Alexis Tsipras' Open Letter To Germany: What You Were Never Told About Greece

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Alexis Tsipras via Syriza.net,

Most of you, dear [German] readers, will have formed a preconception of what this article is about before you actually read it. I am imploring you not to succumb to such preconceptions. Prejudice was never a good guide, especially during periods when an economic crisis reinforces stereotypes and breeds biggotry, nationalism, even violence.

In 2010, the Greek state ceased to be able to service its debt. Unfortunately, European officials decided to pretend that this problem could be overcome by means of the largest loan in history on condition of fiscal austerity that would, with mathematical precision, shrink the national income from which both new and old loans must be paid. An insolvency problem was thus dealt with as if it were a case of illiquidity.

In other words, Europe adopted the tactics of the least reputable bankers who refuse to acknowledge bad loans, preferring to grant new ones to the insolvent entity so as to pretend that the original loan is performing while extending the bankruptcy into the future. Nothing more than common sense was required to see that the application of the 'extend and pretend' tactic would lead my country to a tragic state. That instead of Greece's stabilization, Europe was creating the circumstances for a self-reinforcing crisis that undermines the foundations of Europe itself.

My party, and I personally, disagreed fiercely with the May 2010 loan agreement not because you, the citizens of Germany, did not give us enough money but because you gave us much, much more than you should have and our government accepted far, far more than it had a right to. Money that would, in any case, neither help the people of Greece (as it was being thrown into the black hole of an unsustainable debt) nor prevent the ballooning of Greek government debt, at great expense to the Greek and German taxpayer.

Indeed, even before a full year had gone by, from 2011 onwards, our predictions were confirmed. The combination of gigantic new loans and stringent government spending cuts that depressed incomes not only failed to rein the debt in but, also, punished the weakest of citizens turning people who had hitherto been living a measured, modest life into paupers and beggars, denying them above all else their dignity. The collapse of incomes pushed thousands of firms into bankruptcy boosting the oligopolistic power of surviving large firms. Thus, prices have been falling but more slowly than wages and salaries, pushing down overall demand for goods and services and crushing nominal incomes while debts continue their inexorable rise. In this setting, the deficit of hope accelerated uncontrollably and, before we knew it, the 'serpent's egg' hatched – the result being neo-Nazis patrolling our neighbourhoods, spreading their message of hatred.

Despite the evident failure of the 'extend and pretend' logic, it is still being implemented to this day. The second Greek 'bailout', enacted in the Spring of 2012, added another huge loan on the weakened shoulders of the Greek taxpayers, "haircut" our social security funds, and financed a ruthless new cleptocracy.

Respected commentators have been referring of recent to Greece's stabilization, even of signs of growth. Alas, 'Greek-covery' is but a mirage which we must put to rest as soon as possible. The recent modest rise of real GDP, to the tune of 0.7%, signals not the end of recession (as has been proclaimed) but, rather, its continuation. Think about it: The same official sources report, for the same quarter, an inflation rate of -1.80%, i.e. deflation. Which means that the 0.7% rise in real GDP was due to a negative growth rate of nominal GDP! In other words, all that happened is that prices declined faster than nominal national income. Not exactly a cause for proclaiming the end of six years of recession!

Allow me to submit to you that this sorry attempt to recruit a new version of 'Greek statistics', in order to declare the ongoing Greek crisis over, is an insult to all Europeans who, at long last, deserve the truth about Greece and about Europe. So, let me be frank: Greece's debt is currently unsustainable and will never be serviced, especially while Greece is being subjected to continuous fiscal waterboarding. The insistence in these dead-end policies, and in the denial of simple arithmetic, costs the German taxpayer dearly while, at once, condemning to a proud European nation to permanent indignity. What is even worse: In this manner, before long the Germans turn against the Greeks, the Greeks against the Germans and, unsurprisingly, the European Ideal suffers catastrophic losses.

Germany, and in particular the hard-working German workers, have nothing to fear from a SYRIZA victory. The opposite holds. Our task is not to confront our partners. It is not to secure larger loans or, equivalently, the right to higher deficits. Our target is, rather, the country's stabilization, balanced budgets and, of course, the end of the grand squeeze of the weaker Greek taxpayers in the context of a loan agreement that is simply unenforceable. We are committed to end 'extend and pretend' logic not against German citizens but with a view to the mutual advantages for all Europeans.

Dear readers, I understand that, behind your 'demand' that our government fulfills all of its 'contractual obligations' hides the fear that, if you let us Greeks some breathing space, we shall return to our bad, old ways. I acknowledge this anxiety. However, let me say that it was not SYRIZA that incubated the cleptocracy which today pretends to strive for 'reforms', as long as these 'reforms' do not affect their ill-gotten privileges. We are ready and willing to introduce major reforms for which we are now seeking a mandate to implement from the Greek electorate, naturally in collaboration with our European partners.

Our task is to bring about a European New Deal within which our people can breathe, create and live in dignity.

A great opportunity for Europe is about to be born in Greece. An opportunity Europe can ill afford to miss.

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CrimsonAvenger's picture

Huge man-crush right now. Let's see if he's as good as he seems.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Just say the truth. The German taxpayers weren't bailing out the Greek people , they were bailing out big banks who foolishly bought Greek debt. All those bailouts were about keeping douche bank solvent , along with the rest of them.

Arius's picture

on another point, Greece for some reason is the only country which never received any war reparations from Germany, and one country that probably suffered the most from the 2 years famine imposed on Greeks on direct orders from Hitler.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

How Strange, I find a like Tsipras as well as Putin.  Both are plain talking guys who are calling it they way it is.  

Good for them.  

Dear Greeks in the new Greek Government who read ZH (we know you are here);

1) Thanks for doing what you are doing -- not just for Greece but for the entire world (literally -- you guys are going to save the planet from the various Oligarchies and bankers)

2) Pass onto Mr. Tsipras that he has the support of many people who hate Leftists.  Common sense doesn't recognize political labels.  

3) Do what you were voted in to do.

Sincerely,

Haus 

Manthong's picture

He should stay away from grassy knolls and sewer inlets.

BKbroiler's picture

continuous fiscal waterboarding

 

awesome

SamAdams's picture

Most succinctly, "You can't fix a debt problem by taking on more debt"....  So simple a child could understand.

BoNeSxxx's picture

Has anyone seen my nailgun?  I left it on a bench in Athens and it has gone missing...

Big Slick's picture

I WROTE A LETTER LIKE THAT TO WELLS FARGO WHEN MY MORTGAGE WENT BOTTOMS-UP.

They didn’t buy it either.

redpill's picture

Socialists always sound so reasonable when in bankruptcy.

blueRidgeBoy's picture

when other people's money has finally run out...

whotookmyalias's picture

I don't understand the down votes at all. This letter could have been written by a ZH reader.  You might not like the man or his politics, or even gyros, but his comments on the debt and banker's bail out is spot on.

downwiththebanks's picture

Don't be silly.  Behind all the rhetoric, ZH readers are wed to the same BakerGangsters that Tsipras is preparring to skuill-fuck.  

They have to ACT like they like what he says, because it conforms who they wished they were, but Tsipras isn't an Austrian crackpot relishing the prospect of a deflationary crash.

So they downvote him.

sushi's picture

because you, the citizens of Germany, did not give us enough money but because you gave us much, much more than you should have and our government accepted far, far more than it had a right to. 

 

Because all of that borrowed money turned right around and headed back to Germany. Just as there exists a recording saying "Fuck the EU" there is certain to be a second recoding in German saying "Fuck the Greeks."

0b1knob's picture

The problem is that Germany gave the Greeks TOO MUCH MONEY.  The bastards.

He sounds like the people who got burned in the real estate bubble.   Hey its the bank's fault for lending money to us deadbeats.

winchester's picture

what nobody knows is geece is the most  rich ground ressources ( sub marine oil ) of the whole europ, but usa  put hands over it for 60% since 2010 with speeding up process requested by germany...

 

if they kick usa out of the energetical plan and ask to russia, i think you got the very next war in europ.

forget ukrain, it's a proxy decoy.

 

the fact greece is in middle of table now is not the economy, cos she is just flat if you remove interest debt... so...

 

as long the dog got the leash, no bitting at the horizon right..

rockface's picture

The guy's a Marxist just like the guy in the White House.  He's part of the problem.  It will be interesting what kind of deal he is after.

StandardDeviant's picture

What he wrote sounds not unreasonable, as far as it goes. As someone wrote above, trying to cure a debt problem with more debt is mad.  The comments about insolvency vs. illiquidity are spot on.

He even acknowledges that his German audience will have "the fear that, if you let us Greeks some breathing space, we shall return to our bad, old ways".

But this is the guy who wants to re-hire sacked government employees; raise the minimum wage; hand out free health care, prescription drugs, food, electricity, and no doubt ponies; on and on.  How is this not returning to the "bad, old ways"?  If anything, it sounds worse than before.  I doubt many German taxpayers will be won over.

kingstukie's picture

Socialists? Naa

Socialism is the Manifesto for the Abolition of Enslavement to Interest on Money by Gottfried Feder.

These guys are masked commie bastards straight out of the devil minds of Marx and Engels.

new game's picture

you just decribed the federal reserve of merica...

Trogdor's picture

... and stick to ground transport... we all know how those airplanes like to go down "by accident" when some kleptocrat doesn't get his "due"...

Oh, and learn from all those Middle-Eastern leaders who got popped by their own bodyguards - make sure none of your security team members were trained at "The School of the Americas" in Panama....

Until Tsipras proves unworthy, I'll be sending him a prayer of protection on a regular basis....

Farside's picture

Haha snap. I was thinking of the same video...

mkkby's picture

Right now everyone at the NSA is working feverishly to find some information that will blackmail this greek into submission.  The banksters are equally in a panic to find some way to bribe him.  Expect them to pull out every dirty trick in the book... and then invent some new ones.  The outcome will be interesting to say the least.

Imagine a US president who speaks this way.  It would be a Ron Paul with actual speaking skills good enough to persuasive the masses.  Greece has shown us how that can happen.  Things must get MUCH WORSE.  To the point of society collapsing around us.

Utah_Get_Me_2's picture

Hey Dmitri, get the Pastitsio.. the German one. 

Karl von Bahnhof's picture

Dear Haus,

you may see that righ-left paradigm is again false, same as REP-DEM only to divide people and use hegelian dialectic for ruling purposes.

 

There is only truth/lie difference and good/bad difference (but for who ... is also important)

 

best,

Karl

TeethVillage88s's picture

Karl; Leadership requires some speeches. A leader must send some signals for a while to calm the masses in the case of Greece. And he must try to calm the Banks and the MIC as well even if he knows he is going to piss them off.

Nationalism certainly is a problem as well as emotional political followers or party members.

The Wizard's picture

Nationalism is a problem? Hugh?  Isn't this letter a nationalistic letter defending Greece as a nation? It's time countries stand up for their righteous principles and let the chips fall where they may in the trade game. The United States tax policy of tariffs, duties, imposts, and excises exist in order to tax countries that lack the values we did. Those principles were destroyed with GATT and other free trade agreements by centralized NWO proponents.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

This fucking guy is saving the planet from the bankers and oligarchs? Get the fuck outta here with this insane hero worship. He is offering NOTHING NEW. He may well help bring down the euro, but it will be an accident due to his insane big govt policies. All he advocates, once you get down to it , is to spend moar money. Money that they do not have and cannot get without borrowing, and no one is going to lend then any money. Sure , they can leave the euro and print their own currency to oblivion. And where will that leave them? No where. Find me one time in history when massive govt spending (make no mistake, that's what all this guys ideas boil down to) and a huge govt bureaucracy has resulted in a prosperous society. I'll wait while you look that up. This guy offers nothing new. Just the same tired ideas that have failed EVERYWHERE they have been tried. Govt is the problem, as is fiat money. Until this guy starts advocating getting rid of either of those things, Y'all should get your heads out of the clouds and realize this guy isn't going to save shit.

pkrstr9's picture

You should be banned from ZeroHedge, you ignorant cunt.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

"You should be banned from zerohedge, you ignorant cunt"

Wow, what an intelligent, enlightening statement. Thank you for bringing that to the discussion. If all you can do is childish insults, why bother logging in and commenting? If you disagree with something I've said, feel free to refute it using a big boy argument of some kind. Otherwise, fuck off

Harbanger's picture

Leftists are quick to worship false idols and ban opposing speech.  Think climate-change eco-fascists.

mkkby's picture

GreensKeeper, it's actually very simple. 

Once the debt is repudiated then Greece has NO DEBT.  With no debt left to service, income can be used to pay for necessary services on a cash basis.

If Greece leaves the euro, there will be a one time spike of inflation.  But after that Greek industry will be competitive again, and the economy will start to grow.  Until they do that they are just being trounced by more competitve economies like Germany.

Is repudiating the debt honorable?  Yes -- if you believe (as most here do) that the debt issuance was a fraud perpetrated by both the banksters and corrupt politicians.

o2sd's picture

But after that Greek industry will be competitive again, and the economy will start to grow.

 

Greek industry. BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!


YHC-FTSE's picture

@mkkby

+1 Amongst the dirty angry rants one little diamond of a comment shines through.

I think that is precisely where the discussions will be heading. Debt relief and perhaps payments in the form of a percentage of Greek's trade surplus.

A lot of people are angry about Syriza's socialist ideals which they perhaps mistakenly equate with big government, statists, etc. It's understandable, but I am reserving my judgement and hoping for the best for the Greeks. They really deserve a break.

 

As for Tsipras, I just can't see the banksters staying still while this goes on. A default may mean the systemic collapse of the financial system via the derivatives tied with the risk. I fear we are about to see an example of how the banks eliminate their threats in a most brutal and open manner. They have the entire MIC at their disposal after all.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

"They perhaps mistakenly equate syrizas socialist ideals with big government/statists"

Have you ever heard of a party with socialist ideals that WASN'T full of big govt statists?

anti-republocrat's picture

Um, you do understand, don't you, that corporations are chartered by the State, and that most banks are corporations?

YHC-FTSE's picture

Mate, in my experience, conservatives have been known to grow govts bigger than the socialists and vice versa. It's a false dichotomy - that's why it's a cliche at ZH. It all depends on the individuals running it, not the system itself. The system is almost indistinguishable from each other in practice whoever is in power. Surely you've noticed? The scandanavians have a very socialist system, yet the right wingers in say, Norway, have been known to make their govt bigger than the last lot of socialists. It happens. Not as simple as red-team this, blue-team that.

I don't know why the fuck I am arguing for the socialists today, but there you are - I quite like what this Tsipras bloke has to say for himself - really, really dangerous talk - as one would expect from a seasoned ZHer, hence my support for him right now.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

I have noticed that about conservatives growing the govt just as bad or worse , which is probably why I'm not a conservative. The problem is govt. Period. And this guy probably isn't going to accomplish shit.

Ghordius's picture

+1 YHC-FTSE, but one small detail "As for Tsipras, I just can't see the banksters staying still while this goes on "

the "banksters" have already filled up their bellies. three quarters of the Greek debt is what EU countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Finland have coughed up in order to bail out Greece from the banksters

so the only business that banksters have left (besides one quarter of that debt) in this saga is... how to bet on it?

cue in the usual bet on EUR breakup, the CDSs that represent only that quarter, etc.

Ghordius's picture

what for? when you are imo right, you are imo right ;-)

rockface's picture

Ya, he thinks he can start the wash and rinse cycles again just like the rest of the Lefties.  Oh well, the rest of us will be also be there eating dirt soon enough.  Who will we blame?  Is it still the !%?  Is it the corporate welfare bums?  What slogan will the Progressives think of next to obscure the truth and destroy all meaning in language?

ATM's picture

Tsipras is just another criminal bent on stealing the wealth of the Greeks and usuing it to his own ends, whoch would mean handing out just enough to buy himself time to establish his own Totalitarian regime.

His problem is that Greece fortune has already been pillaged and sent to the bankers. If he can get that debt repudiated and wealth returned to Greece he has something to work with. All the fuzzy, "I'm want Greek to have a decent income" bs is just that. 

His idea of income is government payments, much like that communist in DC. With an unemplyment rate of 25% and one of the oldest populations on the planet how will Greece be able to grow out of their entitlement payments?

They won't.

But a repudiation of the current debt will buy this charlatan time to build his control structure. 

 

pkrstr9's picture

W'all might have our heads in the clouds, but yours is up your arse. So maybe its you who should fuck off.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Another brilliant rebuttal. Thanks for playing.