Striving for an Alternative Path: Reimagining Politics and Law in the Never-Ending Greek Crisis. Could the Law Constitute an Empowerment Factor for the Political Transformation from below?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:45
Location: Seminarraum 5C G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Helen RETHYMIOTAKI, Law School, University of Athens, Greece
Ioannis FLYTZANIS, Law school Athens University, Greece
Since 2010, when Greek economic crisis burst out, successive bailout agreements were signed imposing 
harsh austerity measures.The dictated reforms, a mixture of deregulation, privatizations, devaluation of 
labour, deep spending cuts and tax increases, resulted in social hardships sharpening inequalities and 
increasing polarization.  Furthermore, the crisis exposed the limits and weaknesses of the traditional 
political establishment to find a viable solution in favor of the social majority's interests.

The de-legitimation of the formal political system led to popular uprising and the re-invention of politics
from below.It occurred in two phases. In the first (2010-2012), the political will of resistance
took many forms of collective action ranging from civil disobedience mobilizations to mutual-aid
cooperatives and social clinics. In the second period (2012-2015), SYRIZA, a small anti-austerity
party of the left based upon a party-movement model that incorporated various grassroots demands,
gained growing public support and finally, on January 2015 had formed a coalition government.

In this presentation, we will try to explore the emergence of Greece’s new politics from the ground 
which are trying  to shape an alternative, moving beyond the neo-liberal consensus. More specifically,
we will trace the different forms at various periods that took the transformation of politics from below
and the vision, which prevailed, for a new society with more direct decision-making procedures and an
economy based on solidarity.We will also try to analyze, from a socio-legal perspective, how the Law
is engaged in promoting the counter-hegemonic politics of a future post-neoliberal society: What kind
of legal strategies are followed? Could the Law play an emancipatory political role?

The proposed theoretical framework derives from Sociology of Emergences which “aims to identify
and enlarge the signs of possible future experiences, under the guise of tendencies and latencies that are
actively ignored by hegemonic rationality and knowledge” (Santos, 2004).