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June 14, 2013
June 14, 2013

ERT Protests – Solidarity and beyond

Author: Despina Biri Translator: Despina Biri
Category: Letters from home
This article is also available in: eles
ERT Protests – Solidarity and beyond

One of the principal reasons given for the protest at ERT was phrased as ‘it could, or it will, happen to me’. However, to what extent is this kind of justification helpful? Paradoxical as it may sound, using ‘it could happen to me’ as the sole justification for action may not bring about the desired result of change. ‘It could happen to me’ replicates the self-interested mode of thinking all too typical of modern Greece. Perhaps each and every one of us protesters ought to also consider the concept of solidarity, and of what unites us as a society.

So perhaps we ought to really think about the principles we want to govern our society. This crisis is an opportunity to reconsider what we, during better times, took for granted (and eventually, whose corruption we permitted through silence). Instead of only thinking in self-centered terms, we ought to take some time to (re)cultivate our sense of solidarity. The only way to bring about change, and to ensure our society is a functioning democracy, is to be united against the breakdown of democratic institutions.

The closure of ERT is an attack against a democratic institution. What is often downplayed by government and spin doctors is the role of media in subjecting political decision making to public scrutiny. As a constitutionally impartial, publicly owned media, ERT has an irreplaceable role to play in the functioning of democracy. So this closure is about much more about the loss of jobs. It has as much to do with fundamental institutions of a democratic society, and with what we consider the state’s role to be in society. To defend the closure of ERT is to provide tacit support to the stripping down of state structure, down to a Thatcherite minimal state. And yet, proponents of the minimal state favour it only because it supposedly maximises liberty. It is clear that this kind of ideology does not exist in Greece, and that the closure of ERT is not intended to maximise, but rather to contain, freedom of expression, and of public reason as a tool for decision making.

Collectively, we need to reflect on what kind of society we want to live in. The options on the kinds of democratic institutions safeguarding the rule of law are numerous, beyond the sloppy application of neoliberal policies. We need to overcome the feelings of fear and to consider our motivations for protesting. A fragmented protest movement will only serve to increase individuals’ feelings of mounting anger and social tension. Let us protest united, not insulated from our fellow citizens.


* Despina Viri is a researcher on issues of science and society

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ERT Protests – Solidarity and beyond by Despina Biri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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