Yanis Varoufakis (Greek: Γιάνης Βαρουφάκης, pronounced [ˈʝanis varuˈfacis]; born 24 March 1961) is a Greek-Australian economist. He is the former finance minister of Greece. In the January 2015 general election, he was elected to the Greek parliament, representing Syriza, and took office in the new government of Alexis Tsipras two days later, on 27 January 2015 He resigned from the Ministry of Finance on 6 July 2015, the day after a victorious no-vote on the referendum on austerity.
- Europe in its infinite wisdom decided to deal with this bankruptcy by loading the largest loan in human history on the weakest of shoulders … What we’ve been having ever since is a kind of fiscal waterboarding that has turned this nation into a debt colony.
- On the austerity terms of Greece's €240bn bailout, as quoted in "Yanis Varoufakis: In his own words" at BBC News (3 February 2015)
- (The Eurozone) resembles a fine riverboat that was launched on a still ocean in 2000. And then the first storm that hit it, in 2008, started creating serious structural problems for it. We started leaking water. And of course, the people in the third class, as in the Titanic, start feeling the drowning effects first.
- In: Channel 4 News, "Yanis Varoufakis interview: 'Greece can start breathing again, growing'." 26 Jan. 2015: On comparing the eurozone to the Titanic; Quoted in: Jonathan Chew. "These 7 Yanis Varoufakis Quotes Show Why We’ll Miss Him," Fortune, (6 July 2015)
- Why did they force us to close the banks? To instil fear in people.
And spreading fear is called terrorism.
- In: Chris Johnston and agencies. "Yanis Varoufakis accuses creditors of terrorism ahead of Greek referendum," in The Guardian (4 July 2015)
- The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage...
- Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.
- I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.
- And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride....
- Politics, I now understand, is at its best when it enlightens us via an opponent's insight.
- And the Weak Suffer What They Must? : Europe's Crisis and America's Economic Future (2016), Ch. 4, Trojan Horse
- If you take an iPhone apart, every single technology in it was developed by some government grant, every single one.
- I mean, the enclosures in Britain would never have happened without the king’s army and without state brutality for pushing peasants off their ancestors’ land and creating the commodification of labor, the commodification of land which then gave rise to capitalism.
- Yanis Varoufakis and Noam Chomsky discussion the New York Public Library (26 April 2016)
- The world we live in is ruled by insiders... one of the first things said to me by a very high ranking American official.. when I was minister... you have a choice. You can be an insider or an outsider. If you are an outsider you'll retain your right to say anything you want, whatever you believe in but know that you're going to be persecuted, you're going to be villified and you'll be jettisoned. … On the other hand, you can chose to be an insider, to play the game... if you chose to be an insider you'll be given information that outsiders don't have, you'll be given... an opportunity... to make some... small tiny changes within the inside, but the one rule that you must respect, is that insiders do not tell outsiders the truth, and they do not turn against other insiders ... Julian [Assange]... created the technology that allowed the outsiders to get a glimpse within...and this is why he's being persecuted this way and one of the worst aspects of this persecution from a feminist perspective is that he's been accused of a crime for which he's never been charged, that turns progressives against feminists and feminists against progressives. This attempt by the establishment to turn progressives against themselves in order to prosecute someone who has... revealed their crimes is a heinous crime in itself..."
- ...faced with a choice between an agreement that is to the advantage of the peoples of Europe and one that bolsters their own power within the EU institutions at the expense of Europe’s social economies, the Brussels establishment, and the powerful politicians behind them, will choose the latter every time. ... negotiations will be an exercise in futility and frustration. Barnier’s two-phase negotiation announcement amounts to a rejection of the principle of … negotiation. He is, effectively, saying to you: First you give me everything I am asking for unconditionally (Phase 1) and only then will I hear what you want (Phase 2).
- My message to Theresa May: listen and learn from our Greek tragedy, The Evening Standard (12 May 2017)
- Even though communist parties have disappeared almost entirely from the political scene, the spirit of communism driving the manifesto is proving hard to silence.... Liberty, happiness, autonomy, individuality, spirituality, self-guided development are ideals that Marx and Engels valued above everything else. If they are angry with the bourgeoisie, it is because the bourgeoisie seeks to deny the majority any opportunity to be free. Given Marx and Engels' adherence to Hegel's fantastic idea that no one is free as long as one person is in chains, their quarrel with the bourgeoisie is that they sacrifice everybody's freedom and individuality on capitalism's altar of accumulation.
- Quoted in 'Where no man lacks': a post-capitalist order? -- An excerpt, by Phyllis Power, Share International magazine (June 2018)
- I’d say DiEM25’s program is the only one worth fighting for. In the European elections we didn’t do well — we got just over 1 percent of the vote. But I should add, our total budget was just €85,000, a pitiful sum for a European election. People running to be the mayor of even a small town would spend many times that. Running on a principled position meant we didn’t have the infrastructure or spending power to do better. ... in the European elections our party, MeRA25, had to struggle against a systematic effort to silence us. We received absolutely no media exposure until the moment where media were forced by law to mention us and give us a little airtime. This was not true of Popular Unity or other smaller parties advocating Lexit [a left-wing exit from the EU].
…These are deeply conservative forces... There is nothing liberal about them: they are traditional, austerian class warriors against the working class... The regime did not feel threatened by parties advocating exit from the euro and EU.
- Our view — that we’re not going to leave, and it’s up for the German government to leave, or to throw us out — is harder for them to deal with. The regime despised us because we neither want Grexit nor fear it. Our call unilaterally to implement perfectly moderate policies without fear or passion destabilized them. It was a danger to their system because of its widespread appeal....But things are also changing. In recent weeks, we have built strength among the trade unions, for instance among the electricity workers. They were betrayed by Syriza, who broke up and privatized the public energy company.... the cleaning workers in the public sector... bore the brunt of the troika’s assault against the poor...Social movements... need a political organization that allows them a voice beyond their specific localities... one that doesn’t dominate them. If they don’t have this, then they will be crushed by a new right-wing regime of a resurgent oligarchic right – one founded on.. the state of debt bondage until 2060 agreed with the creditors by Syriza...
Consider this, for instance: Syriza sold the railways for €43 million... they’d have got more money tearing up the rails and selling them as scrap metal. Or take gambling — Syriza enabled the deployment of thirty-five thousand poker machines by a private company, exploiting a bankrupt people with the fake promise of easy winnings. Even the Right’s privatizations were less deplorable than Syriza’s.
- Millions of Europeans looked with hope to this country, and it was Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza government (elected that January)  that had the responsibility for keeping that window open, and for opening it up further for others. What these millions wanted a break from was not even true neoliberalism, but what I would call bankruptocracy — a new regime in which the greatest power was wielded by the most bankrupt bankers. Tsipras’s surrender in July 2015 closed that window of opportunity...
Ever since he surrendered to the troika, Tsipras... dilemma put to progressives: “Who do you want to torture you — an enthusiastic torturer, or someone like me who doesn’t want to torture you but will do it to keep his job?”
- What is being offered to the Greek people is circuses with no bread. And the circuses are not even funny.
The Euro Has Never Been More Problematic
- The Euro Has Never Been More Problematic, Oxford Union, 14 November 2018
- These lazy answers always flourish during periods of deflation. Deflation, ladies and gentlemen, was always going to be the result of this particular design of the euro and deflation begets monsters: it was Mussolini, it was Hitler; now it is [a new fascist international].
- Unfortunately the euro's design has created a vicious cycle between failed institutions that create failed policies that lead to discontent and then the only way the powers-that-be in Brussels can clamp down and continue to impose their authority is through increasing degrees of authoritarianism.
- In the United States you have the ridiculous situation where the Democratic Party is going to the people who voted for Trump saying you were duped by Putin, Putin stole the election through Facebook. (...) Did Putin try to influence the election in the United States? I'm sure he did. But I did too. I did, I really did. I did my best to influence the election and failed spectacularly and Putin had about the same impact that I had. This is really very important: we do not sacrifice good people to the ultra-right by treating them like morons and by demonizing them. This is crucial: we have to win the battle of ideas by treating people with respect independently of whether they agree or even like us or not.
- We need to change the circumstances of people's lives, so we need investments. We need to push investment up because investment is what we need to create the good quality jobs that will create the incomes that will stop deflation: the markets won't do it on their own.
- The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels was published in 1848 and is now re-issued with an interesting introduction by Yanis Varoufakis, Greek economist and politician. He hails the Manifesto as an inspiration to collective action for a better future "urging us to become agents of a future that ends unnecessary mass suffering and to inspire humanity to realize its potential for authentic freedom". Varoufakis interprets the Manifesto not as a call to state authoritarianism, as communism became in practice, nor just an analysis of bitter and enduring class conflict, but rather as a 'liberal text', which he believes is even more relevant today than when it was written.
- 'Where no man lacks': a post-capitalist order? -- An excerpt, by Phyllis Power Share International magazine (June 2018)