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The title of this piece should have been the title of the news stories today about the surprise announcement by the Greek Prime Minister that, instead of forcing but another round of draconian austerity measures upon the Greek people, the Greek government will instead be holding a referendum on this subject.
Almost invariably, news outlets greeted such great news with somber headlines such as the one from The New York Times, reading, “Markets Tumble as Greece Plans Referendum.” Thus, while democracy is breaking out in Greece – oh yes, I forgot, in the country where democracy was invented – due to massive street protests organized by labor and left-wing groups such as the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the ruling class and its media mouthpieces focus only on what this is going to do the stock market. And apparently, the rise of democracy, despite the claimed link between it and capitalism, does not translate into a rise in the Dow Jones.
In all fairness to the capitalists, this is very bad news for them, for the belt-tightening by workers that they are calling for around the world is in great jeopardy if it is subject to a popular vote. And so, in the U.S., such measures are not even being considered by the full Congress, much less by popular referendum, but instead are being debated by a dozen hand-picked members of the Congressional Debt sub-committee.
In short, the game has been rigged so that the popular will cannot have any role in the upcoming decision to slash social benefits. And so, as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka informed union members by video yesterday, the Democrats on this sub-committee, ridiculously dubbed the “Super Committee,” have proposed huge cuts to sacred social benefits such as social security and Medicare, while the Republicans have seen them and raised them even greater cuts.
In short, while polls show massive opposition to such cuts, both parties are hell-bent on making them anyway. So much for democratic values.
It stands to reason, then, that the ruling class is panicked about what is happening in Greece, lest it happen in other countries, such as the U.S. where the Occupy Movement has begun to raise questions about who is really in charge of this country and who should be. However, why is their panic the main story of the day? Why isn’t the people’s victory in Greece the real story?
Well, the answer is obvious, though many are loath to believe it – the news media does not work for us, the people, but instead works for the very rich. While we have been told this many times by such intellectuals as Noam Chomsky and Michael Parenti, and by many others here on CounterPunch, this conclusion is inescapable in light of the current news headlines on Greece.
This is why we must always read between the lines of the main stream press and be skeptical of it, and that is why we need news sources like CounterPunch now more than ever.
Daniel Kovalik is Senior Associate General Counsel of the USW