The current ghost dance of Samaras & Troika is guaranteed to ignite more violence in Greek streets and more relentless depression for the average Greek, who sees his pauperization advancing with ever greater strides.
The latest austerity package is worth EUR 11.5 billion or, according to more pessimistic estimates, EUR 13.5 billion. In either case this is money that cannot be extracted by reducing further the already meager income of the average Greek family. However, Mr. Samaras, eager to please the masters in Brussels and Berlin, aims at exactly this source of cuts thanks to the ease with which Greek governments since 2010 have been slashing at the livelihood of the overwhelming majority in this country without any credible opposition (not a word about taking the hatchet to the public sector and beginning to seriously shrink it so that the economy may gain a breath or two).
The latest announcements about cuts have driven into the streets even members of the security services. In a recent large demonstration, police, coast guards, and firemen expressed their vehement opposition to the government further eroding their salaries, already teetering on the verge of the preposterous. There were no anti-riot police around and thus the protest proceeded unmolested in perhaps a show of things to come.
Such is though the turmoil over this latest bout of Troika-induced hemorrhage that even the judiciary is up in arms. The proposed cut of judges’ salaries by an average 22% has triggered an unprecedented strike by the servants of the bench, which is theoretically prohibited by the constitution. The judges though appear determined “to rock and roll:” when the government rushed to suggest that their strike was illegal as per the constitution, the judges retorted that everything that the government does currently in regard to austerity is also unconstitutional and thus operates via a constitutional coup d’etat.
As if the clash with the security services and the judiciary was not enough, Mr. Samaras appears equally determined to slash the salaries of the members of the armed forces for yet another time. Needless to say, turmoil among regular officers is building up. But Mr. Samaras remains impervious to all signs of the outrage he is causing to all but a handful of his own inner circle.
Thus, in one fell swoop, the current government has declared war on the last bastions of state power hoping that it will prevail. But “prevailing” at this juncture has lost its meaning – if, that is, there is any rational meaning to all this. Mr. Samaras is unhinging what has been left of the legitimacy of his administration and that of the “organized” Greek state in order to please lenders that want to keep on lending to Greece so that they would be eventually in a position to obtain the whole country at bargain basement prices.
Mr. Samaras must be aware of this unavoidable “end game” underpinning Mrs. Merkel’s “miraculous” recent turn in favor of keeping Greece in the eurozone and various “authoritative” rumors that the climate surrounding Hellas is “improving” in Europe. If he is not, he should turn the keys in and go home. If he sees the “end game” but chooses to ignore it, he is doing a fatal disservice to the country and should be set aside just like his old college mate, George Papandreou.