Next Thursday night in Northcote there will be a forum to discuss the Greek debt crisis, the imposition of austerity measures and popular resistance. There will be speakers, music, film and poetry, and all proceeds will be used to aid the struggle in Greece.
WHEN AND WHERE : 7-11pm/ Thursday, March 29/ 251 High Street, Northcote (Melbourne)
COST : Concession $4/ Waged $8/ Solidarity $12
In the manufactured ‘reality’ of the mass media the problems of the Greek “debt” crisis are an endless flurry of context-less images; of riots, strikes and unrest embellished with quotes by the talking heads of capital. The IMF and capitalist economists all nod furiously in agreement that “There is No Alternative™.” The guardians of capital insist that the loans and austerity program imposed on the Greek people by the EU/IMF are necessary to help Greece meet its debt obligations and reform their ‘overly generous’ pension and welfare system.
However the fiction peddled of the lazy, privileged Greek sits in stark contrast with the reality of most people’s lives in Greece. Wages, especially for young workers, are extremely low and prices for everyday items are as high as those paid in Western Europe; as the saying in Greece goes “we receive Third World wages, we pay European prices.”
In recent months there has been an almost catastrophic decline in living standards. Unemployment is now over 20%, and as high as 40% for those between the ages of 18-25. The rate of homelessness has increased exponentially and the demand for food aid and medical care has massively increased. Pensions, wages and ‘benefits’ (there is no welfare system as in Australia, workers & employers subsidize the meager, limited/short term unemployment payments) have all been dramatically cut, and public services have in many cases, ceased to exist; the only parts of the State that still function as ‘normal’ are the police and the army.
Ordinary people in Greece, however, are not taking this collective punishment without a fight. Popular refusal and resistance to the IMF/EU austerity measures have become part of the everyday life of people in Greece; from strikes, occupations and demonstrations to everyday acts of solidarity and collaboration between people in struggle.
Resistance is a mass phenomenon; from electricity workers helping people reconnect their power, to people occupying and collectively running their workplaces, to strikes, occupations of public buildings and a refusal to pay tolls on public roads. All of society is organising in struggle; from workers to students, pensioners, farmers and the unemployed; in workplaces, local assemblies, schools, universities, town halls and other public buildings.
Come join us on the 29th of March to discuss the Greek austerity crisis and hear from people involved in these social movements live via skype.
There will be live music from a 5 piece Rembetika kompania (Greek oriental ‘outlaw’ folk) afterwards, as well as a short film from the movement against austerity and poetry from Greek-Australian writers.
See also : Revolt and Crisis in Greece (AK Press, 2011).