Yiannis Baboulias https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/13486/all cached version 07/07/2018 21:22:55 en Europeans speak on the UK referendum https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/yiannis-baboulias/europeans-speak-on-uk-referendum <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Here’s why we spoke to young people across Europe on the possibility of Britain leaving the EU.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PEImageBrexitEU.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PEImageBrexitEU.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><p>Today, Precarious Europe publishes “UK Referendum: European Voices”. See the map on our <a href="http://www.precariouseurope.com/">frontpage </a>to access the feature.</p><p> We are now just a little bit more than a week before British voters are called upon to make a monumental decision. Stick with the union or take the UK out into the unknown?</p><p class="p1">It’s not an easy question. As we have recorded on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.precariouseurope.com/">Precarious Europe</a>, the European Union has been undergoing severe strains these past few years.</p><p>Britain has struggled with questions of its own during the same period. As with most of the stories that we’ve followed over the years, the UK referendum itself is led by anxieties over austerity, immigration, democracy and over-arching generational tensions. This is once again evident in the age groups of people who wish to remain part of the union.</p><p> A recent YouGov/London Times poll&nbsp;captures this generational schism: 46% of voters have already declared for Remain. This group is made up of 75% of all those aged 18-24 in the UK and 50% of those who are between the ages of 25 and 49, but it only includes 38% of 50-64 year-olds and only 34% of the over 65’s.</p><p class="p1">I’m certain that if you break that middling group into 25 to 35 and 36 to 49, the differences will almost certainly be even more stark. Millenials, Generation Y, call us what you will, while in the forefront of many independence movements in Europe right now (in Scotland, Catalonia and elsewhere), feel significantly more attached to the freedoms and security that comes with the European Union. It’s no contradiction if these same young people are loud advocates of reform.</p><p class="p1">In Precarious Europe, we undertook an endeavour, to look across Europe for young voices that would begin to paint a picture of what the state of the union is. Twenty-two people answered our call from across the member states, as well as Serbia, Norway and Switzerland. These young people are not chosen to be ‘national representatives’: they have diverse backgrounds, careers, and opinions. Some are expats, some pro-EU, others against it.</p><p class="p1">But a broader picture started emerging while working on these interviews. Together they show that whatever each country believes separates it from the others, people are closer in their concerns and hopes for the future than is superficially evident. Left and Right, Brexiters and Czexiters, this is a European conversation that is happening right now in every country. The UK referendum is part of it.</p><p class="p1">It would be dispiriting to see it, as some commentators have, as a particularly British obsession. The questions about democracy, sovereignty, bureaucracy and reform of the union are out there. </p><p class="p1">As the editorial team of a transnational website, we don’t wish to take up more of your time and energy ourselves. We encourage you to go ahead and read these eloquent European voices. </p><p class="p1">We hope that you too see in them a reflection of your own countries and like us, the terms of the conversation that will shape the future of the European project.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Brexit2016 Yiannis Baboulias Thu, 16 Jun 2016 14:47:53 +0000 Yiannis Baboulias 103042 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Greece is creating prisons fit for the era of austerity https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/yiannis-baboulias/greece-is-creating-prisons-fit-for-era-of-austerity <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The new Type C maximum security prisons Greece is about to introduce will inaugurate a new model for Europe in which our understanding of&nbsp;“crime” and&nbsp;“punishment” means little.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Body"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/4324189.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/4324189.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A protest in Athens against the opening of new prisons. Demotix/Aggeliki Koronaiou. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p class="Body"><span>There’s hardly a good time in history for being incarcerated. Stories around human rights violations, crowded cells, unfair treatment, sexual assault and much more that’s happening around the world, are constantly in the news. But a mix of already crumbling infrastructure, laws around parole and pre-trial detentions becoming ever more punitive, a shifting ideological landscape and austerity, make 2014 Greece a particularly dire place for criminal justice.</span></p> <p class="Body">Looking at Greece’s <a href="http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_14/05/2014_539715">overpopulated prison system</a> (12500 are currently in a system designed for a maximum 9800) one would think it to be a particularly dangerous country. But this goes against reality: With the exception of a brief spike in muggings and break-ins between 2011 and 2013, Greece is a safe country and crime is on the decline. Looking at the type of crime committed, there’s little change there as well. Only <a href="http://enthemata.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/klio-papa/#more-154">begging has shot up</a>, 250% in the past two years.</p> <p class="Body">In this context, it makes little sense that the New Democracy/Pasok coalition government pushed through during summer recess, a law that allows for the creation of Type C prisons in the country. These maximum security institutions, sometimes self-contained and sometimes housed in separate wings of regular prisons, will host only those condemned for the most dangerous crimes: terrorism, organised crime and engaging in “disruptive activity” while incarcerated. The Ministry claims this is because it has to deal with rising crime and more dangerous criminals.</p> <p class="Body">Looking at the stats they themselves provided, their claims fall short. In a newsletter sent out by the Ministry of Citizen Protection, it’s made abundantly clear that crime is indeed <a href="http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_14/05/2014_539714">on the decline</a>. It’s worth asking: if this is so, why are Greece’s prisons packed to the brims and what is the need for these new maximum security establishments that NGOs have labeled “Guantanamo-lite”?</p> <p class="Body">The reactions it has caused are telling. The radical left opposition party SYRIZA has condemned the government’s plans, calling them inhumane and completely unjustified. Ex-coalition partner DIMAR, has taken a similar stance, <a href="http://www.tovima.gr/en/article/?aid=613641">noting that </a>“it essentially signals the creation of ‘white cells’ that promote disciplinary action, complete immobilisation and conditions akin to torture”. Apart from the two ruling parties, no NGO, union or professional body supports Type C prisons. 4500 inmates across the country went <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/inmates-jammed-greek-prisons-hunger-strike-193314379.html">on hunger strike for 10 days</a> to protest their opening, to no avail.</p> <p class="Body">In this climate, the government is facing accusations of politicising incarceration. They have repeatedly blocked reports on the condition of Greek prisons and instead brought forward this proposal that will drain much-needed funds away from the “conventional” justice system, while contributing next to nothing to the decongestion of existing infrastructure.</p> <p class="Body">The <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/01/migrants-living-hell-greek-detention-medecins-sans-frontieres-scabies-tb">creation of detention camps</a> for immigrants (that are now also overflowing with inmates held for little reason other than finding themselves in Greece) was a clear sign that the Greek justice system was entering a new phase, one that only concerns itself with the crimes du jour, in a brutal and indiscriminate way that aims only to detain and hide the problem, rather than rehabilitate.</p> <p class="Body">Now, along with Type A, B and C prisons, they will make up the new model of incarceration, tailored for these times of politicised austerity: one that goes after political dissent and terrorism, indebtedness and immigration.</p> <h2><strong>Crime and punishment</strong></h2> <p class="Body">With Greece’s GDP down <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/sep/18/greek-economy-shrink-great-depression">a quarter from where it stood in 2008</a>, debts towards the state from unpaid taxes and bills have gradually risen and are now <a href="http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_17/12/2012_474806">in the billions</a>. New punitive laws have been introduced, that can see private individuals sent to prison for owing <a href="http://www.protothema.gr/economy/article/202334/-katasxeseis-apo-xreh-3000-eyro_-sth-fylakh-kai-gia-molis-5000-kai-ano/">as little as $6700</a>. The creation of minimum security Type A prisons, alongside Type C, aims to aid this pursuit of debtors, in a thinly-veiled re-introduction of the abominable <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debtors&#039;_prison">Debtors’ Prison</a>. </p><p class="Body">Rumours of such institutions were floated in 2013 as well, but the reactions had forced the ministry to deny the existence of such plans, before introducing them a year later. While Type B prisons are essentially conventional institutions, Type C prisons come with a variety of innovations. The ministry will decide if one is to be sent there, taking powers away from the court of law. Inmates will get no leaves of absence and won’t be able to undertake community service time. </p> <p class="Body"><span>Since these are dangerous criminals, extra security measures might be justified. But the state’s track record with applying the “terrorism” and “organised crime” labels is too spotty. Attending a demonstration with a covered face can get you charged under counter-terrorism legislation. For months, the government </span><a href="http://antigoldgr.org/en/2014/07/07/skouries-branding-the-local-community-a-criminal-organization/">has been trying to paint an anti-gold mining group</a><span> in Northern Greece as a criminal organisation. Two anarchists arrested for armed robbery, </span><a href="http://www.efsyn.gr/?p=218221">were sentenced under the counter-terrorism law</a><span> despite the fact they had committed no act of terrorism, based solely on their ideology. </span></p><p class="Body"><span>It should go without saying that for those who did commit terrorist acts, even if they caused no more than property damage, the sentences are draconian. All these people are candidates for Type C prisons and the power to send them there lies with the Ministry and not the courts. Another terrifying aspect of Type C prisons, is that you can also be sent there even if you’re in pre-trial detention for these charges.</span><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="Body">We contacted DIMAR’s MP Maria Yiannakaki, who has been one of the most vocal opponents of the government’s plans and increasingly political agenda, and asked what this means for prisoners. She said “Its aim is the physical and moral annihilation of these people and conflates the criminal with the crime. It essentially brings back the death penalty through the back door. It promotes something unheard of in our legal discourse: the penalty on top of a penalty. You get a sentence issued by the courts and then the minister of justice can top it up”. “It completely negates any chance of rehabilitation”, she concluded.</p> <p class="Body">Yiannakaki seems to have a point. Part of the government’s plan is to have the police guard these new prisons, rather than correction officers. This is already happening to a certain extent, because of how dramatically understaffed most institutions are and it has already resulted in alleged brutality against prisoners in at least one occasion. It should be no surprise considering the Greek police’s track record of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/oct/09/greek-antifascist-protesters-torture-police">torturing arrestees</a>, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-19976841">colluding with the neo-nazi Golden Dawn</a> and exercising <a href="http://www.thepressproject.net/article/59496/Golden-Dawn-affair-is-tip-of-the-iceberg-of-Greek-police-violence-according-to-Amnesty-International">brutal force against demonstrators</a>. It’s beyond worrying that they are now asked to perform an extra function, one that they are not trained for.</p> <p class="Body">Clio Papapantoleon, a lawyer and vice-chair of the Greek Association for Human Rights, noted in a piece for <a href="http://enthemata.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/klio-papa/#more-154">Enthemata</a> “ Opening maximum security prisons to ‘lock-up the bad guys once and for all’ &nbsp;is an obsession. If we wanted to be honest, we would admit that no one will be sleeping better because this law [went through]. If the state wants to be serious and if it really wants security,[…] they need to look again at what “crime” and “sentence” mean”. For Greece, the definition of these two words, the very foundations of legal science, has never been so blurry.</p> <h2><strong>A new </strong><strong>“model</strong><strong>” for Austerity Europe</strong></h2> <p class="Body">Not only is it impossible for Greece to live up to the standards of incarceration set by other European countries, but this model of tailoring the justice system around perceived threats that only serve the promotion of the austerity agenda, seems to be ripe for export. In fact, Spain has been paving the road towards this for some time and, <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/07/second-coming-caliphate-spain-201472281945111694.html">according to Belen Fernandez</a> writing on the perceived Muslim terrorist threat in the country for AJE, they have legislated “a law [that] prescribes fines of up to 600,000 euros ($809,307) for unauthorised gatherings and protests in certain locations and of up to 30,000 euros ($40,465) for “obstructing authority in the carrying out of administrative or judicial decisions, such as evictions”.”</p> <p class="Body">The countries of southern Europe, the continent’s new Borderlands, are providing their justice systems with the tools to crackdown on dissent, coupled with increasing militarisation of the police. Greece is already thinking about <a href="http://www.thepressproject.net/article/64356/Is-Greece-to-lead-the-way-for-Europe-in-the-use-of-drones-for-domestic-policing-and-surveillance">bringing in drones</a> to use during demonstrations, counter-terrorism operations and to patrol the country’s borders. The Ministry of Citizen Protection has promised the police heavier equipment too. </p><p class="Body">But it should be obvious that the rationale of confrontation that New Democracy is following serves no one in the long term and the fact it’s becoming the norm across Europe, is a chilling prospect. But it’s only logical, as austerity was always about more than just belt-tightening. As citizens have to adjust to their new, precarious existence, so the state must change in order to keep them in line.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/yiannis-baboulias/of-course-greece-will-need-third-bailout-but-it-wont-be-for-peo">Of course Greece will need a third bailout. But it won&#039;t be for the people.</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Greece </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Greece Yiannis Baboulias Fri, 08 Aug 2014 16:26:57 +0000 Yiannis Baboulias 85060 at https://www.opendemocracy.net From Skouries to Athens, the struggle of Greek women against austerity https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/yiannis-baboulias/from-skouries-to-athens-struggle-of-greek-women-against-austerity <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="Body">As Greece’s protracted crisis disappears from the international headlines, violence against women is both exacerbated by and mirrors the structural violence of austerity. The resistance of Greek women takes place on several fronts.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Body">In the past few months, and particularly after the <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=0CDEQFjAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fworld-europe-24314319&amp;ei=O6k1U6D9K5OUhQef6YGIAg&amp;usg=AFQjCNESWSsjKWhw_ZSwekw4Y6yRDgYCbA&amp;sig2=mFPgmEWbGkyvkg4NZyW0Rg&amp;bvm=bv.63808443,d.ZG4">crackdown against the neo-nazi party Golden Dawn</a>, the world has taken its eyes from Greece. A mixture of positive news on the economic front and lack of spectacular rioting for some time now, has both deterred journalists from spending time on the ground and convinced editors that there is nothing newsworthy that can’t be covered from abroad. Even the BBC correspondent in Athens, has recently been moved to the Ukraine. It could be that the primary budget surplus announced by the government spells the end of Greece’s adventures, and <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=8&amp;ved=0CHEQFjAH&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.businessweek.com%2Farticles%2F2014-03-27%2Fyasou-greece-is-pulling-off-an-amazing-recovery&amp;ei=a6k1U6W3Os6AhAfo6IEY&amp;usg=AFQjCNEcqWVDsx6dNnmpp027-RVY1ifXcQ&amp;sig2=-f6VHz64kVutVMj9XmiPBQ&amp;bvm=bv.63808443,d.ZG4">as Business Week notes</a>, the beginning of a real recovery.</p> <p class="Body">Unfortunately, as in many instances in the recent coverage of ‘austerity’ Greece, these reports are <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=0CDIQFjAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.co.uk%2Fjulie-tomlin%2Fthe-reality-behind-the-gr_b_4986422.html&amp;ei=rqk1U76TOoPQhAezkIDwDw&amp;usg=AFQjCNGYqRsFv03-2rIz0WLsHZPLljiVcw&amp;sig2=hNG5eEV2xFq7HW7QClKuQw&amp;bvm=bv.63808443,d.ZG4">evidently wrong</a>. Not only is the country’s financial situation is dire and getting worse, but the state’s oppression has intensified in the past two years under the New Democracy/Pasok coalition. In the place of generalised disturbances in the streets, this is a much more diversified and nuanced aggression from the side of the state. Forget about tear-gas and molotov cocktails, we now must to look at Greece in a different way.</p> <p class="Body">This new situation should be described as a financial war, waged by the government against the people, combined with a bio-political side, that sees state violence unleashed against smaller and more clearly defined groups that may not necessarily enjoy the public’s sympathy at all times. It’s a kind of violence that carries distinct socio-economical markings, and indeed, gender ones. And it’s by no means isolated to Athens, or any other area of Greece in particular.</p> <p class="Body">A few months ago in North Greece, protesters <a href="http://www.vice.com/en_uk/tag/skouries">against the opening of a gold mine in Skouries</a>, were attacked by the police. But these weren’t random protesters. After a demo moving through the forest reached a riot police squad blocking their path, the men of the group decided to look for another way up the mountain, while the women stood in front of the police, waving banners and shouting chants against the Canadian multi-national El Dorado and its Greek subsidiary Hellenic Gold, who have already started destroying chunks of the ancient forest of Skouries. After a while, the police brutally attacked them, broke their lines, and people were injured. The same story was repeated not two weeks ago.</p> <p class="Body">If anything, it looks like the police in Skouries – used by the extractive industry almost like a private army and one they apparently donate fuel and technical support to – has been especially brutal towards women. In another incident, during a demonstration in spring 2013, an elderly woman was dragged out of her car, made to kneel on the ground, and was repeatedly hit on the knee by a riot police officer. And unfortunately, this kind of targeting vulnerable groups, has only increased in intensity since.</p> <p class="Body">In the past month, Greek news have been flooded with the images of 595 <a href="http://greekindependentnews.net/2014/03/fighting-cleaning-women-of-the-greek-ministry-of-finance/">cleaners protesting their redundancy</a> outside the Ministry of Finance in Athens. The (almost) six hundred women lost their jobs as part of the deal between the Greek government and the Troika.&nbsp; Alongside cuts in Health, Education and administration, the support staff of ministries and other public bodies is to be drastically reduced. Many believe this to be a necessary reform, and in many ways it is. But how is the state is handling the very real grievances of these women who now face unemployment in a country were almost 30% of the active adult population is entirely out of the job market with little prospects of return? With riot police and mockery of course.</p> <p class="Body">One of the Prime Minister’s advisors, while in conversation with the head of the cleaner’s union on live television tried to downplay the violence employed by the police against women who were demonstrating in characteristically unthreatening fashion. He was silenced by her response: “You should see our bruised arms and bodies, that’s the truth of how the state is treating us”. While this was taking place in the streets, the minister in charge of their case was refusing to even meet with them. After they tried to occupy the building last week, the state’s facade went out the window, as images of fully armoured police officers carrying middle aged women out like potato sacks flooded the media. One was seen crying outside the building as her knee was injured. Some of them were later made to pay 25 euros to be seen in a hospital, the fee being part of another policy this government has implemented.</p> <p class="Body">The worst aspect of this new situation is that it seems to be working for the government. By isolating groups and interests and attacking them individually, the coalition has managed to keep the general population from mobilising against their catastrophic policies. But it is clear that they are targeting the most vulnerable portions of the population: The sick, the women, the old, those leaving outside the major urban centres. It’s a particularly dark strategy, and a highly successful one, as it works on more than one fronts.</p> <p class="Body">There is no part of Greek life right now that is not seeing a form of violence hovering above it like a spectre. Domestic and sexual violence <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/heather-mcrobie/austerity-and-domestic-violence-mapping-damage">is on the rise, as is addiction and suicide</a>. The government is celebrating the dramatic drop in wages and quality of life as a success. The EU rewards these policies. And the Greek people are left to deal with this never ending death-spiral. But in this new situation, crucially, there are specific groups being targeted by the state and the police. It is not an accident that were men are tear-gassed, women are beaten up. This is nothing but an extension of an age old problem, endemic in the Greek society, that of domestic violence. It is not by accident that all protesters get it bad, but it is well known that the younger a protester, the more brutal the police will be against them.</p> <p class="Body">The EU-sanctioned government is quite simply attempting to make dissent very expensive, both physically and mentally. It has found that painting each group in a different light serves their purposes better. In order for this to succeed, they’re tapping into pre-existing notions inside the Greek mentality: apathy, misogyny and a phobia towards the youth. There is only one way to highlight this: We must stop being tear-gas hounds and treating these incidents as minor outbreaks.</p> <p class="Body"><span>There is a greater context to this new situation, and oppression deployed against specific groups is much more dangerous than wider crackdowns against demonstrators. These are attempts to demonise individual citizens and groups. There is even a level of anti-communist hysteria whipped up by the government spokesmen every time one of these incidents makes the news, and the protesters or promptly labelled as “communist and left-wing crazies”.</span></p> <p class="Body"><span>If we accept that this is how we do things in Europe now, we’re heading down a very dangerous path, a path we all know the end of. If we don’t stand up for these groups, we will quickly find ourselves amongst one.</span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/dawn-foster/from-heart-attacks-to-maternal-care-human-cost-of-austerity-in-greece">From heart attacks to maternal care: the human cost of austerity in Greece</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/heather-mcrobie/austerity-policies-in-europe-are-fuelling-social-injustice-and-violating-human-">Austerity policies in Europe are fuelling social injustice - and violating human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/margot-salomon/austerity-human-rights-and-europe%E2%80%99s-accountability-gap">Austerity, human rights and Europe’s accountability gap </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/ourkingdom/aoife-nolan/is-governments-austerity-programme-breaking-human-rights-law">Is the government&#039;s austerity programme breaking human rights law?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ourkingdom/aisha-maniar/show-me-money-can-human-rights-offer-alternative-discourse-of-resistance-to-">Show me the money: can human rights offer an alternative discourse of resistance to austerity?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/heather-mcrobie/austerity-and-domestic-violence-mapping-damage">Austerity and domestic violence: mapping the damage</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Greece </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Can Europe make it? Greece 50.50 newsletter Yiannis Baboulias Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:59:47 +0000 Yiannis Baboulias 81613 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Being a man: lost for words https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/yiannis-baboulias/being-man-lost-for-words <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Yiannis Baboulias went along to the <a href="http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/festivals-series/being-a-man">Being a Man</a> conference, hoping to explore how men who don’t want to partake in the oppressive status-quo of patriarchy, could proudly declare “not in our name", but he came away asking how men may uproot it if they are unable to articulate it.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="normal">I booked a ticket to the "<a href="http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/festivals-series/being-a-man">Being a Man</a>" conference in London as soon as I saw the festivals page, proudly declaring “Over this groundbreaking weekend, men of all ages and from many walks of life lead conversations and Q&amp;As on what it means to be a man today. I often ask myself this question and do so from a privileged position: that of a 26 year old, able-bodied, white, heterosexual male, who couldn’t possibly be more lost as to where he stands in the 21st century. </p> <p class="normal">We often hear the arguments made against my kind, who have rightly come to symbolise everything that is wrong with patriarchy, and who are the main beneficiary of capitalism. Feminist theory has successfully broken down, analysed and provided millions of women everywhere with the tools to fight against patriarchy. I was hoping to see the same happen for “average” men, people who like me feel that the few thousand men who reign supreme in every industry, are doing so at the expense of everyone else. </p> <p class="normal">I was hoping to explore how we men who don’t want to partake in this oppressive status-quo, could proudly declare “not in our name”. I was hoping we could identify the roots of the problem, of the system that instils sexism and macho-ness as the default position/starting point for young men, a position from which we have to truly struggle to break free from (if at all possible). So I booked a ticket, and went down to the Southbank to have myself a time. Did I find what I was looking for there? Yes and no. </p> <p class="normal">During some of the talks, it felt like we were getting somewhere. We heard the stories of gay men, priests, fathers, ex-addicts, people who battled depression and abuse in their lives, people who demanded the right to be vulnerable, to be human. Real people, real men. They showed us the side of men’s lives that often remains hidden. Frank discussions were had on the multitude of issues men are dealing with today, from homelessness (nearly 90% of rough-sleepers are men), to addiction, self-harm and suicide. In all these areas, men also reign supreme. </p> <p class="normal">Many of the reasons this is so, surfaced during the talks. But every time we were getting somewhere, a lot of the valid points raised - such as the differences between early education in girls and boys - would disappear. A simple explanation as to why this happens, is language. The issue when we’re discussing male identity amongst men, is the serious lack of verbal tools. These tools, feminism has provided aplenty, but most men are unaware of them. I also came to envy how clear the goals of feminist talks are, whereas here I felt we were testing the water without fully knowing what was waiting for us. </p> <p class="normal">&nbsp;In the session on Sex &amp; Porn for instance, chaired by ex-Loaded editor <a href="http:///h">Martin Daubney</a>, the influence that capitalism has on our consumption habits was correctly identified, the addiction that is built-in, in the way of algorithms that draw you in, deeper and deeper. But we need an intersectionality for male issues, a language which we lack, in order to understand how these behaviours are being force-fed to men, and to further mount a proper critique of capitalism from a male perspective that is not limited to jobs and wages. </p> <p class="normal">One of the sessions, titled “Crash and Burn”, with Tim Mellors, global creative head of Grey Group, David Wilkins of Men's Health Forum, and British rugby star Bobbie Goulding, valiantly touched upon the issue of education, and how the current system creates men who are unwilling to engage, share and ask for help until the very last minute, if ever. Collectively, as a society, we have conveniently fallen back on the old “boys will be boys” excuse. In this way we absolve ourselves when men grow up to be emotional islands. The reasons men grow up to be more violent than women, even if they come from the same background, can be traced back to this excuse. We further excuse ourselves when these men end up in jail, where assault and rape are the norm, and the term “rape culture” takes on a way more sinister face, becoming systemic and accepted as part of the punishment. </p> <p class="normal">Researching this piece, I came upon a shocking statistic from the US, the country with the biggest prison population in the world. In 2008, more than 90.000 people (95% of them women) were victims of sexual assault. However, the American Ministry of Justice conducted a survey about rape inside the prison system ( where prison rape goes largely unreported), and found that <a href="http:///h">216.000 people had been victims of sexual assault.</a> That is individual victims, not cases.&nbsp; </p> <p class="normal">It’s almost as if our societies have turned into machines that produce young, isolated men, and then send them off to fall into addiction, depression and suicide, potentially causing harm to others in the process, and then on to an inhumane jail system to be assaulted and raped with our approval. The joke “I’m sure jail will love your white ass” is still heard after a man’s sentencing. The US might well be the only country in the world were male rape is more prevalent in absolute numbers, but I suspect the picture would be similar across the pond, if we take an honest look in our prisons. <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/may/02/male-rape-prison-jail-howard-league">Experts say it is likely that incidents of rape in British prisons are heavily under-reported</a>. There are no clear statistics available, but from what we do know, there were 119 allegations of sexual assault in prison in 2008, but only 33 were ever investigated. As the saying goes “you can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners”. </p> <p class="normal">This extends outside the prison system, but not with sexual violence. Just as prisoners in the UK are treated as subhuman and without the right to their own bodies anymore, so are men who are not “top dogs” treated as losers. Manhood is a “winner takes all” game, and for every man at the top, millions are looked down upon. As a man myself, I understand that violence happens mainly amongst men. An example: In the “Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2011/12” report by the UK Office for National Statistics <a href="http:///h">we read</a> “The CSEW showed that young men were most likely to be the victims of violence. The profile of victims of violent and sexual violence varied according to the type of offence. In 2011/12, as in previous years, more than two-thirds of homicide victims (68%) were male”. </p> <p class="normal">&nbsp;I’ve been in three fist-fights in the past year alone, and while I can handle myself, I have never started one. All my male friends get caught into fights, all with other men, all the time. It’s dramatically worse for my gay and queer friends. This is a part of our lives, and yet we only deal with it via law enforcement, forgetting that the root cause is in the fact that we, as men, can’t connect. Boys are <a href="http://www.education.com/reference/article/characteristics-students-risk/">more likely</a><a href="http://www.education.com/reference/article/characteristics-students-risk/"> than girls drop-out of school</a>, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10608739/Boys-being-left-behind-as-university-gender-gap-widens.html">less enter higher education</a>, get worse grades, and are ultimately while raised in a way that will push them not to seek help. These are the men who will grow to be unsociable, unemployed, violent - and who will go on to produce another generation of men in their image. And we continue to put this down to “boys are like that”. </p> <p class="normal">This is but one small portion of the cycle of the physical, sexual and financial violence that men experience, that then spills out on women and children. It is rarely talked about before the outcome becomes obvious outside this circle. How can we uproot it if we are unable to articulate it? We need language, and we need a specific goal, a point of intervention which my instinct tells me can be found somewhere in pre-school care and education in early teenage years. Luckily, a young male teacher from the audience made this point. In general, the great mix of men and women (more than a third of all attending) in the audience made up for a lot of what the various panels lacked. </p> <p class="normal">“Being a bloke” was the session that stood out with big names Billy Bragg and Nick Hornby on the panel, and the question “what it means being a bloke”. This was for me the greatest disappointment of all, and a sign that we’re not even close to where we should be in the mainstream discourse. While I’m happy with Billy’s support of Stand Up for Women, a lot of clichés were offered by this panel on porn, video-games and pubic hair, recycled, evidence and care-free, lifted word for word from opinion articles<a href="http:///h"> in the same vein</a>. </p> <p class="normal">Here, traits passed down from previous generations were used to cast young men as porn-addicts with unrealistic expectations. Before that, Michael Kaufman of the White Ribbon campaign gave a CEO-like presentation that cast all men as potential woman-bashers. Even in the most benign examples, like the “suddenly all pubic hair is bad” cliché that Billy Bragg repeated, we see how badly depicted young men are. A standard obsessively promoted by the beauty industry since the 80’s is blamed on porn consumption (widespread online use is little more than 10 years old), and it fails to strike anyone as a peculiar or at least half-baked argument to make again and again, as the panel did. </p> <p class="normal">This is exactly where the discourse fails men. As a younger generation we are&nbsp; largely less violent, less prone to crime and less likely to be sexist or racist. &nbsp;We are also less well-off, with fewer prospects, and taught to go about our very existence in a way that is simply not compatible with the world around us. I won’t comment on the demands <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/18/porn-meat-consuming-it-freedom">made </a><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/18/porn-meat-consuming-it-freedom">in the press</a> for committees and bureaucrats to regulate our desires, or the failure of some to recognise that they are perpetuating taboos and clichés. I will stand with the festival’s organiser, <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/01/jude-kelly-men-and-women-will-play-different-roles-altogether">Jude Kelly</a>, in that this was “a day to talk about men, to celebrate them, and love them, because they are lovable”. Her purpose was to remind us this, and to inaugurate this “new man”. The majority of men I know are earnestly trying to be better people, but we’re all carrying a lot of conditioning around. We need to help ourselves and the next generation early on, and help them start from a better position, by educating young men in the language of feminism. This will help enable men to articulate their own problems, and improve the chances of them seeking out help, but also to understand how they may be doing an injustice to others. If we can’t be bothered, we are just perpetuating the situation. So next time you justify something with “boys being boys”, I urge you to reconsider. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/gavin-thomson/can-men-be-feminists">Can men be feminists?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> 50.50 50.50 50.50 Editor's Pick 50.50 Voices for Change 50.50 newsletter Yiannis Baboulias Mon, 10 Feb 2014 00:11:11 +0000 Yiannis Baboulias 79180 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A conclusion to dystopia https://www.opendemocracy.net/yiannis-baboulias/conclusion-to-dystopia <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Bringing in the themes explored in our project “Real Life Dystopias”, guest-editor Yiannis Baboulias examines the nature of the political and financial institutions that produce them globally.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/78532.jpg" alt="Demotix/Eric Smith. All rights reserved." width="460" height="307" /><span class="image-caption">Demotix/Eric Smith. All rights reserved.</span></p><p><span>&ldquo;Detroit is an apocalyptic vision for when a city and a social system fails. From the moment you get to the airport of this once great American city, things start getting weirder and weirder. It&rsquo;s disconcerting at first, you say &lsquo;my god, that&rsquo;s a street light being pulled down by scrappers&rsquo;. Then you see a burned down house. Then you see another burned down house. Then you see fifty. And then no houses&rdquo;. I was on the phone with Julien Temple, </span><a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;ved=0CDoQFjAB&amp;url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rkm3y&amp;ei=fjS0UsGFL43Q7Ab4rICwCg&amp;usg=AFQjCNE7Nru3J5GuRc9qvPF8sBAoCuLatQ&amp;sig2=GaR6G0PGPlcqOeFpDhqIWA&amp;bvm=bv.58187178,d.ZGU"><span><span><span>director of the documentary</span></span></span></a><span> &lsquo;A Requiem for Detroit&rsquo;, a few days before the beginning of the &ldquo;</span><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/yiannis-baboulias/introducing-real-life-dystopias"><span><span><span>Real Life Dystopias</span></span></span></a><span>&rdquo; project for openDemocracy. The once great American city now seems to be </span><span><span><span><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/niki-seth-smith/detroit-from-disaster-to-salvation">the closest thing</a></span></span></span><span>&nbsp;western civilisation has to a real-life dystopia.</span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>A financial meltdown after the death of the auto-industry, sent the city spinning on the way to ruin. But even before that, there were other issues at hand. The city&rsquo;s economic core was rotten. Built around a single big industry, its economy was based solely on capitalist growth, ignoring the busts and booms it brings with it. This economy wasn&rsquo;t only unsustainable as such, but fed racial class discrimination, as Niki Seth-Smith </span><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/niki-seth-smith/detroit-from-disaster-to-salvation"><span><span><span>shows in her piece</span></span></span></a><span> for the series. When the money disappeared, the divisions were the only thing left behind. The result?</span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>&ldquo;It was like the aftermath of a war.&rdquo; Temple tells me. &ldquo;You get this feeling walking in the city amongst ruins, the biggest railway station in America, skyscrapers as big as the ones in NY from the 30&rsquo;s, abandoned hulks. You&rsquo;re looking at the ruins of civilisation, and then you realise it&rsquo;s your own civilisation, not Rome or ancient Greece.&rdquo; </span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>Detroit&rsquo;s decline was inevitable, it happened gradually and then suddenly, until last week its bankruptcy was declared. The dystopic condition, the &ldquo;condition of suspended animation, experienced in a banal and trivial way, in which an individual is rendered passive and unable to influence factors and/or outcomes in his life, while being increasingly deprived of access to financial, cultural and social capital&rdquo;, set in for good.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>It&rsquo;s not just Detroit that brings to mind images of the dystopias we grew up with in film and literature. Millions of displaced Syrians </span><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2013/dec/12/winter-storm-syria-lebanon-in-pictures"><span><span><span>are facing a very rough winter </span></span></span></a><span>in tents hastily set up near the borders with Lebanon. The beginning of their suffering was again rooted in a system that invested in divisions and economic tyranny of the few over the many. And, even in this crisis, still the drive for profit is beating down on human lives. Not only smugglers charging Syrians exorbitant amounts to get them over to Europe, but in Lebanon also, the exploitation of these refugees has no end. Molly Crabapple was recently there, </span><a href="http://mollycrabapple.com/2013/12/08/syrias-spreading-bloodshed/"><span><span><span>writing an excellent piece for the New York Times</span></span></span></a><span>. I got in touch with her to see what was happening on the ground:</span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span><span>&ldquo;Lebanon denies that there are any camps (they're afraid what happened with the Palestinians in Lebanon will happen with the Syrians) but if you go to the Beka'a valley there&rsquo;s one on rented land every 200 yards. People from all across the political spectrum, much fucked over by the UN, spending their life savings on painfully fixed up tents, unprepared for the coming winter. But offering you coffee and cigarettes anyway&rdquo;. I ask her, &ldquo;Aren&rsquo;t there any international organisations on the ground there?&rdquo;. <span>&nbsp;</span>&ldquo;Yes, the UN (incompletely and incompetently), various Muslim aid organisations. I'm sure there are many more, but that's what I saw. &nbsp;Some of the private land was rented to the refugees at gouging rates. &nbsp;Other chunks of the land (and incomplete buildings) were given for free by sympathetic Lebanese.&rdquo;</span></span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>Rent-seeking is the norm everywhere, even in the face of absolute human suffering. Regardless of the name or the 'ideological label' of the system a country lives under, in the world today, we see the breakdown of the post-capitalist apparatus, the one that grew out of the 70&rsquo;s, reached adulthood in the 80&rsquo;s and came home to roost after the &rsquo;08 financial crisis. Extractive financial institutions set up under various guises, are enacting brutal agendas characterized by debt, soaring inequality, the trampling on human and civil rights, and the normalisation of poverty and exclusion. </span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>In Syria, it bred civil war. In Greece, it gave rise to extreme tendencies in the country&rsquo;s psyche, tendencies we all thought long buried. In Detroit, it burned houses and forced millions to leave the city. History repeats itself over again in different settings, as this isn&rsquo;t of course a new phenomenon, but rather a historical reality, present in the downfall of many great and diverse civilisations, like the Roman and the Mayan. Europe as a whole has turned itself into a walled community, purposefully ignorant of its own decline. &ldquo;Fortress Europe&rdquo;. The place that the displaced from capitalist fallouts dream of, the Utopia. At the same time, the jail for a generation of Europeans that is paying for an unspecified crime, and the same sort of fallout in the shape of unemployment and little prospect of a future.</span><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>But it is in the very nature of this late capitalism to manifest in these extreme ways. Historically, the more extreme the extractive nature of the financial institutions ruling a society, the more extreme the reaction it produces. There is little difference between the results it can breed in the Middle East, or in Europe, past or present, as it becomes increasingly more authoritarian and out of touch. Once social trust breaks down, there&rsquo;s almost no way to go back to what was previously there. </span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>I argue that all dystopias are capitalist in nature, especially in the cinema. Informed by our surroundings, by the system we live in, it&rsquo;s hard for the auteur to express anything else. Some might argue that communism and fascism have given us their fair share. But for communism, this didn&rsquo;t happen before it became an extractive institution as well, under Stalin for instance, that sought to maintain power by force and benefited the few in the process, while the latter is an extreme capitalist ideology to begin with, backed by the upper classes wherever it gained power, from Italy and Germany in the 30&rsquo;s, to Greece right now. That&rsquo;s how extractive institutions work. And make no mistake, neoliberalism is an ideology that manifests through such institutions. After these institutions fall though, the only way to go is forward.</span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>As Julien Temple tells me, &ldquo;There&rsquo;s some hope in that. When the rule of law fails everybody, people there need to come up with new rules. Rules that work for their lives now, rather than the old ones that destroyed their lives.&rdquo; Costas Douzinas also argues just that, </span><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/costas-douzinas/from-%E2%80%98utopia%E2%80%99-to-dystopia-and-resistance-short-run"><span><span><span>in his piece for this series</span></span></span></a><span>.</span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>&ldquo;It is a dystopian cinematic paradise,&rdquo; Temple continues, &ldquo;for people who want to shoot the end of the world. Detroit is the place. But you know, the notion of cinematic dystopias comes from real dystopias. Coming back from the war, you got </span><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Cocteau"><span><span><span>Jean Cocteau</span></span></span></a><span> making &lsquo;</span><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty_and_the_Beast_(1946_film)"><span><span><span>The Beauty and the Beast</span></span></span></a><span> (1946)&rsquo; based on the ruins of Berlin. I think Mad Max and all those post-nuclear catastrophe films are informed by situations like Hiroshima, real examples that you see translated into expressions of cinematic dystopias."</span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>It&rsquo;s these situations that we should be following and analysing as what they are: fallouts which bear more similarities than differences. What can<span>&nbsp;</span>we hope to make out of them? The growing awareness of financial inequality and the conditions that drive poverty is a sign that, despite the massive loss our societies confront in the face of financial and cultural capital, they are making up the lack with social capital for the first time in decades. 2014 is set to see mass unrest, with movements like that of the Arab Spring and OWS springing up everywhere. Economies grow while people go hungry. New movements are bound to be born. The ones that came before may have been unfortunately co-opted by political interests, like in Egypt or Libya, or transformed into other forms of resistance, like OWS. But the rebirth of the civic identity in Turkey is a sign of hope, Ukraine&rsquo;s blind demand for a European future shows that the desire for change is there, and we just need to provide the information. This is happening as we speak. </span></p><p><span> </span></p><p><span>The entrenched institutions are fighting back, often with physical violence, like </span><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/10/police-violence-students-workers-protests"><span><span><span>what was witnessed</span></span></span></a><span> in UCL during the 3 Cosas/Cops Off Campus campaigns. Economic violence is also rampant, </span><a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tom-watson-never-forgive-tories-2943770"><span><span><span>with Tories sniggering in the House Of Commons</span></span></span></a><span> when told that people were fighting over cheap food in the super-markets. It&rsquo;s time we recognize that behind their superficial differences and bickering, as a society, we are the victims of a global minority that prospers on our misery, and is united in more important things than mere ideology. Why Syrians suffer and why Britons suffer ultimately comes down to our leaders who studied in the same schools, hung out in the same Swiss ski centres and talked business in the same conferences. Once we see beyond their disguise, we can truly evaluate our predicament, realize our modern condition, and mobilize further to avert the true catastrophe, whose shapes we&rsquo;re already witnessing. </span></p><p><span> </span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/yiannis-baboulias/introducing-real-life-dystopias">Introducing &#039;Real life dystopias&#039;</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/costas-douzinas/from-%E2%80%98utopia%E2%80%99-to-dystopia-and-resistance-short-run">From ‘utopia’ to dystopia and resistance, a short run</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kerem-nisancioglu/turkey-and-neoliberalism-prequel-to-occupygezi">Turkey and neoliberalism, a prequel to #occupyGezi</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/niki-seth-smith/detroit-from-disaster-to-salvation">Detroit: from disaster to salvation?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/peter-van-buren/welcome-to-memory-hole-disappearing-edward-snowden">Welcome to the memory hole - disappearing Edward Snowden</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daniel-trilling/inside-theresa-mays-hostile-environment">Inside Theresa May&#039;s &quot;hostile environment&quot;</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Yiannis Baboulias Fri, 20 Dec 2013 13:16:37 +0000 Yiannis Baboulias 78010 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Introducing 'Real life dystopias' https://www.opendemocracy.net/yiannis-baboulias/introducing-real-life-dystopias <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Yiannis Baboulias speaks about this week’s special project, “Real life dystopias”. Introducing the concept of the “dystopic condition”, he looks into how reality resembles various stages/forms of cinematic dystopias, and further pinpoints ways in which we’re moving closer to them.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>A condition of suspended animation, experienced in a banal and trivial way, in which an individual is rendered passive and unable to influence factors and/or outcomes in his life, while being increasingly deprived of access to financial, cultural and social capital. This is the definition I would give to the term “dystopic condition”. It’s a term I’ve found myself useing with increasing frequency to describe life in our supposedly global societies, and their post-democratic, late-capitalist set of afflictions. Traced throughout history, it’s the prelude to the collapse of some of the greatest empires the world has ever seen.&nbsp;</p> <p>Looking into various places in the world today, seemingly different from each other, it is fairly easy to point out where this would apply. From the declining economies of the west to the war-torn plains and cities of Syria and the Middle East, reality makes cinematic dystopias look ever more passé, while dramatic historical shifts are not recognized as such.</p> <p>My experience of the Greek crisis, reading into it the core problems of neoliberalism, showed Greece to be a case study not only of economic decline, but the possible prelude to societal break-down. I would argue that the epilogue of the Arab Spring and Greek/European crisis might not differ as much as we think. They were both brought on by similar factors. They are both exacerbated by similar factors. They could both end in a spiral of permanent decline.&nbsp;</p> <p>The “similar factors” are none other than the neoliberal financial institutions. Despite their seemingly different political inclinations in different countries, these institutions are characterized by their extractive nature, which favours a small elite while shutting out the majority of the population - not only financially but also culturally and socially.&nbsp;</p> <p>Borrowing from the analysis of Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson in, <em>Why Nations Fail</em>, we will be looking at exclusive and extractive institutions, as identified throughout history and popular culture. They describe inclusive vs. extractive institutions in the following manner:&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;“Inclusive economic institutions that enforce property rights, create a level playing field, and encourage investments in new technologies and skills are more conducive to economic growth than extractive economic institutions that are structured to extract resources from the many by the few. Inclusive economic institutions, are in turn supported by, and support, inclusive political institutions,” which “distribute political power widely in a pluralistic manner and are able to achieve some amount of political centralization so as to establish law and order, the foundations of secure property rights, and an inclusive market economy. Conversely, extractive political institutions that concentrate power in the hands of a few reinforce extractive economic institutions to hold power.”</p> <p>We begin with <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/costas-douzinas/from-%E2%80%98utopia%E2%80%99-to-dystopia-and-resistance-short-run">Costas Douzinas' take </a>on the Greek crisis and the cinematic depiction of dystopias, their ideological readings and how we can hold them off through resistance. In an excerpt <a href="http://www.politybooks.com/book.asp?ref=9780745665436">from his latest book</a> mixed with an original take on the subject of the dystopic condition, Douzinas showcases how the reversal of the neoliberal message of infinite hedonistic pleasure seeks only to subsume the individual for the sake of an invisible nation/group and in the name of profit.</p><p>Next we move across the Atlantic, and more specifically to Detroit, where a city that has&nbsp;experienced a very real apocalypse, is now seeing some hope in the cracks between the ruins, just as it goes bankrupt. <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/niki-seth-smith/detroit-from-disaster-to-salvation">In her piece</a>&nbsp;Niki Seth-Smith takes us through the past and present of the city,&nbsp;speaks to legends like poet John Sinclair, and asks if the cradle of the assembly line can show the&nbsp;way out of the post-industrial state of permanent decline.</p><p>Then we look into how a generational limbo is not necessarily a sign of resignation, through a <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/kerem-nisancioglu/turkey-and-neoliberalism-prequel-to-occupygezi">piece</a> on the prelude to Occupy Gezi by Kerem Nisancioglou. He discusses how space and contestation over it translate into politics and explores the renaissance of the Turkish civic spirit in the streets of Istanbul and other major cities.</p><p>With thanks to <a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com">TomDispatch</a>, we will look at how technology is increasingly shutting down&nbsp;access to the cultural capital to which it once opened doors, in an article titled “<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/peter-van-buren/welcome-to-memory-hole-disappearing-edward-snowden">Welcome to the memory hole: disappearing Edward Snowden</a>”.</p><p>Daniel Trilling <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/daniel-trilling/inside-theresa-mays-hostile-environment">looks up close</a> at the 'fast track' asylum system in the UK designed to make the country a hostile environment for those migrants who are unwanted, people like John. And in the week that Detroit declared that it was bankrupt,<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/yiannis-baboulias/conclusion-to-dystopia"> Yiannis Baboulias</a> rounds off this series in the company of a journalist fresh out of Lebanon's refugee camps for Syrians in flight, and Julien Temple, director of the haunting film,&nbsp;‘<a href="http://documentaryheaven.com/requiem-for-detroit/">A Requiem for Detroit</a>’, who suggests that the relationship between film and reality is actually the other way around.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/costas-douzinas/from-%E2%80%98utopia%E2%80%99-to-dystopia-and-resistance-short-run">From ‘utopia’ to dystopia and resistance, a short run</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/niki-seth-smith/detroit-from-disaster-to-salvation">Detroit: from disaster to salvation?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/kerem-nisancioglu/turkey-and-neoliberalism-prequel-to-occupygezi">Turkey and neoliberalism, a prequel to #occupyGezi</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/peter-van-buren/welcome-to-memory-hole-disappearing-edward-snowden">Welcome to the memory hole - disappearing Edward Snowden</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daniel-trilling/inside-theresa-mays-hostile-environment">Inside Theresa May&#039;s &quot;hostile environment&quot;</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/yiannis-baboulias/conclusion-to-dystopia">A conclusion to dystopia</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Yiannis Baboulias Mon, 16 Dec 2013 12:01:47 +0000 Yiannis Baboulias 77844 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Misogyny in the Greek parliament and media: a problem no-one wants to deal with https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/yiannis-baboulias/misogyny-in-greek-parliament-and-media-problem-no-one-wants-to-deal-with <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="MsoNormal">Chauvinism and corruption work in tandem to stifle public life in Greece.&nbsp; The disparaging and dismissive treatment of female politicians points to a wider malaise.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>For all the international coverage on corruption, riots and sensationalist cries of imminent collapse, one of the most endemic and persistent problems in the Greek political world still seems to be well outside mainstream interest. No one appears to be keen to deal with the inherent misogyny in Greek politics. But the reality points to a direct link between the problems facing Greece today, and the instigators of sexist attacks inside and outside the parliament.</p> <p>The recent case of <a href="http://www.humaniteinenglish.com/spip.php?article2086">Zoe Constantopoulou,</a> one of the most prominent SYRIZA MPs, who has in recent years been the scourge of PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos over a case of alleged corruption, paints a picture that should be quite telling. In the events around the eviction of the ERT occupation by riot police in November this year, Constantopoulou, along with other MPs, found herself outside the building, in solidarity with the gathered crowd of activists and former workers.</p> <p>What then transpired, instead of worrying her colleagues and alerting them to the truly appalling behaviour of the police (who not only didn’t allow MPs to enter the building, essentially breaking the law by restricting an elected official’s freedom of movement, but moved against her and the crowd, shoving them backwards), was met with indifference by her colleagues. When surrounded by riot police officers, she cried out for help. Instead of cross-party solidarity and condemnation of the police’s actions, Constantopoulou was mocked by MPs from opposition parties and mainstream newspapers alike.&nbsp; One of them, the Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadis, said that her behaviour clearly shows she needs psychiatric help.</p> <p>This is not of course an isolated event, but rather, just one sign that points to a general culture of dismissiveness and berating towards female MPs. Theodoros Pangalos, a former PASOK MP, infamous for phrases like “<a href="http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/my-big-fat-greek-minister">we all ate together</a>” and “<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/29/greece-spied-on-us-ambassadors_n_4173161.html">It doesn’t matter if the NSA was spying on us, we were spying on them too</a>”, <a href="http://www.ethnos.gr/article.asp?catid=22767&amp;subid=2&amp;pubid=63917640">said of the incident</a> where she and fellow MP R.Makri tried to climb the buildings railings “When you have a lady from the Parliament,&nbsp; who not only climbs but also sits οn the railings that are sharp….”.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the people that once made up the supposedly progressive, socialist PASOK, seem to have missed the memo that calls for even basic respect to someone’s gender and choices. In one of their many confrontations, Evengelos Venizelos, the aforementioned leader of PASOK, <a href="http://www.tovima.gr/opinions/article/?aid=539027#.UoHo92tAUDc.twitter">told Constantopoulou</a> “I wish you’d get pregnant soon”. “Why?” She replied. “For what reason?”. “It’s just a wish”, he concluded.</p> <p>Only days apart, Theodora Tzakri of PASOK, became a target of sexist comments regarding her appearance and choice of shoes, when she voted “Yes” in the motion of no confidence the opposition party filed against the government. Because of this brave choice (regardless of her past in politics), she was subsequently kicked out of the party, as well as ridiculed in the media.</p> <p>But of course, PASOK doesn’t hold any sort of monopoly on such behaviour. From the Golden Dawn’s Illias Kasidiaris <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nte1UtRww_k">slapping a female MP</a> on live TV and telling another to sit down “because you’re drunk again” in the parliament, to PASOK and ND, the problem is pervasive. There seems to be a an idea that female MPs are there simply to fill some quota and make the party look good to female voters, and that women are not really part of the political process.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/sketch.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/536137/sketch.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="209" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Image via author</span></span></span><em>Greek daily 'Ta Nea' depicting female politicians as pole-dancers. Image by:&nbsp;</em><span><em>Dimitris Hantzopoulos.</em></span></p> <p>In Greece, women have been hit harder by the crisis. In an article <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/dawn-foster/from-heart-attacks-to-maternal-care-human-cost-of-austerity-in-greece">earlier this year</a>, Dawn Foster outlined how unemployment and bad health are now more prevalent among women in Greece than before the economic crisis. How do we expect to see any change, when the representatives most likely to bring these subjects up are casually berated by other MPs and media alike? When we see them presented as hysteric or, as we recently saw with Constantopoulou and Makri, as pole-dancers seeking everyone’s attention in the Greek daily “Ta Nea”. This is not by chance or unconnected. The media conglomerate DOL, owners of newspapers “To Vima” and “Ta Nea” among others, are known for their close relationship with PASOK and the government, and also for towing the line set by them. This attack is an orchestrated attempt by the old patriarchy to berate two MPs based on their gender, and not their politics. Even the Association of Greek Editors, usually late to wake up and smell the coffee, published a rare announcement that called for an end to vile sexist attacks against women in the media.</p> <p>This brings us to another problem inherent in Greek politics. Women who usually move up in a party’s ranks, are not themselves “ordinary”. Daughters and wives of ex-ministers and prime-ministers, they partake in a world of privilege locked to most people. This goes for the left as much as the right. If they, with all the accumulated social and political capital behind them, are treated in such a manner, what hope do we have to see women from working and even middle class backgrounds, taking part in Greek politics? When they know for sure that they will be powerless to not only influence the agenda, but even feel safe as people. How do we expect change?</p> <p>People like Venizelos and Pangalos are directly connected to cronyism and corruption, to laws that subvert the legal system, to vile language directed to the weakest parts of the Greek society. For these people to insult officials when they are (in the case of Venizelos) under questioning for <a href="http://greece.greekreporter.com/2013/11/25/syriza-wants-venizelos-probed-in-sub-deal/">a major case of corruption</a>, is despicable, and no one should stand for it. The lack of respect they show female MPs is an extension of the disregard they show towards the Greek people and its torment in general. And this lack of respect, locks women and people who don’t come from political families, out of the political process. This, should be reason enough, to spell the end of their career in politics.</p> <p>I voted for SYRIZA twice, hoping for change in this, even before it reached its current ratings. And the MPs in its parliamentary team, are there because I and a few million other people chose them. And they have in fact brought on positive change, condemning these attacks described above as soon as they happened, and by promoting several female MPs in key positions. But it’s not enough. The anti-austerity platform they run on presents a challenge to the chauvinistic and corrupt politics that brought Greece to this point. It should also become a platform in which women from different paths of life get a voice. It should become the heart of the politics Greece needs.</p> <p>With violence against women <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/greek-election-blog-2012/2012/jun/15/greek-crisis-women-especially-hard">on the rise</a>, the rhetoric employed by the ruling parties is more than harmful. Through rallies – like the one organised in downtown Athens on the 25th of November, as part of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and mobilisation through independent networks – a lot of effort is put in raising awareness about these attitudes. But the political system itself, and by extension the media, are unwilling to engage in a wider debate about the place of women in politics. Maybe an effort needs to be made to start this debate from abroad.</p><p>&nbsp;<span>There’s a clear link between governments that favour corruption and cronyism, and misogyny. The example of Italy and </span><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/susi-meret-elisabetta-della-corte-maria-sangiuliano/racist-attacks-against-c%C3%A9cile">the attacks on Cécile Kyenge</a><span> immediately come to mind. The solution to these problems will only come once we have successfully cleared the path for women to partake in the process as equals, regardless of background and gender, and only when we have managed to make parliaments spaces in which politics, and not someone's genitals or fashion sense, are debated.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/dawn-foster/from-heart-attacks-to-maternal-care-human-cost-of-austerity-in-greece">From heart attacks to maternal care: the human cost of austerity in Greece</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/barbara-gunnell/how-women-are-paying-for-recession-in-uk">How women are paying for the recession in the UK</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/yiannis-baboulias/of-course-greece-will-need-third-bailout-but-it-wont-be-for-peo">Of course Greece will need a third bailout. But it won&#039;t be for the people.</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/heather-mcrobie/when-austerity-sounds-like-backlash-gender-and-economic-crisis">When austerity sounds like backlash: gender and the economic crisis</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/kate-donald/feminisation-of-poverty-and-myth-of-welfare-queen">The feminisation of poverty and the myth of the &#039;welfare queen&#039;</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/leonardo-goi/italys-inconvenient-women-in-praise-of-laura-boldrini-and-cecile-kyenge">Italy&#039;s inconvenient women: in praise of Laura Boldrini and Cecile Kyenge</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Greece </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Can Europe make it? Greece democratic society 50.50 Structures of Sexism 50.50 Contesting Patriarchy 50.50 Editor's Pick 50.50 newsletter women and power patriarchy gendered poverty gender Yiannis Baboulias Fri, 06 Dec 2013 09:15:03 +0000 Yiannis Baboulias 77606 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Of course Greece will need a third bailout. But it won't be for the people. https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/yiannis-baboulias/of-course-greece-will-need-third-bailout-but-it-wont-be-for-peo <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>By now, a clear picture of what sort of behaviour the two previous bail-outs have supported ought to have emerged. Further aid, which will definitely be accompanied by further cuts and “reforms”, will only add to the burden imposed on Greek people.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="image-caption"><img src="http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/4980218601_1023e96093_o.jpg" alt="" width="460" height="345" />Anti-austerity protests in Thessaloniki, Greece. Flickr/Apostolos. Some rights reserved.</p><p class="Body">In the past few months, the Greek minister of Finance, Yannis Stournaras, has repeated time and time again the same phrase: &ldquo;everything is going well, Greece won&rsquo;t need further cuts, we&rsquo;re <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/11/yannis-stournaras-greece">almost out of the woods</a>&rdquo;. This, it must be pointed out, didn&rsquo;t happen once or twice, or in some very specific context. This was his, and the government&rsquo;s, overall stance. In the past few months, they did everything within their powers to support this spin, including the announcement of an unexpected primary surplus in July, that <a href="http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.article&amp;id=379865">didn&rsquo;t include</a> the budgets of municipalities and pension funds, and a debt of&nbsp;<span>&euro;</span><span>6.6 billion to the private sector (Greek statistics anyone?).</span></p> <p class="Body">The German government was pretty happy to play along, with its officials mirroring the statements of the Greek side. It all changed when, faced with the reality of the situation, <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323423804579024920530160120.html">Wolfgang Sch&auml;uble admitted</a>, through his teeth, that Greece will need further aid, since it&rsquo;s bail-out package runs out in March 2014. "There will have to be another program for Greece." he said. </p><p class="Body">What led the austere German to break what seemed to be an absolute taboo before the September 22nd elections? Stournaras&rsquo; immediate reaction was to label the extra funding, thought to be around ten billion euros, as just that: extra funding, with no further need for measures and cuts. Is this the whole truth, or was the German government&rsquo;s hand forced, in light of the opposition SPD party's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_27/08/2013_515774">announcement</a> that Greece will need a further &euro;77 billion in the next 3 years?</p> <p class="Body">Truth is, the story of the Greek bail-outs leaves little room for questioning as to what their effects, and their effectiveness, truly are. The country is now seeing a mind-boggling <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-26/despite-austerity-greek-debt-rising-its-fastest-rate-march-2010">180% of public debt</a>, standing at &euro;321 billion, with no prospects of reducing it if a drastic restructuring doesn&rsquo;t take place sooner, rather than later. When the crisis broke out in 2009, public debt stood at &euro;299.7 billion, or 130% of GDP. Not only has the debt increased since, but the country&rsquo;s GDP has plummeted by one quarter. Who has benefited from this? Definitely not the Greek people, as has been documented extensively in the press, since.</p> <p class="Body">Greek banks on the other hand, have enjoyed a bonanza, receiving billions in funding on the tax-payers expense.&nbsp;<span>&euro;</span><span>218 billion has been provided in </span><a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-09/greece-will-increase-emergency-liquidity-to-banks-by-50-.html">guarantees and liquidity</a><span>. Just last week, Piraeus Bank, which has been on the receiving end of billions in tax-funded rescue funds, <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/28/piraeusbank-results-idUSL6N0GT1RH20130828">recorded a&nbsp;</a></span><span><a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/28/piraeusbank-results-idUSL6N0GT1RH20130828">&euro;</a></span><span><a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/28/piraeusbank-results-idUSL6N0GT1RH20130828">3.5 billion net profit</a>. A large chunk of this, comes after the scandalous absorption of assets originally belonging to Cypriot banks in Greece. Assets that as Faisal Islam confirms in his new book </span><em>Default Line</em><span>, the EU officials handling the country&rsquo;s financial disaster, were too keen to give away as a freebie to Greek bankers, essentially allowing them to rob Cyprus in the worst of manners, as the country was suffering a covert bank-run.</span></p><p class="Body">For this to go down well with the public, the Greek media have been absolutely complicit, especially the TV station MEGA. For it&rsquo;s loyalty, the station has <a href="http://www.paron.gr/typologies/?p=34568">been granted immunity</a> from foreclosures that might result from its more than&nbsp;<span>&euro;</span><span>100 million in bad loans. The same won&rsquo;t go for ordinary Greeks, who, come January, will see even their primary residences confiscated.</span></p> <p class="Body">Greek oligarchs have done well for themselves too. The <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/12/greece-opap-idUSL6N0GD1PV20130812">privatisation of the state lottery company OPAP</a>,&nbsp;the first major privatisation to take place in Greece, has seen the value of its assets drop by 5 times in the last 6 years. The privatisation, signed off by the oil-tycoon <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimitris_Melissanidis">Dimitris Melissanidis</a> and TAIPED head Stelios Stavridis, will see a profitable company enjoying an almost four billion euro turnover, sold to a Czecho-Greek alliance for&nbsp;<span>&euro;</span><span>652 million.</span></p><p class="Body">The issue here, is that Melissanidis on the one hand employs Failos Kranidiotis, a lawyer, who is a close friend and unofficial advisor to the Greek PM Antonis Samaras, and on the other has been under scrutiny for several other issues in his past, including a debt of millions to the Greek state, haunting him since his last company had to shut down in the 90&rsquo;s, over allegations of oil-smuggling. One of OPAP&rsquo;s last acts as a public company, was to award AEK (a third division football team) &euro;2.5 million in sponsorship. AEK, is also run by Melissanidis. Days after the deal was signed off, <a href="http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_18/08/2013_514452">Stavridis was forced to quit his position</a>, after being caught enjoying a joy-ride in the businessman's learjet on the Greek island of Kefalonia.</p> <p class="Body">And the political class? Well they&rsquo;ve just been doing what they always have, the very same things that brought Greece to its knees. Only now, with sponsorship from (and in full knowledge of) the EU. Just as more reforms are enacted, and <a href="http://greece.greekreporter.com/2013/07/24/greece-will-shutter-elementary-schools/">118 schools are about to be shut down or merged</a>, in order to save &euro;228,000, we hear that Evangelos Venizelos, the deputy PM, just got himself <a href="http://www.avgi.gr/article/693142/nea-proklisi-benizelou-me-grafeio-700-000-euro-">a new office that will cost &euro;700,000</a> in the next two years. Stournaras (the Finance Minister) awarded his wife&rsquo;s company <a href="http://www.periodista.gr/greece/item/4193-%CE%BF%CE%B9-%CF%87%CF%81%CF%85%CF%83%CE%BF%CF%86%CF%8C%CF%81%CE%B5%CF%82-%CE%B4%CE%BF%CF%85%CE%BB%CE%B5%CE%B9%CE%AD%CF%82-%CE%B1%CF%80%CF%8C-%CF%84%CE%BF-%CE%B4%CE%B7%CE%BC%CF%8C%CF%83%CE%B9%CE%BF-%CF%84%CE%B7%CF%82-%CF%83%CF%85%CE%B6%CF%8D%CE%B3%CE%BF%CF%85-%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85-%CE%BA%CF%85%CF%81%CE%AF%CE%BF%CF%85-%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85%CF%81%CE%BD%CE%AC%CF%81%CE%B1">an almost &euro;500,000 contract</a>. But the worst may yet to come as, after the appointment of Adonis Georgiadis, a TV book-seller and former spokesman for the far-right party LAOS, as Minister of Health.</p> <p class="Body">One breath away from <a href="http://www.tovima.gr/society/article/?aid=527262">leaving the country without safe blood transfussions</a> over technicalities in the purchase of the necessary test gear, Georgiadis is also closing a major hospital in down-town Athens, because it&rsquo;s used only by &ldquo;old people and junkies&rdquo; as a Greek pundit said. While talking with the hospital&rsquo;s representatives on a news show, he declared &ldquo;I represent the private sector&rdquo;. When I put the question to him, reminding him he is an elected official, and he represents the people of Greece, <a href="https://twitter.com/AdonisGeorgiadi/status/371931115537563648">he replied</a> &ldquo;I meant: I come from, and work in, the private sector. Away from the security the public sector provides.&rdquo; </p><p class="Body">Maybe this particular misunderstanding of his role as a minister is why he issued an ultimatum to the authorities Santorini, a world-famous tourist destination, to find funds for the local hospital, or he&rsquo;ll shut it down (thus allowing private companies to move in and accommodate tourists and visitors).</p> <p class="Body">By now, a clear picture of what sort of behaviour the two previous bail-outs have supported ought to have emerged. Further aid, which will definitely be accompanied by further cuts and &ldquo;reforms&rdquo;, will only add to the burden imposed on Greek people. Privatisation of water, gas and now health, is looming. The state is now spinning a rising terrorist threat to continue imposing a constant state of emergency, in order to justify police crackdowns on anarchists and activists, and divert public opinion from the financial disaster the Greek program has been.</p> <p class="Body">On the way to the German elections, with Merkel giving us a crescendo of populism <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/merkel-tells-voters-greece-shouldnt-joined-euro-111235946.html">by claiming</a> that &ldquo;Greece should have never been allowed to join the Euro&rdquo;, while at the same time maintaing we need to suffer in order to remain in the Eurozone, this is only to be expected. The need for further debt-restructure will be swept under the rug for now. The massive budget gaps Greece will be facing in the next few years, will suffer the same fate. </p><p class="Body">The only thing we can be certain of, is the same tango we&rsquo;ve witnessed in the past, will play out again, whereby &ldquo;Greece definitely doesn&rsquo;t need more aid&rdquo;, but then it does. At first it &ldquo;will only be small&rdquo;, but it will soon emerge a large bulk of funds is required. All the while, both German and Greek politicians will insist that &ldquo;no further cuts are required&rdquo;. And in the end, guess who&rsquo;ll pay the bill.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/takis-s-pappas/why-greece-failed">Why Greece failed</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/kostas-vaxevanis/corruption-fear-and-silence-state-of-greek-media-today">Corruption, fear and silence: the state of Greek media today</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Greece </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Greece Yiannis Baboulias Spotlight on Greece Mon, 02 Sep 2013 15:58:55 +0000 Yiannis Baboulias 75140 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Yiannis Baboulias https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/yiannis-baboulias <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Yiannis Baboulias </div> </div> </div> <p>Yiannis Baboulias is a Greek investigative journalist. His work on political, economic and social issues has appeared in the New Statesman, Vice UK, Guardian and others. Follow him on twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/YiannisBab" target="_blank">@yiannisbab</a></p> Yiannis Baboulias Mon, 02 Sep 2013 15:17:04 +0000 Yiannis Baboulias 75141 at https://www.opendemocracy.net