Aamir R. Mufti is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. A Greek translation of this article has been published in the Greek daily Avgi
On October 21, an organization known as the Pakistani Community in Greece Ittehad (“Unity”) held its presidential elections. As its name suggests, it is the leading political organization of the community of Pakistani immigrants in Greece, a population thought to number perhaps as high as eighty thousand. Its long-serving president, who did not run for re-election, is the irrepressible Javed Aslam Arain, a ubiquitous presence on Greek (and Pakistani-Greek) television. The election was a hotly contested one, and one of the issues at stake was the legacy of Aslam’s 7-8 years as president of this organization. (“Arain,” pronounced a-RA-een, is an northeast Punjabi caste name, not a family name, per se, and he doesn’t seem to use it as his surname often in public.)
The polling quickly turned into scenes of chaos, as paying members of the organization, often traveling long distances to exercise the vote, could not be found on the rolls. Two of the leading candidates, including Aslam’s hand-picked successor, Malik Abdul Majeed, consequently announced a boycott of the election, while the third candidate, known as Haji Afzal, declared victory before the vote count had been announced. Read the rest of this entry »
The recently appointed managing editor of ERT has demanded the removal of journalists Kostas Arvanitis and Marilena Katsimis from the successful morning talk show ‘Proini Enimerosi‘. Their removal was due to comments regarding the well known anti-fascist protesters torture controversy and the response of the Minister of Public Order, MP Dendias. This comes after a series of incidents of censorship both in the public domain and in the Greek Public Broadcasting Service.
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WE ARE THE PIGS
A Belgian and a German are travelling throughout Greece for 25 days. Their mission is to listen.
They are fed up with a Media system that constantly reminds people that for their own sake, for the sake of Europe one have to soothe “the markets”. That the only way to survive would be to sacrifice our social welfare states, our rights as workers and individuals and our future.
The photo-journalistic project is called WE ARE THE PIGS. “PIGS” is the acronym for Portugal, Ireland and Italy, Greece and Spain – countries that are facing particular crisis (the Euro crisis, the financial crisis, the economic crisis, to shorten: The capitalist crisis). Who are the “pigs”?!? Do we do really cast pearls before swine, like Mass Media keeps telling us everyday?
Mareike Lambertz and Sonja Giese are on a 3000 km trip throughout Greece to collect the people’s stories and to see how they deal with everyday life in times of crisis. With photographs and words they want to show a part of a reality that is beyond figures of GDP, stock markets and rating agencies.
The Media produces meaning in our society. Since the outbreak of the crisis, Greek people have been put down by the yellow press and most of the mainstream Media to liars, cheaters, lazy bums and parasites. They have been told to sale their islands, to open gyros bank accounts, to leave the Eurozone and go to hell.
This is not only a stupid thing to do but it is also a dangerous way to keep the newspapers sales volume up: It paves the way for a new public discourse where countries that do not gratefully swallow the destruction of their social state (also known in neoliberal-speech as ‘saving or rescue plan’ or ’reform measures’) are stigmatised and discriminated against.
A selection of Lambertz’ Giese’s’ works will be presented in an exhibition in Berlin in late autumn.
Lecture in the Athens Polytechnic School: ‘cities as sites of resistance and hope’
by Spryros Marchetos , originally published at The Guardian
The electoral take-off of Golden Dawn took Greece by surprise. In the space of a few months it passed from insignificance to almost 7% of the national vote, a percentage it maintained at the June elections, when the voters had been properly apprised of its neo-Nazi character. This party now has a rather even geographical spread and sex distribution, slightly higher among men and in rightwing areas, and also a definite social basis – mainly small proprietors, unemployed, members of the security forces, plus the criminal underworld.
Where did Golden Dawn come from? Is it a national phenomenon or does it portend a European trend? Could similar parties rise in other societies ravaged by the economic crisis? Certainly, it cannot be blamed on any “national” characteristics; If anything, Greece was, together with Britain, one of the very few countries that did not develop any mass fascist movement before the second world war.
by Stathis Gourgouris, for Greek Left Review
The majority of Greeks voted for governmentability this time, as opposed to registering a mere protest vote as in the May 6 elections. This manifestation was motivated by two contrary sentiments, fear of change and desire for change, which correspond to votes going to New Democracy and SYRIZA respectively.
The new government to be formed will involve collaboration between two nominally vicious opponents of the past, who have been, however, complicit in the degradation of the Greek political system in the last 30 years. Their current collaboration confirms their long term mutual complicity and renders their previous opposition a mere brawl over spoils. In this respect, there has never been greater political clarity as to the primary self-interest of the Greek political elite.
But this new government will represent an electorate that has registered its trust motivated by fear. Such politics can never sustain itself in the long run, especially as the new ND-PASOK government is bound to distinguish itself by even greater capitulation to the interests of financial capital and European bureaucratic elites. The very same people who voted for this sort of political formation (a minority position overall) will quickly turn against their rulers in various manifestations of social unrest. How this social unrest will translate into a different political order is one of the key wagers of Greece’s future.
On the other hand, SYRIZA collected unprecedented popular support. It is evident that voters who supported SYRIZA are no longer motivated by mere opposition to the old political order. Rather, they registered their conviction that SYRIZA is a probable (and indeed desirable) governing force. There is a stunning statistic that shows SYRIZA an overwhelming victor among the ages of 55 years and below, while the population of over 55 years old went to ND. The desire for change and the commitment to change belongs to Greece’s future, while the fear-driven, literally conservative, sentiment that brought ND to power is a force of years past. While not knowing exactly how this will play out, this generational discrepancy must not be underestimated.
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace el camino al andar.
Capitalizing on a historical momentum, we shall not revert to pessimism but realize that a historical process has begun. A process rooted in what appears to be a geographically localized transgression of the memoranda within Greece; but which is also a spring flowing against the tide of austerity measures in Europe at large. Greece has been contained within two clichés and has transgressed both. On the one hand, it has proven that it can be much more than the idealized, mythical image of the cradle of democracy, by pointing towards a prolonged future that flies in the face of the dictates of the market, as prescribed by the domestic and international troikas, pointing to the emergence of new political subjectivities.
On the other hand, Greece, was turned to the guinea pig of the austerity measures that cut across countries. In that respect, the greek electoral results, in the midst of the fiercest propaganda, are the springs of a river that flows across Europe – it remains to be seen where it would lead. The experiment has ethically failed: the guinea PIIGS have cast an anti-austerity vote, condemning the epitome of neoliberalism, represented in Greece in the form of the memoranda and widely in Europe in terms of austerity policies increasingly . This momentum is emboldened by the worrisome rearing of the nest of neo-fascism and populism within Greece. This reactionary element, incorporating the neoliberal agenda, cuts across the Right, as New Democracy, gaining currency on fear-mongering, both domestically and from institutional mechanisms of the EU as well as global institutions. It has accommodated chauvinistic, populist, and jingoist discourses in what is presented as a ‘solution-providing’ government-to-be.
The solution can only come from a united people of Europe enacting democracy and solidarity, working towards a radically different future.
Greek Left Review Collective, London, 17 June 2012
by Costas Douzinas and Joanna Bourke, originally posted at guardian.co.uk June 17 2012
The Financial Times Deutschland last week published an article on its front page headlined “Resist the demagogue“. It was written in Greek. The article advised the Greeks to reject the radical left Syriza party and vote for the rightwing New Democracy today. It is the culmination of an astounding campaign of fear and blackmail against the democratic right of Greeks to elect a government of their choice.
Angela Merkel, the European commission president José Manuel Barroso, and even George Osborne, have ordered the Greeks to vote the right way. This direct intervention into the democratic process of a sovereign state follows a plethora of threats and rumours, secrets and lies, telling people that if they vote for Syriza, the country will be ejected from the euro and untold catastrophes will follow.
Why are the European elites carrying out this unprecedented campaign, which strikes at the heart of the EU and would lead to outrage if the target were the British, the Italians, or the French? The reason is simple. If the Greeks vote a Syriza government into office, the EU and the IMF will have to drastically change the austerity policies that created an economic disaster and a humanitarian crisis.