The Gift of Death

Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it.

santaBy George Monbiot, published in the Guardian.

There’s nothing they need, nothing they don’t own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub holder; a “hilarious” inflatable zimmer frame; a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – and somehow I find this significant – a Scratch Off World wall map.

They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they’re in landfill. For thirty seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations.

Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale(1). Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable).

But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine t-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped i-phone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog: no one is expected to use them, or even look at them, after Christmas Day. They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away. Continue reading

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That´s our Problem!

Zinn-what-exactly-is-the-problem-in-americaCivil disobedience is not our problem.

Our problem is civil obedience.

Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…

Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty.

Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves…(and) the grand thieves are running the country.

That’s our problem.”

Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010) Professor at Boston University for 24 years

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Η πολιτική ανυπακοή δεν είναι το πρόβλημά μας.

Το πρόβλημά μας είναι η πολιτική υπακοή.  Continue reading

Τζακ Κέρουακ: Aς πιούμε στην υγειά του

Τζακ Κέρουακ (12 Μαρτίου 1922 – 21 Οκτωβρίου 1969)Kerouac

«Aς πιούμε στην υγειά των τρελών, των απροσάρμοστων, των επαναστατών, των ταραχοποιών. Σε αυτούς που βλέπουν τα πράγματα διαφορετικά, που δεν τιμούν τους κανόνες, που δεν σέβονται την τάξη… Μπορεί να τους επαινέσεις, να διαφωνήσεις, να τους τσιτάρεις, να δυσπιστήσεις, να τους δοξάσεις ή να τους κακολογήσεις. Αλλά δεν μπορείς να τους αγνοήσεις. Γιατί αλλάζουν πράγματα. Βρίσκουν, φαντάζονται, βοηθάνε, ερευνούν, φτιάχνουν, εμπνέουν. Σπρώχνουν μπροστά τα πάντα. Ίσως, πρέπει να είναι τρελλοί. Πώς αλλιώς θα κοιτάξουν ένα άδειο καμβά και θα δουν έργο τέχνης; Ή θα καθίσουν στη σιωπή και θ’ ακούσουν τραγούδι που δεν έχει γραφτεί; Εκεί που κάποιοι βλέπουν τρελούς, εμείς βλέπουμε μεγαλοφυΐες. Γιατί οι άνθρωποι που είναι αρκετά τρελοί για να πιστεύουν ότι μπορούν ν’ αλλάξουν τον κόσμο, είναι αυτοί που στο τέλος το κάνουν».

 Jack Kerouac: Let´s Drink to Ηim

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine.
They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
are the ones who do…”

με αφορμή τα 45 χρόνια και μια ανάρτηση στο Περιοδικό

Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto

aaron_swartz_manifesto-01

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.

There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future. Everything up until now will have been lost.

That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal — there’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can, something that’s already being done: we can fight back.

Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.

Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by the publishers and sharing them with your friends.

But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.

Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate require it — their shareholders would revolt at anything Continue reading

Μέρες Παράξενες, Θαυμάσιες Μέρες

H ταινία του Πάνου Σπινθηρόπουλου

για το 2ο Φεστιβάλ Γη κι Ελευθερία.

Το μοντάζ έγινε στα, φοβερά, 

Rogue-State Studios

στην Θεσσαλονίκη,

από τον Νίκα Λομινάτζε και τον Πάνο Σπινθηρόπουλο.

Τα Καλύτερα Έρχονται …

A film  by  Panos Spinthiropoulos,

on the 2nd Land and Freedom Festival,

that took place, the last weekend of July,

in Vassaras – Mountain Parnon.

The editing was done in Thessaloniki (Rogue State Studios)

by Panos Spinthropoulos and Nika Lominatze.

The best is yet to come!
Continue reading

Mετράμε///Counting

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3 χρόνια μετά:

3 years later:

2 τριήμερα φεστιβάλ!

2 3-day festivals!

14 συναυλίες μεγάλων καλλιτεχνών!

14 music concerts!

Θάνος Μικρούτσικος-Ρίτα Αντωνοπούλου, Blues Wire x 2, Active Member, Yπόγεια Ρεύματα, Σπύρος Κονιδάρης, Rakopoylos, Σπύρος Γραμμένος, Radio Sol, Ital Light, Rumors, North Ensamble, Λακωνικό ωδείο χ 2

6 εκθέσεις τέχνης!

6 art exhibitions!

11 συζητήσεις με σημαντικούς ομιλητές!

11 discussions with specialists!

πάνω από 10 προβολές  κινηματογραφικών ταινιών και πάνω από 55 ταινίες μικρού μήκους!

film projections of more than 10 movies and 55 of short films!

4 εκπαιδευτικά εργαστήρια!

4 educational workshops!

πάνω από 40 αφίσες, 17 gif και 5 φυλλάδια σε παραπάνω από 2.500 αντίτυπα!

more than 40 posters, 17 gifs and 5 leaflets in more than 2.500 copies!

πάνω από 9 συνελεύσεις!

more than 9 town assemblies!

1 τουρνουά πινγκ-πονγκ!

1 ping pong tournament!

3 μεγάλα έργα και πολλά μικρότερα!!

3 big construction works and many smaller ones!!

1 αστική μη κερδοσκοπική εταιρία!

1 non-profit organization

επίσημη ιστοσελίδα της κοινότητας: 174 άρθρα, 55.289 επισκέψεις//Μέγιστος αριθμός σε μία μέρα: 1.011 επισκέψεις, 600 μοναδικοί επισκέπτες!

1 official web site: 174 posts, 55.289 views//Best ever visitors:  1.011 views, 600 unique visitors!

1 πρόταση για εθελοντικό αναδασμό στον κάμπο

1 effort for voluntary redistribution of land

1 χώρο φιλοξενίας-camping!

1 camping!

1  Κοιν.Σ.Επ

Social Cooperative Enterprise

και

and

αναρίθμητα όνειρα

countless dreams

τι άλλο….;

 what else…?

συνεχίζουμε…!

we continue…!

 βάζουμε το Βασσαρά στο “χάρτη”!

Vassaras was put on the “map”!

Ο Βασσαράς στο κέντρο του κόσμου!

Vassaras in the center of the world!

Πάμε, χαμένοι στο όνειρο...!

Let’s go, lost in the dream…!

p01l4kfh

ένα ποστ αφιερωμένο στο Γιώργο Μελέτη από τους συνεργάτες του.

a post dedicated to George Meletis by his collaborators.

Continue reading

Outrage

chomsky14

By Noam Chomsky – Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Almost every day brings news of awful crimes, but some are so heinous, so horrendous and malicious, that they dwarf all else. One of those rare events took place on July 17, when Malaysian Airlines MH17 was shot down in Eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people.

The Guardian of Virtue in the White House denounced it as an “outrage of unspeakable proportions,” which he attributed to “Russian support.” His UN Ambassador thundered that “when 298 civilians are killed” in the “horrific downing” of a civilian plane, “we must stop at nothing to determine who is responsible and to bring them to justice.” She also called on Putin to end his shameful efforts to evade his very clear responsibility.

True, the “irritating little man” with the “ratlike face” (Timothy Garton Ash) had called for an independent investigation, but that could only have been because of sanctions from the one country courageous enough to impose them, the United States, while Europeans had cowered in fear.

On CNN, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor assured the world that the irritating little man “is clearly responsible…for the shoot down of this airliner.” For weeks, lead stories reported on the anguish of the families, the lives of the murdered victims, the international efforts to claim the bodies, the fury over the horrific crime that “stunned the world,” as the press reported daily in grisly detail.

Every literate person, and certainly every editor and commentator, instantly recalled another case when a plane was shot down with comparable loss of life: Iran Air 655 with 290 killed, including 66 children, shot down in Iranian airspace in a clearly identified commercial air route. The crime was not carried out “with U.S. support,” nor has its agent ever been uncertain. It was the guided-missile cruiser USS Vincennes, operating in Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf.

The commander of a nearby U.S. vessel, David Carlson, wrote in the U.S. Naval Proceedings that he “wondered aloud in disbelief” as “’The Vincennes announced her intentions” to attack what was clearly a civilian aircraft. He speculated that “Robo Cruiser,” as the Vincennes was called because of its aggressive behavior, “felt a need to prove the viability of Aegis (the sophisticated anti-aircraft system on the cruiser) in the Persian Gulf, and that they hankered for the opportunity to show their stuff.”

Two years later, the commander of the Vincennes and the officer in charge of anti-air warfare were given the Legion of Merit award for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service” and for the “calm and professional atmosphere” during the period of the destruction of the Iranian Airbus, which was not mentioned in the award.

President Reagan blamed the Iranians and defended the actions of the warship, which “followed standing orders and widely publicized procedures, firing to protect itself against possible attack.” His successor, Bush I, proclaimed that “I will never apologize for the United States — I don’t care what the facts are… I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.”

No evasions of responsibility here, unlike the barbarians in the East.

Continue reading

Tom Waits – Yesterday Is Here

If you want money in your pocket
and a top hat on your head
a hot meal on your table
and a blanket on your bed
well today is grey skies
tomorrow is tears
you’ll have to wait til yesterday is here
Well I’m going to New York City
and I’m leaving on a train
and if you want to stay behind and
wait til I come back again
well today is grey skies
tomorrow is tears
you’ll have to wait til yesterday is here
If you want to go
where the rainbows end
you’ll have to say goodbye
all our dreams come true
baby up ahead
and it’s out where your memories lie
well the road’s out before me
and the moon is shining bright
what I want you to remember
as I disappear tonight
today is grey skies
tomorrow’s tears
you’ll have to wait til yesterday is here

24000 Ευρώ για την ανακατασκευή του Κοινοτικού Κτηρίου στο Βασσαρά

keramidi_total2Μετά από χρόνια εγκατάλειψης, και την επιδιόρθωση της κεντρικής αίθουσας με δικούς μας πόρους,η ανακατασκευή του κοινοτικού κτηρίου μπαίνει στην τελική φάση της.

Προχθές συνεργείο της Τεχνικής υπηρεσίας του Δήμου έκανε το αποτύπωμα του κτίσματος, ώστε να νομιμοποιηθεί με βάση την καινούργια νομοθεσία περί αυθαιρέτων.

Θα μου πείτε αυθαίρετο το κρατικό κτίσμα; Τα συμπεράσματα δικά σας.

Το έργο είναι ήδη στο τεχνικό πρόγραμμα του Δήμου και 24.000 ευρώ υπάρχουν, στο λογαριασμό της τ. Κοινότητας Βασσαρά γι αυτό το σκοπό. Μετά την τυπική διαδικασία της έκδοσης άδειας θα προχωρήσει η δημοπράτηση του έργου.

Την μελέτη για την στέγη που θα γίνει έκανε αφιλοκερδώς ο “συμπατριώτης” αρχιτέκτονας-μηχανικός Δημήτρης Μαρνέλλος με την υποστήριξη του τεχνικού γραφείου του Αραχωβίτη μηχανικού και φίλου Βασίλη Βουκίδη.

keramidi_total324,000 for the restoration of the Community Building in Vassara

Continue reading

The right to leisure

Roosevelt’s example and the Greek counterexample

roosevelt1394015057

by Giorgos Kallis Professor at Autonomous University of Barcelona

  Wouldn’t it be nice? What about 2 months paid holidays in summer? What about establishing Friday as a day-off without reducing your salary? During the Great Depression President Roosevelt showed the way forward by reducing working hours. What USA could manage then, seems impossible for modern Greece. On the contrary what leisure rights Greek workers had earned in the past are in great peril now.

  We often talk about the New Deal but we tend to forget a more important reform under President Roosevelt during the period of the Great Depression. Roosevelt was the first to introduce the five-day workweek, reducing the weekly working hours from 48 to 40. It was a simple idea. If each one works less, then there will be more work for everyone and unemployment will be reduced. Employers did not like this but accepted it when Roosevelt threatened them with worse measures. The studies by Neumann, Taylor et al, published in the Economic Journal and the prestigious American Economic Review, estimate that Roosevelt’s policy created 1.1 million new jobs in the long-term (down from an initial gain of 2.7 million jobs), whereas monthly salaries were not reduced, i.e. the hourly pay increased. After the war, all advanced economies followed the example of the USA, establishing Saturday as a day off. So did Greece in 1982 in one of the first “revolutionary changes” of Andreas Papandreou’s socialist government. I still remember how happy I was the day my parents told me that school would be closed on Saturdays.
Continue reading

London calling-The Clash

Dec. 22 marks 12 years since the death of Joe Strummer, the greatest singer in the history of punk rock.

for our British Friends (Phil, Ann, Patrick, Heidi)

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls

London calling, now don’t look to us
Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain’t got no swing
‘Cept for the reign of that truncheon thing

The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running but I have no fear
‘Cause London is burning and I live by the river Continue reading

The Schoolhouse – a cultural center, a place for learning, sports and recreation

Malevos* has begun a new effort to transform the schoolhouse into a multi-purpose space: a cultural center, a place for learning, sports and recreation. This ambitious venture is another part of our strategy for Vassara – our aim is to reverse the decay and decline which has plagued our village for over half a century. It is a part of “an effort which will create such circumstances that will reverse the path of regression and bring hope for the future” as was outlined in our program. Similar endeavors will follow, so stay tuned!

Panoramic photo by G. Zacharopoulou (Oct 20, 2013) shows the school complex in its current state.  A new multi-purpose court can be seen in front of the school (basketball/tennis/volleyball) – a project that has kept us busy (and talking!) and will continue to feature in our discussions during the coming days…

Panoramic photo by G. Zacharopoulou (Oct 20, 2013) shows the school complex in its current state. A new multi-purpose court can be seen in front of the school (basketball/tennis/volleyball) – a project that has taken up alot of our time and will continue to do so during the coming days…

On November 13, 2013, after submitting the appropriate application to the Town of Sparti (Δήμος Σπάρτης) the local, 3-member community council of Vassara has decided, by majority vote, to grant Malevos (a non-profit civil organization) the use of the schoolhouse and its surrounding land. Voting in favor of this motion was president G. Meletis and council member G. Pappas. Voting against this motion was council member Andreas Galanis.

The issue was discussed by the local community council of Vassara after the Continue reading

Γη κι Ελευθερία – Η Μουσική

Μια ταινία μικρού μήκους

του Πάνου Σπινθηρόπουλου

για το μουσικό μέρος του

1ου Ορεινού Φεστιβάλ Γη κι Ελευθερία.

Το Μοντάζ έγινε από τον

Νίκα Λομινάτζε

και τον Πάνο Σπινθηρόπουλο,

στα Rogue-State Studios

στην Θεσσαλονίκη.

Χαρείτε την.

A short film by Panos Spinthiropoulos, on the concerts that took place during the 1st Land and Freedom Festival, this past August, in Vassaras.

The film editing was done in Thessaloniki (Rogue State Studios) by Panos Spinthropoulos and Nika Lominatze.

Enjoy it!

Continue reading

Blues all the way!!!

An amateur video taken by George Giaxoglou

(an architect from Sparti)

with his cell phone,

at the 1st Land and Freedom Festival.

It was uploaded on YouTube with the comment:

¨Fun and Dancing in full swing….¨

I am sure you agree. Don´t you?

 

Ένα ερασιτεχνικό βίντεο του Γιώργου Γιαξόγλου

τραβηγμένο με το κινητό του

στο 1ο Φεστιβάλ Γη κι Ελευθερία.

Ανέβηκε στο YouTube με την υποσημείωση:

“Το κέφι και ο χορός στο φόρτε του…”

Όχι άδικα ε; Δεν συμφωνείτε;  Continue reading

ThePressProject.net – A new Independent Source of information about Greece

Vassaras.gr suggests ThePressProject.net to all English speaking followers, as an independent, reliable source of information about Greece.
ThePressProject
Let them speak for themselves and discribe who they are and what they do.

We need to talk about Greece.
ThePressProject was founded right as the crisis that would eventually sweep Europe, first landed in Greece. It was born out of necessity: when a discussion began in the rest of the world about the euro zone and its viability, established local media adhered to choices promoted by the government and the country’s international lenders as the only way out of the crisis. It rose to the occasion by challenging the atheroslerotic narrative. By doing the news free of stereotypes, with clarity, reason and facts.

In Greece, more than anywhere else, the model for financing mass media is problematic. The bigger, established media belong to either major construction or shipping companies, which, as they vie for state contracts, have been perennially entangled with successive governments. Moreover, the economic crisis of the past years dramatically reduced spending in advertising. The biggest television and radio stations today are bankrupt and on the brink of collapse but more importantly have lost the battle for credibility. Continue reading