SYRIZA Sellout Triggers Internal Party Revolt
by Stephen Lendman
Political observers know politicians can't be trusted. Rare exceptions prove the rule. Most often, promises made are routinely broken. It goes with the territory.
SYRIZA candidate Alexis Tsipras vowed to end austerity. He called it "barbarous" and "unacceptable." After becoming prime minister everything changed. He proved his word is meaningless. He's populist in name only. He's beholden to wealth and power interests like all the rest.
Ordinary Greeks have a right to be furious. Pensioners protested in Athens. On top of huge earlier benefit cuts, they're asked to sacrifice more so predatory bankers can be paid out of their already threadbare pockets.
General secretary of Greek pensioners Manolis Rallakis said "(w)e feel totally betrayed, totally disappointed that this government is continuing the cutthroat policies that every other government also enforced."
"What we are seeing are countless indirect and direct taxes that, once again, the little man on the street will be forced to carry."
"Pensions have been cut by between 40 and 60 percent and now they want more with additional income for healthcare and the like, services that we paid for all our working lives through contributions to funds. It is outrageous…Why should we go on paying the price?"
Pensioner Thomas Yanakakis expressed frustration saying "(w)e have nothing, no money. We cannot live like this any more. Enough is enough."
Nearly half of Greece's 2.5 million retirees have incomes less than $750 a month - well below the poverty line across Europe. They need increased benefits, not more burdens causing greater pain and suffering.
Tsipras disgracefully proposed the following on Monday:
- increased retiree healthcare contributions from 4% to 5% - a 25% increase;
- 5% healthcare contributions for supplementary pensions;
- social security supplementary pension contributions increased from 3% to 3.5%;
- increased pension contributions for working Greeks by 3.9.%;
- increasing the already onerous 23% VAT - but with a reduced 13% rate for low and middle income households for food and energy, as well as a 6% rate for medical supplies and books;
- ending VAT discounts for Greek islands;
- increasing corporate taxes on income from 26% to 29% - plus a 12% tax on profits above 500,000 euros;
- increasing supplementary tax payments imposed earlier - a "solidarity supplement" starting at 1% of income rises to 3%;
- raising standard income tax rates with less impact on lower income households;
- a 2015 200 million euro defense budget cut;
- increased luxury taxes on yachts over 10 meters long from 10% to 13%.
Brussels may demand even more. Overall, ordinary Greeks are hardest hit on top of earlier imposed punishing austerity.
On Tuesday, the Financial Times
headlined "Knives out for Tsipras as Syriza hardliners threaten mutiny." Party faithful want less austerity, not more. They're furious over Tsipras' sellout.
The FT said party sentiment "turned mutinous" Tuesday after details of a SYRIZA proposal were leaked. Deputy parliament speaker Alexandros Mitropoulos responded saying:
"My personal view is that these measures cannot be approved in a vote. They are extreme and against social justice."
MP Yannis Micheloyannakis agreed adding "(a) deal on the basis of the government's new proposals would amount to a gravestone for Greece."
The FT suggested Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis may break ranks and resign. Tsipras faces internal party opposition plus considerable public anger.
If enough party members revolt, his future and SYRIZA's will be jeopardized. A new election could follow returning right-wing elements to power.
If things go as expected, SYRIZA will strike a deal as early as Wednesday ahead of Thursday's EU leaders' summit.
Greek parliamentarians will debate it in a three-day weekend session ahead of a Monday vote - perhaps defeating it and returning things to square one.
Greece is the epicenter of global pillage - finance capital's thinly veiled scheme to transfer wealth from ordinary people to super-rich elites.
Troika officials want maximum pain and suffering imposed on Greeks ahead of greater planned austerity across Europe and in America - the dictatorship of monied interests over social justice. The only solution is world revolution.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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