Please note that this site is best viewed through the following or later versions of Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.0, Safari 1.0, Google Chrome, Opera 6.0 or Netscape 6.0. Please send any comments via our Contact form.
Please select the "Current Broadcast MP3" item under the "For Stations" button in the Navigation Bar.
Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with "The End of Nature" in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. The group he founded, 350.org, has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. The Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was "probably the country’s most important environmentalist."
Alexis Tsipras, a member of the Hellenic parliament, president of the Synaspismos political party since 2008, head of the SYRIZA parliamentary group since 2009, and leader of the Opposition since June 2012. SYRIZA currently leads in Greek opinion polls. Listen to the audio here.
Between The Lines' Executive Producer Scott Harris hosts a live,
weekly talk show,
Counterpoint, from which some of Between The Lines'
interviews are excerpted. Listen every Monday evening from 8 to 10 p.m.
EDT at www.WPKN.org
(Follows the 5-7 minute White Rose Calendar.)
Counterpoint in its entirety is archived after midnight ET Monday nights, and is available for at least a year following broadcast in WPKN Radio's Archives.
You can also listen to full unedited interview segments from Counterpoint, which are generally available some time the day following broadcast.
Subscribe to Counterpoint bulletins via our subscriptions page.
"Rand Paul: Making a Point," by Reginald Johnson, March 8, 2013
"The Bipartisan Gift: Budget Cuts," by Reginald Johnson, March 2, 2013
"Fighting for Gun Control," by Reginald Johnson, Feb. 18, 2013
"Tyranny of the Minority," by Reginald Johnson, Jan. 28, 2013
"Is President Obama About to Betray Those Who Re-elected Him Less than 2 Months Ago?" by Scott Harris, Dec. 21, 2012
"Will the Slaughter of the Innocents in Newtown Lead to Gun Law Reform in U.S.?" by Scott Harris and Anna Manzo, Dec. 16, 2012
"My Friend in Sandy Hook," by Doug Moss, posted by Scott Harris, Dec. 16, 2012
A compilation of activist and news sites with a progressive point of view
If you have other questions regarding subscriptions, feeds or podcasts/mp3s go to our Audio Help page.
Learn how to support our efforts!
Posted Feb. 22, 2012
Interview with Costas Panayotakis, author and associate professor of sociology at New York City College of Technology, conducted by Scott Harris
European finance ministers agreed on Feb. 21 to a second bailout of the Greek economy, avoiding for now the threat of default, which many observers fear could trigger a crisis that would endanger the survival of the Eurozone. The so-called “troika,” made up of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund negotiated a deal that will cut the principle on Greek bonds and lower the interest rate paid.
In exchange for the $172 billion loan, European officials demanded the Greek government approve harsh austerity measures to reduce the nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio to 120 percent by 2020. Although tens of thousands of Greeks marched and rallied in militant protests opposing the austerity measures across the country, the Greek parliament approved a package that included 150,000 layoffs from government jobs by 2015 and steep cutbacks in the minimum wage, health care budget and pensions. Another controversial provision of the debt deal forced Greece to amend its constitution, giving priority to "debt servicing payments" before any other national obligations are met.
With an unemployment rate of 21 percent, many economists say the austerity policies will only worsen economic conditions in Greece with no hope to reverse the decline. Between the Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Costas Panayotakis, associate professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology and author of the book, “Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy.” He assesses growing public resistance to austerity measures in Greece and the overall Eurozone crisis.
COSTAS PANAYOTAKIS: There is a massive assault on working people and ordinary citizens in Greece right now and we see people's living conditions and incomes have collapsed, and unemployment is skyrocketing. We're talking about 21 percent of the population; 50% of young people. As a result, there's a growing resistance. People see that these policies are not leading anywhere and they are no longer willing to give the government the benefit of the doubt. The government tries terrify people into submissions, telling them that without austerity policy, there will be chaos. But increasingly, people see that is chaos is all around them precisely because of these policies.
BETWEEN THE LINES: The austerity measures that were just recently adopted by the Greek parliament have caused a lot of people to be very concerned for their nation's future. There was a 22 percent cut, I believe, in the minimum wage threshold; 150,000 layoffs in coming years and maybe you could discuss a bit about the kind of pain that this is causing the average Greek citizen.
COSTAS PANAYOTAKIS: Yes, every segment of the Greek society has been affected by the measures. The reduction of the minimum wage is accompanied by a destruction of labor rights and collective bargaining that is likely to reduce the wages of all private sector workers. There have been successive pay cuts for public sector workers and for pensions. And as a result, there is a growing sense of desperation, rising poverty rates, homelessness, hunger and these phenomena are increasingly affecting even people who were recently solidly middle class. So we're talking increasingly about a humanitarian crisis. I was listening to the report by the Doctors of the World who are active in Athens, and they were calling for people to donate food. And they were saying that what they see in Greece right now is the kind of thing that one would normally expect from really low-income countries in Africa.
BETWEEN THE LINES: What are the alternatives? What can the Greek people do as opposed to just accept these austerity measures? There is resistance in the streets as has been widely reported. But to what end? There are elections that are expected as early as April. Are there alternative political ways to handle this crisis that have emerged during these months of people looking for alternative solutions?
COSTAS PANAYOTAKIS: Well, I think the most important thing is for people to say no to these policies and in essence, it doesn't make sense for Greece to keep borrowing more and more money to service a debt that is already unsustainable. And there are sort of other platforms and proposals by political parties, especially on the left in Greece and those are by economists and there is no sort of one platform, one alternative platform that has universal sort of assent among the critics of austerity, but there is a debate about whether Greece should exit the Euro and devalue its currency or whether it should just basically declare default within the Eurozone and put pressure on Europe to change these austerity (unintelligible) that is leading nowhere and that is deepening the crisis even within Europe and the Eurozone.
But the problem, of course, is that as the opposition to austerity increases, there is growing pressure from European political and economic elites not to allow Greeks to basically have a say over the decisions that will seal their fate for the coming decades. So now, Greece has an unelected prime minister who's a former banker. He basically pushes these measures to a parliament that no longer reflects the wishes of Greek citizens. His government is supported by them, by what used to be the two major parties in Greece, the socialists and the conservatives.
But, the support, according to all the polls, to all these parties has collapsed. So you have basically a parliament that does not reflect the current opinion of Greek citizens and this parliament is pushing a loan package and the measures that will basically commit Greek governments in the future to policies that Greek citizens have not had a chance to have a say on.
For more information on "Remaking Scarcity visit: us.macmillan.com/remakingscarcity/CostasPanayotakis.