« profile & posts archive

This author has written 2362 posts for Larvatus Prodeo.

Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

60 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. Paul Norton

    My laptop and my dongle are frist!

  2. akn

    Mondragon continues to show how to do it:

    The Mondragon Corporation is striking in that their annual strategic plan usually includes a job creation target. Most large global corporations, in contrast, develop strategies to increase earnings through job reduction. .. In 2006 and 2007 most large global corporations experienced a decline in revenue. Mondragon, on the other hand, increased revenues from $15 billion to $17 billion, an increase of over 13%. In 2007, Mondragon returned over US$50 million to workers as a share in profits. During this period, Mondragon’s total workforce expanded from 83,000 to 103,000, an increase of 20,000.

    History of Mondragon

  3. Helen

    “Dongle” is one of the loveliest words to be introduced to the English language recently.

  4. Helen

    For the TISM fans in the last Saturday salon thread, this is their new incarnation, well some of them I think.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA7igqDDLMw

    (NB: Henry Wagons enjoyed this song heartily and got them to play support at his Forum gig last July)

  5. Fran Barlow

    Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any of the claims in the following link to an article in the Mail Online. In particular, I expressly reject the offensive and implicitly r@cist claims made towards the bottom in relation to Geoerge Galloway’s win in the Bradford by-election, in which the author — Simon Heffer — claims that Galloway “can win only where he can hoodwink large numbers of Muslims.” The link to the Mail Online is posted merely to illustrate the creeping dissolution of the reactionary consensus around the Cameron-led regime. The Mail Online is a British equivalent of Sydney’s Daily Tele or The Hun in Melbourne so their criticism of the Tories is significant.

    It took Dave just ten days to REALLY toxify the Tories

    The article reads in part:

    The reason the Tories kept losing elections was because they had proved to be dishonest, incompetent and, above all, sleazy. And they only did well enough to be able to form a coalition government in 2010 because of Labour’s disastrous management of the economy and Gordon Brown’s unpopularity.

    Tory support is falling now because the party is again tainted with financial sleaze, has a cack-handed economic policy that is harming the party’s natural supporters and because its ministers are incompetent. It is, indeed, just like the old days.

    However, one new, and even more poisonous, ingredient has been added to the cocktail: class.

    A perception has grown since the Budget that we are being ruled by a disconnected social elite with no understanding of the financial struggles suffered daily by millions of ‘ordinary’ people.

  6. faustusnotes

    It’s patently obvious from the collapse of the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem votes in Bradford West that Galloway’s success is about more than a shift in Muslim votes. He captured every part of the electorate. All three major parties were caught napping and given a very clear warning there.

    The Muslim vote thing is also crap for another obvious reason: the incumbent was also a Muslim, and previously popular. These supposedly racially-conscious Muslim voters deserted one of their own for a white Glaswegian … suuuuure, it’s all about the ethnic block vote …

  7. Eric Sykes

    Thanks Fran, great link and point well made. And furthermore this:

    “….we are being ruled by a disconnected social elite with no understanding of the financial struggles suffered daily by millions of ‘ordinary’ people.”

    …already sounds like Do Nothing Newmans’ Queensland to me…

  8. Jacques de Molay

    Helen @ 4,

    Yeah that is DC’s new band/project. AFAIK, he’s the only one in the band from TISM. I liked his previous post-Tism band better called Root! (named after a TISM song). They were only around 4-5 years until he broke them up a year or two ago. Their second (and last) album Surface Paradise was excellent.

    Root! performed their smash hit ‘I Wish I Was Tex Perkins’ live on Spicks & Specks a few years ago:

  9. jumpy

    Anyone from Sydney attending the National Sustainable Food Summit April 2-4?

  10. Joe

    fn,

    I don’t know enough about George Galloway, to really feel all that comfortable. I remember driving up to Scotland a couple of years ago and listening to him on the radio– and it was pretty radical stuff, he was saying about Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism in London, racism. But maybe it only seems so radical because of where the main stream press is at.

  11. David Irving (no relation)

    But, but, but, akn @ 2, that can’t possibly work! The spivs and chancers who run our financial sector told us so.

  12. Fran Barlow

    I was browsing articles on climate change when I came across this piece in the climate denialist The Register

    Climate-change scepticism must be ‘treated’, says enviro-sociologist

    Scepticism regarding the need for immediate and massive action against carbon emissions is a sickness of societies and individuals which needs to be “treated”, according to an Oregon-based professor of “sociology and environmental studies”. Professor Kari Norgaard compares the struggle against climate scepticism to that against racism and slavery in the US South.

    {…}

    It seems as if they are claiming that those favouring action on climate change are asserting that deniers are suffering from a mental disease or defect. Unsurprisingly, when I looked at the inked article, it claimed nothing of the sort.


    Simultaneous action needed to break cultural inertia in climate-change response

    LONDON — (March 26, 2012) — Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated before real action can be taken to effectively address threats facing the planet from human-caused contributions to climate change.

    That’s the message to this week’s Planet Under Pressure Conference by a group of speakers led by Kari Marie Norgaard, professor of sociology and environmental studies at the University of Oregon. In a news briefing today, Norgaard discussed her paper and issues her group will address in a session Wednesday, March 28, at 2 p.m. London time (9 a.m. U.S. Eastern; 6 a.m. U.S. Pacific).

    It’s almost ceratinly an eccentric use of language by a person for whom English is not a first language. As usual, the deniers have ripped a word out of context to make a strawman claim. It does make me think though that The Register might well be disturbed.

  13. Wantok

    The Queensland Competition Authority has blamed the increase on regulated power costs on the carbon tax, even suggesting that prices would have gone down in 2012/2013 had it not been for the carbon tax:http://www.qca.org.au/electricity-retail/NEP/draftDec.php
    Now, somebody in the Queensland regulated region ( ie receiving their power from ERGON ENERGY) may be able to assist me here. The general tariff 11 is currently billed at 20.69 cents per Kw hour plus GST. So that applies from ground up but I had understood that the previous Labor government going to change the basis of charging so that a sliding scale would apply and the first block of kwh would be the cheapest and as you exceeded that allocation higher (penalty) rates would apply; the idea being to encourage people to economise and thus use less and avoid the penalty rates. Anybody know what happened on this ? I also note that ‘can do’ was going to freeze electricity price increases so does that mean there will be no changes ?
    Sorry to be Qld centric but don’t let that prevent others from commenting.

  14. Roger Jones

    Fran,

    Kari Norgaard ESL? On what evidence do you make such a claim? Cause she’s American?

  15. Chris

    akn @ 2 – I’ve wondered for a while why some unions in Australia don’t try spinning off their own companies along similar lines and run model companies. They could use them to demonstrate to the wider public how it is possible to run companies along the lines they advocate (pay/conditions/ethics etc) and still make a decent profit. They’d have the ability to raise the capital start them off.

  16. Roger Jones

    Chris,

    having been a worker and director of a co-operative, and negotiated its model rules, the legislation is pretty hostile. It’s very difficult to set up worker co-ops in Australia for instance (can’t be done in Vic – have to use a production co-op model). Co-ops are good models but need government support to ensure the regulations fit their purpose. Capital raising is tough, I spent two years, having cashflow but no collateral, developing a business model and looking for finance. We ended up using ngo non-profits.

  17. BilB

    Thanks for that JdeM. The keyboard guy in Root is brilliant, but what a rich mix of sounds. Brilliant.

  18. furious balancing

    Roger, we’ve discussed this elsewhere, but I also looked into it and if there is a way of structuring a small business using a cooperative/profit sharing model I couldn’t figure it out either.

    Mind you, looking at the wages distribution on that company’s wiki page, they suggest a 5:1 manager to labourer wage ratio, and I reckon there would be a fair percentage of small businesses in Australia sharing their profits more equitably than that.

  19. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Fran: this is The Register link you meant to post. I saw that earlier today.

    I enjoy reading most articles on the site, but almost all “climate change” related ones seem like attempts to troll the readership.

  20. yuppiegus

    Well, a shout-out for Australia’s own hmatikin who has finally posted some new content.

    Will the real Mitt Rommney please stand up?

  21. duncan

    Fran @ 12.

    I would have expected that you’d perform some cursory research before posting. I presume your climate ‘denier, denier, pants on fire’ reflex kicked in and overrode logic.

    I googled Mrs Kari Norgaard.. which led me straight to her academic page, from which you can reach her climate change papers.

    She’s got no problems with English, and has been working in American academic institutions for more than 20 years.

  22. Fran Barlow

    Duncan

    Here is Norgaard et al. :

    While climate scientists have provided increasing consensus on climate change, the logical implications of climate science regarding the need for immediate and aggressive policy measures to reduce emissions are being met with intellectual and political silence even among the public that accepts the science of global climate change. Instead, a series of partial half measures have been proposed, which though they may be comforting, are essentially symbolic. In this paper we use the work of Bourdieu together with ethnographic and interview data to develop a model of cultural inertia as a social process operating across spheres of the individual, social interaction, culture and institutions. We describe how given our position in a socio-historical trajectory of energy use, mobility and abundance, habits of mind and social practice are shaped by pervasive cultural forces and the interplay of existing social institutions and psychologies are at odds with climate change or new environmental paradigms. The disjuncture between our taken-for-granted way of living and socio-ecological conditions – such as the new behaviors necessitated by climate change – is experienced at the individual level as an identity threat, at the institutional level as a challenge to social cohesion, and at the societal level as a legitimation threat. Using ethnographic and interview data we describe the powerful processes that work at the psychological, institutional, and societal levels to maintain the current orientations and ensure social stability in spite of the evident imperative for change. This model that actions are needed to engage transformations at all levels of the social order {This is not a formal sentnece! FB}. We conclude with some suggestions for further investigations and practical suggestions about actions to address climate change.

    The highlighted sections in this synopsis don’t recommend the authors as native speakers of English who have had the benefit of an academic education. The use of the word ‘treated’ in the portion cited by The Register is clearly eccentric and consonant in its eccentricity with the text above.

  23. Fran Barlow

    oops: {formal sentence}…

  24. akn

    Co-ops in Australia just don’t get a fair go. Banks won’t touch ‘em. And yeah, DI(nr), Mondragon’s been failing since 1956 :)

    Spent yesterday at the local rodeo where the highlight was chute three sponsored by ‘Daily Funerals’. The bulls were the real stars – immensely powerful and annoyed charolet/brahmin crosses fed god knows what hormones. Best of all were two bulls appropriately named “Short Fuse” and “Bitter ‘n’ Twisted”. This all followed by a dance attended by staggering drunks on a sloping, wet, grassy slope. Of note were the flags around the ring: NSW State, Australia, US, Canada and Aboriginal.

    Off today with the kids to a Rising Tide harbour protest in Newcastle. It works for a few hours and makes excellent theatre.

  25. Katz

    Blogs spook Chinese government:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-17570005

    No smoke without fire?

  26. Roger Jones

    Fran @22,

    Kari Norgaard’s father is Richard Norgaard, a distinguished American scholar. Perhaps she’s a member of the midwest Norse, who insist on viking in their own homes after several generations in Vineland, while speaking Murrican the rest of the time.

    I don’t think she drives a Lamborghini but you can never tell.

  27. Fran Barlow

    Perhaps she’s a member of the midwest Norse, who insist on viking in their own homes after several generations in Vineland

    That’s quite an interesting hypothesis Roger — one that I hadn’t considered. Certainly though, her co-authored text above, suggests an eccentric union between the linguistic usages of academia and some language other than English.

    I note that she is the third author listed, so perhaps the textual inelegance is attributable principally to others.

    In any event my principal point was that the word on which The {climate denying} Register focused {treated} had virtually no significance in the text at all (and was probably meant as a synonym for “addressed” or “confronted”). This episode was yet another example of deniers attempting to mislead by cherrypicking.

  28. duncan

    Fran,

    I agree the Register article took a literal interpretation of “treated” in the medical sense, where clearly the original article intended no such thing.

    The cited article I just read as the usual academic fog.

  29. Fran Barlow

    Duncan said:

    I agree the Register article took a literal interpretation of “treated” in the medical sense, where clearly the original article intended no such thing.

    What’s your best theory on how that serious mistake occurred?

  30. faustusnotes

    No Fran, you can’t judge that person as a non-native from that text. Don’t be so patronizing of other people’s English, it’s a very unpleasant habit, especially when you start inferring non-nativity from simple academic wank-speak.

  31. Fran Barlow

    faustusnotes said:

    Don’t be so patronizing of other people’s English, it’s a very unpleasant habit, especially when you start inferring non-nativity from simple academic wank-speak.

    It’s amusing that you apparently prefer describing the text above as ‘academic wank speak’ to the product of a background in a language other than English.

    What you call ‘patronizing’ amounts to nothing more than that a preference for usages that are apt to register. The use of ‘treated’ in the context above was not only eccentric, but in context suggested a non-native speaker.

    It’s regrettable that you don’t share my linguistic preference, though that is your right, but that’s scarcely my problem.

  32. yuppiegus

    Katz

    Has Alexander Downer commented yet?

  33. Katz

    Norgaard’s polemical use of the word “treated” is clearly metaphorical in intent. She wishes to imply that denialism is the product of some kind of cognitive infirmity.

    In the context, the use of the word may be impolitic but certainly not inaccurate.

    On the other hand, FB’s quoted text co-authored by Norgaard contains two tautologies and one non-sentence. Persons who write for a living should eschew such infelicities.

  34. Katz

    Interesting, Yuppiegus.

    It looks like British interests are trying to stir the possum in China. They are playing out of their league. Lord Dolly’s connections may suffer collateral damage.

  35. Fran Barlow

    Katz said of Norgaard:

    She wishes to imply that denialism is the product of some kind of cognitive infirmity.

    If that were a serious and foundational claim, you’d expect a reference to it in the synopsis. It’s a good hook. Yet it doesn’t appear again. It’s unargued as far as I can tell.

  36. Katz

    On closer inspection, it appears that there is no direct evidence that Norgaard ever used the word “treated” in the context under discussion.

    From the evidence so far tendered, the word itself appears only in indirect speech accounts of what Norgaard allegedly said.

  37. Fran Barlow

    Katz commented:

    On closer inspection, it appears that there is no direct evidence that Norgaard ever used the word “treated” in the context under discussion.

    Perhaps so. It doesn’t appear in the text I highlighted from Norgaard et al.. So The Register was relying on a cherrypick of some unnamed person’s report of a paper to run their troll. That’s even better because there could be no possibility of the authors refuting it.

    That doesn’t excuse their dreadful composition however.

  38. Jacques de Molay

    Channel 7 screening hour long McDonald’s doco (advert) in primetime tomorrow night:

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/entertainment/seven-defends-showing-mcdoco/story-e6fredpu-1226315593719

  39. Joe

    Hi Alf,

    here are stats from the German speaking countries from wiki:
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahlbeteiligung#Deutschland

    Further down are some other countries, Austria, Switzerland…

    It’s interesting to compare the justifications of the phenomena between the English and the German-language versions (reminds me of the news coverage we had in Berlin, way back when– you could choose between two US, BBC, Euro and the local networks.) The intro says:

    the reason for the sinking voter participation are contentious. Many political scientists and sociologists believe that the reason is to be found in political broken promises and disillusionment with party-politics. Another common theory is that it is due to generational change, with younger voters not being interested in politics.

    Links to other pages explore reasons related to a lack of interest in voting, explained as being either due to (1.) lack of purpose or (2.) general satisfaction with the status-quo.

    A general state of lack of participation and interest in (the) political parties is also discussed and connected to scandals, lobbying, political contributions and influence, but also the media, which presents all politicians as “black sheep.”

    Compare this to the English page which seems to be saying that the main reason could be due to television. One has seen it in relation to the GFC and economics, but aglo-saxon academia has been captured by the elite. That’s really why AGW isn’t taken seriously. It’s also why politics isn’t taken seriously– in very general terms.

  40. jumpy

    Jeez stats are a funny thing. A new report shows that US Millianare population grew by 200,000 in 2011.
    And who are they?

    The report also broke down today’s millionaires by occupation and former occupation if retired. Managers make up the largest group, with 17%, followed by educators (12%), corporate executives (7%), entrepreneur/business owners (6%) and attorneys and accounts.

    Good on the teachers, That’ll show those lazy entrepreneur/business owners to lift their game.

  41. duncan

    Fran,

    my best guess is that whoever wrote the Register article (doubt the original idea was their’s, this has popped up all over the place) read the paper’s precis and nothing else; did no background work etc.

  42. duncan

    By the way,

    before you all get too confused about your minorities, you might want to note that the shooter had a Hispanic background.

  43. duncan

    Fran,

    this UOW press release contains the ‘treated’ phrase.

    It states: “Source: Kari Marie Norgaard”

    .. I agree with faustus: the precis is typical academic wank speak. It is not badly composed because the writer has problems with English; it is deliberate.

  44. Fran Barlow

    Duncan

    I didn’t realise when I posted that “The Register” seems to be in the same stable as “The MailOnline” (which carried the article and in the URL had “register.mailonline …{etc} “. That paper is firmly part of the rightwing populist crankosphere (and runs classic trash tabloid links to other stuff — much of it celebrity gossip on the side. They take a “fast food” approach to copy — grab it, heat slightly in the bain marie, serve up with lots of chicken salt or tartare sauce to passing punters who aren’t discriminating; have other impulse buys in full view.

    It is not surprising that given this approach and their general climate denial position that the article in The Register came out like this.

    I ran my eye down the responses from the punters. They’d thoughtfully put in a picture of Norgaard, and apparently what was even more offensive to their audience (if that is the right term) than the verbal they did on her was her photo. Apparently the fact that she wasn’t easy on the eyes to them was enough to settle the question in the minds of many. Apparently, if she’d been a bit of a hottie, their reptile brains would have forgotten the fact that they believed she’d called them mentally ill — though presumably they’d have been prompted to ignore climate change in pursuit of libidinous fantasy. Personally, I’m glad they found her ugly, and I suspect she would be too, on multiple grounds.

    Really, the comparison between the MailOnline/Register and the greasy takeaway down from the low rent pub on a Friday night really does hold — right down to the client base.

  45. Lefty E

    Just in from the Dept of Stating the Obvious: the ALP should have gone with Rudd. ALP now on 27%.

    Too late now – they’ve completely trashed two promising leaders. Hopeless.

  46. Katz

    Good on the teachers, That’ll show those lazy entrepreneur/business owners to lift their game.

    Jumpy appears to misunderstand the difference between income and net wealth. Perhaps, with reflection, he may cure his ignorance. If not, he could call on the services of a good teacher.

  47. jumpy

    If not, he could call on the services of a good teacher.

    Can’t afford it Katz, all my net wealth and income is wrapped up trying to employ people and pay ridiculously high taxes,fees and interest charges.

  48. Fran Barlow

    More to the point Lefty E, I think we can safely declare the nearly 50-year project by the ALP to rebrand itself as the authentic party of Australian conservatism as having run its course. Yes, it had some electoral successes during the Wran/Hawke-Keating years, but it ultimately subverted the rationale for voting ALP. It handed to the right, in the form of the Murdochracy, the right to give the regime the thumbs up or down and demanded a level of political competence from the ALP team that a right-wing party simply could not muster.

    Today the right either doesn’t believe in the ALP’s brand of right-wing orthodoxy or it is too tribal or unhinged to care. Pretty much everyone else is scandalised and trying to get their heads around wall-to-wall official Liberal rule. This is the legacy of right wing Labor.

    The ALP had a chance after 2007 to change course — to reinvent itself after the shame of the Beazley-Crean-Latham years as a slightly centre-left party that was bringing down the curtain on the Howard period. Yet it spurned that option and set about empowering the very worst elements in the Australian polity — so called “Howard battlers”; open r@cists and law and order bigots and spivs of all descriptions. Rudd really started the rot with his temporising on the ETS and of course his loud declamations about the evil of “people smugglers”. With a perspective like this and a hostile press it was a simple thing for the Murdochracy to insert itself into the process and tear down the regime.

    Once upon a time, the argument from the ALP right was that people would not, by and large, accept left-of-centre policies, and that a progressive ALP would face oblivion, that politics was ‘the art of the possible’. Well the ALP right has had its way and their standing is at record lows. As I said above, I can imagine credible scenarios in which they might yet recover and win but really, they are doing this the hard way. They ought, if their claims were right, to be a long way ahead rather than seeking to recover huge ground. Now, even their ‘rusted on’ base is decomposing. If they do recover, their recovery will be very soft.

    Frankly, if the ALP had been in a poor position after fighting the good fight against the right, I suspect many would be feeling somewhat better — and I doubt the primary vote would be less that 35% but whatever it was, it would be easier to swallow. The hardest thing to take here is the sheer lack of hope for something better in the leadership of the ALP.

  49. Helen

    Once upon a time, the argument from the ALP right was that people would not, by and large, accept left-of-centre policies, and that a progressive ALP would face oblivion, that politics was ‘the art of the possible’. Well the ALP right has had its way and their standing is at record lows.

    Yes! Yes!! THIS!!

  50. Katz

    Can’t afford it Katz, all my net wealth and income is wrapped up trying to employ people and pay ridiculously high taxes,fees and interest charges.

    A classic case of misallocation of resources. A good teacher could also introduce you to the concept of marginal utility. Since when was ignorance a sound business practice?

  51. Lefty E

    Yes, well said.

    That, and modelling the federal party on the long-term ALP state governments of the 2000s.

    No one wants boring technocrats at federal level, “managing things better” or if they do, they’ll probably pick the LNP.

    Note that the only ALP leader to win an election outright since 1993 didnt take that approach.

    In fact, what is he famous for within ALP ranks? Being a bad ‘manager’. He sold a vision of reform. (Ok, it wasnt all that reformist in parts, but thats not my point.)

  52. furious balancing

    Jumpy – “Can’t afford it Katz, all my net wealth and income is wrapped up trying to employ people and pay ridiculously high taxes,fees and interest charges.”

    Eh? I think there are some challenges for small business in the current economic climate, this is perhaps compounded by uncertainty regarding the implementation of reforms, but taxes and interests rates are lower now than they have been while I’ve been in business. Actually I think they are lower than they’ve been in my entire working life.

  53. Jacques de Molay

    Well said, Fran.

    The goons running the ALP into the ground with it’s rightward march will perhaps only start to realise what they’ve done once they’re in opposition. These right-wingers chose to join the ALP more for the faster career enhancement the structure offers over the Libs than anything else, are the death of the party.

  54. Meeee

    Speaking of careerists in the ALP, is Annastacia Palaszczuk the first state leader to have only ever worked in party positions? eg policy advisor, then member. I can’t think of any one else with absolutely no other experience, whether in the public service or private sectors. She doesn’t even have the standard union organiser gig on her resume.

  55. Paul Burns

    Got quite upset (well, sort of upset) that SBS2 dumped The Killing last night for a boring fucking bicycle race of obscure significance. Got even more upset at the complicated procedures one has to go through to lodge a complaint on line about this piece of thoughtless programming.

  56. Paul Burns

    The Killing was supposed to be in italics and the rest in normal case.
    And if I haven’t got it right this time I’ll go and have a cup of coffee.

  57. Mercurius

    I’m reveling in schadenfreude as a big dumb racist shithead gets his just desserts:


    http://www.smh.com.au/business/dumped-polis-steps-down-as-companies-cut-ties-20120405-1weip.html

    You hear that, big dumb racist shitheads? You can no longer spout your big dumb racist shithead comments without it coming back to bite you big time. You wanna crap on with your racist views? Racist jokes? Racist sentiments? You will lose your business, lose your friends, lose your associates and lose your reputation.

    So take my advice: Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Before you say something that will cost you your livelihood.

    Your time is over, big dumb racist shitheads, and nobody will miss you.

  58. Fran Barlow

    A moving account of the suicide of a Greek pensioner over the financial ruin of the country by the financial community …

    Greek suicide seen as an act of fortitude as much as one of despair

    Named as Dimitris Christoulas by the Greek media, the retired pharmacist was described as decent, law-abiding, meticulous and dignified.

    The 77-year-old had written in his one-page, three-paragraph suicide note that it would be better to have a “decent end” than be forced to scavenge in the “rubbish to feed myself”.

    “With his suicide he wanted to send a political message,” Antonis Skarmoutsos, a friend and neighbour was quoted as saying in the mass-selling Ta Nea newspaper. “He was deeply politicised but also enraged.”

    Until 1994 Christoulas was a local chemist in the central Athens neighbourhood of Ambelokipoi. A committed leftist, he was active in citizens’ groups such as “I won’t pay”, which started as a one-off protest against toll fees but quickly turned into an anti-austerity movement.

    Neighbours say the pensioner had placed a protest banner on the balcony of the first-floor flat where he had lived alone.

    Only days before his death, Christoulas had insisted on paying his share of the “communal expenses” contributed by residents in the building, although payment was not due for several weeks. This was part of the meticulousness that appears to have defined a man who for 35 years had contributed to his pension fund without, as he also made clear in his note, any “state support”.

    But like so many of Greece’s older generation, the retired pharmacist had instead found himself paying for his debt-stricken country’s monumental crisis, saying in his note that his pension had been cut to the point where it had “nullified any chance of my survival”.

  59. Fran Barlow

    Delete prioir for “left|st”

    A moving account of the suicide of a Greek pensioner over the financial ruin of the country by the financial community …

    Greek suicide seen as an act of fortitude as much as one of despair

    Named as Dimitris Christoulas by the Greek media, the retired pharmacist was described as decent, law-abiding, meticulous and dignified.

    The 77-year-old had written in his one-page, three-paragraph suicide note that it would be better to have a “decent end” than be forced to scavenge in the “rubbish to feed myself”.

    “With his suicide he wanted to send a political message,” Antonis Skarmoutsos, a friend and neighbour was quoted as saying in the mass-selling Ta Nea newspaper. “He was deeply politicised but also enraged.”

    Until 1994 Christoulas was a local chemist in the central Athens neighbourhood of Ambelokipoi. A committed left|st, he was active in citizens’ groups such as “I won’t pay”, which stirted as a one-off protest against toll fees but quickly turned into an anti-austerity movement.

    Neighbours say the pensioner had placed a protest banner on the balcony of the first-floor flat where he had lived alone.

    Only days before his death, Christoulas had insisted on paying his share of the “communal expenses” contributed by residents in the building, although payment was not due for several weeks. This was part of the meticulousness that appears to have defined a man who for 35 years had contributed to his pension fund without, as he also made clear in his note, any “state support”.

    But like so many of Greece’s older generation, the retired pharmacist had instead found himself paying for his debt-stricken country’s monumental crisis, saying in his note that his pension had been cut to the point where it had “nullified any chance of my survival”.

  60. Fran Barlow