Sign the petition: Help Bernie Sanders fight austerity

CREDO action
Tell the Fed: No more austerity for Greece

Petition to the Federal Reserve:
"Use the Federal Reserve's close financial relationship with the European Central Bank to push for a resolution to the Greek debt standoff that frees the Greek people from the economic suffering of cruel and ineffective austerity measures."

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Dear 5849376,

Stand with Bernie

Senator Bernie Sanders just took a bold stand in the international fight against austerity, and he needs our help.

The new, democratically elected government in Greece is under mounting pressure to abandon promises to raise the minimum wage and maintain a social safety net, and instead pursue even more disastrous cuts. In a recent letter, Sanders called on Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to use her influence with the European Central Bank (ECB) to push for an end to the devastating Greek austerity policies that have caused untold economic suffering.1

Greece has become the front line in the international fight against concentrated financial power and austerity targeted at working people. Senator Sanders is leading the fight against austerity, and we need to show the Fed that we stand alongside him.

Stand with Senator Sanders: Tell the Fed: No more austerity for Greece. Click here to sign the petition.

When the the European Central Bank, European Commission (EC), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – collectively known as the "troika" – foisted austerity on Greece in exchange for a budget bailout, the IMF promised it would boost the economy. Instead, the massive layoffs and sharp cuts to social services in a time of recession have been a textbook case of economic mismanagement. The IMF predicted the Greek economy would start growing by 2012, but it has instead shrunk by nearly 25 percent and remains mired in record negative GDP growth. Youth unemployment skyrocketed to over 60 percent, and unemployment overall remains stuck at nearly 26 percent. The number of suicides has sharply increased. Today, even the IMF's own analysis admits that austerity has failed.2,3,4

The simple truth is that austerity has never worked anywhere, and it is cruel lunacy to continue more of the same.

In January, the Greek people overwhelmingly elected a coalition led by Syriza, a left-leaning party that has promised to roll back austerity measures, rehire laid-off employees, raise the minimum wage, and renegotiate the Greek bailout. Today, the Greek government is demanding to be released from the worst terms of the bailout, calling for a "bridge loan" to give all parties more time to negotiate a new aid package. Greece's creditors, meanwhile, are demanding that Greece abide by the cruel terms agreed to by a prior government.5

If the two sides cannot come to an agreement by February 28, Greece will not be eligible for further loans and will run out of money. So far, the ECB seems more focused on breaking Greece's will than striking a fair deal. It recently clamped down on existing lines of credit, imperiling the entire Greek banking system. But the close cooperation and financial relationship between the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank means that Chairwoman Yellen has a great deal of influence over the ECB.

Negotiations between Greece and Europe are ongoing right now. We don't have much time to back Senator Sanders call for the Fed to use its privileged position to push the ECB to do the right thing.

Stand with Senator Sanders: Tell the Fed: No more austerity for Greece. Click here to sign the petition

If the ECB doesn't back down, it could lead to the rise of fascist elements within Europe. A Greek default would most likely lead to the nation exiting the eurozone – it would need to cease using the Euro and start printing its own money in order to continue functioning – sparking economic turmoil throughout Europe. At the same time, Senator Sanders warned on CNBC last week that forcing Syriza to renege on its promises to voters would wipe out the party's popular support. The power vacuum would very likely be filled by the fascist "Golden Dawn" party, currently the third largest in Greece, in a haunting echo of what happened when the cruel terms of the post-WWI Treaty of Versailles led to economic misery and the rise of Nazis in Germany.6

We can't forget how this all started. The worst of the one percent in Greece dodged taxes while using their corrupt influence to make billions overcharging the government, leading to a massive budget shortfall. International banks, primarily in Germany and France, stepped in to loan the Greek government money, and Goldman Sachs helped it cover up the sorry state of its budget outlook.7 When the recession hit, Greece could no longer hide. As its bank creditors demanded their money back, the nation teetered on the brink of default and was forced to seek a bailout. The terms of that bailout included strict austerity, slashing public spending, laying off employees, and forcing working-class Greeks to pay for the wrongdoing of wealthy oligarchs and international banks.

In essence, European nations were not bailing out Greece – they were bailing out their own banks, which had loaned Greeks money. Big banks got their money back. Corrupt titans in Greece kept their cash. Only the Greek people paid the price.

Tightening the screws on Greece would be a big victory for giant international banks at the expense of working-class Greeks and would embolden austerity advocates around the world. At stake is whether a democratically elected government responds to the will of the people, or to international financiers.

Stand with Senator Sanders: Tell the Fed: No more austerity for Greece. Click the link below to sign the petition.

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/no_austerity?t=6&akid=13160.3291973.Th53gy

Thanks for fighting back against austerity.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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  1. "Sanders Asks Fed Chief Yellen To Help Greece Overcome Austerity Policies Which Are Destroying Their Economy," Sanders.Senate.Gov, February 9, 2015
  2. Yves Smith, "Is Syriza About to Score a Tactical Win Against the Troika?" Naked Capitalism, February 9, 2015
  3. Paul Mason, "Greece shows what can happen when the young revolt against corrupt elites The Guardian, January 25, 2015
  4. Philip Tutt, "Greek austerity sparks sharp rise in suicides," CNBC, February 4, 2015
  5. "Greece bailout talks: No agreement in Brussels," BBC News, February 12, 2015
  6. "Sen. Sanders: Greece in midst of great depression" CNBC, February 9, 2015
  7. Beat Balzi, "Greek Debt Crisis: How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt," Spiegel Online, February 8, 2010

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