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Parchment in the Fire: Why Greece’s Syriza party is not sticking to the script on an IMF deal | Paul Mason | Paul Mason

Why Greece’s Syriza party is not sticking to the script on an IMF deal | Paul Mason | Paul Mason.

The leaked IMF document seen by Channel 4 News last weekend effectively signals a three-week endgame in the Greek debt stand-off.

The IMF thinks there is “no possibility” that Greece can meet €11bn worth of debt repayments due between June and the end of August. The Greek government is running out of cash.

Yanis Varoufakis, the finance minister, told Channel 4 News last night (see video below) that faced with the choice of paying €350m due on 5 June (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: | Greece toying with ‘chaos’ has Eichengreen urging lesser evil

By Lenka Ponikelska

Greece’s exit from the euro would unleash turmoil whose fallout will far exceed the cost of staying in the currency union, said U.S. economist Barry Eichengreen.

Reintroducing the drachma would solve none of Greece’s problems and instead set the stage for “even more chaos and uncertainty,” Eichengreen, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said in an interview in Prague on Friday.

“Staying in the euro zone will be costly and difficult for Greece and for Greece’s partners, but Greece getting out of the euro would be even more costly and difficult,” said Eichengreen, author (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Would leaving euro be more of a catastrophe for Greece than staying? | Business | The Guardian

Would leaving euro be more of a catastrophe for Greece than staying? | Business | The Guardian.

Larry Elliot

Yanis Varoufakis rues the day when Greece joined the euro. The Greek finance minister says his country would be better off if it was still using the drachma. Deep down, he says, all 18 countries using the single currency wish that the idea had been strangled at birth but understand that once you are in you don’t get out without a catastrophe.

All of that is true, and explains why Greece is involved in a game of chicken with all the (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Greece: The Noose Tightens | Jacobin

Greece: The Noose Tightens | Jacobin.

There are only three options remaining for the Syriza government.


by Stathis Kouvelakis

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.


Events in Greece have taken a dramatic turn, and insolvency is at the gates. On April 20, the Greek government issued a decree forcing local authorities to place cash reserves at the Bank of Greece.

Two days later, Dimitris Mardas, the deputy minister of finance in charge of state revenue, declared that €400 million were missing to pay for pensions and salaries at the end of the month. A few hours later, he (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Parchment in the Fire: Greece: The Noose Tightens | Jacobin

Political Eh-conomy: Podcast: The roots of the Greece crisis in European integration and what this means for the future


As the simmering crisis between Greece and the institutions formerly known as the Troika heats up again, it’s a good time to look once more at the roots of the European crisis and what they mean for the possibilities open before Syriza at the present juncture. Greece is being squeezed by Europe: it’s cash is about to run out, they’ve been limited from raising new funds on bond markets and are being asked for ever greater concessions in terms of the reforms. Indeed, the red lines for compromise are right under Syriza’s feet and it’s (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Why Syrzia Matters. It’s About a Good Deal More than Austerity. It’s About Salvaging Democracy.

Le Monde reminds all of us why Syrzia matters not just in Greece, but across Europe and even on our side of the North Atlantic.

The Greeks don’t need to have the meaning of the word “democracy” explained to them. Even so, they have been given countless lectures since voting in a leftwing government determined to end the austerity policies that have made their lives a misery for six years. The schoolmasterly reprimands have come from people who know what they are talking about: they are people who imposed treaties their electorates had voted against and reneged on campaign promises (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Greece: Phase Two | Jacobin

Very interesting interview with Syriza MP and SOAS Professor of Political Economy Costas Lapavitsas.

Greece: Phase Two | Jacobin.

Much — too much — has been written in a journalistic, superficial vein about Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and last month’s negotiations with the European Union. But now that the lines have hardened and are clearer for us all to see, a new situation has opened up.


The scenario of Greece leaving the eurozone (“Grexit”) is more frequently and explicitly posed as the only way that Syriza’s government can avoid backtracking on its campaign promises.


To discuss this question (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: THE EURO, THE DRACHMA AND GREECE: limited options in an impossible situation

Jean-Francois Ponsot

Associate Professor of Economics, Université de Grenoble (France)


Louis-Philippe Rochon

Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University (Canada)

Co-Editor, Review of Keynesian Economics


The final agreement between Greece and the Eurogroup is a disappointment for anyone who held high hopes that Greece would have taken away more than a mere extension to the existing deal.

In the end, Greece gained very little and the continued austerity will do very little to close the growth gap. It is difficult to see anything short of a total capitulation. Perhaps the view Greece could walk out with a victory was (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Janine Berg writes about the need for strong public policy to counter the trend of growing inequality. And Gillian White traces the ever-increasing divergence between worker productivity and wages in an interview with Jan Rivkin: White: Some say that the decrease of collective bargaining has played a role in creating the gap, how true do you think that is?

Rivkin: There are a number of causes, one is the underlying shift in technology and globalization. Another is systematic underinvestment in the commons, which is a set of shared resources that every business needs (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: The rise of Europe’s new Left

The rise of Europe’s new Left.

By Bryan Evans

Filed under: Europe, Socialism Tagged: Austerity, Europe, Eurozone Crisis, Greece, Podemos, Spain, Syriza

Parchment in the Fire: European Banks vs. Greek Labour

Filed under: Austerity Tagged: Austerity, Eurozone Crisis, Greece, neoliberalism

Political Eh-conomy: Syriza buys four months of breathing room

Belatedly, here is an article I wrote on Greece’s agreement with the Eurozone for Ricochet. It focuses on the next four months with their opportunities and pitfalls. Given that the list of reforms authored by Yanis Varoufakis looks to get the approval of the Eurogroup member states, the article remains relevant, the breathing room actually in place.

Assuming its plan of reforms is accepted by the Eurogroup on Monday, Greece’s Syriza government has gained four months of breathing room — albeit in the same stuffy space, already full of the nauseating fumes of austerity, the window barely cracked.

No one was humiliated in (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Varoufakis Keeps Greece in the Eurozone, by its Fingernails  » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Varoufakis Keeps Greece in the Eurozone, by its Fingernails » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

Mike Whitney

It’s not easy to negotiate with a gun to your head. Nevertheless, that’s the situation Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis found himself in on Friday preceding a crucial meeting with the Eurogroup. According to one report, the objective of the last-ditch confab “was to prepare a consensus text that would be the basis for the discussion” with the EU’s finance ministers. That might sound innocent enough, but it doesn’t come close to explaining the real purpose of the meeting which was far more sinister. Check out this blurb from Costas (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Reading The Greek Deal Correctly

Reading The Greek Deal Correctly. James K. Galbraith

On Friday as news of the Brussels deal came through, Germany claimed victory and it is no surprise that most of the working press bought the claim. They have high authorities to quote and to rely on. Thus from London The Independent reported:

several analysts agreed that the results of the talks amounted to a humiliating defeat for Greece.

No details followed, the analysts were unnamed, and their affiliations went unstated – although further down two were quoted and both work for banks. Many similar examples could be given, from both sides (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: How Greece Got Outmaneuvered – The New Yorker

How Greece Got Outmaneuvered – The New Yorker.

By John Cassidy

To the surprise of nobody except a few alarmists, the finance ministers of the European Union reached a deal with Greece on Friday, extending the country’s existing bailout until the early summer. Greece’s new left-wing Syriza government had been telling everyone for weeks that it wouldn’t agree to extend the bailout, and that it wanted a new loan agreement that freed its hands, which marks the deal as a capitulation by Syriza and a victory for Germany and the rest of the E.U. establishment.

Strictly speaking, though, the (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Greek Bailout Extension Deal Represents a “Significant Retreat” by the European Authorities, CEPR Co-Director Says | Press Releases

Greek Bailout Extension Deal Represents a “Significant Retreat” by the European Authorities, CEPR Co-Director Says | Press Releases.

Washington, D.C.- A deal reached between the Greek government and European authorities represents a “significant retreat” by the so-called troika and “shows that their austerity program, which has failed miserably, is no longer politically enforceable,” Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today.

Greek government officials reached a deal with European authorities earlier today to allow bailout funds to be extended to Greece for another four months. As The Guardian and other outlets have reported, the (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Greece deal is first step on the road back to austerity | Business | The Guardian

Philip Inman – The Guardian

The rightwing orthodoxy that dominates thinking in Brussels has asserted itself over the hapless Greeks. A deal that allows the eurozone policymakers, the International Monetary Fund and the government of Athens to keep talking next week is the first stage in a clampdown on anti-austerity sentiment.

Eurozone chiefs strike deal to extend Greek bailout for four months

Read more

That much was clear from the statements coming out of Brussels, not least those from Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s veteran finance minister, who indulged himself with some patronising comments to show where the power lies. “Being in (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: How Radical is Syriza?

Filed under: Europe, Eurozone crisis, Greece Tagged: Eurozone Crisis, Greece, Socialism, Syriza, the Left

Parchment in the Fire: Is Syriza Retreating? | Jacobin

Is Syriza Retreating? | Jacobin.

Stathis Kouvelakis

To use a worn-out cliché, “the times are critical.” In fact, they are more than just that: we are at the edge of a crucial temporal sequence. The whole endeavor of a Syriza government will be judged by its reaction to the unprecedented blackmail and ultimatums it is receiving from its tragically misnamed European “partners.”

And the news from the frontline is not pleasant. To be sure, it is very difficult to have a clear view of the current status of the negotiations — “negotiations” being a oxymoron given the (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Podcast: Leo Panitch on Syriza and Greece


This week I’ve devoted the entire show to discussing the most recent developments in Greece. While there is a great deal of day-to-day drama at the level of the ongoing negotiations between Greece and European institutions, I wanted to take a broader strategic and political look at what the election of Syriza both for Greece and more broadly for the left around the world, including in Canada. To that end, I’m happy to present an extended conversation with Leo Panitch. Leo is professor of political science at York University, author most recently of (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Grexit, schmexit: It ain’t gonna happen

For sale? Owner must sell …

Right now a battle of Homeric proportions is being waged for the future soul of the European Union.

On one side are the Teutonic bookkeepers of the EU, led by Merkel of Germany and Cameron of Britain. On the other side is the tiny, profligate, bankrupt state of Greece, the home of Western civilization. Caught in the middle are the other EU states, with the citizens of most of them not too sure that tightening the screws on Greece with renewed – or continued – austerity steps is the wisest thing to do. Siding with (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Syriza Holds Its Ground | Jacobin

Syriza Holds Its Ground | Jacobin.

As the media and the Athens stock market (down 4 percent yesterday) had widely expected, yesterday’s finance ministers’ meeting ended in failure, perhaps even a momentous one.

The tone of the Greek government’s official communiqué, which the whole media were quick to pick up on, was very tough indeed: “‘Certain circles’ insistence that the new Greek government implement the Memorandum is absurd and unreasonable. The implementation of the Memorandum program was not on the table at the summit, and those who try to put it back there are wasting their time.”

(Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: The pro-worker, pro-growth experiment in Greece is under threat | Senator Bernie Sanders | Comment is free | The Guardian

The pro-worker, pro-growth experiment in Greece is under threat | Senator Bernie Sanders | Comment is free | The Guardian.

While the wealthiest 85 individuals on the planet own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population – and when the top 1% will soon own more wealth than the bottom 99% – the people of Greece and the anti-austerity party, Syriza, they elected to lead them are struggling to rebuild their economy so that ordinary people there can live with a shred of dignity and security.

But powerful international interests are putting the pro-growth, pro-worker experiment (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON On Greece once More


Associate Professor, Laurentian University

Co-editor, Review of Keynesian Economics

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon


As I have said before (see here) and will say again: any solution to Greek’s tragedy, which involves keeping the Euro as a currency is a second-best solution, unless the appropriate institutional changes are adopted. Anything short of this will simply maintain the Euro straightjacket and perpetuate the policies of deflation. Austerity has proven a disastrous and unsustainable policy that has revealed the weaknesses of the Euro. Indeed, without political union, the Euro remains an incomplete (and illegitimate) currency, and the sooner it (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Tessa Jowell writes that we need to treat inequality as a disease which can be cured through effective public policy, but the Star points out that the Cons have instead gone out of their way to make it worse. Fair Vote Canada interviews J. Peter Venton about the toxic effect of inequality on our political system. And Sean McElwee notes that in the U.S. at least, the right has managed to turn the middle and working classes against exactly the type of redistribution which best serves their interests.

- Yanis Varoufakis (Read more…)