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Editorial

After the July 11th agreement, something PM Tsipras said he did not agree with but still followed suit to avoid plunging Greece into an ever deeper crisis, the month of August has become quite critical for both Greece and Europe.

For one, there is a hard core of Leftist within Syriza who do not believe in any compromise. Some of them have written off the European Union altogether. Consequently they perceive any negotiation as a hopeless case since the Neo-Liberal attitudes dominate and cannot be persuaded to adopt more favourable measures with regards to Greece.

With August 18th another deadline, the Greek negotiation team has been meeting in Athens with its creditors although this was not originally wanted by Syriza. During the months since January 25th and the election victory of Syriza, there has been more talk about wishing to leave behind a post-colonial state of mind than wishing to come to terms with the Troika. Naturally all kinds of conclusions, most of the negative ones, are drawn by those who wanted Syriza to succeed in altering the EU policy towards member states within the Euro zone and yet deeply in debt like Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and even France. Since a lot of animosity was created between Greece and Germany, there is a need to follow that up even once the Third Bailout Agreement has been worked out and hence a third Memorandum of Understanding in place.

One of the key objection critics of the compromise in the making relates to the age of retirement being now fixed at 67, with the compromise that this shall not affect those who have retired until June of this year. These critics say because of that there is no point in negotiating any further. For they take this as proof that the intention of the creditors is to drive Greece even deeper into recession. If Greece is to get out of this mess, then it has to do so on the basis of its own strength. Therefore, they advocate as the only conceivable solution that Greece exists immediately from the Euro zone and if need to be as well from the European Union.

It has been attested that the July 11th agreement will have a lasting impact upon the European project, and may prove to be the beginning of the end. A lot of blame is given to Germany and in particular to Schäuble and Merkel for having adopted a narrow national viewpoint and wishing to impose in a most rigid way rules which have never been kept either by Germany or by many other Euro zone members. Critics interpret this as further proof that Greece is meant to be an exemplary test case for upholding rules at the expense of the welfare of the people themselves. No wonder when the Conservative FAZ - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - poses the rhetorical question, whether or not Germany has allowed itself too much by not showing some degree of flexibility so as to allow Greece to have a breathing space. After all five years of recession is not exactly life in paradise.

The crisis became known in 2009, even though it had erupted already in the streets of Athens on Dec. 6th 2008 when Alexandros was killed, and the entire youth revolted against what they saw as being a corrupt society. The changes since then have been tremendous  The past five years were hard to take. Alone the loss of businesses, and therefore jobs underlines the fact that Greece seems to have entered a permanent crisis. It is, however, hard to imagine that cutting lose from the Euro zone and the controlling mechanisms of the European Union that the solution shall be found faster and sooner than what is right now the case. So any advocacy of a Greek exit must be able to convince even worse developments can be averted by making such a move. I am not sure of the claim that a return to a national currency which can be devalued is the magic solution that everyone thinks it is. It is like hedging the illusion finally to have your own say in how to run affairs when in fact having no money makes you in any situation over dependent upon outside sources of funding. In short, national thinking would be on the rise as if such an illusionary autonomy can be reached without a much higher economic and political cost.

One thing should not be ignored in terms of the five years behind us. Socrates Kabouropoulos would say many people have gone through a lot by now and therefore learned a great deal. Thus the question is whether this experience gained over the past five years can be used in another way than merely destroy the European project? I wonder if it is really possible to dismiss so easily all the positive values of seeking solutions within the European rather than the national framework? Habermas has pointed out to govern together with other European member states is a learning process Europe has to go through, in order to link up with world governance. There is the problem of a larger scale and therefore the risk of people at local level being completely out of touch with what is going on in Brussels, but if 70% of the Greek people wish to stay inside the Euro zone and the European Union, then because there is sufficient trust that European institutional framework conditions are for the benefit of all in Greece, and not its opposite.

Even if disappointed, the vote for Syriza in January was based on a wish to know what is really happening. People have still to grasp in full how such a huge deficit came about and why since the crisis broke out, this deficit has increased, not decreased? Krugman has given some answers to that question, but despite all criticism on neo Liberal positions in favour of austerity measures, these counter arguments have not been convincing sufficiently to sway the opinion of many European Ministers of Finance.

On hand of three different articles can be shown that now vital premises are set, while the critical evaluation continues whether the July 11th agreement can be translated into a real working hypothesis with all sides willing to learn what are policy measures which work in a positive way. Without such a hypothesis, no learning shall take place and this has been precisely the key problem until now. Apparently since the July 11th agreement, things have changed for the better.

1. "Greece needs wide debt relief to avoid permanent depression, think-tank warns" Larry Elliott Economics editor. Wednesday 5 August 2015 http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/aug/05/niesr-warns-on-further-greek-austerity

Here arguments for a Grexit have to be scrutinized as to why this course preferred to a restructuring of the debt? Unfortunately all along the real problem of debt has not been dealt with. Of course, the problem is sheer insurmountable and no one knows really the solution. That is why the term 'unsustainable' debt is invoked over and again, but especially Germany does not wish to hear of any kind of hair cut until the Third Bailout Agreement has been sealed and therefore as the critics fear Greece locked in a negative situation for the next fifty years or more.

If recourse is taken to the simple notion of a national economy being a sovereign state which can devalue its own currency, thereby prompting exports and a revival of the economy, then that depends upon a kind of automatism and an over simplified causal effect. Governments in general seem unable to combine fiscal, monetary and economic policy, while it is doubtful if devaluation or re-evaluation of the own national currency will bring about the necessary turn around in the economy.

How else to eliminate the debt? Syriza set up a debt commission, but the final preliminary report declared everything to be "illegal" debt as if in retrospect legitimate and democratically elected governments of the past had all acted without legitimacy. Such an approach does not stand up to the debt incurred due to many bad practices in the past and would lead only to adopting a wrong approach to debt servicing. After all a debt means obligation to repay what was borrowed and therefore was money spend but its sources not real earnings but easy credits. Hence often a comparison is drawn to how East Germans got into trouble when they rushed to consume in the first days after the opening of the wall. 

Definitely the article points out that the UK think tank is of the opinion without a hair cut of up to 50% Greece will never have a chance to recover. The question is how realistic is such a forecast or prognosis? Essentially debt is a problem of how the costs of a debt are not evenly distributed but a specific part of the population is burdened while others go scotch free. This means debt is also a moral crisis in terms of not having a just distribution of burdens, responsibilities and benefits. 

2.  "Yanis Varoufakis: Europe Must Reform Or Face Destruction" REUTERS/Marko Djurica by Sarkis Zeronian4 Aug 2015 http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/08/04/yanis-varoufakis-europe-must-reform-or-face-ritidestruction/

Varoufakis seems not to heed the advise of Jürgen Habermas who criticizes the use of either/or alternatives since they are only fake alternative ones. Like the referendum itself was not  clear either / or since Tsipras stated even if the no vote wins, Greece will stay in the Euro zone and in the European Union.

Varoufakis claims the main mistake is that the nation state has come under attack by the European Union. But what is the intention of everyone joining the European Union, if not to give up certain national Rights and instead to gain in international voice?

Varoufakis displays something similar to another influential voice, namely that of David Harvey who comes ever closer to a highly sophisticated conspiracy theory. This is the case when politics is being expounded at global level as if the bad guys are out to get the good guys. If one follows such a logic, then the world is no longer a friendly one but a hostile one. No wonder if everything then is taken as punitive measures and in return it becomes legitimate to keep up the polemic. That was the style practised during the hey-days of the Student revolt in 1968 and meant to downgrade the other so much that any argument brought forth was no longer worth being listened to. The political a priori was no longer of the Kantian distinction but an enemy picture which made any dialogue and compromise impossible.

3. "Greece and lenders strike upbeat tone, deal seen on bailout" ATHENS | By Angeliki Koutantou and Lefteris Karagiannopoulos http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/04/us-eurozone-greece-bailout-idUSKCN0Q90YU20150804

According to Euclid Tsakalotos, negotiations are going really well or better than expected. It is said this time the Greek negotiation team is well prepared. It matters when compared to the time under Varoufakis. All the more important is therefore to compare the claims and predictions made by Varoufakis with what is happening in reality on the ground, so to speak. It was said that the July agreement entailed a need for the Greek government to give a sign of good will, and everything else can be worked out. Thus the advise of Katherimini is for the Extreme Left who wish to destroy the negotiations and the chances of Greece to stay in the Euro zone that even if you have the power to destroy, political responsibility and wisdom is shown when not using this power.

Comparing these three articles, it says a lot about the current state of affairs with Tsipras facing a hard core opposition within Syriza, and that makes governance not any easier.

Hatto Fischer

Athens 5.8.2015

 



European Capitals of Culture

Current ECoCs

Mons 2015

Pilsen 2015

Riga 2014

"Culture is that undeniable and irresistible force, which is able to direct changes into a positive stream, turning fear into a challenge and a venturous joy, and uncertainty – into trust in the creative spirit." - key slogan of Riga for that decisive year.

For official information: http://riga2014.org/en/

Umeå 2014

Official website: http://www.umea2014.se/inenglish

Umea will also host the next conference of the University Network come October 2014.

Europe connected through the arts and cultures

When thinking about how Europe is connected through culture, it became a practical question as to what contributions European Capitals of Culture have made so far to bringing about a 'cultural synthesis' capable of energizing artists to do outstanding works of art. To trace possible links and follow-ups between past, present and future ECoCs, there has been started a research project to examine the various linkages within given and still better to be formulate categories of the arts. See archive of European Capitals of Culture 

http://ecoc.poieinkaiprattein.org/european-capital-of-culture/

 

Future ECoCs

San Sebastian 2016 and Wroclaw 2016

Aarhus 2017 and Paphos 2017

Valletta 2018

 

and Leeuwarden 2018 in Holland

Matera 2019 in Italy.

The city will join the previous Italian cities which were European Capitals of Culture: Florenz 1986, Bologna 2000 and Genoa 2004.

Plovdiv 2019 in Bulgaria.

2020 Ireland and Croatia

2021 Greece and Rumania

Candidate cities

 

Learning out of previous experiences - what is deemed to be a success story?

How candidate cities learn out of previous experiences made by other ECoC cities, this can be studied onhand of what these cities identify as factors which have contributed to making this project into a success stories. Largely the cultural impact is described in non cultural terms, see

Poetry


 
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2nd Athens World Poetry Festival to be held in Athens between September 21 and 27, 2015
 

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Contribution by poetryindia - April 28, 2015

There are more than 20 State languages in India. The Poems forwarded are classified into "Gujarati" and "Others." Introductions to the Poetry of Gujarati and Tamil, two of the major Indian languages, are also included.

Udayan Thakker
Editor, poetryindia.com

http://www.poetryindia.com/

 

Philosophy

 
   

   Cornelius Castoriadis

https://libcom.org/library/political-social-writings-cornelius-castoriadis

 

 

 

Kids' Guernica - Guernica Youth

Activities in 2015

Kids' Guernica – Guernica Youth meeting in Wroclaw, May 13 – 16, 2015 to prepare exhibition in Walbryzch for June 2016.

For the first mural painted in Wroclaw, see

 



In Tripoli, Lebanon youth along with three children painted a mural with the significant title: To remember we need to forget. The mural was painted in commeration of the bombings of two mosques in Tripoli 2013. They developed a very rich symbolic language out of a strong longing for peace.

Kids' Guernica - Guernica Youth action took place in the local community of Zabbar / Malta 2014 under the guidance of Gertrude Spiteri and Paul Dalli together with Hatto Fischer .

Gerold Schuman in Ecouen initiated an action in "parc naturel duVexin" in March/April 2015 with the murals painted in commeration of the First World War. See Mémoire(s) de la Grande Guerre 2015

Alexandra Zanne completed her documentary film of the mural action 'Seeds of Peace' or in French Graines de paix 2014 done with children battling with their bodies due to epileptic attacks. See https://vimeo.com/114130300


The first mural painted in Togo, Africa thanks to the initiative of Christa Klenbub-Dunkl and Rainer Rene Mueller.

Togo, Africa

Greece after the election in January

            has become a plane

        flying through one turbulence  after        another,     

                 and the outcome still uncertain.

 

       

The question constantly posed, but likewise denied is the prospect of Greece  being forced to leave the Eurozone with all the unknown consequences.

Another alternative is a simple prescription also found on the wall in the streets of Athens.

A demand for beer and weed by those who see no way out.

 

Conferences 2015


Next museum conference:
http://www.museumnext.com/museum-conference-call-papers/

14 May Poetry Workshop in Wroclaw: "Bridge of Redemption / Vineyard / Valley of Vine Trees"

15 - 16 May Meeting of Kids' Guernica - Guernica Youth in Wroclaw

16 - 18 June Symposium "Reading Architecture," organized by McGill University. Place: Benaki Museum, Vas. Sofias in Athens. Abstracts are due by Jan. 15th.
http://www.readingarchitecture.org/

18 - 20 June Mons Meeting of Les Rencontres about "Virtual Culture, Real Responsibilities: Which concrete applications today?" or "Does Europe have still a cultural ambition."
Les Rencontres European Association of cities and regions for Cultureinfo@lesrencontres.eu 165, Boulevard de la Liberté 59000 Lille - France +33 (0)3 20 85 14 15 www.lesrencontres.eu

22 - 23 June 30th anniversary of European Capitals of Culture and coordinated by Spyros Mercouris - see Athens Meeting 2015

1 - 6 September "The need for a constructive dialogue between people and cultures and the Olympic Idea" in Ancient Olympia and a Kids' Guernica - Guernica Youth exhibition

6 September - a small Kids' Guernica - Guernica Youth exhibition at the Cycladic Museum, Athens

2-3 October Think tank of Les Rencontres in Milan on theme "What does a Network of European Cities and Regions for Culture mean today?"

18 - 21 October
7th World Summit on Arts and Culture
IFACCA and Arts Council in Valletta, Malta

22 - 23 October
Mapping Culture II: Debating Cultural Spaces and Places  

2nd Annual Valletta 2018 Foundation International Conference on Cultural Relations in Europe and the Mediterranean
in Valletta, Malta


 

Publications by POIEIN KAI PRATTEIN 
Catalogue "Imperishable Water", 2012 with Haroula Hadjinicilou, Anna Arvanitaki, Hatto Fischer (ed.), Athens ISBN 978-618-80160-0-2
Hatto Fischer: The poem 'Destiny still flows' by Katerina Anghelaki Rooke
- this concerns a discussion of the poem which inspired the action on Rhodes last year
"Nation and Identity" by Kreisau-Initiative, with introduction by Hatto Fischer is crucial for answering the question whether or not Patriotism is an alternative to Nationalism. Youth met first in Kreisau, Poland and were inspired by this example set by the Kreisau Circle which went into resistance against Hitler on the basis of a non discriminatory approach for the day after Hitler fell.
Article by Anna Arvanitaki and Haroula Hadjinicolaou, "Action on Rhodes" in Journal "Nissides" (small islands). Rhodos, Vol. 9, 2012

Poiein kai Prattein is member of the Mediterranean Directory organized by the 
René Seydoux Foundation
http://www.fondation-seydoux.org/repertoire_presentation.htm
Mediterranean Directory

Cultural Calendar for 2015

"Depression Era - photos of Greek crisis" - http://www.depressionera.gr/

photo exhibition at Benaki http://www.benaki.gr/index.asp?lang=en&id=202020001&sid=1519

TEMPUS RITUALIS - exhibition about the Greek crisis by Christine Nippe and Dorothee Bienert in the Gallery at 'Körnerpark', Schierkerstreet 8, 12051 Berlin until 25.01.2015    http://tempusritualis.weebly.com/

21 March Day of Poetry http://www.un.org/en/events/poetryday/

 
Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) 2015 begins in the evening of Wednesday, April 15 and ends in the evening of Thursday, April 16
 
"THE BRIDGE as atonement to peace" Poetry Workshop by Hatto Fischer together with Kamila Kaminska in Wroclaw May 14 - 16

 

21 - 27 September 2nd Athens World Poetry Festival to be held in Athens

Oct. 23 Deadline for submission of bid book by candidate cities in Greece for the ECoC title in 2021


 

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