Responding to charges of treason leveled against him by his “self-styled persecutors,” former Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, on his personal blog, has laid down the gauntlet, accusing “Greece’s oligarchic establishment” as being “troika-friendly.”
In his post of July 28, Varoufakis defended his “defiant negotiating stance” saying:
My dastardly ‘crime’ was that, expressing the collective will of our government, I personified the sins of:
• Facing down the Eurogroup’s leaders as an equal that has the right to say ‘NO’ and to present powerful analytical reasons for rebuffing the catastrophic illogicality of huge loans to an insolvent state in condition of self-defeating austerity
• Demonstrating that one can be a committed Europeanist, strive to keep one’s nation in the Eurozone, and, at the very same time, reject Eurogroup policies which damage Europe, deconstruct the euro and, crucially, trap one’s country in austerity-driven debt-bondage
• Planning for contingencies that leading Eurogroup colleagues, and high ranking troika officials, were threatening me with in face-to-face discussions
• Unveiling how previous Greek governments turned crucial government departments, such as the General Secretariat of Public Revenues and the Hellenic Statistical Office, into departments effectively controlled by the troika and reliably pressed into the service of undermining the elected government.
Varoufakis also claimed a moral victory, arguing that “The debate about the democratic deficit afflicting the Eurozone is now unstoppable.”
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Six times elected to the British Parliament, now running for Mayor of London, George Galloway, in this video interview lays the truth on the line, describing the “crimes against humanity” that continue to be perpetrated by financial capitalists and their top-level political minions all around the world.
Like so many others, both inside and outside Greece, I was greatly disappointed at the outcome of the negotiations between the Greek government and the “institutions.” At first, it looked like a sell-out, but on further reflection, I can see that given the circumstances, the government really had no choice.
More than 70 years ago, Greece was overrun in a Nazi blitzkrieg. This week it has been overrun by the combined powers of global financial capital and its eurozone “partners.” The following is a comment (still awaiting moderation) I made today on the website of former Greek finance minister, Yannis Varoufakis.
I regret having been overly judgmental in my comment of July 14. I have no business telling the Greek government what they should have done, or must do in the future. It is Tsipras and the Syriza coalition who have the responsibility of representing the interests of the Greek people and preserving the Greek state. I can see that surrender (or “strategic retreat”) in the face of overwhelming force may have been necessary, just as it was with the Nazi occupation of 70 years ago. Better to live to fight another day when conditions may be more favorable.
Now the battles must be fought on another level, the people need to do what they can to take care of themselves and each another. To do that, they first need to clearly identify their adversary and understand the kinds of weapons that are being used against them.
Bill Clinton’s mentor, Prof. Carroll Quigley, in his 1966 book, Tragedy and Hope told us what the agenda is, who is in control of it, and how their plans are to be carried out. He wrote:
“The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences..” Viewed in that light, the major political events of the past 40 years, including the Greek crisis, make perfect sense.
This anti-democracy cabal is able to achieve their aims by means of their control over the creation and allocation of money in virtually every country of the world. But money is simply our collective credit manifested as bank deposits or notes. We the people everywhere need to end our fixation on their politicized forms of money, and create our own exchange media (liquidity) by allocating credit directly amongst producers. This is the route back to freedom and democratic government.
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After almost six months of “negotiations,” the Greek government has surrendered to the demands of the powers-that-be. In an interview that was conducted shortly after his resignation but prior to the deal just concluded between the Greek government and the European “institutions,” former Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, indicated that the outcome was determined from the very beginning. Pointing to a “complete lack of any democratic scruples, on behalf of the supposed defenders of Europe’s democracy,” he said, “At some point it was put to me very unequivocally: ‘This is a horse and either you get on it or it is dead.’”
Regarding contingency plans, Varoufakis commented that “if they dared shut our banks down,” strong action would need to be taken “..but without crossing the point of no return.” He said, “We should issue our own IOUs, or even at least announce that we’re going to issue our own euro-denominated liquidity; we should haircut the Greek 2012 bonds that the ECB held, or announce we were going to do it; and we should take control of the Bank of Greece. This was the triptych, the three things, which I thought we should respond with if the ECB shut down our banks.” But his recommendations were voted down by his colleagues.
Some further excerpts:
“Nothing shocks me these days – our Eurozone is a very inhospitable place for decent people. It wouldn’t shock me either [for Prime Minister Tsipras] to stay on and accept a very bad deal. Because I can understand he feels he has an obligation to the people that support him, support us, not to let this country become a failed state.
But I’m not going to betray my own view, that I honed back in 2010, that this country must stop extending and pretending, we must stop taking on new loans pretending that we’ve solved the problem, when we haven’t; when we have made our debt even less sustainable on condition of further austerity that even further shrinks the economy; and shifts the burden further onto the have-nots, creating a humanitarian crisis. It’s something I’m not going to accept. I’m not going to be party to.”
You can read the full interview here.
In today’s referendum, the Greek people voted overwhelmingly to reject the bailout offer that was presented to them by the intransigent “troika” of the IMF, EC, and ECB. With more than half the votes counted nationwide, the NO votes led the YES votes by about 60% to 40%. This result also represents a vote of confidence for the Syriza coalition government and for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who, amidst scathing attacks by troika leaders, had urged Greeks to reject the offer.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is now calling for Greece to be expelled from the eurozone. That is not likely to happen any time soon, but if it did, Greece would be the better for it. So long as the Greek government continues to balance its budget it might well be able to issue a domestic currency without inflation. It might also encourage private measures to provide domestic liquidity. Private currencies spent into circulation by trusted issuers on the basis of goods and services that are in regular demand, and mutual credit clearing associations of businesses have historically been shown to be effective in providing exchange media and alleviating economic hardship, especially when official currencies are in short supply.
Sunday, July 05, 2015. Somewhere in Greece.
As we await the outcome of the referendum vote, the atmosphere here is one of calm expectancy. In my view, the Greek crisis is shaping up to be a major battle with the forces of banking and corporate power that are intent on imposing a neo-feudal New World Order, arrayed against those who are hoping to preserve some hope of social justice, economic equity, self-determination, and democratic government. It is a Goliath vs. David situation.
With mostly propaganda coming from the mainstream media, people’s beliefs are shaped to conform to the picture that serves the Goliath agenda. Be not deceived. This article referred to below is very important and offers a deeper insight into the Greek situation.-t.h.g.
Behind the Greek Crisis
July 2, 2015
Exclusive: The usual narrative of the Greek economic tragedy is that the country is paying for its past profligacy, but there is deeper back story of political repression fueled by major powers intervening in Greece and contributing to a dysfunctional political system, recalls ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.
By William R. Polk
And, here is another pertinent article, this enough to make one cry: How Europe Played Greece: “We would rather Deal with Corrupt but Obedient Leaders, than Honest ones with Ideas of Sovereignty” By Alex Andreou, Global Research, July 04, 2015
There has been a lot of talk lately about placing the face of a notable American woman on one denomination or other of U.S. Federal Reserve note. I strongly support that effort and a number of worthy candidates have been suggested.
The big question is “Which of the present male images will be displaced?” Several people have proposed that Andrew Jackson get the axe. I have a strong opinion to the contrary, and a recent op-ed in the New York Times prompted me to express it in writing. Unfortunately, the Times chose to not publish my letter, so I offer it here below.–t.h.g.
To the editor, New York Times:
Steven Rattner’s op-ed (NYT, June 20) proposed to “Leave Hamilton Alone” and “Evict Andrew Jackson.” There are compelling reasons to argue the opposite.
Hamilton may well have been a “visionary genius” but his talents were applied largely in the service of anti-democratic and elite interests. He was an avowed monarchist and was “distrustful of ordinary people to rightly judge matters,” siding with those who urged George Washington to declare himself king. According to Thomas Jefferson, “Hamilton was, indeed, a singular character. Of acute understanding, disinterested, honest, and honorable in all private transactions, amiable in society, and duly valuing virtue in private life, yet so bewitched and perverted by the British example, as to be under thorough conviction that corruption was essential to the government of a nation.”
Many of the measures that Hamilton proposed, like those employed to encourage loyalty to, and establish and the credit of the federal government, were clearly important in making the fledgling United States better able to stand up to the European imperial powers. But his insistence on establishing a central bank, modeled after the Bank of England, was intended to establish aristocratic rule indirectly by financial means.
Andrew Jackson, on the other hand, despite his many faults, was a champion of “government by the people.” He was devout in his commitment to safeguard the Republic from corrupters and usurpers. This is best exemplified in the so-called “bank war” which pitted him against Nicholas Biddle and the Second Bank of the United States. His 1832 veto of the bill to re-charter the Second Bank saved, for a time, the American republic from an insidious scheme to swindle the American people and to take power from the elected government and hand it over to a self-serving elite who were already entrenched in Europe.
In Jackson’s Veto Message he declared his objections to the Bank which included its monopoly privilege that was to be granted “for many millions less than it is worth,” its “gratuities to foreigners and to some of our own opulent citizens,” and most of all, its establishment of a power that could rival that of the elected government and create “a bond of union among the banking establishments…, erecting them into an interest separate from that of the people.”
While Jackson’s monetary policies may not have been the best, the financial turmoil that followed the closing of the central bank can be blamed on the nefarious work of Biddle in restricting credit, and the period of “free banking” that ensued was actually of great importance in building the American economy. Even former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan has acknowledged that “The perception of the free banking era as an era of “wildcat” banking marked by financial instability and, in particular, by widespread significant losses to noteholders also turns out to be exaggerated.”
Unfortunately, Jackson’s victory was short-lived. The elite forces have, step-by-step, tightened their grip on power, arrogating to themselves, in the name free trade and national security, ever more power until democracy has become a mere charade. The present global interest-based, debt-money, central banking regime has corrupted the political process, drowned all nations and their peoples in ever-increasing debt, and all but completed the creation of a neo-feudal “new world order.”
If for nothing else, Jackson should be honored for taking a stand for democratic government and warning the people of the deceptive schemes that have been, and continue to be employed to undermine and defeat it.
Thomas H. Greco, Jr., author, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization
We the people continue to be disempowered as our governments cede ever more control to global banking and corporate elites. TiSA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are the latest and boldest moves in that direction.
The big questions are “How far will we the people allow this process to go before we rebel, what can be done to reverse the damage, and when will it be too late to restore democracy?” Here below is a summary of the situation in so far as TiSA is concerned. –t.h.g.
Wikileaks throws light on an ultra-secret treaty
Marco A. Gandásegui, Jr.* – ALAI
Panama and another fifty countries are engaged in the negotiation of a secret treaty that will put an end to what little is left of democracy and free trade at a world level. North American and European officials advise their counterparts. Everything indicates that this operation is being developed regardless of the laws of the countries involved. At present, the US Congress is legislating to create a juridical framework for the new body. In the case of Panama and the majority of the countries that are taking part in these negotiations, there is no information as to what is being legislated.
Wikileaks is revealing, through a world-wide journalistic network at their disposition, the content of these clandestine negotiations among some 50 governments to establish a neo-liberal planetary alliance, the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). The agreement on the interchange of services is not only being negotiated in the most absolute secrecy, but also intends to maintain its secrecy during the first five years of its operation.
The level of concealment of the TiSA – which covers telecommunications, electronic commerce and financial services, as well as insurance and transportation – is superior to that of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement between Washington and their Asian associates. Wikileaks revealed secret documents that expose the construction of a set of norms and rules designed to evade state regulations on the global market.
If the treaty is not to be known for years, the governments that implement it will not need to be accountable. According to well-informed sources, the fraudulent intention of these clandestine negotiations is obvious in view of its unashamed violation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
Up to now, the Latin American governments involved in the secret negotiations of TiSA include Panama, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru. The texts of the secret negotiation of TiSA divulged by Wikileaks show that what is involved is the elimination of all control over financial services. It was precisely the derivatives or CDS (credit default swaps) – nothing less than bets on possible bankruptcies – that generated the stock market bubble that exploded in 2007-2008 and put an end to the capitalist financial system as we have known it. The collapse obliged Washington to inject trillions of dollars from public funds into the biggest banks to avoid bankruptcies.
Wikileaks had access to internal notes on the negotiations with Israel and Turkey for their adhesion to the secret treaty, something that was denied to China and Uruguay when they requested them, probably due to a fear that they might have leaked the contents when they discovered what was involved. The list of Latin American governments taking part in TiSA is revealing. They are all faithful allies of the United States. The ALBA countries, as well as Brazil, Argentina and others in which Washington does not confide, are excluded.
The most incredible aspect of the TiSA is that total transparency will be demanded of countries that are not part of the secret treaty. The countries that are not part of the intimate circle, must reveal ahead of time and open to discussion all the regulations and rules that that they propose to apply, thus ensuring that the big corporations have time to counter, modify or prevent these sovereign decisions in accord with their interests.
TiSA will take into account all the demands of the financial industry of Wall Street and the City of London, as well as the interests of the big global corporations, for whom the treaty is not secret but a product of their own creation. According to the Professor of Law of the University of Aukland (New Zealand), Jane Kelsey, ‘the great danger is that TiSA will prevent governments from strengthening the rules to control the financial sector”.
Designed in close consultation with the capitalist financial sector on a global scale, the TiSA will oblige the signing governments to strengthen and widen the stock market deregulation and liberalization that sparked the crisis. In addition, governments will be deprived of the right to maintain and control financial data in their territories. Moreover, they will be obliged to accept toxic credit derivatives and be prevented from adopting measures to avoid other crises created by neo-liberalism. And all this will be imposed by secret agreements, so that public opinion will be unable to find out what are the true causes of the ruin of their countries.
(Translated by Jordan Bishop for ALAI).
*Marco A. Gandásegui, Jr., professor of Sociology, University of Panama and researcher associated with the Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos Justo Arosemena (CELA). www.marcoagandasegui14.blogspot.com . www.salacela.net
The New Economics Foundation has recently announced a new handbook. Covering a variety of currency designs from time banks, LETS, and currencies issued on the basis of conventional money payment, People Powered Money: everything you need to know to set up a community currency, is a useful guidebook for grassroots exchange innovators.
The book can be downloaded from http://communitycurrenciesinaction.eu/peoplepoweredmoney/.
Will reports as follows:
The Berg Rand or BRAND – which means ‘Fire’ Money in Afrikaans, had an amazing launch today! The FlowAfrica team lead by John Ziniades and Anna Cowen of Meshfield spent over 6 months training local youth in topics of architecture, video creation (see their youtube channel), currency and businesses development. These youth helped mobilize a network of small businesses across 3 different towns in the Bergrivier region. The businesses formed the Bergrivier Exchange Network (BEN) and designed their own medium of exchange. Similar to Bangla-Pesa and the other community currencies in Kenya the members of the BEN must be local prosumers and guaranteed by four other members of the network and must contribute to a community fund with their BRAND for social service programs, like trash collection and alien vegetation clearing.
Read the full story here.
Seizing an Alternative, Pomona College, June 4-7 – Free Plenary Sessions, Scholarships, and other reasons to participate.
Here’s a portion of the latest informational brief about the upcoming conference. You’re invited:Don’t stay away!
(I mean, really, when is the next time you’ll be able to get together with hundreds and hundreds of people rethinking civilization from the ground up?)
Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization June 4-7, Pomona College, Claremont, CA
ATTEND FREE PLENARY SESSIONS at Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College, Claremont, CA:
THURSDAY, June 4
Bill McKibben: 7:00 p.m. Opening Night
FRIDAY, June 5
John B. Cobb, Jr.: 9:00 a.m.
Vandana Shiva: 7:00 p.m.
SATURDAY, June 6
Herman Daly-John B. Cobb, Jr. discussion moderated by PRI’s Warren Olney (recorded): 9:00 a.m.
Sheri Liao: 7:00 p.m.
SUNDAY, June 7
Wes Jackson: 9:00 a.m.
Southern California Edison makes ADDITIONAL STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS (limited) available. To apply, write to info@PandoPopulus.com.
There are instances where demonstrations can be useful, at least in raising public consciousness. Most people in Western countries are still delusional about money and politics. As David DeGraw puts it “democracy” is an illusion for propagandized minds.
The reality is that our political systems have been captured by elite bankers who are bent on concentrating ever more power and wealth in their own hands. DeGraw is calling for a worldwide Wave of Action to focus attention on central banks, the institutions that are the primary instruments of control over money and economics. He says, “On June 20th, we will rally at US Federal Reserve banks, the Bank of England and central banks worldwide to focus mass consciousness on the crimes against humanity perpetrated by global bankers.”
Read his call and join the ‘wave” here.
June 4-7, Pomona College, Claremont, CA This promises to be the conference of the year. Get all the details and register here.
I have recently received from several sources word of a new monetary reform proposal. This one, commissioned by the Prime Minister of Iceland, is titled, MONETARY REFORM A BETTER MONETARY SYSTEM FOR ICELAND, and is authored by Frosti Sigurjonsson.
I’ve taken the time to read only the Overview and summary portion, but that is sufficient to discern the crux of the Sigurjonsson proposal, which is this:
The Central Bank will be exclusively responsible for creating the money necessary to support economic growth. Instead of relying on interest rates to influence money creation by banks, the Central Bank can change the money supply directly. Decisions on money creation will be taken by a committee that is independent of government and transparent in its decision-making, as is the current monetary policy committee.
New money, created by the Central Bank, will be transferred to the government and put into circulation in the economy via increased government spending, by reduction in taxes, by repaying public debt or by paying a citizen dividend.
The Central Bank will also be able to create money for lending to banks for onward lending to businesses outside the financial sector.
Sigurjonsson indicates that his proposal draws heavily upon an earlier proposal titled, A Monetary Reform for the Information Age, by Joseph Huber and James Robertson (New Economics Foundation (2001)), which I critiqued early in 2002. That critique, along with subsequent dialog between the authors and myself, can be found at http://reinventingmoney.com/monetary-reform-information-age/.
Since both the Sigurjonsson proposal or the Huber/Robertson proposal advocate the same basic approach, I strongly believe that any serious consideration of either, should also consider my above mentioned earlier critique and subsequent dialog.
While I agree with much of what Huber and Robertson (and presumably, Sigurjonsson) say about the defects in the present money system, I believe that their proposed centralized “solution” does not go nearly far enough in solving those defects. Continuation of the money monopoly in (presumably) different hands does not get to the root of the problem. It is my view that the key to achieving more equitable and sustainable economic interrelationships lies in liberating the exchange process from monopolized money and banking, enabling the creation of competing currencies and credit clearing exchanges, and allowing the needs of traders themselves to determine the supply of exchange media (money) in circulation at any given point in time.
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We need to get beyond the confusions and obfuscations that surround the concept of money.
To do that we need to distinguish between what money is, i.e., its essence, and what money does, i.e., its functions. Conventional definitions of money, the ones that are universally taught in schools and universities, tell what money is supposed to do, not what it is.
The essence of money is credit. It is the issuer’s i.o.u. or promise to reciprocate, i.e. to provide real value to the market and accept his currency back as payment for it.
With that in mind, we can begin to make sense of money and effectively address the problems that arise from conventional forms of money.
Conventional thinking lists money as having these functions:
- Medium of exchange—what we use to pay one another.
- Store of value—what we use to save our temporary surplus.
- Measure of value—what we use to quantify the market value of all the things that we buy and sell.
But, as I have argued for almost 30 years, these are separate and distinct functions that need to handled by distinct and different means. (For more about that see my book, Money and Debt: A Solution to the Global Crisis, Part III).
Let’s focus on the exchange function, for this is the fundamental and proper role of money, and this is where attempts to solve our global financial and economic problems must begin. Anyone who has studied my work will know that I have thoroughly articulated these concepts in my books and my various presentations. But theory and practice develop together, each informing the other, and finding ways to improve the process requires that we look at both.
Over the past several decades, numerous innovations in the exchange function have emerged, including virtual commodities like Bitcoin, LETS systems, community currencies, and commercial trade (“barter”) exchanges.
Of these, the greatest market success has been achieved by commercial trade exchanges which enable their member businesses to buy and sell without using conventional money. Rather, trading is enabled by using the members’ own credit in a process called credit clearing which simply offsets debits from purchases against credits from sales. (For a more complete description of how this works, see my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, especially Chapter 10).
Over the past 40 years, much has been learned from the operation of commercial trade exchanges, and while they have achieved some modest levels of success, they have barely scratched the surface of the potential market for credit clearing services. It remains for exchanges system designs and procedures to be optimized and standardized and for local exchanges to be networked together into a vast moneyless marketplace.
The trade exchange industry has two trade associations that have been instrumental in helping practitioners to share information and in promoting standards and best practices. These are the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA) and the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE). But over the past year a new voice, Bartertown Radio, has emerged that seeks to disseminate the knowledge and wisdom of practitioners to a wider audience. Its mission is to provide an “Educational Program for Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Barter Exchanges, Owners or New Owners of Barter Exchanges or anyone interested in Alternative Economies.”
Broadcasts are archived and can be accessed on demand at the Bartertown Radio website. Particularly relevant is the April 18 broadcast featuring Richard Logie, a man with 20 years of experience as a trade exchange operator and software platform developer. During that interview, Richard shared his experience and knowledge about a wide range of topics including the factors he considers in allocating credit lines to exchange members, how tax issues are dealt with, and ongoing efforts to establish and enforce good standards of operation. That interview with Richard will be continued next Saturday, April 25 at 11 AM Eastern time (UTC-5). Be sure to tune in at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/educate4barter/2015/04/25/richard-logie-part-2 .
Other archived broadcasts that may be of particular interest are the April 5 interview with industry leader, Harold Rice of the American Exchange Network, and the interview with yours truly from December 13, 2014. Besides operating his own trade exchange company for almost 40 years, Harold Rice has provided consulting services for entrepreneurs and other exchange operators. He is a fount of knowledge about the details of exchange operation and has special expertise in accounting and tax issues.
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