(I want to dedicate this text to those of my former students who in the end, chose “mediocrity” and “virtual reality” for the sake of their own society, their own families and their own survival).
The next “precious gem” in Greece’s modern politics is Kostas Simitis, who served as Prime Minister of Greece from 1996 to 2004. Both the start and the ending of his premiership were the least, unorthodox and controversial (this in the context of a normal political process within a Democratic state), very similar to his own role as a political figure and as a political leader. On January 18, 1996, Kostas Simitis was elected Prime Minister of Greece by the parliamentary members of his own party, PASOK, who held the majority of seats in the Greek Parliament. This followed after the resignation of Andreas Papandreou from the position of Prime Minister due to health reasons (even though during the last few years of his premiership, he was almost an invalid; his Greek male ego did not permit him to abandon political power and political glory).
On January 7, 2004, Kostas Simitis announced his resignation as president of PASOK(under the political pressure of the “American friendly” George Papandreou and the parliamentary party members who supported him), and naturally he was succeeded by George Papandreou on February 8, 2004. Kostas Simitis continued to serve as Prime Minister of Greece until March 10, 2004, while the duration of his term in office, lasting 8 years and 2 months, represents the longest uninterrupted premiership in Greece’s modern history.
Kostas Simitis was born on June 23, 1936, in the city of Piraeus, from very educated parents, which means that the family belonged to Greece’s middle class, yet they were also leftist political activists. During the German occupation of Greece (1939-1945), his father and his mother played an active role in the Greek resistance, affiliating themselves with the Greek leftist military organisations of E.A.M and E.L.A.S .The family stock of Kostas Simitis originates from the prefecture of Ilia in Peloponnesus, while his maternal grandfather was a prominent physician and a philanthropist in the large city of Pirgos in Peloponnesus. At the same time, the father of Kostas Simitis, George Simitis, as a successful and socially active lawyer, served for many years as president of the lawyer’s union of the city of Piraeus, and likewise his mother, Fani Christopoulou, participated as a high cadre in leftist women’s organisations, eventually becoming Chairwoman of the Pan-Hellenic Women’s Union of Greece.
Kostas Simitis studied Law at the university of Marburg in West Germany and Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science in Great Britain. During the 1960s and 1970s, he taught Law in various West German universities, specializing in International Trade and Civil Law, and in 1974, he was appointed full professor at Pantios College in Athens which soon became Pantios University. Therefore, from what we have already mentioned about Kostas Simitis, we recognize a person with a high academic background, educated in foreign universities, specializing in political economy and law, and finally and most importantly, coming from a middle class family whose parents were equally very well educated and who also were very active socially and politically, guided by a leftist and progressive ideology. Yet, as we shall soon confirm, during his political evolution and having as his “political mentor” and as his “political guide” the “hocus pocus” Andreas Papandreou, Kostas Simitis gradually but steadily forgot and put aside the social and political values which his parents had infused in him during his youth, choosing finally the “dark path” leading to power, self-centeredness, self-enrichment, opportunism and trickery. He in the end, chose to act through and live through this futile and ephemeral human role, all at the expense of the economic progress and the national independence of Greek Society and of the Greek State, “critical societal components” for which his own parents had fought so hard to defend and reinforce throughout their lives!!!
Throughout the beginnings of his political activities, Kostas Simitis seems to have been equally as leftist, as combatant, as radical, as revolutionary and as progressive as his parents were in their own active social and political life experiences, during a very difficult historical period for Greece, which covers World War II (1939-1945), the catastrophic Greek Civil War(1946-1949) and the period just after, when Greece found itself in shambles, economically, socially and politically. In 1965, as a professional lawyer in Greece, Kostas Simitis became one of the founding members of the Cultural Research Centre “Alexandros Papanastasiou”, whose main scientific program was to provide a classified and a detailed analysis of the major handicaps in the Greek Economy and in Greek Society in general, with its main goal to finding practical formulas for their resolution. This scientific and cultural centre in 1967 evolved into a political organization which was renamed “Democratic Defense”, whose main aim now was to undermine Greece’s Military Dictatorship, which had been imposed on the Greek Peoples in April 1967. This same political organization, 7 years later, played an active role in the creation of PASOK, the “socialist” political party which would participate in Greece’s parliamentary elections in 1974, with Andreas Papandreou as its leader. Also, in 1970, Kostas Simitis served as a member of the Pan-Hellenic Liberation Movement (PAK), becoming one of its top cadres, as he was soon elected to its Executive Council. In a short time, PAK would become the political nucleus (cadres, ideology, political action) for the formation in 1974, of the Greek “socialist” political party of PASOK. The Pan-Hellenic Liberation Movement (PAK), as a socialist and progressive political movement against Greece’s military dictatorship, had established political offices in many countries around the world, such as the United States, Canada, France, Australia, Germany, Sweden, etc. , aiming at mobilizing political support from Greeks residing abroad. As a consequence, later on , many of the top political cadres of PASOK were successful professionals, especially in the academic field; individuals who had been educated and had worked for many years abroad and had “made a name” for themselves there!!!
Yet, the most critical biographical data which indicate the leftist political roots of Kostas Simitis come from the historical information that he represented one of the top cadres of PASOK, responsible for defining the ideological maxims and the political orientation of his party’s manifesto, which became known as “the Declaration of the 3rd of September, 1974.” This progressive and innovative political document within the context of Greece’s modern history, embodied and engaged with radical political ideals which touched upon critical factors concerning Greek Society as a whole, such as the welfare state, the modernization of the state’s and of society’s infrastructure, the equality of the sexes, the democratization of the civil services and the legal protection of all professions through union participation. Finally, it dictated a foreign policy which would protect effectively and dynamically the national interests of the country, founded on an ethnocentric foreign diplomacy, on an effective military defense system and on international alliances with the Non-aligned nations of the world (states which did not belong to either of the two major international political camps, that of the United States and of the then Soviet Union), and finally, with liberation political movements worldwide.
Kostas Simitis represented one of the most powerful and influential cadres of PASOK, serving in its first Central Committee and its first Executive Council. As a leading member of PASOK, he became one of the most important architects of the party’s political ideology and political strategy, designated as the person responsible for the party’s political propaganda. During this ideologically “pure” and “unadulterated” period of his political career, his leftist and radical beliefs were so intense and absolute, that even his “political mentor”, Andreas Papandreou, president of PASOK , was forced in June 1979, to officially declare his resignation from member of the party’s Executive Council with the pretext that Kostas Simitis was the person responsible for a propaganda poster circulated widely by the party, and which carried the political slogan, “No to a Europe of monopolies, yes to a Europe of Nations!!!”. Andreas Papandreou could not permit such radical leftist political interventions by any of his party’s top cadres. Even though Andreas Papandreou had always presented himself as a “true socialist” and during his younger years, he had even affiliated himself with a Greek “Trotskyite” political organization( a “fraction” of international communism, whose main goal was the establishment of this socio-political system internationally through popular armed uprisings), yet, this “adopted son” of the United States and an outstanding economist had always supported vehemently the “international capitalist market system”, which was essentially controlled by International American Economic Interests and by International American Financial Trusts(we can objectively confirm this from the books he has written on Economics, praising the Globalization of the International Markets). He did not dare and did not really want to blemish the “beneficial economic role” played by international monopolies, since they represented the central and basic “turning axles” of World Capitalism!!!
Kostas Simitis served as Minister of Agriculture from 1981 until 1985, as Minister of the National Economy from 1985 until 1987, and as Minister of Industry, Energy and Research, as well as Minister of Trade from 1993 until 1995. In “theory” and “historically”, the positive contribution of Kostas Simitis as Prime Minister of Greece(1996-2004) rests on the economic status of the country, meaning financial stability based on the guidelines provided by the European Union; a decrease in inflation and at the same time some limitations to Greece’s National Debt. If theoretically and historically the “strong cards” of Kostas Simitis as Prime Minister of Greece are directly related to the economic welfare or the economic development of the country as a whole, we feel obliged to examine some of the financial policies he personally initiated as Greek Prime Minister, which should clearly demonstrate the he “in the final analysis”, reinforced even further Greece’s “cliental state”, defended the economic and political interests of “foreign financial groups” within the country, supported the internal economic and political hegemony of the Greek Establishment, while at the same time undermining his country’s economic self-sufficiency and national independence in the long run;therefore in practice, discarding his inherent “progressive” and “democratic” ideals and beliefs, as well as those of “his progressive parents”!!!
In our text, we stigmatized Andreas Papandreou with the nickname “hocus pocus man” since in his everyday activities, he played “hazy” and “dark” political games, distorting the objective historical reality of the Society he governed, thus servicing the vital interests and the strategic goals of his “foreign mentors”, especially those of various “American financial trusts”, this as related to Greece and the European Community as a whole. Andreas Papandreou had created a “virtual reality” in the minds of the Greek peoples, an “existential mirage”, which logically and naturally could only lead them to a “historical impasse” and of course towards the dissolution of their own “national identity”. In the case of Kostas Simitis, I am prone to identify him with the nickname “cagey”, which means someone who is “secretive” and “shadowy”, once again, for the long term “prescribed end” of dismembering economically and politically his own country, thus fulfilling the expansionist ambitions of “powerful foreign predators”, especially those American financial predators who considered Greece as the “Achilles’ heel” of the European Union, their main capitalist rival in the world markets. This attribute of the “shadowy national conspirator” assigned to Kostas Simitis we shall clarify and obviously verify by analyzing some of the specific economic initiatives he took when he was Prime Minister of Greece.
In 1998, the Greek Government with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, had set as a basic national goal the country’s accession to the Economic and Monetary Union(EMU) of the European Union, becoming a full participant state in the Eurozone( with the “euro” as its single currency). On June 19, 2000, Greece officially applied to become a member state of the Eurozone or of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Those European States which had acquiesced in fully participating in this new interstate European financial organization would have had to use a common currency, therefore facilitating all commercial transactions between them, while also this common currency, which practically represented the most powerful and affluent market in the world(per capita buying power), could very soon have evolved into the major international reserve currency(hard currency), thus replacing the American dollar!!! Objectively, Greece should not have been allowed to become a member state of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union(EMU), this based on the strict economic criteria set by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, which defined the preconditions for a future European Economic Union, composed of member states of the European Union. The two most critical preconditions for any state of the European Union, permitting it to become part of this “exclusive single currency club” were that its inflation rate had to be below a certain set value(within 3 years, the rate of inflation could not surpass more than 1.5% that of the most productive member state), and secondly, that the country’s state debt would have to be lesser in value to 60% of its Gross National Product(GNP) or at least to reflect a declining course, leading towards this prescribed value standard. Within this same criteria, the budget deficit of the candidate country would have to be smaller than 3% of its Gross National Product (GNP).
In 1998, 11 member states of the European Union which had applied to enter the Economic and Monetary Union(EMU) satisfied the economic preconditions of the Treaty of Maastricht and consequently, the Eurozone with its common currency was formally established on January 1, 1999. Greece became officially a member state of the Eurozone on January 1, 2001, utilizing much economic and statistical “trickery” and “manipulation”, which in the end drove the country and its society into “absolute economic bankruptcy”!!! From the time of the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht by the member states of the European Union in 1992, all these “progressive”, “innovative” and “socialist” Greek governments, headed by the “socialist” political party of PASOK, could have respected and followed closely the economic guidelines as these were defined by the governing bodies(Commissions) of the European Community in Brussels. The two Greek Prime Ministers (Andreas Papandreou, Kostas Simitis) who ruled Greece during that critical historical period with PASOK, meaning from 1993 after the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht and until 1999, with the founding of the European Union’s Economic and Monetary Union, had functioned in their previous professional careers as “academicians”, as “university professors” and as “authors”, specializing in the science of economics. Therefore we Greeks, we should all ponder and wonder what “the Hell went wrong”!!!!
At this very critical historical period for Greece(1993-1999), it was absolutely imperative for the “health” of the country that these Two “luminaries in economics” but also “theoretically” Two responsible political leaders, to have initiated and secured direct state control over the enormous tax evasions as practiced by the higher and middle classes of Greece, to have limited the country’s “black economy”(undeclared revenues) and the corruption in the Greek Civil Services, as well as to have reduced the state’s defense expenditures(Greece is at the top of the list in military spending in the European Community, and of course the main incentive are the large payoffs and bribes to Greek politicians, to Greek middlemen and to Greek officials in the armed forces and in the civil services). Finally, these Two Greek Prime Ministers (Andreas Papandreou, Kostas Simitis) should have introduced modernizing economic projects and strategies for the development of the country that they were responsible for; the country which time and time again, in their political rhetoric they were proclaiming how much they loved and how much they cared for- very similar to the patriotic rhetoric of Aristotle Onassis. Yet, as we all know perfectly well, a “cliental state” cannot function as a “modern” and “productive” state, a “tidy” and “efficient” state, while its political leaders continue to support and reinforce this “distorted state infrastructure” which services their own personal interests and the expansionist strategies of their own personal “foreign masters”. Shouldn’t these Greek political leaders be classified by objective Greek historiography as “political stooges” and as “national traitors”???
Therefore, as an astute and cunning “Levantine Greek merchant”, exactly like his political predecessors, Kostas Simitis found the “easy” and “underhanded” solution, distorting or manipulating the statistical data concerning Greece’s National Debt. Nevertheless, it was a formula or a solution which provided all the tools and preconditions to “foreign financial trusts”, especially “American financial trusts”, not only to make large profits by charging vast amounts of money for their various services to the Greek State, but gradually to totally “bankrupt” Greece as a country, as a state but also as a society. It would be an international strategic scheme of bankruptcy of a developed country, to a large degree directed by “American financial organizations” which in the course of time, would greatly weaken and subjugate economically the European Union, undermining at the same time “the euro” as a major hard currency in the world markets. This long term “conspiratorial strategy”, would create the ideal historical and economic circumstances for those “international financial trusts” which supported America’s World Hegemony and of course the Economic Hegemony of the American dollar itself, to soon control and supervise all of the economic and political developments within the European Community!!
As we have already mentioned, in the Treaty of Maastricht of 1992,which had been signed by all the member-states of the European Union, it had been officially and clearly defined the economic pre-conditions which would allow a member-state to participate in a future European and Monetary Union. The most critical pre-requisites for becoming part of this inter-state monetary mechanism which would install a common currency, were that the country’s national debt had to be less than 60% of its Gross National Product (GNP) or to reflect a declining trend which had to soon approach this prescribed indicator, while the country’s budget deficit would have had to be smaller than 3% of its GNP. In 1998, 11 member-states of the European Union which had applied to accede to this common Monetary Mechanism(Eurozone) fulfilled these clearly stipulated economic criteria, and as a result , on January 1, 1999, this economic inter-state organization was institutionally and legally formalized(international law), soon composed of these 11 member-states of the European Union.
Then, the Greek Government under the Premiership of Kostas Simitis, had set as a pivotal point of its national policy, the accession of Greece to the Eurozone, but when this European Economic Institution was established in 1999, the country “fell far behind” the basic economic preconditions which had been clearly defined by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992; the most critical one being that the national debt of a member-state had to approximately equal to 60% of its Gross National Product(GNP) or to reflect a downward trend which would soon approach this prescribed indicator. As a consequence, in order for the Greek Government of Kostas Simitis to respond practically to his country’s non-feasible economic status with respect to this economic precondition as defined by the Treaty of Maastricht, it initiated a strategy or a plan to distort the degree of Greece’s National Debt, meaning that it undertook certain procedures to distort in a “fraudulent way” the financial statistics of this debt. As a “cagey” political personality, Kostas Simitis was able to organize this “underhanded conspiratorial venture” by taking advantage of specific political conditions which were in place at that time, as well as by utilizing certain “illicit” or “unorthodox” techniques, facilitated by organizational laxities which had then existed within the various bureaucratic institutions of the European Union. It would be a “governmental statistical disguise” which in the end would prove to be a very “costly solution”, but also a “financial trap”, leading to the Absolute Economic Bankruptcy of Greece in 2011!!!
“There is no household, just life!!!”