Greece: what the potato movement did next.
From direct deals with farmers to guerrilla parks and suicide prevention, Alexandra Saliba documents grassroots solutions to the financial crisis in the New Internationalist Magazine at http://newint.org/features/2013/01/01/greece-potato-movement/
Even after securing billions in loans from the so-called ‘Troika’, the Greek economy continues to shrink at an alarming rate. Jobs are vanishing. Unemployment is double the euro-zone average and 55 per cent of people aged between 15 and 24 can’t find work. A quarter of the Greek population is now living in poverty. And with taxes rising, the minimum wage falling, and social welfare being withdrawn, it’s hard to see a bright side.
But there is one. Many Greeks are gradually coming to terms with the collapse of a failing social and political system. They are taking matters into their own hands and addressing crucial issues through grassroots activism and local collective action. There are signs of a lifestyle transformation, incorporating values and social patterns of the past.
Old-style frugality and self-sufficiency are being interwoven with more contemporary ideas like sustainable living and ethical consumption. The diversity and spread of small collectives across Greece is showing us the power of collectivity and the potential for a transitional model to a new, smaller-scale economy, while the spontaneous emergence of horizontal, local structures reflects a desire for true democracy. Here are a few examples of initiatives investigated around Greece – and the main reasons for optimism: Farmers trade directly with consumers without intermediaries, psychological support to tackle social isolation and suicide, solidarity haunt, alternative currencies and time banks, coolective cooking, self sufficiency and eco-living.