An Eyewitness Report From A Dickensian Athens

A city centre which at night resembles parts of Detroit and daily life which resembles Victorian Britain with many beggars and a general feeling of a country in irreversible decline. Schoolchildren have been seen looking in dustbins for food and many people have died burning wood in makeshift stoves in apartments to keep warm.Despite all the official pronouncements that the Troika’s (EU-ECB-IMF) programme will herald growth, there has been a decline of an average 5% fall in GDP annually over the last four years – figures not seen since the 12% annual fall during the civil war of the 1940s. Unemployment has skyrocketed to at least 3m (official numbers 1.5m), roughly between 30-40% of the population.The shock therapy which is killing the patient stone dead has led to a massively reduced govt majority of four and we are in a permanent government crisis with confused orders from the centre. Land and property taxes are destroying the social fabric of society, splintering it apart until there is nothing left and new Orwellian measures of seizing bank accounts electronically to are to be applied as a New Year gift to Greek citizens due to the massive non-payment crisis of all the new taxes. Over 70 billion Euros annually goes to pay parasitic banksters and wage and pension cuts ranging from 20% to 60% (eg. bus drivers) indicate that govt spending is massively reduced. Schools and hospitals are being merged, many schools have no heating and over 25,000 public sector workers have been fired this year.

Wave upon wave of immigration continues to hit Greek shores and immigrants have nowhere to go, so inevitably there is a crime wave in poorer Athenian districts and the prisons are already full. The younger generation, up to and including those in their 40s, will never see a pension as without 40 year contributions they will not be able to get one. Companies don’t employ full time workers to avoid paying tax and insurance. The new norm is jobs at 2.5 Euros an hour with shifts whenever the boss feels like it.

The organised force of the fake left which now has a majority on the public sector union ADEDY held a rally on Saturday and only around 200 people turned up. The leaders of the unions hide behind government strike bans despite massive strike waves that broke out in both February and October of this year. Syriza, the main party of the opposition, does not seek a fight for power despite gaining 27% of the vote and is relegated to asking for Germany’s surpluses as a way to solve the capitalist crisis – ie the old bankrupt economic model.

If the current situation continues – and so far it is the longest depression in a western economy – the state will start to disintegrate. Whether a revolt occurs prior to disintegration or as a consequence of it is what is on everyone’s mind. Time is running out for all concerned.

by V N Gelis

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