The Making of the Crisis and the Greek Crisis History Project
The use of the term ‘crisis’ is not neutral. Especially at the start of the ‘euro-crisis’ its constant repetition implied that there was a universally acknowledged truth: that there was a crisis, that Europe’s economic, political and social systems had crashed and that something radical was needed to fix them. Even if this was not the case, talking constantly about a ‘crisis’ did bring along the crisis. This does not mean that the political and economic systems in Greece and Europe in general were not in dire straits. But the point is that the capitalist system exploited this general unease to create a crisis exactly as it suited it. This is a capitalist crisis where the causes and the cures are identified by the capitalist establishment itself! Capitalism has thus in its hands a tool that allows it to maximise its profits today and to implement changes that will guarantee they are even greater tomorrow.
But today, whatever its roots, crisis it is. And the aggressive approach that the economic and political establishment has adopted on all fronts leaves no other option but to fight back. The Greek crisis, despite its time and place specificities, reflects wider European and global trends: the limits of modern western representative democracy in theory and practice, the changing nature of capitalism, the declining legitimacy of the nation-state.
Also, the crisis is here to stay. Even when the politicians will decide that the event is over, the experience of the crisis will stay with us for many generations. The new world of tomorrow will reflect the traumas and lessons of today.
The Greek Crisis History Project (GCHP) is an effort in academic activism against today’s political and cultural hegemonies that feed the system that breeds the crisis. Our starting point is that a crisis is a moment of emergency that disturbs the normal rhythms and allows for the flourishing of extraordinary experiences, from above and from below. When this moment comes to an end, society finds itself sitting in the midst of a new ‘normality’. In this new time-setting the past – even the near past – becomes a malleable memory, utilised to explain and justify the present. Since December 2008 Greece is spinning in the vortex of exactly such a transformation. The Greek Crisis History Project aims to identify, analyse and resist these movements, where necessary.
Our website offers research articles, analyses of historical patterns and continuities, primary sources, links to websites that work on interconnected themes, a glossary, short summaries, and timetables. It focuses on topics that hold the key in the way the Greek crisis has unfolded, like the rise of the extreme Right, the rapid decline of the democratic standards, the politics of emotional manipulation, the search for alternative politics etc.
last edited: 19 September 2014