Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Fair Chance for DiEM 2025!

I have once before written about Yanis Varoufakis' Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM 2025). It was based on the first draft of DiEM's manifesto. The final version of the manifesto now reflects major changes. For starters, someone must have advised Varoufakis that it may not be such an awesome idea to begin the manifesto with one of the most famous quotes of Karl Marx ("A spectre is haunting Europe...").

The official Opening Ceremony is taking place as I write these lines. I wonder if the organizers were aware of the fact that today is probably the most important day in the carneval season in German speaking countries ("Faschingsdienstag"). I suppose there will be cheap shots tomorrow reporting that the start of DiEM 2025 was the best carneval joke.

I have decided for myself that I will observe the development of DiEM 2025 as objectively as I can. That will be quite a challenge for me because I obviously have prejudices when it comes to Varoufakis' endeavors. But I will try hard!

To kick this off, I have come across the below publications which helped me more to understand DiEM 2025 than the movement's manifesto. Both commentators (Sven Giegold and Thomas Fazi) are self-declared Varoufakis sympathizers. That makes their opinions so much more valid.

Exchange between Sven Giegold and Yanis Varoufakis

Critique by Thomas Fazi

And now I will return to the live stream from Berlin.

ADDENDUM: the morning after the night before

Well, I have watched the entire program. Eight years ago, almost exactly to the day, Barack Obama had started a movement in Iowa. Watching his speech after winning the Iowa caucus was, at least to me, an electrifying experience. "We are the ones we have been waiting for", cried an emotional Barack Obama. And everybody felt like crying with him. From then on, it truly felt like a spectre was haunting the entire USofA. The spectre of decency, integrity and compassion. Perhaps not since JFK have I seen a politician who managed to mobilize the masses so effectively and so constructively.

Last evening's Opening Ceremony was far from such an experience. It was a rather sober event. I doubt that anyone shed tears out of emotions. I had the impression that Yanis Varoufakis did not step on the podium trying hard to generate enthusiastic support. Instead, I had the impression that he stepped on the podium confident that he deserved support.

Something tells me that one could have orchestrated this event in a better way. Even if Varoufakis did not perform at his best as a motivator of masses, he was still a star compared to the others. These were not winner types crying "Yes, we can!" but they seemed more like losers who thought it was time to get back at their usurpers. It seemed a rather sad looking group on the stage. Would I buy a used car from them. Perhaps yes, but only out of compassion, not out of motivation.

I have written before that if DiEM 2025 doesn't succeed in lighting a fire very quickly, it will evaporate rather quickly. As far as I can tell, no fire was lit last evening on the People's Stage on the Rosa-Luxemburg-Square. Rosa Luxemburg, if she could watch it from Heaven, might have considered it a missed opportunity.


  1. This is a theater that likes to experiment, that knows how to combine elitist standards with means of expression appealing to the masses. Paradoxical, opinionated and proactive on the one hand, but always populist and geared to a wide audience too - with this concept the ------------ am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz gained it's reputation for controversy and for success. Quoted from Visit Berlin's description of the Volksbuehne. What a wonderful place for the erratic marxist to present his new manifest.
    One could argue that with his nationalist views there is not much of the marxist left, I will give him the erratic though.
    PS. There is no way I am going to offer him the objectivity that you and Sven Giegold attempt, I have gone Greek.

  2. It's (negatively) surprising Mr Kastner that you, who (according to your profile) have 40 years working experience, still fall prey and devote attention to Var. A man of work should know better and stay clear of impostors.

  3. It's hard to take you seriously when you state that you found Obama's speech an electrifying experience. I mean, Obama? Really?

    Anyway, I couldn't care less for Varoufakis' endeavors, but one shouldn't use this as an excuse to pretend that the EMU isn't a deeply problematic monetary union.

    The reason why Varoufakis' efforts will fail is because nobody really wants the EMU to succeed.

    This would have been possible in 2010, but not anymore. And I hate to say it but it's Germany's fault. Germany miscalculated that not only it could continue to grow at the expense of the BRICs and the USA, but also that Europe could do the very same thing. Obviously this isn't the case anymore, hence Germany's decision to let the periphery burn seems incredibly foolish and short-sighted now, cause it has caused the pan-European hatred of the monetary union.

    Which is why Varoufakis' efforts are in vain. It's too late. The EMU is already disintegrating.

  4. YV's movement is not a special one. He tries to put EU on the way of Democracy.Having a negative experience by EU institutions as a Greek Minister. The problem is not Democracy only in Europe. The problem is inequality, xenophobia, fences all around, an actually besieged union, who is feeling threatened by "enemies" can disintegrate this union fast. The Greek or Bulgarian is not feeling an equal partner with the German. This inequality cannot be absorbed by EU policies. So what to expect from. Greeks expect to owe more and more, without an end to this. Developement is supposed to come, but it is not coming after 5 yrs of recession, it is supposed to come back. The GDP is 25-30% less in 5 yrs and afflicted the poorer more. To reach GDP at the previous level it is necessary a new Marshall plan, which the US did to Europe after WWII, nobody is willing to pay for this, except loaning money. With production destroyed, unemployment 25%, 65% to youngsters, it is an economy bombarded already. Xenophobic, antieuropean parties will prevail soon or later. And not only in Greece. No, I'm not optimistic about the future of Greece in the EU. I wish I'm wrong.

  5. Varoufakis is more suitable for an academic/university setting.
    Or for fascinating after dinner conversations.

    As an employer I would never hire someone like him because I do not think he can deliver any results in practice.
    Even if the European project was a great idea and had a future (it doesn't), I would still not trust varoufakis with delivering anything towards it.