First we take Athens, then we take Madrid

Syriza won elections in Greece on 25 January. In some months, Podemos will likely win in Spain, if the two-party system doesn’t make a weird government coalition or perpetrate a coup. The change in Europe, after years of robbery and plundering, has started.

Alexis Tsipras and Pablo Iglesias in a campaign rally
Alexis Tsipras (Syriza) and Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) – photo: Fanis XouryasCC by 2.0


It’s good to remember how the collapse of Greece happened, because some main characters continue being main characters nowadays. In 2001, Greece didn’t meet the conditions for Euro membership, its public debt was too high. Then, the Greek government got help: the bank Goldman Sachs helped the government to mask its deficit with a derivatives deal that circumvented the EU deficit rules. When the trick was uncovered, in 2004, the real deficit was three times larger than the fake one (Greek debt crisis: How Goldman Sachs helped Greece to mask its true debt).

Mario Draghi was managing director of Goldman Sachs International between 2002 and 2005. This is what Goldman Sachs website said about him: “Based in London, Professor Draghi will work with the firm’s senior management in Europe and New York on European strategy and on developing and expanding the firm’s business globally. Specifically, he will help the firm develop and execute business with major European corporations and with governments and government agencies worldwide.” (Professor Mario Draghi joins Goldman Sachs).

The managing director for develop and execute business with European governments, during the years that Goldman Sachs helped Greek government to mask its debt. Good, is it clear enough?. Once the fraud was known, Draghi left Goldman Sachs (“I didn’t know, I had nothing to do”, professor Mario said) and was appointed governor of the Bank of Italy. And later, in 2011, Mario Draghi succeeded Jean-Claude Trichet as president of the European Central Bank. So, the man who rules Europe, with Angela Merkel. We can say that European Union economy is ruled by a swindler.

Mario Draghi was rewarded, Goldman Sachs continued its business around the world with no problems, but Greek people was severely punished. The troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) leaped on their prey with the usual neoliberal prescription, their triad that they are applying since Pinochet: cuts, privatization, and deregulation. And the consequences were disastrous for people: never-ending recession, debt in 175% of GDP, 27% of unemployment, more than one-third of the population living under the poverty line… And the troika claims that there isn’t alternative, their disastrous politics must continue.

But Greek people said stop and voted Syriza.



As The Guardian said, few followed the elections in Greece as closely as Spaniards. Greece and Spain have been following the same steps: economic crisis, bailout, austerity measures that worsen the crisis, inequality growing, unbearable unemployment above 25%, corrupt governments that have betrayed their people and obey orders from a foreign country. And soon, the victory of Syriza can be followed by the victory of Podemos in Spain.

Here there was bailout as well (for banks, but it’s the state which pays it). Also here there is an extreme right-wing party, currently in the government, imposing the neoliberal triad: cuts, privatization, and deregulation . They would do it even if Merkel wasn’t ordering it, because it is in their Francoist ideology (dictator Franco supporters). And before the current government, there was another politics party, named itself as “socialist”, so neoliberal as Milton Fridman was.

But we have had enough. Syriza shows that other politics is possible, and this gives strength to their ally in Spain, Podemos. This politics party, created only one year ago, is the first one in surveys already, above the two-party system (the Francoist one and the “socialist” one). Last Saturday, 31 January, a demonstration took place in Madrid (100.000 people according to police, so the real number could be near 300.000, because Spanish police always lie about number of demonstrators, always).

Demonstration of Podemos, Madrid 31 January 2015
Podemos demonstration, Madrid, 31 January 2015 – photo: AP

“2015 will be the year of change in Spain and Europe. We will start in Greece”, Pablo Iglesias said, and, quoting Leonard Cohen, “First we take Athens, then we take Madrid”. Let’s go!


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