Europe or Die

Since 2000, more than 27,000 migrants and refugees have died attempting the perilous journey to Europe. With an unprecedented number of people breaking through its heavily barricaded borders in 2014, the EU continues to fortify its frontiers.

VICE News presents Europe or Die, a new four-part series that documents the efforts of those risking their lives to reach Europe, and the forces tasked to keep them out.

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Fascism Inc.: How Economic Elites Support Fascist Parties in Europe – Today and in the Past

In his new documentary „Fascism Inc.“, Aris Chatzistefanou shows how industrialists and bankers supported fascism in the 1920s and 30s in order to destroy socialist movements and trade unions. Today – again in times of crisis – this pattern reoccurs at the periphery of Europe: in Greece extreme right wing parties like “Golden Dawn” and “LAOS” have been supported by parts of the economic elites and media corporations. “LAOS” was even welcomed by the EU and the IMF as part of the non-elected government of Lucas Papadimos. In the Ukraine as well the EU, the US and the IMF have supported a government with the participation of the neo-nazi party Svoboda in order to enforce their economic and geopolitical agenda – a risky game that can easily get out of control.  ~ via Kontext TV

Interview for Kontext TV Part 1: http://www.kontext-tv.de/node/429

Interview for Kontext TV Part 2: http://www.kontext-tv.de/node/430

View the full movie with multilingual subtitles here:

The dangers of austerity and debtocracy

Eurozone Neoliberal Racovery Plan Bailouts Austerity Stagflation

Deespite the obvious failure of austerity (recently admitted even by the IMF regarding its role in the Greek debt crisis), the odious doctrine still dominates economic policy in Europe, resulting in crippling recession and high unemployment.

Mark Blyth, author of Austerity: the History of a Dangerous Idea, argues that not only has the policy of slashing state spending so far failed to repair the economy, it can never work. Policymakers must examine the evidence of austerity’s failure and not be afraid to change their minds before it’s too late.

Austerity is a zombie economic idea because it has been disproven time and again, but it just keeps coming.  Partly because the commonsense notion that “more debt doesn’t cure debt” remains seductive in its simplicity, and partly because it enables conservatives to try (once again) to run the detested welfare state out of town, it never seems to die. 

In sum, austerity is a dangerous idea for three reasons: it doesn’t work in practice, it relies on the poor paying for the mistakes of the rich, and it rests upon the absence of a rather large fallacy of composition that is all too present in the modern world.

Austerity is the penance – the virtuous pain after the immoral party – except it is not going to be a diet of pain that we shall all share.  Few of us were invited to the party, but we are all being asked to pay the bill.

The alternative to austerity? Stop doing it!

Which leads us to Debtocracy, a 2011 Greek documentary by Katerina Kitidi and Aris Hatzistefanou. The production team coined the word “debtocracy” (Greek “Χρεοκρατία”), defining it as the condition by which Greece found itself trapped in its debt. With the help of the theory of odious debt and the case studies of Argentina and Ecuador the film tries to point to an alternative solution to the austerity paradigm imposed by international creditors.

Alter Summit Manifesto

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The Alter Summit organized by the Greek social movement with the support of civil society organizations, trade unions, NGOs, political and cultural personalities from all around Europe took place on 7-8 June 2013 in Athens, Greece.

It sought to build convergence between movements opposed to the current anti-social and anti-ecological policies promoted by European governments and institutions and to become a driving force of the resistance against austerity.

A Peoples’ Manifesto entitled Our Urgent Common Priorities for a Democratic, Social, Ecological and Feminist Europe was adopted at the event. Below is an excerpt from the Manifesto which can be read, signed and downloaded here.

STAND UP FOR DEMOCRACY!

Current developments in Europe represent an outright denial of democracy. Democratic debate is silenced, repression against social movements is increasing and divisions are encouraged between people and between countries. The predictable outcome is the rise of racist, right-wing or fascist movements as resentment is partly directed against migrants, poor people, minorities, foreigners, and/or other European peoples.  The best way to defeat these movements is to get rid of austerity.

Alternatives exist: our responsibility is to change the balance of power in order to impose them and build genuine political, social and economic democracy in Europe.

Because we refuse to be governed by a self-appointed European oligarchy,

Because we refuse the exploitation of people and nature in Europe and in the rest of the world,

Because we reject the European Union’s contribution to conflict and militarization,

Because we call for an end to the exploitation and the oppression of women
and for a break with the patriarchal system,

Because we want real democracy, real participation and popular sovereignty,

Because we want a society that gives priority to ecological and social needs,

We are building a united movement
for a democratic, social, ecological and feminist Europe!

We are supporting and strengthening each other’s struggles;

We pledge to join forces and to fight together make our demands a reality
through national and European actions.

ROLL BACK AUSTERITY AND CLAIM REAL DEMOCRACY!

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