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(2012) Movie
After 2 years of "rescuing",
the austerity-loving
...raise sovereign debt
from 115% of GDP to 160%.
One out of two young
workers is unemployed.
Thousands of others emigrate or
to live by with 500 Euros per
Suicide rates increase by 20%,
while homeless people
in Athens surpass 20.000.
The constitution is circumvented.
Bankers and former supporters
of the military junta...
...occupy key positions
of the state machinery.
Everything is now ready
for the last act of the tragedy.
Greeces complete sell off.
A documentary by Katerina Kitidi
Aris Chatzistefanou
Scientific editor
Leonidas Vatikiotis
Aris Triantafyllou
Active Member
Ermis Georgiadis
Production manager
Thanos Tsantas
The short 20th century
comes to an end.
The West envisions
the end of history.
And tries to implement it
in Russia.

The transition includes

the biggest experiment... privatisation,
in the history of mankind.
An experiment that will lead
a nation to utter disaster.
The fire sale of a whole country,
planned in the West and
implemented by Russian
couldn't take place without
limiting democratic freedoms.
The rules of the game
must change.
After the 1993 mini coup d'etat
against the parliament,
Yeltsin feels ready
to accelerate privatisation.
I'm absolutely certain
that privatization in 1994...
This process was called
Catastroica in Russia is usually
presented as an exception... the history of mass
In fact, it was just
an extreme example...
...of how the fire sale
of national assets... incompatible with political
or economic democracy.
The practice of fire sales
comes with the neoliberal wind...
...that blows for the first time
at the Univesrity of Chicago.
Professors such as Friedrich
von Hayek and Milton
Friedman... a laboratory
in order to test...
...the so-called free market
and minimal state intervention.
But, since no democratic
agreed to implement their ideas,
they turned to Pinochet's Chile...
...and afterwards
to general Evren's Turkey.

Margaret Thatcher
will finally find a way... bring neoliberal privatisation
to western Europe.
In order to achieve this,
it will take two wars...
...and the limitation
of democratic freedoms.
Thatcher's Britain is a typical
case of how the infringement...
...of labor law and the violation
of workers' rights...
...coincided with an increase
of repressive measures.
The most characteristic example
is that, nowadays,
according to british law,
when more than four people are
picketing outside a workplace,
the protest can be banned...
because it can affect the morale
of those working in the company.
Neoliberalism, which promises
less state control,
demands a strong state
in order to be implemented.
However, the blood-thirsty
and Thatcher's shock policy...
...have an expiration date.
New means must therefore
be found...
...for the infliction
of mass privatisation.
Institutions such as the IMF and
the World Trade Organisation...
...played a leading role
in the sell-off of whole countries.
The European Union followed
The conditions laid down
by the IMF,
as well as the big american
and european banks...
...demand the total submission
of peoples' rights.
Debt becomes the excuse
to push for Greece's fire sale.

However, once again, a small

obstacle must be overcome:
The European Union
and the greek financial elites... to the point of appointing
a former central banker... prime minister of Greece.
Taking over from Papandreou,
Lukas Papademos
appoints bank executives,
like Gikas Hardouvelis of
in the prime minister's office.
Political and economic
power relations...
...turn into an interbank deal.
What is happening in Greece
is very serious.
Democracy was born here...
...and the international financial
system now decides...
...that it should die here as well.
I think that the scientific term
is junta.
We have a group of politicians
headed by a banker,
who is, in fact, responsible for
Greece's bankrupcy to a great
It is a banker's junta...
...with no more popular
legitimisation than the 1967
Papademos' government is only
one step
towards Greece's financial
The EU, however, sends many
more supervisors to the country.
The German pro-consul
is Horst Reichenbach.
He arrives in Greece as head
of an army of technocrats.
He is followed by many EU
and IMF employees...
...that are appointed
to major ministries.
We find ourselves

in a neo-colonial period...
...when international financial
and political centers...
...impose policies not only in
or Latin America, but also
...and this becomes an inherent
part of capitalism's organization.
The country's control by foreign
and greek financial interests... achieved mainly
via two loan agreements.
The goal is to impose
the creditors' conditions...
...and turn work into slavery.
Labour relations return
to the 19th century.
In order for these regulations
to pass,
another coup is necessary.
This time a parliamentary one.
The first loan agreeement never
to the parliament for ratification,
which is clearly anticonstitutional.
The second one was presented
three times as a blueprint.
The creditors were obviously
asking for changes...
...and needed a preaproval
of this blueprint.
It is obvious that our political
leaders do not intend... implement the constitution,
but the political orders
they receive from abroad.
Whoever dares to talk about
a parliamentary coup...
...and to question the policies
of the government and the
troika... characterised as a populist.
This is impudent, it is an insult!
You talk about a coup...
...because the government which
was elected by a vast majority...
...asked for a bill

to be voted as urgent.
You have to apologise for
this insult towards the
You are the advocate
of the Greece of the drachma,
the Greece of poverty,
the Greece of humiliation,
you and everyone like you.
No more rescuing
The ideological terrorism
Mainstream media
blackmale citizens...
...saying that, if they do not
the loan agreements,
...the super market shelves
will soon be empty...
...and the country will return
to the stone age.
There will be chaos. Greece will
become a Thirld World country.
There will be ration coupons...
Having done away with
...the governments prepare
for the sale of public assets.
They start off
with a tested recipe.... turning public servants
into the crisis' scapegoat.
The greek government is lying,
by saying that it doesn't know...
...the public servant's number
then that they reach one million.
It withholds the fact that the
sector's size and the average
wages... not overcome
the european average.
Public administration' defects
are well known.
But it is usually the statenurtured financial elites...
...the first to accuse
the public sector.

After preparing the public

for the fire sale,
the only thing missing is
the mechanism to do that.
All eyes turn
to the german Treuhand,
the company that transformed
the 10th largest industrial
...into a shopping catalogue
of 510 pages.
Eurosaal - the euro room.
In a 280 sq.m. room beats the
of the german ministry of
for some, the heart of the
The room has
its own dark history...
...synonymous with the course
of the modern german state.
Here, the Luftwaffe officers
planned their strategy...
...for the bombardment
of european cities.
After the war, the soviet army
installed here its headquarters,
whereas in this very room,
the first constitution...
...of the German Democratic
Republic was signed.
The architectural monster
that Goering constructed... the largest building block
in Europe... houses the biggest
enterprise of that period.
After the dissolution
of the Eastern Bloc,
Treuhand undertakes the sell-off
of East Germany's public assets.
A disastrous experiment...
...that results in millions
of unemployed workers...
...and a crushed industrial base
in the area.

Historically, it is a tragic event,

because the Treuhand idea
from various DDR movements.
When the people
of East Germany realised...
that reunification was in fact
an acquisition by West Germany,
Treuhand was already a state
within a state in Berlin.
In order for the bureaucratic
monster to function,
it used equipment and networks
of the east german armed forces.
Treuhand is transformed into
an economic occupation army.
It started working when East
Germany typically existed,
but it was basically influenced by
western politicians and
...and economic sharks.
They had this popular slogan at
Treuhand: ...
...which stands for
There is no Alternative...
...and Thatcher's portrait
was hanging in many offices.
Treuhand owns 8,000 companies,
...and 4 million sq. km. of arable
land and forests.
More importantly,
it holds the fortune of 4,5 million
workers in its hands.
And then, the plundering begins.
They privatised even on
up to 10-15 businesses.
This of course
was the real dilemma...
...which brought about
chaos and fraud.
People with no financial
background appeared... order to buy businesses.
They didn't have any money,
but took part in auctions,
took the money from the

paid their bills...
and dissolved the company.
There are innumerable examples.
A lot of companies went
Of the 4,5 million workers
there were 1,5 million jobs left.
The privatisation criteria were
always financial.
Many decisions were taken
in political offices,
while several businesses closed... as not to threaten their
competitors in West Germany.
Truehand's companies had value.
It is said they were problematic.
Some of them indeed were,
but others were competitive...
with the western companies
and exported goods to the West.
There were accusations that
political parties were bribed... order to put pressure
for certain privatisations.
In Bischoferrode
there was a potash factory,
which is important
for industrial activities.
Such factories were found
both east and west.
But BASF's influence
was very big...
and as a monopole this company
didn't want any competition.
Thus, although there were
interested in the factories...
...they had to be destroyed.
The toll of Treuhand's action
is terrifying.
The GDP in areas of East
Germany shrinked by 30%,
while unemployment
rised from 0 to 20%.
But, most importantly, after
selling out a whole country,
Treuhand succeeded in

presenting billions of losses.

Treuhand created a 300 billion
debt and a 60 billion DM profit,
but we expected to get 600
billion DM.
There is a lot of debt left...
...which is still owed
to the corresponing fund.
This fund is not included
in the federal budget.
It cannot be considered a model
many companies were
With a 250 billion debt, it can't
a model for other countries.
However, the president of the
Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker,
presented Treuhand
as a model for Greece.
A month later,
the Greek "Asset Development
is created.
The greek Treuhand
is housed in a building...
...behind the former parliament.
The three parties supporting
the austerity measures...
...share the organisation's
This is professor emeritus
of Aristotle University.
Mr. Konstantinos Mitropoulos is
the manager and central figure.
He owns a company, Kantor,
and has worked for the Latsis
A few months later,
the journalist that presented
the fund's structure... appointed as its spokesman.
Other key-positions are occupied
by many executives...
...of the two companies managed
by Kostas Mitropoulos.

The fund is supervised... Herve Le Roy
of the french embassy...
...and Maarten Verwey of
the dutch ministry of finance.
The troika also appoints 3
of the fund's board of experts.
The conditions set by the troika
in Greece for the fund's
...resemble those
in occupied countries.
The privatisation costs devolve
upon Greek taxpayers,
whereas the profits,
which were initially estimated
to reach 50 billion euros,
go to the creditors.
The fund operates
with great secrecy...
...assigning extreme powers
to its members.
The latter take on the sale
or the concession...
...of buildings, land,
and share packages.
The fund can exploit the littoral
zone or the ancient monuments.
The only condition is
that they remain in place.
Even before
the creation of the fund,
government officials had started
advertising greek assets... road shows,
like a travelling circus.
Zorba's Greece is a country
subject to foreign
...that control the infrastructures.
A country in serious debt
with a corrupted political system.
The situation was similar
to the interwar period.
Especially between
the years 1924-1930...
...Greece was an ideal candidate

for lending.
There was a series
of huge scandals.
The governments were bribed,
even Venizelos' consultants.
Foreign embassies directly
intervened in all this.
One example was the contract
with Power company,
another one was
the contract with Ulen.
These contracts were
of a colonial nature...
...and proved to be very
for those who invested in them.
Almost a century later,
the troika,
in collaboration
with the Greek governments,
demands the privatisation
of the country' s infrastructure.
What isn't explained
to the citizens... that privatisation and
derregulation experiments...
have failed even in the most
powerful economies of the
The biggest failures
concern infrastructure...
...such as railways, water
and electricity networks.
People say you can read the
of the economic system...
...on the railways.
The steam that promoted
the industrial revolution...
...turned into a speculative
for the american economy,
when dozens of private
...spread kilometers of metal rails
across the USA.
At first, the railways symbolised...
...the state's central role in
the economy and infrastructures.

But after World War II,

economic liberalism replaced
by the car most mass
Four wheels and a steering
...lead the lower
middle-class dream...
...into the highways
of the new economy.
This trend reached Europe
with a delay of a few decades.
When the Turkish dictators tried
Pinochet's neoliberal experiment,
Turgut Ozal characterised the
railways a communist creation.
However, railways in Europe...
...remained mainly
under state control.
That is untill Great Britain
tried a disatrous experiment.
Like a movie without a happy
Even Margaret Thatcher
recognised that...
...trains do not function
outside of the public sector.
But John Major proceeded
to their privatisation in 1993...
...and the british public reacted.
The trains, the rail network
and the maintance services...
...ended up in the hands
of different private companies.
So many of them, that
the maintenance alone...
...was undertook by 2,000
The loss is tragic.
The three most serious accidents
caused by privatisation...
...cost 42 lives
whereas 600 are injured.
The derailment of privatisation
did not just cost lives.
In a three year period,
the state payed to the companies
in the form of subsidies...

...what it had earned

by the sellout of the railways.
And the cost for the taxpayers
did not stop there.
Greece does not learn anything
from the british experience.
The greek governments put forth
the railways privatisation plan.
Their effort is supported
by the media.
The trains are slow, never
on time, usually dirty.
The annual losses of the OSE
and TRAINOSE group...
...reach 1.2 billion euros.
They present greek railways... the biggest loss-making
public service in Europe.
But whom does this debt belong
The state forced the railways
to borrow money for its
There is no equivalent case
in Greece... highways, ports and airports
were all funded by the state.
These loans are now presented
by the governments as OSE's
This is untrue.
for infrastructure development.
The major TV stations, behind
which lie major contractors,
are bombarding us
with lies and slander.
The critique is focused...
...on the employees' salaries
and the operation cost.
This way major scandals
go unnoticed...
...which involve politicians,
greek and foreign companies.
Tens of millions of euros...
...are spent on railway lines
that never work.
Trains are rented in prices
in which they could be bought.
The state buys trains

from Siemens...
...without the appropriate
network to use them.
It also pays contractors for works
that are never delivered.
There is a certain deliberateness.
We degrade our national wealth
so as, after its degradation,
to slander it and convince
the greek public opinion...
...that maybe a private
company... a far better solution
for the greek railways.
In the name of rationalisation,
the government further
degrades the railways.
It cuts down the personnel
at the expense of quality,
increases prices over 60% and
closes a big part of the tracks.
Especially on the part
...several millions of euros
were invested.
And today
there are no trains there.
When counting only profits
or losses,
the privatisation advocates
forget that...
...the railways are first of all
a service for the citizens.
A service paid by generations
of greek taxpayers.
There was a time when in Greece
private debts were nationalised...
...but today there is an effort
to privatise the profit...
...that the citizens could enjoy
through public services.
What did private companies
invest in this sector... order to buy it at a price
much lower than its value?
If the railways are like a book
on economic history,
the water network teaches us
how to manage a monopoly.

At this sector, its Paris' turn

to pay the bill of privatisation.
Two multinational companies...
...of great financial and political
power, Veolia and Suez,
claim the administration of
the water network in Paris.
And Jacques Chirac
offers it to them.
In 1985, a political decision
was taken by Jacques Chirac,
mayor of Paris at the time,
to divide Paris based on the two
river banks of the Seine...
...and by dividing it this way... confide to each major
group and its subsidiaries...
...a bank for the distribution
and the billing of water.
There was no technical
or economic argument.
I think there was
an ideological stance...
...that said that the private
sector is more effective.
The citizens received more and
more expensive bills.
The prices kept rising
for 15 years.
As far as the prices are
the bills were multiplied by
It is true that we' ve had
an increase of the water price...
...without a technical
or economic explanation.
When the municipality changed
in 2001,
with a majority of the left,
the ecologists, the communists,
it was decided to take back
the water services.
The new municipal water
which was created in 2010,
decreased the bills by 8%...
...and invested all the profits

in network amelioration.
There is also a very important
question, a question of
If public administration is
implemented, it permits...
...greater political control
by the citizens of Paris.
Veolia and Suez reacted,
as they lost...
... a net income of 60 and 30
euros a year respectively.
They put pressure on the
the municipality and the unions...
...against Anne Le Strat
that started the process.
They kind of see me
as the devil incarnated.
The fight for Paris brought forth...
...the intertwining of interests of
multinationals and politicians.
Jerome Monod, the manager
of Lyonnaise des Eaux,
was a leading figure
in Jacques Chirac's party.
Regardless of their connections,
the water multinationals seemed
loose the battle against the
However, the EU turned its back
to the citizens' decisions.
The multinational companies are
the decision makers in Brussels
and Italy became
their next target.
Vote Yes
For public water services
With a secret letter that they
to the new italian prime minister,
Trichet and Draghi ,
of the European Central Bank,
demanded the same thing that

rejected by the italian people.

We know that in the countries
where the IMF intervenes...
...the water services
are privatised.
We know very well that senior
executives of Suez and Veolia...
...are executives
and consultants of the IMF.
We know very well that
executives of Suez and Veolia...
...are related to the ECB,
that in the European Parliament
many people are paid to lobby...
...and promote the interests of
these multinational companies,
that people from these
companies join governments...
...and when these governments
they return to the companies.
In Greece, the Papandreou
government appoints... CEO of the public water
company a former executive of
Nikos Bardis,
who promoted privatisation...
...on behalf of the french
multinational company,
now characterises Greece
a stronghold of the Soviet Union.
However, privatisation plans
start at the era of the Troika.
The fire sale of the water
network of Athens and
...begun during Simitis'
when the networks went public.
Within a decade,
bills rose more that 200%,
whereas services did not improve
by 200%, they got much worse.
In 2008, the New Democracy
restarted the privatisation

...and three joint ventures

prepared for battle.
There was the Suez group
with Ellaktor,
there was Veolia
with the Marfin group,
and there was the spanish
with GEK-Terna.
Suez executives visited the public
water company's buildings.
I do not know what was
behind closed doors.
What we do know is
that these companies...
...and Suez in particular...
...have been accused abroad...
...for bribing public servants
and politicians... countries
of the civilised West.
If something like that
happened elsewhere... is very likely that it will also
happen in Greece.
-Elections have interrupted
or temporarily postponed...
...the privatisation course
of the Thessaloniki water
If you get elected, will you
continue the privatisation
or you disagree
with privatisation?
-We are against water
This was another unfulfilled
promise of the PASOK
After the elections,
the government continued...
with the privatisation plans of
two profitable enterprises:
the Athens and the Thessaloniki
water companies.
The main argument

of the government...
...and the companies that are
after the water resources... that they are not going to
buy our rivers, our springs;
that they are not going to
take our networks and leave.
The networks stay here.
Just as the Acropolis stays here.
They are only going
to take over the management,
the maintenance, the
the billing policy.
What these privatisation
fail to mention is that the cost...
...of the replacement of the
will still be paid by the citizens.
Therefore, the companies have
motive to maintain this network.
Insufficient maintenance means
profit for the private company;
infrastructure destruction means
replacement by the greek
The profit goes
to the private company,
the damage is inflicted upon
the greek taxpayer.
Like a sorcerer's apprentice,
Europe will pay for the
of the infrastures.
The market forces, however,
will show their true face...
...even in the birthplace
of neoliberalism, the USA.
Towards the end of the '90s...
...California deregulates
the electricity market.
But the deregulation civilisation... lost along with electricity
The power companies can
the wholesale price

In order to achieve this,
they develop complex fraud
strategies with code names.
The companies even stop
producing electricity... create shortages and
the kilowatt hour price.
-Las Vegas Cogen, this is Rich.
-Hey Rich. This is Bill up at Enron.
This is gonna be a word
of mouth kind of thing.
We want you guys
to get a little creative...
...and come up with
a reason to go down.
Ok, so we're just coming down
for some maintenance.
-So the rumor's true?
They're fucking taking all the
money back from you guys?
All the money you guys stole
poor grandmonthers in
-Yeah, granma Millie man.
-Now she wants her fucking
back for all that power...
...jammed right up her ass for
fuckin' 250 dollars a megawatt
In California, citizens pay
the cost of the experiment,
when market forces leave
of them literally in the dark.
The deregulation of the energy
market in California...
...was imposed under huge
pressure by big businesses.
But even they suffered losses
by the deregulation.
As the retail prices
could not follow...
...the mad speculative game
of the wholesale prices,
the system begun to collapse.

Europe will experience

its own dark days...
...due to the deregulation and
privatisation of the energy
The deregulation starts
with the Maastricht Treaty...
...when the EU promises
of services and price decrease.
Until 2006, no private company
invested in electricity.
This is basic public infrastructure,
it demands major capital
and the return is slow.
There is no easy and quick profit
for the private companies.
Therefore, gradually,
from 2000 to 2006,
in order for the market
to attract private investors,
the consumption bills
started to rise.
The taxpayers do not just pay
more expensive bills.
Without knowing it, they
the private energy producers.
Mytilinaios owns Aloumina
and Latsis the oil refineries.
They needed electricity... they created power
units for their own companies.
However, they realised that it is
profitable to consume their own
So, they sold their electricity
to the public power company...
...for a 100 euros per
megawatt hour wholesale,
while the public power company
electricity to them...
...and to other industrialists
for 43 euros.
In the case of photovoltaic

the public company buys it at 51

while it sells it for 11 cents
per kilowatt hour.
Due to the constant increase
of the bills, private companies...
... realise they can profit also
from electricity provision.
Hellas. The no1 private
power company is here.
Dr. Lampros the rheumatologist
and Mrs. Fotini...
...changed power company
without changing their meter.
So, at some point, there
private electricity providers.
Provider simply means
They sold plain air.
With a share capital of 60,000
a very small amount,
one could get a license
to provide electricity.
A company that produces
via renewable sources.
Where did they get the
energy they advertised?
From the public power company.
At first, private companies
had to guarantee...
...that they had the electricity
they promised to sell.
But the EU released them
from this obligation.
They did not have to guarantee...
...that they had
what they intended to sell!
The greek regulatory authority
for the energy sector...
...will open the door
to companies...
...among which the Enrons
of Greece will emerge.
The biggest such providers were
Energa and Hellas Power.

Both companies did not pay back

to the public sector expenses... had assumed for electricity
production and distribution.
At some point they ceased
paying back any money,
even the amount necessary
for the energy...
...they had agreed
to purchase by contract.
They also collected the tax
added to the electricity bills...
...and the money went
straight to Switzerland.
The cases of Energa
and Hellas Power...
...are just the tip of the iceberg
of the millions of euros...
...that the deregulation costs
to greek citizens.
During the 12 years of energy
market deregulation...
...there was no decrease
of beurocracy...
...nor did the services improve...
...nor did the fuel mixture
On the contrary, the energy
dependence of the country
...while the bills rose by
more than 80%.
The taxpayers are
the first victims.
But employees are also affected.
Before the deregulation of the
that started in '98-'99,
the public power company had
employees, while today it has
There was a considerable
personnel decrease...
...which was replaced by
contractor employees
and a lot of precarious workers.
The contractors are not

interested so much in quality.

On the contrary
it is of their interest...
...when the maintenance
is not proper.
There have also been
a lot of accidents.
Not a year goes by without two,
three or four lethal accidents.
Indifferent to the public interest
and the consequences on society,
the parties supporting
the memorandum now
...more privatization
of the public power company.
Its real value,
according to the official data,
is 16-17 billion euros.
How much is it valued
in the greek stockmarket?
Unit five that is planned
to be built in Ptolemaida...
...has a budget of 1.5 billion.
The whole company will be
for a price lower than the cost
of one of its units.
The greek people paid...
...for the electricity networks
to reach even the smallest
...and these networks will now
be exploited by private
Most of these private
...feed off the state
and earn instead of offering.
The public power company was
not built
by the private sector.
It operated for 60 years
thanks to the public's money.
It brought electricity
to the whole country.
It is ours
and we cannot give it away.
A lot of examples from around

the world prove that...

...privatisation affects negatively
citizens, workers and services.
Today, privatization is presented
as necessary... order to cope
with the debt crisis.
However, even privatization
advocates disagree.
The world crisis that the private
sector has created...
...becomes a pretext for a general
attack against public assets.
An attack that is sometimes
Privatisation does not concern
only the cases...
...when whole services
are taken away from the state,
in the form of, let's say,
It is also privatisation
when universities are evaluated...
...not for the level of education
they provide...
...but according to how attractive
this education is to the market.
The privatisation effort
is expanded...
...even to what Marx
called "general intellect",
namely, the accumulated social
and technological knowledge...
...that produces the wealth
of a society.
However, the effort
to privatise everything...
...leads to the emergence
of strong resistance by the
who realize that everything
can change...
...if there is political will.
The problems of the economy
mainly legal; they are political.
When a political decision is
everything can be reversed.

The answer to privatisation,

cannot be the return to the
that brought us where we stand.
The goal is for public property
to be controlled... those who created it:
the workers.
The Greek people must fight for
because, if it doesn't,
it won't be able to rise up again.
Will the modern man be able
to fight his tendency... be inactive, to stay silent?
Besides, Thucydides has
already said that:
It's either freedom or tranquility.
You need to choose.
You will either be free
or tranquile.
You can't have both.