A Co-operative Response to the Greek Crisis

By John Restakis, 17 Oct 2013, TheTyee.ca

News about the Greek crisis gave me a sense of foreboding about the upcoming trip to visit my family in Athens. The memories of the street riots from a few years before and the plumes of tear gas rising up from the graffiti scrawled streets were very fresh in my mind. Instead, Athens turned my expectations on their head. Alongside the gloom there was an unmistakable sense of forward movement, of optimism, of people finding new ways of coping where the old patterns had been played out. New models of enterprise were being tried out in which sharing and mutual benefit replaced the established models that many feel have betrayed them. Everywhere it seemed, people — especially youth — were experimenting with new forms of economy.

Groups of friends are pooling money, and resulting profits, to run coffee houses. Employees have purchased a popular radio station and are now running it as a co-operative. There are impromptu farmers’ markets. All over, people are being forced by circumstance (and disgust at a failed system) to venture into what is, for Greece, unchartered territory.

Among the most inspiring of these efforts is the worker takeover of Bio Me in the northern city of Thessaloniki; the first worker-run factory in Greece.


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