By David Bollier for Bollier – If the Greek experience of the past two years shows anything, it is that conventional Left politics, even with massive electoral support and control of the government, cannot prevail against finance capital and its international allies. European creditors continue to force Greek citizens to endure the punishing trauma of austerity politics with no credible scenario for economic recovery or social reconstruction in sight. After the governing coalition Syriza capitulated to creditors’ draconian demands in 2016, its credibility as a force for political change declined. Despite its best intentions, it could not deliver.
By Staff of Telegraph Video, and AP – Greek riot police used tear gas and stun grenades in central Athens on Tuesday to disperse about 3,000 Left-wing marchers protesting a visit by President Barack Obama, after they tried to enter an area declared off-limits to demonstrators. No injuries or arrests were reported. The violence broke out as youths in motorcycle helmets and gas masks, armed with wooden clubs and petrol bombs, tried to break a police cordon in front of a barrier formed by police buses.
By Eleni Portaliou for Jacobin – The most persistent myth concerning Syriza’s capitulation to the troika is that it was a “forced choice.” To put it differently, “there was no alternative” to signing a third memorandum, given an extremely unfavorable balance of forces at a European and international level. This is the only seemingly rational argument Tsipras and his followers have been able to produce defending their actions.
By Konstantine Paradias for Occupy – Privatization is one of those ideas that seems great on paper: by selling off public services, a government can be rid of a drain on its resources. This allows the private sector to take over, rejuvenate those assets and turn them into profitable ventures that will provide new, better paying jobs to larger numbers of people who will in turn support all the necessary tax hikes that will account for the loss of those resources.
By Roar Collective. In what may turn out to become a very hot spring, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in major European capitals to protest against their governments, call for the resignation of their political leaders and take back control of their lives. In Reykjavik, mass protests have already brought down the Prime Minister over the rapidly expanding #PanamaPapers scandal, and in London similar demonstrations took place on Saturday to demand the resignation of David Cameron, who was forced to admit this week that he personally profited from his father’s offshore fund, mentioned in the leaks. In Athens, refugees marched to demand open borders and respect for the human right to asylum, while in France a budding indignados-style movement has been building in the squares in opposition to a new labor law, the state of emergency and the growing unresponsiveness of the Socialist government to popular concerns.
By Sallie Latch and Mitchel Cohen for WBAI. Samos, Greece – Sallie Latch is an 83-year-old artist born in Cleveland and who grew up in Northern California. She left her current home in Mexico to go to the island of Samos in Greece, to voluntarily work with refugees fleeing bombings and warfare in Syria and Iraq. She arrived there just as the European Union decided to turn away newly arriving refugees and send them back to Turkey, which parallels the United States and other countries turning away boatloads of Jews fleeing the Nazis during World War 2. The Center for Global Justice in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, contributed to Sallie’s efforts and helped make her trip possible.
By Daniel Marans for The Huffington Post – The leaked remarks of International Monetary Fund officials suggesting the lender may threaten to pull out of Greece’s bailout are eliciting anger in Athens and could jeopardize debt negotiations. The Huffington Post exclusively obtained a private letter on Saturday from Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras to IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, demanding answers for some of the controversial comments in a March 19 teleconference between Poul Thomsen, IMF European director, Delia Velculescu, IMF chief of mission in Greece and IMF official Iva Petrova.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…