Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Greek EU Referendum

George Papandreou's announcement of a Greek referendum on the latest EU-imposed bail out package seems to have blind-sided everyone. You can almost hear the sphincters tightening in Berlin and Paris. Like a lot of people who want the EU to crash and burn, I'll be hoping for a solid No vote from the Greeks. It ought to be a clear cut decision, but like anything to do with the EU, nothing should be taken for granted.

For example, the Greek political class will do all they can to convince people that beggary under the EU is preferable to beggary outside of it. They'll be all kinds of dire prognosticians in the media, particularly the international media.

We should also expect an increase in civil strife in Greece. There are already significant differences between the forces out on the streets. In particular there's a deep distrust between the Greek Communists and allies, and the anarchists and autonmists on the other. There have been times when this has turned violent, with Greek communists siding with the police to attack the anarchists.

In the case of a referendum the anarchists would be ideologically opposed to it because they distrust politicians and because they will see it as a means of taking the focus away from the streets and back into the formal political process. Perhaps this is one of Papandreou's reasons, because taking the heat out of the street protests is becoming increasingly hard to do. The more he unleashes the police and military forces, the more it ramps things up, and the more dangerous it becomes for the police and military to be involved in politics...

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