Greeks, don’t give in to the EU’s austerity ultimatum

An anti-austerity rally in front of the Greek parliament building, Athens, 29 June 2015. Photograph: Orestis Panagiotou/EPA
Letters

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Monday 29 June 2015 20.01 BST

Over the past five years, the EU and the IMF have imposed unprecedented austerity on Greece. It has failed badly. The economy has shrunk by 26%, unemployment has risen to 27%, youth unemployment to 60% and the debt-to-GDP ratio jumped from 120% to 180%. The economic catastrophe has led to a humanitarian crisis, with more than 3 million people on or below the poverty line (The moral crusade against Greece must be opposed, Opinion, 29 June).

Against this background, the Greek people elected the Syriza-led government on 25 January with a clear mandate to put an end to austerity. In the ensuing negotiations, the government made it clear that the future of Greece is in the eurozone and the EU. The lenders, however, insisted on the continuation of their failed recipe, refused to discuss a writedown of the debt – which the IMF is on record as considering unviable – and finally, on 26 June, issued an ultimatum to Greece by means of a non-negotiable package that would entrench austerity. This was followed by a suspension of liquidity to the Greek banks and the imposition of capital controls.
In this situation, the government has asked the Greek people to decide the future of the country in a referendum to be held next Sunday. We believe that this ultimatum to the Greek people and democracy should be rejected. The Greek referendum gives the European Union a chance to restate its commitment to the values of the enlightenment – equality, justice, solidarity – and to the principles of democracy on which its legitimacy rests. The place where democracy was born gives Europe the opportunity to recommit to its ideals in the 21st century.

Etienne Balibar
Costas Douzinas
Barbara Spinelli
Rowan Williams
Immanuel Wallerstein
Slavoj Zizek
Michael Mansfield
Judith Butler
Alain Badiou
Chantal Mouffe
Saskia Sassen
Homi Bhabha
Wendy Brown
Eric Fassin
Tariq Ali
Ed Vulliamy
Christoff Menke
Dipesh Chakrabarti
Claudia Moatti
Eduardo Cadava
Jean Comaroff
Daniel Loick
Marcus Rediker
Claudia Moatti
Ramin Jahanbegloo
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan
Lynne Segal
Sandro Mezzadra
Walter Mignolo
Joanna Bourke
Catherine Malabou
Fethi Benslama
Andreas Fischer-Lescano
Dirk Setton
Georg Lohmann
Lydia Liu
Saree Makdisi
Stathis Gourgouris
Robin Celikates
Emily Apter
Kate Hudson
Dirk Quadflieg
Giacomo Marramao
Engin Isin
Pheng Cheah
Carlos M Herrera
Alfonso Iacono
Ariella Gross
Paddy McDaid
Robert Meister
Iain Chambers
Neni Panourgia
James Tully
Margarita Tsomou
Isidoros Diakides
Liza Thompson
Paul McNee
Sionaidh Douglas-Scott
Bruce Robbins
Josef Früchtl
Alan Norries
Antonios Tzanakopoulos
Nicolas Countouris
Keith Ewing
Manfred Weiss
Akbar Rasulov
Gleider Hernández
Matthew Happold
Johan van der Walt
Kerem Oktem
Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon
Umut Oszu
Mavluda Sattorova
Gentian Zyberi
Richard Collins
Thomas Skouteris
Thanos Zartaloudis
Aris Katzourakis
Eleni Stamou
Gkikas Magiorkinis
Elinor Payne
Pari Skamnioti,
Ebru Soytemel
Eva Nanopoulos
Ilias Plakokefalos

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