On the first day in our ministries, the power of the media to distort hit me again. The world’s press was full of reports on how the SYRIZA government’s first foreign policy ‘move’ was to veto fresh sanctions on Russia. Now, I am not qualified to speak on foreign affairs but, nonetheless, I must share this with you at a personal level. Our Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias, briefed us that on his first day at the job he heard in the news bulletins that the EU had approved new sanctions on Russia unanimously. The problem was that he, and the new Greek government, were never asked! So, clearly, the issue was not whether our new government agrees or not with fresh sanctions on Russia. The issue is whether our view can be taken for granted without even being told of what it is! From my perspective, even though (let me state it again) I am certainly not qualified to speak on foreign affairs, this is all about a question of respect for our national sovereignty. Could journalists the world over try to draw this important distinction between protesting our being neglected from protesting the sanctions themselves? Or is this too complicated?
The time to put up or shut up has, I have been told, arrived. My plan is to defy such advice. To continue blogging here even though it is normally considered irresponsible for a Finance Minister to indulge in such crass forms of communication. Naturally, my blog posts will become more infrequent and shorter. But I do hope they compensate with juicier views, comments and insights.
For hope to be revived we must all strive to change the ways of a dismal past. Maintaining an open line with the outside world may be a small step in that direction.
So, keep watching this space!
Yanis Varoufakis: Greece’s future finance minister is no extremist
The man touted as frontunner to be Syriza’s finance minister is not the socialist firebrand which one might expect
Syriza, a hard left party, that outrightly rejects EU-imposed austerity, has given Greek politics its greatest electoral shake-up in at least 40 years.
You might expect the frontrunner for the role of finance minister to be a radical zealot, who could throw Greece into the fire.
He is not. Continue reading
This is my eighth and, for the time being, final article for Witte de With Review (an initiative of Rotterdam-based Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art) of which we, vitalspace.org and I, have been their… ‘Athens Desk’). Click here for the Witte de With Review site which contains several photos missing here. Or read on… Continue reading
Today, the people of Greece gave a vote of confidence to hope. They used the ballot box, in this splendid celebration of democracy, to put an end to a self-reinforcing crisis that produces indignity in Greece and feeds Europe’s darkest forces.
The people of Greece today sent a message of solidarity to the North, to the South, to the East and to the West of our continent. The simple message is that the time for crisis-denial, retribution and finger-pointing is over. That the time for the reinvigoration of the ideals of freedom, rationality, democratic process and justice has come in the continent that invented them.
Greek democracy today chose to stop going gently into the night.
Greek democracy resolved to rage against the dying of the light.
Fresh from receiving our democratic mandate, we call upon the people of Europe and, indeed, the world over, to join us in a realm of shared, sustainable prosperity.
ON CHICAGO’s TOP RADIO SHOW
CLICK PHOTO OR HERE FOR THE VIDEO
There is little doubt that the OMT program has been Mr Mario Draghi’s (the European Central Bank’s dexterous-yet-severely-constrained President) greatest success story. In the summer of 2012 the euro was on the brink. Mr Draghi’s announcement of an intention to buy unlimited quantities of sovereign debt (Italian in particular) to stem the contagion in the bond markets sufficed: the run on the Periphery’s bonds ended even though Mr Draghi did not buy a single bond. Continue reading
Since the demise of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and ensuing great financial crisis (GFC), it would seem rather obscenely that central bankers and monetary policy has been obsessed with “deflation”, rather than remedying the actual causes of the crisis itself. Is this a fair analysis?
Critical engagement is a form of praxis. But there comes a time when, to retain its relevance, critical thinking must transform itself into direct political action. Continue reading
A fresh interview offered to PROFIL (Austria) on why SYRIZA’ s proposals for Greece and for Europe are radical only to the extent that they are rational and therapeutic for the Eurozone as a whole. CLICK HERE (in German only I fear)