At the frontline of crisis: Europe, Greece, and the Refugees

Savas Michael-Matsas
  savvasmatsas@gmail.com
  

Abstract

Abstract

Under the impact of the current world crisis, Greece has become, from 2010 onwards, the “broken” link in the chain of the Euro-zone and of the EU. Three “bailouts” tied to draconian austerity measures produced a social catastrophe but no solution. Social polarization, political radicalization and mass popular mobilizations brought in government in 2015 Syriza, with the hope that a “government of the Left” will bring an end to austerity.
In July 2015, the Syriza government had capitulated to the pressures of the hated troika, the EU led by Germany, the ECB and the IMF, imposing an even more barbaric and unsustainable austerity program. This turning point coincided with a dramatic escalation of the refugee influx from Syria and the Middle East to Europe through Greece. The political and social impact was and is immense not only on an already devastated country but all over Europe. After the unresolved euro-zone crisis, now the so-called “migrants or refugees crisis”, its inhuman mismanagement by a hostile EU, the closure of the Balkan route, the EU deal with Erdogan’s Turkey on March 20, 2016, the rise of nationalism, xenophobia, racism, and the Far Right in Europe compounded the crisis of the entire EU project. Europe appears disintegrating along nationalist lines, strengthening border controls and raising wired fences. More than a “Fortress” sealed in its external borders, it is internally fragmenting.
But the example of Greece, again, brings forward another possibility. The unprecedented grassroots movement of solidarity by a people already in the depths of humanitarian crisis towards the refugees from the Middle East manifests much more than the potential of social resistance of a Greek people, pauperized, betrayed but not yet decisively defeated. It expresses as well a deep, international tendency for a unification of the nomadic proletariat beyond borders.

refugees, - Crisis theory