Debtocracy: a documentary on the Greek debt crisis

by Jerome Roos on May 10, 2011

Post image for Debtocracy: a documentary on the Greek debt crisis

This critical documentary made by Greek artists and activists seeks the real causes of the country’s crippling debt crisis — and proposes an economically and socially responsible solution.

Exactly a year ago, Greece sank into the dark abyss of global capital markets and the EU and IMF reluctantly came to the ‘rescue’ with a 110 billion euro bailout.

Attached to the rescue package came the same draconian austerity measures that had previously triggered social crises and popular uprisings in Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Thailand and Indonesia. Once again, the neoliberal ‘medicine’ is threatening to kill the patient.

Now, the Greek debt crisis is flaring up anew amidst confirmations by EU officials that either a second bailout or a restructuring of the country’s debt will be necessary — and amidst rumors in the popular press that Greece is actually planning to leave the eurozone.

At this critical juncture comes Debtocracy, a spectacular crowd-funded Greek documentary made by artists and activists, and freely shared online under a creative commons license. The film reveals the shocking truth behind the neoliberal propaganda that has been so greedily spread by the mainstream media in Europe and the US.

The myth of Greek laziness is exposed for what it is — a racists ploy to distract the European people from the indelible reality behind the bailout: Germany and France wanting to save their banks. Rather than having Greece default on the reckless speculators at Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas, Europe would like to see Greece defaulting on its own people.

And so millions are pushed into abject poverty — a recent estimate by a London School of Economics survey is that nearly a third of Greece’s 11 million people live near or under the formal poverty line — while public funding for crucial social services such as health and education are being cut across the board.

In a bizarre parody on even the wildest persiflage of the ‘immoral capitalist’, the EU even managed to include a clause in the bailout agreement that would see Greece continuing to buy up heavy military hardware from German and French weapons producers. The last shreds of Greek sovereignty and democracy have been crushed by the powerful forces of European capital.

Indeed, in a total aberation on the notion of European solidarity, we are forcing families earning less than 500 euros per month to cut back their spending while simultaneously forcing their government to keep spending its austerity-squeezed tax receipts on buying more weapons! How such nefarious practices are allowed to continue unabated remains one of the greatest mysteries and injustices of our time.

Yet there is an alternative to the inhumane denigration of Greek national sovereignty by the henchmen of the global financial industry. In the uplifting second part of this documentary, the filmmakers outline the concept of odious debt and the possibility for an Ecuadorian-style default.

After all, why would the Greek people have to pay for a debt they were never officially informed about and that didn’t benefit them one single bit?

Featuring some of the heavyweights in critical political economy of our day (including David Harvey, Samir Amin, Alain Badiou and Manolis Glezos), this documentary is truly a must-see.

(On a sidenote: I was personally all the more excited about Debtocracy because it’s basically the film version of my own PhD research at the European University Institute! Make sure to watch it in HD, and if you encounter any trouble with the crappy subtitles, just turn them off and then back on.)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria May 20, 2011 at 19:24

Thank you for sharing this video. This is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen.


Jérôme E. Roos May 20, 2011 at 22:01

Thank you Maria, I fully agree!


Jeff Powell July 2, 2011 at 11:34

- the documentary which captured the start of a revolution in Greece!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011, 6pm
Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
For directions:
Nearest Tube: Russell Square

Hosted by Research on Money and Finance

“… the samizdat of Greek debt” – The Guardian

Downloaded by millions of citizens in Greece and across Europe, ‘Debtocracy’ is spreading like wildfire. The film seeks the causes of the debt crisis and proposes solutions – solutions hidden by the governments of Europe and the dominant media. This is a unique opportunity to see the film, and to participate in a discussion with the filmmakers and other experts on the crisis.

Discussion with:
- Aris Chatzistefanou, Director of Debtocracy
- Costas Lapavitsas, Professor of Economics, SOAS
- Andrew Burgin, Coalition of Resistance
Chaired by: Nick Dearden, Jubilee Debt Campaign

Entry will be on a first-come first-serve basis as space allows. Entry is free, but the organisers will be asking for contributions to assist in covering the travel costs of the filmmakers.

Read a Red Pepper interview with director Aris Chatzistefanou:

Read a Guardian comment by Costas Lapavitsas on the Greek crisis:

For more on the film:

Plus as it’s short notice please share the Facebook event:


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