This is the last in a four-part series of articles on austerity in Greece and the response of society. Read part 3 here.
By Insurgenta Iskra
While mass media tirelessly repeat the “there is no alternative” mantra in order to ease the imposition of further neoliberal austerity, southern Europe resists in a surprisingly collectively creative manner towards system change. This creative resistance is the focus of the Festival4sce. Members of the coordination team, active in various initiatives in their respective local areas, all agree that resistance has to be encouraged and strengthened through the participation of larger groups of society. For Emma -member of the Citizen Debt Audit Platform (PACD) in Spain-, the one thing that always stands out is “how strong resilience movements are in comparison with movements that work more focused on strategies of political incidence, change and confrontation. There is a tremendous media blockage in “the centre” of what is happening in the European periphery. A painful vast majority of people have not a clue of what is going on in countries like Greece or Spain and this has shocked me profoundly when moving to France. This is a huge challenge we are facing for neoliberalism and austerity has to be confronted on a European scenario. We have to learn how to deal with the different cultural, political and social backgrounds”.
Differences in struggles although remain the main challenge for networking and cooperation among them. As Jeza -member of 15M International- sees it, in Greece “there are many different initiatives and different ways of working. Social clinics that serve uninsured people (one third of the population) are an example of citizen self-organization to solve a problem or to alleviate a situation. Many countries do not know what the situation is in Greece. That clash with the reality of a humanitarian catastrophe can help put them in context: this is also Europe. The Greek initiatives are fighting in very adverse conditions, what often leaves them little time to work on networking and communication. The initiatives of other countries working on safer ground can provide much there, ideas and developments that are not possible at the time being in Greece”. Emma though, sees differences regarding methodologies and practices: “Social movements in Spain have developed and shared with each other practices and knowledge that have become widespread throughout our movements. This makes collaboration between collectives and nodes very effective and smooth. We are highly networked movements and this is a big difference with Greece. On the other hand, we do have very similar political approaches regarding maturity and understanding of the situation Europe is in. This is the feeling I get when I compare my experiences of collaboration with central and northern European countries. But of course, we have been hit first…”