CATASTROIKA 2012,HD [SUB ITA][Multi-Subs] la Grecia e le privatizzazioni


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Transcript:
2012
After 2 years of "rescuing", the austerity-loving governments...
...raise sovereign debt from 115% of GDP to 160%.
One out of two young workers is unemployed.
Thousands of others emigrate or have to live on 500 Euros per month.
Suicide rates increases by 20%,
while the number of homeless people in Athens exceeds 20,000.
The constitution is circumvented.
Bankers and former supporters of the military junta...
...occupy key positions in the state machinery.
Everything is now ready for the last act of the tragedy.
Greece’s complete sell off.
INFOWAR PRODUCTIONS presents
A documentary by Katerina Kitidi and Aris Chatzistefanou
Scientific Editor Leonidas Vatikiotis
Editor Aris Triantafyllou
Music Active Member
Ermis Georgiadis
Production Manager Thanos Tsantas
1991
The short 20th century comes to an end.
The West envisions the end of history.
And tries to implement it in Russia.
Én the Soviet Union there was a sort of a pincer...
...between the IMF and the World Bank...
...and at that point I think Summers was the head of the world bank,
and he says "the laws of economics are like the laws of engineering".
"The same rules work everywhere".
So that was the arrogance of that moment.
The State Department funded through Harvard University...
...a fairly small group of economists and lawyers,
to manage this transition for the Russians.
The transition includes the biggest experiment...
...in privatization in the history of mankind.
An experiment that will lead a nation to utter disaster.
For one, two million dollars you could buy an enterprise...
...where only steel constructions were so costly,
that could be hundreds of million of dollars or billion of dollars.
Like huge factories in the Urals, in Siberia, in central Russia,
former military industrial enterprises,
chemical enterprises, steel enterprises and so on.
In the centre of Moscow, there is the hotel "Central",
a 19th century beautiful building.
They were going to sell it...
...for the equivalent in rubles of 1.000 dollars.
So we came there, in the foyer, in the lobby,
there was a huge chandelier of the 19th century...
and we asked a specialist...
how much would he pay for it, if it was offered.
And he looked at it and said:
"Well, 1,200 dollars". Just now, I can pay it now.
It was utterly catastrophic in Russia, it was utterly harsh.
Millions of people were thrown into extreme poverty.
People were hungry and they were surviving on their gardens.
Life expectancy for Russians dropped by a decade in this period.
Explosion of AIDS, child prostitution.
It was a decimation of a nation.
The fire sale of a whole country,
planned in the West and implemented by Russian oligarchs,
couldn't take place without limiting democratic freedoms.
Ârutal privatization was one of the reasons why...
...the opposition started to fight...
...and why Yeltsin and the oligarchs,
the newly appeared bourgeoisie and the bureaucrats...
...started to fight against the parliament.
The rules of the game must change.
After the 1993 mini coup d'etat against the parliament,
Yeltsin feels ready to accelerate privatization.
I'm absolutely certain that privatization in 1994...
...wouldn't be even technically possible...
...without the coup d'etat of 1993.
This process was called Catastroica.
Catastroica in Russia is usually presented as an exception...
...in the history of mass privatization.
In fact, it was just an extreme example...
...of how the fire sale of national assets...
...is incompatible with political or economic democracy.
The core neoliberal policies of privatization,
deregulation and cuts to social spending,
often accompanied by increases in military spending,
these policies were first imposed under dictatorships.
The first laboratories of neoliberalism...
...had nothing to do with democracy.
The practice of fire sales comes with the neoliberal wind...
...that blows for the first time through the Univesrity of Chicago.
Professors such as Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman...
...seek a laboratory in order to test...
...the so-called free market and minimal state intervention.
But, since no democratic government agreed to implement their ideas,
they turned to Pinochet's Chile...
...and afterwards to General Evren's Turkey.
There is actually a really interesting exchange...
...between Friedrich von Hayek and Margaret Thatcher,
that I quote in the Shock Doctrine, where Friedrich von Hayek said:
I' ve just come back from Chile. It's wonderful what Pinochet's done.
And he is describing this fantastic experiment in neoliberalism...
...and says I think you should do this too.
And Hayek was a mentor of Margaret Thatcher's.
And she wrote him back quite a stern reply and she said:
"These policies are incompatible with constitutional democracy".
Margaret Thatcher will finally find a way...
...to bring neoliberal privatization to western Europe.
In order to achieve this, it will take two wars...
...and the limitation of democratic freedoms.
What saved Thatcher's career as a politician,
what got her reelected was the Falklands war.
She literally said: "We won the war abroad".
"Now we must win the war at home".
And the war at home was a war against trade unions.
She was explicitly referring to the coalminers.
In an extraordinarily violent way...
...the Thatcher government just beat down that union.
It was some of the most violent attacks...
...on trade unions in the western world.
Thatcher's Britain is a typical case of how the infringement...
...of labor laws and the violation of workers' rights...
...coincided with an increase in repressive measures.
I still hate Thatcher
It is characteristic that, nowadays, according to British law,
when more than four people are picketing outside a workplace,
the protest can be banned...
because it can affect the morale of those working in the company.
Neoliberalism, which promises less state control,
demands a strong state mechanism in order to be implemented.
We should never forget that neoliberalism is an ideology.
I don't mean this as just dismissing it.
By ideology I mean...
...it's never or very rarely really followed in actual politics.
Take Reagan, the first neoliberal in power.
Are you aware that state machinery as such exploded under Reagan?
It is clear that neoliberalism can function...
...only through an extremely strong regulative role of the state.
So the question should not be these pseudo-problems...
... "what amount of state regulation or capital?",
but "who will do this regulation?".
Á private enterprise system doesn't mean a free enterprise system.
It means someone controls it that you haven't elected.
So the idea is a vulture's picnic.
However, the blood-thirsty dictators and Thatcher's shock policy...
...have an expiration date.
New means must therefore be found...
...for the infliction of mass privatization.
It started off without democracy, it started off with dictatorship...
...imposed with brute force, with torture and fear.
When the democratic era began in the '80s,
there needed to be another mechanism to keep countries in line.
And that mechanism became debt.
Institutions such as the IMF and the World Trade Organisation...
...played a leading role in the sell-off of whole countries.
The European Union followed suit.
The emergency packages with the IMF...
...have enabled the EU for the first time...
...to actually advocate privatizations.
Technically, under the treaty, it shouldn't do this,
but of course it's part of the troika...
...that's imposed the conditions on Greece, on Portugal,
...and written very clearly in those documents...
...is this is conditional on privatization.
The conditions laid down by the IMF,
as well as the big American and European banks...
...demand the total surrender of peoples' rights.
No one privatizes or deregulates unless there's a hammer...
...over their head, like in Greece now, in Spain, in Italy,
where basically there's tremendous pressure on the government...
...because there's a desperate financial situation.
Debt becomes the excuse to push for Greece's fire sale.
However, once again, a small obstacle must be overcome:
Democracy.
This has been one of those moments...
...when really the mask completely comes off.
The market system is at war with democracy.
The project's been saying to people that you know...
...you can vote but it's going to be a popularity contest.
The so-called independent central bank is a mechanism...
...for saying that politicians cannot touch our toys.
The European Union and the Greek financial elites...
...got to the point of appointing a former central banker...
...as prime minister of Greece.
Taking over from Papandreou,
Lukas Papademos appoints bank executives,
like Gikas Hardouvelis of Eurobank,
in the prime minister's office.
Political and economic power relations...
...turn into an interbank deal.
Direct cancelling of democracy.
The idea is: You play with democracy, but,
when things get serious experts should take over.
We don't have time to play these games and so on and so on.
Greece is portrayed as a nation of children...
...that needs to have the keys to the car taken away.
What is happening in Greece is very serious.
Democracy was born here...
...and the international financial system now decides...
...that it should die here as well.
I think that the scientific term is junta.
We have a group of politicians headed by a banker,
who is, in fact, responsible for Greece's bankrupcy to a great extent.
It is a bankers' junta...
...with no more popular legitimisation than the 1967 junta.
Papademos' government is only one step towards the control of Greece.
The EU, however, sends many more supervisors to the country.
Floridians gave up their sovereignty to a large extent to Washington D.C.
but in return they get to decide what Washington D.C. is going to do,
because they send representatives and senators to Washington D.C.
So I think one would need to make a commitment to that path,
not to one where a German pro-consul comes to Athens...
...and runs, you know, greek fiscal policy.
That raises the question of democratic legitimacy to the extreme.
The German pro-consul is Horst Reichenbach.
He arrives in Greece as head of an army of technocrats.
He is followed by many EU and IMF employees...
...that are appointed to major ministries.
The task force is then, so to speak, the vehicle...
...to bring the member states, the IMF, the OECD into the picture.
We find ourselves in a neo-colonial period...
...when international financial and political centers...
...impose policies not only in Africa or Latin America, but also in Europe...
...and this becomes an inherent part of capitalism's organization.
You are a trial case like laboratory rabbits for all of Europe.
A new authoritarian form,
which even if it remains in a superficial sense democratic,
as we have seen in Greece, Italy...
...and it will follow I can guarantee you elsewhere,
is being tested.
The country's control by foreign and Greek financial interests...
...is achieved mainly via two loan agreements.
The goal is to impose the creditors' conditions...
...and turn work into slavery.
Labour relations return to the 19th century.
In order for these regulations to pass,
another coup is necessary. This time a parliamentary one.
The first loan agreeement never came to the parliament for ratification,
which is clearly unconstitutional.
The second one was presented three times as a blueprint.
The creditors were obviously asking for changes...
...and needed the pre approval of this blueprint.
It is obvious that our political leaders do not intend...
...to implement the constitution,
but the political orders they receive from abroad.
Whoever dares to talk about a parliamentary coup...
...and to question the policies of the government and the troika...
...is characterised as a populist.
This is impudent, it is an insult! You talk about a coup...
...because the government which was elected by a vast majority...
...asked for a bill to be voted on urgently.
You have to apologise for this insult towards the institutions.
You are the advocate of the Greece of the drachma,
the Greece of poverty, the Greece of humiliation,
you and everyone like you.
No more rescuing
Ideological terrorism escalates.
Mainstream media blackmails citizens...
...saying that, if they do not accept the loan agreements,
...the super market shelves will soon be empty...
...and the country will return to the stone age.
There will be chaos. Greece will become a third World country.
There will be ration coupons...
Having done away with democracy...
...Greek governments prepare for the sale of public assets.
They start off with a tested recipe....
...of turning public servants into the crisis' scapegoats.
There is a sort of ideology that the public sector...
...performs worse than the private sector,
but the empirical evidence for that is not strong.
And generally the public sector and the private sector...
...perform pretty much as well as one another.
The Greek government is lying, by saying that it doesn't know...
...the number of public servants and then that they total 1 million.
It withholds that the size and the average wages of the public sector...
...are not greater than the European average.
The public administration's defects are well known.
But it is usually the state- nurtured financial elites...
...who are the first to accuse the public sector.
After preparing public opinion for the fire sale,
the only thing missing is the mechanism to implement it.
All eyes turn to the German Treuhand,
the company that transformed the 10th largest industrial power...
...into a shopping catalogue of 510 pages.
Eurosaal - the euro room.
In a 280 sq.m. room beats the heart of the German ministry of finance,
for some, the heart of the eurozone.
The room has its own dark history...
...synonymous with the history of the modern German state.
Here, the Luftwaffe officers planned their strategy...
...for the bombardment of European cities.
After the war, the Soviet army established its headquarters here,
whereas in this very room, the first constitution...
...of the German Democratic Republic was signed.
The architectural monster that Goering constructed...
...as the largest building block in Europe...
...now houses the biggest industrial enterprise of that period.
After the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc,
Treuhand undertakes the sell-off of East Germany's public assets.
A disastrous experiment...
...that results in millions of unemployed workers...
...and a crushed industrial base in the area.
Historically, it is a tragic event,
because the Treuhand idea derived from East Germany popular movements.
When the people of East Germany realized...
that reunification was in fact an acquisition by West Germany,
Treuhand was already a state within a state in Berlin.
In order for the bureaucratic monster to function,
it used equipment and networks of the East German armed forces.
Treuhand is transformed into an economic occupation army.
It started working before the dissolution of East Germany,
but it was basically influenced by western politicians and managers...
...and economic sharks.
They had this popular slogan at the Treuhand: ÔÉÍÁ...
...which stands for There Is No Alternative...
...and Thatcher's portrait was hanging in many offices.
Treuhand owns 8,000 companies, 40,000 factories...
...and 4 million sq. km. of arable land and forests.
More importantly,
it holds the fate of 4.5 million workers in its hands.
And then, the plundering begins.
Even on weekends they privatized up to 10-15 businesses.
This of course was the real dilemma...
...which brought about chaos and fraud.
People with no financial background appeared...
...in order to buy businesses. They didn't have any money,
but took part in auctions, took the money from the companies,
paid their bills...
and dissolved the company. There are innumerable examples.
A lot of companies went bankrupt.
For the 4.5 million workers there were 1.5 million jobs left.
The privatization criteria were not always financial.
Many decisions were taken in political offices,
while several businesses closed...
...so as not to threaten their competitors in West Germany.
Truehand's companies had value. It is said they were problematic.
Some of them indeed were, but others were competitive...
with western companies and exported goods to the West.
There were accusations that political parties were bribed...
...in order apply pressure for certain privatizations.
In Bischoferrode there was a potash factory,
which is important for industrial activities.
Such factories were found both in the east and west.
But BASF's influence was very big...
and as a monopoly this company didn't want any competition.
Thus, although there were investors interested in the factories...
...they had to be destroyed.
The toll of Treuhand's action is terrifying.
The GDP in the areas of the former East Germany shrank by 30%,
while unemployment rose from 0 to 20%.
But, most importantly, after selling off a whole country,
Treuhand succeeded in presenting billions in losses.
Treuhand created a 300 billion DM debt and a 60 billion DM profit,
but we expected to get 600 billion DM. There is a lot of debt left...
...which is still owed to the corresponing fund.
This fund is not included in the federal budget.
It cannot be considered a model as many companies were destroyed.
With a 250 billion DM debt, it can not be a model for other countries.
However, the president of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker,
presented Treuhand as a model for Greece.
I've noted with satisfaction...
...that Greece is willing to set up a privatization fund.
A month later,
the Greek "Asset Development Fund" was created.
The Greek Treuhand is housed in a building...
...behind the former parliament.
The three parties supporting the austerity measures...
...share the organisation's administration.
This is Emeritus Professor Koukiadis of Aristotle University.
Mr. Konstantinos Mitropoulos is the manager and central figure.
He owns a company, Kantor, and has worked for the Latsis group.
A few months later,
the journalist that presented the fund's structure...
...is appointed as its spokesman.
Other key-positions are occupied by many executives...
...of the two companies managed by Kostas Mitropoulos.
The politicians, the technical advisors...
...and the senior managers in the public companies themselves...
...are all very aware that the privatization process...
gives them opportunities of extremely high paid directorships...
...consultancies etc. with the newly privatized companies.
The fund is supervised...
...by Herve Le Roy of the French embassy...
...and Maarten Verwey of the Dutch ministry of finance.
The troika also appoints 3 members of the fund's board of experts.
The conditions set by the troika in Greece for the fund's function...
...resemble those in occupied countries.
The privatization costs are borne by Greek taxpayers,
whereas the profits,
which were initially estimated to reach 50 billion euro,
go to the creditors.
If these proceeds are collected by the government,
they will be used for debt reduction.
The fund operates with great secrecy...
...assigning extreme powers to its members.
The latter take on the sale or the concession...
...of buildings, land, infrastructure and share portfolios.
The fund can exploit the littoral zone or the ancient monuments.
The only condition is that they remain in place.
Even before the creation of the fund,
government officials had started advertising Greek assets...
...in road shows, like a travelling circus.
I turn up in central London, at Claridge's hotel,
one of the swankiest hotels in all of Britain.
You walk all way to the back room and it's a kind of ballroom...
...and it's got five chandeliers, it's got more mirrored surfaces...
...that I can possibly count.
And you turn up in this room...
...and it's basically a group of Greek businessmen and Greek officials...
...talking about how they're going to sell off Greek assets.
Big key assets of the Greek state, belonging to Greek tax payers...
...which are to be flocked off.
No more fooling around. Not in this place.
We will pull up our pants and we'll make some money. A pile of money.
At one point they played the music from Zorba the Greek...
...and in this country...
...you can't now think of the music from Zorba the Greek...
...without thinking of plates being smashed in the ground.
The other thing you kept hearing in the intervals...
...was a song by some Monica who is this Greek pop-star...
...and the lyrics went something along the lines of:
"tell me why you don't call me anymore, you don't come anymore".
Here is this image, which I have no need of summoning up,
of Greece that is now a kind of pariah state...
...where it's now the pariah within Europe.
Zorba's Greece is a country subject to foreign multinationals,
which control its infrastructure.
A country in serious debt with a corrupt political system.
The situation is similar to the interwar period.
Especially between the years 1924-1930...
...Greece was an ideal candidate for lending.
There was a series of huge scandals.
The governments were bribed, even Venizelos' consultants.
Foreign embassies directly intervened in all this.
One example was the contract with the company "Power",
another one was the contract with "Ulen".
These contracts were of a colonial nature...
...and proved to be very profitable for those who invested in them.
Almost a century later, the troika,
in collaboration with the Greek governments,
demands the privatization of the country' s infrastructure.
What isn't explained to the citizens...
...is that privatization and derregulation experiments...
have failed even in the most powerful economies of the planet.
The biggest failures concern infrastructure...
...such as railways, water and electricity networks.
People say you can read the history of the economic system...
...on the railways.
The steam that powered the industrial revolution...
...turned into a speculative bubble for the American economy,
when dozens of private companies...
...spread kilometers of metal rails across the USA.
See the USA in your Chevrolet!
At first, the railways symbolised...
...the state's central role in the economy and infrastructure.
But after World War II,
economic liberalism replaced most mass transportation with the car.
Four wheels and a steering wheel...
...led the lower middle-class dream...
...into the highways of the new economy.
This trend reached Europe a few decades later.
When the Turkish dictators tried Pinochet's neoliberal experiment,
Turgut Ozal characterised the railways as a communist creation.
However, railways in Europe...
...remained mainly under state control.
That is until Great Britain tried a disatrous experiment.
Like a movie without a happy ending.
We made the navigators about privatization of the railways,
after a railway worker got in touch with me with an idea of a script.
But in the course of making it, it became plain what we knew already:
That the privatization of the railways was a disaster.
British rail is gone. Woodport depot is now more than infrastructure...
...and they're going to be competing with us.
Even Margaret Thatcher recognised that...
...trains do not function effectively outside of the public sector.
But John Major proceeded with their privatization in 1993...
...and the British public reacted.
They thought they belonged to them.
Ôhey were public service,
not something to be run by companies who put on cheap logos...
...and really seem to be just in it to make money.
The trains, the rail network and the maintenance services...
...ended up in the hands of different private companies.
So many of them, that the maintenance alone...
...was undertaken by 2,000 companies.
What that meant was that there was a divergence of interests...
...between two parts of the system that should really belong together.
Ôhe stupidity of it came through the subcontracting,
that is when a private company gets to maintain a section of track.
While the first company may have strict rules about safety,
by the time you subcontracted 2-3 stages, who's to know who is safe?
Deaths have got to be kept to an acceptable level.
Shut up. What's an acceptable level?
Eh, two a year.
Yeah, but nobody's been killed for the past 18 months.
Any volunteers?
I think there has to be a case made.
We say that as an indecent haste: In the end it cost lives.
The loss is tragic.
The three most serious accidents caused by privatization...
...cost 42 lives and 600 were injured.
Ét was undoubted that in the early days of privatization,
the way that the industry was privatized caused those accidents.
Potters Bar tragedy on May 10th 2002
The derailment of privatization did not just cost lives.
Privatization was supposed to free up the railways,
but has actually made it very difficult to make decisions...
...on opening new routes or closing down routes or changing schedules.
It has left a system, which is very complicated,
very difficult to administer.
It was bad for the passengers, it was a chaotic organization.
It didn't work and hasn't worked. It's lost a huge amount of money.
In a three year period,
the state paid to the private companies in the form of subsidies...
...what it had earned from the sale of the railways.
And the cost for the taxpayers did not stop there.
To some extent the railways have been renationalized.
Really it has left us with a semi- government administered system...
...that costs a lot more than it cost under the nationalization.
And hasn't really delivered the investment,
as the investment has largely been paid for by the public sector.
Greece did not learn anything from the British experience.
The Greek governments put the rail privatization plan forward.
Their effort is supported by the media.
The trains are slow, never on time, usually dirty.
The annual losses of the OSE and TRAINOSE group...
...has reached 1.2 billion euro.
They present Greek railways...
...as the biggest loss-making public service in Europe.
But to whom does this debt belong?
The state forced the railways to borrow money for their development.
There is no equivalent case in Greece...
...as highways, ports and airports were all funded by the state.
These loans are now presented by the governments as OSE's debt.
This is untrue.
70-80% of it is money borrowed for infrastructure development.
The major TV stations, behind which lie major contractors,
are bombarding us with lies and slander.
The critique is focused...
...on the employees' salaries and the operation cost.
This way major scandals go unnoticed...
...which involve politicians, Greek and foreign companies.
Tens of millions of euro...
...are spent on railway lines that never work.
Trains are rented for prices which they could be bought for.
The state buys trains from Siemens...
...without the appropriate network to use them.
It also pays contractors for works that are never delivered.
There is a certain deliberateness.
We degrade our national wealth to slander it after its degradation,
and convince Greek public opinion...
...that maybe a private company...
....is a far better solution for the Greek railways.
In the name of rationalisation,
the government further degrades the railways.
It cuts personnel at the expense of quality,
increases prices by over 60% and closes a large section of tracks.
Especially in the section between Argos-Tripoli-Kalamata...
...several million euro were invested.
And today there are no trains there.
When counting only profits or losses,
the privatization advocates forget that...
...the railways are first of all a service for the citizens.
A service paid by generations of Greek taxpayers.
There was a time in Greece when private debts were nationalised...
...but today there is an effort to privatize the profit...
...that the citizens could enjoy through public services.
What did private companies invest in this sector...
...in order to buy it at a price much lower than its value?
If the railways are like a book on economic history,
the water network teaches us how to manage a monopoly.
In this sector, its Paris' turn to pay the bill of privatization.
Water is the outstanding example of a monopoly.
No water company in the world operates on a competitive basis.
There's only ever one network,
it's not worth ever investing in to competing networks.
Two multinational companies...
...of great financial and political power, Veolia and Suez,
claim administration of the water network in Paris.
And Jacques Chirac offers it to them.
In 1985, a political decision was taken by Jacques Chirac,
Mayor of Paris at the time,
to divide Paris in two, based on the banks of the river Seine...
...and by dividing it this way...
...to allocate to each major private group and its subsidiaries...
...a bank for the distribution and the billing of water.
There was no technical or economic argument.
I think there was an ideological stance...
...that said that the private sector is more effective.
The citizens received more and more expensive bills.
The prices kept rising for 15 years.
As far as prices are concerned, the bills rose by 260%.
It is true that we've had an increase in the price of water...
...without a technical or economic explanation.
When the municipality changed in 2001,
with a majority of the left, the ecologists, the communists,
it was decided to take back the water services.
The new municipal water company, which was created in 2010,
decreased the bills by 8%...
...and invested all the profits in network amelioration.
There is also a very important question, a question of democracy.
If public administration is properly implemented, it permits...
...greater political control by the citizens of Paris.
Veolia and Suez reacted, as they lost...
...a net income of 60 and 30 million euro a year respectively.
They put pressure on the government, the municipality and the unions...
...against Anne Le Strat that started the process.
They kind of see me as the devil incarnated.
The fight for Paris brought forth...
...the intertwining of interests of multinationals and politicians.
Jerome Monod, the manager of Lyonnaise des Eaux,
was a leading figure in Jacques Chirac's party.
Regardless of their connections, however,
the water multinationals seemed to lose the battle against the citizens.
Ôhere were number of political campaigns...
...and battles fought across Europe and right across the world.
The result of those battles was largely ...
...that people rejected water privatization very strongly.
However, the EU turned its back to the citizens' decision.
The multinational companies are the decision makers in Brussels
and Italy became their next target.
There was a referendum on water privatization.
57% of the population turned out to vote...
...and 96% of them voted that they didn't want water privatization.
Vote Yes
For public water services
Åven Berlusconi said: "I can't privatize the water".
"There's been a referendum that says we're not allowed to".
Berlusconi is now being replaced by a government headed by bankers...
...a similar process as it happened in Greece.
Again European officials have said to the Italian government:
"we expect a privatization program and we expect to include water".
With a secret letter that they sent to the new Italian prime minister,
Trichet and Draghi, of the European Central Bank,
demanded the same thing that was rejected by the Italian people.
The fact that it was now illegal under the Italian constitution...
...to privatize water, was irrelevant.
Á fundamentally undemocratic process,
and again similar to the pressures that are being put on Greece.
I spoke just this weekend with the Prime Minister, Mr. Papademos,
I spoke also with Prime Minister Monti,
and I know that they are committed to respect the commitments taken...
...because they understand that without this...
...there is not gonna be financial stability in their countries.
We know that in the countries where the IMF intervenes...
...the water services are privatized.
We know very well that senior executives of Suez and Veolia...
...are executives and consultants of the IMF.
We know very well that executives of Suez and Veolia...
...are related to the ECB,
that in the European Parliament many people are paid to lobby...
...and promote the interests of these multinational companies,
that people from these companies join governments...
...and when these governments go they return to the companies.
In Greece, the Papandreou government appointed...
...as CEO of the public water company, a former executive of Veolia.
Nikos Bardis, who promoted privatization...
...on behalf of the French multinational company,
now characterises Greece as a stronghold of the Soviet Union.
However, privatization plans didn't start in the era of the Troika.
The fire sale of the water networks of Athens and Thessaloniki...
...began during Simitis' government, when the networks went public.
Within a decade, bills rose more that 200%,
whereas services did not improve by 200%, they got much worse.
In 2008, the New Democracy party restarted the privatization process...
...and three joint ventures prepared for battle.
There was the Suez group with Ellaktor,
there was Veolia with the Marfin group,
and there was the Spanish Aqualia with GEK-Terna.
Suez executives visited the public water company's buildings.
I do not know what was discussed behind closed doors.
What we do know is that these companies...
...and Suez in particular...
...have been accused abroad...
...of bribing public servants and politicians...
...in countries of the civilised West.
If something like that happened elsewhere...
...it is very likely that it will also happen in Greece.
International Fair of Thessalonica, 2009
-(Journalist) Elections have interrupted or temporarily halted...
...the privatization process of the Thessaloniki water company.
If you get elected, will you continue the privatization process,
or do you disagree with privatization?
(G. Papandreou) We are against water privatization.
This was another unfulfilled campaign promise of the PASOK government.
After the elections, the government continued...
with the privatization plans of two profitable enterprises:
The Athens and the Thessaloniki water companies.
The main argument of the government...
...and the companies that are after the water resources...
...is that they are not going to buy our rivers, our springs;
That they are not going to take our networks and leave.
The networks stay here. Just as the Acropolis stays here.
They are only going to take over the management,
the maintenance, the distribution, the billing policy.
What these privatization advocates fail to mention is that the cost...
...of the replacement of the network will still be paid by the citizens.
Therefore, the companies have no incentive to maintain this network.
Insufficient maintenance means profit for the private company;
infrastructure destruction means its replacement by the Greek citizens.
The profit goes to the private company,
the damage is inflicted upon the Greek taxpayer.
Water is not for sale
Like a sorcerer's apprentice,
Europe will pay for the privatization of infrasture.
The market forces, however, will show their true face...
...even in the birthplace of neoliberalism, the USA.
Towards the end of the '90s...
...California deregulates the electricity market.
But the deregulation civilisation...
...is lost along with electricity power.
It is a fantasy that...
...you can have a market in electricity or gas.
That is just not possible. It is a natural monopoly.
There is only one wire going to your house.
This is a basic kind of introductory economic story,
that if you have something in tense towards a natural monopoly,
then you don't have the competitive forces of the market...
...to discipline producers.
But you need some sort of regulatory structure,
otherwise you're just inviting basically companies to rip you off.
Historically, utility rates in the US were heavily regulated.
In the 90's they changed that, they started to change that.
We were going to deregulate the construction,
operation and ownership of the generation plants,
while leaving the transmission and the distribution system...
...in the hands of the utilities.
The power companies can increase the wholesale price uncontrollably.
In order to achieve this,
they develop complex fraud strategies with code names.
In the case of Enron, they even had names for it:
Death star, get shorty, ricochet, cramming, false scheduling.
One was named "fat boy" after the first nuclear bomb.
The companies even stop producing electricity...
...to create shortages and increase the kilowatt per hour price.
- Las Vegas Cogen, this is Rich. - Hey Rich. This is Bill up at Enron.
This is gonna be a word of mouth kind of thing.
We want you guys to get a little creative...
...and come up with a reason to go down.
Ok, so we're just coming down for some maintenance.
We have people from Enron on tapes laughing...
...about how they were pulling power off line...
...and how they were sending grandma's rates through the roof.
-So the rumor's true?
They're fucking taking all the money back from you guys?
All the money you guys stole from poor grandmonthers in California?
-Yeah, granma Millie man.
-Now she wants her fucking money back for all that power...
...you jammed right up her ass for fuckin' 250 dollars a megawatt hour.
The other was to game the market.
So, basically they could get paid for electricity...
...that they were never actually delivering.
And what ended up happening was prices rising hundreds of percent,
even thousands of percent during those peak periods.
Enron corrupted our system. Deeply.
But it wasn't just Enron.
And the idea that Enron was one bad apple is wrong.
All six of the big power companies were involved in conspiracies.
Enron could not act alone.
In California, citizens pay the cost of the experiment,
when market forces leave millions of them literally in the dark.
The first blackouts were in June of 2000.
You had producers refusing to produce at the prices given...
...and the utilities ended up having blackouts.
The deregulation of the energy market in California...
...was imposed under huge pressure by big businesses.
But even they suffered losses from the deregulation.
The irony of course is that major utility users,
big businesses who used vast amounts of energy...
were major advocates for the deregulation.
When the energy crisis hit, they were among the significant victims,
given the amount of energy they consumed.
As retail prices could not follow...
...the mad speculative game of wholesale prices,
the system began to collapse.
Ôhe more energy they provided,
the more money they lost and faster and faster.
One of our two investors in California declared bankrupcy...
...and the other one was awfully close.
The end of the story was reregulation.
If you leave that to the markets, then you can run into a situation...
...at those peaks that the price literally becomes ridiculous,
which is what happened in California.
Regulation is the application of democracy in the economy.
It's how we democratically control monopoly businesses...
...so they don't control us.
Europe will experience its own dark days...
...due to the deregulation and privatization of the energy market.
The deregulation starts with the Maastricht Treaty...
...when the EU promises improvement in services and a decrease in prices.
Én the European union where the market is been opened up,
any electricity producer or supplier can access transport...
...and distribution networks to supply its customers,
which encourages competition.
Until 2006, no private company invested in electricity in Greece.
This is basic public infrastructure,
it demands major capital and the return is slow.
There is no easy and quick profit for the private companies.
Therefore, gradually, from 2000 to 2006,
in order for the market to attract private investors,
the consumption bills started to rise.
The taxpayers do not just pay more expensive bills.
Without knowing it, they subsidize the private energy producers.
Mytilinaios owns the "Aloumina" and Latsis the oil refineries.
They needed electricity...
...so they created power production units for their own companies.
However, they realised that it is less profitable to consume their own power.
So, they sold their electricity to the public power company...
...for a 100 euro per megawatt hour wholesale,
while the public power company sold electricity to them...
...and to other industrialists for 43 euro.
In the case of photovoltaic power, the public company buys it at 51 cents,
while it sells it for 11 cents per kilowatt hour.
Due to the constant increase of the bills, private companies...
... realise they can also profit from electricity provision.
Hellas. The no1 private power company is here.
Dr. Lampros the rheumatologist and Mrs. Fotini...
...changed power companies without changing their meter.
So, at some point, there appeared private electricity providers.
Provider simply means middleman.
They sold thin air.
With a share capital of 60,000 euro, a very small amount,
one could get a license to provide electricity.
A company that produces electricity via renewable sources.
Where did they get the renewable energy they advertised?
From the public power company.
At first, private companies had to guarantee...
...that they had the electricity they promised to sell.
But the EU released them from this obligation.
They did not have to guarantee...
...that they had what they intended to sell!
The Greek regulatory authority for the energy sector...
...will open the door to companies...
...among which the Enrons of Greece will emerge.
63 licenses were issued.
The biggest such providers were Energa and Hellas Power.
Both companies did not pay back to the public sector, expenses...
...it had incurred for electricity production and distribution.
At some point they ceased paying back any money,
even the amount necessary for the energy...
...they had agreed to purchase by contract.
They also collected the tax added to the electricity bills...
...and the money went straight to Switzerland.
The cases of Energa and Hellas Power...
...are just the tip of the iceberg of the millions of euro...
...that the deregulation costs Greek citizens.
During the 12 years of energy market deregulation...
...there was no decrease in bureaucracy...
...nor did the services improve...
...nor did the fuel mixture ameliorate.
On the contrary, the energy dependence of the country grew...
...while the bills rose by more than 80%.
The taxpayers are the first victims.
But employees are also affected.
Before the deregulation of the market, that started in '98-'99,
the public power company had 35,000 employees, while today it has 22,000.
There was a considerable decrease in personnel...
...who were replaced by contractors,
contractor employees and a lot of casual workers.
The contractors are not interested so much in quality.
On the contrary it is of their interest...
...when the maintenance is not sound.
There have also been a lot of accidents.
Not a year goes by without two, three or four fatal accidents.
Indifferent to the public interest and the consequences on society,
the parties supporting the memorandum now promote...
...more privatization of the public power company.
Its real value, according to the official data,
is 16-17 billion euro.
What is its value in the Greek stockmarket?
750-800 million euro.
Unit five that is planned to be built in Ptolemaida...
...has a budget of 1.5 billion.
The whole company will be sold...
for a price lower than the cost of one of its units.
The Greek people paid...
...for the electricity networks to reach even the smallest villages...
...and these networks will now be exploited by private companies.
Most of these private companies...
...feed off the state and earn instead of offering.
The public power company was not built by the private sector.
It operated for 60 years thanks to the public's money.
It brought electricity to the whole country.
It is ours and we cannot give it away.
A lot of examples from around the world prove that...
...privatization negatively affects citizens, workers and services.
Today, privatization is presented as necessary...
...in order to cope with the debt crisis.
However, even privatization advocates disagree.
Doing a lot of privatization...
...isn't necessarily the best thing in the middle of an economic crisis...
...because privatization is going to lead to people being laid off.
And the worst thing you can do during a crisis...
...is give people more reasons to lay off workers.
You will get a bit of money in the short run, because of that.
So it will be good for your balance sheet for maybe a year,
but in after you loose income.
In real economic terms,
it will be a drop in the ocean in a short term...
...and an economic loss in a long term.
The world crisis that the private sector has created...
...becomes a pretext for a general attack against public assets.
An attack that is sometimes disguised.
Privatization does not concern only the cases...
...when whole services are taken away from the state,
in the form of, let's say, concessions.
It is also privatization when universities are evaluated...
...not for the level of education they provide...
...but according to how attractive this education is to the market.
Ôhe supposedly public universities...
...are being forced to adapt to the same market imperatives,
so what we will find is a process of assimilation...
...in which the public universities become like the private ones:
Profit making enterprises that seek essentially to sell education,
and the whole principle of public education...
...is that education isn't a commodity.
It is the right of every citizen.
The privatization effort is expanded...
...even to what Marx called "general intellect",
namely, the accumulated social and technological knowledge...
...that produces the wealth of a society.
How Bill Gates became the richest man in the world?
It was precisely through privatization of commons.
What Bill Gates offers...
is something that constitutes the very common space that we use...
...in order to communicate, to exchange notes,
not only knowledge, but generally news, Internet, whatever.
In order to be in touch with each other,
we have to enter the Bill Gates domain.
However, the effort to privatize everything...
...leads to the emergence of strong resistance by the people,
who realize that everything can change...
...if there is political will.
The problems of the economy aren't mainly legal; they are political.
When a political decision is taken, everything can be reversed.
In places like Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador,
there was a retaking of the private, the privatized systems.
In some cases because they had to.
There are re-municipalizations happening now in Europe.
What's happening in Germany over the last two years…
...is being quite widespread: Remunicipalization of electricity.
The answer to privatization, however,
cannot be a return to the situation that brought us to where we now stand.
The goal is for public property to be controlled...
...by those who created it: The workers.
I think we have to learn lessons from the past...
...and the management structure needs to be more democratic.
Authority needs to come from the bottom, not from the top.
The Greek people must fight for that, because, if they don't,
they won't be able to rise up again.
I hope that Greek people will fight it.
And I hope all the European trade unions will help them fight it.
To students and workers in Greek universities,
I say that you resist with all your might and main.
You are not victims. Ok, you are...
...but basically you are fighting, my God.
Will the modern person be able to fight their tendency...
...to be inactive, to stay calm?
Besides, Thucydides has already said that:
It's either freedom or calmness. You need to choose.
You will either be free or calm.
You can't have both.