Taking Action Against Austerity, Greek Activists Block Home Foreclosures

By Michael Nevradakis for Truthout – Once again, Greece is in the throes of domestic unrest. Despite the fact that global solidarity movements and the mainstream media have seemingly forgotten about Greece following last July’s referendum, in recent weeks, Greeks have been taking action. Farmers have set up roadblocks in hundreds of locations throughout Greece and have descended upon the capital; lawyers are on strike; accountants have declared that they will abstain from filing tax returns for their clients; and ordinary citizens have once again filled the streets in protest of the Syriza government’s proposed pension cuts, recapitalization of the banks and tax increases.

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Where Refugee Solidarity & Alternative Economy Converge

By Staff of Undercover Info – The centre known as Notara26 is located on 26 Notara Street in Athens and offers solidarity to refugees to cover their immediate needs (shelter, food, medical assistance). The centre provides temporary accommodation, basic medical treatment, clothing and information for up to 130 refugees each day. More than 1,700 refugees and migrants stopped over in Notara between September 25 and December 1 last year alone. The centre continues to act as a focal point for refugees who arrive in Athens and need somewhere to stay for a while.

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Greek Farmers Clash With Police, Parade Tractors In Protest

By Lefteries Padadimas And Alkis Konstantinidis for Reuters – Angry Greek farmers clashed with riot police in Athens then paraded their tractors and pick-ups outside parliament on Friday, in their first big protest in the capital against pension reform plans after weeks of road blockades. Officers guarded the entrance to the agricultural ministry and fired tear gas to disperse protesters who hurled tomatoes, eggplants and stones at the building, smashing windows and using shepherd’s crooks to repel police during scuffles.

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Greek Match Delayed Players Protest Migrant Deaths

Reuters published inThe Guardian. A Greek second-tier league match was delayed on Friday when players staged a sit-down protest against the death toll of migrants trying to reach the Aegean islands.

The gesture of solidarity took place before the game between AEL Larissa and Acharnaikos in the Thessalian city of Larissa.

As the match kicked off all 22 players plus coaches and substitutes sat in silence for two minutes in a show of respect to the hundreds of refugees who have lost their lives trying to escape conflict or persecution in countries such as Syria and Iraq.

An announcement over the club’s PA system stated: “The administration of AEL, the coaches and the players will observe two minutes of silence just after the start of the match in memory of the hundreds of children who continue to lose their lives every day in the Aegean due to the brutal indifference of the EU and Turkey.

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Protests At Greek Border A Day After 46 Migrants Drown

By Staff of Associated Press – ALEXANDROUPOLIS, Greece — A day after 46 migrants drowned in a choppy Aegean Sea, protesters demonstrated Saturday at a Greek border town to demand that Greece ease transit restrictions at its heavily militarized border with Turkey. Most of the 200-kilometer land border between Greece and Turkey is separated by the Evros River — known as the Meric River in Turkey. But a nearly eight-mile stretch of land separating the two countries was previously lined with mine fields and is now separated by a fence.

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A Message Of Hope For The New Year

By Jack Balkwill for Dissident Voice. There have been many victories and we need to celebrate them. Among the victories was stopping the northern portion of the KXL pipeline, various new laws in 24 states to prevent police violence and an increase inprosecutions of police who commit violence, and the increase in wages across the country and winning the critically important battle for net neutrality. These were people-powered victories that showed when we act together we have the power to defeat corporate interests.

Another ongoing series of victories is seeing local people, who have not been involved in activism, working along with experienced, often young, energy activists, taking on big energy companies in an aggressive way. This is a victory.

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Anti-Austerity Protests In Greece Draw Thousands, Police Conflicts

By Jess McHugh for Greek for International Business Times – Greek protests turned violent in Athens Thursday while international leaders discussed the latest round of budget and pension reforms in the debt-ridden country, angering workers who say the changes are unfair. The southern European nation has been suffering under strict austerity measures, such as reduced social spending and higher taxes, for the past five years, and the top two workers’ unions in the nation organized the protests as a way to push back against the ruling government. The unpopular austerity measures, including pension cuts, budget reductions and deep slashing of social services, were exchanged for cash bailouts from European lenders following a continent-wide recession in 2008…

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In Aristotle’s Homeland, Canadian Mining Giant Fights Ban

By Deidre Fulton for Common Dreams – In the latest chapter of an ongoing fight over resource extraction, foreign investment, and environmental degradation, a Canadian mining company appealed to Greece’s top court on Friday to overturn a ban on its plans to develop a gold mine in the forested peninsula of Halkidiki. A day before resigning to call a general election in August, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ government revoked Eldorado Gold’s permit for the Halkidiki mine, citing environmental concerns and violations of contract terms. “When there is a contract signed with the Greek state, this should be respected,” GreekEnergy Minister Panos Skourletis said at the time. “This is not because we want to cause investors trouble but because we want to protect the environment.”

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Anarchists Have Taken Over A Building In Athens To House Refugees

By Melpomeni Maragkidou – A huge banner reading “Refugees Welcome Home” is draped across the front of a derelict building in Exarchia, Athens – a district that’s generally regarded as the spiritual home to the city’s anarchist movement. On Tuesday morning, members of the Anti-authoritarian Movement Athens (AK) occupied a former university dining hall, with the aim of transforming it into a temporary residence for refugees. They want to fix up the space and make it fit to accommodate refugee and migrant families arriving in Athens.

Crossing a rubble-strewn courtyard, I entered the building to find members of AK making plans for an open meeting later that day. They offered to show me around and explained that before any refugees can be housed, they’ll need to work together to clean, disinfect and make the place habitable.

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Greece: SYRIZA Wins Elections But This Is No Mandate For Austerity

By Fred Weston and Arturo Rodriguez in Marxist – SYRIZA won the elections yesterday, which Tsipras claims gives him a mandate to continue on the road he had already embarked on this summer, i.e. to apply the conditions dictated by the Troika. He, however, conveniently ignores the not unimportant detail that his government coalition (SYRIZA-ANEL) lost a total of 416,000 compared to the vote in January.

In percentage terms SYRIZA received 35.46% almost the same as January’s 36.3%, but in absolute terms the party lost 320,000 votes. New Democracy won 28%, almost the same as January’s 27.8%, but it too lost many votes in absolute terms, nearly 200,000.

What has distorted the result was the much larger numbers abstaining this time round. In January 37% did not vote, while this time it was 43.5% and of those who went to the polling stations 2.5% cast a blank vote.

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Newsletter: Transformation – Elections & Movements

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance – The United States has unusual challenges for movements working in the electoral system. The two party system is deeply embedded in law and political consciousness so it is very hard for a party challenging Wall Street to be successful. Wall Street and big business are the dominant funders of both parties, the corporate media echoes their message and debates managed by the two parties through a phony “debate commission” keep out alternative views. People challenging that system have little opportunity to get their message out and be viable in the rigged US democracy. The relationship between movements and elections is complicated to navigate but to succeed we will need both an electoral and non-electoral movement that are independent of the corporate duopoly.

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Greece Into The Elections – What Stage Are We At?

By Stamatis Karagiannopoulos and Fred Weston in Marxist – Greece goes to the elections on Sunday, the outcome of which will be determined by several factors, an important one being the sense of betrayal and disappointment among many of the SYRIZA voters, but there is also a process of radicalisation taking place on the left.

The outgoing government started the biggest privatisation plan ever, worth 50 billion euros. They have raised the age of retirement to 67, cut the minimum pension to 350 euros. They are also cutting by 100 euros disability pensions. Ordinary people have lost the equivalent of almost two wages because of the increase in VAT.

After the elections, in line with the dictates contained in the third Memorandum that Tsipras signed up to in August, we will see a barrage of austerity measures passed through parliament.

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The New Colonialism: Greece & Ukraine

By Jack Rasmus in Information Clearinghouse – A new form of colonialism is emerging in Europe. Not colonialism imposed by military conquest and occupation, as in the 19th century. Not even the more efficient form of economic colonialism pioneered by the U.S. in the post-1945 period, where the costs of direct administration and military occupation were replaced with compliant local elites allowed to share in the wealth extracted in exchange for being allowed to rule on behalf of the colonizers.

In the 21st century, it is “colonialism by means of financial asset transfer.” It is colony wealth extraction by colonizing country managers, assigned to directly administer the processes in the colony by which financial assets are to be transferred. This new form of colonialism by direct management plus financial wealth transfer is now emerging in Greece and Ukraine.

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Latvia And Greece Kick Monsanto Out, Opt To Ban GM Crops!

By Amanda Froelich in True Activist – First Scotland opted to ban GM crops from its country, citing fear of GMO crops contaminating its food supply, then Germany followed suit. Now, both Latvia and Greece have booted Monsanto from their countries and banned the only GM crop presently allowed to be grown in EU countries, Monsanto’s MON810 GM Maize.

If it wasn’t clear before, it seems quite evident that the tide is turning. Big biotech companies are losing influence by the day, and the addition of two more European countries in favor of banning GMOs is evidence of that.

Under the EU law signed in March, individual countries can seek geographical exclusion from any approval request for GM cultivation across the EU. Every request to ‘opt out’ of GM cultivation has to be approved by not only the European Commission but also the company making the application, Monsanto.

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Greece Is For Sale – And Everything Must Go

By Nick Dearden in Global Justice – I’ve just had sight of the latest privatisation plan for Greece. It’s been issued by something called the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund – the vehicle supervised by the European institutions, which has been tasked with selling off an eye-watering €50 billion of Greece’s ‘valuable assets’.

The fund was a real sticking point because the European institutions wanted to move it to Luxembourg, where they could keep a better eye on it. Anyhow, it’s still in Athens, and this document, dated 30 July, details the goodies on sale to international investors who fancy buying up some of the country.

We’ve attached it to this blog to give a flavour of what’s up for grabs at the moment.

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