Italians awoke today to the announcement of a new government under the newly appointed Prime Minister Mario Monti. Replacing Former Prime Minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi who resigned over the weekend amid internal and external pressure regarding the ongoing debt crisis in the Euro Zone, Monti is the antithesis of Berlsconi. While the latter was flamboyant and seemingly ever-present, even recently releasing an album of famous Italian songs, the former is a soft spoken, American educated, banker who is often dubbed a “technocrat” by allies and enemies alike.
Similar events recently transpired in Greece, where former Socialist Prime Minister Georgios A. Papandreou was forced to resign and was duly replaced by Lucas Papademos, a Harvard educated technocrat himself. These replacements come as Greece’s debt crisis has waged for months, prompting massive demonstrations against the proposed Austerity package which demands massive cuts in government spending, elimination or depletion of pension plans, and adds a slew of tax increases as well as a variety of new ones. The Greek people, often led by the Greek Communist Party, have rallied in solidarity with other groups to protest these new measures. By all accounts, this program has already shown to have continued the economic recession in Greece that has waged for years, only making the situation worse.
These men have suspiciously similar backgrounds and orientations. Both Monti and Papdemos are neo-liberal economists awash in the teachings and economic philosophies of the likes of Ayn Rand and Milton Freidman. These leaders replaced marginally leftist leaders to ensure that economic austerity plans are enacted. These austerity measures are a prerequisite, at least in Greece, for continued bailouts of the European Union and International Monetary Fund. In reality, these leaders can in no way claim a mandate from the people the supposedly represent, but instead have been put in place by the will of the new Troika of European power: the IMF, World Bank and European Central Bank. This is the real power in Europe.
Doomsday propositions have rocked the Eurozone after the realization of the unsustainable situation of Greek debt, held by European Banks, and international financial organizations. Based on these predictions, the IMF, World Bank and ECB have all demanded that in order to receive the desperately needed influx of cash to remain – at least for the moment – outside of default, Greece would have to adopt a series of proposals not suggested by its parliament, but conceived in the halls of the IMF headquarters in Washington D.C. Truth be told, the IMF and its other leading financial institutions have taken the step of not only directing monetary policy and giving loans, to removing and appointing leaders and setting internal policies of individual countries.
The IMF has been doing this kind of thing for years. Using its ability to prop up or destroy national economies, it has waged a campaign of neo-liberal (i.e. lassie-faire capitalism) economic policy implementation around the globe. Originally set up in the waning days of World War II as an organization which can help the stability of world economics, it has become an arm of the Capitalist elite to ensure that economic imperialism by its member nations, and the barons for which they serve, continues uninhibited. Most often the IMF uses its power and money to shape the landscape of developing and now developed nations to ensure the policies most friendly to business are enacted. Basically the goal of the IMF is to ensure that Capital can flow from nations easily, the result of which is massive capital movement from developing nations to the First world, while ensuring that the exploitation of cheaper labor in “new markets” does not get interrupted by policies which may be “anti-business,” another word for pro-worker.
All in all, the IMF has sought to pounce on this “crisis” of debt in Europe, when in reality those who benefit the most from this debt is the IMF itself and the capitalists who fill its coffers. As an organization of the Capitalist class, the IMF wields nearly unrivaled power throughout the world, and has shown that if a nation is indebted to it, it will step in to demand its “just” reward. This was most evident when former Greek Prime Minister wanted to put the new Austerity Package to a referendum vote, the most democratic means of decision making in modern liberal democracies. When news of this broke, IMF, World Bank and ECB leaders stepped in and forced Papandreou to abandon democracy to ensure the neo-liberal, economically devastating, anti-worker, pro-capitalist policy was enacted. The people be damned. Greece, and now Italy, are now under IMF ownership. Have no doubt that its sights are set much higher and that, unless you abide by the wishes of this organization of the 1%, the target is painted on your back. The only group able to rest control from the IMF and similar institutions of the wealthy elite is by united together under the banner of working-class resistance, of which we are begging to see.