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On 3 July hundreds of thousands unmistakably said OXI! NO! in the streets of Athens. OXI! NO! to the unreasonable demands of austerity, to their impoverishment and to the rescue of banks at the expense of the people. This OXI! No! was reaffirmed on 5 July by the Greek referendum with an impressive majority of 61%. OXI! NO! echoed across Europe, gave hope to the humiliated, encouraged the resistant – and scared those in power.
Only one week later, Greece surrenders to the claims of the creditors. Pensions are to be cut even further, the VAT will be increased. Similarly to what happened to the GDR after German “reunification” a ”trust“ is set up to sell off 50 billion Euro of national property for debt service and bank bailouts. Democracy in Greece is effectively undermined and eliminated; Greece is turned into an occupied country: all laws and regulations must be approved or can be rejected by “the institutions” prior to their consultation in the parliament. Even all those measures implemented in the last six months to alleviate the immediate social hardships are to be questioned.
Nobody with a clear mind can call this result of the Euro Summit an ”agreement“. It was a dictation enforced with a knife at the throat. This was a coup, as the millions of people who spread the hashtag #ThisIsACoup via Twitter clearly and immediately understood. In the face of this blackmail at gunpoint we are not discussing the behavior of the attacked but identify the perpetrator as criminal.
Everyone in Europe and in the whole world knows where this coup has emanated from: it was the German government, and it was Wolfgang Schäuble and Angela Merkel, who imposed their line of merciless humiliation in Europe and who rapidly, pushed aside the timid opposition from Italy and France, supported and affirmed by Gabriel´s social-democratic SPD and large parts of the German media. They rested thereby on a nationalist consensus of the German mainstream society and benefited from the fear of some left organizations of public opinion polls.
The price those in power have to pay for this is high: the thin coat of “shared values”, “solidarity” and “democracy”, which EU-Europe likes to put on, has once and for all become flimsy and cracked. Underneath, the actual core now lies clearly visible to all: the rule of return on capital and competitiveness, the erosion of democracy through naked, extortionate violence and presumptuous German domination. Europe is politically bankrupt and the cracks in the system can only temporarily be fixed.
Everyone knows the humiliation of Athens, the repeated increase of social misery and the looting of Greece´s last economic reserves is irresponsible even under capitalist standards. The crisis is not solved but once again intensified and at the same time deferred. Dozens of economists, even recognized bourgeois economists, confirm this.
So why do the German and European elites do something, which will never lead to an economic recovery in Greece and to overcome the European crisis? Because for them it is about deterrence and demonstrative punishment as well as about using the crisis, in order to permanently cut down social standards, not only in Greece but all across Europe. Politics in Europe shall and will be in the hands of the “experts” of oppression – the voice of the many is nothing but a disturbing background noise, an incomprehensible language.
Nobody in Europe, no government, no movement, no union, shall ever dare to oppose the German dictate of austerity and the cutting of the social in the name of competitiveness again. People in Spain are not to vote “wrong”; the youth throughout Southern Europe is supposed to resign to the prospects of unemployment and precarious jobs; and also the German social and youth workers, postal workers, amazon-workers or train drivers are not to become too rebellious. Whoever opposes and resists, is supposed to be worse off afterwards – this is meant to be the message.
This is the sadness of contemporary capitalism: it has no hope and no prospects to offer anymore, but rules with blackmail, fear, racist division and an ideology of no alternative.
Too many people in Germany have been persuaded by an unprecedented media campaign to believe that the merciless treatment and punishment of the people in Greece would be in their own interest. Too many people believed the story of the supposedely wealthy Greek pensioners. Too many have joined in the chorus of those who perceived every additional kick and all the malice and disdain justified. This neo-nationalism obscures the minds and precisely this is its job.
At the same time many people, also in Germany, know that we have to say OXI! NO! NEIN! a lot more often and much louder. NO to low wages and precarious employment! NO to rising rents and the displacement of people from their neighborhoods! NO to health-threatening stress and ever longer working hours! NO to the destruction of social infrastructure! NO to those who say Yes, NO to their propaganda, which seeks to make us accomplices of their blackmailing. NO to this life, which tramples life underfoot!
The OXI! from Syntagma Square in Athens in not dead. No compromise by blackmail can destroy it, if we take it up and turn it into our NO. OXI! NO! in many different places, in all our struggles and everywhere in our daily lives. And at the same time, a joint OXI! NO! all over Europe, because our NO! simultaneously is a Yes to a different kind or Europe, which has nothing to do with the rotten Europe of the powerful elites, but which needs to be rebuilt completely from the bottom.
The next big Blockupy, the next large European mobilizations to Brussels or to Berlin will come. Assemblies, meetings and rallies will also take place in these days in many European cities, in which we should participate.
But right now we are concerned with more than an action proposal, more than the next call for a demonstration. We want the OXI! NO! to spread. We want that all actions and struggles taking place everywhere in Europe, in Germany, in our places, take up this OXI! NO! We want to make it our own and shout it out in a thousand different forms.
This is a long-term task, with which we have to start today! The defeat of the Greek upheaval, which is a defeat of all of us, unmistakably documents the power relations of European capitalism. However, it also demonstrates that the rule of those in power can only be defended in an authoritarian way. It may turn out to be a pyrrhic victory for the German Europe.
Let us therefore develop our commonality, our solidarity and our strength in this OXI! NO! so that those who say Yes will soon have their weapons of blackmail beaten out of their hands.
OXI! NO! should be on every facade of this seemingly perfect world, which is only being held together by sheer force. OXI! NO! on every wall, in every street!