Greece To Hold Referendum On Bailout Agreement

By Anastasios Papapostolou for Greek Reporter. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced that Greece will hold a referendum on July 5 to ask the Greek people if they approve of a bailout deal with the country’s creditors.

In a nationally televised address after midnight Friday in Athens, Tsipras announced the July 5 vote and excoriated a take it-or-leave it offer as a violation of European Union rules and “common decency”.

“After five months of tough negotiations, our partners unfortunately resorted to a proposal-ultimatum to the Greek people,” Tsipras said.

“I call on the Greek people to rule on the blackmailing ultimatum asking us to accept a strict and humiliating austerity without end and without prospect.”

He said German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi have been informed of the plan, and he’ll request an extension of Greece’s existing bailout, due to end June 30, by a few days to permit the vote without having to introduce capital controls in the Greek banks.

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George Soros Has Been Urging Aggressive Action In Ukraine, Why?

By F. William Engdahl for Near Eastern Outlook. Rarely does the world get a true look inside the corrupt world of Western oligarchs and the brazen manipulations they use to enhance their fortunes at the expense of the public good. The following comes from correspondence of the Hungarian-born billionaire, now naturalized American speculator, George Soros. The hacker group CyberBerkut has published online letters allegedly written by Soros that reveal him not only as puppet master of the US-backed Ukraine regime. They also reveal his machinations with the US Government and the officials of the European Union in a scheme where, if he succeeds, he could win billions in the plunder of Ukraine assets. All, of course, would be at the expense of Ukrainian citizens and of EU taxpayers.

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TTIP Chaos In Strasbourg

By Khinezar Tint for Global Justice Now. On the evening of the 9th of June the EU Parliament decided to postpone a crucial plenary vote on the TTIP resolution a day before the vote was to occur. I was in Strasbourg representing Students Against TTIP in the Europe-wide campaign against the toxic trade deal when this snap decision occurred. Myself and other activists from across Europe had already begun planning our action for the morning of the vote when we heard the surprising news: that once again another spanner had been thrown in the works of the great whirring machine that is TTIP.

The plenary vote that was supposed to take place was to be on a series of amendments to the TTIP resolution that was voted on in late May this year. Hundreds of amendments were submitted. The fact that so many amendments had been submitted for the resolution showed just how devisive the issue of TTIP had become in European Parliament, something that would have not occurred if it weren’t for the dedicated effort of European activists and campaigners who have brought TTIP, a trade deal that could have easily passed by in obscurity, to light—as made evident by a recent petition against TTIP that has already received two million signatures (and still counting)!

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Europe’s Growing Rebellion Against US Trans-Atlantic Deal

BERLIN, GERMANY — The tide of public resistance against a proposed free trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union is rising in Germany, as opponents become more firmly entrenched, insisting that the plan would harm democracy and rule of law.

Around 43 percent of Germans say the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would be bad for the country, according to a recent poll by market research company YouGov. Only 26 percent think the country would benefit from it.

Residents of other European countries appear to feel less negatively about the agreement. In France, one in three think the country would lose out, while in Great Britain it’s only one in five. “The more people know about TTIP, the more they are against it,” explained Lena Blanken, a consumer rights activist with Berlin-based Foodwatch, a consumer protection organization. “In other European countries there is not yet such a broad and controversial public debate as in Germany — that’s why the opposition is the biggest here.”

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Thousands To Protest ECB Austerity

Frankfurt, Germany – Just few days left to the inauguration of the new building of the ECB. Great participation is expected from all over Europe: social movements, activists, migrants, precarious and industry workers, trade-unions and parties will come to Frankfurt to say no to austerity and contest the authority of ECB and the other EU institutions.

A new phase of European politics is opening up, a phase of uncertainty and confusion brought about by the Greek government which is challenging the doctrine of “there is no alternative to austerity”. The Greek example is for us a signal of hope: there is still space in Europe for asserting the importance of solidarity, democracy and commons against competitiveness and neoliberal order.

We will be in Frankfurt, bringing together many networks, workers, trade unions, to say that we are the alternative: we want another Europe, a Europe which is not subservient to the capital, a Europe which does not use monetary policies in order to establish precarity and to cut social rights, welfare benefits and democracy.

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Greece Injured By EU

We are driving towards a coastal town Nea Makri, and Mr. Boutsiadis Georgios is recounting injustices Greece is facing:

“People do realize what is going on, but they feel helpless. EU keeps coming up with new conditions, which are clearly serving its own interests and are certainly damaging to Greece. Now they tell us: ‘you have to sell your state companies, including those in energy and transportation sector.’ Sell it to whom? Sell it to them, to the companies in the West? Even as it is now, country is hardly producing anything, anymore…”

I ask why doesn’t Greece leave Eurozone, rapidly and voluntarily. I ask the same question, on many different occasions: in Athens and on the islands. The answer is always identical: “Many people are afraid that re-introduction of drachma would mean devaluation and collapse of people’s savings.”

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A Greek Morality Tale

We hardly needed another test. Austerity had failed repeatedly, from its early use under US President Herbert Hoover, which turned the stock-market crash into the Great Depression, to the IMF “programs” imposed on East Asia and Latin America in recent decades. And yet when Greece got into trouble, it was tried again. Greece largely succeeded in following the dictate set by the “troika” (the European Commission the ECB, and the IMF): it converted a primary budget deficit into a primary surplus. But the contraction in government spending has been predictably devastating: 25% unemployment, a 22% fall in GDP since 2009, and a 35% increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio. And now, with the anti-austerity Syriza party’s overwhelming election victory, Greek voters have declared that they have had enough.

So, what is to be done? First, let us be clear: Greece could be blamed for its troubles if it were the only country where the troika’s medicine failed miserably. But Spain had a surplus and a low debt ratio before the crisis, and it, too, is in depression. What is needed is not structural reform within Greece and Spain so much as structural reform of the eurozone’s design and a fundamental rethinking of the policy frameworks that have resulted in the monetary union’s spectacularly bad performance.

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Newsletter: What Would Zinn Do?

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Howard Zinn who is best known for his “People’s History of the United States” which looks at history from the bottom up, through the lenses of classism, racism and sexism. We remember Zinn for the advice he gave activists a year before his death. When he was asked what should people be doing, he gave advice that is good no matter what the era:

Go where you are not supposed to go;
Say what you are not supposed to say; and
Stay when they tell you to leave.
We are pleased to see people around the world instinctively following the advice that Howard Zinn gave to US activists. The world over we are facing governments corrupted by money and not representing the people. Zinn’s recipe for change – Go, Say and Stay – one we should be consciously following.

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Germans Are In Shock As New Greek Leader Starts With A Bang

In his first act as prime minister on Monday, Alexis Tsipras visited the war memorial in Kaisariani where 200 Greek resistance fighters were slaughtered by the Nazis in 1944.

The move did not go unnoticed in Berlin. Nor did Tsipras’s decision hours later to receive the Russian ambassador before meeting any other foreign official.

Then came the announcement that radical academic Yanis Varoufakis, who once likened German austerity policies to “fiscal waterboarding,” would be taking over as Greek finance minister. A short while later, Tsipras delivered another blow, criticizing an EU statement that warned Moscow of new sanctions.

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Prospects And Consequences Of Syriza Government

That said, what is the leverage that would be applied to the Greek government if it chooses to recognize this reality and take a different path? In fact the leverage available is not zero, but it’s limited to some measures that would be fairly extreme in ordinary conditions. On the one hand, there are certain parts of the debt that should ordinarily be rolled over. Since the debt is now almost all – all the significant parts of it are in the hands of public authorities, the question of whether they would roll it over is a policy question for them. In some sense they have the ability, if they were to choose, to place the Greeks in technical default, but one has to ask what happens under those circumstances, and the answer is, I would think, not very much.

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EU Showdown: Greece Takes On The Vampire Squid

Greece and the troika (the International Monetary Fund, the EU, and the European Central Bank) are in a dangerous game of chicken. The Greeks have been threatened with a “Cyprus-Style prolonged bank holiday” if they “vote wrong.” But they have been bullied for too long and are saying “no more.”

A return to the polls was triggered in December, when the Parliament rejected Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ pro-austerity candidate for president. In a general election, now set for January 25th, the EU-skeptic, anti-austerity, leftist Syriza party is likely to prevail. Syriza captured a 3% lead in the polls following mass public discontent over the harsh austerity measures Athens was forced to accept in return for a €240 billion bailout.

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EU Leaders Pull Handbrake On Clean Energy

Brussels – Despite considerable opposition by some governments, in the early hours of Friday morning EU leaders agreed three targets for carbon emission reductions, renewable energy and energy efficiency for 2030. But these targets are too low, slowing down efforts to boost renewable energy and keeping Europe hooked on polluting and expensive fuels, said Greenpeace. Next year, the new European Commission, led by Jean-Claude Juncker, is expected to table legislation which will make these targets a reality in EU countries. This legislation will have a profound impact on energy bills, energy security and efforts to cut emissions across Europe.

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Pirate Party Protests Fascism As Nazis Enter Parliament

The recent elections to the European Parliament saw many fascist parties entering the European Union’s own parliament. In France, National Front – whose founder a couple of weeks ago proposed the Ebola virus as a “solution to the European immigration problem” – became the largest political party of the country. Poland’s party Congress of the New Right, which strives to abolish the right to vote for women and prohibit disabled people from using public spaces, reached 7 percent of the vote. And for the first time since the 1930’s, Nazis who cheer for Hitler and murder political opponents have been elected from Germany and Greece in a democratic parliament in Europe, as the German NDP and the Greece Golden Dawn entered the European Parliament.

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