Portraits of Greece in Crisis is a series of independent and self- funded mini documentaries about the greek crisis. An ongoing project that was created in order to fulfill the need for an alternative crisis narrative, against an unprecedented big media propaganda.
Portraits of people through the daily routine of which the greek crisis is being described, portraits of institutions that are collapsing and of conceptions that are being distorted during a crisis that is economic, political, cultural, moral and social.
In essence, Portraits of Greece in Crisis is a project that films the experiment executed upon Greece; a registration of today, that tomorrow will turn into a historical documentation of the crisis.
In this attempt, we will seek for viewers – co-producers in order to cover as widely as possible the spectrum of the crisis, a crisis that, finally, is not only greek.
Neoliberal policies created a disaster in the country now shredded by austerity measures. The Syriza party and the Greek left have much work ahead if they are to build a just and sustainable economic and social order.
When the global financial crisis of 2008 reached Europe’s shores sometime in late 2009, the eurozone, with its faulty design and distinct neoliberal policymaking framework, experienced its first major crisis since the introduction of the euro as a single currency; the danger of an imminent collapse was suddenly all too real. From the beginning, there were warnings about the dire consequences of introducing a single currency into a region with sharp economic and cultural differences, but the European political elite turned a deaf ear on the skeptics.(1) European business interests were too big to be compromised over concerns about future financial busts or speculations about the risk of adopting a foreign currency without the backing of a federal treasury and a central bank acting as lender of last resort. Indeed, like the owner of the Titanic who told the captain to go full speed although several warnings had been received about icebergs ahead, European policymakers at the time could not resist the temptation to launch euro as a cash currency in spite of the fact that the Eurosystem was built on a weak institutional foundation. And they compounded the error by allowing highly problematic candidates to join the union, thereby violating the principles of optimal currency areas.(2) Read the rest of this entry »
Thursday, February 21st.
TU Delft-BK, Room P, 14.00-17.00
Seminar with Platon Issaias
Beyond the Crisis: Athens as a Case Study
The presentation attempts to theorize the ‘informal’ urbanization that characterizes the contemporary Greek cities, classifying this as an immediate derivative of a complex political project. For our point of view, this was mainly displayed by architectural and urban typologies and protocols. As a case-study, the Greek cities and particularly Athens, offer a valid critique on this recent conceptions regarding the distinction between ‘informal’ and ‘formal’ urbanism. In the Greek case, what appears to be a spontaneous and un-planned urban typology is the result of a precise institutional and regulatory apparatus.
The discussion will follow the structure of Platon’s PhD research on Athens, particularly focusing on an alternative medium–cinema–and the way the city’s urban condition was presented in two feature films of the last decade, Matchbox (2003) and Dogtooth(2009). What makes these two projects significant in the discipline of architecture is the way the artists relate all of the above with the collapse of the domestic archetypes of the city: the typical apartment of the generic Athenian block, and the self-built suburban villa of rural Attica. In both cases, space is of fundamental importance, primarily because the plot is developing only within interior and introverted settings, with barely any reference on the surrounding city and landscape. By being ordinary and typical of their kind, they manage to further estrange the reality of the protagonists.
The presentation aims to explore the relation of these two significant films with the city’s contemporary condition. This will allow elaborating on and arguing the bond of the profound economic and political collapse of Greece with a particular spatial crisis that preceded it. In the last part, a series of projects for Athens will be discussed, among which the research studio contacted in Berlage Institute in 2011 by Pier Vittorio Aureli, Elia Zenghelis, Maria Giudici and Platon Issaias.
The abuse suffered by four young anarchists, arrested for a bank robbery, at the hands of the police proves it’s time to call Greece’s coalition government what it is – a far-right authoritarian group.
BY YIANNIS BABOULIAS PUBLISHED 05 FEBRUARY 2013 at Newstatesman.com
Earlier this year, the Greek Minister of Citizen Protection declared he would take up initiatives to restore law and order in the capital of the crisis-stricken country. Nikos Dendias spearheads an attempt by the coalition government produced in last June’s elections to show that while the public coffers are empty and people are seeing their quality of life reduced to shambles, the state is present and it can still provide them with a sense of safety at the very least. Xenios Zeus was one of those initiatives, a crackdown on “illegal immigrants”, its failure (from 73,100 people arrested, only 4,352 were charged with anything) a big problem for the government. The coalition is also now dealing with accusations of tolerating an increasingly authoritarian police force that is torturing people and colluding with the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, alongside the Lagarde list scandal taking its toll and two very difficult parliamentary votes looming. The first is a new tax code that will find manyGreeks unable to pay their tax bills in 2013 and the second an investigation into the names included in the Lagarde list (the list of around 2,000 potential Greek tax evaders with undeclared Swiss HSBC accounts passed to the Greek government by Christine Lagarde in 2010), with at least two senior members of the government involved in an attempt to bury the files before they were published three months ago.
Since the crackdown on immigration didn’t work as the ministry had expected, their next move was to attack occupations and spaces associated with the anarchist movement. This should not come as a surprise since it is exactly these political spaces that have moved to organise in many neighborhoods and stand against the neo-Nazi gangs now roaming the streets of Athens, often with very high cost. But the manner in which this agenda is pursued has revealed something more: this government now sees the anarchists, as well as SYRIZA, as its opponent on the political stage. By cracking down on squats like that of Villa Amalias a month ago, the government is doing a favour for the Golden Dawn thugs who attack people openly with no repercussions – it was squats like that which traditionally stood as an obstacle to the ever expanding activities of the neo-Nazis and which as many locals have stated, helped keep the area around it safe. The spin is to baptise anarchists as the tools of SYRIZA, terrorists who enjoy the support they get from the opposition party. They have gone on the record with this many times.
But it’s the arrest of four young anarchists (aged between 20 and 25) this weekend after a failed bank robbery that brings back the political nature of Dendias’ agenda and of the police’s fascist tendencies. Two of them already wanted as suspects in the “conspiracy of the cells of fire” terrorist group, they were arrested in Kozani after trying to flee the bank while chased by the police. Witnesses of the incident claim that when they realised they couldn’t get away, they exited the car and surrendered peacefully. However, the pictures published by the police show them to have been extensively abused, their faces swollen to the point where the mother of one didn’t recognise her son when she was allowed to see him. His own testimony leaves no doubt as to what transpired. He claims they were fitted with hoods, tied up and beaten for hours after their arrest. That the police tried to crudely photoshop the bruises “to make them recognisable” as Dendias himself stated points to the extent of the abuse. The use of torture is straightforwardly forbidden by the Greek constitution and violates human rights, while reminding the Greeks of the Colonel’s Junta and their systematic torture of dissidents.
A video showing the four being transferred leaves no doubt as to their political alignment. In front of the cameras, they shouted defiance at a country that has pushed its youth to extremes with the apathy that now runs deep in our lives, making us afraid of losing the few things we have left. “We only lost a battle, not the war” and “Long live anarchy”, they shouted, not to the cameras, but to the faces of those who stand by idle. Dendias didn’t even bother to launch an inquiry into the conditions under which they were tortured despite stating that “there is no desire to cover up anyone or anything”. Prime ministerial advistor Failos Kranidiotis, in an exchange we had on Twitter, sided with the police and spoke of injuries that were caused during the arrest, despite the absence of evidence backing his claims. How could anyone disarm a “terrorist armed like a lobster” with his punches? That is his claim and that of Dendias. He said “the monopoly of violence belongs to the state” and spends more time being sarcastic towards journalists who called him out on his statements than actually providing a factual basis for them. The New Democracy government is trying to condemn an entire ideology and along with it, all righteous outrage.
But this is the sort of policy line the government currently walks. Thin on arguments, strong on propaganda, full of venom and revenge against all those who oppose their totalitarian plans in any way. That the four kids were arrested for armed robbery does not justify torture, because that only brings us one step away from legitimising the torturing of the fifteen anti-fascists last October. All this wears only one colour, and it’s the colour of hate against those who will not stand for members of far-right groups and think-tanks (as Dendias and Kranidiotis were in the Nineties) to crack down on their lives and their dreams.
One of the four arrestees was a friend and present in the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police officer in 2008, which sparked two weeks of unrest in the Greek capital. That we already see a revisionist line in operation in the mainstream media that suggests Grigoropoulos would become a terrorist himself is indicative of the intentions of this government. It is our duty and Europe’s to expose and stop co-operating with those who won’t hesitate to ignore human rights, refuse to reform a clearly fascist police force, and who don’t see racist motives when supporters of the Golden Dawn murder immigrants in the street. It is time to ask for the resignation of Nikos Dendias and any like-minded cabinet members. If we don’t want to see more kids boiling with anger, taking up arms against a system intent on turning them into drones working for scraps, torturing them when they refuse to conform, then it is time to speak out and call this government what it is: a far-right authoritarian group, dressed in a thin-veil of pro-European liberalism. Refusing to recognise them as anything but that is now an obligation for each and every one of us.
Performers: Ann Cross & Tom Mangan
Director/Researcher: Christina Papagiannouli
To participate, all you need is a standard web browser with the Flash player plugin and broadband internet connection. Then on the performance day go to the schedule page ( http://water-wheel.net/taps/dock/314) and click the grey “ENTER” button (right-up on your screen) at the correct time to enter the performance. Type a nickname and take active part to the performance…
On 6 December 2008, the policeman Epaminondas Korkoneas killed Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old student, in Exarcheia district of central Athens. The unjust murder of the young student by police resulted in large protests and demonstrations, which escalated to widespread rioting, with hundreds of rioters damaging property and engaging riot police with Molotov cocktails, stones and other objects. A new wish jumped up from the ashes of those nights, “Merry Crisis and a Happy New Fear”, opening the Pandora’s box of the Greek economy and the unstable political situation of the country.
Event Date: 22 November 2012
Clore Management Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Torrington Square, Bloomsbury
London WC1E 7HX
The Southern Europe Crisis and Resistances
Academics from Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain will discuss the economic, political and humanitarian crisis austerity has created in South Europe. But PIGS can fly. The widespread protests of 2011 have started again in Spain, Portugal and Italy while in Greece the new austerity has brought the government close to collapse. Is austerity or resistance the future of Europe?
Andrea Fumagalli (University of Pavia, Italy)
by Lydia Prieg originally published at the New Left Project
The eurozone crisis is once again dominating the headlines following the €100 billion bailout of Spain’s banking system over the weekend. The Spanish crisis perfectly illustrates not the financial irresponsibility of the feckless South – a popular misconception, particularly among the German public – but instead the inherent instability of a financial model, fractional reserve banking, which has been enthusiastically adopted around the globe.
Fractional reserve banking is a system in which the value of all the deposits and savings reportedly ‘held’ in a bank exceeds the value of all the cash actually held in that bank. This is because banks lend out more money than they have in their vaults — an activity that relies on the assumption that only a small percentage of the public will request their money back at any one time. Read the rest of this entry »
Is Marx Right-Wing in Greece? The Revolution of Ignorance and the Mediation of Despair (or What Happens when Crisis Victims Meet Crisis Experts)Posted: March 27, 2012
by Alexandros Papadopoulos
In late January 2012, a small furore erupted in the Greek media world when in a televised interview, Michalis Chrisochoidis – at that time Minister of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping –admitted that he had never read the memorandum, that is the terms of the bail-out package agreed between Papandreou Government and the Troika (the tripartite management committee of the Greek Debt Crisis made out of representatives from the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission). The minister’s statement caused a cascade of reactions in social media. On Twitter mockery alternated with outrage: ‘You are shameless, you should put a noose around your neck. You have destroyed all Greece with your signature’. ‘I haven’t read the memorandum but I have seen the movie’. ‘I didn’t read the memorandum because the mail attachment wouldn’t open’. Read the rest of this entry »
Closed businesses in Athens: young people have left in their droves after being unable to find work. Photograph: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
Jon Henley hears from unemployed professionals wondering if there is anything in the country to keep them there
More testimony and appeals from Greeks, at home and abroad.
First, two young professionals describe their disheartening circumstances: Ioanna Panagioto is a volunteer at Radiobubble, a community web radio station based in a buzzing cafe where I met a number of activists the other night. She lived in London for five years until 2008, doing an MA in marketing communications and working for Debenhams. “Since coming back to Greece I’ve had two short temporary contracts. I’ve been unemployed since July 2010 and have sent 300 CVs with no luck (including for positions in a warehouse or on a shopfloor). In the meantime I’ve managed to earn some cash by doing random odd jobs, but it’s devastating and disheartening when you’re unemployed because you’re forced to live with your parents, unable to make plans for the future. Having said that, I guess it must have been a shock for my generation – I am 32 – as we were raised with a career mindset, and now since everything has turned upside down we are working merely to survive. I would be lying if I said I am not considering leaving Greece again. Meanwhile, though, I look after the English section of Radiobubble News, which aims to communicate abroad what mainstream media would not cover, or give enough attention to – stories like the police making 60 preventive detentions before the big demonstration last month. We do live blogs on general strikes or demos, weekly news round-ups and breaking news. The live blogs include only verified information reported on twitter with the #rbnews hashtag. We have 25 Radiobubble contributors, and 50 other twitter users whose credibility has been tested. Our live blog on the three days of anti-austerity protests back in February got 15,000 hits, coming mostly from Spain, Italy, France and the UK.” Read the rest of this entry »