Saturday, February 7, 2015

το χαμένο σήμα της δημοκρατίας (The Lost Signal of Democracy) (2014)

It is a documentary about the un-constitutional shutdown of the Greek Public Broadcaster ERT by the conservative government under the pretext of Troika imposed austerity measures. ERT was funded by the Greek people with payment collected as part of their electricity bills and the broadcaster contributed to the government coffers to the tune of 110 million euros from a revenue of 300 million euros. It made no sense whatsoever when the government took the decision other than it being a fascist act eating away at the core of Democracy in the place where it was invented.

The narrative of German savers being screwed up by countries like Spain and Greece is something that has been going on since the advent of the Euro-crisis. This is wrong on several counts as explained by economist Michael Pettis in his blog: Syriza and the French indemnity of 1871-73 . It was not a case of one country borrowing from the other since the savings from individuals were collectively channeled to other individuals in the periphery through the banks. Both the lender and borrower are responsible for it and sacrifices have to be made by both sides when things go tits up. What has happened so far by means of austerity is that only one of them is being held responsible. Even more ludicrous thing is that it is doing no good but harm for both sides. Suppose a country's GDP is 100 and its sovereign debt is also 100% of its GDP. If the GDP growth is less than the rate at which the debt is growing then it is inevitably gonna spiral out of control. The austerity measures are only gonna put brakes on its GDP growth which is not gonna help anyone.

What is good about the documentary is that it is not painting a picture where ERT is held up as some sort of BBC like broadcaster with minimal problems. They concede that like any government organizations it is also under the grip of clientelism and what not. The situation they compare with is someone taking a boy with a broken arm to hospital where the doctor says that he is gonna kill him to relieve him from his pain. The un-democratic action by the government made the people to rally around the issue to vent their frustrations against austerity. Greece is not a place which is unfamiliar with fascism as it was under a military junta from the 1930s to around the 60s. People there seems very aware about the threat and the parliament shown passing ordinances with only three members present was indeed surreal. It is very good but a disturbing watch.

Rating: 4.5/5