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Crowdfunding Greece


#1

Dear friends,

e-flux has donated money to the Greek bailout fund, we urge you to do the same. You can donate here.

This is important because the internet has a huge potential as a tool for alternative ways to manage the allocation of services and goods, but its usage needs to be politicized. Crowdfunding Greece is a symbolic action whose purpose is to counteract xenophobic narratives by embracing international solidarity. Please donate: it’s not about the money, it’s about framing the discussion.

The European institutions’ refusal to accept the Greek proposal cannot be explained economically nor rationally, it’s a political decision whose objective is to curtail any viable socially-minded alternative to the current austerity consensus. The European institutions are trying to orchestrate a “regime change” in Greece by demonizing and pathologizing political dissent. When the financial crisis of 2008 mysteriously morphed into a sovereign debt crisis, the yellow press was swift to peddle a xenophobic narrative ––i.e. industrious Germans vs. lazy Greeks. This racist bias promptly became mainstream, sanctioned by official policy, whilst far-right movements began to mushroom all over Europe. Once again fascism emerges as capitalism’s political response to the challenges of economic crisis: when in doubt jettison democracy to protect property.

Since 2008, new capital was massively created through quantitative easing, to prevent the devaluation of existing capital, but this excess liquidity did not find its way back into the production cycle. On the contrary, it was swiftly locked away into idle assets (luxury goods, artworks, real estate). Had it been channelled into production, inflation would have likely ensued. The only way for financial capital to demand an increasing yield and a growing share of purchase power whilst insulating itself from the risks of inflation is to deflate the costs of labour and divest in social programs. Austerity is not a temporary plight; it’s the new normal, yet no national economy has anything to gain from austerity, it only breeds inequality, exclusion, and instability.

The credit-based economy, which was implemented in the last 30 years, created a vast pool of homeowners ––a newly minted middle class. Homeowners are spontaneously conservative because they have a vested interest in asset inflation. But when the sum of a lifetime’s wages cannot match capital returns, and a median income cannot afford the median cost of renting, the middle class eats itself up. As Piketty put it: “the past devours the future.”

You can donate here.

–Ana Teixeira Pinto for e-flux


Varoufakis resigns: 'And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.'
#2

Embracing this crowdfunding campaign as a 'symbolic act’ against EU
xenophobia is a nice gesture, but we are far beyond this point. We are in
the middle of a financial war in Europe. It is crucial to understand
that we are in war in which both the German pensioners nor the Greek
workers had any say. This war was waged on both by financial criminals
in both Greece and EU.

In the best case, this crowdfunding is collective performance of
depoliticised, liberal charity; in other words - an ideal form of moral
redemption for the ever so ‘concerned’ western cultural lefty. Charity
and humanitarianism are based on ethics and middle class morality and
work against any political project that wants to be based on the
principles of equality and solidarity.

If we want to go beyond 'framing the discussion’, we need to see how our actions, and indeed -
our ‘symbolic acts of solidarity’ and our ‘coming together’ might
actually have any real effect. Whatever we do through crowdfunding can
always have only limited effect on the symptoms and not change the cause
of this mess. Through crowdfunding we can not tackle the structural
violence that underlies this crisis. But if we still want to try to
meaningfully utilize it, we should at least be sincere and act beyond
performative charity and with at least a minimum impact in real life.

'Greek Bailout Fund’ proposes paying off the debt as it was construed by the
Trojka. The problem is: this debt needs to be written off and simply not
paid, as it was produced by the same predatory corporate-governmental
entities that would be feeding from the bail out!

Furthermore, the Greeks do not need only 1.6 Bn - this is just the amount Greece was
supposed to pay to the IMF at the end of June. To pay off their total
debt Greece would would need to be paying it off for the next 40
years - this amount is obviously enormously higher!

Crowdfunding campaigns function so that if the goal - in this case €1,600,000,000
EUR is not reached in the given period the money goes back to the
donors! Now we are at €1,887,104 and there are 22 hours left. Make the
conclusion yourself.

Finally, E-Flux donations will not help.
And even if Google, Facebook and Amazon would miraculously come together and
agree to cover the full amount that Greece would need to pay off, the
only people who would ever see this cash would be the IMF, ECB and the
bankers.

So, instead of supporting this ‘bailout campaign’ maybe we
should try to reach the actual people in Athens: organizations such as
‘Solidarity for All’ and people like Christos Giovanopoulos and others
struggling at the grass root level.

If E-Flux, wealthy art galleries and commercially successful artists would make more serious
donations in addition to the donations of these '90,000+ visual arts
professionals’ on the e-flux mailing list we would have a serious amount
that could go directly into food solidarity centers, social kitchens,
cooperatives, food distribution networks, legal aid hubs, education
classes and all the initiatives that have emerged in response to the
collapse of Greece’s welfare state.

Please bare in mind that this comes from a devoted e-flux fan.

Read this: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/23/greece-solidarity-movement-cooperatives-syriza


#3

I like your proposition @antonia_majaca. However I think it is possible to do both, meaning, to put the funds raised in the first proposition towards the second. The issue here is not crowdfunding but how crowdfunding will be used for maximum impact and benefit.


#4

yes, I agree. let’s see how that could be done!


#5

Hi Antonia,
I agree the debt should be written-off, not repaid, but obviously the crowdfunding campaign will not reach the target,
I disagree with your other points, namely that symbolic actions are less valid than material donations to food kitchens, and I would not frame it as “either/or” nor would I say that crowdfunding is an apolitical act, akin to charity, in the present case I think its an expression of dissent, which says “we mock your moralism” and “yes, there is always an alternative,” also I find that “cute,” in times of intense racism/xenophobia/fear mongering can have a subversive subtext, instead of signaling compliance ––though I thought the idea was rather more “punk” than “cute” if you will.
The bigger discussion would be what can “crowdfunding” et al accomplish, when its usage gets politicized: parliamentary representation cannot tackle the structural violence that underlies this crisis either, no nation state can extricate itself from the mechanisms of globalization/financialization, and the response to the consolidation of financial vectors won’t be found in parochialism/nationalism/isolationism ––ralph and stefan heidenreich for instance have been writing about the internet as a potential means to manage the economy without recourse to banking (just to be clear, stefan also though the crowdfunding was stupid, don’t want to imply that he supports it:)
In any case, the courage the Greeks showed yesterday dwarfs any thing I can say,
xx


#6

ana, yes, i agree, so let’s try to punk up the crowdfunding schemes :wink: x


#7

Dear Antonia, I think you are missing the point of the announcement we sent in behalf of the crowdfunded bailout. We are well aware that it won’t work in terms of raising the necessary fuds, etc…, but it sends a message that is beyond symbolic. And to do this, doesn’t preclude participation in further serious action towards the building of another model of Europe. Sorry to disagree, but nothing of this has to do with charity; we are in touch with plenty of people in Greece, and taking our cues for action from them… but thanks for the advice.


#8

just a note to say that to enjoy the humorous nature of the crowdfunding idea also doesn’t preclude recognizing that the situation is dead serious. at the moment everything is as if Hitler had won the war: Germany is an unfettered power, Europe is free of Jews and communists, and the South is a vast labour camp.


#9

Julieta, this was by no means meant as an advice, but simply as a trigger for a debate and thinking about what crowdfunding could actually be in… i just remembered now your amazing campaign for Kobane… Great to hear you are in touch with people in Greece and taking cues for further action from them! x


#10

This initiative came up in a handful of discussions I recently had with Athenians and other Greeks; they know about it. Each saw the good will in it and appreciated it respectfully–not surprisingly though, almost all of them wanted to know what the oversight of the money is. But let’s talk of other terms:

While the Greek People voted (almost 62%) against austerity, it has to be remembered that the other EU states are democracies as well. As such, a German Minister went on the BBC last night to say that the German ‘People’ are against restructuring, and thus their votes must be respected as well. But, is such a false-paradox; was there a referendum in any other country on the subject in these last days? It may be minor, but contributions to the crowd-funding could also be read as votes by other means from other places, including Germany. As a thought experiment: what if we consider this as a new ‘temperature test’?

We all await the Eurogroup’s response to the Greek ‘No’ coupled with the fact of Greece’s missed payment–this comes tomorrow. As said by others above, the current problem is a political issue–the math proves it to be irrational. Today, France stated (also in the BBC) that it will do everything possible to keep Greece in the Eurozone. Is this pledge because of the economics, or is it also to protect the political capital of the current French administration? No one in power welcomes blowback; this funding and other initiatives are devices (amongst others) that could inform the leaders of various countries how ‘their’ people feel.


#11

PS re: the WWII paradigm…
Let’s also look at an older WWI ghost; the economic extortion exerted on Germany through the Treaty of Versailles created a massive depression; the desperation from which was manipulated by despots, and used as political capitol for the most horrendous agendas. A young economist by the name of John Maynard Keynes sensed the error of this blackmail and left the Versailles negotiations…instead, he came up with a new system. Likewise, Marshal Ferdinand Foch thought that the treaty simply kicked the can down the road toward a new war…


#12

Hi Adam, agree, would add that the problem is also that traditional forms of political participation (e.g. voting) become meaningless when questions of economic policy don’t feature in the ballot and budgets are off-limits to governments,
btw, Avaaz is also running a solidarity campaign:


#13

^indeed! :elephant: :house:


#14

semi-related: #ThisIsACoup is really helping to burn up Merkel’s political capital right now.


#15

Varoufakis’ interview on the new statesman:

HL: You’ve said creditors objected to you because “I try and talk economics in the Eurogroup, which nobody does.” What happened when you did?

YV: It’s not that it didn’t go down well – it’s that there was point blank refusal to engage in economic arguments. Point blank. … You put forward an argument that you’ve really worked on – to make sure it’s logically coherent – and you’re just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven’t spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem – you’d have got the same reply. And that’s startling, for somebody who’s used to academic debate. … The other side always engages. Well there was no engagement at all. It was not even annoyance, it was as if one had not spoken.