In Greek Mythology there’s a character called Procrustes who had the habit of cutting off the legs, arms, and heads of his guests if they were too tall or stretching those who were too short to get them to fit into his bed. Nowadays, the Capitalist government is starting to resemble Procrustes because it has been systematically cutting off the means of production in order to make them fit into the narrow limits of the Capitalist system.
According to Valia Mikraki, a neighborhood activist, when it started in 2008, nobody was able to foresee what would happen and how bad things would get. The government and the media kept trying to convince people that everything was okay, so they’d remain absorbed in the myth of prosperity and well-being. But suddenly everything collapsed and life became a horrible nightmare; Greece was immersed in a full-blown crisis that should have never happened.
Today, Greece is in a state of absolute collapse financially, politically, and socially as the country faces its seventh year of recession. The state has received huge bail-out packages that come with high prices: there has been an increase in taxes, mass layoffs in the public sector, increase in the retirement age, and the privatization of public assets, among other extreme measures.
The unemployment rate hit a record high of 28% in June, 2013. Some experts believe it’s as high as 35% and among the youth it’s up to 65%. This means that about two out of three young people are out of work.
In the last six years, about one million jobs have been destroyed. But as history has proven, Capitalist governments do not tolerate rebellious behaviors that may be imitated by other workers. So the state and the police violently try to snuff out the voice of those who protest or who try to prove that workers themselves can take over and run companies without the need for a Capitalist owner to dictate their every move.
As the crisis deepens it becomes clear that the System offers no way out. The mechanism of public debt has become the means through which a few big money lenders have earned a fortune due to returns from interests on the debts. Paying back this debt at all costs has sacrificed the standard of living of a number of nations, including Greece. A state that does not pay off its debt will feel the combined wrath of the world’s Capitalist class. This, then, is a worldwide crisis with worldwide repercussions.
What will it take to save the Greek people from the imminent threat of bankruptcy?