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