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Crisis

by Akis Gavriilidis

Recently, the anthropologist David Graeber suggested through Tweeter that “Greece should charge the rest of Europe for it past contributions”. He even made concrete quantified proposals as to how much should be charged: “100 billion euros for Aeschylus” and “200 bil for Socrates”.

A similar suggestion was made some time ago by the veteran French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard.

These statements were no doubt made in good intention: they were meant as a display of solidarity for the bullying the Greek society has been submitted to the past 5 years due to the debt crisis. It is also true that their authors were addressing mainly the European public opinion, especially its sections which have proven vulnerable to cultural racism against the allegedly lazy, good-for-nothing Greeks. However, when somebody is speaking about a certain country, they should give some consideration to how this speaking will sound in the country itself. And in Greece these statements sound quite nasty, believe me. As a person who is trying to fight in Greece against the austerity regime and the Read More

by Akis Gavriilidis

 

 

The current conjuncture, in Greece and also beyond, is marked by efforts to make sense of what happened at the February negotiations within the Eurogroup. Sources close to the Greek government try to present their outcome as a «victory», while other people, outside but also inside SYRIZA, consider instead that this was a “defeat” or a “capitulation”.

I believe the latter impression presupposes a conception about strategy which is itself Eurocentric and masculinist (or phallogocentric, to use Derrida’s neologism); a conception organized around the image of the definitive battle where one has to show bravery and prevail over the opponent. Without sharing the view that this was exactly a “victory” –for roughly the same reasons.

In what follows, I will try in turn to read the strategy (if any) applied by the Greek government in these negotiations, and its gains (if any), through the lens of two closely related axioms:

– Power is not a thing, nor a substance, but it is the capacity of acting upon actions (Foucault).

– The good strategy is to try not to crush your opponent’s forces, but to use them –especially when these forces are devastatingly Read More

By Akis Gavriilidis & Sofia Lalopoulou

First publication: Law and Critique (2012, DOI: 10.1007/s10978-012-9110-0)

Mια πρώτη μορφή του άρθρου αυτού είχε δημοσιευθεί στα ελληνικά εδώ

Abstract

In October 2011, George Papandreou, the then Greek Prime Minister, announced he was planning to hold a referendum in order for the Greek people to decide whether to agree to the bailout plan prepared by the International Monetary Fund, the Central European Bank and the European Commission. This intention was aborted due to intense pressure by Papandreou’s European partners, especially Germany and France. This interference clearly shows the problematic relationship between the so-called “markets” and national-popular sovereignty. This article raises the question why this interference happened in the first place, why the global markets felt such a big threat before the possibility of a vote taking place in a small country of 10 million inhabitants. And also, importantly, what this means in terms of potential for political agency by those who are usually considered be lacking such agency, as having “no other alternative” than to follow the one way course of neoliberalism.

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1. The radicalisation of the Greek society exceeds all the formal social and political dynamics that have burst into the central political scene in the context of the two rounds of the Greek parliamentary elections (May 6 and June 17). The electoral results are overshadowed, in many respects, by the social forces and antagonisms that continue to push existing parliamentary politics to its limits.

The last gasp of the old political system was the attempt to strip off the electoral campaign from these antagonisms. The attempt has been ‘successful’, but only within the horizon of the short-term reduction of their electoral losses that seems impossible to sustain for much longer. In both elections, there was no political party campaigning with a pro-memorandum agenda (apart from some fringe neo-liberal parties (practically sponsored by media and corporate conglomerates) who didn’t even manage to reach the threshold of 3% of the votes in order to elect MPs. All the parties of the old establishment shifted towards a ‘re-negotiation of the memorandum’ platform that was supposed to neutralise the ‘politics of the nullification of the memorandum’ proposed by Syriza. The electoral dilemma was then set as one between ‘responsible multilateral negotiations’ with our European partners and a politics of unilateralism (that would automatically jeopardise Greece’s Euro membership according to the anti-Syriza bloc), but all within the framework of ‘the memorandum is not sustainable’ discourse. Along these lines, the ruling parties pursued a strategy of re-nationalisation, calling for national unity ‘to change the memorandum in the best we can’, and castigated Syriza for being the obstacle to the re-institution of this national unity. Read More

του Jean-François Gava

Το πραγματικά νέο γεγονός που προέκυψε από τις ελληνικές εκλογές δεν είναι τόσο ότι ένας συνασπισμός της ριζοσπαστικής αριστεράς (ο ΣΥ.ΡΙΖ.Α.) εκτοξεύτηκε στη θέση της δεύτερης πολιτικής δύναμης, αλλά το ότι ο σχηματισμός αυτός αρνείται να κυβερνήσει, τουλάχιστο με αντίτιμο τις αναπόφευκτες θυσίες των πληθυσμών. Το ΠΑΣΟΚ, το οποίο δεν στερείται θράσους, τον κατηγορεί ότι δεν είχε το σθένος να συμβάλει στην εθνική σωτηρία και αναδιπλώθηκε σε στενά κομματικά συμφέροντα. Στο στόμα του ΠΑΣΟΚ, και του κρατικού προσωπικού εν γένει, «εθνική σωτηρία» σημαίνει Read More

του Άκη Γαβριηλίδη

Το βράδυ της 18/5, διέρρευσε η πληροφορία ότι η Άνγκελα Μέρκελ «πρότεινε» στην Ελλάδα να διεξαγάγει δημοψήφισμα με θέμα την παραμονή ή όχι της χώρας στο ευρώ –για να ημι-διαψευσθεί αμέσως μετά.

Όπως είναι βέβαια γνωστό, την ιδέα του δημοψηφίσματος είχε προτείνει και ο Γ. Παπανδρέου περί τα τέλη του περασμένου Οκτωβρίου, με αποτέλεσμα να τον κατακεραυνώσουν όλοι –μεταξύ των οποίων και η ίδια η Μέρκελ- και να αρχίσει η αντίστροφη μέτρηση για την αποπομπή του. Στο ζήτημα αυτό είχαμε τότε αναφερθεί εκτενώς από αυτό εδώ το μπλογκ.

Οπωσδήποτε υπάρχει ζήτημα ανακολουθίας, και οπωσδήποτε υπάρχει ζήτημα ανάμιξης στα εσωτερικά του κράτους. Ωστόσο, τι μας ενδιαφέρει εμάς τι είναι εσωτερικό και τι εξωτερικό στο κράτος; Μεγαλύτερη Read More

The Olympic stadium in Munich, supposedly attended by no other but the Fürer himself, is where an epochal football match between German Philosophers and the Greek philosophers is about to start in Monty Python’s sketch. The German line up consisted of: Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Shelling, Schlegel, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche and Heidegger, backed up by Beckenbauer and Jaspers; the Greek’s consisted of: Plato, Epictetus, Aristotle, Sophocles, Empedocles, Plotin, Epicurus, Heraclitus, Democritus, Socrates, and Archimedes. Confucius is the referee and the two side referees are St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. The whistle blows; Germans are to start the game, but Hegel, who is supposed to kick the ball, falls instantly into a deep meditation along with he entire German team of philosophers. Overburdened with harkening the Logos and being more Greek then the Greeks, he allows Archimedes to steal the ball. Short passes between him Socrates and Heraclitus lead to a spectacular goal and Greek victory. Read More