Tag Archives: Greek economic crisis

Stavros Mavroudeas – A resurgence of popular mobilisations in Greece – BRAVE NEW EUROPE





Stavros Mavroudeas – A resurgence of popular mobilisations in Greece

November 15, 2018 Austerity, EU politics, EU-Institutions, National Politics, Neo-Liberalism in the EU

On November 14th, Greece`s largest union, ADEDY, which represents about half a million public sector workers, carried out a one day strike. The union is demanding that the SYRIZA government retracts pay and pension cuts and tax increases which were part of three bailout programmes since 2010. We asked Stavros Mavroudeas to give us a brief evaluation of the strike.

Stavros Mavroudeas is Professor of Political Economy at the Department of Economics at the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki








These days some glimmers of hope seem to be appearing in a Greek society devastated by the EU. This is not the result of the false claims that the Greek crisis is over, being vaunted by the EU, the SYRIZA government, and the champions of Greek capitalism. Instead, it comes from a resurgence of popular protest in Greece after a considerable period of calm. Several strikes have already taken place and participation, although not spectacular, is increasing.

The Greek people have been suffering from a capitalist crisis and a barbaric EU-IMF austerity programme for almost ten years. Following the eruption of the 2008 crisis and the subsequent euro-zone crisis, Greek capital and its foreign patrons (EU and the US) imposed a vicious programme of austerity upon the country (adjustment programmes overseen by the troika –the European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank).

Initially there were strident popular reactions to these austerity programmes that discredited the establishment parties and led to frequent changes of government. However, this popular activity and energetic intervention by the people was defused when SYRIZA was elected to government, since the party had promised to ameliorate the population’s devastated living standards. But SYRIZA betrayed the people’s trust by continuing the same austerity policies as its predecessors. Instead of shelving the troika programme, it agreed to a new third one. However, popular mobilisations remained subdued as SYRIZA discredited the Left and the people were at a loss to know how to respond to SYRIZA’s betrayal. The recent resurgence of popular protest breaks this pattern and possibly signifies a return of the masses to the political foreground.

There are several reasons for this resurgence:

First, SYRIZA and the EU, by declaring that the Greek crisis has ended, are proving to be victims of their own deception. The Greek crisis is still simmering and is far from over. Its structural causes (the low rate of profit of capitalists and imperialist exploitation by the core euro-zone economies) are still present. Furthermore, Greece´s immediate problems (such as the debt burden on the economy) have not been solved but only swept under the carpet. The EU propagates the myth that the Greek crisis has ended because it wants to avoid pressure from the US and is under increasing strain as new serious conflicts arise within the EU (Brexit, the budget dispute with Italy etc.). SYRIZA is following suit hoping that by selling a false ‘success story’ it might win the next Greek election. However, behind this façade, the Greek people sense that if the crisis has at least stabilised, then there must be space for recuperating at least some of the huge losses they have suffered. It should be noted that the Greek workers and middle classes have borne the burden of austerity, whereas Greek capitalists and oligarchs have remained largely unscathed.

Second, 2019 is a multi-election year. Greece will be holding EU elections, local elections, and ultimately general elections. So, the people sense that establishment parties are in a vulnerable position and if they don’t want to suffer huge electoral losses then they have to make concessions. The Greek and EU establishment on the other hand want to make as few concessions as possible, get past the elections, and then renew their austerity drive.

However, history has taught us that once the genie of popular action is out of the bottle, the corrupt Greek and EU establishments may not be able to contain it. The return of popular protest is a glimmer of hope for Greece.


Greek public sector workers strike for higher pay – Interview in PRESS TV 14-11-2018

This is the transcript of my interview in PRESS TV News (14-11-2018) on the Greek public workers’ strike. The video of the interview follows.


After a considerable period of calm there is currently a resurgence of popular mobilisations in Greece.

The Greek people are suffering from a barbaric EU-IMF austerity program for 8 years.

Initially there were massive popular reactions to austerity policies.

Then they calmed down as SYRIZA’s election in government was supposed to ameliorate people’s living standards.

This was disproved as SYRIZA continued the same austerity policies as its predecessors.

The recent resurgence of popular mobilisations is fomeneted by the following reasons.

First, SYRIZA and the EU are – deceivingly and for their own political and geopolitical reasons – declaring that the Greek crisis is over. This is not true. The Greek crisis is still simmering. However, the people think that if the crisis is over then it is time for recuperating at least some of the huge losses that it has suffered. Keep in mind that the Greek workers and middle classes have curried the burden of austerity whereas the Greek capitalists are largely unscathed.

Second, 2019 is a multi-election year. We have euroelections, local elections and ultimately general elections. So, the people sense that establishment parties are in a vulnerable position and if they don’t want to suffer huge electoral losses then they have to make concessions.

The Greek and EU establishment want to make as little concessions as possible, surpass the elections and then renew the austerity drive.

However, history has taught that once the genie of popular action is liberated from its cage then the corrupt Greek and EU establishments might not be able to contain it.

This is a glimpse of hope for Greece




Συνέντευξη στο PRESS TV 14-11-2018

Μετά από μια σημαντική περίοδο ηρεμίας υπάρχει σήμερα μια αναζωπύρωση των λαϊκών κινητοποιήσεων στην Ελλάδα.

Ο ελληνικός λαός υποφέρει από ένα βάρβαρο πρόγραμμα λιτότητας ΕΕ-ΔΝΤ για 8 χρόνια.

Αρχικά υπήρξαν τεράστιες λαϊκές αντιδράσεις στις πολιτικές λιτότητας.

Κατόπιν μετριάστηκαν καθώς η εκλογή του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ στην κυβέρνηση υποτίθεται ότι θα βελτίωνε το βιοτικό επίπεδο του λαού.

Αυτό διαψεύστηκε καθώς ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ συνέχισε τις ίδιες πολιτικές λιτότητας με τους προκατόχους του.

Η πρόσφατη αναζωπύρωση των λαϊκών κινητοποιήσεων επηρεάζεται από τους ακόλουθους λόγους.

Πρώτον, ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ και η ΕΕ – με εξαπάτηση και για δικούς τους πολιτικούς και γεωπολιτικούς λόγους – δηλώνουν ότι η ελληνική κρίση έχει τελειώσει. Αυτό δεν είναι αλήθεια. Η ελληνική κρίση εξακολουθεί να σιγοβράζει. Ωστόσο, ο λαός πιστεύει ότι εάν η κρίση τελειώνει, τότε είναι καιρός να ανακτήσει τουλάχιστον μερικές από τις τεράστιες απώλειες που έχει υποστεί. Λάβετε υπόψη ότι οι Έλληνες εργαζόμενοι και οι μεσαίες τάξεις έχουν σηκώσει όλο το βάρος της λιτότητας, ενώ οι Έλληνες καπιταλιστές είναι σε μεγάλο βαθμό αλώβητοι.

Δεύτερον, το 2019 είναι ένα έτος πολλαπλών εκλογών. Έχουμε ευρωεκλογές, τοπικές εκλογές και τελικά γενικές εκλογές. Έτσι, ο λαός αισθάνεται ότι τα κόμματα του κατεστημένου βρίσκονται σε ευάλωτη θέση και αν δεν θέλουν να υποστούν τεράστιες εκλογικές απώλειες τότε πρέπει να κάνουν παραχωρήσεις.

Τα κατεστημένα της Ελλάδας και της ΕΕ θέλουν να κάνουν όσο το δυνατόν λιγότερες παραχωρήσεις, να ξεπεράσουν τις εκλογές και στη συνέχεια να ανανεώσουν την προσπάθεια λιτότητας.

Ωστόσο, η ιστορία έχει διδάξει ότι, μόλις απελευθερωθεί ο τζίνι της λαϊκής δράσης από το κλουβί του, τότε τα διεφθαρμένα ελληνικά και ευρωπαϊκά κατεστημένα ίσως δεν θα μπορέσουν να τα συγκρατήσουν.

Αυτή είναι μια χαραμάδα ελπίδας για την Ελλάδα.

An intervention in today’s (19-7-2015) TV Press site about the economic and political consequences of the capital controls and SYRIZA’s betrayal of the popular will

Pensioners wait for the opening of the National Bank of Greece in central Athens, July 16, 2015. (© AP) Greeks face cash withdrawal limits.

Pensioners wait for the opening of the National Bank of Greece in central Athens, July 16, 2015. (© AP) Greeks face cash withdrawal limits.

Greek banks are scheduled to reopen on Monday following a three-week shutdown as the country struggles with a debt and finance crisis.

The Greek government, in a decree issued on Saturday, kept the daily cash withdrawal limit at 60 euros (65 dollars) but added a weekly limit, meaning that a depositor who does not withdraw cash on a certain day can take out 120 euros (130 dollars) the next day, and so on, up to 420 euros (455 dollars) a week.

Moreover, bank customers will still not be able to cash checks, and only have to deposit them into their accounts. There would also be a block on capital transfers abroad with their credit or cash cards, as well as restrictions on opening new accounts or activating dormant ones.

Greece decided to close banks on June 29 to prevent a bank run or cash transfers abroad.

The forced three-week closure has reportedly cost the country’s embattled economy almost 3.0 billion euros (3.3 billion dollars).

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (L) administers the secular oath to the new members of the government during a swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece, July 18, 2015. (© AP)


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras earlier reshuffled his cabinet to remove those members who were opposed to a new loan approved for the country.

Fresh-faced government-friendly cabinet members were sworn in on Saturday.

Over 30 lawmakers out of the 149 ones from the ruling Syriza Party disapproved austerity measures demanded by creditors in a recent vote in the parliament.

Greece’s former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned amid mounting pressure on him by the government over his disapproval of the austerity measures, has cast doubt on the government’s ability to employ the unpopular fiscal reforms.

A smashed ATM machine is seen next to the entrance of a bank office in central Athens, Greece, on July 16, 2015 following clashes during an anti-austerity protest the night before. (© AFP)


In an exclusive interview with Press TV on Sunday, Stavros Mavroudeas, a professor of political economy at the University of Macedonia in Greece, said, “Capital controls on Greece have created serious economic and political problems. Economic losses are estimated at more than 3 billion euros for the Greek economy.”

Mavroudeas added, “The political problems are even more severe. The EU imposed capital controls on Greek banking sector in a blatant imperialist intervention… It obliged Greece to adopt capital controls in order to quest the Greek electorate to vote for ‘Yes’ in the last referendum. That is to vote for submitting fro capitulating to the demands of the EU.”

“The political blackmail backfired as the vast majority of the people voted for ‘No’ in the referendum. However, immediately afterwards, Syriza reneged on the referendum, and accepted a third troika austerity program,” he pointed out.

On Friday, the European Union (EU) formally approved a short-term loan of 7.16 billion euros (7.77 billion US dollars) to debt-wracked Greece as Athens and its creditors are working to reach an agreement on a new bailout package.

Greece received two bailouts worth a total of 240 billion euros (272 billion dollars) in 2010 and 2012 from its troika of international lenders – the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank – following the 2009 economic crisis.

Lecture on ‘The Greek economic crisis’ to 5 Latin American universities, 29/4/2015 5pm

UNAM lecture

On Wednesday (29/4/2015) I will give a tele-lecture (marvelous modern technology) to five Latin American universities on ‘The Greek economic crisis’. The formal title of the presentation is ‘A Marxist explanation of the Greek crisis’.

The lecture’s presentation has been uploaded in Slideshare:

The lecture has been organised by the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) and will be simultaneously transmitted – via the kind efforts of the colleagues of UNAM – to UCA – Centro America University (at El Salvador), Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso Sul (Brazil), Universidad Central de Venezuela and Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela (whose audience would be kindly hosted at the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) – obviously a central bank far apart from central bankers’ comformist breed).

The lecture woud be uploaded in Econo Marx 21:


I woud like to take the opportunity and praise the hard and excellent work done by Latin American colleagues (and especially Alejandro Vale Baeza) in promoting Marxist Political Economy. They have also several inspiring websites that are worth following (if you know or yoy can grasp a bit of Spanish):