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Building post-capitalist futures

By various - Transnational Institute - June 2018

Over several sunny days in June 2018, a diverse group of 60 activists and researchers from 30 countries convened for a multi-day meeting to discuss the collective building of post-capitalist futures. The meeting provided the opportunity for a rich exchange of perspectives and experiences, as well as deep discussion and debate. The goal of the meeting was not to achieve consensus both an impossible and unnecessary endeavour but rather to stimulate mutual learning, challenge one another and advance analyses.

One session of the meeting – Transformative Cities – was held not as a closed discussion but as a public event attended by 300 people at which prominent activists and academics engaged with municipal leaders and politicians on the role cities can play in building post-capitalist futures.

In line with the meeting, this report does not intend to advance one line of analysis, but rather summarise some of the key ideas and issues discussed and debated (not necessarily in the order they were articulated). To summarise necessarily means to leave things out. It would be impossible to fully capture the incredible richness of the discussion that took place, but hopefully this report provides a valuable sketch.

Read the report (PDF).

Third Memorandum or Grexit: What are the implications for the Future of Greece’s Energy System?

By Sean Sweeney - Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, July 18, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Presentation, July 18, 2015, Democracy Rising conference, Athens, Greece

Third-Memorandum-or-Grexit-word document (full presentation)

It is understandable that this conference, Democracy Rising, should be deeply engaged in the intense political debates going on in Athens and all over the world about the decision by the Syriza government to sign the Third Memorandum and not walk down the Grexit road.

So the future of Greece’s energy system is not exactly the stuff of intense coffee-shop conversations going on right now. But energy will be at the heart of the struggles in Greece in the years ahead, Memorandum or Grexit. Energy poverty has grown with austerity and recession, and Syriza has taken measures to protect the poorest and most vulnerable from, for example, electricity disconnections.

But it is clear that the structure of Greece’s energy system also needs to change. The “Institutions”, through the Memorandum, have a clear sense of what restructuring energy means for them—full-on privatization. However, a left restructuring would seek to address two major challenges: firstly, Greece’s dependence on fossil fuel imports and, secondly, how to take advantage of its potential to generate large amounts of renewable energy. I will return to this later.

Greece: Samothrace Against Construction of Wind Farms

Originally posted by Agência de Notícias Anarquistas (A.N.A.) translated by Earth First! Journal staff - July 30, 2017

In this post we touch on the imminent ecological destruction of the island of Samothrace, with the construction of two wind farms composed of thirty-nine giant aerogenerators. What follows is a related statement of initiative titled “Samothrace against the construction of the wind farm” by inhabitants of the island.

A few days ago we learned that in Samothrace, Anemómetra and Luludi (Flor), on the summit of the second highest mountain in the island after Saos, three and thirty-six wind turbines were installed respectively. That is, our island will become an industry of renewable energy sources.

The big investors Bóbolas and Kopeluzos, who act as mediators of the French and German energy colossi who have dozens of nuclear power stations in these countries, are trying to irreversibly destroy our mountain of archaic vegetation and unique beauty, taking advantage of laws approved in 2014 and 2015, tailored to their needs.

To make them understand the size of the catastrophe, we say that for the installation of the giant wind turbines of 90 meters, they will have to open paths of 30 or 40 meters wide up to the peaks. Once the paths are made, they will build the bases of the thirty-nine wind turbines. Each of them will weigh 1.3 tons of cement, that is, they will put 47 tons of cement on the mountain tops. This means the death of all the mountain forests, which are already suffering from excessive grazing for many years. The franked paths will pave the way for the illegal cutting of the trees from the mountain woods.

Also, due to the installation of these aerogenerators embedded in the body of the mountain, the aquifers will be affected, directly and irreversibly, since the precipitation water will not be able to penetrate the earth. This will disturb and change the microclimate of the island, and will have consequences for all its aquatic wealth. In addition, from the places where the wind turbines will be installed, a monstrous network of high-voltage electricity pillars will reach the coast, to the sea. These pillars are contaminants, radiating radioactivity, and will also constitute fires.

Lastly, the same story elsewhere in the territory of the Greek state, for example in Apopigad of Chania, Crete, has shown that the installation of wind turbines is the pretext for the creation of hybrid (complex) plants after conducting environmental studies At least suspect and of questionable reliability, in order to exploit the mountain’s aquatic resources, as these companies will aim to suck all the island’s energy resources.

And when we talk about hybrid plants, we mean wind plants, hydroelectric plants, motorized pump groups and drilling all over the mountain, in other words, a huge pool of water made to save the environment with another source of renewable energy. Green development, or the way to hell, is paved with good intentions.

It must be made absolutely clear that we are obviously in favor of wind and solar energy, and it does not leave us indifferent to the fact that Florina and Ptolemaida are being sacrificed for the sake of lignite-based energy production. The term, however, green development is by contradictory and deceptive antonomasia. Because development will be green. What they mean by this term, distorting reality and taking away its meaning, is the increasingly intensive exploitation of all the resources that have this place, disregarding the environmental consequences and local societies.

Neither will they offer jobs to the residents, since their teams are specialized and are generally from the country where the wind turbines were manufactured, namely France and Germany. Behind the beautiful words are hidden very profitable businesses, to the detriment of nature, whose purposes are the exploitation of raw materials and humans.

The Greek Government Is Sabotaging Its People With a Water Privatization Scheme

By Maria Paradia - Occupy.com, June 25, 2017

The "fire sale" privatization of Greece started in 2015, following the infamous Syriza referendum in which more than three-fifths of the Greek people voted to reject Troika-imposed bailout conditions -- and yet their government, led by Alexis Tsipras, chose to accept the deal anyway.

The privatization process reached its peak the next year, when the Greek government sold the public transport giant TrainOSE to the Italian company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane S.p.A for 45 million euros. This happened after a very brief bidding period and despite considerable employee pushback, including a 24-hour strike that paralyzed the country.

Now, a second round of fire sales is taking place ahead of the upcoming third bailout negotiations for Greece, whose current bailout package will expire in August 2018. Since last year, the sale of the country's roads, rights to the use of its ports, and other public sector resources have only yielded around 4 billion euros -- a far cry from the projected 50 billion euros that were promised when the privatization plan was put in motion. At best, it will result in a 6 billion euro profit, nowhere near enough to cover the ailing Greek economy's massive overhead spending.

The solidarity ecosystems of occupied factories

By Liam Barrington-Bush - ROARMag, January 16, 2017

At first glance it is a factory: heavy machinery, crates, palettes, industrial barrels and men doing manual labor. Little catches the eye, except maybe the homemade banners hanging up around the warehouse. They’re in Greek, so you might not be able to read them, but you can tell these are not the stock decorations from the ‘IKEA industrial chic’ catalog.

Over a couple of days, you might also notice that you’re unlikely to see those men doing the same specific jobs, day after day, as you would in most factories. They seem to rotate their roles, mixing up batches of soap, pouring them into frames and cutting it into bars, but also cleaning toilets, taking product orders and coordinating distribution.

However, overall, when you walk into VIO.ME, it mostly looks like countless other industrial workplaces in the north of Greece and beyond. At least, until you come back on a Wednesday or a Thursday and find part of the administrative office converted into a free health clinic for workers and the wider community.

… or when you arrive first thing any day of the week and see all the workers gathered together, sharing updates on the work and making sure they are all in the know around the pertinent aspects of the business for the day ahead.

… or if you go into one of the store rooms and discover members of different migrant solidarity groups sorting through donations that are stored at the factory, for ongoing distribution around Thessaloniki’s many migrant squats, camps and occupations.

Over time, you notice that beneath VIO.ME’s sometimes mundane veneer, a series of radical changes are taking place. These are changes that offer alternatives to how we organize work, community and society at large. While VIO.ME has become a hallmark of these shifts in Europe, what those who work and support the factory are discovering is not unique. It is spreading, offering an alternative vision of how radical changes might occur in the ways we work, live and relate to the planet as a whole.

Life Under Austerity

By Erik Forman & Eleni Eleftherios - Jacobin, July 12, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Last Sunday, Greeks sent a resounding “no” to the politics of austerity in a historic referendum. In the end, 61% of the country’s voters cast their ballot against the creditors’ proposed austerity deal, and 39% voted yes, with turnout of eligible voters at 62% (3.5 million people in a nation of 11 million). But before the week was over, in a seeming about-face, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had proposed a new austerity package that included minimal debt relief.

What will happen next remains unclear — will the European “institutions,” so intent on making an example of Greece, dismiss the deal as insufficiently brutal? — but the deadly economic conditions the Greek people have endured seem set to continue.

So how have the last five years of austerity transformed the everyday life of the Greek working class? How do Greece’s working poor perceive their reality and the historical possibilities that lie immanent within it? What role could workers and their unions play in the rocky road ahead, as euros vanish from the banks and Greece descends into ongoing economic dysfunction? How do workers view the possibility of Greece exiting the eurozone?

To answer these questions, Erik Forman interviewed Eleni Eleftherios, a fast-food worker in Thessaloniki, Greece, in the run-up to last week’s referendum. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

What could we accomplish in Greece?

By the Blogger - Life Long Wobbly, July 5, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

This post is a departure from my usual style of allowing thoughts to mellow for weeks or months. I’m writing this after the results of the #Greferendum are in, showing a massive victory for the No vote which the far left was pushing, against the opposition parties and all of the European “institutions.” I’m writing it before Monday morning, when just about anything could happen. It’s an experiment with hastier writing, which after all is sometimes called for. It seems like the world has been accelerating recently, so it’s a worthwhile mode to dust off.

I won’t try right now to make any grand predictions about what I think might happen in Greece tomorrow morning, or this week. Nontina Vgontzas has already covered all of the imaginable scenarios resulting from a No vote better than I could have.

For example, apparently the opposition parties are already calling for the Syriza finance minister to resign, which seems pretty bold in the context, but certainly fits the “Government of National Salvation” scenario that Nontina had outlined:

Of course, the Europeans probably would prefer a less confrontational route if they can get one. In a third possible scenario, then, No wins and the creditors resume negotiations — but on the condition that Syriza invites other political parties to join the governing coalition. A government of national salvation, without the drama of elections.

They seem to be attempting this already. According to the Guardian:

Monday’s meeting of Greek party political leaders may be dominated by a call for finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to be removed from the country’s negotiating team.

The head of the centrist Potami party, Stavros Theodorakis, has signalled he will ask for the academic-cum-politician’s immediate withdrawal from the team – citing irreconcilable differences with Greece’s creditors.

The situation is still very fluid in Greece. It has been for awhile, and probably will be for some time to come, but there is fluidity, and there is fluidity. The potential scope of activity for workers in Greece is determined both by their own initiative, confidence, and coherence as a class, as well as by the initiative and activity of the Greek far-left, of Syriza, of the European “institutions” and of the capitalist class as a global whole – just as these last four also interact on each other, and are acted on by the working class. Of course, workers outside of Greece also play a factor – the recent strike wave in Germany has tightened the possibilities for the “institutions”, and could inspire industrial action in other countries. Any increase or decrease in class activity in Germany will have its repercussions in Greece and the rest of Europe.

It's here, and it's growing: the self-assembling Coalition of the Radical Left

By Alexander Reid Ross - The Ecologist, March 6, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

In January, I went to the Oregon coast to get away from the city, clear my mind, and have some fun. While walking down the beach, though, we noticed a horrible sight.

Thousands of dead young birds, called cassin's auklets, littered the sands, strewn amongst the bottles and random plastic like so many discarded dreams.

Scientists are baffled as to the reason for the die-off. National Geographic called it "unprecedented... one of the largest mass die-offs of seabirds ever recorded." Between 50-100,000 birds as of the end of January.

The most direct explanation is simply starvation. The natural food of the birds has gone away this season, and it fits in with a larger trend of mass die-offs on the Northwest coast. It could be that ocean acidification is creating an ecological collapse, a lack of oxygen in the water, perhaps, but the main theory places the blame on the warming oceans.

It is climate change that is causing this death, just as climate change induced drought have led to the wars in Syria and Mali. It is killing our young; the entire planet is in grave peril.

Something must be done. But what?

The political party in power in Greece is called Syriza, an acronym meaning Synaspismós Rizospastikís Aristerás (Συνασπισμός Ριζοσπαστικής Αριστεράς) or 'coalition of the radical left'. Their organization is not what one could possibly call a conventional political party: it is more of a work of rethinking politics and its relationship to the state.

They formed in 2004 as an anti-establishment party, and surfed into power on the waves of riotous discontent incumbent on austerity programs and police repression. Although they have found turbulent times amidst negotiations with global financial institutions, Syriza has shown the North Atlantic the possibility of taking hegemony from the core economic and political powers of neoliberalism.

(Working Paper #3) Energy Democracy in Greece: SYRIZA’s Program and the Transition to Renewable Power

By Sean Sweeney - Trade Unions For Energy Democracy, February 4, 2015

Since the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent “Great Recession,” governments have mostly scaled back or deemphasized their climate protection and “green” commitments. Lack of public funds and concerns about growth, competitiveness, and unemployment are frequently cited as explanations for this apparent loss of both ambition and urgency. The “green growth” narrative that colored various countercyclical “stimulus” spending packages from 2009-10 has been largely abandoned.

This has in turn slowed the deployment of renewable energy and thrown the UN climate negotiations into paralysis. During the recent talks in Lima (COP 20) it became clear that a global climate agreement seems very unlikely to emerge from the “deadline COP” in Paris in late 2015.

The goal of this paper is to show how economic crisis and austerity, which today serves as the perfect cover for inaction and reversals on climate protection and ecological sustainability, could actually spur a radical departure from the slow and stuttering progress of the recent past. The paper looks at the opportunities for such a departure in Greece, a country mired in debt, high unemployment, and on the receiving end of a full-blown austerity program. But Greece is also a country where the radical Left could soon be in power led by a party, SYRIZA, that’s committed to nothing less than the “ecological transformation of the economy.”

But how can such a transformation be carried out? How can a country like Greece—facing enormous challenges—be an ecological leader and perhaps an exemplar for a new course? Can a SYRIZA or SYRIZA-led government break new ground in terms of fusing a viable leftgreen project in the face of crushing odds?

Download (PDF).

IWW Greece: Call for a General Strike on Nov. 27th

We call the entire working class for a
GENERAL STRIKE on 11/27/2014

Against austerity and predatory neoliberal policies
Against the terrorism of poverty and degradation
Against State’s authoritarianism and the policing of public spaces
Against the relentless onslaught of capitalist elites and their state-servant
The working class does not claim fraternal benefits and privileges
It fights for the liberation of all humanity from the tyranny of the capital
Our resistance will be unyielding until they are finally overthrown.

ΙWW Greece
iwwgreece@yahoo.gr

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