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Friday, October 05, 2012 4:58 PM

Greek Prime Minister Warns of Societal Collapse Like Weimar Germany; Citizens Storm Defense Ministry; Merkel Takes Gamble on Visiting Greece

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Greece is politically and economically bankrupt. Unemployment is 24.4% and destined to get much worse with the latest round of austerity measures.

Worse yet, Greece is still encumbered by massive layers of bureaucracy that makes it difficult to get anything done.

Yesterday, in a massive breach of security, Greek citizens stormed the defense ministry. This has German chancellor Angela Merkel willing to take a chance on a trip to Greece next week.

Today, Antonis Samaras, the Greek Prime Minister warns of societal disintegration without urgent financial aid.

Antonis Samaras says Greece's democracy is in danger, comparing situation to Germany's pre-war Weimar Republic

Greece is teetering on the edge of collapse with its society at risk of disintegrating unless the country's near-empty public coffers are shored up with urgent financial aid, the country's prime minister has warned.

Almost three years after the eruption of Europe's debt drama in Athens, the economic crisis engulfing the nation has become so severe that democracy itself is now imperiled, Antonis Samaras said.

Resorting to highly unusual language for a man who weighs his words carefully, the 61-year-old politician evoked the rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party to highlight the threat that Greece faces, explaining that society "is threatened by growing unemployment, as happened to Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic".

Mounting anti-austerity rage before a new round of sweeping EU-IMF-mandated austerity measures appears to have caught the government off-guard, with officials voicing fears over the ability of Samaras's fragile coalition to survive.

The unprecedented storming of Greece's defence ministry by hundreds of protesting dockworkers on Thursday – a breach of security not seen in modern times – has especially unnerved officials. On Friday, Samaras lashed out at "those who don't understand the meaning of law and order".

"The government is waging a battle on all fronts for the nation's credibility and its future so that the sacrifices made by Greeks aren't lost," he said, referring to the spending cuts and tax increases that have sparked record levels of poverty and unemployment. "I will not allow the country to become a free-for-all."

In the interview Samaras emphasised that Greek cash reserves would run dry by the end of November. "The key is liquidity," said the leader. "That is why the next credit tranche is so important for us."

The high-wire act of placating international lenders while keeping social unrest at bay will be tested as never before when Merkel, the German chancellor, flies into Athens next Tuesday. With anti-EU sentiment at an all-time high, opposition parties and trade unions vowed a baptism of fire.

"She should expect demonstrations. Greek society will welcome her with mass protests," said Panos Skourletis, a spokesman for the radical left main opposition Syriza party.

The Independent Greeks party, also vehemently anti-bailout, has said it will make war reparations a major part of its own protest when it stages a "symbolic blockade" outside the German embassy in Athens during Merkel's visit.
The warning by Samaras coupled with the storming of the defense ministry is not a sign of a pending societal collapse, but rather a sign the collapse is well underway.

There is no reason to believe a visit from chancellor Merkel will stem the tide.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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