by Pavlos Hatzopoulos and Nelli Kambouri
The discourse on migration in Athens is anchored to three propositions that are often shared by both the pro-migration and anti-migration positions.
1. The Centre: The first proposition is that migration is constituted as a problem primarily in the Centre of Athens. Contrary to the conceptualization of migration as a movement, whose form and impact are dispersed, migration becomes condensed in a specific bounded location, a near static phenomenon that can be easily identified and mapped in Cartesian geographical terms. Anti-migration arguments concentrate on a «kick the migrants out of the centre of Athens» position, while pro-migration on a «we need to design social policies for the improvement of the social conditions and the infrastructures in the centre of Athens» stance. In both cases, dealing with migration is associated with the claim that something «needs to be done» with the Centre of Athens. Read More
1. The 12th February demonstration in Athens, consolidated, what is becoming clearer in the past weeks: a growing majority of the Greek people support the refusal of the memorandum no.2 no matter what. In spite of the fear mongering spread by the pro-memorandum forces that a negative parliamentary vote would entail an immediate euro exit and the ensuing Africanisation of Greece, the popular support for the new EU-ECB-IMF loans and the correlated austerity measures is waning significantly. The formal political debate is increasingly based on a politics of fear: the government’s and mainstream media’s principal argumentation is stripped, on the one hand, to the bare threat of what a disorderly Greek bankruptcy would entail -invoking often assumed similarities with Greece’s plight during the World War II occupation by German and Italian troops- with basic food and medicine shortages and a lack of basic public amenities like gas, heating, electricity; on the other hand even mainstream media cannot but be critical vis-à-vis the most dismantling provisions of the memorandum no.2 for any sign of consensual legitimacy, such as the automatic decrease by 22% of minimum wages, the content and scope of collective bargaining and so on, insisting however ‘in the final analysis’ that the dilemma posed leaves only one choice. Read More