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.

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:

Greece: Impossible Biographies, Golden Dawns

Many years before the first clouds of the crisis would hover over the Greek skies, amidst Greek society’s most glorious of moments and its most mundane of days, the lives and labour of migrants would be faced with their meticulous devaluation. For them, the crisis has by now come of age. Yet despite and against shallow journalistic interpretations, there is nothing humanitarian about it. This is because for them the crisis was from the upstart orchestrated politically, socially and militarily. In this way, the discourse about racism in crisis-ridden Greece merely obfuscates and comes in handy. For it obscures exactly how structural this devaluation had been for the development of the Greek state in itself, as well as for the self-perception of Greek society. Yet the crisis knows how to twist meanings too. Today, migrants are accused of the very decline of the Greek edifice. And within this twisted world, their devaluation takes on a more offensive and, at the same time, a more legitimate form. Impossible Biographies, as part of the research project The City at a Time of Crisis, bears witness to this offensive.

How is the rise of the Greek neo-Nazi movement Golden Dawn related to the structural crisis of global and EU neoliberalism?

nikos-michaloliakos-leader-of-greek-neonazi-party-golden-dawn

“It would be a mistake to think that the rise of Golden Dawn is a uniquely Greek problem. On the contrary, it is the seed that contains the destruction of the entire EU project. The responsibility for the rise of Golden Dawn reaches far outside the borders of Greece. To understand the rise of Golden Dawn we must look past the black-shirted thugs and simplistic ideology of racist nationalism to the genteel bankers and international financial speculators who are currently being allowed to brutalize entire populations in the search for profits. This story is not so different from what has happened before in other European countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal and even Germany where far-right extremists have ridden waves of popular anger to power. Golden Dawn proves that our fantasies of “post-nationalism” and “European integration” were premature. Economic and political inequality is still capable of producing violent paroxysms of ethnic nationalism. Until Europeans can learn to mitigate these effects of capitalism, they are bound to repeat its sad and painful history. Greece, which has always been the weakest of the Eurozone economies, is today the most extreme example of the effects of neoliberal austerity, but it is not unique. Unfortunately it is likely a harbinger of things to come.”

Christopher Lawrence, Greece’s Golden Dawn: A Wake-up Call for Europe, Truthout, 20 August 2013

Philosophy and Resistance: Greece and the Future of Europe

“The new world order announced in 1989 was the shortest in history. From the Arab spring, to Puerta del Sol, Syntagma Square and Occupy, protests and uprisings have erupted all over the world. History has started moving again as we enter a new age of resistance and revolution. The timing of new resistances and uprisings is unpredictable but their occurrence certain. Both mainstream political science and radical philosophy failed to predict this rebirth of history and have remained skeptical about the recent uprisings. The resistance movements are well ahead and offer an invaluable corrective to political theory. All major themes of political philosophy, including the theory and practice of resistance, need to be re-visited in light of recent experience. This talk examines the causes that led to the current socio-economic and political crisis and the types, strategies and forms of resistance that have emerged in the last three years, using Greece as an example. Greece faces a stark choice between accepting the catastrophic austerity imposed by the troika or continuing on the path of resistance which will lead the power system that brought the country to its knees to its natural and deserved end. The same choice faces Europe. The future of democracy and of the idea of Europe is currently played out in the place of birth of their birth.”

Costas Douzinas, 6th Subversive Festival

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.