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Old 07-27-2013, 09:05 PM   #316
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Whenever workers take things into their own hands it's a good thing.

Citing Dignity, Greek Workers Take Over Factory : Parallels : NPR

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The financial crisis in Greece has devastated the country's manufacturing sector, which has lost more than 30 percent of its jobs in the past three years. But at one factory in an industrial center in the north, workers have taken matters into their own hands.
Inside the cavernous factory on the outskirts of Thessaloniki, eight middle-aged men are filling bottles with a vinegar-based fabric softener that's scented with fresh lavender.
This assembly line used to produce glue for ceramic tiles. But the collapse of the construction industry killed demand for building materials.
Dimitris Mokas, one of the men working here, says Greeks still need to wash their clothes — and his firm's new line of laundry products are a good deal.
"You don't want to go to the supermarket and [buy] soap for clothes and pay 20 euros when we will give you for 3 euros," he says.
This firm is called VIO.ME. It's short for Viomichaniki Metalleftiki, or Industrial Mineral.
VIO.ME is a subsidiary of Philkeram Johnson, a Greek company that once made ceramic tiles and exported them to 29 countries.
Bankruptcy In 2011
Philkeram Johnson declared bankruptcy in 2011. VIO.ME's 70 employees stopped getting paychecks the same year. But they still came to work and continued making glue and tile-cleaning products. For a time, they also received unemployment checks, Mokas says.
"Unemployment benefits finished last September," he says. "We said, 'what can we do now? Stay only here and be guards here? We have to eat, we have to do something.' Because we want to have work."
Finding a job in Greece is daunting. More than 27 percent of Greeks are out of work; northern Greece is especially hard-hit. That's why half of the VIO.ME staff decided to occupy the bankrupt factory and revamp it to turn out environmentally friendly detergent and fabric softener.
The workers start their shifts at 7 a.m., and they do everything, Mokas says.
"I was driving a forklift and now I'm an accountant ... a supplier, driver, anything you want," he says.
That includes being a manager. There's no boss here, so for the past five months, Mokas and his fellow workers have also shared the administration of the plant.
The court has appointed a liquidation lawyer, Giorgos Vanaroudis, to administrate the bankruptcy of VIO.ME's parent company, Philkeram Johnson.

Vanaroudis told NPR that the workers of VIO.ME — like other potential buyers — don't want to pay for shares in a company that's more than 4 million euros ($5.3 million) in debt. He says a court in Thessaloniki is now considering whether to appoint administrators for VIO.ME who will allow the workers to remain on the property — or kick them out.
Workers Hope To Own Factory
The VIO.ME workers have been inspired by a precedent in southern Argentina, where the laid-off staff of Zanon, a ceramics factory that closed in 2001, took over the plant and now operate and own it.
The Argentine workers also renamed the plant Fabrica Sin Patrones — Factory Without Bosses — and it's a darling of leftist organizations and labor activists.
The same kinds of activists also support VIO.ME, which also collects donations through PayPal on the plant's website.
What they're not getting is credit from any undercapitalized Greek banks, which rarely give out loans anymore, says Athanassios Savakis, president of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece.
"The problem is liquidity, in fact," he says. "The extrovert companies, the ones with high levels of exports, have faced this in a positive way."
Those companies make money selling their products abroad, whereas the factory workers are struck selling their detergent in a depressed local market.
VIO.ME's fabric softener may not have a future. But the workers still put in eight-hour shifts on the assembly line every day.
When the shift is over at 3 p.m., they line up in a hot, airless office for a day's salary – just 10 euros, or about $13.
Dimitris Nikolaidis, a tall electrician with a crown of salt-and-pepper curls, walks to his aging sea-blue Daewoo Lanos.
"It's really difficult to live on this salary," Nikolaidis says, as he drives home. "The truth is, you can't live on it. It's just enough money to pay for me to get here and keep working."
In the back seat is Giorgos Deligiannis, a bespectacled machine operator in a pressed pastel shirt. He says it's been hard to learn so many new skills, including accounting, and to manage so many different personalities in a collective that insists on equality over ambition.
"But we're trying to be patient," he says. "We want to believe that things will improve."
Outside their factory, the economy is broken. Inside these walls, the men are surviving. And they say they have found dignity, if not money, in their work.
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:57 PM   #317
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The situation in Hungary may as well be even worse than that of Greece.

Hungary is no longer a democracy
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:37 PM   #318
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I worry about the way this country is going. We've just had the first rash of major xenophobia in a while over the Romanians and Bulgarians getting freedom of movement in the EU, with policies and talk from the government that are frankly bordering on Enoch Powell's river of blood speech.

We are also commemorating the First World War with Lord Kitchener on our £2 coins. He who was also a great proponent of concentration camp usage responsible for the deaths of some 26,000 women and children in the Boer War. He of course also was ordering the murder of injured Sudanese soldiers at the Battle of Omdurman.

And now we have the education secretary writing in the Daily Shite that we should feel patriotic about a good and just war, that it is basically a left wing conspiracy to denigrate those who fought. Of course in the same paper that tried to spin the leader of the Labour party's father as someone who hated Britain and its values because he didn't believe in monarchy and wanted changes to parliament, because he was a left wing academic, of course this man also was a Jew who fought for Britain in WW2. It had a slight anti-Semitic edge.

This whole thing reeks of the far right and I don't like where it is heading.
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:20 AM   #319
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I found this today, and thought it had some relevance (?) to your post, LJT.

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Old 01-21-2014, 09:24 PM   #320
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The situation in Hungary may as well be even worse than that of Greece.

Hungary is no longer a democracy
Doesn't really matter. Tecno-bureaucrats only care if your country is decreasing salaries, shutting down the public school/health/social security services, in order to compete directly with China, India, Mercosur, where the production costs are cheaper and where citizens (still) do not demand the same life quality europeans do.
As long as Hungary still has their salaries low enough to produce at a low cost, but high enough to buy what Germany and France produces, everything's okay.

There's European Parliment Election coming up on May 25th.

In France, for the first time in France's history, the Front National party, of Le Pen is gonna win. At the same time, many french seem to enjoy the shows of a pseudo-commedian, "linked" to Front National, who likes to make xenophobic jokes or anti-semitic... In line with Front Nationale's holocaust-denial.

In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders of PVV party is making some sort of pre-coalition with french Marine Le Pen and probably is going to have a good result again, as in 2009.

In the UK, the UKIP, another extreme-right party, is probably be in 3rd place. They also have similar positions and this week, one of his members claimed that recent flood is due to gay marriage.

In Hungary, the FIDESZ, traditionally right-wing, became far-far-right with Victor Orban. Hungarians seem to be happy with him, as opinion polls still give 45-50% to him... Not counting with the JOBBIK party, the extreme-right party that had 17% in the last elections and probably will repeat it. Orban's policy is known: shutting down radios and newspapers of the opposition, repressing minorities, repressing homeless, chasing gypsies (which are the XXI centuries "jews" for most of Europe), etc.

In Italy, in the legislative elections of 2012, there was a tie between 3 parties, all of them with ± 25%: the center-left (which is leading the government), Berlusconni's party (which, for me is far-far-far populist right) and Beppe Grillo's party, which is a ultrapopulist party, centered in Grillo's party and who wants to blow down the whole system.

In Portugal, the PPD/PSD party, traditionally the biggest center-right party (don't rely on wikipedia, they never ever were social-democratics, just stole the name not to be connoted with Salazar's nationalist right) now is a revival of 1930's proto-fascism, doing single everything that any portuguese thought it was impossible to happen, from taxes to counscience matters, from the extermination of culture/science to a propaganda that's typical of dictatorial regimes... All with the help of their coalition party, CDS-PP, leaded by a in-the-closet self-homophobic queer, a right-wing party, ranging from right populism to conservative-liberalism and never hides its nostalgia for the fascist regime.

In Germany, Angela Merkel (right wing) sucked the politica agenda of every party around her with the exception of the socialist/ex-comunists: from the liberals of FDP to SPD's social-democrats, and even part of the Green's agenda. No one is able to make a reliable opposition to that woman.

In Greece, the Golden Dawn, the neonazi party is now 3rd in the opinion polls (for many months they're stable in 3rd place) and reaching the 15% mark. Golden Dawn is entering and rising in the greek system the same way that Hitler's NSDAP's did in the late 1920's/early 1930's.

Simultaneously, in 2010, after Merkel-Sarkozy's summit, that decided that Europe (mostly the PIIGS) should now suffer a totalitary-punitive catholic-protestant-speeched austerity cure, the European Union changed the rules for the accounting of the deficits and debts. Suddenly, in a blink of an eye, the debts and deficits, specially of the PIIGS, had exploded.
Yesterday, January 21st, only 4 months before the European Elections, the EU tecno-bureaucrats decided to change the rules again, in a way that the GDP's will increase 1-2%... Which means that the public debt and budget deficit in % of GDP... Will suddenly decrease. And also suddenly the austerity plan worked after all!
The EU became a sort of Soviet Union but ideologically reversed.

This is Europa in 2014.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:51 PM   #321
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Not to mention, in Ukraine they're fighting to get into the EU, and a sizeable group among the protests are fascists themselves.
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:03 AM   #322
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Not to mention, in Ukraine they're fighting to get into the EU, and a sizeable group among the protests are fascists themselves.
Ukraine is a special case. What the media doesn't tell is that the party of the opposition is being supported - specially financially - by... CDU/CSU, Angela Merkel's party.
EU doesn't care if Ukraine is a democratic country or not. EU only wants Ukraine in to "win" another "battle" against Russia/ex-URSS, and since Ukraine is a big country, with very low salaries, unprotected labour/social laws, it'll be so easy to put ukranians producing what czechs, polish or even portuguese can't anymore, because they earn "too much" and have "too much rights". The reason EU wants Ukraine inside is what Merkel and the EU tecno-bureaucrats call "market economy", which is their cute and soft way to call a non-regulated social liberalism.
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:08 AM   #323
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The media really doesn't need to say anything, I would've thought the EU/West support for the Ukrainian opposition is a simple join the dots game for everyone, it's very obvious.

It's hard to look at their situation and see anything positive in the future, much like a second Orange Revolution which was a bit of a farce in the end anyway.
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:15 AM   #324
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Is Ukraine a authoritarian dictatorship? I believe so.
Will Ukraine be better inside the EU. I highly doubt it.
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Old 01-22-2014, 06:56 PM   #325
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Orwell would have definitely thought so.

Ukrainian government texts ominous Orwellian message directly to cell phones of protesters | The Verge
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:48 AM   #326
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Another pretty extensive article detailing how serious things are.

The Ukrainian Euromaidan: The Solution to Putin, or Just Another Fascist Political Coup? - revolution-news.com
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:24 AM   #327
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So help me understand a little bit, is Europe heading down the same path it did after WWI? What's with the rise of fascist parties? Have people already forgotten what happened with German and the Nazis?
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:09 PM   #328
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So help me understand a little bit, is Europe heading down the same path it did after WWI? What's with the rise of fascist parties? Have people already forgotten what happened with German and the Nazis?
No, I don't think Europe is heading down that way. And many in Europe haven't forgotten. Keep in mind that many parties and political movements (even some labelled as fascist above) are still to the left of the political spectrum as the Republican Party in the USA. Granted, it has been a long while since the political landscape in Europe was this far to the right, but it's not as bad as it might seem to an outside (especially one from the US).
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:17 PM   #329
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So help me understand a little bit, is Europe heading down the same path it did after WWI? What's with the rise of fascist parties? Have people already forgotten what happened with German and the Nazis?
Yes, it is. With the obvious contextual differences, Europe is repeating too much of the exact same steps and mistakes it did 80 years ago.
The Golden Dawn, in Greece, is rising, growing and conquering "public", the exact same way that Hitler's NSDAP did in the late 1920's. The similarities between both's history is creepy.
In the mediterranean countries there's a rise of the populist neo-fascist acts and parties, many times, by the hand of the "traditional" right parties that now are revealling their real agenda.

Some may deny it, but parties like the british UKIP, the dutch PVV or the french Front National are proto-fascist parties, xenophobic, that behave like a wolf in a lamb skin, because their agenda remain the same, but they've been clever in adopting part if the speech that the social-democratic/traditional center-left parties abandoned because the former simply don't have speech or agenda anymore.
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