In Greece, resistance to austerity comprises a mosaic of struggles for a right to the city, conceived as the collective self-determination of everyday life.
When talking about Greece and “the crisis,” it is easy to fall in the trap of “Greek exceptionalism.” After all, it is through essentializing orientalist narratives that austerity and structural adjustment have been justified: the Greeks are corrupt, lazy and crisis-prone, and they should be adapted and civilized for their own good. There is a flipside to the orientalist gaze, however, which ascribes extraordinary qualities to the other: the Greeks have a surplus of collectivism, revolutionary zeal or solidarity, which makes them more likely to organize and resist.
Both these narratives prevent us from seeing that the conditions that brought about the “Greek crisis” are prevalent in many parts of the world, that capital is moving towards policies of exclusion and dispossession even in the capitalist center, and that resistance is not the prerogative of southern peoples, but will soon be the only reasonable response even in the north. In fact, the “Greek crisis” is neither “Greek” — since it is only a symptom of the shift of global capitalism towards a new regime of accumulation based on shock and dispossession — nor is it a “crisis” in the sense of an extraordinary event. Instead, it represents a new normality that threatens to shake the very foundations of social coexistence. Nevertheless, Greece has been a privileged spot for observing how this global paradigm shift plays out within the boundaries of a single nation-state.