* PICTURES FROM A GREEK SOUP KITCHEN
By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge
While we mock and ridicule the corrupt and often times purposefully obtuse Greek politicians, we often ignore the human cost in the equation (and so does the rest of the world). Unfortunately this is becoming an ever greater issue for a country that is rapidly devolving to sub-3rd world status. Because while we have previously discussed the miserable conditions for a country where ever more people are sliding out of the middle class and into poverty status, in reality it is far worse. Spiegel has profiled the new Misery in Athens where “aid workers and soup kitchens in Athens are struggling to provide for the city’s “new poor.” Since the economic crisis has taken hold, poverty has taken hold among Greece’s middle class. And suicide rates have nearly doubled.” Just like in the US, those in misery are growing exponentially, but the last thing anyone needs is a reminder of their existence. Yet perhaps they should, because when the Bastille moment hits, the spark to overthrow tyranny, especially that masking under the guise of democracy, will come precisely from the slums of the impoverished and disenfranchised, from those who have nothing left to lose. In Greece, with 28% of the population living “at risk of poverty or social exclusion” this moment may arrive any second. […]
READ and PHOTOS @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/pictures-greek-soup-kitchen
* Πως μπορείς και το δεχεσαι αγαπη μου
* ‘NEW POOR’ GROWS FROM GREEK MIDDLE CLASS
By Johannes Korge and Ferry Batzoglou, Spiegel Online
Aid workers and soup kitchens in Athens are struggling to provide for the city’s “new poor.” Since the economic crisis has taken hold, poverty has taken hold among Greece’s middle class. And suicide rates have nearly doubled.
If this crisis has reached Piraeus, then it’s done a good job of hiding itself. Even on this cold February night, the luxury cars are lined up outside the chic, waterfront fish restaurants in this port suburb of Athens. But Leonidas Koutikas knows where to look. Not even 50 meters off the main promenade, around two corners, misery is everywhere. Koutikas finds a family of five living behind a tangled tent that has been attached to the wall of an apartment building.
Koutikas and his colleagues from the aid organization Klimaka are expected. They hand out their care packages here every night. “Each day the list of those in need gets longer,” Koutikas says. He speaks from experience. Until recently, the 48-year-old was sleeping on the streets himself.
Athens has always had a problem with homelessness, like any other major city. But the financial and debt crises have led poverty to slowly but surely grow out of control here. In 2011, there were 20 percent more registered homeless people than the year before. Depending on the season, that number can be as high as 25,000. The soup kitchens in Athens are complaining of record demand, with 15 percent more people in need of free meals.
It’s no longer just the “regulars” who are brought blankets and hot meals at night, says Effie Stamatogiannopoulou. She sits in the main offices of Klimaka, brooding over budgets and duty rosters. It was a long day, and like most of those in the over-heated room, the 46-year-old is keeping herself awake with coffee and cigarettes. She shows the day’s balance sheet: 102 homeless reported to Klimaka today. […]
READ and PHOTOS @ http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,druck-814571,00.html
* EUROPEAN LEADERS MEET MONDAY ON GREECE BAILOUT; PUBLIC TIRING OF AUSTERITY MEASURES
By Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post
[…] In short, analysts say, this bailout deal may not be much different from previous landmarks in Europe’s long debt crisis: public handshakes among European leaders, but private doubts about the future.
“Some politicians ignore that Greece is a democratic country,” said Loukas Tsoukalis, president of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy think tank, who said he hoped the spring elections would give political legitimacy to the bailout measures. “Greece’s creditors, they’re saying, ‘This is the moment when we can squeeze.’ But you can overdo it with very serious consequences.”
Sozita Goudouna, 33, an art curator and editor who lives in Athens, said the demands for even more austerity measures this year have caused a feeling of powerlessness over what might happen next.
It wasn’t always that way, Goudouna said. The first $145 billion bailout that came in May 2010 was like a shot of optimism, as many Greeks thought that Europe had come together to help one of its own.
“This was a salvation plan,” Goudouna said she thought at the time. “Because of a lack of information, a lot of people were in favor.”
What came afterward was a series of tax increases, cutbacks in public spending and investment, and upward ticks in the unemployment rate as Greece blew through one after another of Europe’s economic targets. Whole blocks of businesses went bust, leaving bright red “vacancy” signs on many of Athens’ once-bustling streets. More and more homeless people sheltered under the city’s trees. Men and women still dressed in the upscale clothing of their old middle-class lives showed up at soup kitchens.
Greeks are realizing that the measures “are sacrificing some of what has been fought for in these 35 years of democracy,” Goudouna said. “And we aren’t persuaded about the intentions of this help, given that we all know economically that the figures don’t work. In three months we’ll still have the same problems.” […]
* GREECE SHOWS US HOW TO PROTEST AGAINST A FAILED SYSTEM
By John Holloway, Guardian UK
[…] The violence of the reaction in Greece is a cry that goes out to the world. How long will we sit still and see the world torn apart by these barbarians, the rich, the banks? How long will we stand by and watch the injustices increase, see the health service dismantled, education reduced to uncritical nonsense, the water resources of the world privatised, communities wiped out and the earth torn up for the profits of mining companies?
The attack that is so acute in Greece is taking place all over the world. Everywhere money is subjecting human and non-human life to its logic, the logic of profit. This is not new, but the intensity and breadth of the attack is new, and new too is the general awareness that the current dynamic is a dynamic of death, that it is likely that we are all heading towards the annihilation of human life on earth. When the learned commentators explain the details of the latest negotiations between the governments on the future of the eurozone, they forget to mention that what is being negotiated so blithely is the future of humanity.
We are all Greeks. We are all subjects whose subjectivity is simply being flattened by the steamroller of a history determined by the movement of the money markets. Or so it seems and so they would have it. Millions of Italians protested over and over again against Silvio Berlusconi but it was the money markets that brought him down. The same in Greece: demonstration after demonstration against George Papandreou, but in the end it was the money markets that dismissed him. In both cases, loyal and proven servants of money were appointed to take the place of the fallen politicians, without even a pretence of popular consultation. This is not even history made by the rich and powerful, though certainly they profit from it: it is history made by a dynamic that nobody controls, a dynamic that is destroying the world, if we let it. […]
* Manifestación 19F contra las Reformas Franquistas
* MASSIVE: OVER A MILLION PROTEST LABOR REFORMS IN SPAIN
By Jerome Roos, RoarMag.org
They said the movement was dead. That the indignation had subsided. That rage and frustration alone was never a sustainable motivation for continued resistance against the scourges of financial capitalism and the farce of our so-called representative democracy. Of course, as we all knew, these assertions were nonsensical to begin with. On Sunday, the rebellious Spaniards once again proved the incompetent experts and ignorant journalists wrong.
With over a million people taking to the streets and squares of more than 50 cities, a powerful message was sent out to the newly-installed government of Mariano Rajoy: your honeymoon is over! As the Conservatives prepare to unleash their neoliberal fury over the crisis-ridden country, pushing for radical labor market reforms and drastic austerity measures, the Spanish once again find themselves at the barricades, gearing up for another spring of discontent.
Yet as the people took to the streets, Prime Minister Rajoy used his address to the annual conference of the conservative Partido Popular to call upon the Spanish people for “major sacrifices”; even as the private financiers who contributed to the real estate bubble that underlies the country’s financial woes run off unscathed. Speaking in a dramatic tone, Rajoy called the labor reforms “just” and “necessary” to get the country’s fiscal situation under control. […]
* SPAIN’S “INDIGNADOS” AND THE GLOBALIZATION OF DISSENT – VIDEO
Source: The Real News
* SPANISH PROTEST AGAINST SPENDING CUTS AND CHANGES TO LABOUR RIGHTS
Hundreds of thousands take to the streets in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia to demonstrate against Mariano Rajoy’s reforms
By Giles Tremlett, Guardian, Madrid
Protesters in central Madrid on Sunday. Photograph: Andrea Comas/Reuters
Spain‘s conservative government faced its first mass protests on Sunday as hundreds of thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against austerity, spending cuts and radical changes to labour rights.
Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square filled for the first time since the “indignant” protesters camped there last May, as people gathered to protest against reforms introduced by prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s government.
Protesters also marched through Valencia, capital of a heavily indebted and corruption-plagued region run by Rajoy’s People’s party, and Barcelona. Unions claimed more than half a million people demonstrated across the country.
The protests came two weeks after Rajoy, who became prime minister in December, introduced a labour decree making it easier for employers to fire workers and opening the door to wage cuts.
Rajoy’s reforms are part of a programme designed to create jobs. Spain has the developed world’s highest unemployment rate. But with the economy set to shrink this year by 1.7%, even the government admits the shocking 23% unemployment rate will rise in the short term. […]