The Greek Struggle Session

I have found the Greek financial crisis endlessly fascinating over the last five years. The main reason I can’t get enough of it is that unlike American political scandals, all of the important parts of the Greek drama are hidden. What we see from the performers is their reaction to those important actions and we are left to guess what is going on behind the screen.

After all, the Greeks have no money and they owe a massive amount of money relative to what they can possibly raise over the next ten years. Even if they stated auctioning off islands and national treasures, they are never paying off their debts. We finally learned that they will never be able to pay the interest on those debts. There’s some other reason Europe is spending countless hours pretending to disentangle an “impossible” knot.

Reading this post on ZH this morning, I think I may now know the answer. The European Project is all about reducing cultural and national identity administrative distinctions. Being an Italian simply means living in a place that used to be a country called Italy. If you are a Bantu who floated over last week, granted EU citizenship and now reside in Milan, you are an Italian!

Here we have the Greek stubbornly acting like Greeks by voting out politicians who go along with the European program. They voted out one main party for another and when that failed they voted out the main parties altogether. Syriza, despite its Marxist trappings, won on an explicit appeal to Greek patriotism. The Greeks even went so far as to vote in huge numbers against the EU proposal in last week’s plebiscite.

The result, as that Zero Hedge piece points out, is the Greek parliament voting in favor of the same deal that was rejected last week by the people. Talk about the ultimate in humiliation. If you are a Greek who voted for Syriza and against this plan, you have to feel like a fool. The people in charge are laughing at you. All you did with your silly voting is waste the ruler’s time and for that you will suffer.

And that has been the point all along. It’s not the money. It’s the humiliation. The Greeks have been cast in a German snuff film for the titillation of German technocrats and as a warning to everyone now living under the German yoke. You either goose step to the tune being played in Brussels or end up like Greece.

In the last century, Marxism relied on personal humiliation to break the will of people. The rulers would require the people to say ridiculous things in public about the wonderfulness of the regime and it’s animating theodicies. Children would be made to sing party songs and officials would be required to participate in official charades. It was all intended to humiliate the people. It is hard to rise up in revolt after you have been made to toady to the state in front of your peers.

There was also the forced confession and the struggle sessions. Forced confessions were how individual heresies were made into collective ones. They turned a natural virtue – empathy – into a vice. How could one feel sorry for a suffering human who had gone against the revolution? It was intended to atomize the citizen, cutting off his loyalties to his fellows and replacing it with loyalty to the state.

The struggle session worked similarly. The heretic would be forced to confront their own apostasies in such a way that altered them emotionally. Everything about them, right down to their core, was challenged and questioned. Once they could no longer trust themselves, they could only trust their masters in the party.

Ultimately, that is what has happened in Greece. It is one long struggle session. Like the forced confessions and show trials the Soviets were so fond of, this was intended not just for the Greeks, but the rest of Europe. The Greek Finance Minister said it was to warn the French, about being French. It was certainly a warning to the Brits and others who have patriotic parties making noises about Europe.

If you are a Greek citizen, how can you have any faith in your Greek democracy? Why would you bother with it? You now see that voting is just a charade. The people making the decisions are in Berlin and Brussels and they speak German. Those are the people in charge, not those guys lobbying for your vote. Comrade, why are you struggling against the tide of history?

As an aside, if you ever thought about what Europe would have been like if the Nazis had won, take a look at today’s Europe. Eventually Hitler would have died, probably assassinated, and been replaced by technocrats like Albert Speer. The Germans love technocrats more than they love scat films. By now, rule by street thug would have given way to rule by lemon-pussed technocrats.

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BillH
BillH
5 years ago

Lewis Carroll would be proud.

wordly wiseman
wordly wiseman
5 years ago

Let us not forget the Imperial Capital. While today’s EU is basically Neumann mitteleuropa, Greece entered because of American pressure. Almost every public statement in dc was in favor of a deal .

james wilson
james wilson
5 years ago

I don’t blame the Germans. Centralization and uniformity is a virus that is embedded in all humans. We mistake the disease for the cure. For those who choose to live by the disease it is better to be ruled by Germans, who by temperament are better suited to it. The Greeks have made no case for exceptionalism for 2500 years, quite the contrary. But accidents happen. This has the look of a continuing accident. Anyway, it’s been a fair number of decades since one wise soul or another observed that we are not going to vote our way out of… Read more »

Aeneas
Aeneas
Reply to  james wilson
5 years ago

The Greeks definitely are excepcional, they could have been even more if they had solved the “Abrahamic Question” two thousand years ago.

Dan Kurt
Dan Kurt
Member
Reply to  Aeneas
5 years ago

Aeneas you have a flawed premise here. The current Greeks are not genetically the Greeks of 2000 years ago let 2500 years ago as being conquered and inbred by asiatic immigrants replaced the white genetic ancient Greeks with a mixed race current people of lower mean IQ. White Sweden is going that route currently.

Dan Kurt

UKer
UKer
5 years ago

I have said this before so I will say it again as I like the sound of echoes. The whole thing — the west in general and certainly the EU in particular — is too complex to be managed as we think it ought to be managed. It cannot be led, it can only be organised. It cannot function without a consensus of people who all together and equally have no idea what to do. As increasingly there are no nations so there can be no figures to inspire or guide because no one has a responsibility or an affinity… Read more »

Dutch
Dutch
5 years ago

So the obnoxious Greek protests against the Germans, calling them Nazis and demanding war reparations, are actually a logical piece of the puzzle, rather than a random outlier in the stream of events. In the context of this article, that Greek name-calling and the demands all make sense.

Separately, the “personal humiliation” closely follows what the so-called “Progressives” do to the rest of us, every chance they get.

Nedd Ludd
Nedd Ludd
5 years ago

… As I understand the Greek problem: The Greeks have been living well beyond their means for a fair number of years. Most don’t work too hard, pay no taxes and retire early. Who can blame them? Greece has great weather, wonderful beaches, and lots of pretty European girls who come to vacation there. The European banks and the EU countries have been lending the Greeks the money to enable this leisurely lifestyle for years. Greece now owes their EU patrons €360,000,000,000.00. In recent years they’ve borrowed money simply to make the interest payments. Greece never had the money to… Read more »

Herzog
Herzog
5 years ago

Sure, it’s imposing a “yoke” when you refuse to endlessly throw money after a profligate spender and notorious liar who on top of this insults you every other minute.

The Greeks are semi-Orientals: Whenever Mr. Tsipras sounds off on TV, it’s as much or even more about “dignity” and “honor” than about making a joint effort toward solving a joint practical / technical problem. Oh, and what about the dignity that lies in not lying and paying back the debt you owe?

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5 years ago

[…] I have found the Greek financial crisis endlessly fascinating over the last five years. […]

Texan99
Texan99
5 years ago

The Greeks are humiliated because they’re living beyond their means, which requires begging from other people. They’re angry because they don’t think they should be made to beg, but on the other hand they don’t want the alms to stop. I don’t find the Greeks’ attitude in this any more puzzling than I usually find it in people who chronically live beyond their means and cadge others and get mad about the “attitude” they have to swallow from the cadgees. What is more puzzling is the willingness of German taxpayers to keep the vein open. Is there no limit to… Read more »

Herzog
Herzog
Reply to  thezman
5 years ago

What you’re saying feels wrong. Ordinary Greeks, while occasionally capable of mustering some mild discontent with their state and business / oligarch elites, generally seem to share the same cheating mentality, coupled with intense self-righteous nationalism. It’s not their oligarchs that they get worked up about and are mad at. Rather, they are out in droves denouncing Ms. Merkel as a Nazi, drawing her finance minister as a wheelchair-bound IS terrorist putting the blade to a kneeling Greek’s throat in an orange jumpsuit, and, their latest ingeniousity, comparing the most recent Eurogroup-Greece agreement to an Auschwitz-like extermination campaign against the… Read more »