Tag Archives: Greece

Yanis Varoufakis: “Never before have we had so much money, yet so little investment in what humanity needs”

Laura Siegler: With the economic rift seemingly still expanding between Southern Europe, on the one hand, and the ‘core’ European countries (Germany, Benelux, France, Scandinavia) on the other, what is the scope for a common environmental agenda of the European left?

Yanis Varoufakis: This question is not just global but also within Europe, because the fragmentation of oligarchy — of capitalism and financialised capitalism — is detrimental to any attack against the climate extinction we are facing. We have a remarkable disconnect, an imbalance, between the amount of liquidity, of money which is available, and the amount of investments — the things the humanity needs. Never before have we had so little investment in what humanity needs, in relation, as a percentage, to the available money. We have the highest amount of savings in the history of capitalism, and the lowest levels of investments, in comparison, especially in the technology of the future that will prevent the climate catastrophe.

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Economy, European Union


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Syriza’s defeat shows the left needs a plan to hold on to power, not just win it

The day after Jeremy Corbyn scraped together the parliamentarians’ names he needed to get on the Labour leadership ballot in 2015, he headed off in search of voters. “We didn’t have a campaign. We didn’t have an organisation. We didn’t have any money,” he told me. “All we had was my credit card and that lasted for about a week.”

He stood so that at least one candidate would make the argument that Labour should oppose austerity and shift to the left. No one ever expected him to win that argument, least of all him. But as the rallies grew, unions came on board and his polling numbers soared, the implausible started to look inevitable.

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Uncategorized


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How Syriza’s capitulations allowed the Greek right to escape the dustbin of history

The Greek right is back: greedier, uglier and more focused than ever. The incoming New Democracy government is determined to reclaim full control of the state on behalf of the most parasitic segment of Greece’s oligarchy and, of course, of our country’s ruthless creditors.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the new prime minister, is a scion of one of the dynasties responsible for Greece’s perpetual bankruptcy, corruption and subservience to the Atlanticist oligarchy-without-borders. Tellingly, he has surrounded himself with, on one side, apparatchiks connected to vulture funds and failed banks and, on the other, ultra-nationalist former fascists.

Together, Mr Mitsotakis’ motley reactionaries plan to unleash a fresh class war against a people who have already lost almost everything, against minorities, against our environment, against common decency.

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Posted by on July 31, 2019 in Europe, Uncategorized



Een verkapte Europese coup

NIETS IS SURREËLER dan door Athene te dwalen met de rapporten van de trojka in gedachten. Al vanuit de verte zie je voor Evangelismos, het grootste Griekse ziekenhuis, de rij bij de eerste hulp. Het is dertig graden en binnen wacht men vijf à zes uur in een bedompt vertrek, zichzelf koelte toewuivend. Oude ambulances rijden af en aan. Meermaals schreef de trojka (van EU, imf en ecb) in de memoranda: ‘We beschermen de kwetsbaren.’ Maar de begroting van dit hospitaal is in deze jaren meer dan gehalveerd. Er is een tekort aan alles en vooral aan verplegers – in heel het land zijn er dertigduizend méér nodig, zei het ministerie van Volksgezondheid onlangs. Iedere zuster verzorgt nu zo’n vijftig zieken, ’s nachts tachtig, en velen worden ziek van de lange werkweken.

In de gangen passeren bezwete Albanese mannen met buideltasjes. Elke bezoeker krijgt een visitekaartje: bij hen kan de patiënt een televisie of een privé-ambulance huren. Of een privé-zuster, ‘altijd ervaren, toegewijd en Grieks’. Ze staat je voor vijftig euro een half etmaal bij, of helpt met douchen voor twintig. In werkelijkheid zijn het Georgische of Bulgaarse dames, die hier in de jaren van voorspoed als au pair werkten en nu zwart en zonder diploma inspringen.

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Posted by on February 20, 2018 in European Union



The Refugee Scandal on the Island of Lesbos

Those wishing to visit ground zero of European ignominy must simply drive up an olive tree-covered hill on the island of Lesbos until the high cement walls of Camp Moria come into view. “Welcome to prison,” someone has spray-painted on the walls. The dreadful stench of urine and garbage greets visitors and the ground is covered with hundreds of plastic bags. It is raining, and filthy water has collected ankle-deep on the road. The migrants who come out of the camp are covered with thin plastic capes and many of them are wearing only flipflops on their feet as they walk through the soup. Children are crying as men jostle their way through the crowd.

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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in European Union, Reportages


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Europe’s heart of darkness

One night last April Konstantinos Potouridis disappeared from his home in Aspropyrgos, an industrial town in central Greece. Two weeks later, his uncle Kostas received a phone call from his abductors. “They said my nephew was still alive,” Kostas explains, “but they wanted €1,500 for his return.” Kostas didn’t contact the authorities. His mother had been killed in a hit-and-run accident a few years previously, but the police had called him a liar and refused to consider his case. “Never trust the police in Aspropyrgos,” he says. “They lie to get promoted.” So late that night, he found himself waiting by the side of the highway. A man in a black sports car pulled up next to him. Kostas handed over the money and the car peeled swiftly away. But Konstantinos never showed up. A week later, the police called Kostas and told him that his nephew had been found – handcuffed, pumped with bullets and chained to a bag of stones at the bottom of the Mornos Channel in the hills above the town. “My nephew got too flashy with his money,” Kostas says. “He had the biggest house on the block, six taxis, motorcycles. There was a target on his back.”

This is not an unusual story in Aspropyrgos, but then Aspropyrgos is an unusual place. Twenty kilometres north-west of Athens, it is cut off from the rest of the country by the sea on one side and an arc of mountains on the other. The Greek state crams onto this rocky plain, which stretches the length of 1,000 football pitches, everything that is too noisy or dirty to put in the capital. Aspropyrgos is home to Greece’s major steelworks, brick manufacturers, quarries, cement silos, power plants and petroleum refineries. “Nowhere was it possible to find land so close to Athens and so cheap,” a local butcher called Eirinaos tells me. “Now those old sheep pastures spit out gold.” The Mornos Channel serves as Athens’s major water supply and Greece’s biggest dump lies on a plateau to the north-east. Accounting for less than 1% of the country’s landmass, Aspropyrgos and the surrounding Thriasio Plain are responsible for nearly 40% of Greece’s industrial output. “Aspropyrgos makes, Europe takes”, reads graffiti scrawled around the town.

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Posted by on November 9, 2017 in European Union



Lesbos’s Ghosts, Europe’s Disgrace

ATHENS – In 2015, hundreds of thousands of refugees landed on Greece’s island shores. Many had perished at sea. Today, the international public has been lulled into believing that Greece’s refugee crisis has abated. In fact, it has become a permanent scourge blighting Europe’s soul and brewing future trouble. The island of Lesbos was, and remains, its epicenter.

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Posted by on November 5, 2017 in European Union


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Anarchists Fill Services Void Left by Faltering Greek Governance 

It may seem paradoxical, but Greece’s anarchists are organizing like never before.Seven years of austerity policies and a more recent refugee crisis have left the government with fewer and fewer resources, offering citizens less and less. Many have lost faith. Some who never had faith in the first place are taking matters into their own hands, to the chagrin of the authorities.Tasos Sagris, a 45-year-old member of the Greek anarchist group Void Network and of the “self-organized” Embros theater group, has been at the forefront of a resurgence of social activism that is effectively filling a void in governance.“People trust us because we don’t use the people as customers or voters,” Mr. Sagris said. “Every failure of the system proves the idea of the anarchists to be true.”


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Greece’s Anarchists Are Taking Better Care of Refugees Than the Government

On July 7, I received a message on Facebook.My name Mouaz Khrayba of Daraa, Syria I am 20 years old It is now in the Greek island of Samos My brother was one of the journalists of the events in SyriaI dream to be wellMouaz Khrayba, who had been put in touch with me by a mutual acquaintance, had attached photos of refugees protesting in front of barbed-wire fences on Samos. Many of them held signs, one of which asked simply: what is our destiny?In 2011, I came to learn, Khrayba lived with his family in Nawa, a small city in Syria’s Daraa Governorate. His mother was a teacher, and he grew up one of eight children in a happy home. Opposite their house was a garden with fruit trees and vegetables. Things took a turn during the protests that triggered the Syrian Civil War. The government repeatedly arrested his brother, Zahar, who worked as a media activist and protest organizer. In the armed uprising that followed, their family home was shelled and burned, and Zahar joined a Free Syrian Army battalion. He died of shrapnel wounds covering a battle in Nafaa. Khrayba’s father also lost his life during the war.

Source: Greece’s Anarchists Are Taking Better Care of Refugees Than the Government – Vice

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Posted by on March 24, 2017 in European Union, Reportages


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What the history of Greece can tell us about the fight against Isis

Mass beheadings, public throat-cutting, eye-gouging, the chopping up of corpses, torture and mass executions into open graves. Professional butchers employed to decapitate victims. Remind you of anything?  No, not the cruelty of Isis, the cult which the US Joint Chiefs of Staff labelled “apocalyptic” only a couple of years ago – and with whom Donald Trump now thinks he is at war.

No, think instead of those nice, relaxed, laid-back, ouzo-drinking, euro-spending Greeks. The years between 1944 and 1949 were enough to curdle anyone’s blood in the land where European civilisation supposedly began, and a new study of that frightful extermination in Greece reads like a template of Syria, Iraq and all the other landscapes stained with the blood of Isis’s victims.

Source: What the history of Greece can tell us about the fight against Isis

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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in European Union


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