Tag Archives: Katerina Kitidi

Catastroika: the other price of austerity

A little over a year ago, Greek journalists Katerina Kitidi and Aris Hadjistefanou released an important documentary film called Debtocracy. Their film showed how the financial catastrophe now taking place in Greece and elsewhere in Europe is nothing new, and, drawing parallels with earlier austerity offensives in places like Argentina and Ecuador, also presented a way out of the current debt crisis on the basis of previously established precedents – most importantly the precedent for the cancellation of odious debts. It is available to watch online for free, with the option of English, Spanish, Portuguese and French subtitles.

Click here to read an earlier review and also to watch a version with English subtitles.

The same film-makers have now released what is in effect a sequel to Debtocracy. Entitled Catastroika for reasons that quickly become apparent, this latest documentary looks more closely at the other side of the story, revealing how the emergency fire sale of Greek public assets is also nothing new.

Beginning in Russia in the early 1990s, the film shows the devastating consequences of Boris Yeltsin’s programme of IMF and the World Bank backed ‘liberalisation’ and ‘reform’. Resistance to these measures had been strong and so ultimately, following a wave of mass protests, Yeltsin took the extraordinary decision to storm his own parliament with a direct military assault, killing hundreds of his opponents who were trapped inside.

Catastroika also looks into the effects of deregulation of public services in other places around the world. The sell-off and the deliberate destruction of Eastern competitors following German reunification, and in Britain, the Major government’s disastrous privatisation of our rail network. The film details how Railtrack‘s poor safety record and spiralling costs eventually led to the collapse of the company and its de facto renationalisation; the longer term consequence being increased prices and larger state subsidies than when the whole rail system had been publicly maintained and operated.

The film then moves to Paris and investigates Jacques Chirac’s sale of the Parisian water supply into the monopoly hands of Veolia and Suez in spite of giving no economic justification and against huge public opposition. Lastly, it looks into the deregulation of the electricity industry in California, and how this was very cleverly exploited by Enron and other companies who deliberately caused blackouts in order to hike prices.

Drawing upon expert support from academics and other informed opponents to such privatisation initiatives, the film also includes more general analysis from Naomi Klein, Greg Palast and Ken Loach.

Click here to watch the full documentary with English subtitles.

To visit the official website for Catastroika click here.

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Update:

Since I wrote this review, several versions of Catastroika have been uploaded on youtube with English subtitles. The one embedded below seems to be a good one:

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Filed under austerity measures, Britain, debt cancellation, did you see?, France, Greece, Greg Palast, Italy, neo-liberalism, Russia, USA

debtocracy and its remedy

To better understand how the current situation in Greece has arisen, a new documentary called Debtocracy made by Greek journalists Katerina Kitidi and Aris Chatzistefanou is available to watch online for free, with the option of English, Spanish, Portuguese and French subtitles.


http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xik4kh
Debtocracy International Version by BitsnBytes

The film chronicles the current economic problems in Greece and cross references it against case studies from other countries who have imposed austerity measures on their people in the recent past – most significantly drawing comparison with the cases of Argentina and Ecuador. It lays out how both these nations put a stop to public spending cuts, privatisation, and the never-ending cycle of debt payments. Following in the example of Ecuador, the film also proposes a solution for the Greek crisis through the formation of an audit committee — which should include non-specialists — to establish exactly to whom the debt is owed, and to determine which parts of it are odious and illegitimate:

“In March 2011, a group of people from different backgrounds took the initiative to demand the formation of an audit committee in Greece. Academics, writers, artists, union representatives from all over the world supported this initiative willingly”

The supporters of the initiative included Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and Tony Benn.

Approximately midway through the film, there is a section entitled “The History of Odious Debt”:

  1. Government of country receives a loan without the knowledge and approval of its people.
  2. The loan is spent on activities not beneficial to the people.
  3. The lenders know of this situation but pretend not too.

If the analysis of the audit committee proves all or part of the debt to be odious the people should not have to pay for it and therefore it should be erased.

To visit the official website click here: www.debtocracy.gr/

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Filed under debt cancellation, did you see?, Greece, Latin America, Noam Chomsky, Uncategorized