Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Surface Glitter Of Athens.

         Just back from a visit to Athens, on the surface, central Athens looks much like the Athens I used to know, the cafés, restaurants, tavernas, all looked busy with pretty pretty butterfly people. One change you do notice is the traffic, it is mainly yellow taxis and motorbikes. They say if you want to know anything about a city, ask a taxi driver, so we did. One driver told us that there are more than 1,700 taxis in Athens, and most are people who have been made redundant. The taxi allows them to work as long as they want, to try to get by, one drive said he worked 16 hours a day, every day and at the end of the month after taxes etc, he was left with €600 to get through the month. Work that out as an hourly rate and you are talking sweatshop money. Another said before the crash he wasn't rich but had €1,800 in the bank and lived reasonably well, now he has nothing and works as many hours a day as he can, every day, just to survive. Two gave conflicting answers to how many had left Greece since the “crash”, one stating almost 1 million, and the other probably 300,00 to 400,000, either amount is a drain on any country. One other we spoke to was leaving in a few weeks to live in Australia to give his kids a chance at a better life. All summed it up as Greece today is dreadful, a disaster. 
       We also went to Exarcheia and visited an occupied cinema, K-Vox, it is run by between 30-40 people, who label themselves as anarchist, communist and libertarian socialist, though the communists emphasising that they had nothing to do with the communist party. It has a café and a library, and they hold various events. All the money raised is used to support political prisoners, it also houses a free medical centre. A wonderful asset, and great to see all the strands of anarchism working together, strength in numbers, and a display of what can be done. If you want to support what they are doing you can contact them at
Enjoying the sun outside K-Vox.
        Athens, like all Western city centres, has poverty well hidden, so as not to chase spending tourists away. Though we did see the signs, up side-streets, the bundles of rolled up blankets in doorways and on two occasions, a man lying on the pavement, as if asleep with a crumpled plastic cup in their hand, both were still there hours later when we passed. The temperature was 25 degrees.
       Other facts about Greece, with a population of just over 11 million, it has a prison population of 12,693, 111 per 100,000 of the population, 2014 figures, but there is an anomaly, the prison population is 54.7% foreigners. Unemployment is running at just over 24%, with youth unemployment running at a staggering 51.9%. 
       All the misery, unemployment, families breaking up, poverty, deprivation and long working hours, suffered by the majority of ordinary people in Greece is simply the result of the financial Mafia's gambling spree, and it isn't going to get better any-time soon. The financial moguls of the Troika,( EC, European Commission, ECB, European Central Bank, IMF, International Mankind Fuckers) are starting to squabble among themselves regarding the next bailout to Greece. The IMF saying Greece's debt is unsustainable, so don't want to pour their filthy lucre into the leaking bucket and say the will not participate in the bailout unless the debt is “restructured” The European part of the Troika will not accept that, but say they could not go ahead with the bailout if the IMF doesn't participate. Meanwhile, while the financial gambling sharks shuffle their chips, the people of Greece bleed. That's capitalism.

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