The Greek debt crisis has spread to Spain and Portugal in a dangerous escalation as global markets test whether Europe is willing to shore up monetary union with muscle rather than mere words. Analyst Julian Callow from Barclays Capital said the EU may to need to invoke emergency treaty powers under Article 122 to halt the contagion, issuing an EU guarantee for Greek debt. “If not contained, this could result in a `Lehman-style’ tsunami spreading across much of the EU.”
Credit default swaps (CDS) measuring bankruptcy risk on Portuguese debt surged 28 basis points on Thursday to a record 222 on reports that Jose Socrates was about to resign as prime minister after failing to secure enough votes in parliament to carry out austerity measures. Parliament minister Jorge Lacao said the political dispute has raised fears that the country is no longer governable. “What is at stake is the credibility of the Portuguese state,” he said.
Portugal has been in political crisis since the Maoist-Trotskyist Bloco won 10pc of the vote last year. This is rapidly turning into a market crisis as well as investors digest a revised budget deficit of 9.3pc of GDP for 2009, much higher than thought. A €500m debt auction failed on Wednesday. The yield spread on 10-year Portuguese bonds has risen to 155 basis points over German bunds. Daniel Gross from the Centre for European Policy Studies said Portgual and Greece need to cut consumption by 10pc to clean house, but such draconian measures risk street protests. “This is what is making the markets so nervous,” he said.
In Spain, default insurance surged 16 basis points after Nobel economist Paul Krugman said that “the biggest trouble spot isn’t Greece, it’s Spain”. He blamed EMU’s one-size-fits-all monetary system, which has left the country with no defence against an adverse shock. The Madrid’s IBEX index fell 6pc. Finance minister Elena Salgado said Professor Krugman did not “understand” the eurozone, but reserved her full wrath for the EU economics commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, who helped trigger the panic flight from Iberian debt by blurting out that Spain and Portugal were in much the same mess as Greece. Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank, gave no hint yesterday that Frankfurt will bend to help these countries, either through loans or a more subtle form of bail-out through looser monetary policy or lax rules on collateral. The ultra-hawkish ECB has instead let the M3 money supply contract over recent months.
Fears of a sovereign debt crisis among Europe's economically weaker nations and disappointing jobless and service sector data in the US hit stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic. The pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since mid-October, the euro hit an eight month low against the greenback and the FTSE closed down 2.2pc at 5138.31.
Bulgaria-Greece Border Closed for Traffic, Farmers’ Protests Escalate (from Novinite, Bulgaria)
All border crossing points, except Zlatograd, between Bulgaria and Greece are closed Thursday, the Bulgarian border police reports. Kulata-Promahon, Ilinden-Eksohi and Capitan Petko Voyvoda-Ormenion are closed for all traffic. The road at Zlatograd is not accessible for tractor-trailers. The blockade is in its 18th day and Bulgaria's Main Directorate “Border Police” informs they have been appraised by the Greek authorities that the protesting Greek farmers are not going to let any traffic through Kulata in the next 3 – 4 days.
The negotiations which took place on February 2 between the Greek Minister of Agriculture and the National Coordination Committee of the farmers failed to produce a solution to the situation in which much of Greece – including the Bulgarian border – is blockaded by the farmers who demand higher agricultural prices. This conclusion has been included in the report of the Crisis Headquarters of the Bulgarian government with respect to the condition of the Greek border blockade on February 3, 2010. The report reveals that the Greek Ministry met only two secondary demands of the protesters, and the farmers have made clear their intention to continue and escalate their protests until the government gives in.
Strikes greet austerity measures in Greece (by taxikipali, libcom.org)
Less than 24h after the announcement of the hardest austerity measures in the history of the greek republic, strikes have erupted in the public sector. Tax-collectors and customs officers have been the first public sector branches to spontaneously react to the government's austerity measures. The two public sector branches have gone on a 48h preemptive strike, halting all tax-office transactions and controls as well as freezing import-export activities. At the same time, the employees of the Ministry of Economics, responsible for imposing the austerity measures, have also gone on a 48h strike, blocking all entrances to the Ministry in Athens.
The spontaneous mobilisations come in a general climate of anger when the call of the Greek Prime Minister for national unity and self-sacrifice has already become the laughing stock in the massively popular morning satirical programs of bourgeois radio stations - amongst the general ridicule of the government televised drama, mock adds in the name of the Industrialist Club declaring that "its time for the poor to pay, the rich have payed enough" are being broadcasted. At the same time the first signs of internal critique towards the government's austerity measures have surfaced. A PASOK sub-group has attacked the measures as "the toughest, most relentless neoliberalist policy since 1974", and the Minister of National Economy Ms Katseli has taken distance from the PM's policy by declaring that it is meaningful only if the main target of the measures are the rich, "social justice is most vital" she added in a sign of cabinet discordia. The Communist Party (KKE) has called workers to "wage a war of counterattack" against the measures, while the Coalition of Radical Left has made the unprecedented move to ask the KKE to forge a front against the measures.
The main opposition party of the Conservatives, kicked out of government last October, has pledged to support the government. Signaling the extreme-right turn of the party, one of its main MPs even called for the release of the fascist editor arrested two weeks ago during a neonazi attack on an anti-racist demo. At the same time, the workers of the occupied Kanakis Factory in Volos have called for a protest march against the measures for Tuesday.
Finally it must be noted that the trial of Alexandros Grigoropoulos murderers has been postponed for March when the procedure will begin again from scratch.
Fishermens’s strike legalized (from indymedia germany)
The high court in Salonica has declared today the Egyptian fishermen's strike in Nea Michanonia legal. In active solidarity with the fishermen stand students and other independent organisations, who support them in many ways but also give them a step to express their positions inside the Universities' society. (For more news, see clandestinenglish)
“Conspiracy Cells of the Fire” case: Youngster imprisoned (from indymedia germany)
The youngster who was arrested on 1st Feb. accused as member of "Conspiracy Cells of the Fire" got under prejail custody, after there were found fingerprints of him in the so-called terrorists' hideout in Chalandri district. The fingerprints were found on movable objects, a plastic bag and a political flyer. With this action the greek authorities send a direct message to each citizen: don't spread around political ideas and never carry plastic bags.
Athens: Call for blocking a nazi demonstration on Saturday (from indymedia germany)
After the fascistic party of Greece and the orthodox church, also Nea Dimokratia (sth like the Christiandemocrats) support the new nazi fruit called "autonomous nationalists". Among them, members of other neonazistic teams, army generals and police officers. But fascists, neo-nazis, ultra-conservative christians and their like have gone a step too far, it seems, by calling for a demonstration at the Propylea building of the university of Athens this coming Saturday (6.2). University spaces have been a no-go zone for fascists in the country – what with the academic asylum preventing the police from coming close to them and offering any of their usual protection. However, in response to the government’s new migration bill (in theory offering the opportunity to many migrants to claim greek nationality for the first time), the far-right has seen some mobilisation of rare intensity. Last Saturday (30.1), 1-2,000 marched behind the banner of the neo-fascist group Golden Dawn. They are hoping, it seems, to reproduce this chilling image outside the Propylea building, traditionally a starting point for the marches of the anarchists and the left. The provocation could not go unanswered and an anti-fascist demo has already been called for by anarchists outside Propylea at 11am on Saturday (four hours before the fascist gathering). No authority is our friend, no repressed is our enemy. On Saturday, February 6 the fascists are calling for a gathering at Propylea, to spit out their racist and nationalistic poison. Not only do they oppose an already racist law (that concerning citizenship) but they also demand the physical extermination of the migrants. Academic asylum does not belong to the fascists, nor the police. The asylum belongs to the people in struggle, to the world of liberty.
War against the state and the bosses. Solidarity to all migrants.
Saturday, February 6:
Anti-fascist gathering, 11am, Propylea.
- Anarchists, anti-authoritarians, anti-fascists.
Greek Anarchists Are Not Alone: New Yorkers hold solidarity benefit for Resalto arrestees (from occupiedlondon)
A year has passed since police murdered Alexandros Grigoropoulos in the streets of Exarcheia. All of us who were in the streets of Greece during the riots gave ourselves a promise: we will not go back to normality. The memories of the revolt are still alive. We will never forget, never forgive.
… and the struggle goes on.
The new Greek socialist government made their intensions clear from the very first time they were elected. They wouldn’t let a new insurrection take place at any cost, and the anarchists were their main target. Just a day before the one year anniversary of Alexandros’ murder, the self-organized center Resalto was raided and 22 people were arrested and had to pay for bails of up to 50,000 euros in total. Despite the state’s oppression, which collaborated with the neo-Nazis; and despite the medias’ propaganda, which tried to hide the mass demonstrations that took place in Greece against state’s oppression and police brutality; and all their effort to depoliticize the struggle in Greece by representing the anarchists as vandals and Resalto itself as a bar and not as a political space; the demonstrations kept going. We occupied public buildings and solidarity actions took place all over the world. In response, the state took some of us and put us in prisons. And the Resalto arrestees faced ridiculously high bails that till this day need to be paid back. The Greek anarchists are not alone.
Solidarity is our weapon.
the bigger princes
Born in a cent
The last internationale
On Thursday, 4th of February, 9.00 p.m
in the ‘Pyramid” 101 Avenue A New York City.
Photo by BGNES via Novinite: Truck drivers at Kulata cross border point between Bulgaria and Greece had to wait for 72 hours over the Greek farmers blockade.