he expect?
 . . .
Today it's too late. It is a matter of political and ideological
hegemony. Varoufakis alone, with his appeal and arguments, managed to
turn public opinion in Europe, even in Germany. The Eurogroup people
stood back. In the beginning of February, Jeroen Dijsselbloem told
Varoufakis "You either sign the memorandum that the others have signed
too, or your economy is going to collapse”. How? “We are going to
collapse your banks". He had said that. In his last interview to ERT,
the national [Greek public] TV [channel], two days ago, Varoufakis
said: "I didn't denounce that then, because I was hoping that reason
would prevail in the negotiations with all of the Eurogroup". So he
went on with the numerous agreements. And credibility as well as money
was lost.
 . . .
We went to a war thinking we had the same weapons as them. We have
underestimated their power. It's a power that enters the very fabric
of society, the way people think. It controls and blackmails. We have
very few levers. The European edifice is already Kafkaesque.

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