People, power and Varoufakis – VPRO documentary – 2016

People, power and Varoufakis – VPRO documentary – 2016


Enough is enough. Now we’re going
to work the German way. It’s a disgrace. It’s not a crisis,
but large-scale robbery. …the economic power
and stock market gamblers. Good evening, Volksbühne.
Good evening, Berlin. Good evening, Germany. Good evening, Europe. This bit is nice:
‘I hope that soon… …a mayor, I hope it’s today’s mayor… …will withdraw this declaration, which
will achieve nothing good for the town.’ Let me respond to that. If he changes his mind
and gives us back the river mouth… …we will immediately withdraw the
declaration of persona non grata. Do you understand? We haven’t declared Rajoy
persona non grata for nothing. He represents a decision
that is damaging to us. My father, grandfather and
great-grandfather. I am the fifth generation
of Pontevedra fishermen. As a child, did you go out with your dad?
– Yes. In the late sixties, early seventies,
when the mill had just got here… …the fish stock declined.
The molluscs got sick. At first the mill used pine trees. The resin was treated with chlorine
and mercury… …and then they just dumped it
in the water. Millions of litres of water were dumped… …in the vulnerable water
of the river mouth. The fishermen had to go. They say people need paper.
But they don’t produce paper here. They produce cellulose which goes
to a paper mill in Germany. The paper that is used here,
is not from this mill. It’s produced in other mills
in Spain… …where the local people don’t resist. We don’t need more paper mills.
That is clear. It’s a lie to say that this is the right place
for a paper mill… …because of the many eucalyptus trees.
But they’ve been planted for the mill. The news of the renewed
concession will hit this town hard. It’s the big powers that benefit,
that is clear. It’s the obscure government interests
that have led to this. And saying that,
I mean the financial interests. The great players from the financial
sector in Galicia backed the project. Caixa Galicia, the biggest savings bank
of the region… …headed the commission
and led the extensive media campaign. It was against the local authority
and in favour of the mill. Now Basques run the place.
They only want a financial profit. Which is more important
than the interests of the people. Unfortunately,
Galicia is not independent. We call it a colony, because we get
what others don’t want. It’s time that heads started rolling. This impunity simply has to stop. It’s incomprehensible. This mill…
– Europe should punish them. They should be put in prison
or fined heavily. Europe has implemented
so many environmental rules… What kind of future do we leave
for our children? The river mouth is polluted
and no-one lifts a finger. And our ministers are making millions
in the board of commissioners. First, let me say this: Europe and the European Union… …should be considered separate
from the monetary union. For instance, when someone calls
the monetary union a disaster… …and they’re accused of being
anti-European, I always get angry. I have lived in four European countries
and I’ve always felt comfortable. European culture and civilisation
are two thousand years old. Even the most incompetent politicians
can’t destroy that. We are talking about the situation
of the European monetary union… …which is not identical
to the European Union. From the start, the monetary union
has been… …a structure with lots of problems. Everyone in it had different ideas
about it. Some even had two different
and contradicting ideas about it. So every participant
has their own programme. And it must be implemented
through an institutional system… …which is self-contradictory… …in the sense that it doesn’t suit all
countries in the same manner. Now, alt these countries are constantly
quarrelling about the question… …in which direction this monetary union
should be interpreted. To the South or to the North. So these conflicts,
which in fact are about… …economic division and policy… …as in every country,
are internationalised. So that the Dutch and Germans
suddenly find themselves… …opposite Spaniards and Italians. The great achievement
of the post-war years… …in the sense that Europe hasn’t
seen international conflicts… …but only domestic conflicts… …isn’t there anymore. The class conflict that every country
has dealt with in their own way… …is changing
into an international conflict. This insanity,
which came from this system… …was sold to us as the final step
to the unification of Europe. Money isn’t simply coins and bank notes. It’s a regulatory system. And you can say: The institution of ‘money’
in different European countries… …is embedded traditionally
in different ways… …between, on the one hand, capitalism
and, on the other hand, society. In France, the state leans heavily
on high deficits… …to protect social peace and growth,
which are often the same. Italy must satisfy the trade unions,
especially in smaller companies… …and the government by doing
concessions to either of them. In both cases it’s at the expense
of currency stability. But since we don’t have the gold
standard anymore… …this could be corrected by devaluating. In Germany it was different. Since the
emperors it’s been an export economy. We have way too many industrial
enterprises… …considering the average of a
developed industrial society. Germans export. Germany is a country
which institutionally and historically… …is geared toward having
a stable currency. You might say that Germany
is obsessed with stability. And it needs stability… …because the unions, banks, savers,
everything is geared toward this. The same goes for the Netherlands. To impose a uniform monetary system
on all those traditions… …means things will start to crack. The idea that Germans or Dutch
could tell them: ‘Enough is enough. Now we’re going
to work the German way.’ Which we do constantly.
– Constantly. That’s what Mr. Dijsselbloem
and Mr. Schäuble are doing. They say: Reform.
But they mean: Be like us. But after being threatened
with punitive measures… …they don’t want to reform anymore. So the EU in Brussels says: Next year you can raise the budget
with so and so much… …but you will have to lower pensions.
Or other absurd measures. It means that historic achievements… …the attempt to have a historic
compromise between left and right… …between social policy
and economic policy… …these achievements
have been tossed overboard. And the solution is a technocratic one. They are told what to do.
It’s impossible. It’s not. It happens every day. But the cracks are starting to show. I exaggerated, but it isn’t, really.
‘We’ have tried… …after the crisis… …to tell the South
to trade their local corruption… …for the greater corruption
of the international financial markets. The world we have created
in our financialised capitalism… …is not exactly free from corruption.
I daresay it’s completely corrupt. And this so-called modernisation
process is about… …which kind of corruption
should prevail, so to speak. I suspect… …that in all four of the big
Mediterranean countries… …there was an opportunity
in the seventies… …to break through traditional structures. It was the time when Salazar’s fascism
in Portugal ended… …just like Franco’s fascism in Spain
and the military dictatorship in Greece. All in the mid or late seventies. And in Italy a situation was created,
for the first time since the war… …in which the Italian communist party
might have a seat in government… …with left-wing Catholic Aldo Moro,
but he was assassinated. So that window of opportunity
was closed. And what happened next?
Northern Europe… …said to those countries: Come to us. Stop playing revolutionary games. You will get access to our markets. We will subsidize you.
But keep the peace. Then you will have Northern European
affluence… …without a structural revolution in
your countries, which always is a risk. You might even say that
the monetary union has prevented that. The interesting thing is
that the monetary union… …is the final piece of the integration
of North and South. And that was everyone’s intention. At the same time, with the help of… …the so-called neutral currency… …those governments were forced,
top-down… …to do what they couldn’t do bottom-up. Implicitly, the idea was:
If you behave… …and appease the people
with consumer credits… …what could be called ‘nepotism
through private sector channels’… …so, if you keep quiet,
nothing will happen to you. Should the situation get difficult,
there will always be a solution. But then the Germans said:
Let’s see what’s in the treaty. It says: ‘no bail-out.’ And everyone
signed it. There will be no bail-out. And the French said:
Oh dear, our banks. And what did they do?
After the so-called rescue operations… …in which the North promised credits
to the South… …the South was capable… …to pay back the credits the North gave
them. To the banks. So the money didn’t go to Athens,
but straight to the banks. How much of the rescue programmes
actually ended up in Greece? I don’t know.
Varoufakis should answer that. Monday morning’s results are tough… …for the other 18 members of the
Eurozone as well. 86 billion. That is the number
we are currently talking about. On top of the credits already given. So this is European solidarity
that is unheard of. I’m convinced of that. But the politicians keep telling us
that we are paying for Greece. And it’s sold as European solidarity. So that is…
– It’s a joke. It’s obvious, things are going worse.
Because we don’t pay them. If only the money was used
to exonerate the Greek debts… …or to get their health care system
working. It won’t cost a thing,
It’s a very small country. But we don’t.
– No, because we are afraid… …the Italians will come.
And the Spaniards. Is there such a thing as the European
idea? Does it have a future? If you would call it that, I would say: It’s a scheme thought of
by the symbol designers. Beware that you don’t echo their words. In this world we need
political systems… …that protect us
on a decentralised level… …from becoming a toy of those forces. Moreover, you should wonder… …how much globalisation we really need
and how much we want. Regionally we are fighting
with what we have. We don’t have the power
to develop economically… …because decisions are being taken
at an ever greater distance. It happens all over the world. The metropolis, that is,
the high finance institutions… …decides where investing the money
is worth the trouble. If there is a place where investments
can’t be profitable… …the money will be taken out of wages
and benefits. This is a disgrace. It’s not a crisis
but large-scale robbery. All over the world we are being robbed
by big business. A small group of people is getting
richer at the expense of the population. Countries on the European periphery… …are having a harder time than
countries that have a bigger influence. Financially we are weak.
We have no political impact. Nothing. Those who can decide, don’t.
So we have to keep on fighting. Here in Galicia we see that forestry
has close ties… …to the paper mill. The original forest has to be protected. We want to take care of our
environment: Galicia, our territory. This is an example for others. We will not take action as long as we
have these eucalyptus trees. First we have to get rid
of the eucalyptus trees. We have to start changing ourselves
before we can change society. To work with other authorities
on a European level… …from the reality of Galicia.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

16 thoughts on “People, power and Varoufakis – VPRO documentary – 2016

  1. Hello everyone!

    We now publish our weekly Backlight documentary on Saturday morning at 10am CET.
    We hope to generate a bit more interaction with you, that we can hear your opinions, debate, and get to know how you feel about the documentary.

    Next week we will follow up on the greek crisis and one of its astounishing consequence: the plunder of the country antiques to be sold on the black market.

    REMEMBER: our documentaries are available with English, French and Spanish subtitles, you just have to toggle the captions. 🙂

    Enjoy your watch!

  2. Could you please for next videos add english subtitles even when voice is in english ? It would help non english native speaker to understand better, thank you very much for the quality of all your doc !

  3. Thanks again VPRO for an amazing documentary. This is why we should all be members and support the programming.
    VPRO, could you translate the membership page into English for all non-Dutch speakers?

    https://www.vpro.nl/secure/lidmaatschap.html

  4. I travelled around Galicia around 2005 and stayed near Pontevedra. The stench of that paper factory hung in the air for miles, awful, terrible, nauseating, even in the hotel we stayed in it was there.

  5. rotten? the word 'democracy' is polluted. it used to mean 'rule by the people.' now it means 'rule by politicians.' but that is merely an example of double-think, genuine mob-management by language. power and wealth are joined together at the hip. until the people reclaim democracy, there will be no government 'for the people. so don't get excited by yf, he is just another empty suit. change must come from the bottom, by energizing the people to demand real democracy, not by posing in front of the camera about pleading to the elite for more fish. demand the fishing pole!

  6. In 6 months Varoufakis managed to bring capital controls in my country Greece. Destroy any progress made the last few years in economy. Don,t be fulled from his Oxfordian accent.

  7. Brilliant young man. But, I have news for you. Africa is the same. We are struggling with governments controlling us and politicians ruling us. We need someone here in Africa who can stand up like this.

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