Monday, February 9, 2015

What A Beautiful Inaugural Speech!

The beautiful soundbites of the speech are still ringing in my ears, particularly the following excerpts (which I have taken the liberty to edit a bit): 

“The people said: ‘We will win,’ and we have won, so here we are today to celebrate the start of our victory! This victory belongs to those who suffered and endured under the name of dependence, the exploitation of a ruling class which was unable to vide progress and wasn't even concerned about it. We all know the truth, that the suffering of our people exists and persists because a few privileged people profit from them. But the day has finally come to say enough — enough of economic exploitation, enough of social inequality, enough of political oppression.

Today, we gather here to celebrate our victory and to mark the start of the liberation of the people, who are at last in power and are taking over control of their national destiny. We have received a society torn by social inequality; a society divided into antagonistic classes of the exploited and exploiting. We have inherited a society wracked by unemployment, which throws growing numbers of the citizenry into a situation of forced idleness and poverty. These masses are living witnesses to the inability of previous governments to guarantee everyone the elementary right to work.

The people of this country have risen up against all these forms of existence. Our victory was the result of their conviction that only a genuine 'new' government could stand up to the power of the ruling classes and at the same time mobilize all citizens to build a new republic. This is the great task which history has given us. To carry it out, I call on you today. The only way we who love this country and believe in it can overcome underdevelopment and build a new society is by putting all our shoulders to the wheel.

We are living at a historic time, that of a great transformation of the political institutions, a time in which the parties and movements which represent the most neglected social sectors are assuming power by a majority will. People's power means that we will do away with the pillars on which the minorities have found support — those minorities that always condemned our nation to underdevelopment. We will do away with the monopolies, through which a handful of families control the economy. We will put an end to a fiscal system that serves those who seek lucre, a system which has always borne down hard on the people and touched but lightly on the rich, a system which has concentrated the nation's savings in the hands of the bankers in their greed for amassing greater riches. 

Tell your people that here history will take a new course, that here the people have succeeded in taking the helm of their destiny to embark on a democratic course. This country in the process of renovation, this country in the springtime and an atmosphere of festivity wants, as one of its greatest aspirations, every man in the world to know that we are his brothers”.

I really found it remarkable that a new head of government who had been elected by only 36% of the voters but who had outclassed the conversative party which garnered only 28% of the vote would find such self-assured and motivating soundbites. No wonder that the crowds in Chile's National Stadium went berserk when Salvador Allende gave this inaugural speech on November 5, 1970.


  1. And yet, you never made a post to congratulate prof. Varoufakis for his writing skills!

    1. Could it be that you didn't read the last paragraph?

    2. Anonymous, I read in your words that you do not understand the real meaning of this post with Tsipras' speech. You consider it obviously as a "bravo" to Tsipras. As a "Wow!"
      It has nothing to do with a "bravo", neither with a "Wow!", nor an agreeing with it.
      You must see it within the context of what Allende said. Read it.
      Then you will understand that Tsipras has been inspired by it, or better said: even just copied and pasted some words, expressions, and the style of speaking.

      That you did not understand the reason of publishing this post might also be the reason for you question about Varoufakis. As if the man deserves "also" a "celebration" here in this blog. As a frequent visitor here I can assure you: Herr Kastner has written about it, using very nice words to express his admiration for Varoufakis' style and using words, the supreme English.

      Yes, Varoufakis is an excellent author, but to be a politician is something else. Btw: Varoufakis answered once on a question if he might ever become a politician with a very strong "No!!" "Never!!"
      Well...., there is so much more where he said this and changed his mind later. Even in the recent past. He is not really reliable.

    3. You are the sort of person (I have met them) who will assert that the sky is green and the grass is blue, if it suits you. The one thing that is absolutely clear is that Varoufakis has done EXACTLY what he said he would do. Yet you continue with attacks and innuendo, about something that has nothing to do with you and about which you also know nothing. Strange behaviour.

    4. Xenos, I know that I should not feed the trolls, but have you never seen a sky in red and the grass in brown? :O


  2. Amazing similarities: Tsipras must have read/studied Allende's speech....
    Thanks for translating. It would be so excellent if more relevant Greek speeches would be translated.

    Btw: Papandreou is "back" with a new party named "To Kinima".
    Speeches (in Greek though, asked for English subtitles, but did not get an answer), and more, can be found here:

    1. I hope you don't expect us to take you seriously, when you dare to mention en passant that the most hated Greek on earth, the man whose incompetence and family privilege led to greater damage to the people of Greece than was needed, has formed another political party for his own self-glorification. And, of course, also for his own pocket, he hopes.

      Incidentally, I read that the Papandreou ISTAME Foundation is now bankrupt, owing 170,000 euros to IKA -- and Papandreou does not offer to pay out of the Papandreou fortune. So IKA is yet again damaged by Greek politicians. I also read a few years ago, in a US magazine, that Papandreou had bought a luxury neoclassical villa in Plaka, to house his new office in ISTAME. Interesting, how he can spend money on himself but not pay IKA bills.

  3. Indeed he spoke well. I enjoyed alot of what he said. It kinda makes me feel unsure because he has a carism like the great JFK, and we all know what happened to him. I really have a great concerns for his safty if he means well and does act on what he seem to attack. (Just attacking the illigitamate petrol, tobaco cartel is dangerous as it is.) Lets hope eu helps him.

    That aside, he will lead by example and only stating that all MP's will have special provelages revoked is an example of its own. An example that they mean business and this alone will spark the people to join behind them and set aside personal gain. Like i have said i have no objection to be hit hard if it is for the good of my country. Last night Tsipras and Syriza made many greeks follow them. Before the speech a latest poll states that 77% of the people are behind him. That is alot of power and a negotiation is needed badly. After his speech if we where forced to snap elections if they dared to threaten him, Syriza would tak 60%, Golden dawn would be out and all other parties with lessthan 5% and ND at 15%.

    People will not vote for ideology. People are voting with common sense that we need to have a solution.

    He needs to ride this power and do as much as possible as to enforce reconstruction. I would love to see the elstat of revenues up till Last Friday and what they will be this week. I am sure after that speech everyone who owed any past due taxes will pay them this week. Then they will invite auditors to check the "Books."

    It was a great moment in Modern Greek History. I am very proud of Alexis. Good for him and our people.

    On the other hand i read some data from other countries of austerity such as Portugal. They have taken all the brunt of austerity made it through (not sure if they were under the microscope like us) and do not want concessions for Greece. They have a good point from their POV.

    In anycase there is a basis for discussions. Hopefully this and their efforts will bare fruit. I also learned that 2 high profile tax evaders are to be announced this week by SDOE. It will be a startling example of the will of the govermnet.


  4. How would a transition to a new currency happen? Bank of Greece has no reserves since EUR was the currency for Greece since 2002.

    1. I have no idea. Another question is when would it happen? In the middle of the summer, with tourists around?

    2. I fail to see how it can happen. This is why the Germans would initially destroy the Greek economy if they forced it out of the euro, and then there would be regional economic and political chaos, which would result in the break-up of the EU and NATO.

    3. Here is what I wrote about the subject over 2 years ago:

    4. "This is why the Germans would initially destroy the Greek economy" German-bashing again! Do you have an allergy? You must be so full of hatred:

    5. @Klaus. I am not sure that you are right, in your article. First of all, cash remains a very important part of Greek transactions, along with uncashed cheques circulating as quasi-money. This would immediately create a dichotomous economy, in which people would want real euro notes, and overnight the uncashed cheques would be devalued. So, holders of cash in large amounts would be privileged -- this would be a catastrophe and hyperinflationary. Moreover, many Greeks do not have credit cards or use electronic purchasing techniques: they might have to resort to barter.

      Secondly, the euro is the official currency of the EU, issued by the ECB. I do not see how, legally, Greece could continue to use it -- especially if the country had been forced to quit the EU, as is expected. Your scenario is rather unusual, and I do not know what would happen: if it could be done, it is very risky.

      Thirdly, of course the result of euro exit would be very serious problems of inflation, inability to trade, shortage of basic foods and goods... essentially, conditions so bad that one cannot even conceive of them, without describing events during WW II or the civil war.

      @Seukel: You live in a funny little world, it seems, that is not part of reality. The Germans are the primary policy makers of the eurozone: it is they who decide how to react to the new Greek government, not anyone else. Why, in your ridiculous way, you think this description of reality indicates my "hatred" for anyone or anything says more about you than it does about me or the European reality.

    6. @ Xenos
      I purposely avoided the issue of legality in my post.

      There would be no difference between postdated checks and cash. Both would immediately become "Drachma-Euro". Yes, the holders of Euro-cash would lose out exactly like all the others; that's only fair, isn't it?

      Mind you, the "Drachma-Euro" would only be for the time it takes to get real Drachma into circulation.

      The "Free Euro" remains the same Euro as in other countries of the Eurozone. There would be an exchange rate between the "Free Euro" and the "Drachma-Euro".

      I only addressed operational aspects, not economic ones.

    7. Putting a stamp on notes under circulation? Who would like to hold euro notes in spain portugal or even italy... this is like the death of euro. Maybe i should convert to usd or u think a stamp could apply there as well? Maybe stamp our wrist could be a solution? Come on this is so ...

  5. No doubt that (ghost) writers of important political speeches often consult famous historical speeches. There they find what arguments have worked, inspiration for showing a bright future or upcoming disaster etc.

    An honestly, why should any newly elected PM not present his position as the most glorious victory ever?

    The sad reality will follow all to fast after that historic moment :O


  6. It is a well known fact that Greeks have a song for everything. For speeches like the one above or for PM Tsipras parliament speech and its attendant rousing feelings the relevant song says" Τα ψεύτικα τα λόγια τα μεγάλα" from a musical movie of years ago. Sorry but translating and interpreting is beyond me. Suffice to say that it is a very cynical take on life. Please consult your Greek friends for explanations.

  7. Any idea if the political party funding reform bill based on GRECO was passed?