Monday, March 26, 2012

Να΄τανε το '21 - Γιώργος Νταλάρας #NoJusticeGr



Στίχοι: Σώτια Τσώτου
Μουσική: Σταύρος Κουγιουμτζής
Eκτέλεση: Γιώργος Νταλάρας

Μου ξανάρχονται ένα ένα χρόνια δοξασμένα
να 'τανε το 21 να 'ρθει μια στιγμή

Να περνάω καβαλάρης στο πλατύ τ' αλώνι
και με τον Κολοκοτρώνη να 'πινα κρασί

Να πολεμάω τις μέρες στα κάστρα
και το σπαθί μου να πιάνει φωτιά
και να κρατάω τις νύχτες με τ' άστρα
μια ομορφούλα αγκαλιά

Μου ξανάρχονται ένα ένα χρόνια δοξασμένα
να 'τανε το 21 να 'ρθει μια βραδιά

Πρώτος το χορό να σέρνω στου Μοριά τις στράτες
και ξοπίσω μου Μανιάτες και οι Ψαριανοί

Κι όταν λαβωμένος γέρνω κάτω απ' τους μπαξέδες
να με ραίνουν μενεξέδες χέρια κι ουρανοί

Να πολεμάω τις μέρες στα κάστρα
και το σπαθί μου να πιάνει φωτιά
και να κρατάω τις νύχτες με τ' άστρα
μια ομορφούλα αγκαλιά

Μου ξανάρχονται ένα ένα χρόνια δοξασμένα
να 'τανε το 21 να 'ρθει μια βραδιά

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Be Greek for the Rest of Your Life #NoJusticeGr

Imagine becoming poor overnight. Since May 2010, when the government decided to get a loan from the IMF, EU and ECB, most people in the country have lost at least one third of their annual income. For those who still have a job, the value of their labour has fallen dramatically; many people now work full-time for €500 – €600 a month.

Helping to keep the value of labour so low is unemployment, which is more than 18% overall (below 10% in 2009), and an estimated 50% among young people, not counting the ones who work under precarious and ‘flexible’ conditions.

In order to repay the enormous debts, taxes are also on the increase. An emergency tax was recently implemented to everyone who owns a house; a very effective measure given that private ownership of houses in Greece is widespread and even people with relatively low income often own their own home. This property tax was attached to electricity bills, so if you don’t pay it – as is common under circumstances where some must choose between buying food and paying it – your power is cut.

Since the EU and IMF instructed structural adjustment of the Greek economy that accompanied the May 2010 loan, the suicide rate in Greece has doubled. Reports of desperate people ending their lives are published daily in a country that, until 2009, had the lowest suicide rate in Europe. Research published in a recent issue of Lancet shows that the crisis has already had a significant negative impact on the general health of the Greek population.

Now imagine further. Imagine your country gets a new kind of experimental government that eliminates social provisions and represses any social movement that dares rise up against this new regime. Two weeks ago a new government was appointed with the former vice-president of the European Central Bank (ECB) – who gave that huge loan to Greece – as the PM.

Moreover, MPs who are members of the extreme-right-wing party LAOS were included in the new Greek government, along with social democrats and conservatives. Italy has also appointed an unelected government. During a crisis, whatever it takes to enforce the sustainability of capitalism is permitted – even appointing unelected governments.

The actual people undertaking each role matter little, however. The example of Greece is pretty straightforward: governments of the last few decades (elected or non-elected, Left or Right) are working towards a common goal: the creation of an authoritarian and ruthless neoliberal capitalist regime, which may be spun as democracy from time to time, but never really is.

But perhaps you people of Britain don’t need to use your imaginations so much? Across Europe, several countries are already experiencing a ‘light’ version of what is happening in Greece. The full fat recipe is already being prepared for Ireland and Portugal – who both took similar loans from IMF/EU/ECB troika soon after Greece – while Italy has now taken its place at the table.

Yet this type of governance isn’t unique to countries that have received loans from the global bankers. Even here in the UK, benefits and higher education teaching budgets have been cut, while the end of free healthcare looms. Simultaneously, activists and protestors over the last year have been given a taste of what a police state looks like.

In Greece, the resistance to this new type of governance has been huge. Among other social reactions, this summer saw one of the biggest manifestations of the Occupy Movement in Syntagma Square. Soon after Egypt and Spain, people in Greece occupied the square located just across from the House of Parliament in Athens – along with other squares around the country.

Two 48-hour general strikes were called in June during the occupation of the square; the second took place on the 28th and 29th – when the House of Parliament had scheduled to vote for a new austerity package. The majority of strikers in Athens chose Syntagma Square and the movement that had grown there as the focal and spatial-political reference point.

The state used unprecedented police violence to control the rally, leading to a long battle over territorial control, but strikers and demonstrators risked their lives defending the square containing the protesters’ camp, daily assembly and everything else the square symbolised. More than 500 demonstrators were hospitalised or injured by the police during the second general strike alone.

Greece is not the only place today where the dominant political-economic system manifests the limits of its ‘democratic’ mask. The Occupy movement all around the world sees profound levels of repression. Tunisia, Egypt, USA and Spain are just a few of the countries where the authorities have tried to smash the local versions of the Occupy movement, with various parts of the establishment (e.g. corporate media) playing their parts in these attempts. If nothing else, these attacks make explicit the political significance and the potential of the Occupy Movement, especially when combined with more traditional means of struggle such as strikes and marches.

If it were not so dangerous for the global economic and political establishment, they would not attack to the Occupy Movement so aggressively, and when the establishment is so rotten, posing danger feels great.


Dimitris Dalakoglou is co-editor of ‘Revolt and Crisis in Greece’ (with A. Vradis) and a member of Occupied London Collective which maintains the blog From the Greek Streets. He works as a Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sussex. Many Thanks to Antonis Vradis for his comments on an earlier version of this text.

Originally posted @the occupied times London

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Battle In Greece, A War For Us All #NoJusticeGr

By the tens of thousands they descended on parliament in an intervention by the public against the politics of theft practiced by the Greek government and demanded by foreign creditors. They filled subway trains and side streets en route to Syntagma Square. They even filled the square itself until the three lines of riot police (always a sign of bad politics in action) unleashed tear gas for hours, but still the crowds refused to disperse.

The outpouring of indignation was but one convulsion of a Greek patient subject to the madness and inhumanity of the neo-liberal laboratory. It was a convulsion shared across Greece, from the south on the island of Crete, to the north in the city of Thessaloniki. Out of the depths of disinterest held by Greek lawmakers, they passed the latest round of savage cuts by a near two thirds margin, ensuring further suffering and further insurrection by a people living through the controlled demolition of their livelihoods.

Those inflicting this destruction have no intention of letting the carnage be contained. They have the opposite intention. With Greek politicians gutting the wages and living standards of Greek workers, so too must Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish politicians prove their own devotion to the Troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) by marching their citizens into the same abyss. But their fanaticism will be their undoing. Having slashed wages in half, the Troika has made Greece unliveable for its residents. When a government makes a country unliveable, its people will respond by making that country ungovernable. This toxic equation won’t be unique to Greece.

With the prospect of wages being slashed in half as they have been in Greece, what other reasons are needed for Spaniards, Italians and Portuguese to fill the squares and paralyze the streets with a show of their strength in numbers? “What the parliament does, the street can undo” isn’t just a slogan. The streets can be a rival institution to parliaments dominated by members who confuse their seats for a popular mandate to rule on behalf of the bankers. No such mandate has been given. The need for the streets to restrain parliament becomes all the more urgent for countries like Italy and Greece where democracy has been suspended and unelected technocrats serve as prime minister.

The protests this week demonstrate to me that Greeks have nearly assembled a street power to rival that of parliament. The youths and unions who have been fighting all along are increasingly being joined by the middle class and business owners. This critical mass of Greeks will soon embark on the task of undoing the damage imposed upon them by their Troika government.

Just as the tide of austerity starts in Greece and washes over Italy and the Iberian peninsula, so must a Greek revolt ignite its way West. If people in Spain, Portugal and Italy delay this task of dismantling Troika rule, it only gives them more damage to undo later. This is damage that can be avoided by joining the battle being fought by Greeks today instead of leaving the battle to be fought later, and in isolation, by each individual country.

Last summer, Greeks took to Syntagma Square, joining the struggle of tens of thousands of Spaniards in Puerta del Sol. Now, Puerta del Sol and all squares beyond and in-between must reinforce the crowds who have assembled in Syntagma. The Troika officials and their henchmen in parliaments must be exiled from power. It’s the same demand that came from Buenos Aires over ten years ago: “Que se vayan todos – They all must go!”

By David Ferreria @the occupied times.co.uk

Who is Joseph Kony? #Kony2012


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 OUPS!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

London calling #2

My friend and roomate Eirini, has arrived in Athens a couple of days before our actual departure so we can get our affairs in order (wow I never thought I' d use this phrase for myself) and say our goodbuys to friends and family.

My parents of course never believed I was actually going. My mothers' constand fear was that I was going to starve because I cannot cook - as it turns out I can prepare a dish or two. Not mousaka of course but I can make a great chicken-in-white-sause-that-tastes-good-but-has-no-name. And they never thought I could get a job. All the other success stories they heard were about people who had already been to interviews and had 'conections' i.e. friends or relatives who would offer them a home. They didn't just pack and leave. My parents thought that I would spent all the money I saved during the summer and come back broke after five or six weeks. My father kept saying 'What are you going to do in London? You are just going to waste your time'  That's why they didn't want to break my mobile phone contract.

You see I had been looking for that fabled job since I was 24. Every season once I come back in Athens, I sent my CVs to all the major hotels in Athens. And every year I get completely ignored. The companies don't even see fit to sent an auto response telling me that I didn't get it. I still have to phone so that an annoied person can tell me to leave them alone - They will contact me if they need me (which they never did).

Apparently this resume is not impressive enought (not literaly - I mean the greek version of it). It is very sad because these are the most productive years of my life, I have much to offer damn it! And all I ever asked was a job that would provide me with a sense of security and would allow me to live with dignity.

Was that so much to ask for?

Saturday, March 03, 2012

London calling #1

It's been a while since I have posted anything personal on this blog but it's time for me to say a few things. First things first, I left Athens and relocated in London. Since I moved in this country I think it's best if I write in English from now on as a sign of respect for the country that welcomed me.

Summer of 2011 was a very lousy one for me. After a lot of searching, I managed to find a seasonal 'job' (please notice the ''marks). The difference was of course in the search. Every year is worse than the one before. employers ask more and more and give less and less. This year I happened to work for an arrogand bastard who I think is quite possibly the worst asshole in Santorini. He is so arrogant and selfish that he would be right at home in the Middle Ages owning slaves rather than the 21st century. He was so bad that in any other country he would have been charged with bullying but according to him he was just under pressure and I shouldn't have provoced him. He was so bad I actually considered working at a shoe store rather than continuing. Well anyway the past is the past and all I can say is never again.

I haven't been happy in Greece for quite some time. The situation was getting from bad to worse every year and my career was not going anywhere so I decided to move. England was the most logical solution for me. A) I didn't need a special work permit or visa to start working, B) I knew the language, C) It's not that far away (only three hours and easyjet has cheap tickets).

On 2010 I had met and became friends with Eirini, a waitress in another hotel I used to work with. We hit it of immediately and another major reason for deciding to emmigrate was that I wouldn't be alone. Well anyway here we are:

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This is our second visit to London. We landed on the 23rd of November, 2011.
We found our first home (room in a flatshare) on the 28th of November, 2011
I started working on the 11th of December 2011.

It's as simple as that!

Well actually the last few months have been full of cultural shocks etc but I think that merit a whole new post.
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