This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Will Hutton writes about the connection between inequality and the loss of any moral or social purpose in public life: Britain is beset by a crisis of purpose. We don’t know who we are any longer, where we are going or even if there is a “we”. The country is so passionately attached to past glories because there are so few to celebrate in the present. The crisis is compounded since we have been told for 30 years that the route to universal wellbeing is to abandon the expense of justice (Read more…)
Filed under: Austerity, Greece Tagged: Austerity, Eurozone Crisis, Greece, Syriza
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Larry Elliott writes that at least some business leaders are paying lip service to the idea that inequality needs to be reined in. But Alec Hogg points out that at least some of the privileged few are using their obscene wealth to remove themselves from the rest of humanity, rather than lifting a finger to help anybody else.
- Meanwhile, Joseph Stiglitz observes that sheer stubborn stupidity on the part of austerians is doing untold damage to the global economy. But Jon Henley notes that in advance of Syriza’s election victory, a new (Read more…)
Over at Ricochet, I’ve transcribed my podcast interview with Yanis Varoufakis, economist and Syriza candidate in tomorrow’s Greek elections. With Syriza looking to get the most votes and possibly an outright parliamentary majority, I asked Yanis about the Greek economy, Syriza’s economic plans, his views on what these mean for Europe and how we can expect Greece to take its place in Europe come Monday. Here is the interview in full.
Michal Rozworski: I know this is an enormous topic but what is the current economic situation on the eve of the elections in Greece? Can you give a kind of snapshot?
Yanis (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Amy Goodman discusses Barack Obama’s call to reverse the spread of inequality in the U.S. And Seumas Milne writes that the effort will inevitably challenge the world oligarchs have built up to further their own wealth and power at everybody else’s expense: In most of the world, labour’s share of national income has fallen continuously and wages have stagnated under this regime of privatisation, deregulation and low taxes on the rich. At the same time finance has sucked wealth from the public realm into the hands of a small minority, even (Read more…)
I’ve been visiting family in Poland for the past few weeks so, fittingly, this week’s podcast deals with the situation of the left at two opposite ends of the European periphery: Greece and Poland. My first guest is Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics at the University of Athens and candidate for SYRIZA in this Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Syriza is the main Greek left party and is poised to take the most votes, potentially even form a parliamentary majority, on Sunday. Yanis spoke with me about Greece’s economy on the eve of the elections and Syriza’s economic (Read more…)
The EU must face facts: austerity has failed Greece – Equal Times.
By Paul De Grauwe
The Greek debt crisis that erupted in 2010 is back, and again threatens the stability of the eurozone.
A piece of anti-austerity street art featuring the Dalton Brothers from the Belgian comic Lucky Luke is seen in the Exarchia area of central Athens.
That crisis was the result of two factors. First, an unbridled spending drift of both the private and the public sectors in Greece during the boom years of 2000-2010, which led to unsustainable large levels of debt.
Second, reckless (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: Parchment in the Fire: The EU must face facts: austerity has failed Greece – Equal Times
Greek court acquits farmers who shot 28 Bangladeshi strawberry pickers | World news | theguardian.com.
A Greek court’s decision to acquit local farmers who admitted shooting 28 Bangladeshi strawberry pickers when they dared to ask for months of back pay has sparked outrage in the country.
Politicians, unionists and anti-racist groups roundly condemned the verdict describing it as a black mark for justice in a case that had shone a light on the appalling conditions in which migrant workers are often kept in Greece.
“I feel shame as a Greek,” said the victim’s lawyer, Moisis Karabeyidis, after the tribunal (Read more…)
The rights we enjoy today in Canada as workers and professionals were not given to us. It was through determined, bloody at times, never-say-die, collective struggle that our rights as workers were imposed on the capitalist class. Power never makes concessions – struggles for basic working benefits must be fought for and taken. The price for humane working conditions can be as high as death or as in the case of Cleaning Workers Union in Greece, permanent disfigurement.
“Vassilis Kikilias, didn’t lose time. Less than an hour after he took office, riot police cracked down on (Read more…)
The rights we enjoy today in Canada as workers and professionals were not given to us. It was through bloody at times, collective struggle that our rights as workers were imposed on the capitalist class. Power never makes concessions – struggles for basic working benefits must be fought for and taken. The price for humane working conditions can be as high as death or as in the case of Cleaning Workers Union in Greece, permanent disfigurement.
“Vassilis Kikilias, didn’t lose time. Less than an hour after he took office, riot police cracked down on a protest (Read more…)
I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud when I saw election results. I almost spat a mouthful of my breakfast across the room.
Almost nobody expected Ontario’s Liberals to win a majority, least of all the NDP’s Andrea Horwath. Her decision to pull the plug on the Wynne government has to go down as one of the worst political miscalculations in recent memory.
While the NDP are putting a brave face on the results, there is little question this was a debacle of Horwath’s engineering. While once she was in the driver’s seat, now the NDP are (Read more…)
Leader in Austerity Push Appointed Head of Greek Central Bank – NYTimes.com.
By NIKI KITSANTONISJUNE 11, 2014
The announcement on Wednesday, by the General Council of the Bank of Greece, followed a sweeping cabinet shuffle on Monday that installed Gikas Hardouvelis, another economist and former government adviser, as Greece’s new finance minister. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras overhauled his government to give it new momentum after a weak showing in European Parliament elections last month.
Although Mr. Stournaras, 57, was widely credited with guiding Greece’s return to international bond markets in April and paving the way for crucial debt (Read more…)
Greece Wars With Courts Over Ways to Slash Budget – NYTimes.com.
ATHENS — The Greek government has made a range of painful cuts to salaries, pensions and jobs for public workers over the last four years, saying they were needed to satisfy the demands of the international creditors that bailed the country out. But the Greeks hurt by those steps, and the nation’s courts, have a different idea.
Steadily, citizens groups — including police officers, university professors, cleaning workers and judges themselves — have challenged the cuts as illegal or unconstitutional. And in case after case, Greek courts have (Read more…)
Most of the coverage regarding the Eurozone crisis has understandably focused on the politics of austerity. Less attention, however, has been paid to the longer term trends in the industrial relations of those countries hardest hit by the crisis: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain; the so-called PIIGS countries.
Recent data from the European Industrial Relations Observatory reveals some interesting trends in the relationship between capital and labour in the context of the Eurozone crisis. More specifically, it reveals a trend towards declining labour costs and rising labour productivity, meaning that the so-called ‘recovery’ is being constructed by squeezing workers, (Read more…)
“… it’s a place I call home, although I blend in only as a familiar stranger.”
Evaporating Borders, written and directed by Iva Radivojevic, is a five-act exploration of asylum-seekers in Cyprus.
Beginning with a personal, essayistic voiceover and lush compositions, the film’s first act also uses subtly executed re-enactments of events in order to establish a first-person connection with the viewer. This not only creates a sense of intimacy through the film’s introductory segment, but also amplifies the increasing depersonalization and dehumanization portrayed throughout the remainder of the film.
The documentary moves from the first segment’s depictions (Read more…)
Filed under: Austerity, Greece, inequality, Neoliberalism Tagged: Austerity, crisis, Greece, neoliberalism
Ponzi Austerity: A Definition And An Example – Social Europe Journal.
For a while now I have been arguing that Europe’s policies for reducing the public debts of fiscally stressed member-states can be described as a Ponzi austerity scheme. In this post I attempt precisely to define ‘Ponzi austerity’.
Standard Ponzi schemes are based on a sleight of hand that creates the appearance of a fund whose value grows faster than the value that has come into it. In reality the opposite is true, as the scheme’s operator usually helps himself to some of the incoming capital while (Read more…)
Maria posters and headline/Maria’s biological mother Sasha Ruseva
A story from Greece about a four year-old ‘mystery girl’ named Maria has been making headlines in the mainstream media. Maria who is fair-haired was living in the care of a Roma couple who happen to be dark complexioned. This created suspicions in the minds of some that the child may have been abducted.
The ethnic profiling of Maria’s guardians reflects the tabloid stereotype of the Roma, a misleading one. There are in fact many fair-haired Roma, a fact glossed over by outlets that prefer to play up the “Gypsy” stereotype. Nonetheless (Read more…)
The left in Greece must rise up against Golden Dawn | Costas Lapavitsas | Comment is free | theguardian.com.
Greece – and the rise of Golden Dawn – is an extreme parable of what has happened to many developed countries since the global crisis broke out in 2007. The policies of the Greek “rescue” – where the Greek people had no inkling what was afoot until the agreement was signed in 2010, leading to a tremendous spasm of anger – are instantly recognisable, if exceptionally severe. Wages, salaries and pensions have been cut; austerity has been imposed on the (Read more…)
Costas Lapavitsas on why the state crackdown on Golden Dawn fails to address the basis of their popular support.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Extreme Right, Fascism, Greece
Athens riot police fire tear gas at an anti-fascist protest calling for action against the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party following a rapper’s murder. Photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty
No country has displayed more of a “backslide in democracy” than Greece, the British thinktank Demos has said in a study highlighting the crisis-plagued country’s slide into economic, social and political disarray.
Released on the same day that judicial authorities ordered an investigation into a blog posting by a group of reservists in the elite special forces calling for a coup d’etat, the study singled out Greece and Hungary for being “the most significant (Read more…)
Top: Killah_P Beneath: Suspect Giorgos Roupakias in custody and shrine at killing site
On September 17, Greek hip-hop artist Pavlos Fissas aka Killah P was stabbed to death in the Amfiali/Keratsini neighborhood of Piraeus (about 10 miles from downtown Athens). He was ambushed by neo-Nazis linked to the far-right Golden Dawn party. According to eye witnesses about 15 to 20 people were involved in the attack, some wearing military style gear.
Fissas reportedly identified his killer before he lost consciousness. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died. A trucker affiliated with the Golden Dawn, Giorgos (Read more…)