The announcement of the Hellenic Public Broadcaster (ERT) shutdown came completely unexpectedly by the Greek governmental representative Simos Kedikoglou. With an incredibly arrogant style which refers directly to a representative of a fascist regime, mister "Goebbels" of the domestic governmental troika (now transformed in two-party coalition after withdrawal of Dimokratiki Aristera), announced the extermination - in just one day - of ERT, and get rid of its 2656 employees, in order to satisfy the outside troika lenders - who demand more and more blood – and the domestic big media owners directly connected for years with the two-party establishment PASOK and Nea Dimokratia who brought country in this mess, in order to serve exclusively their own interests.
As government failed to sell the Public Natural Gas Company to Russians, Samaras and his advisors tried to find a way to hide their failures, and show determination to "clean" public sector in Greece in order to satisfy the neoliberal Taliban of the troika lenders who demand more “blood” through massive discharges in public sector, and the domestic big media establishment owners which participated in the construction of the Memorandum terms according to their interests. Through a simple and fast process, resembling a junta regime, the representative of bankers and big private media owners, Antonis Samaras, gave the command.
In a recent speech, Samaras tried to target ERT, speaking about "sacred cows" that no one dares to touch. The truth is that the only "sacred cow" remaining today, is the fast-track privatizations and private investments, in such an extent that, anyone who dares to speak about development through public investments, is treated like a fool, or even worse, like a dangerous mind. War against similar ideas, is so fierce that, it would be no surprise if, in the close or distant future, those who will dare to support them, will somehow punished by the neoliberal junta.
New precedents in the Greek experiment
Despite the decision from the Council of State in Greece, the government insist on keeping the Hellenic public broadcaster closed until now, and the whole story, brought some new precedents concerning the Greek experiment:
1st: One basic argument from the Greek government, during the process until the final decision from the Council of State, was that the Greek state is not obliged to retain public broadcaster! While this argument expose the real intension of the Greek government, which is to close the public broadcaster definitively, is setting also a precedent, as disputes openly the obligation of state to retain public organizations.
2nd: The Council of State decision, opens directly the field of massive discharges at will, in public sector, from the secretary of finance Yannis Stournaras. The decision exposes musicians of the ERT Symphonic Orchestra and the ERT ensembles, as well as people who work in the ERT magazine "Radiotileorasi", putting them at the top of the discharge list.
As a result, the new arising perception is that, the culture which such music ensembles serve, is a luxury that the state cannot support and therefore must repeal. The basic argument to justify such a perception is that the state cannot support the rising numbers of unemployed. An argument which is spread by the parrots of the neoliberal dictatorship, but appears to be so obviously absurd, since the catastrophic austerity policies are responsible for the unemployment record numbers, and under the pretext of the economy recovery, more people are loosing their jobs through the discharges in public sector!
3rd: Despite the Council of State decision, another serious precedent arise. The black screen in the ERT TV and silence in its radio frequencies, as well as the picture of police special forces cutting down the transmitters, opens the road - in Greece and Europe - for even cruel authoritarian policies through which public beneficial organizations will be shutdown with fast and simple processes.
We must not forget that, another concerted attack from the neoliberal dictatorship against public beneficial institutions, took place in Greece about a year ago, when the deposits of public universities and hospitals left unprotected by the government, allowing their massive conversion in Greek bonds by the Bank of Greece, just before the new bond haircut PSI program, bringing a huge loss in their stocks.
Why they chose ERT
This time, in the case of ERT, the experiment tested peoples' reaction against a more direct and violent act, and this was probably the reason that woke up people to protest in the central building of ERT in Athens and other cities.
The truth is that, the neoliberal Thatcherian type agenda in its most cruel form, must prevail at all costs, and that's why the public broadcaster should be targeted, one of the last symbols of cultural resistance against the transformation of everything in cost and profit, a kind of economic totalitarianism. People abroad understood that and reacted directly.
The dictatorial behavior of the Greek government spread terror in Europe and European public broadcasters, as they saw that someday may have the same ending. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) reacted directly, and hustled to support ERT, one of its founding members, by providing technical support, in order to make sure that ERT will continue broadcasting, while the president of EBU spoke about the worse type of censorship we ever saw, and asked Samaras, through a letter, to recall the decision immediately. The black background in the front pages of French newspapers "Liberation" and "Humanite" is also characteristic.
Neoliberal dictatorship will try to erase the independent voice of public broadcasters in Europe - through the Greek experiment - and dictate a Too Big to Fail model for the largest private media, following the same pattern applied on the banking sector, in order to erase the independent information in maximum degree. The next big step will be to find a way to control the independent Internet information, in order to complete its domination.
Despite all the bad signs, there is another fact which gives hope to a new form of resistance against politics of destruction. It is the fact that, workers in ERT, through their anti-experiment, managed to prove that the self-management of a public organization, without governmental managers, golden boys - advisors and governmental interventions, is absolutely possible, since despite the various obstacles, public broadcaster in Greece continued to broadcast until now.
But the anti-experiment could not have been successful without direct mobilization of people and other democratic forces of resistance in European level too, like EBU, and this is a good example that, only the European massive movement of people and democratic institutions can prevent domination of the neoliberal dictatorship and reverse the catastrophic course of Europe, which is moving towards a deep cultural degradation and a new dark age.