The final result: 61% – 39%. It’s a landslide.
The Greek people rejected the ultimatum offered by some of the world’s most powerful financial and political titans. They were demanding the Greek people accept steep cuts to wages, pensions and public services to receive bailout funding.
It’s a familiar cocktail known as “austerity” that the European Central Bank and the rest of the global financial elite have been forcing on Greece for five years. So far, it’s only made the depression worse — and hasn’t benefited anyone but the bankers. The people of Greece said no more. They chose hope instead of fear.
Greek’s government is back at the negotiating table empowered to seek a just solution, but the financial elite don’t want us to believe there is any alternative. They will risk sending Greece spiraling into chaos, just to set an example, warning other countries not to resist the elite consensus.
But there is an alternative: economic stimulus that doesn’t break the backs of workers. The United States has more votes than any other country on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and can use this huge sway to pressure the IMF and European Bank to cut down on austerity measures.
The IMF already admitted Greek’s debt is unsustainable without substantial debt relief in a report released last week.
It’s a no-brainer. Greece has been suffering an economic crisis the likes of which Americans haven’t experienced since the Great Depression. Unemployment over 25% — and over 60% for youth. A 25% drop in Gross Domestic Product. Bread lines. Suicides.
After five years of suffering, the Greek people voted for a change, electing a new government led by the populist party Syriza, which ran on a pledge to fight austerity. The European Central Bank immediately announced it would cap support for the Greek banking system. It was the start of a campaign of economic blackmail by the global financial institutions that culminated with the forced closure of the Greek banking system last week.
Over the weekend, the Greek people reaffirmed their government’s bargaining position against the financial elite by voting against the European Central Bank’s austerity plan — with an even bigger margin than Syriza’s electoral victory earlier this year.
When Wall Street got America into the Great Depression back in 1929, at first, the economic policies of President Herbert Hoover made it even worse by squeezing working people to pay for Wall Street’s greed. But as we all know, social movements rose up. Americans elected a new government. History changed. And that’s what’s happening in Greece too.
So in the coming days, as continued threats and economic blackmail are leveled against the people of Greece — and make no mistake, they will be — we as the American people need to speak out.
This is what democracy looks like. This is what international solidarity looks like.
Thanks for all you do,