Kammenos Calls for Glass-Steagall,
a New Deal and a Marshall Plan
for Greece and Europe
Dec. 9, 2013 (EIRNS)An impassioned call for the implementation of Glass-Steagall in Greece, Europe and the United States was delivered by a major opposition leader in an address before the Greek Parliament. This call was made on December 8 by Mr. Panos Kammenos, leader of the Independent Greeks. Mr. Kammenos made his statement on the occasion of the Greek Government's submission of the 2014 national budget which narrowly passed with a majority of only three votes. (see Greek language version of his statement.)
Mr. Kammenos had just returned from Washington where on December 3, with the cooperation of the LaRouche Movement, he met Congressmen to discuss the importance of restoring the Glass-Steagall act in the United States as the best way of aiding Greece and Europe.
Denouncing the budget as serving the interest of the banks, Kammenos pointed to the fact that Greeks will have to pay €430 billion in new national debt under the terms of the Eurozone bailout. Since the bailout began lenders have earned more than €50 billion in interest payments alone, while national sovereignty, he charged, has been turned over to the banks.
He said that when Greece entered the European Economic Community in 1979, it was joining a community of nations based on free consent, equal partnership and mutual respect. It was a community of nations and not community of banks. He called for a political mobilization throughout Europe and the United States.
Referring to the crisis of the 1930s, Kammenos said the American people were fortunate to have a very great leader, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who implemented the New Deal which pushed bankers to the side and supported the rights of the citizens.
Kammenos said that FDR, despite being hindered by polio and in a wheelchair, brought his vision to the country through a policy of reasonable taxation, transformation of the public sector, and acting for the benefit of the national sovereignty of the country, and not for the benefit of the profits of the banks. Kammenos said this New Deal served the Four Freedoms outlined in Franklin Roosevelt's famous speech by that name, in which FDR declared:
The first is freedom of speech and expression everywhere in the world which is a freedom which is now being trampled. Kammenos then outlined the attack on himself for his outspoken criticism of the bailout and its brutal conditionalities, including the suspension of his parliamentary immunity.
The second principle, was freedom from want, from poverty, and for the need to create worldwide economic conditions that will secure to every nation a healthy and peaceful life for its people. The state, as in most liberal societies, Kammenos declared, has an obligation to protect the poor, to nurse the sick who are unable to pay for health insurance, and to protect its citizens and their rights.
The third principle is freedom from fear. He then pointed to his fellow parliamentarians, and other leaders, including trade unionists, who are attacked by the government and slandered in the pro-government media.
At the center of the New Deal was the implementation of the Glass-Steagall Act to beat back the irresponsibility of the banks, referring directly to Senators Carter Glass and Henry Steagall who in 1933 brought legislation to President Roosevelt to separate operations of commercial banks from those banks which make transactions called casino capitalism.
Referring to his December 3 lobbying in Washington, Kammenos said that in the United States, tens of Congressman and Senators, some of whom he was fortunate to meet, backed legislation to restore Glass-Steagall, because if Greece explodes, so will Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, and the United States.
He declared that the policy of the Independent Greeks, especially in the upcoming European elections, is to implement Glass-Steagall in Greece, along with European parties and citizens and politicians to mobilize the citizens to vote in favor of putting the interest of the people and society ahead of the interests of the banks.
He then called for a "New Marshall Plan" for Europe, pointing to the fact that the Marshall Plan after World War II, unlike the current European Union, was a real alliance between the United States and European nations which extended financial aid without consideration of interest, in order for so Europe to be able to rebuild its economy. Such a policy is needed now for Greece and all of Europe.
He said a Marshall Plan is what Greece needs to develop its natural resources, which are now being sold to pay the debt. He called on Greece to hold discussions with both the United States and Russia in implementing a New Marshall Plan.