Saturday, November 10, 2012

The debates get under way

Issues emerging in the first full plenary of the European Green Party - 
  • the austerity measures are having a serious impact on both the community and the economy. They are leading to societal breakdown and the reinforcement of a system which has already badly failed
  • the importance of integrity and good governing as a key factor in any programme to move forward
  • the need to show that the economy cannot be relaunched. Instead it needs to be re-tooled systematically
  • a Green electoral platform will only make headway with the electorate by making clear what alliances it is prepared to participate in
  • and that corruption is not unique to Greece within the EU!

    Shan Oakes, Athens

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Athenian graffiti


Athens - demonstration last night

Everybody was out on the streets marching or supporting the marchers and awaiting the vote in Parliament.

People are angry that the Greeks are being portrayed as shirkers to justify these draconian measures:  ' They want to make Greece like a failed Balkan state.' 

Someone else not on the march who had seen the event on TV, thought a military government is the answer...  

People agree that the current government is useless, without a mandate, and is reneging on all its promises. Some comments were:

'Salaries are being cut by 50% and prices are going up - you can't live', said a woman who works in a research institute and staying in Greece only to support her elderly parents.

 'You just can't live on the reduced salaries... if you get ill you can't afford treatment - even if it's available' - a woman who works on the Parthenon restoration.

'Lots of the decisions don't even bring any revenue to the government... it's illogical, unprecedented and insupportable ... and it's encouraging the rise of the far right' - Aristides, a human rights lawyer. 

It was very much the ordinary people, not 'troublemakers' as the media would have us believe, yet the people in Syntagma Square still got the tear gas treatment from police. But the people kept marching - despite the rain.  

The proposed measures have no logic in economics or common sense.  

'New ideas are needed', a taxi driver says. 

The European Greens Council this weekend must get its progressive message out there... there is no-one else with the radical vision to get Europe out of this mess. 

Shan Oakes
Green Party

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nov 6th Athens, Anti-austerity demonstration

Today was a HUGE demo against the austerity measures. 

 The march took at least 3 hours to pass at a given point.   There was no violence.  Tomorrow's is expected to be even bigger.  

 Everyone marched into Syntagma (constitution) Square.  

The Communist Party marched separately, followed by the unions and other groups - one group we spoke to was people with MS.

We aim to get translations of the many photos we took of the banners from  Greek colleague Constantine who is also here for the European GP council.

Shan Oakes
Green Party

Travelling to Athens for Council of the European Green Parties

Bill on top couchette on the train.

Impressive recycling at Milan station.  

Overnight ferry from Brindisi, Italy, to Patra, Greece.

Truck drivers take in the island views.  

Turbines on hill tops (taken from bus to Athens).  

On arrival at the bus station someone sprayed something smelling of sick over our luggage - we think in an attempt to distract us -  but we remained in possession of all our stuff.  

Glad to say, since then, everyone has been very friendly!

Train trip to Athens

Saturday 3 November 0530 Milan - arrived on sleeper from Paris: what a magnificent station!!   Imperial Rome 30's style ... and thousands of starlings in trees outside making a sound like heavy rain.