By William Greider
It’s not that Senator Bernie Sanders doesn’t already have a full plate of campaign appearances. He keeps upping the ante with big ideas for fundamental reforms and is stirring the vital juices of left-liberal Democrats. But Bernie dropped off the campaign schedule on Thursday to reach out to the people of Greece. Far as I know, Greeks don’t get to vote in US primaries, but never mind. Bernie wanted to address their sorrows.
“I am expressing solidarity with the people of Greece in a time of cruel and counter-productive policies,” he declared at conference he arranged on Capitol Hill. Sanders called it a full-blown “humanitarian crisis” that other nations, including America, must not ignore; 26 percent unemployment, 30 percent in poverty, 50-60 percent of young people without jobs. Yet the financial masters of Europe (the bankers who lent Greece all the money in the first place) are imposing a new round of crippling austerity—deeper suffering—in effort to get their money back.
Why should we care? Bernie explained. “The people of Greece are being told their voices are not being heard,” he said. “Their misery does not matter. That democracy itself does not matter.” The Greek predicament endangers all of us, he warned. What the Germans and allied creditor nations are doing to Greece has a chilling similarity to what the American, British and French victors imposed on defeated Germany after World War I—the punishing burden of debts impossible to repay. That financial vengeance ultimately deranged the German populace and led to Adolph Hitler.
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