17 November 2012

Day 137: Greece: The Birth and Death of Democracy

Today I watched an interesting documentary, called ‘Catastroika’ [see bottom for embedded video].

It was made in response to the financial crisis which has been taking place in Greece, and investigates the effects of Privatization.

It walks you through several countries, starting with Russia after the collapse of the Soviets – which had been used as a ‘neo-liberal laboratory’, where liberalists wanted to test mass privatization. It takes a look at France, where in Paris where big companies (along with EU authorities) wanted to privatize the water – were successful in this until the new mayorship took it back. During the time that the water was privatized, the quality of service went down while the consumers experienced massive price increases (260%) – without any form of justification (economic or technological), it was just a price rise thus, in the name of profit.

When the total privatization in Paris failed, the big guys turned their focus to Italy.

Here, again, the point of privatization was pushed. A referendum was held (a referendum is a vote by the public where they indicate their stance towards a particular policy issue – everyone has to vote and the results are binding, this is the best method currently to find out what public opinion is on a particular point) – and it turned out that 97% of the people, were against privatisation of the water.

When it was inquired whether the water was going to be privatised, the government said it couldn’t – as per the referendum.

So you’d think “Game Over” right? Nope – they simply put people in place like some executive guy or ex-banker (can’t remember the specifics, you’ll just have to watch the documentary lol), who then completes the point, against popular vote.

Where does this leave democracy? I mean, that was like a completely unconstitutional move.

Another example that is walked through, was the privatization of the Railways in England, and yes you can guess it: catastrophic. And even though the past, as the UKs history with the privatization with the Railways was disastrous, the point was still pushed within Greece.

This time, instead of putting people in place to just ‘make it happen’ – another approach was taken: media manipulation. Within the media, the public railway system was severely slandered and degraded, over and over – so that the public would agree, that maybe privatization could be an answer.

This documentary is very interesting to watch. Often, when there is talk about ‘virtual democracies’ – where ‘everything on the outside looks like it’s democratic’ but on the inside the very opposite happens – everyone’s attention goes to Third World countries elsewhere, like Africa – “out there” and criticise the people’s conduct their for their failure of democratic consolidation.

In the meanwhile, corruption and anti-democratic actions are taken the whole time, in the West, in Europe, in Greece: the very cradle of democracy.

It definitely proves one point: democracy is dead.

Private interests as the big multinational companies have taken precedence of what the majority of the people want – and it’s happening everywhere, all the time. (Little in between rant: It's funny because, in economics, the point of 'the private must be protected from the public' is emphasised ALL THE TIME, where if you allow the public to take over, they will infringe on YOUR freedoms, and you will not be able to 'realise yourself' and 'pursue your own personal good as you see fit'. I mean, that's just so much BULLSHIT -- and just plain propaganda to justify where the corporate world can take over and make insane profits at the expense of the majority, in the name of "Freedom" and "Self-Realization" -- because somehow, if that gets taken away it also imposes SERIOUS problems on your own personal freedom -- I mean, Really???)

Several economists were interviewed (some professors at universities such as London), and states that private enterprises do not necessarily do better than public ones – and that they can perform at the same level. Liberal economics would NOT agree with this, so it’s cool that this is coming to the fore.

Just in Greece with the financial crisis going on now for 2 years, the suicide rate has gone up by 20%.
The situation we’re in, worldwide – is seriously fucked up.

Though, it is not too late. The documentary also points out, that most of these problems are Political in nature, and that thus through participating within Politics, we can reverse this type of destructive policies which serve no-one but the few at the top of the private companies.

This is a crucial point, because the whole thing of ‘Let’s revolt’ and ‘Let’s demonstrate’ like the Occupy movement, are really pointless. You have to change the system, from the inside out, through popular support – not by attacking it.

Investigate Equal Money – we can change this.


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