The Greeks not only stood up for themselves, they just did the whole rest of the world a giant favor, too. They exercised some good, old-fashioned, bottom-up democracy. They spoke out against a group of very powerful, very sadistic people who thought that they could exercise their will through the instillation of fear and mass suffering. The pluto-sadists still do think that, but at least they've been rendered a little more uncomfortable as they bask in their pathology.
The victorious Greek referendum makes me wish that we had a parliamentary system of government right here in the Birthplace of Freedom for the Propertied Classes. How awesome it would be, for example, if the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its evil offshoots were subject to a popular referendum instead of a quickie ratification by a corrupt Congress! How democratically old-fashioned if we could all vote "no confidence" the next time the clowns manufacture their own debt crisis as an excuse to cut food stamps and unemployment insurance! Those aristocratic Founding Fathers that some of us celebrated yesterday knew exactly what they were doing when they invented "representative" democracy.
It's still too early to tell if democracy will prevail in Greece, the birthplace of true, bottom-up democracy. After all, remember when some naifs were silly enough to predict that such corrupt regimes as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup had gasped their greedy last back in 2008 when they were caught red-handed, wrecking the global economy?
And then, spitting in the face of all that is decent and moral and humane, these same entities and their various subsidiaries were allowed to rise up again, bigger and more gruesomely powerful than ever before?
Never satiated, the hedge fund operators, the private equity moguls, the too big to fail banks, the oligarchs, the rentier and investor class of billionaires -- are on a rampage, bleeding their victims dry before grinding them into pulp.
The financial terrorism now being practiced on Greece is nothing new. It got its start decades ago with the "Washington Consensus" method of plundering Latin American countries under the guise of "aid" provided by the International Monetary Fund (part of the troika imposing austerity on Greece). In exchange for loans to strapped or corrupt governments, the banksters demanded and got "fiscal discipline" to curb budget deficits; a reduction in public expenditures; deregulation of the finance sector and the economy, with interest rates determined by "the market"; trade deals that favored American multinationals over local companies and sovereign governments; promotion of direct foreign "investment" with an ironclad guarantee of property rights for corporations.
This Washington Consensus (thought to have been discredited when Argentina told it to eff off) has been duly exported to the rest of the world, which of course now also includes such Wall Street-devastated All-American cities as Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore. Can you imagine if there were a Greek-style referendum in which people could just say "Oxi" to school closings and water privatization?
Legend has it that vampires die when they're exposed to the light. Dracula Neoliberalus has become so monstrous and so strong that it probably will require multiple exposures to light (and a banshee wail of populist noise) before finally crumbling.
It needs multiple stakes of truth through its corrupt heart. It's become so used to getting its own way, sucking up bailouts and corporate welfare with such bloodthirsty abandon that it thinks it is invincible. And it very well might be.
So there is much work to be done. The first task is to debunk the propaganda which dictates that the world is one vast open-air marketplace devoid of national legislatures and judiciaries and governments for the greater good of all. Trickle-down prosperity is a lie that won't easily die. Repeat early, repeat often: the production and sale of goods is not the heart of civilization. People are.
Rather than pursuing the public good, neoliberalism employs technocrats (the IMF, the World Bank, the World Trade Association, the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, etc.) who treat individual governments as businesses ripe for the plucking. They treat people as consumer-workers who must pay the price whenever the bankers and the bosses (whose greed has made them terminally stupid) make their inevitable bad deals and bad choices.
Engaged, caring citizens are anathema to Neoliberalism. We must refuse the directive to become "entrepreneurs" acting in our own self-interest, clawing our individual ways up ladders of opportunity.
The banksters running the world have three distinct Washington Consensus-spawned policies that perpetuate their reign of error and terror: deregulation, corporatization via "free trade," and privatization of public goods and services. Social safety nets are slashed in favor of welfare-to-work schemes paying subsistence wages. Interest rates are kept artificially low to keep the non-existent inflation "bogeyman" in check. Offshore tax havens sheltering trillions of dollars in hoarded wealth are set up. All of this is done with the cooperation of "think tanks" and a media-political conglomerate that broadcasts the neoliberal agenda in forms designed to alternately tease, appease and enrage a victimized, exhausted public. (Things will get better someday.... here's some health insurance for a lucky few... close our borders to people not profits.... watch TV.... drink.... take prescription drugs.)
The Greeks said Oxi. Not only do they deserve debt relief, we owe them a huge debt of our gratitude.
Democracy is catching on. Plutocracy is trembling in Dracula's Castle.
Here, for example, is what happened at a Brussels conference promoting the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: