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    Greek 'No' supporters celebrate in Athens, Greece. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 July 2015

Ozarow, a lecturer at the University of Middlesex and coordinator of the Argentina Research Network group, analyzes the Greek referendum.

In an interview with Argentina’s public news agency Telám, Daniel Ozarow - a lecturer at the University of Middlesex and coordinator of the Argentina Research Network group - said that the result of last Sunday’s Greek referendum, although surprising for its forcefulness, merely throws the light on aspects that define the current Greek political situation, which already loomed on the local agenda.

According to the British investigator, there are four reasons behind the overwhelming “no” vote.

"The first is the lack of credibility in the media and neoliberal politicians, similar to that experienced by Argentina in 2001 and 2002, where that country’s socio-economic crisis boosted the discrediting of the institutions of power such as the police force and the media," he explained.

Then he notes that "after five years of adjustment, poverty, unemployment and anger, an unemployed person with no chance of getting a job, does not care if the money in circulation is euros, drachmas or any other type of pseudo-currency.”

Thus, Ozarow explains why the “fear campaign” that strove to link the outcome of the referendum to the future of Athens in the eurozone, had no effect on Greek society.

On the other hand, he adds that the Greeks are increasingly aware that "if there is a default, it is the international financial institutions who will suffer."

At this point, the researcher points out that "92 percent of Greece’s bail-out packages were dedicated to financial institutions and failed to reach the people. Only 8 percent became aid, social or welfare programs."

Ozarow emphasizes that the Greek people look toward the experiences of Argentina and Ecuador, who have defaulted in the past, and recognize that the future is not as apocalyptic as suggested by the European media and the leaders of the European Union.

The blow, which will certainly be hard, will happen, says Ozarow. But only lasting a few months and sets again a parallel with Argentina, where he stresses, "There was a strong recovery, economic growth and wealth redistribution to stimulate domestic demand."

According to Ozarow, the Greeks “turned to nationalism” who “saw the ‘no’ vote a palpable possibility of solving the nation's problems.”

Asked about the political prospects that the result opens, Ozarow did not hesitate to describe the referendum and the result as "an unprecedented event in the history of the EU that will give confidence to the people of Europe, demonstrating that it has the power to defend itself politically."

"As in Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s, we are being told that there is no other alternative to austerity cuts to public spending and attacks on labor rights."

However, this result gives Europe what (US political scientist) Noam Chomsky calls "the threat of a good example."

"Even the IMF acknowledged that the Greek debt (170 percent of its GDP) is unsustainable because financial institutions made projections in 2010 that were too optimistic about Greek growth," Ozarow said.

Finally, Ozarow makes a reflection: "Neoliberal theorists think of us (the people) as traders, consumers and workers as we respond in the economic field, and we have the ability to respond to the social and political arena alongside other human beings in solidarity networks, etc.”

“In the Argentina of 2001 and 2002 there was resistance and creativity. The people became united - the middle class in its free fall, the workers, the unemployed - and faced the crisis in people-powered neighbourhood assemblies, barter clubs, recuperating companies, to decide on how to distribute resources in their local communities, how to support those most affected (by the crisis) and make public policy demands. This phenomenon is also being seen in Greece,” the researcher concluded.

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