new photo blog

i started this blog in 2006, and it's shifted along with my interests through the years. it's been witness to a lot of learning for me...

still, i feel that i need a home for my photography -- so from now on, i'll be posting my pictures on the journal on my reworked website. if you like my photos, you might decide to follow me there!

my first post is here -- check it out!

as for this blog, i'm not sure what will happen. i don't think i'm willing to let it go, and certainly i'll keep it as an archive, but i need some time to figure it out.

for those of you that pop in from time to time, thanks for the visits and encouragement.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

democracy in action

syntagma, may 28th, 2011:  a show of hands.
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view in the dark
image ©2011 helen sotiriadis
more of my images from syntagma square

this was another very good article in the guardian last week about the protests in greece and the democratic discourse springing from them... more thanks to julia baracco for forwarding the link to me.


'thousands of people come together daily in syntagma to discuss the next steps. the parallels with the classical athenian agora, which met a few hundred metres away, are striking. aspiring speakers are given a number and called to the platform if that number is drawn, a reminder that many office-holders in classical athens were selected by lots. the speakers stick to strict two-minute slots to allow as many as possible to contribute. the assembly is efficiently run without the usual heckling of public speaking. the topics range from organisational matters to new types of resistance and international solidarity, to alternatives to the catastrophically unjust measures. no issue is beyond proposal and disputation. in well-organised weekly debates, invited economists, lawyers and political philosophers present alternatives for tackling the crisis.

this is democracy in action. the views of the unemployed and the university professor are given equal time, discussed with equal vigour and put to the vote for adoption. the outraged have reclaimed the square from commercial activities and transformed it into a real space of public interaction. the usual late-evening tv viewing time has instead become a time for being with others and discussing the common good. if democracy is the power of the "demos", in other words the rule of those who have no particular qualification for ruling, whether of wealth, power or knowledge, this is the closest we have come to democratic practice in recent european history.'



  1. I wish my fellow Americans had the passion and clear-mindedness of the Greeks (and the Irish and Spaniards) ... for you are on the front lines of fighting the corporate takeover of our democracies. The people protesting in Athens are doing all of humanity a favor - saying 'No' to the banksters' attempts to weaken social programs and dismantle government structures that help people not the wealthy. 

    We all know it was American banks which led the massive fraud in the U.S. housing market and that credit-rating agencies, insurance firms and all the other big money players joined in the game and sold the trash paper to unsuspecting countries around the world (and some foreign banks, of course were in on it) ... then the phony wealth bubble popped and the U.S. taxpayers were tapped to pay off most of the loss and the pain was spread far and wide. 
    Greeks have it exactly right - why the hell should they as people suffer for the crimes of the global banksters?

    This many months after the Saving-and-Loan fraud of the 1980s in America there were over 1000 people involved under indictment or were targets of the U.S. Justice Dept. ... NOT ONE PERSON is under indictment for this massive fraud in America so far.