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On the 11th of June, George Papandreou, the former Greek Prime Minister who led Greece into the arms of the IMF has been invited to the TEDGlobal 2013 conference in Edinburgh. According to TEDGlobal, he is supposedly going to “draw lessons from the Greek debt crisis”, however, he is the very same person that during his premiership led Greece to an extreme humanitarian crisis.
Papandreou and his government neither “inherited a deficit” as described in the TED website, nor did he enter Greek politics in 2009. He has been an instrumental piece of the political system responsible for the current situation in Greece. He was first elected to the Greek parliament in 1981 and became a member of the central committee of the ultra-corrupt Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) founded by his father, which has been in power in Greece for 21 years over the last 3 decades. He has also held the positions of “Minister for Foreign Affairs” and “Minister for National Education and Religious Affairs”.
He won the general elections in 2009 by promising an end to austerity and measures that would encourage growth while denying that he would appeal for a loan to the IMF. Four years and three memoranda later, Greece’s debt continues to rise despite all declarations. The debt crisis has turned into a humanitarian one with over 21% of people living under severe poverty, a dramatic increase in unemployment (over 55% for the youth)[…] and a 300% increase in suicides. It has also turned into a crisis of democracy with state repression reaching new highs while nazi gangs terrorise, attack and even murder immigrants and activists. In line with all the previous, Greece’s assets are now being privatized for scandalous amounts. The plunging cost of acquiring public wealth and the decline in wages means that the domestic and global super rich ruling classes responsible for the crisis are now actually profiting from it!
At the same time, Papandreou continues to support the neoliberal policies that led to the current situation and travels around the world in luxury giving speeches on the “lessons learned from the Greek crisis”. This is an insult to those who have learnt the “real lessons” from the crisis. All those who have been stricken by the rise in unemployment, the reduction in pensions, the collapse of public welfare, those forced to emigrate.
We will keep fighting for a life of dignity, against the memoranda and the governments who impose them.
We demand that the TEDGlobal conference organisers remove George Papandreou from the speakers list.