Azcarate, Spinelli, Eurocommunism, How European are the Italian Eurocommunists?

SOURCE Urban One of the surprises of the last Italian elections was your candidacy for the Chamber of Deputies on the Communist platform. Your decision to run for election in support of Communist policies was received with a mixture of horror and disbelief, not least because you were one of Italy’s two Commissioners on the Brussels Commission and a leading European Federalist. Those not familiar with the intricacies of Italian Communist politics had reason to be puzzled. Has the PCI sufficiently changed its attitude to Europe for Altiero Spinelli to embrace it, or has Altiero Spinelli changed his politics because the Italian Communists appeared to be set for victory? In either case, there were questions to be asked, both in respect of your attitude to the Communist Party and of the Party’s attitude to the policies you represent. What made you decide to run on the Communist ticket? Spinelli My mandate at the European Commission was about to expire when the elections were announced (it expired at the end of 1976); and as I was close to 70, I decided to return to Italy and retire from public life. In the meantime, I was keeping a close watch on the Italian situation, … Continue reading

Raul “Ilargi” Meijer on Julian Assange

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nUpV8JR38c W. Hall: Good afternoon Raul “Ilargi” Meijer. You have a blog called “Automatic Earth” and you are very active with it. Can you say something about “Automatic Earth”? When was it founded? What is its aim? Ilargi: It was founded almost eleven years ago. Nicole Foss and I founded it because we wanted to write about finance whereas the people we were writing for before that, “The Oil Drum”, didn’t want us to do that and we thought it was too important not to. WH: And what are you doing here in Athens? Ilargi: I’m supporting a group of people who feed the homeless and refugees. I’ve written a bunch of articles at “Automatic Earth” about that. WH: Now even though you have written articles that show clearly how important you think it is to try to defend Julian Assange (I read one that you published today [17/8/2018] that was very much on that subject and it was a powerful article). You really don’t agree with Julian Assange on the importance of defending the European integration project or citizens’ Europe. Ilargi: I have no idea what either of these things are. WH: Well, let’s move on. In an article … Continue reading

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

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