In Defence of Varoufakis

Note kindly translated by Anne-Marie de Grazia

There is something absurd, but also terribly revealing, about the threat of an indictment for High Treason now pending on Yanis Varoufakis [1]. It sheds a crude light on the fact that the Eurozone has henceforth become a monster, or more precisely, a tyrant, which has unbound itself from all rules.

What facts are

Yanis Varoufakis, as Minister of Finances, took the decision to have the computer system of the Greek tax administration covertly penetrated. We have reported here on this « plan B » [2], and this is what he is being reproached for. But he took this decision in agreement with the Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras. He took this decision about the computer system of the Greek tax administration because the latter was in reality under the control of persons of the « Troïka », that is, of the International Monetary Fund, of the European Central Bank and of the European Commission. It is therefore the conservative Prime Minister, M. Samaras, who was beaten in the elections of January 25th, who in reality has committed this act of High Treason in entrusting the tax administration to one (or several) foreign powers. It is he, and he alone, who carries the total responsibility for what happened then.

Varoufakis’ decision aimed at implementing a parallel payment system which would have allowed the Greek government to circumvent the blocking of the banks which was organized by the European Central Bank starting at the end of June 2015. This would have been necessary in order to avoid the destruction of the Greek banking system provoked by the action of the European Central Bank. This illegal action of the ECB imperilled the whole banking system, when one of its very missions, duly inscribed in the charter of the ECB, is precisely to ensure the good and regular functioning of this banking system. If Yanis Varoufakis were to be indicted, it would then be logical and just for the President of the ECB, M. Draghi, as well as the President of the Eurogroup, M. Dijsselbloem, to be indicted too.

It is true that this parallel payment system could also have allowed a very rapid shifting from the Euro to the Drachma, but Varoufakis, according to his statements reported by The Telegraph, considered this only as a very last extremity [3].

An absurd decision.

Indicting M. Varoufakis is therefore absurd. The fact that he is now being defended by personalities such as Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economist of Allianz and President of a comity of economic experts around the President of the United States [4], indeed goes to show that what he did, he did for the greater good of the State which he was serving as Minister of Finances. This indictment, should it be confirmed, could only happen with the complicity of Alexis Tsipras who would then have dropped his Minister of Finances and would not be taking on his own responsibilities. This indictment, were it to happen, would be an odious act, an act of pure political justice and of vengeance on the part of the European authorities, against a man who dared, with the support of his people, to defy them.

Whatever the difference we could have with Mr. Varoufakis, and whatever the judgement we could form about his own reluctance to implement this alternative course of action, there is nothing in what he has done that could be considered as High Treason. All economists have to stand up and be counted in support of Yanis Varoufakis.

Implications

Such an indictment would also be very revealing of the neo-colonialist attitude of the European authorities today towards Greece, as well as towards other countries. Stefano Fassina, former Vice-Minister of Finances of the Italian government, an MP and one of the prominent members of the Italian Democratic Party presently in power, wrote in a text published on the blog of Yanis Varoufakis[5]: « Alexis Tsipras, Syriza and the Greek people have the undeniable historical merit of having ripped away the veil of Europeanist rhetoric and technical objectivity aimed at covering up the dynamics in the Eurozone ». He adds: « We need to admit that in the neo-liberal cage of the euro, the left loses its historical function and is dead as a force committed to the dignity and political relevance of labour and to social citizenship as a vehicle of effective democracy.» He concludes: « For a managed dis-integration of the single currency, we must build a broad alliance of national liberation fronts ».

This perspective is at present entirely justified. The Eurozone has indeed revealed itself to be a war machine at the service of an ideology, neo-liberalism, and of vested interests, those of finance and of an oligarchy without borders. The perspective offered by Stefano Fassina is the one at present open to us, meaning, constituting an “alliance of national liberation fronts” of the countries of the Eurozone to bring the tyrant to bend and to dismantle the Eurozone.

Notes

[1] Evans-Pritchards A., « European ‘alliance of national liberation fronts’ emerges to avenge Greek defeat », The Telegraph, 29 July 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11768134/European-allince-of-national-liberation-fronts-emerges-to-avenge-Greek-defeat.html

[2] http://russeurope.hypotheses.org/4148

[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11764018/Varoufakis-reveals-cloak-and-dagger-Plan-B-for-Greece-awaits-treason-charges.html

[4] http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/varoufakis-agenda-defended-by-mohamed-a–el-erian-2015-07

[5] See Fassina S., « For an alliance of national liberation fronts », article published on the blog of Yanis Varoufakis by Stefano Fassina, Member of Parliament (PD), on 27 July 2015, http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/27/for-an-alliance-of-national-liberation-fronts-by-stefano-fassina-mp/


Jacques Sapir

Ses travaux de chercheur se sont orientés dans trois dimensions, l’étude de l’économie russe et de la transition, l’analyse des crises financières et des recherches théoriques sur les institutions économiques et les interactions entre les comportements individuels. Il a poursuivi ses recherches à partir de 2000 sur les interactions entre les régimes de change, la structuration des systèmes financiers et les instabilités macroéconomiques. Depuis 2007 il s'est impliqué dans l’analyse de la crise financière actuelle, et en particulier dans la crise de la zone Euro.

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