Skip

This is slavery, not to speak one's thought - Euripides
October 13, 2012 10:24 AM   Subscribe

After protests by members and MPs of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn and religious groups, the Athens premiere of the play Corpus Christi was cancelled. A journalist trying to document the protests was reportedly beaten while the police stood by. "A well-known Golden Dawn MP follows me. He punches me twice in the face and knocks me to the ground. While on the ground, I lose my glasses. The Golden Dawn MP kicks me. The police are just two steps away but turn their back". Full translation of the tweets. MP Christos Pappas was later charged for intervening in officers’ attempts to detain a protester. The incident was captured on video, as well as MP Ilias Panayiotaros abusing the actors in a homophobic and racist manner (translation NSFW).

Here is the google-translated blog of a woman who tried to engage with the protesters and was verbally abused. Commentary on the protests.

The Minister of Justice (appointed by the minority coalition party) had ordered before the protests the facilitation of the presence of prosecutors at the theatre and has initiated an inquiry into the matter (Google Translate). At least four parties released statements against the cancellation of the play and the accompanying violence. The show went on on Friday - 35 protesters were detained and were let free afterwards.

Allegations of the party's connection to the police are nothing new. More worryingly, half of Greek police force voted for Golden Dawn compared to the party's 7% share of the popular vote. Here is a comprehensive recent Golden Dawn roundup.

A few days ago fifteen anti-fascist protesters arrested in Athens during a clash with supporters of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn said they were tortured in the Attica General Police Directorate (NSFW images). The government obliged to the parliamentary request of GD to find out the number of children of immigrants in kindergartens (Google translate). GD had warned that if they get into parliament, they "will carry out raids on hospitals and kindergartens and will throw immigrants and their children out on the street so that Greeks can take their place." Several embassies located in Athens have received complaints from their citizens that members of far-right Golden Dawn party have demanded to check their IDs.

As for the sincerity of their christian convictions, one of the MPs present has a track record of blashemy against christianity, pagan worship, and tasteful song titles with his black metal band, Naer Mataron.

Previously.
posted by ersatz (68 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
If the police are corrupt, then does the left have any choice but to arm itself in self-defense?
posted by Jehan at 10:54 AM on October 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


So awful. A politically active, violent, and brazen police force. It smells of impending civil war, and lines like "you will die like your grandfather in the civil war" (uttered by the police, in the fifteen anti-fascists link) do not help.
posted by molecicco at 10:59 AM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jesus, if Golden Dawn is in it with the police, that is some scary coup d'état shit right there.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:07 AM on October 13, 2012




*Bookmarks for next time someone claims only muslims resort to physical violence when presented with provocative art.*
posted by brokkr at 11:25 AM on October 13, 2012 [21 favorites]


not_on_display: "Meanwhile, Alfred Nobel is turning in his grave."
Non sequitur. What does the institution of the EU have to do with this?
posted by brokkr at 11:26 AM on October 13, 2012


Non sequitur. What does the institution of the EU have to do with this?

Forced austerity?
posted by molecicco at 11:30 AM on October 13, 2012 [15 favorites]


Nobel peace prize?
posted by Shit Parade at 11:31 AM on October 13, 2012


These guys are very dangerous. They are also a clear indication that fascism continues to exist and continues to be a viable political strategy, which should chill the blood of any rational human being right or left.

When capitalism fails, contrary to what partisan lying hacks like Jonah Goldberg would have you believe, what happens is that the holders of capital reach out to gangsters and thugs to keep control. They see anything as being better than genuinely democratic social change. Meanwhile, many ordinary people start to see any alternative, even a racist, violent one, as being better than a mainstream that has failed them.

This is not complex. This is modern history 101. But sadly it seems that, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the modern right wing over the past thirty years*, our world is going to spend the first decades of the twenty-first century relearning all the lessons of the 1930s.

* e.g. the insanity of Hayek, thinking that welfare led to fascism (!), the demented strand in American foreign policy that preferred any dictator to a communist, or Leo Strauss, with his crackpot idea that the best way to prevent fascism was to have a secret elite of "philosopher kings".
posted by lucien_reeve at 11:32 AM on October 13, 2012 [55 favorites]


What does the institution of the EU have to do with this?

A lot. A large contributing factor to the rise of GD is the Dublin Regulation. This treaty gives nations the right - not the obligation, but the right - to deport asylum seekers back to their previous point of departure. As there are usually no direct flights from war-torn totalitarian states to the EU, many of these asylum seekers will enter the EU through certain easier points of entry. Greece is currently a bottleneck of refugees. Its location means a lot of asylum seekers coming from the Middle East to Europe will in many cases pass through Greece, and the Dublin Regulation ensures that if they make it through Greece to any other country in Europe, those countries can send them right back to Greece.

This unfairly overburdens Greece, which scarcely has the resources, with asylum seekers both coming and going, and has led to some major human rights abuses against asylum seekers.

The GD has cynically taken advantage of this situation for their own gain, exploiting xenophobia and inciting violence, while the rest of the EU sits back, shakes their finger at Greece, and happily accepts the Nobel Peace Prize.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:33 AM on October 13, 2012 [43 favorites]


Crikey.

Well at least German and French bankers are getting paid.
posted by notyou at 11:38 AM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


What does the institution of the EU have to do with this?

Bailing out bankers, effectively ending Greek sovereignty, and enforcing austerity measures on Greeks, which causes social and economic turmoil that results in the rise of fascist political movements. How have we seen this sort of thing play out before?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:43 AM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


This will be an expensive lesson.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 11:46 AM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Greece really, really needs to default. Then nobody can paint the ensuing problems as 'caused by the EU'.

The bailouts aren't to save Greece, the bailouts are to save the banks, at the expense of Greece. And the Greeks know this.
posted by Malor at 11:48 AM on October 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


Greece has a 70-year history of unfinished business between the fascists and the communists. There is more to the current popularity of Golden Dawn than austerity, though it certainly doesn't help matters.

(And no, I don't understand either why Greece doesn't leave the Euro. Hard to see how they would be worse off.)
posted by brokkr at 11:53 AM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]






And no, I don't understand either why Greece doesn't leave the Euro. Hard to see how they would be worse off.

Vindictiveness?
I mean...If there's any chance at all of taking-down other countries with you...at this point, why not?
posted by Thorzdad at 12:04 PM on October 13, 2012


I've heard the asylum point of entry argument before. Is there any data to back that idea up? Can someone put some numbers around the issue relative to the rest of the EU?
posted by JPD at 12:20 PM on October 13, 2012


What they should do is default, stay in the Euro, and just deal with the fact that they can't have all of what they want. They simply can't afford the living standards that the old Greek government got them used to. Going to their own currency will not change this one iota.
posted by Malor at 12:29 PM on October 13, 2012


I've heard the asylum point of entry argument before. Is there any data to back that idea up? Can someone put some numbers around the issue relative to the rest of the EU?

What the Dublin Regulation does is in the legislation. You might find this article helpful in giving the whole picture. But essentially, it's like this:

Say you're from Iraq, and you want to asylum in the EU. Your easiest and most likely point of entry is going to be through Greece. If you're not stopped and processed in Greece, you move on up into western Europe. Upon reaching, say, Germany, let's say you're stopped there. German authorities, by the grace of the Dublin Regulation, can send you back to the previous country you passed through, who can in turn do the same, and so on, until you're right back at Greece.

Ideally, I think the very least the EU should do is temporarily suspend the Dublin Regulation and take on more of the asylum seekers penned up in Greece. This would not only alleviate the financial burden this places on Greece, but could also have the positive effect of taking some wind out of the GD's sails.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:36 PM on October 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Table 2 on this page seems to support this, citizens of non-EU countries are 7% minority in Greece which seems a bit much considering that only about 10 000/year seek asylum there according to another table 2 here (Eurostat links).
posted by hat_eater at 12:40 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


No you misunderstand me. I understand what the argument is. I want to see numbers of migrants who enter the EU via the land border with Turkey and how that compares to those who arrive by air or boat to other parts of the EU.

Hat Eater's got it.
posted by JPD at 12:40 PM on October 13, 2012


So in terms of foreigners as a % of population Greece is just about at the EU average, but has a much greater proportion of non-EU citizens in that 7%.

Data in this article is dated but seems to imply most of that 7% are Europeans from non EU countries - with Albania being the biggest %.
posted by JPD at 12:50 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the police are corrupt, then does the left have any choice but to arm itself in self-defense?

That's generally frowned on when the right does it, so...
posted by michaelh at 12:56 PM on October 13, 2012




So in terms of foreigners as a % of population Greece is just about at the EU average, but has a much greater proportion of non-EU citizens in that 7%.

These figures typically don't include asylum seekers in refugee camps, as they're considered on their way out in one way or another. This article shines a good light on this:
Greece says it is overwhelmed and needs more support from other European countries. Since 2001, according to numbers provided by the Greek government to UNHCR, the number of asylum seekers has risen from just under 1,200 people to 20,684.

Indeed, as one of the European Union's easternmost countries, Greece is increasingly a gateway for people fleeing conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most pay smugglers to take them by land across Turkey and then by boat to Greece. Many spend time in one of several government-run detention centers for illegal immigrants, where they are fingerprinted, their details entered into an EU-wide system known as FRONTEX, and given deportation orders.

Some choose to stay in Greece, either illegally or by applying for refugee status here. But most plan to continue on to wealthier European countries, like Sweden, known for their more generous asylum policies. They either don't know about the Dublin II rules, or choose to take their chances.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:04 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


They simply can't afford the living standards that the old Greek government got them used to.

So far the 'they should just get used to living in poverty' side of the debate is not going particularly well. If there is a civil war in Greece/a fascist coup/some other horrific variant on that, this all going to turn out even more expensive for the EU in human and economic terms than anything that is going on right now.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 1:07 PM on October 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


It doesn't matter whether it's going well, lesbiassparrow. It doesn't matter whether it's popular. You're arguing that because gravity is unpopular, we should just ignore it.

If the EU wants to give stuff to Greeks to keep them eating, that's fine. It would probably be a good idea. But the idea that Greeks can still have the standard of living they've become accustomed to is fantasy, and the idea that they can ever pay those debts down is laughable.

It doesn't matter how big you are. If you spend more than you make for long enough, and you waste that money on unproductive things, your standard of living is going to drop.
posted by Malor at 1:21 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


No one's said anything to the contrary, but I feel compelled to emphasise that the problem isn't the refugees, it's xenophobia. It's not as if the EU's being overwhelmed by refugees, they just don't want them and if the rest of Europe can push the refugees back to the border states, they can claim it's Greece's xenophobia, not everyone's.
posted by hoyland at 2:07 PM on October 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


I can't help but be amazed that anything neo-nazi could thrive in Greece. The Greek people suffered terribly under the Nazi occupation and the collaborationist government. Hundreds of thousands starved to death or were murdered. What the heck are people thinking? Even 7% is a ridiculously high number for this kind of idiocy.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:20 PM on October 13, 2012


Malor, didn't you use to think that Greece should leave the euro?

Fiscal adjustment for 2010-2012 is €49 Bn or 22.6% of GDP. A moralistic view of economics doesn't help. A lot of the adjustment is in cuts rather than reforms, and the major problem of Greece is that the economy is in a death spiral (6.5% on this fifth year of recession and a projected 3.8% which might be closer to 5 or 6% according to other predictions). Unemployment is at 24% with youth unemployment at 55%. Foreign creditors pushed for the reduction of wages in the private sector, which in turn reduces tax income, internal demand and makes healthy businesses go bankrupt. There are articles floating around about how the estimates of the creditors and focusing on cuts across the board were the wrong decision, which shows that economics is nothing like gravity or tightening one's belt. Yes, you don't want to have deficits but the deficit and debt are percentages of GDP, so if you disregard the latter you end up cutting your nose to spite your face.
posted by ersatz at 2:20 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are a couple of problems with your view, Malor. The first is that wealth distribution follows a power law, and consequently while all Greeks have "lived beyond their means", in the main, the wealthier each Greek is, the more he or she has lived beyond his or her means. Those earning roughly $30K may have spent $35K, on the average; those earning roughly $300K on the other hand are quite capable of running up spending by $600K or more. Wealth begets wealth, as you know - your entire profession is an expression of this principle.

Austerity on the other hand imposes a far more linear burden. Suppose the crisis requires every individual Greek to reduce his/her income by an average of $10K, for the situation to be resolved. (I'm making these figures up.) This is massively more of a burden to the poor, than to the rich. Accordingly, the poor are extremely resentful.

Faced with a resentful lower class, the upper class has few options. It can knuckle down and take responsibility, a proposition that under the rule-of-the-wolf financial philosophy is more comedic than practical; it can stand around waiting to be pitchforked and torched; or it can redirect the rage onto some random less powerful social group such as refugees, the Jews (a race/religion seemingly stuck with the iconic role of undeserving scapegoat), foreigners, journalists and educated people, socialists (ironically, the ones who have the actual correct solution to the problem), working women, and/or hippies.

This crisis is actually the fault of bankers, not the Greek people, in the same way the analogous crisis in the USA a few years ago was also the fault of bankers, generally the same bankers, not the recipients of unsustainable loans. Banks are fundamentally not supposed to be allowed to make unsustainable loans, and definitely not allowed to mingle funds intended to earn interest from lending, with funds intended for speculatory investment. That they do, and then set about blaming the recipients of the loans, is in my view a situation that ought to lead to the nationalization of the banks at fault, and the jailing (or at least, decertification and asset-stripping) of their directors as individual people.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:32 PM on October 13, 2012 [16 favorites]


Malor: "What they should do is default, stay in the Euro ..."
How would that work?
posted by brokkr at 2:33 PM on October 13, 2012


1adam12, they are thinking of themselves as nationalists standing up for the rights of Greeks. If this goes far enough that they actually got to go to war, they would want to occupy some neighbouring country, install a collaborating puppet government, and suck the resources out of it for their own gain.

Fascists do not practice reflective ethics. If they did, they could not remain fascists. This is actually the nutshell of the entire left/right political divide.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:40 PM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Recently watched the movie Z, parts of which sound very similar to the protests outside the premiere. It was my first time watching it, and I didn't know anything about the real-world events the movie dramatizes, so when the coda explains how the country was taken over by a military junta that immediately banned many forms of philosophy, art and pop culture, it seemed like a farce of what could actually happen. And then I looked it up and the truth isn't that far off.
posted by chrominance at 2:40 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


(I mean, I'm sure that's not news to most of you, but for 1adam12 wondering how neo-Nazism or fascism could thrive in Greece so close to World War II, that may shed some light)
posted by chrominance at 2:42 PM on October 13, 2012


Yes, you don't want to have deficits but the deficit and debt are percentages of GDP, so if you disregard the latter you end up cutting your nose to spite your face.

The important thing to keep in mind is that it isn't Malor's nose or face you are arguing about.
posted by srboisvert at 2:47 PM on October 13, 2012


How can Greece be Fascist? Well, since you asked...
posted by marienbad at 2:58 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Greece also had its own proto-fascist coup in the 1930s. Like Nazism and Italian Fascism, the Metaxas regime promoted things such as quasi-military youth organization and harked back to supposed ancient values and symbology. This is by no means a new strain in Greek politics.

As chrominance discovered, Z is based on real events (through a barely-disguised fictional novel), and is must-viewing for anyone curious about current events. I don't know that Golden Dawn is on the route to controlling the government -- at this point I would say not -- but they clearly derive their political power from the same heady brew as predecessor movements.

1adam12, where do you think the collaborationist government came from? It did not fall from the sky.
posted by dhartung at 3:24 PM on October 13, 2012


And Europe continues to say "Ας φάνε παντεσπάνι"
posted by symbioid at 3:44 PM on October 13, 2012


socialists (ironically, the ones who have the actual correct solution to the problem)

Because PASOK did such a great job the last time?

Banks are fundamentally not supposed to be allowed to make unsustainable loans, and definitely not allowed to mingle funds intended to earn interest from lending, with funds intended for speculatory investment.

What does that even mean? Would loans to the Greek government count as speculative?

There isn't really an easy solution to Greece's problems. Even if they did default on their debt, they'd still have either a massive deficit or have to borrow yet more money.
posted by atrazine at 4:22 PM on October 13, 2012


I don't understand why they were protesting the play.
posted by windykites at 4:28 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


As for the sincerity of their christian convictions, one of the MPs present has a track record of blashemy against christianity

And yet they'll have a Pastafarian arrested on charges of blasphemy.
posted by homunculus at 5:05 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Greece has a 70-year history of unfinished business between the fascists and the communists. There is more to the current popularity of Golden Dawn than austerity, though it certainly doesn't help matters.

Yes.

This site has a wealth of material for those interested in this conflict.
posted by BigSky at 5:13 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


What does that even mean? Would loans to the Greek government count as speculative?

Yes. Whether a loan is investment or speculative grade is indicated by its bond rating, and, at present, Greece's S&P rating is CCC.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 5:19 PM on October 13, 2012


Yes. Whether a loan is investment or speculative grade is indicated by its bond rating, and, at present, Greece's S&P rating is CCC.

Obviously, but the point is they weren't in 2006.
posted by atrazine at 5:33 PM on October 13, 2012


Ah, sorry. I misinterpreted your statement as asking why lending to Greece presently would be speculative. My apologies.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:26 PM on October 13, 2012


What they should do is default, stay in the Euro, and just deal with the fact that they can't have all of what they want. They simply can't afford the living standards that the old Greek government got them used to. Going to their own currency will not change this one iota.

How would that work?

You're watching it play out right now. Unemployment will get worse and it'll start biting the 35-55 segment hard instead of making just young people miserable. The government won't be able to pay its debts or its obligations to the Greek people and won't have the money to send out checks little alone have them cashed. Public servants in any roles that don't have revenue to cover their operations will probably be furloughed or laid off and the country will slowly descend into chaos as the Greek government struggles to maintain legitimacy with the people.

The well off Greeks will probably grab their passports and flee to neighboring countries while the rest fight over the power in the vacuum that's left. Violence will probably escalate and immigrant massacres and mass deportations have a non-trivial chance of occurring. Facism will probably gain a new foothold.

There isn't really an easy solution to Greece's problems. Even if they did default on their debt, they'd still have either a massive deficit or have to borrow yet more money.

There's an easy solution to Greece's problems. The ECB buys Greece's bonds to stem the tide, the technocrats get in there and overhaul the welfare system to something more reasonable while they figure out which export industries are left to stuff money into to try and pull the country's industry away from the brink. Overhaul the tax collection system, nail some high profile tax cheats to the wall and try to get the government services back on track. Then they try to figure out just what Greece can make or services they can provide to get some money flowing back into the country.

But that's been incredibly unpopular so far in both Greece and in the core EU nations that would effectively be backstopping this plan. Instead the entire continent has been busy cutting off their noses and yelling "WELL FACE WHAT DO YOU THINK NOW?"

This notion of "punishment" or suffering as atonement for past sins that people like Malor proffer doesn't help at all. Unless people work together to fix this mess instead of focusing on the punitive aspects and who's to blame the whole ship is going to go down.
posted by Talez at 6:27 PM on October 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


There ought to be words for 'easy to produce the result we all want but are politically impossible' and 'politically easy but very unlikely to produce the result we want.'

Debt, at its heart, is a human construct. It's not gravity, it's Pokémon cards. To the extent it tries to represent a physical reality in order to force decisions preventing things like famine, it's often a weak abstraction. What we really need is a stronger abstraction, not a famine as punishment just because, you know, austerity!
posted by ifandonlyif at 7:02 PM on October 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


It doesn't matter whether it's going well, lesbiassparrow. It doesn't matter whether it's popular. You're arguing that because gravity is unpopular, we should just ignore it.

No, I'm not arguing that at all, for the very good reason that economics and gravity are not the same things at all. Economics are not some law imposed on us by nature/science/the world: it's the laws we chose to impose on ourselves. We can argue as to whether that's a god thing or not, but surely not even the most committed fan of the market et al would argue that it's akin to gravity.

Also I repeat my point: if Greece goes down the tubes of violence and fascism it will have very expensive human consequences for the EU. Far more expensive than any bailout would ever be.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:01 PM on October 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Austerity is totally working.
posted by bardic at 12:02 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's an easy solution to Greece's problems. The ECB buys Greece's bonds to stem the tide, the technocrats get in there and overhaul the welfare system to something more reasonable while they figure out which export industries are left to stuff money into to try and pull the country's industry away from the brink. Overhaul the tax collection system, nail some high profile tax cheats to the wall and try to get the government services back on track.

That isn't really what I would call an easy solution.
posted by atrazine at 12:25 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is no way that Greece can remain inside the EU because they cannot raise tax revenues to support their government spending. You could blame multinational banks and military contractors for pushing all this debt on them, but those outside forces would just do it again if Europe bails them out.

Conversely, if they leave the EU then short term their social problems get worse, but long term their government losing that EU credit card means they spend the money they collect or print better, i.e. non-military spending.

There isn't afaik much revenue except tourism in Croatia either, and Croatia's politicians are spectacularly corrupt like Greece's, yet Croatia has functioning social services, education, etc.

We should also observe that Nazi Germany inherited the heavy industry to rebuild a war machine, but Greece buys abroad, meaning Golden Dawn cannot do much damage outside Greece.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:08 AM on October 14, 2012


We should observe that Dublin Regulation basically describes how immigration, asylum, etc. work everywhere else. If you arrive in Texas, you apply for asylum in Texas, not Colorado. Dublin has caused problems only because the E.U. doesn't fund the asylum evaluations.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:34 AM on October 14, 2012


There is no way that Greece can remain inside the EU because they cannot raise tax revenues to support their government spending. You could blame multinational banks and military contractors for pushing all this debt on them, but those outside forces would just do it again if Europe bails them out.

Oh, come on. If you blame outside forces, then the thing to do is regulate their behaviour. Greece never stopped buying military equipment in spite of NATO and EU membership and leaving the EU would only exacerbate that. You bring up the example of the US, but the US guarantees the territorial integrity of its states whereas the EU doesn't. It's ridiculous for Greece to be in a top list of military spenders. Also, as long as we're talking about outside factors, economic supervision in the EU was a bit of a joke and I'm not talking just about Greece.

The problematic behaviours that led to the crisis were mostly internal, but it's not an axiom that Greece cannot finance its spending. I forget the specifics, but had the government retained its spending levels pre-2004, public debt would have remained viable. The budget predicts a primary surplus for next year i.e. before interest payments, in spite of the failed growth estimates of experts for the past years, so it's possible. Not only did Greece cut its deficit massively, but no one goes around saying that the UK won't ever balance its budget even though it has seen surplus for three years since 1979.

An article from May 2010 estimates that 550.000 Greeks had left the country in the last decade for job-related reasons. I saw claims that this number had almost doubled since. Research on brain drain from University of Macedonia until May 2010 found that 84.1% of Greek graduates who worked abroad stayed abroad. 73% had a MA, 51,2% a PhD and 41% had studied in a top 100 university. The first reason for leaving was job prospects, the second was meritocracy and only the third was the salary, which is impressive considering that if you were on E1000/month, before crisis, and you were younger than 35, you were considered lucky. Greeks work the longest hours in the EU and they do fine abroad. Anecdotally, one out of two people in their 20s whom I know is abroad now and if Greece left the EU, the brain drain would become permanent and these are the people Greece needs most. It's not some character flaw; it's a crooked environment and significant part of support for the EU in Greece is because people see its potential as a modernising force. However, the same political class that failed is still in place and there are steps forward and steps back. Had the creditors insisted at first on structural reforms instead of horizontal cuts, things might have been better. Deep shocks end up having political repercussions and, so, here we are.
posted by ersatz at 5:51 AM on October 14, 2012


We should observe that Dublin Regulation basically describes how immigration, asylum, etc. work everywhere else. If you arrive in Texas, you apply for asylum in Texas, not Colorado. Dublin has caused problems only because the E.U. doesn't fund the asylum evaluations.

That's true, but if you apply for asylum in California having entered the US in Texas, you will not be sent back to Texas to wait for a hearing, right?
posted by atrazine at 5:53 AM on October 14, 2012


Had the creditors insisted at first on structural reforms instead of horizontal cuts, things might have been better. Deep shocks end up having political repercussions and, so, here we are.

Wouldn't that have been seen as a much greater intrusion into Greek sovereignty than just insisting on cuts in total spending?
posted by atrazine at 5:55 AM on October 14, 2012


Depends on the kind of reforms I guess. There would be protests in any case, but people consider unfair the way the crisis has been handled so far. The brunt has been borne by salarymen, who have easily verifiable income, and poor people due to the deterioration or cancellation of services. The newest cuts include cutting the minimum pensions of E360 pensions to E330 and extending pension age from 65 to 67 to save small amounts of money. A significant chunk of people considered the agreements* an opportunity to reform the state, but most have been disillusioned.
posted by ersatz at 7:33 AM on October 14, 2012




atrazine: "That's true, but if you apply for asylum in California having entered the US in Texas, you will not be sent back to Texas to wait for a hearing, right?"
In an abstract view, the Dublin Regulation mainly re-implements the pre-Schengen internal borders of the European Union. The implementation may be a point of contention, but if you look at the pre-Schengen situation, then you couldn't just sneak past the Greek border (fairly easy by boat from Turkey, for instance) and travel unhindered to e.g. Denmark. You would have to pass at least four other borders* without being stopped before you could apply for asylum in Denmark. So, while the Schengen treaty did away with the internal border controls, the Dublin Regulations basically say that since asylum seekers wouldn't have made it through their initial point of entry into the EU, we agree that that's where their asylum case should be heard. This is obviously a bone to the "inner" member states who were concerned that by giving up their own border control, they would effectively outsource protection of their border to e.g. Greeks, whom they don't trust to do so effectively - especially if the Greeks know that asylum seekers will skip through Greece anyway and become Somebody Else's Problem.

(My personal opinion is that northwestern Europe absolutely should "import" immigrants and asylum seekers from southern Europe both out of moral obligations and also because the ECRE, the UNHCR, the Council of Europe and the ECHR thinks it's broken.)

*) Greece - Italy, Italy - Austria, Austria - Germany and Germany - Denmark.
posted by brokkr at 2:06 AM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there any word on what the rest of the Greek government's response to all this is? Why are we not hearing about motions to throw out MPs who engage in illegal behaviour (such as physically attacking citizens at a protest)? Why are we not hearing about investigations into officers who refer people to the Golden Dawn for protection? Or the removal or replacement of high ups in the police who are allowing this kind of behaviour to occur?
posted by molecicco at 6:13 AM on October 15, 2012


Because it would be playing right into GD hands: they produce an illusion of credibility by claiming to be unfairly persecuted by the rest of the political system. The rest of the parliament have treated them at arms length so far - some verbal confrontation and theater for the cameras, and the rest left to the courts.
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:29 AM on October 15, 2012




Fear and loathing in Athens: the rise of Golden Dawn and the far right
In austerity-ravaged Greece, neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn is on the rise. Their MPs give fascist salutes, while on the streets black-shirted vigilantes beat up immigrants. And some of their most enthusiastic supporters are in the police
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:45 AM on October 27, 2012




Greek journalists warn over press freedom.
Dimitris Trimis, the head of the Athens Newspaper Editors Union said the current pressure on press freedom was the most intense of his career. "This is a matter of democracy," Trimis said. "The government feels insecure. The only way it feels it can convince society of its policies is to try to manipulate the media through coercion.
posted by adamvasco at 5:38 PM on October 29, 2012 [1 favorite]




« Older Guy who gets it   |   Rosalie Lightning Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post