P52 Migrants , 19 July 2015 © Irish Defence Forces |Flickr
EssaysFeature

No Border Police, No Border Problems

Most of the debate about the European refugee crisis revolves around whether the responsibility of handling them belongs to European institutions or to individual nation states, and, if the latter, which among them: the first country of entry (as the Dublin regulations established) or some other country. In this brief intervention, I would like to suggest that this is a false dilemma: in terms of citizenship, the European Union is dependent on the nation states that comprise it and thus, as a whole, Europe, as a political organization, is still largely dependent on their underlying logic. But the states are incapable of handling the crisis precisely because they are the very source of it. 

I will be using “migrant” and “refugee” interchangeably. As the summer approaches, and quick rubber-boat rides become easier to access, Europe will again witness an intensification of the economic migration from the North African coast,  …

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"NO" demonstration in Athens © Ggia | Wikimedia Commons
DemocracyEssays

Democracy or Immaturity?

Interpretations of the Greek referendum in the Euro Zone

The referendum that Alexis Tsipras announced in the early hours of June 27, just days before the expiration of Greece’s rescue program, was from the very beginning a dangerous gamble with little chance of success. His main objective was to strengthen his position as far as his internal rivals are concerned — mainly the hardliners within Syriza who opposed a solution that would entail austerity measures — and his government’s negotiation tactics abroad. The referendum, announced hastily and featuring a fuzzily-worded question on the approval or dismissal of a text that was no longer under negotiation, divided the Greek people deeply and became the subject of heated debates. The clamorous 61% in favor of a “No” vote more accurately reflects people’s accumulated frustration over the ongoing hardship of five consecutive years, rather than an outright rejection of the common currency, as interpreted by the vast majority of the European leadership. …

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Painting of Pheidippides as he gave word of the Greek victory over Persia at the Battle of Marathon to the people of Athens. Luc-Olivier Merson, 1869 © Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons
CapitalismDemocracyEssays

The Greek Referendum: A New Battle of Marathon

The historical resonance, significance and challenges of 'no' on July 5th

Some commentators have compared the victory of the “Oxi” at the Greek referendum of July 5th to a Pyrrhic victory, implying that while the anti-austerity camp won this battle, it is doomed to lose the war, strangled by the insurmountable economic difficulties caused by the lack of liquidity. Others have suggested that the referendum looked like the Thermopylae battle of 480 BCE, where three hundred Spartans valiantly fought the Persian army and lost. A better comparison, however, in my judgment is that with the Battle of Marathon. …

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Andreas Kalyvas on the Critical Situation in Greece and Europe
CapitalismDemocracyMulti MediaVideo

Andreas Kalyvas on the Critical Situation in Greece and Europe

A conversation with Jeffrey Goldfarb

Andreas Kalyvas and I sat down the other day to discuss the situation of Greece and Europe. He and I have been talking about politics for years, in Wroclaw, in Johannesburg, in New York. We understand each other as we differ. He is a leftist, committed to radical transformation. I feel a need to understand how transformations can be realized, and when it comes to revolutions, it’s the self- limiting kind that I saw up close in Poland that I think is most desirable. He is a political dreamer with the eye on the utopian (this is not a criticism), while my dreams are more rooted in experience. …

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Graphic with dots representing seats in the Greek Parliament as of Jan. 25, 2015. Syriza in pink with 149. © JackWilfred | Wikimedia Commons
DemocracyEssaysThe Left

Hope and its Discontents in Greece

The impressive victory of Syriza in the January 25th Greek elections was the direct result of increasing popular discontent with the Greek political elites and years of self-defeating austerity. The party, which symbolized a break with the past, ran on a platform based on hope, in contrast to the campaign of fear waged by the center-right government of New Democracy. “Hope is under way” was the main slogan, reverberating the famous Chilean “La alegria ya viene” from the referendum on Pinochet in the mid-1980s. Syriza played well on that terrain, promising to the people radical change, including the drastic restructuring of the debt through a 1953-style international conference, and the rejection of the memorandum of agreement with the “troika” of bailout monitors.

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Stop fascism symbol © Zoya Fedorova | Dreamstime.com
DemocracyEssays

Fascism on Trial: Greece and Beyond

Last week, Greeks woke up with a shocking phone video that was posted on the newspaper Kathimerini’s website and then went immediately viral on the Internet. A toddler dressed in a traditional Greek uniform, bearing a Nazi armlet on his right arm, and holding a Nazi flag, was being taught by an adult how to perform the Nazi salute and say Heil Hitler. The adult was identified as Christos Pappas, the second in command of the neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn. This is not the result of a phone hacking scandal. The video was retrieved from Mr. Pappas’s phone and is part of the massive evidence that prosecutors have collected to put fascism on trial. …

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Athens Polytechnic © Aleksandr Zykov | Flickr
EducationEssays

The Plight of Greek Higher Education

Greek higher education has been, for the past four years, under a double attack, both by crippling austerity-induced budget cuts and by an attempt to accelerate the imposition of aggressively neoliberal reforms towards an entrepreneurial model of higher education.

To understand the importance of these processes, we must take into consideration the role of higher education in Greece as a contested terrain of social struggles. For a long time one of the basic forms of upward social mobility, access to a public higher education was considered at the same time a basic social right and something worth fighting for, both individually and collectively. …

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