DiEM25 in the footsteps of Altiero Spinelli?

Democratising Europe is not about reinventing the wheel. A study of Altiero Spinelli’s efforts, especially the Congress of the European People, may increase our chances of success. Altiero Spinelli’s grave, Ventotene. Flickr/ Jon Worth. Some rights reserved. Mr. Varoufakis: beyond your slogans, what is your practical plan to initiate a surge of democracy in Europe? This question is frequently asked in many different ways on (social) media. Though it’s a fair enough question, it is addressing the wrong person. Yanis Varoufakis, main initiator of Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), says the organisation is horizontal. So it has no fixed leader – in theory anyway. Be very aware of the radical implication. Anyone who offers a great idea could be a leader in a certain phase of such a movement. If your suggestion is accepted by an overwhelming majority of the whole movement, you can effectively direct the movement. You don’t need to wait until the organisational structure and next steps are clearer. Now it’s you who may bring it forward. If anyone may run things in this movement, will even a dead leader do? Odd question. Let me explain. The long term vision is a federation. Varoufakis elaborated on … Continue reading

EPIFYLAKI: A visual exhibit at the Capodistrian Orphanage in Aegina

By Maria Triantopoulou A large crowd gathered today outside the entrance to that historic edifice the Capodistrian Orphanage, or the Aegina Prison as this neglected monument is more generally known, to take part in the inauguration of the visual exhibit that was mounted under the aegis of the 7th “Fistiki Fest” Pistachio Festival to mark the 30th anniversary of the closing of the prison. Based on an idea of the historian George Kalofonos, this year’s president of the “Fistiki Fest”, the visual exhibit bears the signature of three important artistic personalities who live and work for extended periods in Aegina: Costas Varotsos, Venia Dimitrakopoulou and Danae Stratou. The function was introduced by George Kalofonos, who in his address emphasized the symbolic value of the visual exhibit, whose aim is to present a reminder of the fact that this historic building, which from a place of learning and culture as an orphanage was transformed into a site of imprisonment and confinement for both common criminals and political prisoners. For the last thirty years it has remained closed, caught in an interminable bureaucratic deadlock and petty political wrangling between the Antiquities Inspectorate and the local community, whose standing requirement is that the … Continue reading

ΕΠΙΦΥΛΑΚΗ – Μια εικαστική παρέμβαση στο Καποδιστριακό Ορφανοτροφείο Αίγινας

Της Μαρίας Τριαντοπούλου (ΠΗΓΗ) Πλήθος κόσμου μαζεύτηκε σήμερα έξω από την είσοδο του ιστορικού κτιρίου του Καποδιστριακού Ορφανοτροφείου, των Φυλακών της Αίγινας όπως είναι ευρύτερα γνωστό το παραγνωρισμένο αυτό μνημείο, για να παρακολουθήσουν την εκδήλωση/εγκαίνια της εικαστικής παρέμβασης που στήθηκε μέσα στα πλαίσια της 7ης Γιορτής Φιστικιού για να σηματοδοτήσει την 30η επέτειο από το κλείσιμο των φυλακών. Την εικαστική αυτή παρέμβαση, βασισμένη σε μια ιδέα του ιστορικού Γιώργου Καλόφωνου, φετινού προέδρου του Φεστιβάλ Φιστικιού, υπογράφουν 3 σημαντικοί καλλιτέχνες που ζούν και εργάζονται για μεγάλα διαστήματα στην Αίγινα, ο Κώστας Βαρώτσος, η Βένια Δημητρακοπούλου και η Δανάη Στράτου. Την εκδήλωση προλόγισε ο κ. Γ. Καλόφωνος, υπογραμμίζοντας στον λόγο του, την συμβολική αξία του εικαστικού έργου/παρέμβασης που σκοπό έχει να υπομνηματίσει το γεγονός ότι το ιστορικό αυτό κτίριο, που από τόπος μάθησης και πολιτισμού ως ορφανοτροφείο, μετετράπη σε χώρο εγκλεισμού και φυλάκισης τόσο ποινικών όσο και πολιτικών κρατουμένων, παραμένει κλειστό τα τελευταία τριάντα χρόνια παγιδευμένο σε μιαν ατέρμονα γραφειοκρατική και μικροπολιτική δίνη ανάμεσα στην εφορία αρχαιοτήτων και την τοπική κοινωνία που έχει ως πάγιο αίτημα την λειτουργία του κτιρίου ως πολιτιστικό χώρο. «Ίσως τώρα να έφτασε η στιγμή να ανοίξει ξανά τις δημουργικές δυνάμεις της κοινωνίας μας και να λειτουργήσει και … Continue reading

Does Greece stand for Democracy?

The coming to office of the new Greek government has inspired a new rhetoric of democracy and Philhellenism intriguingly similar to the Philhellenism that accompanied the establishment of the modern Greek state in the 1820s, in an international environment of post-Napoleonic reaction analogous in a number of ways to today’s reactionary environment of post-Soviet-collapse. To take a characteristic example of this rhetoric, let us quote Paul Craig Roberts, dissident former assistant secretary of the Treasury under the Reagan administration in the US: “The Greeks, who were once to be contended with, who were able with 300 Spartans, supplemented with a few thousand Corinthians, Thebans, and other warriors, to stop a one hundred thousand man Persian army at Thermopylae, with the final outcome being the defeat of the Persian fleet in the Battle of Salamis and the defeat of the Persian army in the Battle of Plataea, are no more. The Greeks of history have become a people of legend. Not even the Romans were able to conquer Persia, but little more than a handful of Greeks stopped the attempted Persian conquest of Greece. But the Greeks, despite their glorious history, could not stop their conquest by the EU and a … Continue reading

Greece: A (Basket) Case Study In Savage Globalization

SOURCE: MINTPRESSNEWS “Let’s face the problem of our colonial status. Let’s work to find a solution for it. Let’s decolonize our minds and spirits and become real citizens of Puerto Rico.” Rivera’s words were, of course, made in reference to Puerto Rico. However, it can be said that they are also applicable to many other nations, including nominally independent states such as Greece, a country which has been ravaged by almost a decade of stifling economic austerity imposed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF); a country which could be described as a modern-day debt colony. Having been raised in the United States as a “third culture kid,” with one foot in the U.S. and one foot in Greece, allows me to see things in both societies simultaneously as a native and as a relative outsider. This has particularly been true during the past four-plus years, a period in which I have resided almost full-time in Athens as a doctoral student and journalist. Modern-day Greece: Fatalism, defeatism and hopelessness The extent of the demoralization of the Greek people is plainly evident through everyday conversations and encounters. Ordinary Greeks, upon learning that I came to the country to … Continue reading