Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Free speech is under attack in Greece

The Guardian, Wednesday 12 June

The sudden decision to close the Greek state television and radio company ERT and dismiss up to 3,000 journalists and technicians is the culmination of a series of attacks on free speech. This symbolic move, as the government put it in a non-paper, means that private interests have used the financial crisis as a pretext to destroy the main source of non-partisan information and cultural programming in Greece. Journalists and media professionals all over the world must resist this act of cultural vandalism.
Professor Costas Douzinas Birkbeck College, Professor Joanna Bourke Birkbeck College, Maria Margaronis The Nation, Dr Dimitris Papanikolaou Oxford University

• TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady (Comment, 3 June) advocates "using EU membership to rebuild and rebalance our economy, tackle the crisis in living standards and give our young people a future". Well, good luck with that. The EU's Eurostat agency reports average youth unemployment at a staggering 23.5% across the 27 EU member states (24% in the 17-member eurozone). All the signs, so familiar to British trade unionists since the 1980s, of a neoliberal economic experiment destroying good-quality jobs and slashing the social wage in a compulsive hunt for global competitiveness, are there. Far from turning their back on austerity policies, the leaders of the EU last week announced a modest extension of the timescale in which France's Socialist government must cut public spending, coupled with a requirement for a wholesale scrapping of French legislation that protects workers from hire-and-fire policies.

The answer to chronic unemployment will not be found in the EU, which binds its members into low-wage and deflationary policies through successive treaties from Maastricht to Lisbon that British governments have signed up to without a referendum. Neither does a EU-US free trade agreement offer a break with these policies, but opens Europe's public services up to US corporations seeking profits from taxpayer funding. The fight against low-wage employment and joblessness requires a fight against EU policies and structures, not collusion in a discredited "European project".
Alex Gordon
Chair, No2EU – Yes to Democracy Trade Union Advisory Group

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