NOTE: This is a response to the referendum called by the Greek government on July 5, 2015 (before the results were announced). As Bob Marley said: Speak out. Talk back. Say something.
OXI - say oh-hee - as if you were about to spit fearlessly in the face of your assailant - means no. No means no.
I was once visited by a global NBC cameraman from New York - an uncle of Salvadorian youth in the Youth for Social Justice movement.
While I finished my work, he was in the next room browsing books and came across Noam Chomsky.
I started raving about participative democracy which he interrupted to say, sadly I think - "Fred, to me democracy is a dirty word."
I've thought a lot about that in the years since - initially attributing it to the many decades of U.S. bullying for economic profit in Central America/Caribbean - the current example being the obscene and illegal torture centre in U.S. occupied Cuba.
But now with the European governments - so-called democracies but actually representing corporate/banking/big money interests - intent on punishing the Greek people for daring to question their austerity programs - I've changed my focus.
(Not that long ago I had great respect for Europe but during the past year its support for NATO war mongering in eastern Europe; its treatment of immigrants from Africa forced north by European arms sales supported wars, and now it's treatment of the Greek people, I'm changing my mind.)
What government do I know - except for Greece (and maybe Uruguay) actually demonstrates democratic caring for its people, rather than special interest - say big money - interests.
What about Canada - where what Bob Rae has called the Tea Party North - rules as an instrument of global foreign owned corporations. Led by a corporate servant who calls climate change a "socialist plot".
Am I to be held responsible for the spending and borrowing of this special interest group which has been intent on dismantling Canadian democracy?
So consider the Cyprus financial crisis of 2013 - triggered in part by the U.S. banking disaster of 2008 - similar to Greece - where the IMF proposed taking money from every Cypriot's bank account.
This theory of democracy proposes that each citizen-consumer is responsible for the financial expenditures and borrowing of the ruling political party.
It's interesting that Jean-Jacques Rousseau - in his influential 18th century Social Contract - ridiculed the English practice of governance when he said the English are only free once every four years on election day - the rest of their lives they live as slaves.
Rousseau liked the Athenian style of open participatory democracy - although he suggested its practice might be more difficult in the cold, wet countries of the north : )
Demos - a Greek word and concept - rule by the collective decision making of the many - is this an apt description of modern governance in western democracies?
In 2001 I arrived in Buenos Aires on the day its currency collapsed. The bank machines remained open - and they would dispense a limited amount of pesos and U.S. dollars - your choice.
Imagine my surprise when I went to a restaurant in San Telmos and they refused my U.S. dollars, preferring their own devalued pesos. Argentinians are a proud and independent people, as are the Greeks.
Later the government refused to assume responsibility for the debts of previous un-democratic governments and offered a percentage instead; many creditors accepted.
But now, 14 years later, some U.S. creditors are still demanding full payment and affecting U.S. government policy towards Argentina. Although it was once illegal, it is now a common practice for vulture funds to buy up debts and go for collection at exorbitant profit - supported by their democratic governments.
In Greece, Syriza was elected by the people on a platform of ending the foreign imposed austerity which has crippled the country - 60 per cent of youth unemployed; massive cuts to social programs and medical treatment; high suicide rates, and outmigration.
Syriza, in effect, inherited a bankrupt government controlled by external financial powers - the troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, has written he would vote no in the referendum, points out "almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private sector creditors - including German and French banks."the money demanded of the Greeks won't help their situation at all but go mainly to German and French banks."
He suggests the debt dispute "is about power and democracy much more than money and economics". It is "the antithesis of democracy: many European leaders want to see the end of Alexis Tsipras's leftist government."
So while populist rallies in support of the Greek people have been happening across the U.K and Europe, the European Central Banking cut funding to Greek banks.
"Why did they force us to close the banks, " asked Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, "To instil fear in people. And spreading fear is called terrorism."
Yanis' fellow economist, James Kenneth Galbraith (son of John) has written of the nine myths (spread by the media) about the Greek crisis.
He concludes ""No" means that the Greek people will not bend, that their government will not fail, and that the creditors need, finally to come to terms with the failures of European policy so far - This is vital if Europe is to be saved."
What does all this have to do with communication? A lot actually - mainstream media, itself owned by corporate interests or controlled by governments - supports the status quo - promoting consumerism and the corporate interest - big money.
In Greece the mainstream television "media oligarchs" have covered the yes "troika" rallies and essentially ignored the "no" supporters.
Almost 100 years ago Edward Bernays invented public relations, applying the individual psychological theories of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, to mass control of populations.
Joyce Nelson (Sultans of Sleaze) describes how the theories of public relations have been increasingly practiced by modern political parties and governments.
Goebbels was a great admirer of Edward Bernays.
One could suggest that we in modern "democracies" are now experiencing the "P.T. Barnum school of governance". The "suckers" are us.
What's happening now in Mediterranean counties is that popular resistance to the absolute power of big money corporations, banks and financial interests has moved from demonstrations and protest - such as the Occupy movement - to the political arena - principally Podemos/Indignados in Spain and Syriza in Greece.
It's obvious that those who profit from absolute financial power are going to fight back and hard to punish people who dare defy them.
Ohi Day is celebrated each year in Greece to commemorate the day in 1940 the European fascists demanded to make use of Greece as a military base and the Greek government answered "no !"
1. See Captain Corelli's Mandolin for a sanitized, but you'll get the point, account of the terrorist mass murders of Greek villagers inflicted as punishment by the German military. Some Greeks would still remember the experience.
2. See Adam Curtis' four part BBC documentary The Century of the Self for a lucid telling of the growth of public relations as evolved by Edward Bernays.
3. See Joyce Nelson's Sultans of Sleaze for the story of the ascendancy of public relations and the mutation of democracy in North America.
4. See Edward Shumacher's Small is Beautiful for an alternative to a world dominated by economism - A Study of Economics as if People Mattered.
Those who deprive the table of meat
Teach men to be content with their lot.
Those who are certain to gain by the offering
Demand a spirit of sacrifice.
Those who have risen from a banquet are loquacious
Before the hungry about the good times to come.
Those who lead the state over a precipice
Call governing too onerous
For the ordinary man.