Greece Striking Again

Tyler Durden's picture

Oh the joys of austerity. In Greece things are finally warming up, even as the weather is cooling off, and vacation bills come due. Don't expect to see any live footage on CNBC, as Waddell & Reed may be forced to sell 10 ES contracts and wipe out the entire market, but back in Athens things are right about where we left them off on May 6: Greek civil servants have stopped work
for 24 hours, "pushing ahead with protests against
EU/IMF prescribed austerity measures despite a waning turnout." Reuters reports: "
Tax offices, public schools and some public services shut
down, while public hospitals worked with emergency staff.
Flights to and from Greek airports were to be grounded for four
hours up to 1600 GMT, when air traffic controllers joined the
action." For the sake of keeping the ponzi alive, we hope at least Fed helicopters are allowed to make emergency landings in the general area of the Acropolis, or to at least paradrop buckets full of green colored linen to keep the peasantry content for a few more weeks.

Civil servants have been particularly hit, with wages cut by an average of 15 percent, in addition to tax hikes and a pension freeze agreed to help restore the country's finances in return for a 110 billion euro ($154 billion) EU/IMF bailout.

"Thank God I don't have a family. I'd be in great trouble. They've slashed my salary by 20 percent," said Christos Kourniotis, 44, a public school teacher marching in Athens. "We can't go on like this."

But fewer than 3,000 people turned out at a peaceful protest march, chanting "Thieves" and "Crooks" and holding banners reading "Tax the rich" and "No sacrifices for the IMF" -- a far smaller crowd than in similar demonstrations this summer.

A pension reform protest in July drew 12,000 people, already a drop from the 50,000 who took to the streets on May 5.

Public and private sector unions have staged six general strikes this year, but their failure to change the government's course has discouraged protestors. Many Greeks have also been put off by the deaths of three people at a violent protest march in May.

This being Greece of course, some have taken a unique twist on striking: they are protesting the protest itself:

"I can't blame those who don't take to the streets any
more," 18-year-old protester Danae Burnu said. "They think: I
shouted, I protested, so what? What happened
? Sometimes you
can't save yourself and the world at the same time, and they
lose money when they strike."

In other words, learned helplessness defined. Next up: just line up and take you bullet.

Yet there are still those who continue find it in them (not Americans) to take on the government:

But civil servants will not back down, said their union,
which represents half a million workers. "We will keep protesting, demanding that the new budget does
not include any further salary cuts," said Ilias Iliopoulos,
general secretary of public sector union ADEDY.

And here is the only picture of today's festivities we could find - apparently the photographers are also striking. If the parliament is stormed, we will bring you a live feed, in lieu of CNBC.

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Sudden Debt's picture

The Greeks had 2 options after their vacation.

1. Back to work

2. Strike so don't work


I guess they chose the most social engaged thing to do :)

AGORACOM's picture

Let me give you option 3.  Leave

Just had a very good friend of mine leave a (formerly) great job in the anti-trust division of the government and head back here to Canada where he was educated.  In his words "Greece is finished.  There is no hope for Greece over the next 10 years.  Anybody with an education is leaving Greece. Even though other countries are facing difficulties, Greece is dead. There is no hope."


George ... The Greek ... From Canada

snowball777's picture

You gotta have some sympathy for the working-class Greeks. They didn't make the shitty bargain and they've lived up to their end (dodged taxes aside, anyway).

Look at it this way: why should they be forced to eat austerity loaf while buying weapons they don't need to get IMaFia bailout bucks (ultimately from Bennie and the Inkjets)...when China is willing to front them the dough in exchange for a nice place to vacation and some baklava?

ricksventures's picture

herro china, but china wants something else than a nice vacation spot which they can enjoy right now, they want the land, the country which they will not get as greeks will not submit and china wouldn't send army to EU to comply


you are right, they should be forced to do anything, in fact their PM should be printing EU notes in Athens and giving it away on the street just because he wants them to have a good time until canibalism hits

Missing_Link's picture

the country which they will not get as greeks will not submit and china wouldn't send army to EU to comply

What makes you so sure?

All they'd have to do would be to storm through Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq, and from there to either Syria or Turkey.

The only military power standing in their way is the US.

Now, think about it.  Would the US stand up for:

  • Pakistan -- a country that's clearly a hotbed of jihadism and basically a complete mess, and which has recently blocked off the US military's pipeline into Afghanistan?
  • Iran -- our chief enemy in the Middle East and a known exporter of terror?
  • Syria -- almost as bad as Iran?
  • Iraq -- still more or less a security nightmare after all these years, and still unable to form a working government?

Look at a map.  Only four dominoes to full control of the center of the eastern hemisphere.

China's military could steamroll through the Middle East very easily since the US would be unwilling to stop it (and we definitely wouldn't be willing, for every political and economic reason imaginable).  Along the way, they'd pick up plenty of farmland, ports along the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean.

Military conquest would be easy, as China would not be bound by the self-restraint the US has shown, and would have direct access with a far larger army.

Along with that, they'd get much greater proximity to their debtor clients in the EU.

They could even grab a bite of Afghanistan along the way if they wanted it.  Which they might, if it had as much mineral wealth as the US claims.

Missing_Link's picture

Here's the sort of map I'm referring to.

I can't imagine this hasn't crossed China's mind, or that the US involvement in the Middle East isn't at least to some extent, testing the waters for our Chinese overlords.

ricksventures's picture

lets see:


so they get into the way of US army in Iraq (remains) and AFghanistan and US with our dear leader obummer capitulates and goes home crying

transporting via land without roads = lots of fun like roadside bombs, taliban now supported (again) by USA willing to fight for 1000 years, unless CHina is ready to hunt every single one of them including civilians and smoke them

China's air power is weak as far as know, in fact really weak and you cannot fight without enough air support

Just like at the recent US tankers bombings in Pakilands, no fuel = no fun


so i believe it when they cross at least one land successfully


Missing_Link's picture

I'm thinking it's far more likely that the US would willingly abandon Iraq and Afghanistan long before that.

China's air force: not a big deal.  They're the world's greatest manufacturing power; they can assemble an air force more than adequate for pushover regimes like Iran and Pakistan in a hurry (if they're not secretly doing so already).

They also have 2.25 million active military personnel, and 610 million people fit for military service -- more than double the entire population of the US.  And many of those 610 million are already unemployed and would be only too happy to be drafted.

transporting via land without roads = lots of fun like roadside bombs

Not a big problem for China depending on how they handled it.  I think if they really decided to carry out something like this, they'd fight as dirty as they needed to to win.  It would probably look a lot like the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, only much more successful.

I mean, this is China we're talking about here.  A couple dozen/hundred roadside bombs would not be a big deal for an army numbering in the millions that didn't care quite as much about the survival of its soldiers as NATO does.  China could also build the necessary roads and railroads very quickly.

taliban now supported (again) by USA willing to fight for 1000 years

HA!  No, you're delusional.  That will never happen because:

  • After 9/11, any self-respecting conservative wants the Taliban to burn in hell and will never support them or any other jihadi;
  • Any self-respecting liberal doesn't want ANY more wars in the Middle East, period; and
  • Even if we had any of the political support to stand in China's way, we can't afford a war on the scale of what it would take to stop them  ...  especially since China already owns us.
Missing_Link's picture

Oh, and in addition to the seaports (Persian Gulf / Caspian Sea / Indian Ocean / Mediterranean to add to their existing Pacific Ocean ports) and the farmland, they'd also pick up a very large proportion of the world's remaining supply of OIL.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

If China choose to steamroll through the middle east, that would give the military-industrial complex the excuse for endless war. It is the wet dream of our leaders.

Missing_Link's picture

No, not at all.

It would give the military-industrial complex a great reason to sell weapons systems worldwide, sure -- both to the Chinese and their enemies -- but not to actually get the US involved in a new war in the Middle East.

Think about it.

What self-respecting conservative would want to get involved?  Any conservative I know would look at that and say, "Great!  Let China have it.  Hey China, knock yourselves out -- we know you can run that part of the Middle East far better than the crazy terrorist jihadi assholes have been doing for so long.  Really, those were four countries that we wanted to steamroll anyway, but we could never build up the political base to do it -- thanks for saving us the trouble!"

And what self-respecting liberal would ever support any additional wars in the Middle East?  ...  Especially against an enemy as powerful (and nuclear-armed) as China?

And if that complete lack of political support across the entire political spectrum weren't enough, take into account that the US absolutely cannot afford any more wars, especially ones on the massive scale that would be required to stop China  ...  and economically, China already owns us.

Popo's picture

"as Waddell & Reed may be forced to sell 10 ES contracts and wipe out the entire market"



RobotTrader's picture

Yesterday, National Bank of Greece was the top % gainer among the financials screen.

Let's see what happens today.

doolittlegeorge's picture

is it me or can you simply "bank on the blow-up" as the euro appreciates?  I mean the idea from an ECB perspective that "we're not engaging in bailout nation(s)" seems more than a little disengenous to me.  This is delusional is it not?  And you're hearing this from a great admirer of George Plimpton no less.  I mean "they have better bailout nation"?  Clearly there must be something Europe and the USA aren't all "conflicted" about.  On the other hand "I am god destroyer of worlds" does make better copy so...invest in the krona i guess...

Minion's picture

Why don't you tell us what is going to happen tomorrow?  Or next week?  :D

ricksventures's picture

they should strike until they cannot strike anymore but long before that the country collapses and that will be the end of EU. striking for only 24 hours is worthless, bring on the collapse and grill your comrades after you run out of food or cash

john_connor's picture

Dollar pivot occurring right now it appears.  Hard bounce off 77.17

Let the currency wars kick into high gear!

snowball777's picture

What would one call such a monetary strategy...dope-a-rope?

hugolp's picture

Europe is not doing austerity!!!!

Europe is running up deficits and taxes to save the banks while reducing the social spending. Is that austeriy or robbery?

desgust's picture


Tyler, look up S21 in Germany!

It' not only against building a railways station, it's against the SYSTEM!


ricksventures's picture

"Thank God I don't have a family. I'd be in great trouble. They've slashed my salary by 20 percent," said Christos Kourniotis, 44, a public school teacher marching in Athens. "We can't go on like this."


this is nothing compared to when your country collapses and you would not be paid at all and you would be happy to find some nice gentlemen from china or arabia to sell your sisters for a loaf of bread and feta cheese

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

In a way I feel for the people and a in a way I don't. Those Europeans have such a welfare state that they sit around and do little work while live a fancy life. I would love 4 to 6 weeks vacation and work 40 hour weeks. Free health care and good pensions. F*ck yeah!

It is time to pay the piper Christos.

gwar5's picture

Is it cheap to go to Greece yet? Hey, what's a few bonfires in the streets if you can save a few....

Bill Lumbergh's picture

Who is in the casket?

ricksventures's picture

as a matter of fact it should be The land of Greece, but the vegetable is still in the hospital and nobody can cover the bills, so they hope collectors wont turn the machines off yet

Yardfarmer's picture

do not ask for whom the bell tolls...

Rodent Freikorps's picture

"Yet there are still those who continue find it in them (not Americans) to take on the government:

But civil servants will not back down, said their union" snip





Bull v. Bear's picture

CNBS talking heads reeeeaaaaalllllyyyy sad that Dow 11,000 was not hit, maybe tomorrow...

ConfederateH's picture

My son is at this moment stuck on Corsica with an empty gas tank.    The gas stations are sold out and the next delivery of gas and diesel has to come from Sardinia because of strike in Marseille...

Josephine29's picture

Well it just gets better and better doesnt it? ZH reported on the EU looking again at Greece's figures for 2006 to 2009 yesterday and here is an update on this on notayesmanseconomics.

"A senior Greek government source said that Greece’s 2009 budget will be revised to 15.1 percent of gross domestic product by EU statisticians, from 13.8 percent previously. This would push Greece’s budget gap past that of Ireland, which had the biggest shortfall in the EU last year.The changes will also mean that Greek debt will rise to 127 percent of GDP from 115.4 percent of GDP previously, the source added."

So much for all the promises of improvement

carbonmutant's picture

One point to keep in mind here:

Greek government saves €42 million a day when civil servants go on strike. So... do your civic duty.

MarketTruth's picture

 "No sacrifices for the IMF"

Perhaps it is time they move their protest to the City Of London and take on the source of their problems. Protests are good in your own country, yet you need to cut the snake's head off... and not the tail.

Gimp's picture

"Once the dog new it was beaten it just laid there and whimpered...."


virgilcaine's picture

Striking has become the Greek national pastime,  Its what they do.

Kataphraktos's picture

You Zero Hedge morons need to figure out whether you want people protesting and fighting back against all the government/IMF/World Bank/centralbank/government crap you criticize and ridicule in every post, or not. You complain about "lazy" "priveleged" Greeks protesting, but complain about Americans for not doing so. Make up your minds, already, your memes are clashing.