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The Greeks Get It

Posted on May 24, 2010
AP / Petros Giannakouris

Numerous riots have gripped Athens during the last year or so of unrest.

By Chris Hedges

Here’s to the Greeks. They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country. They know what to do when Goldman Sachs and international bankers collude with their power elite to falsify economic data and then make billions betting that the Greek economy will collapse. They know what to do when they are told their pensions, benefits and jobs have to be cut to pay corporate banks, which screwed them in the first place. Call a general strike. Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out. Do not be afraid of the language of class warfare—the rich versus the poor, the oligarchs versus the citizens, the capitalists versus the proletariat. The Greeks, unlike most of us, get it. 

The former right-wing government of Greece lied about the size of the country’s budget deficit. It was not 3.7 percent of gross domestic product but 13.6 percent. And it now looks like the economies of Spain, Ireland, Italy and Portugal are as bad as Greece’s, which is why the euro has lost 20 percent of its value in the last few months. The few hundred billion in bailouts for other faltering European states, like our own bailouts, have only forestalled disaster. This is why the U.S. stock exchange is in free fall and gold is rocketing upward. American banks do not have heavy exposure in Greece, but Greece, as most economists concede, is only the start. Wall Street is deeply invested in other European states, and when the unraveling begins the foundations of our own economy will rumble and crack as loudly as the collapse in Athens. The corporate overlords will demand that we too impose draconian controls and cuts or see credit evaporate. They have the money and the power to hurt us. There will be more unemployment, more personal and commercial bankruptcies, more foreclosures and more human misery. And the corporate state, despite this suffering, will continue to plunge us deeper into debt to make war. It will use fear to keep us passive. We are being consumed from the inside out. Our economy is as rotten as the economy in Greece. We too borrow billions a day to stay afloat. We too have staggering deficits, which can never be repaid. Heed the dire rhetoric of European leaders.

“The euro is in danger,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel
told lawmakers last week as she called on them to approve Germany’s portion of the bailout plan. “If we do not avert this danger, then the consequences for Europe are incalculable, and then the consequences beyond Europe are incalculable.”

Beyond Europe means us. The right-wing government of Kostas Karamanlis, which preceded the current government of George Papandreou, did what the Republicans did under George W. Bush. They looted taxpayer funds to enrich their corporate masters and bankrupt the country. They stole hundreds of millions of dollars from individual retirement and pension accounts slowly built up over years by citizens who had been honest and industrious. They used mass propaganda to make the population afraid of terrorists and surrender civil liberties, including habeas corpus. And while Bush and Karamanlis, along with the corporate criminal class they abetted, live in unparalleled luxury, ordinary working men and women are told they must endure even more pain and suffering to make amends. It is feudal rape. And there has to be a point when even the American public—which still believes the fairy tale that personal will power and positive thinking will lead to success—will realize it has been had.

We have seen these austerity measures before. Latin Americans, like the Russians, were forced by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to gut social services, end subsidies on basic goods and food, and decimate the income levels of the middle class—the foundation of democracy—in the name of fiscal responsibility. Small entrepreneurs, especially farmers, were wiped out. State industries were sold off by corrupt government officials to capitalists for a fraction of their value. Utilities and state services were privatized.


Square, Site wide

What is happening in Greece, what will happen in Spain and Portugal, what is starting to happen here in states such as California, is the work of a global, white-collar criminal class. No government, including our own, will defy them. It is up to us. Barack Obama is simply the latest face that masks the corporate state. His administration serves corporate interests, not ours. Obama, like Goldman Sachs or Citibank, does not want the public to see how the Federal Reserve Bank acts as a private account and ATM machine for Wall Street at our expense. He, too, has helped orchestrate the largest transference of wealth upward in American history. He serves our imperial wars, refuses to restore civil liberties, and has not tamed our crippling deficits. His administration gutted regulatory agencies that permitted BP to turn the Gulf of Mexico into a toxic swamp. The refusal of Obama to intervene in a meaningful way to save the gulf’s ecosystem and curtail the abuses of the natural gas and oil corporations is not an accident. He knows where power lies. BP and its employees handed more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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By Eugenio Costa, May 24, 2010 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

Germany will be burning soon too.

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By archivesDave, May 24, 2010 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

OK, Here we go… The latest scuttlebutt:
If you have yet to learn about the Bank of International Settlements, it’s time to go to the Wikipedia and find out about its nefarious past. 

Now, to get a handle on their current skullduggery,
u can google Dr Joseph Farrell and his research on
how Germany (and BIS), is going to bail out a LOT more than Greece.
Is this truly The Rise of the Fourth Reich?
Farrell’s book is entitled ‘Babylon Banksters’.

It certainly appears to be a barn(Reichstag) burner.

R.S. & C.H. : What say ye about this?

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By Bolton, May 24, 2010 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

Thanks Chris, the first step to freedom from tyranny is to free the mind and not fear death that will inevidibly come to all. With clarity of the mind and the acceptance of human mortality, the propoganda and attempts at fear based control by the corporate state will not work. I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees! Ironically, the greed of the power elite will feed on itself when nothing else is left, and they will destroy each other. Chris, you are a true humanitarian. Keep spreading the word!HAPPINESS and SELF-ESTEEM are not determined by money, but by character.

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By thebeerdoctor, May 24, 2010 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

Charles Munger’s so-called wisdom merely puts a velvet glove over the iron fist of economic reality. When push comes to shove, he like his good pal Warren Buffet, will always take the side of the banksters instead of the peoples need for economic justice. Their praise of Goldman Sachs speaks volumes about their concept of morality.

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By Leefeller, May 24, 2010 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Who gives a crap, I saw the other movie 2012!

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By Shift, May 24, 2010 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

According to Joanna Macy PH.D., eco-philosopher, we are on the verge of a great change, the Great Turning. “It is a name for the transition from the industrial-growth society to a life-sustaining society. It identifies the shift from a self-destroying political economic society to one in harmony with the Earth and enduring for the future.  It unites and includes all the actions being taken to honor and preserve life on Earth.  What a difference it makes to view our efforts as a part of a vast enterprise, a tidal change commensurate to the crisis we face. Because the industrial-growth society is based on an impossible imperative—limitless increase in corporate profits—that direction leads to collapse.  Already our system is on ‘overshoot’ using up resources beyond Earth’s capacity to renew and dumping waste beyond Earth’s capacity to absorb. Still as the Earth’s record attests, extinctions are are at least as plentiful as successful adaptations.  We may not make it this time.  Natural systems my unravel beyond repair before new sustainable forms and structures take hold. That is part of the anguish that is widely felt. The anguish is unavoidable, if we want to stay honest and alert.  The Great Turning comes with no guarantee.  It’s risk of failure is it’s reality.  Insisting on belief in positive outcomes puts blinders on us and burdens the heart.  We might manage to convince ourselves that everything will surely turn out all right, but would such happy occurances elicit our greatest courage and creativity?  The Great Turning, as a compass pointing to the possible, helps me live with radical uncertainty.  It also causes me to believe that whether we succeed or not, the risks we take on behalf of life will bring forth dimensions of human intelligence and solidarity beyond any we have known.”

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By Eugenio Costa, May 24, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

Exactly right, Monsieur Hedges.

The revolution has begun.

Coming soon to a theater near you.

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By balkas, May 24, 2010 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

At this stage of panhuman development, system of governance is necessary. Hedges blames peoples for having it. I think he calls system of rule “state”
A system of rule may be described as a set of laws.
The affairs of a people shld be conducted as the laws prescribe.

So that’s what US and Bolshevik administrations did.
But each of these administrations were governing differently-structured societies.
In US, it was and is now classful with a chasm of difference in people’s earning.

In SU, the differences in earning was slight. But it wasn’t just world asocialists who abhored such a system, but also possibly 70-80% of SU citizens!

Under such condition, building socialism to end millennial fascism, was not easy; not as easy as it had been for US asocialists [fascists]to build a perfect or near-perfect fascism; its pop being 99.99% fascist.

Greeks protest, because they are even by far less fascist than germans, french, UK, let alone USans.
So it’s greek, US, UK, german fascist who are electing their respective asocialistic gov’ts.

Once again, hedges writes in quite an obnubilating and inaccuarate-inadequate way.
He,self [concluding from his writings] appears a fascist who wld like to add own patch on old pants!

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By john, May 24, 2010 at 6:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

Or maybe it’s just the end of the world.  I give our species 100 years, tops.

The sad thing is, we will take down thousands of species with us.

Talk about Greek tragedy.

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By Fat Freddy, May 24, 2010 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

This is not a failure of Capitalism. It is a manipulation of Capitalism by Socialistic and Fascist forces of the elite. The MSM propaganda machine wants people to believe that Capitalism is evil. They fail to recognize that it was the entrepreneurial spirit of Capitalism that built this country. Capitalism has been severely distorted by wars, currency manipulation, fraud in the financial sector and false social justice. The greatest distortion is monetary manipulation. Real individual and societal wealth can only come from savings and investment in production. The American people have been tricked into believing that consumption and debt are good for the economy. The big banks, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve, and the government, have been manipulating interest rates, and currency supply to encourage debt and consumption and discourage savings and investments in capital goods and production for at least 10 years, probably more like 20. It has also encouraged investments in risky, worthless paper. It is the big banks that create these risky investments, for their own benefit. People are practically forced to invest in these vehicles because interest rates are so low, they can’t even keep up with CPI and PPI inflation. When these risky investments are finally exposed for the worthless trash that they are, the banks become insolvent. Then, the MSM propaganda machine kicks into high gear, and scares us into believing that if we do not bail out these huge, monopolistic institutions, the entire economy will crash. Interest rates are reduced to 0% (for the big banks), and the printing press goes into high gear, which eventually only reinforces the misguided policies that created the problems in the first place. This is happening around the world, and the weakest are feeling it the most.

The Capitalist way, is to allow those that made poor decisions to fail. Allow interest rates to return to more normal market values, and stop printing and spending money that we do not have.

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By Anne, May 24, 2010 at 6:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Globalization is not a choice; it is economic reality predicted by Adam Smith himself and moral necessity if you wish. In the environment where resources and products are so easily mobile there is no justification that any work is ‘worth’ 50 times more in one part of the globe vs. another. We can try to build legislation or walls to slow down the process but inevitable will happen the sooner or later. And yes, (agree with Hedges) it will not bring ‘the progress’ to the already developed nations.

And if we discard capitalism as intrinsically unfair and communism as unproductive and inefficient (Hedges saw its aftermaths-wars-better than anyone else) and if we discard socialism as a middle ground which really doesn’t solve any of problems what is that is left? It doesn’t appear that McDonald’s book (or any other) offers solutions, neither Hedges himself, unless violence in Greece is an example we should follow.

I have the highest regard for Mr. Hedges and his work and I would hate to see him lost in the pessimism and despair.

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By Everest Mokaeff, May 24, 2010 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

For those few over here who missed the point of Chris Hedges’ article. You try to shied behind the words of great men about shortcomings of any violent riot against tyranny. Well this is exactly what wall street culprits want you to as they rob you and deprive of any dignity in daylight. You point out to same discrepancies in Mr Hedges’ concept of “free world economy” as a silver bullet - you just can’t see the wood for the trees. Pick up the latest Forbes magazine take a look at pool of the wealthiest men. Scrutinize for yourself how their ranks changed for the last 2 years (the worst for world economy). To your surprise you’ll find out that they are doing pretty good. Now go to next-door guy and ask’im how’s he doin’. Do you really believe that regular folks can anyways affect their governments through euphemistically called electoral process. I doubt it. Greeks finally said enough. All of us can believe whatever we wish but don’t confuse the roots of the problem. While we, liberals, indulge ourselves in sweet-talking about non-violent resistance, the richest get richer, and the poorer go…um…you know where…bankruptcy court.

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By adam, May 24, 2010 at 6:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

one of these days, you will understand economics. 
until then, this country in in trouble.

business did not cause this to happen.  GOVERNMENTS

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 24, 2010 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

Smucker’s for president!!!

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By Ouroborus, May 24, 2010 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

Good heavens! Relax for crying out loud; Americans
going to the streets violently protesting? Are you
Not a chance in hell of that, IMO. I mean, we’re asleep
at the wheel. Apathy rules! Distractions are rampant
and effective!
Just go back to your favorite TV program. Hey, I hear
“Lost” is having it’s last episode; settle down and

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By truedigger3, May 24, 2010 at 5:33 am Link to this comment

By Go Right Young Man, May 24 at 8:20 am #

GRM wrote:

“ITW, May 24 at 7:55 am

Excellent post.”


Watch out!
GRM likes and agrees with your post, So deffinitely something is wrong with your post.
May be it is a good idea to re-examine your post.!

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By Socrates, May 24, 2010 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind

You sound like a CIA operative or perhaps a corporate executive.  You are attempting to muddy the water here.  Chris Hedges is right in almost everything he details.  His book, Empire of Illusion is breath-taking to behold.  This new article he has submitted smacks of truth.  If you tell me what you have published I would be interested in reading it.

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By thebeerdoctor, May 24, 2010 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

Psmith is correct: there is nothing more irresponsible than a FUD enabler.

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By Paul_GA, May 24, 2010 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

I think it was Mencken who once said that every now and again, men must feel tempted to spit on their hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats. Perhaps for the Greeks, the time has come. One hopes it won’t come across the Water, but you never know ...

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By Z1, May 24, 2010 at 4:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Inherit The Wind, When things are normal with our economy, gold is usually around $360 to $365 an ounce. So according to you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with an economy where gold hovers around the high $1100 to low $1200 an ounce range.
Pull your head out of your behind and get real!

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By DaveZx3, May 24, 2010 at 4:25 am Link to this comment

This is all about money.  Capitalist and socialists will do anything to get control of money.  They are just two sides of the same coin.  They use class warfare to get control.  Thousands, even millions around the world die in the name of capitalism and socialism. 

So for the purpose of swinging the pendulum a few degrees to the left for a couple of years, lets all take to the street and burn, murder and create mayhem of all sorts to satisfy our masters.

This has been going on for centuries, and has not been successful yet.  War, violence, destruction is never, never the answer.  The people always suffer, and not the masters, be they capitalists or communists. 

The United States has a good basis for citizen control of government, but they blow it down their leg by constantly voting in the professional, criminal politicians, who cater to the money. 

Is that suddenly a revelation?  Is this something which just started 10 years ago?  No, it is a perpetual problem which the American people are responsible for, because they sucked up to the professional pols, who acted like organized crime leaders and spread a small part of the take on to their consitutents.  We allowed the mob bosses to take control for our own selfish sake.  We sold our freedom for a couple of bucks. 

Wake up, take back the government with good, honest short careered, low to moderate income representatives.  No man needs to serve for more than four years.  The power in the country should be in the laws, not professional politicians.  Make good laws, and make the politicians follow the law.  If that cannot be done within the framework of the US constitution, it will never be able to be done anywhere, at anytime.  Plain and simple.

But it is in the hands of the people, if they are up to it.  Burning and murdering will just lead to an excuse to crackdown and further reduce liberty.  Rioting in the streets always will lead to more control by government.  And if they are not doing the will of the people, then why do you want them to have more control?

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By Leefeller, May 24, 2010 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

Yes “It is feudal rape” My apathy is being riled up
again! Capitalism is always blamed for it’s ability to
capitalize on other peoples money, what is wrong with
that? The posturing by opportunists is never ending work
as we see every day, now we find out BP has ties with a
large environmental group, this smacks of the GOP
caucusing a human rights organization. 

Corporations are people to, (the Surmising court said
so) I feel it necessary that corprations run for office
so I can vote for General Motors for president, but I
would want to see their birth certificate first, I want
to make sure they are Red White and Blue American. I
would never vote for BP those Un-American foreigners,
when I think of it, guess all corporations are
foreigners now and America is no longer, well anyway
they are people. 

Yes it does seem like feudal rape, Hedges may be onto
something, all my whining about Hedges seems to have
been resolved by his last several articles, except for
the excessive use of the word “we”.

All the people need to do is shoot the Donkey and send
the Elephant of no back to the Circis!

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By Go Right Young Man, May 24, 2010 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

ITW, May 24 at 7:55 am


Excellent post.

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By thebeerdoctor, May 24, 2010 at 4:07 am Link to this comment

If I understand this correctly, Hedges approves of violent protest?

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By Inherit The Wind, May 24, 2010 at 3:55 am Link to this comment

Yet again, Chris Hedges mixes some fact with totally unsupported or even false assertions to reach his conclusions.  Sorry, Chris, but the stock market is NOT in free-fall.  It has been volatile but only a couple of times has it had big falls.  As for gold rising like a balloon—false again.  Gold has faltered, having reached briefly into the low to mid $1200 range and has fallen back into the high $1100’s.  The “streaking” happened as it went from the high $800s to $1100—and that is SO one-year-ago.

CH says “The Greeks have it right”.  Huh? They elected lying, crooked, incompetent leaders, and, when it exploded, have violent, VIOLENT street protests.  How is that “right”?

Yet again, Hedges shows us that he’s on some other planet, where make-believe is as good a facts.

And, yet again, CH trivializes a real and serious problem with an analysis built on assumptions and assertions of sand.

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By jack, May 24, 2010 at 3:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges: It’s even worse than you report - not only are they literally
attacking national economies with naked raids on the bonds that support
them, and not only do they propagandize fear.

Global intelligence networks, serving the global finance oligarchy, manipulate
and provoke the beleaguered to the point of ferocious reaction and in
numerous instances actually orchestrate the bloody terror, that precipitates the

The goal: put everyone, everywhere on their knees, begging for “protection:”
economic and militaristic. It’s all so transparent, it’s amazing the MSM can get
away with their spin out of the cover up.

Throw the bastards out? Hell no! Throw them in a dungeon and leave them to
devour one another!

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By di Genis, May 24, 2010 at 3:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The fires, destruction and the savage death of three Innocent people, including a woman who was pregnant, in Athens were caused by hooded anarchists who had nothing at all to do with the protests or any ethical demonstrations but only with a desire to destroy and murder. These actions brought shame and economic hardship to Greece. Presumably these are not the acts that Chris Hedges and the posters are recommending to the rest of the world.

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By kerryrose, May 24, 2010 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

‘What ought to be rather than what is’ sounds like idealism to me.  My dissertation revolved around that premise, and was not received warmly by my ‘prestigious’ University advisers.  I could not understand the hostility it engendered.

So, maybe Hedges is right, and it is not idealism, but radicalism.

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By littlebird, May 24, 2010 at 2:20 am Link to this comment

I say…Let’s get Radical! It’s the way to get back humanity and the environment.  Let’s follow the Greeks (and the Thais!)

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By Commune115, May 24, 2010 at 2:13 am Link to this comment

Speaking as a Californian I can say we should learn from the Greeks!

Long live the Greek masses!

May their ignite a revolution to set the world ablaze!

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