• Important intellectuals and artists supporting #OXI
  • "We are on their side. Because their struggle is ours"

  • 02 Jul 15
  • Statements of important intellectuals and artists

    supporting the Greek and International #OXI movement.

    (Status 2 July 2015, 6pm)

    ##European call

    Etienne Balibar, French philosopher and others:

    "The struggle of the Greek people is the struggle of all European democrats, of all those who believe in human progress. In the case of a potential defeat all European peoples would pay the price. In the case of a potential victory, as limited as it may be, all European peoples would benefit. That's why it is necessary for those French and European forces who have hope in the renewal of democracy to positively answer the calls of Syriza to build European solidarity around Greece and the Greek people. The perspective of a referendum urgently requires the reinforcement of this solidarity.

    To the Greek people we say that we are on their side. Because their struggle is ours."

    First signatoriesAntoine Artous, Etienne Balibar, Sophie Bessis, Jacques Bidet, Luc Boltanski, GillesBounoure, Marie-Pierre Bourcier, Claude Calame, Patrick Chamoiseau, Patrice Cohen Seat, Jean-Numa Ducange, Jean-Louis Fabiani, Michel Husson, Michael Löwy, Marie-José Malis, Jean-Louis Martinelli, Gus Massiah, Jean-Claude Petit, Philippe Pignarre, Michèle Riot-Sarcey, Pierre Salama, Denis Sieffert, Patrick Silberstein, Francis Sitel, Bernard Stiegler, Hervé Télémaque, Jacques Testart, Eleni Varikas, Pierre Zarka...

    Whole text:




    Michael Scharang, author, Vienna


    ***English version below***

    (Zu Griechenland)

    Das politische Personal in der EU, das vom europäischen

    Kapital eingesetzt wird, gerät außer sich vor Wut, weil in

    Griechenland eine Regierung arbeitet, die der Bevölkerung

    verantwortlich ist.

    Das darf nicht sein. In seiner Wut geht das Personal bis zum

    Äußersten. Man wird in der Gegenwehr ebenfalls bis zum

    Äußersten gehen müssen.


    The political personnel in the EU, appointed by the European Capital, is beside itself because there is a government in Greece in power, which feels responsible to the population.

    That must not be. In its fury, the personnel goes to extreme. Those fighting back also have to go to Extreme.


    Sonja Ablinger, President of the Österreischischer Frauenring



    "Neoliberal policy has fundamentally failed. Austerity measures have turned the economic crises into a social crisis. It has destroyed the well-beings of so many and it has deepened the crisis. It is time to say: NO. Europe is not about profits of a few and not about blackmailing. Europe is about the well being of all. It is about equality, democracy and the sovereignity of the people. This is what the Greek referendum is about. Another Europe is possible."


    Gabriele Michalitsch, Economist and political scientist, Vienna University, Austria



    To insist on the prolongation of austerity policy, which, during the last years, has proven to achieve quite the opposite of its declared aims, seems rather irrational. But are Schäuble, Merkel and their European partners driven by irrationality or differ their real goals from what is announced in public? In fact, their strategy seems quite rational assuming their real goals are

    • the step-down of a government opposing the continuous privatisation of public wealth and the further impoverishment of the vast majority of the population,
    • a warning towards, in particular, the Spanish electorate that resistance against austerity will make things worse,
    • fostering neoliberal domination by making clear that deviance from the neoliberal path will not be accepted and
    • strengthening Germany’s hegemony in Europe.

    The immeasurable suffering of people does not count in this context. The Greek people at least has the chance to say “no” to this destructive and anti-democratic rationality of power and show that economic dependence has not taken its intellectual independence. To make up for the enormous damages to Greece and to the idea of a united Europe will need much more.


    Bärbel Danneberg, Austrian author



     "The Greek example shows to the countries of Europe and the world what happens, when a leftwing government refuses to be blackmailed by the Troika and the banks. What is being imposed with the stubborn politics of austerity on the people of Greece is going to be imposed on us soon.
    Now it is the time for a social and democratic change.
    Greece needs the solidarity of all left forces in the own country and in Europe. In this sense I hope for a #OXI on Sunday and broad support for Alexis Tsipras and Syriza."


    Adalbert Krims, editor of the periodical „KRITISCHES CHRISTENTUM“, Vienna, Austria


    "In his apostolic exhortation „Evangelii Gaudium“ from November 2013, Pope Francis says that the world "can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market". The pope denounces the current economic system as “unjust at its root“ and he literally states: „Such an economy kills.“ The situation in Greece in recent years is a proof of the correctness of the papal words. Greece, which is the cradle of European democracy, can again play a leading role for Europe today if it rejects the dictation of austerity."


    Dr. J. Windischer, Generalsekretär Pax Christi Österreich


    „Mit Erschrecken verfolge ich die Unbeugsamkeit einer EU Finanzpolitik, welche Griechenland ohne Perspektiven belässt. Die Auflagen und Bedingungen entsprechen der Politik der Reichen und der liberalen kapitalistischen Wirtschafts und Finanzpolitik und drohen weite Kreise der griechischen Bevölkerung in noch größere Armut, ja sogar ins Elend zu treiben. Europa wäre gedient, wenn man endlich andere, alternative, lösungsorientierte Ansätze zur Geltung bringen würde. Es geht nicht nur um die Zukunft Griechenland, es geht um die Zukunft Europas.“

    Innsbruck 2.Juli 2015


    Dr. Balázs Németh, pastor of the reformed evangelical church and head of the ecclesiastical council, retired, Vienna, Austria


    Solidarity with the Greek people means to protest against an economic and social politics that has written on its banners the development of the strong at the expense of the weak and that wants to eliminate all those who insist on the human being instead of capital and on being instead of having. The future of the world cannot rest on the wealth of a highly capitalised minority but on a community that is prepared to share what they have with the have-nots. That is the reason why the model of Greece as conceived now has a future, and not an order the maxim of which is, as Brecht put it that “the reasons for which man is living is that he can so thoroughly forget that he is human” (Bertolt Brecht)


    Hans Wührer, parish priest, retired, Linz, Austria


    In the face of the unsettling development in Greece the words of a man unknown (to me) comes to my mind that “democracy must be more than two wolves and one sheep deciding what they will have for dinner“. My entire sympathy, my solidarity go to the Greeks who are brutally deprived of the air to breathe. And my indignation is for a system requiring such inhuman sacrifices and is still allowed to call itself “democratic”.




    Konstantin Wecker, German poet and songwriter



    Picture by Thomas Karsten

    ***English version below***

    Man ist sich ja so einig, wenn es darum geht eine demokratisch gewählte linke Regierung zu demütigen, vor den Kopf zu stoßen, zu behandeln, als sei sie der letzte europäische Dreck.
    Griechenland, bzw. die linke Regierung soll in die Pfanne der EU Staatenführer gehauen werden, weil sie sich vor einer anderen Politik und vor Machtverlust fürchten.
    Den Vogel schoss Sigmar Gabriel ab, mit dem an populistischer Polemik kaum zu überbietenden Ausruf, er wolle die Wahnvorstellungen einer "kommunistischen Regierung" nicht von "deutschen Arbeitnehmern und deren Familien bezahlen lassen“.
    Was bedeutet zur Zeit wohl das S in der SPD für Gabriel?
    Satt, saturiert, saudumm?
    Es ist ja zu befürchten, dass die SPD mit der Fünf-Prozent-Klausel zu kämpfen hat, sollte der „Neoliberale Gabriel“ (Süddeutsche Zeitung von gestern) als Kanzler kandidieren.
    2010 habe ich meinem Freund Willy am Ende eines langen Liedes zugerufen:
    „….Dieser Kapitalismus ist nicht mehr zu retten, er ist ein Zerstörungsprojekt, das auf der Erniedrigung der Frauen und Armen basiert und durch Kriege immer neue Märkte schaffen und bereits erschaffene Werte künstlich wieder zerstören muss.
    Die Welt ist wahnsinnig geworden Willy, und dieser Wahnsinn wird uns auch noch als Demokratie verkauft.
    Und drum werd ich jetzt Grieche.
    Das ist ihr größter Trick: sie wollen Solidarität verhindern - und hoffen, uns zu spalten.
    Und diese Solidarität ist auch ihre größte Angst. Denn für Mitgefühl ist kein Platz in den verhärteten Herzen der Superreichen.
    Ja, drum werd ich jetzt Grieche.“

    Ja Freunde, drum werd ich jetzt Grieche.


    "There is such unity around the decision to humiliate a democratically elected left government, to snub it, to treat it like the lowest European dirt. Greece and its left government are to be skinned and cooked alive by the EU's state leaders because they are afraid of the example of an alternative politics and the loss of their power.

    But Sigmar Gabriel took the prize with his outburst, which almost cannot be topped in terms of populist polemic: He doesn’t want the „German employees and their families to pay for the delusions of a communist government“.

    What does the S in SPD stand for for Gabriel by now?
    Satiated, saturated, stupid?

    It is to be feared that the SPD will struggle to pass the five-percent-threshold when „Neoliberal Gabriel“ (yesterday's Süddeutsche Zeitung) runs for chancellor.

    In 2010 I called to my friend Willy at the end of a long song:
    „… This capitalism can’t be saved anymore, it’s a project of destruction based on the degradation of women and the poor, which through wars creates new markets und artifically destroys already produced values.
    The world has gone crazy Willy, and this crazyness is being sold to us as democracy.
    And that’s why I'm now becoming a Greek.
    This is their biggest trick: they want to prevent solidarity – and hope to split us.
    And this solidarity is also their greatest fear. Because there is no space for compassion in the hardened hearts of the super-rich.
    Yes, that’s why I'm now becoming a Greek“

    Yes, friends, that’s why I'm now becoming a Greek."



    Iceland’s experience with two referendums on creditors’ deals

    By Lilja Mósesdóttir, an economists and a former MP of the Icelandic Parliament who fought against all Icesave deals.

    When following news on the Greek referendum, I relive the heated discussions within and outside Iceland around our two referendums on the Icesave deals in 2010 and 2011. In the referendums, the people of Iceland were asked whether they voted YES or NO to a state-guarantee on deals involving the re-payment of private banks’ debt.

    Our experience with the two referendums:

    Referendum is the only way to stop creditors from turning more private debt into public debt and imposing unacceptable hardship on the people!

    The international community (IMF, EU and the other Nordic countries) all joined forces to pressure Iceland - first the government and then the people - to accept the creditors’ deals that would have made our sovereign debt unsustainable.

    The Icelandic people were repeatedly accused by the international community of being unwilling to pay off their debt, although the debt was private and the Icelandic state had no legal obligation to pay it.

    IMF stopped loan payments to Iceland for many months in 2009 and 2010 to “starve” the Icelandic people into voting YES for deals that would have made our debt unsustainable and imposed unacceptable hardship on our people.

    The rating agencies (especially Fitch) threatened to lower the ratings of Iceland if the people voted NO. This threat was not in line with the basic “economic rule” that less sovereign debt (cf. NO vote) decreases the risk of default and should lead to higher and not lower credit ratings.

    The international community disregarded Iceland’s sovereignty and threatened with claims that NO vote would result in Iceland being cut off from international financial markets for a long time.  This did not come true as the Icelandic state was able to enter the international financial markets at the time of the second referendum in 2011. However, this psychological warfare created deep divisions among the people of Iceland (families, friends, political parties, academics, etc.) that are still poisoning Icelandic politics.

    Those in favour of the deals argued that international agreements in a foreign technical language (English) were too complicated for the people of Iceland to understand and should not be put to a referendum. Those against the deals did not find it difficult to decide how to vote.

    In an opinion poll made by Gallup Iceland in August 2009, 63% were against granting state-guarantee on the first Icesave agreement made in June that year. Men, older age groups and those with university education were more likely to support the state-guarantee (YES voters) than women, younger age groups and those not with university education (NO voters).

    The great majority (98% in 2010 and 60% in 2011) voted NO in the two referendums and many said they did it for their children and the young people of our country who had the right to a bright future in Iceland and not abroad.

    The NO vote of the Icelandic people in 2010 saved the country from austerity measures amounting to 9% of GDP and the NO vote in 2011 saved it from austerity measures of about 4% of GDP.





    William Wall, Irish novelist, poet and short fiction writer:

    "Solidarity to the Greek people and Syriza!"





    Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Professor of Sociology at the School of Economics, University of Coimbra



      Coimbra, Portugal, July 2, 2015


    Statement 1

    After five years of austerity and its disastrous results in Greece and Southern Europe, should we trust the European institutions in urging the Greeks to vote YES to the continuation of such catastrophic measures? NO, we cannot trust them. In solidarity with the Greek people and with ourselves, I wish we were all Greek this Sunday to vote NO!


    Statement 2

    I wish I were Greek to vote NO on Sunday. Neither the YES nor the NO to austerity measures will make disappear the problems facing Greece and Europe today. The decision to be preferred is the one that gives us a better chance of overcoming the hardships in the very near future, that is, opening the way to a dignifying solution and to the strengthening of democracy, both in Greece and in Europe. The decision that allows us to see more clearly the light at the end of the tunnel is the rejection of the austerity measures. The NO vote is a vote for hope against fear. It is a vote for a better Europe




     Slavoj Žižek, Slovenian philosopher



    "The struggle that goes on is the struggle for the European economic and political Leitkultur.The EU powers stand for the technocratic status quo which is keeping Europe in inertia for decades. In his Notes Towards a Definition of Culture, the great conservative T.S. Eliot remarked that there are moments when the only choice is the one between heresy andnon-belief, i.e., when the only way to keep a religion alive is to perform asectarian split from its main corpse.

    This is our position today with regard to Europe: only a new "heresy" (represented at this moment by Syriza) can save what is worth saving in European legacy: democracy, trust in people,egalitarian solidarity.

    The Europe that will win if Syriza is outmaneuvered is a "Europe with Asian values" (which, of course, has nothing to do with Asia,but all with the clear and present tendency of contemporary capitalism to suspenddemocracy). We, from Western Europe, like to look upon Greece as if we are detached observers who follow with compassion and sympathy the plight of the impoverished nation. Such a comfortable standpoint relies on a fateful illusion – what goes on in Greece these last weeks concerns all of us, it is the futureof Europe which is at stake.

    So when we read about Greece these days, we should always bear in mind that, as the old saying goes, de te fabula narrator."




    Jacqueline Rose, Professor of Humanities, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities



    "This is sheer unbridled sadism. The Greek people are being punished for the failure of the neo-liberal consensus to avert the hideous and increasing forms of inequality which were always inscribed within its mandate. Nothing can explain why the most powerful countries of Europe should want to continue to impose on Greece policies which have brought it to the brink of collapse, other than the desire to precipitate a true collapse which they will then take as the proof that only their vicious system could have saved it - a self-defeating argument and a blatant lie. We can only speculate what unconscious links there must be between the forgiving of Germany's post-war debt, of which it remains the beneficiary to this day and without which it would not be in a position to dictate its terms, and its refusal to countenance any such forgiveness, let alone the paying of war reparations, to Greece. No logic can explain it. We have entered the realm of the cruellest social fantasy. The irony is that the whole of Europe will now suffer. But our hearts go out to the Greek people who will suffer - who are already suffering - most." 


    Hilary Wainwright, Red Pepper magazine



    „The experience of Greece demonstrates the importance of building a pan European movement based on values of solidarity and deep democracy. Thank you for doing so much to organise this.“




    PaulKrugman,American economist, Professor of Economics and International Affairs



    „…I would vote no, for two reasons. First, much as the prospect of euro exit frightens everyone — me included — the troika is now effectively demanding that the policy regime of the past five years be continued indefinitely. Where is the hope in that? Maybe, just maybe, the willingness to leave will inspire a rethink, although probably not. But even so, devaluation couldn’t create that much more chaos than already exists, and would pave the way for eventual recovery, just as it has in many other times and places. Greece is not that different.

    Second, the political implications of a yes vote would be deeply troubling. The troika clearly did a reverse Corleone — they made Tsipras an offer he can’t accept, and presumably did this knowingly. So the ultimatum was, in effect, a move to replace the Greek government. And even if you don’t like Syriza, that has to be disturbing for anyone who believes in European ideals…“


    Joseph Stiglitz, American economist and professor at Columbia University


    " ... a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands. Greeks might gain the opportunity to shape a future that, though perhaps not as prosperous as the past, is far more hopeful than the unconscionable torture of the present. I know how I would vote."


    RichardStallman,software freedom activist and computer programmer



    „A few words to Greece

    The international banks, and their plutocratist politicians, have rejected the easy course of giving Greece a path back to growth and to repaying most of its debt. They demand Greece accept six months more of the "help" that would leave Greece even more desperate. Apparently they want to make an example of Greece to intimidate other victims.

    With their rejection of Greece's last offer, their arrogance is now explicit: they demand Greece choose between the disaster of economic exclusion and the disaster of economic occupation.

    It seems to me that it is better to suffer by fighting and weakening one's enemies than to suffer by surrendering and serving them.  It seems to me that these banks oppress all of Europe, so rebelling against them is imperative.

    Thus, it seems to me that Greece should choose NO on July 5.  No to the banksters' ultimatum, no to their dominion, and no to their parasitism.

    That's how it seems to me; but it is easy for me to say such things, since I won't be the one who suffers.  It is for Greeks to say how it seems to them.“