Monday, 27 July 2015

The Greek tragedy - 07/27/2015

I am simply providing all (but the Empire's) arguments. I do not have the knowledge to decide one way or the other although my inclination is to give Varoufakis far more the benefit of the doubt than Mercouris does, although I am sure he wanted to keep Greece in the EU and did not countenance a Grexit.

BEWARE THE TALL TALES COMING OUT OF GREECE
Alexander Mercouris




Via Facebook

Ever since the latest bailout agreement misinformation to justify it has been pouring out of Greece.

Much of this centres on the impracticability of supposed plans for a Grexit and of the “revolutionary” nature of the individuals who hatched them.

Varoufakis has claimed authorship of some of these plans. Others are attributed to the former Energy Minister and leader of Syriza’s Left Platform, Panagiotis Lafantzanis.

Varoufakis’s plan, which he claims to have presented to Tsipras at the last moment as the referendum results were coming in, was for the Greek government to start handing out electronic IOUs in place of a currency. This would have been accompanied by capital controls, the nationalisation of the banks and the seizure of the government’s revenue office and of the Bank of Greece.

Varoufakis claims that this plan was prepared by the five man group based within the Finance Ministry he set up back in February. Apparently this group carried out its work in total secrecy and - in a bizarre twist - even hacked into the Finance Ministry’s own computers in order to prepare its plans.

Meanwhile the Financial Times has published a lurid account of a semi-secret meeting arranged by Lafantzanis and Syriza’ s Left Platform in an Athens hotel, where there was supposedly wild talk of having the governor of the Bank of Greece arrested and of seizing the hoard of euros supposedly stashed away in the Athens mint in order to keep the economy going and to pay for essential imports until a new currency was set up.

No doubt in the desperate situation caused by the Syriza government’s failure to undertake proper and timely preparations for the launch of a new currency all sorts of wild ideas were in circulation.

Not all these ideas were wild. It is constantly overlooked that because the Greek banks were bailed out by the Greek government in 2008 (a major reason why its debt burden became so catastrophically and insupportably high) they are already 80% state owned. “Nationalising” the banks would not therefore have been an act of revolutionary confiscation or of appropriation of private property. It would have simply meant the state taking operational control of the banks by replacing their managements by new managements appointed by and accountable directly to the government.

Implementing extreme steps such as seizing the Bank of Greece and the mint and issuing IOUs would nonetheless have provoked a major crisis in Greece. The economy would have been thrown into turmoil, with much of the population and the business community refusing to accept the IOUs of a bankrupt government as a credible substitute for actual money.

Acting in such a way would also have completely antagonised the EU leaders, who would have been bound to construe such steps as a declaration of economic war, and who would undoubtedly have responded by suspending the Greek government’s participation in the EU’s central institutions on the grounds that it was in breach of the fundamental provisions of Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union.

Putting all that aside, what no one has explained is why any of these schemes were necessary.

Implicit in Varoufakis’s various “plans” and in the scheme the Financial Times attributes to Lafantzanis is the strange idea that preparing a new currency was something that needed to be done in secret and which would have had to be improvised at the last moment.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Far from the introduction of a new currency being something that would have been resisted across Greece and Europe, we know it would have had the backing of the German Finance Ministry, of Wolfgang Schauble and of the IMF.

According to the British writer Tariq Ali, as long ago as February Schauble was offering Varoufakis 50 billion euros and help with an orderly Grexit. Tariq Ali describes the offer in this way:

It is now known that Schäuble offered an amicable, organised Grexit and a cheque for 50 billion euros. This was refused on the grounds that it would seem to be a capitulation. This is bizarre logic. It would have preserved Greek sovereignty, and if Syriza had taken charge of the Greek banking system a recovery could have been planned on its terms. The offer was repeated later. ‘How much do you want to leave the Eurozone?’ Schäuble asked Varoufakis just before the referendum. Again Schäuble was snubbed. Of course the Germans made the offer for their own reasons, but a planned Grexit would have been far better for Greece than what has happened.”

No one in Greece is denying this story and in fact I am told it is true.

I recently wrote a piece for Russia Insider in which I said that the claim that Putin rejected a request from Tsipras for $10 billion is - as the Russians say - pure fantasy. We now have indirect confirmation of this from what must ultimately be a Greek source (the one that gave the story to Tariq Ali). Why would Tsipras ask Putin for $10 billion to fund a Grexit when Schauble was offering him 50 billion euros to do the same?

Even as late as the latest EU summit the option of an orderly Grexit was on the table. Schauble - with Merkel’s (alas temporary) backing - actually proposed it. If the Greeks had agreed to it, it would have happened. The IMF, which has made known its complete lack of belief in the viability of the latest bailout, would have backed it.

Greece would have got its 50 billion euros to help it support the new currency, Schauble and the Germans would have ensured that the ECB provided the necessary liquidity to the banks to keep the banks operating until the new currency was ready, the banks could have been nationalised by mutual agreement - there being as I have said nothing revolutionary about this - capital controls would have been imposed until the new currency was ready (the Germans agreed to this when Cyprus imposed them, so why would they refuse it if sought by Greece?) and control of the Bank of Greece, the mint and the revenue service would have been transferred back to the Greek government as an indispensable element in an orderly and agreed Grexit. Meanwhile the Russians, as I reported previously, were prepared to help with essential imports of energy and (probably) food.

The Financial Times in its hit piece says the process of introducing a new currency would have taken 6-8 months, which is much less than the 18 months Varoufakis has claimed.

Actually that is far too pessimistic. The former British cabinet minister John Redwood has guesstimated it would have taken no more than 3 months. In my opinion, given financial help from the EU and the IMF and technical support e.g. from Russia, the whole process could have been carried out from beginning to end in the space of a few weeks.

Once Greece was out of the eurozone it could have agreed - if it wanted - a formal restructuring as part of a package negotiated with the IMF (the alternative of a default on the entire debt might have done irreparable damage to relations with the creditor countries). The conditions would doubtless have been tough but they would hardly have amounted to the psychopathic agreement we have now. With Greece outside the eurozone and able to regain competitiveness through a devaluation there would have been a real chance that whatever was agreed would succeed.

However one spins the ball, the reality has to be faced: a Grexit did not happen not because it was difficult to do but because the Syriza government didn’t want it.

All claims to the contrary are fairy tales, whilst the malicious spreading of stories about the various plans that were hatched in the desperate final hours before Greece’s final capitulation is being done purposefully by those who want to discredit the idea of a Grexit and those who support it.

As for the perennial claim that the Greek people want to cling on to the euro no matter what, I have previously said why since the referendum I no longer believe that claim despite what the opinion polls are alleged to say.

In my opinion far too many people go on giving Tsipras and Syriza the benefit of the doubt even though the extent of their incompetence and of their double-dealing is becoming simply impossible to ignore.

Varoufakis has in fact now admitted that the real Plan B if the negotiations for a debt write-off failed was not a Grexit - his claims to have prepared for one is so much smoke and mirrors - but a resignation of the government and the formation of a “government of national unity” consisting of the old oligarchic pro-EU parties to sign a bailout package in place of Syriza. In Varoufakis’s own words

We are going to do all it takes to bring home a financially viable agreement. We will compromise but not be compromised. We will step back just as much as is needed to secure an agreement-solution within the Eurozone. However, if we are defeated by the catastrophic policies of the memorandum we shall step down and pass on the power to those who believe in such means; let them enforce those measures while we return to the streets.”

No word here of any plan for a Grexit.

This by the way surely provides final confirmation that my previous statement - doubted by some - that the Ambrose Evans-Pritchard story that Tsipras called the referendum in expectation of a Yes vote so as to give himself political cover to resign is true.

In my opinion such a resignation of a government elected just a few months before to bring an end to austerity would have been an extraordinary act of abdication of responsibility.

Regardless it is not what Tsipras and Syriza did.

Instead of resigning when they failed to secure a debt write-off they chose to remain in power and negotiated for Greece an even worse deal than the one they had previously rejected.

Instead of admitting that Schauble offered him a dignified way out, Varoufakis is now also busy spreading a fantastic story that Schauble was throughout plotting to expel Greece from the eurozone so that he could terrorise France to accept the economic medicine he suoposedly wants to impose on it. Varoufakis is actually claiming that Schauble told him as much.

Varoufakis’s precise words are:

"Schauble believes that the eurozone is not sustainable as it is. He believes there has to be some fiscal transfers, some degree of political union. He believes that for that political union to work without federation, without the legitimacy that a properly elected federal parliament can render, can bestow upon an executive, it will have to be done in a very disciplinary way,”

"And he said explicitly to me that a Grexit is going to equip him with sufficient terrorising power in order to impose upon the French, that which Paris has been resisting: a degree of transfer of budget making powers from Paris to Brussels.”

Does anybody seriously believe that if Schauble really did have such a plan he would have shared it with Varoufakis of all people?

The reality, as I have always said, is that Schauble adamantly opposes a debt write-off for Greece whilst it remains part of the eurozone not because he wants to terrorise France into submission but because of the disastrous precedent such a write-off might provide to other heavily indebted and bailed out eurozone states like Portugal, Spain, Cyprus and Ireland.

Obviously that is not sinister enough for Varoufakis - who has never shown the slightest understanding of Schauble’s position - which is why he attributes this bizarre plan to him.

Sad to say it seems Varoufakis was already spreading his fable about Schauble’s wicked plan to use Greece in order to terrorise France whilst the negotiations were actually underway - one reason surely why Schauble came to dislike him so much.

It could be that Varoufakis misunderstood something Schauble said to him. However I have to say that it also looks rather like an attempt by Varoufakis to play the French and the Germans off against each other - in much the same way that Tsipras was trying to play the Russians and the Europeans (and Americans) off against each other. Needless to say the ploy failed.

In fairness to Tsipras, Varoufakis and Syriza, though their tactics were manipulative and duplicitous, their objective was always what they said it was: to keep Greece in the eurozone whilst securing an end to austerity and a debt write-off.

Most people - including me - assumed that as it became clear this was impossible they would drop the euro in order to end austerity and secure the debt write-off.

In fairness to him, that is the position, when all else failed, that Varoufakis eventually adopted, though the plan he came up with is testament to his failure to prepare for a Grexit properly, as he should have done.

In Tsipras’s case however it is now clear he always intended the opposite - to drop the plan to end austerity and get a debt write-off so as to hang on to the euro.

I still come across from time to time a strange idea that Tsipras iand Syriza are agents of Soros and of the CIA.

Nothing they have done in power is consistent with that theory, which my sources insist is untrue.

By contrast I am slowly coming round to what anyone who knows Greece well would judge an altogether more plausible theory - that Tsipras and the Syriza government were a device cooked up by a part of the oligarchy to scare the Germans into granting Greece a debt write-off whilst keeping Greece in the Eurozone. The calculation was that a “pro-Russian”, “ultra left” leader, who “might fall into Putin’s embrace” was more scary and would have a better chance of securing a debt write-off than a more conventional conservative. Once it became clear that the scare wasn’t going to work, the Syriza project was shelved.

To those who say this is too complicated, my response is that for the Greek oligarchy nothing is too complicated.

This will be my working hypothesis from now on. I am planning to visit Greece soon and whilst there I will undertake certain enquiries to see if I can find out whether or not this hypothesis is true.

In the meantime I would ask people to keep a cool head in the face of all the nonsense that is now coming out of Greece. I am afraid that it is not without good reason we are known as the land of myths, legends and wondrous tales. There are far too many of those circulating over the last few days and people should be careful before they fall for them.



Reports Of Secret Drachma Plots Leave Tsipras Facing Fresh Crisis

26 July, 2015

On Friday, we brought you the shocking story of the rebellion that never was in Greece. 

According to FT, Former Greek Energy Minister and maverick among mavericks Panayotis Lafazanis convened a "secret" meeting at the Oscar Hotel in Athens on July 14 at which he attempted to convince Syriza hardliners (including, in FT’s words, "supporters of the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez [and some] old-fashioned communists") to storm the Greek mint, seize the country’s currency reserves, and, if necessary, arrest central bank governor Yannis Stournaras. 


(Lafazanis)

Obviously, the plan was never implemented, but if the story is even partly true it betrays the degree to which Greece teetered on the edge of social upheaval and even civil war in the days that followed PM Alexis Tsipras’ decision to concede to creditors’ demands and abandon not only Syriza’s election mandate but the very referendum outcome he had himself campaigned for just days prior. 

Now that Tsipras has succeeded in compelling Greek lawmakers to cede the country’s sovereignty to Brussels in exchange for the right to use the euro, tales of unrealized redenomination plots have come out of the woodwork so to speak, and now, in addition to the scheme described above and rumors that a return to the drachma was nearly financed by a loan from the Kremlin, we get a glimpse at yet another plan hatched behind the scenes, this time courtesy of a recorded conference call between Yanis Varoufakis and "members of international hedge funds."

Here’s the story from Kathimerini:







Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has claimed that he was authorized by Alexis Tsipras last December to look into a parallel payment system that would operate using wiretapped tax registration numbers (AFMs) and could eventually work as a parallel banking system, Kathimerini has learned.
In a teleconference call with members of international hedge funds that was allegedly coordinated by former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, Varoufakis claimed to have been given the okay by Tsipras last December – a month before general elections that brought SYRIZA to power – to plan a payment system that could operate in euros but which could be changed into drachmas "overnight" if necessary, Kathimerini understands.
Varoufakis worked with a small team to prepare the plan, which would have required a staff of 1,000 to implement but did not get the final go-ahead from Tsipras to proceed, he said.
The call took place on July 16, more than a week after Varoufakis left his post as finance minister.
The plan would involve hijacking the AFMs of taxpayers and corporations by hacking into General Secretariat of Public Revenues website, Varoufakis told his interlocutors.This would allow the creation of a parallel system that could operate if banks were forced to close and which would allow payments to be made between third parties and the state and could eventually lead to the creation of a parallel banking system, he said.
As the general secretariat is a system that is monitored by Greece’s creditors and is therefore difficult to access, Varoufakis said he assigned a childhood friend of his, an information technology expert who became a professor at Columbia University, to hack into the system. A week after Varouakis took over the ministry, he said the friend telephoned him and said he had “control” of the hardware but not the software "which belongs to the troika." 

Apparently, Varoufakis planned to take control of the computers first, then hack into the ministry’s software, steal the code, and design the parallel payments system. Here are excerpts from the call, again from Kathimerini, quoting Varoufakis:





"The prime minister before he became PM, before we won the election in January, had given me the green light to come up with a Plan B. And I assembled a very able team, a small team as it had to be because that had to be kept completely under wraps for obvious reasons. And we had been working since the end of December or beginning of January on creating one.
"What we planned to do was the following. There is the website of the tax office like there is in Britain and everywhere else, where citizens, taxpayers go into the website they use their tax file number and they transfer through web banking monies from the bank account to their tax file number so as to make payments on VAT, income tax and so on and so forth.
We were planning to create, surreptitiously, reserve accounts attached to every tax file number, without telling anyone, just to have this system in a function under wraps. And, at the touch of a button, to allow us to give PIN numbers to tax file number holders, to taxpayers. 
"That would have created a parallel banking system while the banks were shut as a result of the ECBs aggressive action to deny us some breathing space.
"This was very well developed and I think it would have made a very big difference because very soon we could have extended it, using apps on smartphones and it could become a functioning parallel system and of course this would be euro denominated but at the drop of a hat it could be converted to a new drachma.
"But let me tell you - and this is quite a fascinating story - what difficulties I faced. The General Secretary of Public Revenues within my ministry is controlled fully and directly by the troika. It was not under control of my ministry, of me as minister, it was controlled by Brussels. 
Ok, so problem number one: The general secretary of information systems on the other hand was controlled by me, as minister. I appointed a good friend of mine, a childhood friend of mine who had become professor of IT at Columbia University in the States and so on.  I put him in because I trusted him to develop this.
"At some point, a week or so after we moved into the ministry, he calls me up and says to me: 'You know what? I control the machines, I control the hardware but I do not control the software. The software belongs to the troika controlled General Secretary of Public Revenues. What do I do?'
"So we decided to hack into my ministry’s own software program in order to be able break it up to just copy just to copy the code of the tax systems website onto a large computer in his office so that he can work out how to design and implement this parallel payment system.
"And we were ready to get the green light from the PM when the banks closed in order to move into the General Secretariat of Public Revenues, which is not controlled by us but is controlled by Brussels, and to plug this laptop in and to energize the system.

In short, Varoufakis claims Tsipras had pre-approved the creation of secret accounts for every tax filer (which, knowing Greece, might have left Varoufakis short on accounts for quite a few citizens). Greeks would be made aware of the accounts' existence in the event the banking system ceased to function altogether, and Athens would effectively facilitate payments through the new system in defiance of the EMU. Clearly, this would not have been well received by Brussels - especially the bit about hacking their software - but ultimately, because the new system would be entirely controlled by Varoufakis' finance ministry, it could be converted to the drachma immediately. 

Kathimerini goes on the quote Varoufakis as saying that German FinMin Wolfgang Schaeuble intended to use Grexit as leverage to force France into supporting a system that ceded fiscal decision making to Brussels (which would of course mean giving Berlin more say over EMU countries' finances):



"Schaeuble has a plan. The way he described it to me is very simple. He believes that the eurozone is not sustainable as it is. He believes there has to be some fiscal transfers, some degree of political union. He believes that for that political union to work without federation, without the legitimacy that a properly elected federal parliament can render, can bestow upon an executive, it will have to be done in a very disciplinary way. And he said explicitly to me that a Grexit is going to equip him with sufficient bargaining, sufficient terrorising power in order to impose upon the French that which Paris has been resisting. And what is that? A degree of transfer of budget making powers from Paris to Brussels."

The new revelations raise serious concerns for Alexis Tsipras. The deep divisions within Syriza are by now well publicized, but reports of covert plans to establish parallel banking systems using tax filers' IDs and the idea that elements within the ruling party plotted to seize billions in currency reserves and take control of the central bank have left some lawmakers demanding answers. Here's Reuters:







The center-right New Democracy party and the centrist To Potami and the Socialist Pasok parties, which all backed Tsipras in parliamentary votes on the bailout this month, demanded a response to the reports.
"The revelations that are coming out raise a major political, economic and moral issue for the government which needs in-depth examination," it said in a statement.
"Is it true that a designated team in the finance ministry had undertaken work on a backup plan? Is it true they had planned to raid the national Mint and that they prepared for a parallel currency by hacking the tax registration numbers of the taxpayers?"


Tsipras thus finds himself in an extraordinarily difficult spot. Passing two sets of prior bailout actions through parliament cost him dearly on the political front as more than 30 Syriza MPs defected on both votes. This means he'll be forced to rely on the support of opposition lawmakers to govern going forward or at least until he can call for elections and get a "clean start" after the third troika program is formally in place.

If Syriza's political opponents come to believe that their efforts to back Tsipras on the way to keeping Greece in the euro are being subverted in secret by members of Tsipras' own party, their support could dry up quickly leaving the PM with no support from either side of the aisгle

Given all of this, it's easy to see why many analysts and commentators still belive that Grexit - and everything that comes with it both for Greece and for the EMU - is still the most likely outcome.



Europe's New Colonialism: ECB Rejects Greek Request To Reopen Stock Market

26 July, 2015

It has been one month since Greek capital controls were imposed, and as we explained earlier, Greece is nowhere closer to having its deposit limits lifted. In fact, with several more months of capital controls at least, the Greek banks are likely to suffer ongoing balance sheet impairments which will ultimately result in depositor bail-ins, with Germany already pushing for haircuts on deposits over €100,000.

However, when it comes to banks there is at least still the illusion that Greece has some residual sovereignty. The reality is that it does not, as Greece is no longer an independent nation, and as of July 15, the Greek "In Dependence" day, every Greek decision needs to get pre-approval from both the ECB, Brussels and, naturally, Berlin.

This was made very clear earlier today when Reuters reported that the Greek stock exchange will remain closed on Monday but might reopen on Tuesday after a one-month shutdown which started on June 29. "It's certain that it will not open on Monday, maybe on Tuesday," a spokesperson for the Athens Stock Exchange told Reuters on condition of anonymity.







A spokesman for the Athens Stock Exchange said on Friday a proposal to reopen the bourse had been submitted to the European Central Bank for an opinion before a decision on the matter is made by the Greek finance ministry.
Another person with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed that Greek authorities aimed to reopen the bourse on Tuesday.

However, to understand what really happened, one should read the Bloomberg explanation, according to which it was the ECB which rejected proposals by Greek authorities to reopen country’s financial markets with no restrictions in place for both Greek and foreign traders, citing an Athens Exchange spokeswoman.

Ministerial decree is now expected, setting some restrictions in use of money from Greek bank accounts for trading.

And just like that, we wave goodbye to the Hellenic Republic, and greet the Mediterranean Vassal Province of Mario and Merkel. Because as of this moment, no Greek decision can be taken without the direct or indirect express prior approval of either the ECB and/or Berlin.

Oh, and incidentally, Greece may be better off leaving its markets closed indefinitely because since the day Greece was "fixed", the GREK ETF, which has been the only equity way to trade Greece, has sunk 15%.


It has also managed to drag down the S&P 500 with it despite the Greek can having supposedly been kicked for at least a few more months.

And once the locals can finally cash out of the local banks which as we explained are an assured "doughnut" for existing equity investors pending either bankruptcy or massive dilution which will wipe out all existing stakeholders (the fate of depositors depends on whether a €25 billion source of liquidity can be found in very short notice) they will, which in turn will lead to another market closure for Greek stocks, only this time it will most likely be permanent.


This Is the End of the Line for Syriza


25 July, 2015


Greek banks have reopened after weeks of closure. The patient and orderly way customers queued outside to use ATMS during the big shut down was an impressive sight, especially for those people who are fond of considering Greek people as somehow incapable of doing things right.
But nothing is harmonious. The queues outside the job centres are as long as ever, while many of the shops that shut down at the same time as the banks, still haven’t reopened. Anti-austerity and anti-governmental protests have started to take place for the first time since Syriza came to power. Dozens were arrested as the Greek parliament voted to accept a new bailout deal from Europe, based on the very terms that were rejected just days earlier in a national referendum.Fresh riots took place as the parliament passed a law that allows the confiscation of people’s homes.
As Syriza burns its bridges with the general public, life for the majority of people has returned to hopeless normality – indeed, many people have spent more time talking about the wildfires that have broken out around the country than the troika in the past few days.
Greece’s ruling party might be called the coalition of the radical left but it seems to be rejecting a basic argument put forward by activists at that end of the political spectrum for years: It is impossible to transform this unequal, structurally and physically violent world into a better place if you try to do it via the institutional route. State governance, the parliamentary system, prime ministerial meetings and the rest are all the enemies of meaningful change.
Perhaps to a certain extent Syriza’s leaders were aware of the risks they were taking when they sought to continue negotiating with Europe. They could end up crossing the political spectrum to join the rest of the austerity governments or, less likely, be overthrown for failing to comply with the requests of creditors and international bankers.
Players in the neoliberal system have never been afraid of drawing blood – and Greek history has quite a few examples. The left has often been brutalised in order to protect capitalist forms of governance. This is what happened during the military coup of 1967. And although such extremes are unlikely these days, the bailout debacle has introduced Syriza’s leadership to real politics.
Just after prime minister Alexis Tsipras agreed to the terms presented to him by Greece’s international creditors, the IMF, itself part of the deal, spoke out against what was on offer. Greece, it argued, would never be able to pay its debts under the terms being put forward. Very soon followed the German minister of finance who made it publicly known that he does not think the programme proposed by his own government will work.
And yet this was the route taken by EU leaders. Syriza argues that the Greek government chose these new catastrophic terms and conditions instead of a much more catastrophic option. This is precisely how high-level politics works behind closed doors. There is blackmail and there are threats. One can only wonder why Syriza would have expected anything else.
Many believe Tsipras was forced into agreeing to the terms but Syriza is not innocent in this situation. It continues to glorify the eurozone and still prioritises paying back a supposedly national debt that ends up bailing out the Greek and European banking sector.
Moreover, Syriza’s belief in national unity also reflects the mistakes long made by the Greek left. The Greek population includes both massively impoverished social classes and a corrupted few who get richer every day. The latter group has no interest in an even slightly fairer system than extreme austerity for the poor and state generosity for the rich.
At least amid all the confusion there is clarity in one respect. Voters are seeing that Syriza’s parliamentary victory does not mean the end of austerity and poverty. Even Syriza’s own youth group publicly denounced the new loan agreement.
The deep division between the government and people is opening again. Since Syriza’s election in January 2015, significant parts of the grassroots movement that opposed austerity – from solidarity and protest groups to immigrant support initiatives and unions – had remained somewhat inactive. They had slipped into a lethargic state, expecting a smoother state of affairs with Syriza at the helm of the austerity-ridden country. But the scales have fallen and those who were sympathetic to this new government are losing again faith in politics from above.
*Dimitris Dalakoglou is a Professor of Social Anthropology at VU University Amsterdam. This article first appeared on The Conversation.

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