We had a full house on Monday for the launch in Athens of the MeRA25 party, DiEM25’s electoral wing in Greece.
The evening started with a short, poignant theatre piece by the students of Central Saint Martins in London. We then moved into a series of short speeches from DiEM25 and MeRA25 members.
The Greek Spring of 2015 featured heavily in the speeches, alongside MeRA25’s new manifesto and programme to end Greece’s status as a debt colony.
Speakers included Yannis Charalabakis, the leading Greek climate activist, Gerasimos Lyberatos, city councilor of the Athenian suburb of Halandri and professor at the National Technical University of Athens, Greek composer Dimos Moutsis (who composed the MeRA25 anthem!), actor Kleon Grigoriadis (now part of MeRA25’s political secretariat), as well as various members of DiEM25’s coordinating collective and advisory panel.
Erik Edman, DiEM25 Coordinating Collective member, said: “Greece in 2015 was not the end of hope, but the beginning.”
Rosemary Bechler, editor of OpenDemocracy and member of DiEM25’s Coordinating Collective, quoted Lord Byron. Looking out onto the crowd in the packed house, she said “I would like to think that Byron would smile at what is happening here tonight”.
Fotini Bakadima, DiEM25’s Secretarial Coordinator, explained how MeRA25 is based on European transnationalism, where members across Europe can contribute to policy-making. She called on the audience to assist the new party in drafting policy: “Help us, all of you, to enrich our proposals!”
Slavoj Žižek, philosopher and DiEM25 adviser, said: “What happened to Greece represents the murder of hope. DiEM25 in Europe and MeRA25 is our only hope”. Noam Chomsky, DiEM25 Coordinating Collective member, added: “The inauguration of MeRA25 is an inspiration to others and a beacon of hope in a troubled world.
Lorenzo Marsili, DiEM25 Coordinating Collective member: “In 2015, the Greek people taught Europe a lesson in democracy. But Europeans watched passively as Greece was crushed. We are here to remind you all that this will never happen again!”
Musician Brian Eno, also part of DiEM25’s Coordinating Collective, added “Democracy is in danger in Europe, and it’s up to the Greek people to defend it!”
The evening also showcased some of DiEM25 and MeRA25’s political partners. Aurore Lalucq of the French progressive movement Generation-s, said: “We and [Generation-S leader and former French presidential candidate] Benoit Hamon will be with you for every battle.” Hamon welcomed the birth of MeRA25, saying: “Hope is back!”
The audience were then treated to a concert by Greek folk legend Psarantonis.
Finally, Yanis Varoufakis took the stage.
Blasting Syriza’s broken promises in 2015, Yanis said: “Nothing threatens a country more than the feeling that there is no alternative to the course that harms them. This is why we founded MeRA25”.
He went on to detail the new party’s policy proposals – the Greek New Deal, and ended with a call for people to join MeRA25. “We must prove that we can bring hope back,” said Yanis.
“We start tomorrow morning!”
The Guardian: Greek ex-minister Yanis Varoufakis launches political party
France24: Greece’s maverick ex-minister Varoufakis launches party
The Times: Varoufakis launches new democracy party
Greek Reporter: Varoufakis Launches New Party in Athens
El Diário: Varoufakis vuelve a la política griega decidido a dar nuevamente guerra a la troika
Reuters: Greece’s Varoufakis promises to end debt bondage with new party
UK Business Insider: Greece ex-finance minister Varoufakis launches new party
Huffington Post Greece: Επτά σημεία του πολιτικού προγράμματος του ΜέΡΑ25 παρουσίασε ο Γ. Βαρουφάκης
Newsbeast: Βαρουφάκης: Είμαστε μέσα στην Ευρώπη, αλλά εναντίον αυτής της Ευρώπης
Kathimerini: Ο Γιάνης Βαρουφάκης για ελληνοτουρκικά και Σκοπιανό
Euronews: Πρεμιέρα για τη «Μέρα» του Γιάνη Βαρουφάκη
Naftemporiki: «Γραμματέας του DiEM25» ο Γ. Βαρουφάκης
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