#thisisacoup (doc)

documentary produced/narrated by Paul Mason

episode 1:

Published on Dec 15, 2015

First episode of our four-part series telling the story of the European Union’s confrontation with the Greek Syriza party in 2015. With unprecedented access to key Greek politicians.

troika formed to bail out greece

troika – european union, european central bank, international monetary fund

condition of bailout was extreme austerity


In economics, austerity is a set of policies with the aim of reducing government budget deficits. Policies grouped under the term ‘austerity measures’ may include spending cuts, tax increases, or a mixture of both, and may be undertaken to demonstrate the government’s fiscal discipline to creditors and credit rating agencies by bringing revenues closer to expenditures.

In most macroeconomic models austerity measures generally increase unemployment as government spending falls, reducing jobs in the public and/or private sector, while tax increases reduce household disposable income, and thus reducing consumption

1.5 mill unemployed.. over 50% unemployment for young.. more than 5000 suicides.. 1/4 of greek economy destroyed

past 5 yrs destroyed hospitals, schools, families.. one party promised to end the pain – syriza

people vote to end troika/bailouts

pm yanis stands up … and shortly after.. ebs stops lending to greek banks..

young give up on politics.. find alt ways to live, ie: squats

tsipras claims to defy lenders, raise wages, cut taxes for poor… greek democracy vs eurozone

yet for all defiance.. the harsh reality of bankruptcy is looming

feb 2015

in a panic fearing they’ll use savings…greeks have pulled 8 bill euros out of banks in 20 days.. to stop it yanis is forced to accept whatever’s on the table..

austerity measures continue, bailout extended 4 months, europe gets a veto over all greek laws


episode 2:

march 2015 – 4 months till greece goes bankrupt

they want the debt cancelled.. 353 bill euros

it europe ceases to be about human beings.. it ceases to be europe..

most of bailout money was spent saving europe’s banks… only 11% of it went to greek people

for 5 yrs when germany demanded more austerity greek politicians said .. how much.. with syriza in power.. greece is saying no

pm passes law to give food to poorest in greece.. europe passes a law telling him not to do it

probably only country in world that we pay our creditors w/our blood – tsipras

9 min – finally someone asks right question.. how did greece come up to so much debt… a: greece was forced into the original bailout.. human rights law was broken.. that means in an international court.. the debt could be written off..

they sacrificed the greek people to save the foreign banks..

on the streets people treat varoufakis like a hero .. but the lenders can’t stand him… saying he’s a time waster..

we’re not elected to sit in offices.. travel around.. we’re elected to face the greek people and day to them that we did our best to end this cycle of diminuation, indignity, of recession of poverty – yanis

varoufakis’ radical attacks aren’t working, tsipras excludes him from talks to try to get a deal

jun 4 – but there is no deal

they have to do something big. so they do. stop paying the imf. something no developed country has ever done… suddenly.. the fight is on.

zoe’s report.. declaring debt illegal.. brings the people back onto the streets..

not just satisfied w/truth.. but ask for justice.. for lives back… none of us is afraid. the greek people are ready. they’re ready for a change. – zoe


episode 3:

jun 21 – only 9 days of bailout money left

streets are filled w/a new kind of protester – terrified that greece will get kicked out of euro… others think syriza has compromised quite enough.. pensioners take to streets as well

tsipras says.. referendum.. people will vote on conditions.. europe ordering people to vote yes.. people are furious..

nearly all tv channels openly supporting yes campaign.. ysipras fears he’s losing

10s of 1000s turn out in pouring rain calling for tsipras to quit

july 3

this is 5th yr of austerity but first referendum.. first time anyone was allowed a direct vote about it

12 min – tsiparis speech – today we are not protesting.. today we are celebrating democracy… whatever the outcome is.. we have already won.. greece has sent a message of dignity..

pluralistic ignorance..

no vote to win at more than 61%

15 min – i wasn’t convinced that we would manage the people to win their fear.. but this message.. people.. if they believe in their force.. they can overcome the fear – tsiparis

the people have told tsiparis they want him to lead a fight.. but that night he decides to do it w/o varoufakis


episode 4:

athens july 2015

greeks voted by 61% to defy europe and reject austerity… they turned the greek word for no into a global message… now they suspect they’re about to be betrayed

no matter what no meant for the people.. tsiparis spells out what it means to him.. he drafts a new final compromise

banks still closed… cash withdrawal rationed

text of greek compromise offer is leaked… offer is so close to what europe wants that many greeks will see it as surrender

61% voted to end austerity and now all they can do is sit and watch and wait

germany rejects compromise and demands greece exit the eurozone

this ultimatum sparks outrage around the world…

7 min – by the time the night is over 1 bill people have seen the hashtag.. #thisisacoup

europe lends greece 86 bill euro.. the price is even harsher than austerity…. massive: tax rises, pension cuts, privitisations

syriza plant small seed of doubt about narrative that big forces are interested about greece and want to save it..

syriza splits..  senior politicans leave

i think we betrayed them and i don’t think we had the historical right to do that.. varoufakis

never stop struggling.. never believe the way out is behind closed doors.. the way out is in the society with the people – zoe

new election – sept 20… syriza wins.. but it’s bitter..they won on the promise to do the very thing they spent their lives opposing.. austerity..

i think we lost time.. we were out of money.. if we knew that.. we could make more brave decisions at the beginning – tsiparis

greece is still saddled with a debt it cannot pay with an austerity program that cannot work.. greece tried the baracades then the ballot box.. but for europe .. democracy didn’t matter. nobody knows what they will try next..


#ThisIsACoup – Testimonies: Euclid Tsakalotos (greek finance minister)

corruption as default of capitalism

4 min –

6 min – our opponents were not arguing about econ or crisis.. they were wishing for a syriza defeat .. because a syriza victory would encourage others to look at a diff direction... syriza gave a fight that was for others…

7 min – see that …not so greek people would be humiliated..so that spanish/portuguese/italian people didn’t have aspirations above their station in life..


My in-depth account of Syriza vs the Eurozone – in @thenation – 
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article includes the four installments of #ThisIsACoup, a documentary in four installments, directed by Theopi Skarlatos and produced and narrated by Paul Mason. #ThisIsACoup is a partnership with The Intercept’s Field of Vision.
We store the only copy of the interview in a safe and wait for Armageddon. But it doesn’t come.
With filmmaker Theopi Skarlatos, I spent six months watching the dream fall apart. We filmed on condition that the interviews would be broadcast only after the crisis was over.
Anastasia Giamali, a young journalist on Avgi (Dawn) the party-affiliated newspaper, …quotes a line from the poet Odysseas Elytis: “It’s time for dreams to take revenge.”
Three days before the election, Varoufakis tells me, “We are going to destroy the oligarchic system.” His first act as finance minister is to destroy something else: the so-called “troika” of lenders—the International Monetary Fund, the ECB, and the European Union.
The Embros Theater in Athens was closed under the old government and left to rot. In 2011 it was occupied by starving actors and turned into a “self-organized squat.” In the dressing room, amid graffiti drawn with lipstick on the mirrors, Dina Kafterani
For these young people the question is not whether they will support Syriza—but how soon they’ll have to fight it. Everyone in the this milieu expects Tsipras to betray them.

By Sunday, July 12, Tsipras is in an impossible position. …Germany drops its final bombshell. It demands that Greece “temporarily” exit the eurozone—in order to write off debts that cannot be canceled inside the single currency. Both sides understand that, in this case, “temporary” means forever. Germany, which has continually insisted it would be unlawful for any state to leave the euro, now insists that “Grexit” is inevitable.

The alternative is to hand control of the Greek economy to Europe—..

With Tsipras trapped in the talks for 17 hours, activists in Barcelona tweet #ThisIsACoup. The meme spreads to Paris, then Athens, then Rio, and then goes viral. We are witnessing the clear, clinical override of the democratic will of a nation, expressed not once but twice in six months. By the end of the night, about a quarter-million tweets had been posted with the hashtag.


Varoufakis says, “I felt as if the earth had imploded under my feet. I felt incredible sadness and a sense of having betrayed the 62 percent of Greeks who had shown astonishing courage—and I don’t think we had the historical right to do that.


“I’d be happy if there was that kind of protest, but even happier if people were organizing for alternative solutions.”


He says he underestimated what Germany’s intention was, underestimated how much his opponents were trying to make an example of Greece, to stop a domino effect of debt restructuring across Europe,


He’s encouraged by the swing to the left in Portugal, optimistic about Podemos in Spain and about Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the UK. “When we started we were alone. Now we’re not alone.”


But Syriza, in the end, was a Gramscian party in a non-Gramscian world. It was conceived in the era of hierarchies, not networks, and in the era of national economies, not globalization.


The hardest thing to hear, especially for people now mobilizing to resist the new austerity program, is that the networked mass movements were never organized well enough to place leverage on the government, nor were they ready for a clash with the mobilized forces of the middle class.


The networks of the people had become survival mechanisms, not levers to set the party into motion against the interests of capital.


A people held together by family networks, religious rituals, strong national identity, and layer upon layer of plebeian subculture has to be atomized before it can be defeated. And the Greek people are not yet atomized or defeated. The question is who will represent them.


Even with a debt deal, the medicine of austerity will go on killing the patient—and all sense of democratic control will go on being eroded.

cancer ness..


for (blank)’s sake…   a nother way

we can.

we can’t not.


Yanis‘ comments on Paul’s doc:


i hear Carl – i don’t care if you call it a disease or not…

_ _

Yanis interview: #ThisIsACoup – Testimonies

people were mobilizing themselves.. they didn’t need us..

april 27 – i witness a major turn around in spirit/attitude – few days later found out.. w/o my knowing .. we had already accepted a large dosage of austerity

8 min – the leadership decided to turn a no into a yes.. and i was a former finance minister at that moment..

on tsipras – an honorable man, good leader, someone who could have turned greece around, a major threat to the troika… – who clinically planned step by step to run us to the ground – he was so weakened he was fished out of the water

9 min – it was clear that the magestic no had not carried through..  the seemingly happiness was incredible sadness…

10 min – is that it for the left… of course not.. we’ve suffered much more and always bounced back

11 min – still maintain a very close link with the people dreaming.. they’re already revolting.. w/in minds… i’m sure we’ll see these on the streets again