Greece Announces Referendum on Bailout Terms
by Stephen Lendman
Greece has a choice: renounce its odious debt, exit the Eurozone, reinstitute the drachma currency, end austerity, regain national sovereignty including monetary and fiscal policy control, accept transitional pain, or stay trapped in the euro straightjacket assuring endless debt peonage, greater austerity and virtual indentured servitude of the entire population to Troika diktats.
Following an emergency Friday cabinet meeting, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a July 5 national referendum to decide up or down on accepting or rejecting harsh new austerity measures Troika officials demand.
“After five months of hard negotiations, our partners unfortunately ended up making a proposal that was an ultimatum towards Greek democracy and the Greek people,” he said on national television.
They presented “an ultimatum at odds with the founding principles and values of Europe, the values of our common European construction.”
Demands made reflect “blackmail for the acceptance on our part of severe and humiliating austerity without end and without the prospect of ever prospering socially and economically.”
“…I personally pledge that I will respect the result of your democratic vote whatever that may be.”
At the same time, he’s willing to impose austerity terms he proposed – instead of renouncing them altogether, leaving Greece trapped under a system destroying its sovereign democratic rights unless forced out of Eurozone membership for failure to comply with oppressive diktats, a so-called Grexit.
Tsipras said he informed Germany’s Merkel, France’s Holland and ECB head Mario Draghi. “I asked them to extend our current bailout by a few days so this democratic process could take place,” he said. It expires on June 30.
Government spokesman Gavriel Sakellarides said “(t)he question is not whether we will remain in the Eurozone. The Greek people should not be afraid.” Staying in should terrify them.
Greek MPs will hold an emergency Saturday session to authorize referendum voting in line with constitutional law. At the same time, several cabinet ministers they won’t support “barbaric measures” Troika officials demand.
Greece is being economically and financially raped and pillaged. Multiple rounds of austerity-forced budget cuts ravaged its economy. It contracted over 25%, unemployment and poverty soared, and human suffering is extreme for lack of basic services drastically cut or eliminated.
Greek media reported people will be asked to vote up or down on whether to accept Troika austerity demands. Tsipras aide Nikos Pappas said voters will likely reject them.
Development Minister Panagoitis Lafazanis expects a “resounding no” vote. Independent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos “call(ed) for all…party (members) to participate in this big celebration of democracy called a referendum and vote ‘no’…to handing away our independence.”
On Saturday, Eurozone finance ministers will discuss what’s next for Greece. Its $350 billion debt burden is impossible to bear. The more it borrows to pay bankers, the deeper the hole it digs.
What can’t be repaid, won’t be. Greece faces an inevitable choice – either act responsibly now by renouncing its odious debt or be forced to do it later under even more horrific conditions for ordinary people.
Paul Craig Roberts explains saying Greeks must choose between “starvation…for remaining in the EU” and NATO or “default(ing)” to become “debt free.”
Plenty of help is available from Russia, China and perhaps other BRICS countries – not from a rapacious, anti-populist, belligerent EU/NATO system dominated by America, Germany, Britain and France.
It’s up to Greece to choose – survival as a sovereign state or indentured servitude beholden to predatory Western financial interests.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.