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20 March 2008

Status Report From Here

Maybe blogging is about this too

So we had strikes for the past 3 days or so (actually much longer, but these are the more noticeable ones). Maybe this blogging thing is about me writing about this too, not just my personal little stuff, so here are a few observations and views...

Tuesday the Metro/Treno was on strike. I went to the bus station, noticed the crowd of people waiting for a bus. They could have filled half of a bus all by themselves. After ~20mins a bus of one of "my" lines turned up, already full to the brim. I picked up the phone and called the office to tell that I'll work from home. Which was quite nice and productive. It's good to be able to work from home instead of having to fight at all cost through the chaos of traffic that the shutdown of the subway system brings.

Wednesday was "general strike", no busses, no trolleys, no subway. Stay at home, hack some more code (currently CSS, which frankly I feel to be quite boring by now - there was a time when I thought it's cool and all). No going out in the evening, instead we had a few select friends over.

Today I discovered that the Metro/Treno was on strike again. But after looking at the same situation on the bus stop, it turned out there came 2 busses and the second one had a little corner of space left for me. Back at the office, doing the same thing, but with company.

Then of course, for something like 10 days, the garbage is piling up in the streets. It stinks, it's ugly, it's unhygienic.

So, what's it all about? As you will probably hear on the news, these strikes, along with the very annoying strike of the garbage collectors, are there to protest the reforms of the pension system. Hmm, they might be. But they might also be to protest the thieves who stole huge amounts of money from the pension funds (for their own pockets or for plugging holes in the government budget, where the money "disappeared" in some other fashion).

So, I can understand the reason for the strikes. I still find them annoying. Maybe that's their point. My oppinnion as an "outsider" is, that they hit the wrong guy. The politicians/thieves in their airy homes in Drosia/Politia/wherever nice suburbs do not get annoyed by their house maid having to put the garbage on a big pile 1km down the road from the entrance to their villa. They will maybe have to wait a little bit longer if their limousine hits a bit more traffic than usual.

So my outsider view is that the lack of democratic instruments for the people to express their will is what leads to these strikes as a mostly useless instrument to try to change things.

Posted by betabug at 11:02 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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Re: Status Report From Here

I admit that many of strikes today are carried on because a guild wants to keep its prerogatives, but the right to oppose “governors” is a sacred right for Greeks and it was exercised successfully many times. After all it was massive demonstrations and protests that keep greek people away from german factories in WW2. Even in 2008 many things in Greece can be explained only through history. However don’t underestimate the potential of demonstrations and strikes as political actions. Just remember the fate of the (in)famous plan for educational reform 2 years before.

Posted by: bestman at March 20,2008 13:10
Re: Status Report From Here

I'm arriving in Athens from the States on March 31. Do you think the strikes will be over by then??

Posted by: Indydunes at March 20,2008 16:52
Re: Status Report From Here

Indydunes, very likely they will be over... but nobody really can tell for sure or if there will be new ones ;-) Enjoy your stay here!

Posted by: betabug at March 20,2008 16:54
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