The people of Greece are at the forefront of a fight for a world in which people come before profit.
Greece has been a victim of some of the most brutal austerity of modern times, suffering mass unemployment, rocketing suicide rates, murder, HIV infection, depression, drug use, and homelessness. Greece’s health system is being dismantled while food banks are proliferating.
Will you stand with Greece’s people today?
What’s worse is that this suffering was avoidable. On Monday, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz said:
“I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences” (1)
Like so many Southern countries before it, Greece’s people have been forced into a programme of austerity and privatisation in the name of ‘repaying a debt’.
But the debt is not being repaid by those who created it. Greece’s ‘bailout’ flowed straight into the European banks that caused the crisis as I explained on Radio 4’s Moral Maze (2). They never reached Greece’s people, and so it’s no wonder that Greece’s debt burden has not fallen but sky rocketed.
That’s why Greece’s government is challenging the brutal austerity which is being pushed on them. It is opening up the economy to democratic oversight and participation. It has called a referendum this Sunday on whether or not to accept a deeper austerity package being pushed by its ‘creditors’, a move which has been welcome by a UN independent human rights expert (3).
But this has infuriated European officials, politicians and the media, who are now working to undermine the government and destabilise Greece.
Stand with the Greek people and join over 25,000 others
What is Greece’s alternative? Greece’s parliament has set up a debt audit, to look at who is really responsible for the country’s debt and to try to bring to justice those who acted in bad faith. They are proposing radical changes to the tax system to make it fairer and to clamp down on corruption. And they are asking for large-scale debt cancellation, such as Germany received after the Second World War, when it was told that recovery was the most important priority.
These are not ‘extreme’ policies. But European and Greek elites are now trying to scare Greece’s people into voting for more austerity.
We want to send a message of support and hope to Greece’s people. Will you stand with the people of Greece against the policies of austerity?
This is not just about Greece. if we want to live in a world where people’s rights are put before the interests of the banks, where debt crises can never again be used to further impoverish the poorest, where ordinary people have more democratic control over their economy, we need to stand with Greece.
Help us create a fairer world. Stand with Greece.
Director, Global Justice Now
(3) The UN independent expert's quote: “All human rights institutions and mechanisms should welcome the Greek referendum as an eloquent expression of … self-determination”