Greek military dictatorship to impose austerity?


This video from Greece says about itself:

16 July 2008

Leros Psychiatric Hospital – Kρατικό Θεραπευτήριο Λέρου

Leros “Psychiatric Hospital”. Filmed in 1995 by achilleasv.

The Asylum of Leros (Colony of Mentally Ill) was established in 1959, taking over the military installations left on the Greek island by the Italians from the Second World War.

The purpose was to contain all psychiatric patients from all Greek mental health instituitions, who were deemed untreatable, to one single confinement space.

The asylum grew rapidly as “difficult” patients were shipped to Leros and by the 1980s as many as 4,000 patients were held there.

Political prisoners had also been incarcerated there, during the military dictatorship in Greece (Greek junta 1967-1974).

The staff were not doctors or nurses and had no medical training.

They were local islanders and were used as guards.

The inmates were systematically beaten, even tortured and crushed of whatever sensibilities they once had.

In the 80s Leros’ asylum has received significant journalistic attention.

In September of 1989, the London Observer published details of horrific conditions at the Leros asylum, describing it a “concentration camp”.

In 1990 the BBC filmed inside the asylum. The documentary “Island of Outcasts” (Channel 4) brought attention to these horrendous human rights abuses.

As Leros’ conditions generally mirror those of the nation’s other public mental hospitals, the last twenty years the psychiatric care system in Greece is undergoing a transformation of its service network, propelled to a great extent by recommendations and funding from the European Union. The new direction is toward deinstitutionalisation and a community-care approach.

However, twenty years since the beginning of the psychiatric reform in Greece, there is a threat for people with mental health problems to return in mental hospitals due to severe financial problems of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Units as the Greek Ministry of Health is unable to correspond to its obligations.

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden:

Greek ruling elite prepares for showdown with working class

26 May 2012

As Greece prepares for elections on June 17 amid an overwhelming popular rejection of austerity, the ruling class is making secret preparations for a military crackdown against the workers. These preparations are taking place in parallel with more public discussions within the European Union on financial mechanisms to penalize Greece, should the Greek population vote to reject EU austerity demands.

An article published Wednesday in the right-wing Greek daily Kathimerini, “Euro Exit Scenario Gives Greece 46 Hours to Manage Process,” lays out a “synthesis of euro-exit scenarios from 21 economists, analysts and academics.” The newspaper writes that the introduction of a new Greek currency would need to be meticulously planned and carried out within a 46-hour window, over a weekend, in consideration of global stock market trading schedules.

There would be immediate moves to repress social opposition. The article states: “Over the two days, leaders would have to calm civil unrest while managing a potential sovereign default, planning a new currency, recapitalizing the banks, stemming the outflow of capital and seeking a way to pay bills once the bailout lifeline is cut.”

Citing two senior researchers, the article notes that “the country may deploy its military as soon as early morning Saturday and close its borders, preparing to stamp euros as drachma as an interim solution once a public announcement has been made.”

Greece’s outgoing finance minister, Filippos Sachinidis, said of an exit from the euro, “All our achievements will be wiped out and it will happen in such a violent way, I don’t know if we will be able to continue functioning as a modern democracy.”

In these comments there is an undoubted element of political blackmail. The ruling elite declares that the workers must accept every cut demanded by finance capital and the Greek state or face an apocalypse. Should the workers refuse, they warn, the banks will cut off credit to Greece, forcing it to print its own money. Overnight, the markets will financially ruin the country by speculating against the new currency. At this point, the army will be deployed to halt bank runs by depositors and crush social opposition.

The political establishment hopes by publicizing such arguments to secure a vote for Greece’s traditional ruling parties, the right-wing New Democracy (ND) and the social democratic PASOK, which support the EU austerity measures and so-called “bailouts.” In the May 6 elections, these two parties together won only 32 percent of the vote.

More fundamentally, however, the “contingencies” being discussed and planned, both openly and secretly, reflect the acute intensification of class antagonisms in Greece and internationally.

What has been imposed in Greece, under the diktat of the “troika”—the European Union, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF)—is barbarity on a scale unseen since the Nazi occupation. An official at Greece’s official statistics bureau said last week: “By the close of 2012, we estimate the economy will have shrunk by a total of 27 percent since the start of the recession five years ago… That’s almost a third. It’s completely unprecedented for an advanced Western economy.”

Whether finance capital tries to continue its failed euro bailout or decides to speculate against a national Greek currency, the enforcement through the existing parliamentary mechanisms of such brutal and unpopular social attacks will grow increasingly difficult. Hence the growing threat of a recourse to some form of military-police rule. The Greek people have already had a bitter experience with such methods in the form of the 1967-1974 military junta.

Since the eruption of the financial crisis in 2008, the Greek ruling class has repeatedly relied on the army to suppress working class opposition. The army was mobilized to smash the 2010 truckers’ strike and was poised to intervene against the 2011 refuse workers’ strike.

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