“Greece today is angry and fearful, divided and conflicted, and will still be after Sunday’s vote.”

With Sunday’s controversial, and confused, Greek referendum clearing its constitutional test in the courts, the Guardian Data Blog rounds-up the polls – as of 12.34pm Friday.  The then-live-blog added

An Ipsos poll just released shows the referendum on a knife-edge. It has yes on 44% and no one point behind on 43%, with 12% still undecided.

The number of undecided respondents underscores the significant potential for volatility, Ipsos said, describing the referendum as “too close to call”.

The poll is the fifth to be released on Friday, with the fourth also giving a narrow lead to the yes camp.

It also shows that, regardless of where they place their own support, more Greeks believe that the yes side will win than think victory will be handed to the no camp.

As I may have mentioned, there are still “a chunk of undecided voters to fight over.”

And via today’s Big G Live-blog, the Economist Intelligence Unit is forecasting a ‘No’.

The EIU forecasts victory for the no camp, but whatever the outcome of the referendum, the stark divisions exposed by the referendum campaign are no basis for a future stable political equilibrium. This, as well as intransigence by Greece’s creditors, will make it difficult to reach a viable agreement on a future financing programme.

Greece today is angry and fearful, divided and conflicted, and will still be after Sunday’s vote. This means that Greece is headed for an even more tumultuous period ahead. With Greek society under immense strain and political divisions becoming sharper, the potential for political extremism will increase. [added emphasis]

We’ll find out in due course about the referendum forecast…  As for the rest…

For the benefit of those who remain wilfully ignorant of the role the Syriza-led Greek Government have played in the unfolding debacle, and you know who you are [they do?! – Ed], this article, described by the Big G’s live-blogger as “provocative”, in the New York Times on Wednesday by historian Mark Mazower is worth reading.

This rhetoric didn’t appear out of thin air. It bears the marks of the milieu that formed Mr. Tsipras as he grew up in the years after Greece’s seven-year military dictatorship ended in 1974. A student culture flourished in the following decades that placed a premium on activism, and saw a revolutionary potential in every high school occupation

It was passionate, literate in Marxist theory, highly factional and partisan. Manifestoes and party lines proliferated. A lot of time was spent in meetings debating the democratic implications of everything from canteens to faculty appointments. Student leaders, obsessed by the history of the German occupation, devoured memoirs of wartime resistance heroes and dreamed of a struggle to rival theirs.

A few of these activists remained in party politics, a smaller number founded communes or became anarchists and a handful flirted with revolutionary violence. Many contributed in important ways to the flourishing cultural and intellectual scene that has emerged in Greece over the past few decades. Most got degrees and jobs and families. And some are now in government.

Having made pledges to voters that they can’t fulfill, Mr. Tsipras and his colleagues present this as their generation’s heroic moment. Bolshevism collapsed; wartime resistance was crushed. But perhaps, they hope, Syriza can lead the country to a new kind of revolutionary victory, striking a decisive blow against international finance capital.

I wouldn’t bet on it.

The last time Greece repudiated its debt was in 1932: a short-term recovery followed, which was already petering out when World War II began. Repudiating debt back then was a positive move because the entire world was doing it and the real costs of default were low.

This time around, the situation is very different. The consequences and costs would be far worse, the potential for domestically generated growth much less, and many of the benefits associated with Europe — Greece as an attractive site for foreign investment, putting its geopolitical position to good use, and the transformation in values that came with the opening up of what was 40 years ago a much more introverted society — will be put at risk.

Thanks to this ill-advised plebiscite, Greece faces major turmoil that will test the democratic institutions it established after 1974. The country doesn’t need a return to the worst excesses of student politics. Still less does it need the overheated rhetoric of violent struggle, national disaster and civil war that is already in the air. Sanity may yet prevail and a “yes” vote on Sunday may finally lead to the formation of the national unity government the country has lacked since the crisis started. If it does not, further political polarization and a future of growing pauperization on the margins of Europe beckons.

There’s a lot of that hankering after imagined past glories/illusionary next great revolution about, and not just in Greece…

Adds  I had intended to work this piece by Hugo Dixon into the original post, but it will have to be an addendum now.

Alexis Tsipras talks so much about democracy that one might think the Greek prime minister is a paragon of virtue when it comes to dealing with the voters. This is not the case. For a start, Tsipras has made a series of wild promises that he cannot deliver. Before January’s election, he pledged that he would tear up the country’s bailout programme while staying in the euro. The two are almost certainly incompatible goals, as the Greek people are now discovering at huge cost.

In advance of Sunday’s referendum, he has given further assurances. One is that savers’ bank deposits are safe. He also said he will have a deal with Greece’s creditors within 48 hours of the plebiscite, if they vote no to the bailout plan. In fact, deposits are at risk and the chance of a deal in two days is virtually nil. A good democrat only promises what he or she can deliver. Tsipras is a demagogue.

Still, worth reading too.  Particularly for this.

If, despite all this, Tsipras loses the referendum and resigns, there will undoubtedly be a narrative presented that Europe undermined a democratic government because it didn’t like the fact that it was so leftwing. The real explanation will be that Tsipras undermined himself with his undeliverable promises, confrontational approach towards creditors, inexperience and inability to read the situation properly.

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  • chrisjones2

    I fear they will vote NO and then wake up with a hangover …and still expect the EU to bail them out

  • Korhomme

    So much confusing commentary and so many op-eds in the media; Greece has the largest merchant fleet in the world, but shipping pays no taxes; Greece is the fourth largest military spender, corrupt politician buys military stuff from a corrupt German company financed by a German bank (and the politician is now in jail); Greece lets Germany off debt repayments in the 1950s; the economy is now a third smaller than a few years ago; 25% unemployment; pharmacies running out of medicines.

    Whatever the cause of the problems, shrinking the economy and making so many unemployed hardly seems likely to make repayments possible; so, as this isn’t working, then more of the same?

    And the ECB, there to protect the banks in Eurozone countries; is it failing in its duty now?

  • Gingray

    Good lord, could this article take any more of a sneering attitude to the Greeks? Perhaps actually, given the author.

    I notice Slugger is very quiet on the allegations of Mick Wallace in the Dáil. Which suggests it’s not a Sinn fein mla, otherwise Pete and Mick would have multiple articles up already.

  • Korhomme

    And, according the FT there will be a 30% “raid” on bank balances over €8,000. When non-elected EU bureaucrats or even governments do this it’s called a “seizure”. When you or I do it, it’s called “theft”.

  • Adds I had intended to work this piece by Hugo Dixon into the original post, but it will have to be an addendum now.

    Alexis Tsipras talks so much about democracy that one might think the Greek prime minister is a paragon of virtue when it comes to dealing with the voters. This is not the case. For a start, Tsipras has made a series of wild promises that he cannot deliver. Before January’s election, he pledged that he would tear up the country’s bailout programme while staying in the euro. The two are almost certainly incompatible goals, as the Greek people are now discovering at huge cost.

    In advance of Sunday’s referendum, he has given further assurances. One is that savers’ bank deposits are safe. He also said he will have a deal with Greece’s creditors within 48 hours of the plebiscite, if they vote no to the bailout plan. In fact, deposits are at risk and the chance of a deal in two days is virtually nil. A good democrat only promises what he or she can deliver. Tsipras is a demagogue.

    Still, worth reading too. Particularly for this.

    If, despite all this, Tsipras loses the referendum and resigns, there will undoubtedly be a narrative presented that Europe undermined a democratic government because it didn’t like the fact that it was so leftwing. The real explanation will be that Tsipras undermined himself with his undeliverable promises, confrontational approach towards creditors, inexperience and inability to read the situation properly.

  • D99

    Is it not self-evident that the Euro Group are undermining Syriza because they are left wing and anti-austerity? Just as you are doing for exactly the same reasons.
    And is it not democratic to consult the people via a referendum on issues of major national interest? Inconvenient as it may be for those used to dictating terms.
    When you talk about a confrontational approach – is not cutting off liquidity and forcing banks to close, trying to oust an elected government and spreading fear that a ‘No’ vote will lead to a Grexit fairly confrontational?

    It’s interesting that Syriza made sure that all negotiations were carried out in the open, under full gaze of the media and the people – no secret talks behind closed doors like the politicians here like so much.

  • D99

    EU did not bail out Greece, they bailed out the private banks that lent money to Greece. By doing this, they turned private debt into sovereign debt.

    Private investors (mainly German, French & Italian banks) ‘gambled’ on Greece and lost. Much as they gambled on the sub prime housing market in the US ahead of the 2008 Financial Crisis and were bailed out by tax payers.

    Greece always had a debt repayment problem, but now EU institutions and countries have a debt recovery problem.

  • Well, that’s a wilful misrepresentation of the last 5 months of attempted negotiations with Syriza, as well as what’s happened since they suddenly withdrew from those negotiations.

    But it is Tsipras’ preferred version of events…

  • eireanne

    while we’re all waiting for the result of the referendum tomorrow maybe this will raise a wry smile – maybe – https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/germany-vs-greece-the-olympic-stadium-final/

  • D99

    Very good! But I don’t think Karl Marks will be playing in the German team for the up coming game against Greece…

  • “And the ECB, there to protect the banks in Eurozone countries; is it failing in its duty now?”

    Not with the current Greek government apparently intent on taking Greece out of the Eurozone it’s not.

  • Slater

    Banks gamble. It’s what they do. But lending any more to Greece is no longer a gamble, it is lunacy.

  • Korhomme

    Do they really want Greece to leave the Eurozone? Most Greeks themselves want to stay in it; as for their government, I really don’t know. the signals are just too confusing. They might be preparing for the worst, that they will be forced out; not at all the same thing.

  • Korhomme

    If you’re confused, you’d be better advised to do more reading than commenting. Or, if commenting, ask rather than declare.

    But the situation for Greece, at this point in time, is mostly about the mishandled negotiations over the last 5 months, as well as what’s happened in the last week after Tsipras suddenly withdrew Greece from those negotiations. And most of that mishandling has been by Tsipras and his Finance Minister Varoufakis.

    The key point to remember is that everyone involved in those negotiations has a mandate.

  • Alexandros

    First of all you are nothing but speculations!
    Know this, by lending Greece more money with out a way of repaying back the money, all your doing is sinking Greece into more dept and destruction,it would take Greece 45 years to pay that money if it’s possible.
    How do you control a country?
    You bring her into recession.
    Kissinger said Greece is one of the hardest countries to control !
    Varoufakis is a economic brilliant
    genius. Get out of the euro . Voting NO is the best thing for Greece to get of the terrorism and blackmail of all the lenders and out of the euro. We saw how good the euro has been to Spain,Italy and other countries.
    If the euro is so good why doesn’t England and other countries change to the euro?
    Because england is the whore of Europe.
    Save all you bullshit opinions and come down to reality. There is a plan from the greeks. Just like troy.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Greece is not really divided, (okay there is a dispute over where Greece ends and independent Macedonia begins but) it doesn’t have peace walls or tribal areas or separated communities. What it has is people with opposing positions which for people like me who don’t believe in all consuming Borg-like zeitgeists means having a population bigger than one allowing for arguing and disagreement.

    No one is going to say the UK is divide because not everyone voted for the Conservatives are they?

  • Korhomme

    The last few months have been a slo-mo descent into mayhem; the origins lie further back. And now, which is more important; preserving the Greek state of the pride of the EU and the Euro? Is the Euro more than a device to allow German exporters a weaker currency than the D-Mark?

    Everyone may have an agenda; the Greek government has a democratic mandate. The ECB and the bureaucracy of the EU aren’t democratically elected. The German finance minister has been very hawkish until recently, when his stance has softened. Has his agenda changed, or did he blink first?

  • Reader

    Gingray: I notice Slugger is very quiet on the allegations of Mick Wallace in the
    Dáil. Which suggests it’s not a Sinn fein mla, otherwise Pete and Mick
    would have multiple articles up already.

    There are 68 responses to the post on the topic. Not bad for a news item that is mostly full of guesswork. None of the responses are from you. Would *you* be more active if SF was mentioned?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Is this not a very Anglo-Saxon perspective? Anglo-Saxon “stability” is not an end goal for all cultures worldwide.

  • D99

    The Euro Group arrogance is clearly very catchy Pete.

    There are different perspectives on this; and perhaps it’s you that needs to do a bit more reading to help you understand the subject.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/03/greek-referendum-what-the-experts-say?CMP=share_btn_tw

  • Korhomme

    The Independent has an article that includes this, and discusses philosophy of economics:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/greece-referendum-result-live-monty-python-sketch-perfectly-explains-the-greek-debt-crisis-10367008.html

    The Germans have the same word Schuld for both debt and shame: so it’s no real surprise that Frau Dr Merkel is the daughter of a Lutheran Pfarrer.

  • Gingray

    Oh right, nothing to do with the previous governments who lied and got them in this mess 🙂

    Put the blame on the current government, then link them to Sinn Fein lol

  • Old Mortality

    D((
    ‘EU did not bail out Greece, they bailed out the private banks that lent money to Greece. By doing this, they turned private debt into sovereign debt.’

    Yes, but before that happened, the banks, perhaps belatedly, decided they could not lend any more to Greece. So how was Greece than going to finance its public sector deficit which is the fundamental problem? It would have required assistance from the IMF, EU and ECB. How would you describe that if it’s not a bailout?

  • Gingray

    Doh reader, I completely missed that. The blog didn’t come through on my greader, so I am blaming that, but really we both know I should’ve checked the website.

    I still do think Pete and Mick would be all over it if it there was a suspicion of Sinn Fein involvement.

    Would I be more active, hmm perhaps, they are crooks who do more harm than good to the cause of a united Ireland, I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was.

  • the rich get richer

    One thing that you can be sure of is that the “Super Politicians/Bankers” that make their decrees from Brussels do not have the good of the ordinary European Citizen in mind.

    They look after themselves and their Super Banking institutions.

    I would like to have the chance that the Greek People to tell them to go and Fook themselves.

    Plainly and Simply If you are Stupid Enough to Loan Money that Cannot be repaid you only have Yourself to Blame.

    Greece ; Stand Up and Be a Country. Do not Fall under the JackBoot of the Super Banker/ Politician.

    Europe has Previous experience of The JackBoot.

    This JackBoot has the Suit of the Super Politician/Banker.

    We Know Where Appeasing the Earlier JackBoot Ended !

  • D99

    Yes Old Mortality, but my point is: Almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece by IMF, EU and ECB has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors – including German and French banks. So it was much less about saving Greece than, as usual bailing out investment banks.

    As things stand now, Greece cannot, whatever austerity (agreed or imposed) pay back the €340b debt. This is the reality. And it means that the Euro Group can continue to punish Greece for the incompetence and corruption of their past government (and indeed the carelessness and greed of the banks that leant them money); or they can restructure Greek loans so that they are paid back over 20-30 years and help them grow their economy.

    The IMF has pretty much acknowledged that this is the reality of the situation. The reason the Euro Group haven’t accepted this solution already is because other countries would probably want less austerity too.

    But despite the current hard line stance, they may well do, as the result of a Grexit would be very bad news for everyone, as well as disasterous for Greece.

  • the rich get richer

    Greece has stood up. Fook the Bureaucrats in Brussels.

    Its Time to See If Some of These Bankers can Get Elected instead of using their political stooges.

    Kenny, Noonan : Stop your Banker A**e Licking You Schmucks ! !

  • John Gorman

    No winning comfortably with at least 60%

  • the rich get richer

    When Are the Banker OverLords Putting Themselves before the Electorate ? ? ?

  • kensei

    Who mishandled the negotiations. It’s been the Troika more than the Greek Government. The IMF (what’s their mandate, out of interest?) – was advocating for a deal it knows is unsustainable.

    The key thing to remember is that what happened last week is effectively collective punishment in aid of trying to overthrow a democratically elected government.

  • Reader

    Gingray: Doh reader, I completely missed that.
    Don’t worry – judging by your upvotes, three other posters missed that blog too. Either that, or they have taken sides in the SF/Slugger shitfest and assumed you were a like-minded shinnerbot.

  • Reader

    If your Greek bank is insolvent and the Greek Government (Syriza) can’t meet its bank guarantees, then you should probably be pleased if the ECB props it up to the extent of 70%. Or at least, don’t blame the ECB for putting money into the system.
    It won’t be called a “seizure”, it will be called a “rescue”.
    Who in their right mind keeps money in Greek banks these days?

  • Gingray

    Lol, not a shinnerbot, more a grumpy old man. But the lack of articles from Mick and Pete do point to it not being Sinn Fein (both where all over Mary Lou’s comments from the Dail when she used privilage).

  • Korhomme

    “Who in their right mind keeps money in Greek banks these days?”

    The poor, pensioners whose income is paid into them; they probably don’t have a choice. Meanwhile the rich, the ones who don’t pay tax, have their money offshore.

  • Kevin Breslin

    What is Anglo-Saxon about the perspective? Isn’t there is a broad spectrum of what constitutes Anglo-Saxon?

    Also to believe that Greeks or Turks or any other culture is opposed to financial stability, undermines the fact that these cultures creating their civilizations relied on stable means of trade and commerce. To me it seems Anglo-Saxon to assume that strangers i.e. Xenoi (ξένοi) are very different.

    The fact is Greeks introduced concepts like usury and debts and taxation into the Western World and they certainly wanted some level of pantheon to deal with it.

    There are plenty from the Anglo-Saxon world i.e. UK nationalists and USA neoliberal/”patriot” right (some from the Austrian school, which while not being Anglo-Saxon, certainly is as close to it as well Austria is to Saxony) who believe that leaving the Euro-zone, defaulting, going into free-fall and building the economy up from scratch is the only way for Greece to go here, they’ll sacrifice a constrained chaotic state for autonomy with full chaos, albeit one that leaves it isolated and vulnerable and adds many problems taking away few of them.

    The markets, the real “fates of economics” will then decide whether the Merc manufacturers where lending too much or the wine and olive producers simply milked the dead cow too long. Those who have the money will invest in the ad hoc manner of their favourite if Greece and Germany are competing with Greece outside the EU/Eurozone if there’s a Grexit.

    This was of course the same solution the UK had for Ireland’s famine problem; laissez-faire economics.

  • Reader

    If the threshold is €8,000 as you suggested, then that surely spares most of those who had no choice.
    However, maybe the government (Syriza) has been forcing people in receipt of state income to use Greek banks, while not being in a position to guarantee bank accounts? Naughty government. I wonder where Tsipras’ salary goes?

  • This is not the case. For a start, Tsipras has made a series of wild promises that he cannot deliver. Before January’s election thiet ke noi that chung cu, he pledged that he would tear up the country’s bailout programme while staying in the euro