It’s easy to criticize someone in Greece when you are pulling in over $500k a year and basically couldn’t give a shit because you are not Greek, but it’s another thing to say it publically as IMF chief Christine Lagarde has done. Her attitude could best be summed up by, the Greek people borrowed too much and now deserve the suffering, so they should pay more tax and shut up. The mask has slipped, but is her position more in line with her fellow elite?. Certainly the way Greece has been treated has been nothing short of disgraceful coupled with a biased media coverage of the Greek people.
There may well be tax avoidance, but never is discussed the corrupt political elite which was responsible for this behaviour or the fact that the Greeks in 2010 were the hardest workers in Europe, 2nd only to South Korea in OECD countries.
In an interview with the British Guardian newspaper published Friday, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, vented her class hatred for the workers of Greece, denouncing them as tax scofflaws and ruling out any respite from the austerity measures that have devastated the country.
In the interview, Lagarde was questioned about the social catastrophe resulting from five years of economic crisis and austerity measures dictated by the IMF and the European Union. She was asked, in particular, to respond to the plight of pregnant women who “won’t have access to a midwife when they give birth,” patients who “won’t get life-saving drugs,” and the elderly who “will die alone for lack of care.”
Contemptuously dismissing the suffering and death caused by the policies she is helping to impose, Lagarde replied: “I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day… I have them in my mind all the time, because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens.”
The crocodile tears of Lagarde, formerly the finance minister under French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for the impoverished children of Africa carry little weight given the quasi-genocidal record of French imperialism in Africa and the neo-colonial interventions in the Ivory Coast, Libya and other parts of the continent carried out by the Sarkozy regime.
The IMF head continued: “As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about … all these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.”
Asked whether she thought more about non-payment of taxes than “all those now struggling to survive without jobs or public services,” Lagarde replied, “I think of them equally. And I think they should also help themselves collectively … by all paying their tax.”
The Guardian article continued: “It sounds as if she’s essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe, you’ve had a nice time and now it’s payback time. ‘That’s right.’ She nods calmly.”
Lagarde, who makes more than half a million dollars after taxes as IMF chief, reflects the outlook of the financial aristocracy that dictates policy in Europe and around the world. In condemning the people of Greece to unspeakable suffering and misery, she speaks for the entire European bourgeoisie and all of its national governments and European Union institutions.
Her “Let them eat cake” attitude sums up the loathing and fear of her class for the working class throughout Europe and internationally. Her remarks underscore the fact that Greece has been selected to serve as a benchmark for a deliberate policy of exploiting the capitalist crisis to effect a fundamental and permanent restructuring of class relations. The bourgeoisie is determined to eradicate all of the past social gains of the working class and carry through a social counterrevolution, imposing conditions of poverty and exploitation not seen since the end of the 19th century.