Q: As EPAM you are advocating a return to our national currency. Many analysts estimate though that Greece’s exit from euro would have catastrophic consequences. What’s your answer to them?
A: Advocating that the devastation we are now facing is the only way and that a totally different course will lead to a worse situation, is not an argument, it’s a delirium. Since the society, the country and its people are facing an unprecedented crisis like this one, with hundreds of thousands of innocent victims, you ought to search for radically different solutions away and in opposition to the well-trodden path. On the contrary, the euro supporters claim that, if we insist on this path, which has led the country to the worst bankruptcy of its history and one of the worst in the global financial history, then and only then will we be saved from the crisis. Is this rational? No, it’s the “rationality” of an absolute schizophrenia.
The truth is that staying in the euro does not derive from any kind of objective logic but rather comes from the interests of banks and markets. With the euro, the most predatory and parasitic forces of the market fully privatized the issuing of currency and monetary circulation. By controlling currency and its circulation, the banks were able to load the state and the economy (private businesses and households) with every kind of loans.
The private and public borrowing during the euro period is unprecedented for most of the E.U. state members. Coincidence? Not at all. By controlling the currency, not only did the banks load households, businesses and states with huge loans but they were also given the capability of speculating with these debts by setting up games with every kind of derivatives. So the euro was the privileged field of this burst of debts, the bubble of global derivatives and the gambling that go with it. This is the main reason why euro equals debt and is mathematically certain that leads to bankruptcy, beginning with the economies with the biggest deficit and the others shortly following. None will escape it.
Therefore, our primary concern should be to get rid of this debt and moratorium mechanism. The state must be the one to issue currency, so the economy can be funded without debt. It’s also the only way to restore the missing deposits and erase the private debts that cannot be serviced in order to take some pressure off the market. The state must take over the funding of a debtless economy using a wide, fast, tight and focused Public Investment Program, mainly in production and its necessary infrastructures, to halt the recession and reduce unemployment.
It is the only way for the economy to start recovering, based on a dynamic restarting of production that requires protection from the monopolistic forces of the market. Can that happen in the euro? Not by a long sight! The logic of the euro leads to bankruptcy even if all Greece’s debts are erased tomorrow morning.
In addition, moving to a national state currency is one of the main origins of democracy. You cannot have real democracy where money is controlled by foreign interests. Peoples and states have had many struggles to take currency and its circulation from the hands of the private bankers. It was just after the 2nd World War that Greece, and most economies, under the pressure of postwar democratic expectations, managed to acquire national state currency to control their economies. With the euro they turned us back to the 18th and 19th century where the private bankers regulated the economy by issuing currency and controlling the flow of loans. Is it only by chance that democracy was the exception as a regime of most states?
Q: EPAM has “more democracy” as one of its main principles and positions. How does it perceive it? Can direct democracy be implemented today?
A: Direct or indirect democracy does not exist for us. Democracy is one. It is the regime that allows the people itself to govern its own country through representatives or in person. The reestablishment of democracy in our country should virtually begin from the start, which means a National Constituent Assembly will compose and vote a new Constitutional Charter.
In this way, the people having overruled today’s thieving and subjugated regime will be personally called so as to discuss and result in a new Constitution, which will be finalized by the national counsellors that will be elected for the Constituent Assembly.
In this way, the inalienable rights of popular and national sovereignty will be guaranteed by action rather than words as well as the social and political rights of the people and the capability to intervene decisively in the configuration of current policy through referenda, popular legislative initiatives, revocability of their representatives, limited duration of official duties, obligatory accountability, full transparency and publicity, elected or allotted officials on all levels etc.
Our people have democratic traditions that give us very useful lessons for today, for example, the system of popular justice and self-government used during the period of the nazi occupation in the liberated areas of Greece. This system is being taught even today by many respectable foreign universities, as an example of democratic reorganization of a society by its own people.
Q: How do you comment the proposal of Panos Kammenos to Alexis Tsipras to have the parliament members of their parties “ Independent Greeks” and “SYRIZA” resign in order to lead Greece to elections so that the new measures will not be voted?
A: I am afraid that it is just a political manoeuvre. Mr. Kammenos sent the ball to Mr Tsipras’ court in order to tell the people who are pressuring him that he is willing to resign but since Mr. Tsipras is not, he cannot do anything by himself. The request for the departure of the anti-memoranda parties from the Parliament had been made by EPAM from the time of the big popular mobilizations that climaxed in the gigantic popular demonstration of February 12th, 2012, when the Memorandum 2 was being voted on. At that time the leaderships of both KKE (Communist Party of Greece) and SYRIZA (Mr. Tsipra’s left party) considered us as agents-provocateurs because we dared to express what was in everyone’s mind: “Resign Now and Join us to Overthrow them”. A few days ago we repeated this demand sending an open letter to the leaderships of SYRIZA, the Independent Greeks and KKE. We are calling them on to resign, if the new measures and the new Memorandum are to be adopted by the parliament, not in order to repeat the fiasco of the last elections that we experienced but in order to get organized along with the people to overthrow this regime.
Elections for a parliament that has been transformed into a fig-leaf of a cruel regime that has decided to exterminate its people and sell off the country must not interest us. If we insist with the institution of parliamentary elections, like the last ones, then we legalize de facto all those laws that grant asylum to those who are responsible for the national tragedy and the quislings. We legalize the “international obligations” of our country and the practices followed by our creditors to achieve it (by victimizing a whole population, by an international stigmatization of the Greeks, an open blackmail, the imposition of an occupation regime etc). According to the basic rules of the international legal order these acts are criminal acts against the Greek people. They violate the most basic human rights and are persecuted as such by international courts.
We also legalize the process of falsifying election results through electoral systems, the official negative propaganda, having the votes counted by private corporations, using the state mechanism and public funds, etc. Such elections can be accepted as legal and desirable only by those who have no intention of asking for accountability for high treason from those responsible and from the quislings. Only by those who have already forgiven the criminals who have led the country and its people to crematoria. Only by those who do not wish to clash with foreign interests that are ravaging the country, but hope to renegotiate with them and, in other words, reach an agreement with those assailing the Greek people either because of unbelievable stupidity or because of obligations assumed by them in secret.
Such elections can be accepted only by those who do not respect democracy and the Greek people’s vote, that is, only those who secretly or openly tend to use the existing mechanism of manipulating the electorate for their own interest. Today, you cannot just ask for parliamentary elections the way they are realised. You have to claim democracy for the people. And this can be achieved immediately, quickly and relatively normally if the leadership of the anti-memoranda parties resign from the parliament, not with the view to calling for elections but to calling all the people for a long-lasting general civic strike with the demand: “Surrender the keys of governance and depart along with your foreign bosses”.
A transitional government will replace them and will be composed of all the parties and powers that played a leading role in this movement with the intention of organising truly free elections for a Constituent Assembly. In this way, the people are called to reconstitute their state institutionally, politically and socially so as to reset the counter and restart their life. With this process, which is recognized as state succession by the international law, any legal assurances and guarantees for the arbitrary and illegal acts of the ruling clique are no longer valid.
The people create law from the start and legislate on a new basis without any constraints from the corrupt and condemned past. They can renounce all obligations that have been assumed on their behalf and in their absence by the corrupt and enslaved regime they overthrew. And nobody can tell them anything. It is one of the people’s rights guaranteed by the hard core of the international law. As long as the people wishes to exercise it. This distincts them from the slaves.
The people could get their revenge by denouncing openly to the international community the governments of the countries that plotted against them. They can also claim indemnification for the crimes perpetrated against them by foreign governments and request the persecution from the International Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity of Merkel, Barroso, Junker and all those that acted as physical and moral collaborators in the massive destruction of the Greek people and their country.
This why we believe our proposal is the only democratic solution from today’s crisis and disasters from the perspective of the interests of the people. Do the leaderships of the anti-memoranda political parties that are in parliament have the stature to proceed in this way? We shall see. In any case, we (United People’s Front) together with the power of the people have given all of ourselves to achieve this goal. We will work with the anti-memoranda parties if their leaderships assume their responsibilities and against them if they decide to remain in parliament and work as a relief valve for the people’s anger.
Q: In the elections of last May, EPAM ran jointly with the Democratic Rebirth party and other movements. Nevertheless, in all the interviews that you gave after the elections, you never spoke of this cooperation with Stelios Papathemelis. Why?
A: There was no reason. The cooperation was purely electoral. It was about the creation of a common ballot where each party would work for the election of its own candidates. There was no political agreement for cooperation after the elections. Thus, after the elections the electoral cooperation was dissolved. As EPAM we made an analytical and public autocriticism about our pre-electoral policy which had many flaws.
Our main problem was that we gave in from one of our primary principles. This was that all the alliances and cooperations we would like to achieve should have first been tested on the streets, in common struggles, where each one recognizes the other in their true nature. We should not have started discussions of a parliamentary nature that allowed opportunists to appear as true opponents of the memoranda, often only because we addressed them in order to agree on a common objective.
We should have insisted on cooperation with movements that had already expressed themselves on the squares and in common actions. Nothing else. This is the way that we were familiar to the people and people had identified with us to the extent they had got to know us. In spite of that, we do not regret our cooperation, the only electoral cooperation that was not based on agreements in the sidelines for seats or money, nor on agreements on obsolete ideological lines of the type “left or right”. At least, as for this, we preserved our principles that wish and seek the unity of the people beyond any divisive logic.
Q: As General Secretary of EPAM, do you see any possibilities of cooperation with other anti-memoranda democratic patriotic organizations in the near future, for example, in new elections?
A: Our basic objective, as I previously mentioned, is to organize and implement a general political strike of a long duration whose central theme would be “surrender power and go home taking with you your evil bosses”. We do not intend to deviate from this objective which would mean quitting the struggle for democracy; neither do we believe that under present conditions there can be a popular solution with traditional parliamentary elections.
Consequently, our participation in an eventual snap election will depend on the particular conditions and the possibility that a solid mass of people can express themselves to claim power through a long-lasting general political strike. Elections under present conditions can only be used as a forum for informing and mobilizing people for the general political strike. And this can happen in the best case and not in every case.
However, we do not believe that snap elections will be attempted before the quislings of the trilateral government accomplish their mission assigned from abroad. That is, before they adopt all the measures and the new obligations that will put in chains our country and its people. After that, there may be snap elections in order to give power to Tsipras. Then, whether he wants it or not, from the moment that he will remain within the framework of the existing parliamentary system, the only thing that he will be able to do is to renegotiate the obligations – the chains that tie down the country.
In that case, the only thing that the great friends, allies and partners will have to do is accept the renegotiation and drag him from meeting to meeting while the Greek economy and society will keep collapsing as it happens today. In this way, the longer Tsipras will be negotiating without questioning the principles and beliefs of the gang of the euro, the more he will be adopting the way of thinking and the practice of Kouvelis.
Besides, the differentiation of Kouvelis might hide the fact that in the post-electoral political strategy of SYRIZA he discovered himself and, thus, he might be dreaming of a future political collaboration in a “left” government, which, if it is elected under the present conditions, I am afraid it will also be a government of division and civil war. Moreover, Mr.Tsipras and his comrades do not have warm feelings for the national independence of Greece, particularly when it does not reconcile with the so-called “european perspective”. This is why it is a matter of utmost urgency to form a wide common front consisting of all the democratic patriotic forces derived from inside the people with the intention of preparing a long-lasting general political strike. It is the only hope in front of today’s impasse.
Q: What do you think will happen in the immediate future? Is there a possibility of default within the euro?
A: What people have not realised is that Greece has already defaulted irrevocably as long as it remains in the euro. At this moment the country has all the symptoms of collapse displayed by Argentina in 2001 when it collapsed totally and was pushed on purpose for three years into a social civil war that left tens of thousands of victims. This is the chaos with which Samaras threatens us and in order that it prevails in the country, two basic conditions are needed: the continuation of the same policy and such an unscrupulous political personnel that it can organize the mass annihilation of the people. Only in this way does chaos come. From the upper levels and intentionally.
The only difference with Argentina is, on one hand, the banks in Greece are kept functioning with state money of billions of euros -for how long nobody knows- and, on the other hand, the efforts of the euro administrators to avoid an official default on payments so that the common currency does not weaken in the international markets. Nevertheless, these two differences assure that the days of Greece as a self-existent state are quite a few. In order to save the banks and the euro from an official default (non payment to creditors) of Greece, not only are its people led to the crematoria, but the country itself will be dismembered and will cease to exist the way we know it. Its regions and municipalities will be put under foreign monitoring and they will be annexed to other eurozone regions, starting with German states and municipalities. Cantons will be created with the Special Economic Zones, ownership will be given to foreign state monopoly interests and Greece will cease to be a unified and undivided country.
After182 years Greece’s formal independence will reach its end when, in the next few months, the European Stability Mechanism – born just a month ago – will be imposed. The ESM has been created to absorb the basic functions of a state that is placed under its tutelage, thus, taking away its international legal personality so that the markets recognize the EMS instead of the state that requested to be subject to the Mechanism. This will naturally be presented as a temporary measure, which will allow the country to be cleansed with the assistance of foreign – supposedly incorruptible – commissars who will assume the governance of the country instead of “our” corrupt politicians. After all, the agony of not allowing Greece to leave the euro and to enter into the markets again, as the state media propagandize, can justify anything, including the dissolution of the Greek State.
Q: Finally, do you have any message to send to our readers?
A: We are facing the greatest threat our country has ever faced in its history. Greece will not be able to survive from this crisis within the European Union and the euro, as a people, as a sovereign nation or as a united state. So dire is the situation. Playing the ostrich will not help. On the contrary, it will lead us faster to the grave. It is quite certain that the more we allow the situation to follow the path designated by the local and foreign tribal chiefs, the more the number of victims will increase until even the most ignorant will realise the extent of the massive annihilation that is being intentionally attempted against the people of Greece.
Facing this situation, our duty is one: the survival of the people and the liberation of the country. Many people are convinced that they have no other choice but to commit suicide on the spot, which has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives during the past two years, or postpone their suicide hoping in vain that something may happen in the end that could save them. They do not realise that, in this way, they murder not only themselves but also their family, their children and anyone they love and they have to take care of.
However, there is also the choice of dignity instead of the choice of suicide. We have to fight for our dignity as humans, as citizens, as people and as Greeks. It does not suit the dignity of humans to be treated as if they were pack animals and to be led to degradation. It does not suit the dignity of a citizen to accept having their life endangered just to get their vote. It does not suit the dignity of a people to hide like a stray dog in fear of the gangsters that have ravaged its life for decades and are now ready to sell it as a slave. It does not suit the dignity of Greeks to surrender their country without a fight, without a battle, without war against those who, by deception, are trying to achieve what no other occupying force has ever managed to do, that is, to deprive them of their country.
In this struggle there is no room for prejudices, or for divisive declarations, but only pure popular patriotism that knows how to unite where ideologies and mechanisms know how to divide. There is no point in pondering on how this tragic situation came to be and feel depressed and quit. The only thing that is worth thinking of is how each one may be useful. For themselves proving that they have not lost their humanity, for their family proving that they are not useless, for the people and their country proving that they are not selfish and indifferent.
Today we separate the weed from the wheat. Today an entire people slowly and distressfully comes out of a political lethargy, to which it had been condemned, and seeks again its proper place in history. As for all of us who have joined this struggle, we strongly believe that, no matter how murky and sombre this period may seem, it is nothing else but the darkness before dawn. Still, dark though this night is, no matter how many demons it may hide, one thing is absolutely certain. The dawn will come and that will be the dawn of the new rising Greece.
An interview by Vasilis Pandis
Friday November 9th, 2012