Anti-Austerity Protests in Greece in Crisis (2010-2015): What Happened Next?

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Conference Room - 251 (University of Glasgow)
Hara Kouki , University of Durham
In Greece, austerity policies imposed by international and European institutions and adopted by national governments have provoked a strong wave of protests; since the outburst of the crisis in 2010 mobilizations challenged party politics and representative democracy institutions putting forward horizontal and participatory types of mobilization and engaging into protest large segments of the population. Soon afterwards (January 2015), the left wing Syriza became a ruling party in Greece by disputing domestic and European political elites and adopting an anti-austerity discourse and agenda that claimed to reflect popular grievances. In the summer of 2015, and while the impact of the protracted economic crisis was becoming deeper for those already vulnerable, the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ started to pose further challenges to the country; at the same time, a broad and wide series of grassroots initiatives has been created in solidarity with tens of thousands of people crossing or remaining stranded in the country.

Departing from these two different sets of changes, this paper examines the role and impact of the popular mobilizations both on the institutional and the grassroots level: to what extent and in which ways are the anti-austerity struggles (2010 to 2015) related on the one hand to Syriza’s rise to power and on the other to the development of solidarity actions concerning refugees across the country? Not looking for causal explanations, this study is based on qualitative interviews so as to reflect on obvious and less obvious processes of social transformation at times of crisis.