George Papandreou apparently called off his plans for a referendum; however there may be an enormous amount of resistance to his decision and he may have to face a no- confidence vote if he doesn’t put it back on. He certainly should put it back on and allow the public to participate directly in the decision making process. If the issues aren’t clear enough they should allow a major public education program to enable the public to make their decision based on accurate facts.
(First posted on Open Salon November 4 2011)
This education effort shouldn’t be based on propaganda provided only one side of the issue as most governments including our own generally try to do! I’m not up to date on the details on the “bailout package” in Greece but if it is anything like many of the other bailout packages that have been offered by the IMF or the WTO it is almost certainly similar to a modern day attempt to create a sophisticated company store that enables the corporations to put all the burden on the lower and middle classes, assuming they decide to keep a middle class at all, and allow the corporations to continue making massive profits at the expense of the vast majority in a system that is increasingly incompetent, inefficient and corrupt. I’m sure there are many good sources that I could name that provide more details but one of the best that I have found is “Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein (free online copy).
Apparently George Papandreou caved after receiving pressure from other members of the European Union that even went so far as to threaten him with expulsion from the European Union. If abandoning democracy is the new requirement for remaining in the European Union then he should depart and let the rest of the Union fight off the protests or revolutions that are also rising on their own.
With all the protests going on around the world there should be some doubt as to whether the other countries can do much to intimidate those that don’t abandon democracy for the benefit of the corporations; if they can’t keep their own people in line how are they going to oust or even invade those that refuse to abandon democracy? Furthermore if they do shut down this referendum because of pressure from other countries in the G-8 what will they do next? I’m not always in favor of the slippery slope argument but this may be one example where it could easily apply. If one country can tell another to suppress democracy so that they can maintain the current world order then it could threaten to dramatically reduce any chance to repair the damage already being done by the corporations currently corrupting governments around the world and the international institutions that pretend to represent democracy like the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund.
This is one good reason that should be a major issue for the Occupy Wall Street as well. A major part of the problem is that the corporations are developing relationships around the world with the 1 % that is in power and they’re using that to control the 99 % around the world. They use many of the same tactics around the world that they do hear to pretend to have democracy without actually having one. The corporate media has consolidated around the world just like it has in the USA and so have the rest of the multinational corporations. When the Occupy Wall Street movement went worldwide it made it much more viable so, if nothing else, and I’m sure there is more, this gave a major motivational boost to the Occupy Wall Street movement and enabled it to grow faster and become more effective. Therefore it would be in our own best interest to return the favor and watch democracy begin to develop around the world.
On a related issue they have been one of the most violent protests around the world judging by the reports that have been provided by the traditional Mass Media. They have attempted to use this as justification to suppress the protests and attempt to paint all the protests with the same brush and imply that they’re all a bunch of “unruly mobs.” This is far from the truth but even if there was some truth to some of the portions of the protests the bulk of the blame for this should go to the people in power that set up a system that was designed to deprive the public of the economic and social programs they need to teach their children well and participate in a fair democratic system. They essentially incited violence, presented a distorted version of the facts and attempted to put all the blame of the protesters whether they’re part of the relatively small number that did turn violent in Greece and Oakland or elsewhere. As indicated in other blogs including the one about Corporal Punishment the British and Possible USA riots a major part of the problem that leads to this violence is that both those that conduct the riots and those in power that incite them are raised in ways that tend to escalate violence. The best way to address this is to address the true root causes of the violence and implement true solutions that work based on actually research, not ideological beliefs by those in power that are designed primarily to increase their power.
Also I suspect that I’m not the only one to make this point by now but I would be happy to be part of the echo chamber if it leads to productive reform and democracy here and abroad.
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