Dear friends across Europe,
This week, Greece could be forced to accept grinding and failed austerity policies, or be made to exit the Euro — causing chaos across Europe. Or we could help create the biggest people-powered push for social democracy ever, and pull this crisis back from the brink!
Let’s be clear, behind all the debate and jargon there are only two things we really need to know: 1) the most vulnerable Greek people have borne the brunt of brutal public spending cuts — 4 in 10 kids live in poverty, infant mortality rate has increased by 43%, and youth unemployment has nearly hit 50%! And 2) it’s been for nothing — the debt problem has got worse, not better. So more of the same will mean, well, more of the same — more pain and more debt.
Yet Chancellor Merkel and the creditors keep flogging this irresponsible policy, and claim that is what the public wants.
This week, Prime Minister Tsipras has courageously turned to democracy, and called on his country to say “No”. 70% of Greek Avaaz members say they will vote “No”. Now if enough of us stand with them, we can show our leaders that the public wants to stop inflicting harm and move instead to debt reduction. Sign now — when enough of us have joined, Avaaz will cover the media with our call:
Chancellor Merkel listens to what the people say, and has been known to change course when the moment demanded it — after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, and massive public protests against nuclear energy in Germany, she agreed to switch off Germany’s nuclear power plants.
Yes, political corruption, misgovernance and reckless borrowing by previous governments are ingredients of the cocktail that has brought Greece’s economy to its knees. But while 90% of the bailout funds have gone to foreign banks, the Greeks have complied with austerity, privatised and deregulated, cut pensions and salaries, and raised taxes. But, as many predicted, it hasn’t helped the debt problem. And the misery is hitting the poorest — rich Greeks have pulled a lot of their money out already.
This acrimonious standoff doesn’t need to be taken to a Greek referendum between two tough choices. A wide spectrum of economists, and powerful world leaders agree on the answer for Greece: a debt conference to restructure and reduce Greek debt, giving the economy breathing room to recover and gradually pay off the rest of its debt over time.
We have a tiny window of opportunity this week to show Merkel and other key leaders that the world supports a “No” to these failed policies. Join now — let’s be the impetus for a critical transformation to put people before banks:
Turning a crisis into an opportunity is what a community of our size and power does best. This could be a historic disaster, but if enough of us speak out, we could persuade Merkel to change course, and be European social democracy in action. Today, it’s up to all of us to stand up for a humane, people-centred economic system, and it can start in Greece.
Alice, Ricken, Spyro, Alex, Marigona, Mike and the whole team at Avaaz
Greece over the brink (New York Times)
Creditors’ economic plan for Greece is illiterate and doomed to fail (The Guardian)
Europe’s Empress Stays Silent (Politico)
Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty and Other World-Renowned Economists Demand End to Greek Austerity (In These Times)
Child poverty up in more than half of developed world since 2008 (The Guardian)
Crumbs of comfort don’t hide Europe’s employment divide (EU Observer)
Health cuts see new-born deaths jump 43% in Greece (Euractiv)