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The BRICS feel sympathy for Greece, says Jeremy Cronin

Translated Sunday 9 August 2015, by Rosalind Sanders

Jeremy Cronin, Deputy General-Secretary of the South African Communist Party, member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, Minister of Public Works and a strong defender of South-South cooperation, returns to talk to l’Humanité about the austerity that has been imposed on the Greek people.

Has the BRICS New Development Bank officially offered its support to Greece?

Jeremy Cronin. Before the referendum, it was suggested that the newly launched BRICS bank could provide an alternative source of funding. As far as I know, the issue was never formally raised by the BRICS or by any of their partners individually. Many of the BRICS partners certainly feel sympathy for Greece, which is one of the key reasons for their decision to involve themselves in this issue, and their desire to see this development bank allow its partners and third countries to escape from the stranglehold that Bretton Woods and imperialist financial oligopolies have on institutions. However, we mustn’t overestimate what one single institution, particularly a newly created one, can do.

Can Greece still find support outside of Europe to escape the tyranny of European diktats and the structural adjustment imposed by the IMF?

Jeremy Cronin. In many ways, the current situation in the EU reflects the wider global situation, with central economies (particularly Germany), semi-peripheral economies (such as Greece and Ireland) and peripheral economies (a large part of Eastern Europe). This highlights the need for global anti-capitalist solidarity, and a strong defence of national and democratic sovereignty. The participation of the German Social Democrats (and other European centre-left groups) in the support for the Greek austerity plan is very informative. So, too, is the historic responsibility that the PASOK has for a large part of the current crisis.

How do countries of the South see the European sovereign debt crisis?

Jeremy Cronin. Firstly, if we look at the Greek situation from the point of view of the South, a plan B was, and still is, the only way out, even if such a choice proves difficult. Our reading of the situation is that the austerity measures imposed on Greece are motivated far more by politics than by economic needs. Any attempt to establish a relatively sovereign but nationalist path based on a democratic mandate should be punished as a pre-electoral warning in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and anywhere in which anti-capitalist policies are being created. I suspect that this is why the IMF has taken an economic rather than a political position, indicating that the current arrangement is not sustainable.

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