Where to now from Syntagma and Puerta del Sol?

 

Successes and failures of the protests against Europe’s crisis management

 

Real World Economics discussion evening

 

Monday 10 October 2011 (illustrated pdf)

 

The sovereign debt crisis in Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain has been met with an unprecedented level of austerity measures. Under joint political pressures from the European Union and the IMF (spurred on by ‘the markets’), governments are currently implementing harsh social welfare cuts, including cuts in infrastructural programmes and public employment, as well as the privatization of the last remnants of state-owned companies. Social protests against these developments, the politicians and institutions who are perceived responsible have been vocal, ranging from strikes, demonstrations and manifestations, street assemblies and sometimes violence. Even though a few political parties from the left attempted to form coalitions with social grassroots movements, the most visible contestation is still taking place in the streets and not in the parliaments. Alongside the fragmentation of protests however, the chances for a viable counter-political strategy seem to ebb away.

 

This Real World Economics session focuses on two interlinked set of questions. On the one hand the nature, successes and future challenges for Greek protests against the imposed crisis management by the EU-IMF tandem. What forms has political contestation taken so far, and who has been driving it? How do the Greek protests differ from other contemporary movements, such as for example the Indignados in Spain? Are these protests indeed ‘anti-political’, as many observers have argued, or are they an expression of a new generation challenging established notions of representative democracy and ‘business as usual’ European politics?

 

At the same time, these processes need to be seen against the broader political economy of the current crisis. Are there alternatives to the austerity and privatisation programmes? How could democratically legitimated actors, or grassroots movements, (re)assert an influence on these restructuring measures?

 

Virginie Mamadouh (political geographer, UvA) provides a broader social movement perspective. Dimitris Pavlopoulos (labour economist, VU) speaks on the Greek situation and provide a political economy analysis of the current situation. Participants in the 15-M movement and the protests in Greece (names tba) offer their own experience with the movements and their consequences and challenges. Moderator: Laura Horn (VU). English spoken throughout the evening.

 

Where/when: Monday 10 October 2011, 20.00-22.00, CREA

Admission: free for students, € 5,- for all others

For more information, see

 

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