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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  July 7, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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07/07/15 07/07/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> the events in greece are a kind of morality play that affect the whole world. on the one hand, the poor corner of europe saying it is had enough with economic policies that shift the burden of this crisis, the cost of dealing with it, on to average people and off of the bankers and governments that are responsible. how it plays out will effect every country struggling with same issue including the united states. amy: the battle over austerity. as greek voters reject further budget cuts and tax hikes in exchange for a rescue package from european creditors, who is to blame for the debt crisis embroiling greece? is germany trying to crush
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greece to set an example? will greece leave the eurozone? what does this mean for the global economy? we will go to athens to speak with paul mason and in the united states economist richard wolff will join us in new york. he will also look at the rise of democratic socialist presidential candidate bernie sanders as he draws the largest crowds of the 2016 race democrat or republican. all that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. greek prime minister alexis tsipras has arrived in brussels for an emergency euro zone summit two days after greek voters overwhelmingly turned down the terms of an international bailout in a historic rejection of austerity. on sunday, greeks by a 61 to 39% margin voted against further budget cuts and tax hikes in exchange for a rescue package from european creditors. tsipras is scrambling to present a new bailout proposal as greek banks remain shut down.
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if greek banks run out of money and the country has to print its own currency, it could mean a state leaving the euro for the first time since it was launched in 1999. speaking ahead of today's summit european commission president , jean-claude juncker said the ball is in greece's court. >> the ball lies in the court of the greek government and the greek government must explain in brussels today how it sees us extricating ourselves from the situation. the president of the european commission and the european commission are ready to do whatever necessary within a reasonable timeframe to reach an agreement. amy: we'll spend the rest of the hour on the crisis in greece after headlines. in yemen, clashes and airstrikes by the saudi-led coalition have killed nearly 200 people including many civilians, in what appears to be the deadliest day since the u.s.-backed offensive began. in total nearly 3000 people have , been killed since late march when the saudi-led coalition began airstrikes against
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shiite houthi rebels. among those killed on monday were 30 people at a market in the northern province of amran and 60 people at a livestock market in the southern town of al-foyoush. last week the united nations declared the highest-level humanitarian emergency in yemen, were it says more than 80% of the population needs aid. in syria, kurdish fighters have reportedly retaken more than 10 villages seized by the self-proclaimed islamic state around the isil stronghold of raqqa. the british-based syrian observatory for human rights said the victory came amidst intensified u.s.-led airstrikes. speaking on monday, president obama vowed to increase u.s. support for opposition fighters in syria, and ramp up what he called a long-term campaign against isil. >> in short, isil plus recent losses prove that isil can a will be defeated. indeed, we are intensifying our efforts against isil base in
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syria and we will continue to target the oil and gas facilities that fund so much of their operations. we're going after the isil leadership and infrastructure in syria, the heart of isil that pumps funds and propaganda to people around the world. amy: iraqi forces meanwhile are said to be preparing for a counteroffensive to retake the key city of ramadi from isil. there is no sign of an agreement yet between iran and world powers who are trying to reach nuclear deal ahead of today's self-imposed deadline. it appears likely the talks will be extended with key issues in dispute, including u.n. sanctions on iran's ballistic missile program and a wider arms embargo. the real deadline could be thursday, the last day for president obama to present a deal to congress before a mandatory review period of 30 days jones to 60 days. the south carolina senate has voted to remove the confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol.
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the vote was 37 to 3, far more than the two thirds majority needed to advance the bill. the vote came 19 days after nine african-american worshipers, including south carolina state senator reverend clementa pinckney were gunned down in a , charleston church by a racist suspect who embraced the confederate flag. republican state senator larry martin, who for decades opposed attempts to remove the flag from the capitol grounds said he , changed his mind following the massacre. >> to see that thing fluttering out there, in a way that sort of gives some official status to it on behalf of the people of south carolina -- that doesn't represent all the people of south carolina, and we need to remember that. and in that regard, it is part of our history. it needs to be respected in whatever way or honored in whatever way folks choose to do. but as far as this state state
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house grounds, it is in part of our future. it is part of our past. amy: the bill to remove the flag still needs to pass a second vote in the state senate today before advancing to the house. among the three state senators who voted against removing the flag was state senator lee bright, who sought an amendment to put the flag's fate to a popular vote. senator bright used the debate as an opportunity to condemn recent court decisions in favor of same-sex marriage. >> our governor called us in to deal with the flag that sits out front. let's deal with the nationalsin we face today. we talked about abortion, but i think this will be one nation gone under like president reagan said, if we are not one nation under god, we will be one nation gone under. and to sanctify deviant behavior from five judges, it is time to make our stay in church, time to
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make our stand, and we're not doing it. we can rally together and talked about a flag all we want, but the devil is taking control of this land and we are not stopping him. amy: the supreme court's historic decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the country came the same day as the funeral for reverend clementa pinckney. some have called for replacing the confederate flag with a rainbow flag. new york city has agreed to pay more than $300,000 to six occupy wall street protesters who were doused with pepper spray by police in an encounter which helped ignite the movement. video of the incident shows new york city police deputy inspector anthony bologna pepper-spraying a group of peaceful protesters, most of them women, while they are trapped in an orange police net. the protesters received settlements of up to $60,000 each, the highest payouts to date for individual occupy wall street protesters. the police inspector, anthony bologna, was penalized with the loss of 10 vacation days for
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violating police guidelines. leaked documents appear to show an italy-based private spyware company known as the hacking team was selling its products to u.s. law enforcement agencies and repressive governments around the world. the hacking team sells software which lets users seize remote control of another person's computer. its customers include the fbi, the drug enforcement administration, and the u.s. army, as well as foreign governments including ethiopia sudan, saudi arabia, and bahrain. the documents were published to the company's own twitter feed following an apparent breach. wikileaks and the intercept i have revealed the national security agency's targeting of brazilian officials was far wider than initially known. while previous reports revealed the nsa targeted brazilian president dilma rousseff's personal cell phone, documents obtained by wikileaks and the intercept show the nsa targeted the cell phones and other devices of more than a dozen top brazilian political and financial officials, including
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the phone on rousseff's presidential plane. the revelations come amid new reports the united states spied on the german newsmagazine der spiegel. meanwhile, former attorney general eric holder, who waged an unprecedented crackdown on government whistleblowers during his tenure, has said the "possibility exists" for the justice department to cut a deal with nsa edward snowden allowing him to return to the united states from russia. in the latest sign of the revolving door between wall street and washington, eric holder is returning to the corporate law firm where he worked before becoming head of the justice department. holder was a partner at the firm covington and burling for eight years before he became attorney general, representing clients including ubs and the fruit giant chiquita. the law firm's client list has included many of the big banks holder failed to criminally prosecute as attorney general for their role in the financial crisis -- including bank of america, jpmorgan chase, wells
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fargo and citigroup. the law firm had reportedly kept a corner office vacant for holder. a new study has revealed the vast majority of elected prosecutors across the united states are white. the study by the women donors network found 66% of states that elect prosecutors have no african-americans in office. of the more than 2400 elected state and local prosecutors in office last year, 95% were white and 79% were white men. court documents obtained by the associated press show bill cosby admitted obtaining quaaludes to give to young women he wanted to have sex with and acknowledged giving the drugs to at least one woman. cosby made the admission in 2005 in a deposition as part of a sexual abuse case brought against him by a former temple university employee.
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about 40 women have accused cosby of sexual assaulting them in incidents dating back four decades. the u.s. women's soccer team is being honored at a rally in los angeles, california today after they beat japan to win the world cup on sunday. their victory shattered tv rating records, becoming the most-viewed soccer game ever in the united states, men's or women's. yet the international soccer organizing body fifa, which is under fire for rampant corruption, forced the women to play on artificial turf and awarded the team just $2 million total for their victory, a fourth of what the u.s. men's team received after they lost in the first round of the men's world cup last year. and protests and commemorations were held across the united states and canada monday to mark two years since the deadly oil train derailment in lac-mégantic, quebec. the train was carrying volatile crude oil from north dakota's bakken shale when it exploded on july 6, 2013, killing 47 people
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and destroying dozens of buildings. in portland, oregon monday, 60 people held a memorial blockade, blocking the tracks into an oil transfer and storage facility and holding signs with the names and ages of the victims. the action is part of dozens planned in the coming days as part of the stop oil trains week of action. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. greek prime minister alexis tsipras has arrived in brussels for an emergency euro zone summit two days after greek voters overwhelmingly turned down the terms of an international bailout in a historic rejection of austerity. on sunday, greeks by 61 to 39% margin, voted against further budget cuts and talk hikes -- tax hikes. tsipras is scrambling to present a new bailout proposal as greek banks remain shut down. if greek angst run out of money
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in the country is to print its own currency, it could mean a state leaving the euro for the first time since it was launched in 1999. german chancellor angela merkel and french president francois hollande met in paris monday to discuss the crisis. >> we have been paying close attention to the voting results and we respect greece's referendum. the door remains open for discussions. it is up to the government of alexis tsipras to make serious credible proposals so this willingness to stay in the eurozone can be realized. amy: in athens, euclid tsakalotos was sworn in monday as greece's new finance minister replacing yanis varoufakis who , resigned. tsakalotos had served as greece's main negotiator on the bailout and has been a member of syriza for nearly a decade. like varoufakis, tsakalotos has been a vocal opponent of fiscal austerity imposed by the core of
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the euro zone saying it has unnecessarily impoverished greece and other countries on the periphery. >> i will not hide from you that i'm nervous and very anxious. it is not the easiest time in greek history to be taking on this job. there are class issues with this vote, simple working-class and middle-class people who have lost their businesses so that we want to trust the government to deliver a viable situation. amy: to talk more about greece we are joined by two guests. in athens is paul mason, economics editor at channel 4 news. he is producer of the forthcoming documentary about greece titled, "and dreams shall take revenge." and here in new york is richard wolff, emeritus professor of economics at university of massachusetts, amherst and visiting professor at new school university. he hosts a weekly national radio program called economic update. the author of several books including most recently, "democracy at work: a cure for capitalism." let's go first to athens. all mason, first, were you
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surprised by sunday's vote? and talk about what this means now. >> i was surprised by the size of it, but of course all of the opinion polls were effectively rubbish because you just can't opinion poll a country like this on an issue like this. but the size of it astonished not only the germans, but also the syriza leadership as well. i think both of the size of the rally that proceeded it friday night visibly shocked the leadership and alexis tsipras. it filled the square behind me and several streets around it. it was six times bigger than the opposing right-wing yes rally. and the vote itself, probably maybe 35% to 40% leftist voters here. to get 60% means liberals, conservatives, people who are not political must have voted for the "no" and i think it is
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part of what we are observing on the ground, very rough and rugged right -- realization -- i think it is probably fair to say nine out of 10 of the media groups that are camped out here in greece are not getting that because they are tied to the satellite dishes that are all around me. there is a radicalization going on. it happened the last two days of last week were people saw tv stations owned by oligarchs come together not only the usual one-sided news, but actual straightforward sort of world war ii-style propaganda for the "yes" camp. many people said they switched their votes when they sabe's tv stations break even the most rudimentary greek -- which are not very good -- tv regulations. basically, they make fox news look objective. amy: on to ask you about yanis varoufakis, who briefly spoke to reporters after he announced his surprise resignation as finance
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minister on monday. >> what is happening here is just a change of the guard between something more than comrades. we are friends, colleagues fellow academics. euclid and i have shared similar ideals for a long time. amy: yanis varoufakis left the ministry of finance with his wife today on the back of a motorbike in down to -- downtown athens, two days before the greek referendum. he was interviewed by you, paul, for channel four news. this is a clip of what he said. >> yanis varoufakis, you said you would resign if there was a yes vote on sunday. what would you do if there is a no vote? >> we're going to press ahead. one that is viable unlike the deals offered to us by the institutions. the only reason we're having this event, paul, we were given an ultimatum on the basis of a set of proposals which we considered to be nonviable.
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in other words, up to four months from now, we're going to be still mired in an endless negotiation with an economy fading without investment. we thought we should put this to the greek people. except this if you wish, but if you don't, empower us with a no to seek a better deal for europe. amy: yanis varoufakis said he would quit if there was a yes vote. there was an overwhelming no vote and he quit. explain. >> look, the official explanation is he did it to lessen the physical and sort of moral friction there is with the creditors. he has been winding them up very effectively for months and they don't like him. the reason they don't like him is he is u.s.-trained. he speaks perfect english and speaks the language of the imf, the world bank, and wall street.
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and silicon valley, where he worked. that is the official reason. i think there is an extra set of reasons, though. it is like this. varoufakis privately, throughout these negotiations, i think, was urging a tougher stance. an earlier break. the break is called the rupture here in greece. the strategy of rupturing began in june, early june. i think he wanted to do that earlier. i think he wanted to go out to the people physically earlier. and i think -- because he is a professional economist whose entire career has been based on this critique of austerity, as finance minister, what is he going to do? the best deal they're going to get today is 8 billion euros worth of austerity over two years. because that is what they offered two weeks ago. i know he believed that deal itself is a recessionary deal. unless there is several tens of billions poured into greece in
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the form of a kind of marshall plan, that would offset it. so i think he is getting -- everything is psychological. the background of the two men. tsakalotos and varoufakis above people i've spoken to at length during this crisis. tsakalotos is organically from the new left generation that you know very well, amy, and your listeners probably know well going back to the declaration etc., in the 1960's. varoufakis is not. he came from the center. just basically, people know who have been on the left for some time, for decades it tends to build a level of patience in you . you can do things and accept things moving slowly. varoufakis, mentally, i think wanted to win and he wanted to win big time.
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and a win now. they're not going to win now. summit is going to have to sign a deal that is a compromise. maybe they win or maybe they advance when they have short of behind the main greek society little bit more support for the things they want to do because although 60% of people voted no, you don't see 60% of people on the streets out there protesting in favor of syriza or 60% of people out there self organizing and doing the soup kitchens and the voluntary pharmacies. activists will tell you that is the hard part. so for the strategist of tsakalotos and tsakalotos is a strategist of the syriza party this is one step of taking greek society down the route of a left-wing project. and maybe varoufakis will be leading from the sidelines. i know what i spoke to him, he is looking for to being a back venture. amy: a want to turn to comments made by the new greek finance minister euclid tsakalotos earlier this year.
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while speaking to sinn fein activists in march, he described the negotiations between greece and its creditors as part of a wider ideological struggle across europe. we will be seeking to negotiate the new deal to address greece's nonsustainable debt. no economy that has lost the quarter of its gdp has won a 5% of its population unemployed in over 50% of attempt people unemployed and as one third of its population facing extreme poverty can be expected to repay its debt with the success in high primary services. for all of this we need solidarity of european people's. some european governments will be arguing we should not get problematic greeks special treatment. but you know that we are not asking for special treatment the for equal treatment in a europe of equals. [applause]
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greeks of at the biggest per capita fiscal judgment -- adjustment since the prices began. harley special treatment when you consider the bailout was more to serve northern banks and sovereign peoples. amy: that is the new greek finance minister euclid tsakalotos earlier this year in ireland addressing sinn fein. we're joined by paul mason, who has been intensively covering syriza and what has been going on in greece. in new york, we're joined by richard wolff professor economist here at the new school. your response to what is happening and what the new finance minister was just saying? >> i think the real importance of what is happening is that fundamentally a poor corner of europe has said it will no longer absorb the disproportionate burden of this crisis and of the bailouts that have been used to cope with it. basically, what is going on here is the richer countries of
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europe led by germany are shifting the burden of all these crises that they are responsible for onto people in greece. they never imagined that in trying to do that they would generate their worst nightmare -- a left-wing political organization that goes from 4% of the vote a few years ago to an ability to call out a referendum and get 60% of the people to support them. so they have generated a response, and that struggle of which this is only one step, is what is being played out here and that is why it is relevant for the rest of europe and to the united states -- everywhere where there is mounting evidence of people saying, no, we will not continue to absorb the cost of a system that works in this dysfunctional way. amy: we're going to go to break. when we come back, talk about the alternatives, what the alternatives to austerity are. in athens as well is in europe,
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and even here at home. we're joined by new school professor, economist richard wolff as well as paul mason, the economics reporter for channel four news, economics editor speaking to us from athens. back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: popular songs and music including the scores for the movie "zorba the greek" were banned in the 1960's. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we talk about what is happening in greece, what is happening in europe, what is the trend happening in different places all over the world and the global repercussions of the battle taking place over austerity in greece? paul mason with this, economic editor for channel four news, producer of the forthcoming documentary about greece titled. "and dreams shall take revenge." and richard wolff, now at new
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school. paul mason, before we lose you on the satellite, do you share this view that this is a turning point in european history? >> tonight and tomorrow [inaudible] tonight and tomorrow absolutely strategic moments for europe because the europeans know that not only the 60% of people in greece vote against the austerity, that means the structural reforms of the imf try to do that the greeks have been saying will work here -- you cannot impose economic structural reforms in a population that is voted 60% against them with the television blaring propaganda for them every tv station and every newspaper virtually doing that, you just can't do it. this down a question of argument but a question of fact. because they know that, the europeans met last night and
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they're supposed to come up with something. we will find out today what that thing is. if it is more division and recourse to the roles -- the rules say the greek banks should be forced into submission. the rules of the various bailout funds say greece should get no more money. well the rules are going to destroy europe in that case. if they cannot break out of the rules, then they are going -- it is no longer here syriza and the greek people, the actor, the protagonist in the trauma, the protagonist is europe. we need to decide if it has a single personality or a split one. we need to decide whether it will save greece or not. we will probably find that out in the next 36 hours. if not, the streets behind me which remained calm in the face of the big media attempt to cause panic, will eventually reach some kind of breaking point because you can't shut supermarkets and pharmacies and
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doctors surgeries for so long, for too long. their open now, but if the banks collapse, it will be in uncharted territory. the other thing is, syriza's response. yesterday, syriza had a party with everyone except the communist party. but every other party agreed to back syriza in its negotiations today. if the ecb decides to completely crashed the greek banking system, i do not believe this government will do what a normal government would do, which is to first of all why the other shareholders and then white out some of the depositors. they will more likely wipe out the private ownership of the banks themselves and nationalize them. if they do that, that is like pressing the new their button for the european union -- nuclear button for the european union. the most likely find itself suspended from the payments. then we would be talking greece exit zone -- exit from the eurozone.
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in the last 48 hours, fervently wishes they do not get to that point. they do not want to get to that point. at this is not a party that is going to step back and just do what the international finance people want it to do. they would rather lose power than do that, and they know 6% of people would rather they did not lose power. amy: the ecb being the european central bank. richard wolff germany clearly is controlling this situation. of any country. why do they want to crush greece, or do they? >> i think the germans face a choice. they are worried that as the richest country in as the country that controls the situation, and as a country that historically has benefited from the very thing that greece now wants, which they don't want to give to the greeks, that they face the risk that if they crush greece, it will produce the reaction paul has described. on the other hand, they will send a message to the spanish,
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the to be a tie-in, to the portuguese, and others were basically in a very similar situation, only they are much larger. the germans are there -- afraid it will have to bail out of europe. on the other hand, if they don't get a deal with greece, then they face the possibility of left-wing governments in these other countries and hold transformation, and they're choosing between them. the irony, the historical irony is something i think we need to understand. back in 1953, the germans or the very crushed economy in that case because of the great depression and the fact they lost world war ii, went to the united states, france, and britain and said, we can't join you as a bulwark against the soviet union unless you relieve us it are enormous debts that
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are in hampering us to grow. across 1953, they had meetings in london. when those meetings concluded with the so-called london agreement, here is what germany got from the united states france and britain -- 50% of their outstanding debt, which was very high, was erased. the other 50% of their that was stretched out over 30 years. in effect, germany got the relief of all of its basic indebtedness based on two world wars that they were held accountable for and that enable them to have the so-called does economic miracle that happened. they now refused to give to greece what they got. refused to allow greece to have the chance to solids economic problems just the way germany asked for and got. this discrepancy between these two countries is producing a stress inside europe that is what paul mason correctly points to fundamentally dangerous to
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the whole project of the united states and europe. amy: paul mason, what about the people of germany and other european countries versus their governments? that are pressuring greece right now? and also, in addition to your analysis of germany's role paul, people cannot take out more than what is equivalent to $60, 67 euros, from the bank right now. the banks actually closed until wednesday, if not beyond. and what does that mean? is there a rift between younger people who voted overwhelmingly know and pensioners who were more supportive of the yes vote? >> know, a mean, let's take that to start with. greek is divided between left and right, the grandchildren of people who fought in the civil war here in the late 1940's and the communist resistance movement that defeated the not season 1944. that goes back a long way. -- not sees in 1944.
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that goes back a long way. when tsipras even tried to make a compromise were 70 coats of pensioners who tried his from the street. don't they get is young and old. it is left versus right. it is a class issue as well. the richest areas voted 80% yes the poorest areas voted 80% no. at the greek elite got a lesson that poet shelley talk english elite in the aftermath of the 1819 massacre in the famous line for dust from his poem ,ye are many, they are few. you can't when a referendum with only rich people. on the 60 day withdrawal, it is in a strange way redistributed. young people here on average 400 euros a month. that is what you get for waiting tables and you'll find many
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graduates and phd's waiting tables. if you draw 60 euros a day you're not going to be drawing 60 euros a day. some people are walking around the city with five euros in their pocket. that has been survivable for them, but not really survivable for businesses. i'm finding extreme pain. it is the supply chain, the ability to settle accounts. i understand large corporate's, the big global corporate scum are keeping supplies coming in even while they're not being paid. they have been advised to do that to avoid damage. but it is the greek corporate scum of the greek medium and large enterprises that don't have that ability where things are breaking down. if banks were to go on top of that, that would be an awful situation. to sum up your because i have to rush and do my day job and complete the documentary we have been working on for six months here, to sum up here is the
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europeans cannot afford to let this country go. as rick says, it is about europe. but we are all one border away from the islamic state. we have the turkish border and the turkish border with the kurdish areas, and that is the islamic state. some greek islands five miles away or less than five miles away from turkey where syrian refugees are pouring in at thousands week. and then we are in the region of vladimir putin and the newly belligerent russia. do you really want a state that has the biggest spender per capita on military, in nato, in europe to fail? that is the issue. and the american state department is well aware of the issue. the state department are pressuring the germans very heavily. the problem is, the german people -- don't get your hopes up about german must revolt in favor of greece. yes, the left party is a party
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of syriza enrolls a couple of regions, but the leader of the social democrats in germany basically saying get lost. and many german voters who vote for that party, the german socialist party in the two right-wing parties that run the country of germany, have switched off their solidarity with southern europe. they have begun to think nationalistic lead in terms of our own economy. if you have the greeks voted for their own bailout and the germans voted against, democracy is beginning to tear the euro apart. i am afraid if angela merkel makes a deal tonight, she'll probably do it against the wishes of her own party and her own people. amy: paul mason, thank you for being with us, economics editor at channel 4 news, producing the forthcoming documentary about greece titled "and dreams shall , take revenge." go to your day job. speaking to us from athens greece. and richard wolff is still with us. internet segment, i want to talk about what is happening at home
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in the united states particularly, the rise of the democratic candidate for president bernie sanders who is a socialist himself and what that means is larger global context. this whole issue that paul mason was just referring to leaving the eurozone, what does that mean, actually? especially for people in the united states. it is hard to understand anything besides dollars as a currency. >> basically what the greeks would achieve if they let the european union is they would revert to their own currency. they can go back to the drop, which was the currency before, or new one. and once they control her currency, they can control the relative worth of that currency relative to others. if that currency becomes much much cheaper relative to the euro, which is -- which is what will happen, then everything priced in that local currency will appear very cheap to people with dollars or people with euros. and suddenly, a greek vacation will become much cheaper than a vacation anywhere else.
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greek olive oil allow price everybody else's. and that traditionally has been the way that the country blocked in this dead-end cross its way out of that dead end. it is being pulled, but they at least have the prospect that their goods will become very attractive around the world what they have to sell, and they will begin to recoup. the reason they want to go more and more that direction is that the austerity imposed on them since 2010 has given them lots of suffering with no improvement , with no chance to get out of it. therefore, there were choosing between approving dead-end in a difficult strategy, but one that had in the past worked and might in the end work again here especially, if leaving the euro meant they could also canceled their debts with or without the approval of their creditors the way the germans are arranged it, but if they had less debt and the cheaper drachma as her own currency for they at least have
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a chance where is what they were in was endless promises. amy: what exactly is happening y the pain they're now feeling in greece? what is the pain now go and what do you see the future looking like if they do pull out of the eurozone and how will their economy be shaped? >> they're being squeezed by 25% or more unemployment, by cut back in the public sector, which is the largest part of their economy of about 40% since 2010, dropping and their actual wage. businesses are closing because they canceled the payments problem that we talked about. so you have a general disintegration that has been worse in greece than in any other country. that is why they keep saying, we have been the ones who have borne the brunt of all of this and don't make us do more, that is unjust and not solidarity with the rest of europe. so they are struggling to keep their pensioners having enough to live, to prevent, for example, the continued exodus.
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they have lost tens of thousands of young greek citizens who were educated at the expense of the greek economy and are now taking what they have learned to go to other countries and work and be productive over there stop a country like greece, which is modeled begin with, can't keep hemorrhaging its best and brightest in people at the same time that everybody else's salary is collapsing. this is an economy or you have to look for a metaphor, go back to the depths of the depression of the 1930's when we had comparable kinds of situation of desperate people in recent poverty, they want out of that because, otherwise, they face an indefinite future of this kind -- amy: what happens to the rich people in greece and what about the issue of taxes? >> well, you know, that is the unspoken but real story behind all of this. because the more the europeans squeeze the greeks with a left-wing government that government, especially
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strengthened by the referendum now, has to sooner or later -- and paul referred to this -- go after the wealth that is they are in order to solve some of these problems. they should have done that a long time ago, but they never had a leftist government with the mindset to do it. now they do. and that is the great thing here that you are converting a problem of european disequilibrium and inequality into a real class struggle between the mass of the greek people on the one hand and the one place where wealth exists inside greece, among the rich and the corporations, to help them solve a problem. so you have converted a european problem into a class struggle. and if syriza can pull that off the message sent to the comparable groups and every other european country is a staggering re-conception of what the future of europe may look like where the words
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"anti-capitalism" become a unifying slogan for people across that continent. angela's great danger is that in person -- pushing as hard as she has, she may reap the whirlwind of results. amy: issue where of this? >> i'm sure she must be. the victims -- they're victims of their own propaganda. the converted an economic crisis international list. we versus them mentality. we germans who work hard against the greeks we don't. it reminded me of nothing so much as mr. romney's unfortunate remark in the last campaign where he divided americans into the 47% moochers in the 53% who work hard, trying to the 53% to believe there were caring the other 47%. that is what the germans have done from "we germans work very hard and we are caring these lazy greeks." this put aside a questionable issue of whether the germans ought to play such a nationalist card given their history but this is a way of solidifying opposition to what is going on and this is a very, very
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dangerous track. but she may be trapped by it. she has done it now. as paul said, her own people wouldn't support making a deal, she is made that impossible -- amy: a few months ago we talked to professor noam chomsky about what is happening in greece. >> it is a very significant but notice the reaction. the reaction to syriza was extremely savage. they made a little bit of progress in the negotiations but not much. the germans came down very hard list of amy: you mean in dealing -- what's in dealing desk sort of forced them to back off from almost all of the proposals. what is going on with the austerity is really class war as an economic program, austerity under recession makes no sense. it just makes the situation worse. so the greek debt -- well the gdp has gone up during the period of the policies that are
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supposed to overcome the debt. in the case as pain, the debt was not public debt, it was private. it was the actions of the banks. and that also means the german banks. when a bank makes dangerous risky borrowing, summit is making a risky lending. and the policies that are designed by the troika a basically paying off the banks the perpetrators, much like here. the population is suffering. but one of the things that is happening, the socialist democratic policies, so-called welfare state, is being eroded. that is class war. it is not an economic policy that makes any sense to end syriza the recession, and there is a reaction to it. greece spain, some in ireland growing elsewhere perhaps but it is a very dangerous situation.
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it could lead to a right-wing response. the alternative to syriza maybe a neo-nazi party, golden dawn. amy: that is noam chomsky speaking in march. with a very similar situation right now, richard wolff, you're just returned from france. >> fear that noam chomsky referred to is a reality. the anti-austerity position was taken by the far right by madame le pen who has become an important political leader in france who declared her solidarity with syriza. that is why the complicated politics of this. she sees the future of an anti-capitalism in france, enabling her white ring -- white right-wing to capture. but the anger of austerity, the resentment of the burdens of this crisis thing shifted on to average people, is becoming a european problem and the germans may discover that isolated
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themselves yet again in european history by being the champions of something which is provoking a backlash larger than anything they had first seen. amy: do you think president obama could be pressuring them in a different way? >> there is no question in my mind from the evidence that we have that the american government is more interested with a stable europe than with provoking this kind of split inside europe, partly because of the ramifications here in this country where the same anti-austerity is building. that is one of the causes for the support for bernie sanders for example. but he is also concerned the germans are making a classic political error going way too far and that this will disturb global markets, economic recovery this country is very weak and very fragile, and that doesn't want disturbings to come from a powerhouse like europe. amy: we're going to talk about
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the united states after break. we're talking with richard wolff, emeritus professor of economics at university of massachusetts, amherst and visiting professor at new school . back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. last week from a independent senator bernie sanders who is challenging flurry clinton for the democratic nomination to the largest crowd of any presidential candidate, democrat or republican, so far this election season when he spoke to 10,000 people in madison wisconsin. collects we can -- we can provide health care to every man, woman, and child as a right. we can make certain that every person in this country to get all of the education he or she needs regardless of their color.
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we can create millions of decent paying jobs. we can have the best child care system in the world. in the last 30 years, there has been a huge redistribution of wealth from the middle class and working families to the top 1/10 of 1%. our job is to reverse that, redistribute wealth back in at hands of working families. emiko in a statement released on sunday, senator sanders praised the greek referendum saying --
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that is bernie sanders comment. yesterday in portland, maine, he drew something like 9000 people. the country has not seen this kind of crowns before. front page of "the new york times" today -- talk about how sanders fits into this bigger picture, richard. >> i think what syriza shows in greece is the potential of a mass popular resistance, not only to the austerity policies that came in after the crisis of 2008, but even to the very basic system of the countries of europe that divide people into a tiny number of very wealthy and the massive poor. at the system is producing outcomes that more and more people are hurt by, are critical of, and want to change. with conventional politics, the republican and democratic parties here and there equipment
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all across europe don't see it, don't act on it, don't even speak about it. so it becomes a kind of vacuum where there is no political expression of what a growing mass of people feel both about austerity and capitalism as a system, and so it is like a solution into which you drop that last little bit of hard material and every thing crystallizes. everybody is waiting for the new political voice to emerge that speaks to and represents what the traditional politics have failed to do. bernie sanders is doing that in this country and he is doing a very well. exactly like syriza surprised everybody. in england, there's a struggle going on inside the labour party where a candidate like bernie sanders is surprising everybody by the support he is getting inside the struggle for who will be the new leader of the labour party. so you see everywhere the signs of an emerging left-wing, not
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because of some political maneuver, but because of the enormous vacuum that the left leadership can take advantage of given what has happened in the last eight years of this capitalist global system. amy: how does bernie sanders compared to hillary clinton? >> she is the old. she is the state, due by the books, the old roles as paul said so nicely. she is playing the game the way the game has been played for decades. bernie sanders is saying the thinkable, saying it out loud saying it with passion putting himself forward even though the name socialist, which was supposed to be a political death sentence, as if it weren't there. and he is showing for the mass of the american people, it is not the bad word it once was. it is sort of a kind of position in which the conventional parties are so out of touch with how things have changed, that they make it easy for mr.
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sanders to have the kind of response he is getting. my hats off to him doing it. amy: explain what socialism means. >> that is a big one. it traditionally meant instead of private ownership of means of production, factories and land and offices, you are socializing. the government takes it over. instead of having bargaining in the market, buying and selling goods to one another, we work from a governmental plan. so gives the government and enormous power, but the idea was if the government owns and operates the businesses and if the government plans how we distribute goods and services, it will all be done more democratically, center etc.. that was owes the idea. the problem was, socialist have to admit that giving the government that much power raises a whole new set of problems, which the soviet union and china and so on illustrate. so the question is, are there
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other ways of understanding socialism that gets sb benefits without the negatives? i think the new direction is the whole focus at the enterprise level, of changing the way we organize enterprises so they stop being top-down, hierarch board of directors makes all the decisions, and we move to this idea which is now catching on -- cooperation, workers owning and operating collectively and democratically their economy and their enterprise. amy: senator sanders talks about it, he talks about the example of scandinavia. >> scandinavia is an example and he also talks about co-ops. there is the hint of what he is hopefully going to say more about. that if we believe in democracy as we claim to do, then we should have instituted democracy from the beginning in the workplace. after all, where most adults been most of their lives, work, five out of seven days, 9:00 to 5:00. if you believe in democracy, why
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haven't we made our workplaces democratic or cooperatives? i think the new direction of socialism is taking and that will make it extremely powerful both in the united states and europe is a system in which yes, the government is given a whole set of roles, but the base that will control the government are workers who now own and operate enterprises and therefore will have the power to constrain that government -- that is a way of fixing and learning from socialism's. amy: bernie sanders is also talking about taxing the rich. taxes in the u.s., the standard issue can talk about it, but we're seeing a level of wealth gone from the bottom to the top like we have never seen in history. can you talk about what that would look like? >> one way, disease it a talk about it because it is going back to something we in america -- it is easy to talk about because it is going back to something we in america once had. i often have to explain because of our strange and mean -- amnesia about what we once had. for example, at the end of world
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war ii, for every dollar paid into the federal government by individuals in personal income tax, corporations paid one dollar $.50. corporations paid 50% more than individuals as a whole. today the relationship is for every one dollar we as individuals pay, corporations pay $.25. in other words there's been a change in the taxes. another example, and the 1950's and 1960's, the richest people paid income tax rate of 90% or above. today they pay 39% as the maximum. what we've seen, and bernie said it quite right, a massive change in the tax structure benefiting the richest and putting the burden on the middle and the bottom. and all we're asking people like bernie sanders for that matter me, is that we go back to what we had, especially when you remember that the 1950's and 1960's when we taxed the rich, with rates of economic growth
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much faster than we have had now that we don't tax the many more. we have lower kinds of economic development because we help the rich which is bizarre because the argument for helping the rich has always been, that is what you need to do to get economic growth. at the actual history of the united states is the reverse. amy: we want to thank you for being with us, richard wolff emeritus professor of economics , at university of massachusetts, amherst and visiting professor at new school university. he's written a number of books, among his latest is "democracy , at work: a cure for capitalism." he also has a radio show that broadcasts on pacifica radio stations and community radio stations around the country club economic update. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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