Murphy Institute Professor Sean Sweeney just returned from Athens, where he delivered a presentation entitled Third Memorandum or Grexit: What are the implications for the Future of Greece’s Energy System? at the Democracy Rising conference. In his talk, Sweeney explained:
…[E]nergy will be at the heart of the struggles in Greece in the years ahead, Memorandum or Grexit. Energy poverty has grown with austerity and recession, and Syriza has taken measures to protect the poorest and most vulnerable from, for example, electricity disconnections.
But it is clear that the structure of Greece’s energy system also needs to change. The “Institutions”, through the Memorandum, have a clear sense of what restructuring energy means for them—full-on privatization. However, a left restructuring would seek to address two major challenges: firstly, Greece’s dependence on fossil fuel imports and, secondly, how to take advantage of its potential to generate large amounts of renewable energy.
Sweeney presents a thorough analysis of Greece’s choices given the country’s uncertain future and the real, pressing need for “a new economy and a new society.”
Access the full presentation at Trade Unions for Energy Democracy.
Photo by Martin Abegglen via flickr (CC-BY-SA).
Happy hot, hot Friday. The world continues to turn — a promising week on the civil rights front, a high-intensity time on the geopolitical stage. Here’s what you might have missed:
- South Carolina takes the confederate flag down from its state house. #finally. Check out Wanda Williams-Bailey, Strom Thurmond’s granddaughter — an interracial woman — talk about the decision on Democracy Now.
- In somewhat related news, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the appointment of the Attorney General as a special prosecutor in all cases involving unarmed or potentially unarmed civilians killed by the police — a welcome step in the right direction. (via CNN)
- The Obama administration is set to release new regulations on segregation “designed to repair the law’s unfulfilled promise and promote the kind of racially integrated neighborhoods that have long eluded deeply segregated cities like Chicago and Baltimore” (via Washington Post)
- Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association will be tried before the Supreme Court next term, which starts in October. Learn more about the potential effects on public sector unionism at SCOTUSblog.
- In the face of civil rights advances for same-sex couples, the culture appears to be shifting to final discussing the plight of transgender individuals. The NYTimes ran a feature this week highlighting some of their stories. Read about Joni Christian, a union member and transgender woman.
- London Underground employees went on strike yesterday for the first time in 13 years.
- After a resounding “No” vote by Greeks to the last deal on the table with Greece’s creditors, PM Alexis Tsipras has surprised many by offering a deal with similarly harsh austerity measures.
- Rumors have it that the US State Department is reclassifying Malaysia’s status as a human rights violator in order to allow the Southeast Asian country to remain in TPP negotiations. If true, it would mean that human rights violations are “being trumped by corporate trade.”
Photo by Will Spaetzel via flickr (CC-BY-NC-SA).
by Sean Sweeney
During its first days in office, Syriza has taken actions that suggest it is willing to confront the EU’s neoliberal approach to energy and to embark on a new course. New Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has also stated his government will restore collective bargaining agreements and stop 300,000 planned layoffs.
The Syriza government has said it will stop the proposed sell off of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) which is 51% publicly owned but had been targeted for full-on privatization in 2016. “We will halt immediately any privatization of PPC,” Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis told Greek television a few hours before officially taking over his portfolio. “There will be a new PPC which will help considerably the restoration of the country’s productive activities,” he said.
Lafanzis also announced that that the mostly state-run gas company, DEPA, will also not be privatized. Both the PPC and DEPA were due to be privatized under the conditions imposed by the Troika. Continue reading Syriza can show ‘another energy is possible’