Both the deal imposed on Greece’s government and the Tories’ latest budget are dripping with spite. The demands of the European Union (EU) leaders stand out for their petty details.
Will a fire sale of small islands and unique ruins make much difference to Europe’s economy? Do the regulations of Greece’s ferries, pharmacies and bakeries really affect “taxpayers” here?
Of course not.
Each time a bailout for Greece has been announced it’s been touted as a solution to its crisis. Each time it’s made that crisis worse.
But as Greece’s former finance minister Yannis Varoufakis was frustrated to discover, none of the eurogroup meetings talked about economics.
He spent five months making concessions to the EU loan sharks in the hope that they would compromise. But they were only interested in revenge.
Bosses and politicians across Europe have tried to put workers in their place with lies, misery, violence and fear.
The Greek ruling class failed. So the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) took over.
The vindictiveness of measures, such as the end of tax breaks for people on Greek islands, recalls what the IMF forced on Britain’s Labour government in the late 1960s.
Along with deep cuts came a token charge for prescriptions.
It raised a paltry amount of cash. But it blew a hole in the principle of an NHS free at point of use that meant so much to Labour’s supporters.
It was a permanent lived reminder that a government elected to defy the capitalist vultures had to go to them “cap in hand”.
George Osborne’s budget last week was just as ideological.
A tax on all third-born children won’t make the slightest dent in the debts ran up by the bankers’ crisis.
Neither will robbing £30 a week from sick and disabled people on employment support allowance—though it will have a devastating impact to their lives.
Even some of the bosses’ pet pundits have been baffled by the attacks on trade union rights the Tories want to rush through parliament before the summer break.
Strikes could be shaking the economy. But sadly there have been far from enough in recent years.
Osborne understands something the well-meaning Varoufakis didn’t.
The bosses can only get out of their crisis by making the working class pay for it.
Greek workers are proving our side can kick back. Socialists everywhere should organise protests, meetings and messages of support in solidarity with them.
But best way to support them would be to join them—and strike against austerity here too.