Voices of the Unemployed

Paul Klee, Mother and child

Paul Klee, Mother and child

Last November, a little girl  asked her mother something. The girl lived in a children’s village in Kallithea as her unemployed mother could not afford to provide her with even the basics. So the little girl asked her mother at the end of a visit to not leave her, promising that she would never ask for food again. I try and think of that story every time I hear them talking about economic growth.

This text was written to mark the presentation of the book ‘To Imerologio Enos Anergo (Diary of the Unemployed) which contains 155+1 selected stories from the eponymous website, imerologioanergou.gr, edited and with comments by Christoforos Kasdaglis.
See The Press Project for the story here
More excerpts of stories below

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The Art that Blooms in Athens

Artist: Fikos (Greece)  -Next time you wanna whisper "I love you" in the dark, say it loud. Else, it may never be heard.- Second mural from "Wasted Love" Project - Athens - GREECE --- (2014).

Artist: Fikos (Greece)
-Next time you wanna whisper “I love you” in the dark, say it loud. Else, it may never be heard.-
Second mural from “Wasted Love” Project – Athens – GREECE — (2014).

Amidst the collapse and decay of the memorandum years there is a blooming public art scene on the walls of Athens. Graffiti ranging from the overtly political to the whimsical affords colour and pathos to the harsh existence being lived by the city’s inhabitants.

The New York Times recently ran an article Across Athens, Graffiti worth a Thousand Words of Malaise  that highlighted the vibrant art scene on the public walls and spaces of Athens. see here

The graffiti shown on this page has come fron the Graffiti in Athens facebook page shown here

The work of the artist iNo can be found on his webpage here

The work of the artist Achilles can be found on his facebook page here


Achilles street artist -- "Breath" Graffiti in Athens — at Xalandri.

Achilles street artist — “Breath”
Graffiti in Athens — at Xalandri.

See below for further images

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Analysis of Recent Election Results

euro ballot paperMore in-depth analysis of the electoral results from the Euro-elections provides a clearer picture of what happened. Political scientist and founder of the public opinion survey company VPRC Christoforos Vernardakis provides a fascinating breakdown of the results of the European elections, showing which social groups favored which political parties.

The ‘electoral reckoning’ of the past two years resulted in the following general outcomes: a.) the electoral victory of a party of the radical left (SYRIZA), a fact of historic significance both for the Greek party system and at the European level, and indeed with a share of the vote almost equal to that obtained in the parliamentary elections, b.) the significant reduction in electoral support of the parties of the coalition government (New Democracy – PASOK/Elia) which fell by a combined 11.5%, a precipitous fall in the two years between elections, c.) the collapse in the support of the third coalition partner of 2012, DIMAR (Democratic Left) a fact which had been established at least a year earlier, d.) the confirmation of the electoral rise of Golden Dawn which is now a basic player in the party system and e.) the relatively disappointing results for parties such as the Independent Greeks, KKE (the Greek Communist Party) and the newly formed ‘center left’ To Potami (The River).

This post was first publised in Greek on RedNotebook.gr and  then translated by The Press Project. The full translated article can be found here

One table from the analysis of exit polls showing how different professional and social groups indicated they voted.

Table 4: Party polling numbers for different professional and social groups

Overall 26.6 22.7 9.4 8.0 6.6 6.1 3.5
Employers / Entrepreneurs 8.7 37.4 23.5 9.0 1.0 8.7 4.5
Self employed famers 37,5 22.5 10.0 7.5 5.0 10.0 2.5
Self employed professionals (University Educated) 21.0 22.0 11.0 2.2 7.7 4.4 5.5
Professionals Technicians – Small scale retailers 32.0 12.8 11.2 4.8 7.2 3.2 5.6
Salaried Workers – Public sector 43.5 7.2 2.9 7.2 10.1 5.8 1.4
Salaried Workers – Private sector 21.0 20.0 15.2 6.7 7.6 8.6 1.9
First time unemployed 27.3 9.1 18.2 9.1 15.0 9.0 2.5
Long term unemployed 36.3 12.9 12.9 2.4 5.6 7.3 1.4
Stay-at-home mothers 28.3 24.4 9.4 6.3 3.9 7.1 3.1
Pensioners 20.3 32.1 5.9 13.2 6.8 5.7 3.1
Students 44.0 12.0 0 4.0 4.0 4.0 3.0

Source: VPRC, Cumulative results of electoral surveys May 2014

As can be seen from the data, there is a major difference in the voting preferences of the unemployed and salaried workers in the public sector on one hand, and workers in the private sector on the other. In the first two categories SYRIZA has a clear advantage. In contrast among the salaried workers in the private sector (note: who are currently employed) New Democracy appears to prevail, while Golden Dawn is also influential.

The Possibility of Victory

Nike - Goddess of Victory

Nike – Goddess of Victory

One of the most important generals (General Patton) had the maxim “speed in decision-making, accuracy in accomplishment”. SYRIZA now needs exactly that. It must take advantage of the bewildermentof its opponent. It must quickly reorganise all of it’s people (who have experienced joy and taken strength from the electoral result) and increase it’s pressure on the opponent. It must do so without allowing him the ability to re-organise. SYRIZA must again invite the people to the city-squares. It must organise discussions for the day after. It should draw people towards a decisive political victory. It must believe it. Others must believe it. We must believe it.

As a contribution towards understanding the voices and energy coming out of Greece at the moment, this blog will try to regularly translate articles that have been written in Greek. Some will be from leaders and established thinkers. Others will be from rank and file activists. This article was written by a youth activist, Dimitris Karamanis,  from the SYRIZA youth wing. It gives a vibrant account of the expectations of young activists at this historic and fluid time in Greek politics.

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The Heart of Darkness in Golden Dawn

From the cache of photographs that has been handed by police to a Greek public prosecutor investigating Golden Dawn's alleged illegal activities

From the cache of photographs that has been handed by police to a Greek public prosecutor investigating Golden Dawn’s alleged illegal activities

A new report from the UK Guardian highlights the ugly face of Golden Dawn that is getting uglier by the day. So will New Democracy continue to talk to them in the side-halls of the Greek parliament?

Emboldened by its recent success in European and local elections – in which Golden Dawn emerged as the country’s third biggest political force, thanks to a softening of image that has attracted ever-growing numbers of the middle class – the extremists drove home the message that they were not only on the rebound but here to stay. And as they ran roughshod through the house of democracy, hurling abuse at other MPs in an unprecedented display of violence and vulgarity, there was no mistaking what Golden Dawn is: a party of neo-Nazi creed determined to overturn the democratic order. For, far from being contrite, the handcuffed Michaloliakos was in unusually aggressive mood, giving Nazi salutes, telling the house speaker to “shut up”, and instructing guards to take their hands off him.

Outside, black-shirted Golden Dawn supporters, lined up in military formation in Syntagma Square, gave a hearty rendition of the Nazi Horst Wessel song – albeit with Greek lyrics. All this was a far cry from the party’s recent efforts to distance itself from the thuggery and racist rhetoric from which it was born.

See full story in the UK Guardian here

Who needs a Parliament when you got a Troika


We’ve come for the money. Who’s got the money?

At around 5pm, and following a tumultuous day in parliament it was suddenly announced that legislative body would be shut for the next two weeks. SYRIZA officials have angrily denounced the move as a trick to avoid key parliamentary debates.

Rumours had been circulating since yesterday that, following the vote over the suspension of the parliamentary immunity of Golden Dawn MPs, parliament would be shut down early, remaining closed for the next two weeks until the smaller summer assemblies get under way. This was confirmed around 17.00 by an official notice posted on the parliament’s entrance.The reasoning ostensibly was that over the next two weeks there are no votes or other activities due which would require a plenary session.Yet this was immediately contradicted by SYRIZA which has for months requested parliamentary discussions on a range of topics. The opposition party’s parliamentary spokesperson Panagiotis Lafazanis claimed that the closure was a unilateral move to defer key parliamentary debates until the autumn.

See full article from Press Project here

Wolfgang says – More loans and more memoranda

In an interview with the German magazine Focus, the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble indicated that Greece would require another bailout loan of about 10 billion euros and stated that the country would have to continue to meet the troika’s demands for reforms or risk leaving the Eurozone.
The statements from Mr Schauble come at a sensitive time for the government that is attempting to shore up support following SYRIZA’s win in the European elections (with a combined loss of support of about 11% for coalition partners PASOK and New Democracy compared with the June 2012 general election result).The administration is attempting to appease voters by preparing a cabinet reshuffle and indicating that measures to reduce the tax burden on struggling households and businesses may be imminent.
However the statements by Mr Schauble appear to restrict even further the little room for maneuver the government has on fiscal measures.Mr Schauble stated that it was likely that Greece would require a further loan of about 10 billion euros. He also once again raised the threat of a Greek exit from the eurozone if the country failed to implement the reforms demanded by the troika.
In response to the comments by Mr Schauble the opposition party SYRIZA issued a statement which read:
“While the government is attempting to find illegitimate means to avoid the polls and the people’s judgment, the statements of European officials such as Mr Schauble, as well as the IMF report, bring home the harsh reality of the memorandum.”
“The government can hide neither its attachment to a catastrophic policy which is laying waste to the Greek people and entails the implementation of new anti-social measures, nor the fact that the public debt which is the pretext of the Memoranda is in no way being made sustainable.”
“Superficial moves such as the rumoured reshuffle cannot correct the image of governmental dissolution.”
Full report in The Press Project, see here