From Famines to Austerity

Roma with cup. Berlin, July 2014.

From Brussels to Turin, the flyers read the same. The 2008 economic crisis continues on, slowly but surely transforming the European Union’s weakest member states into Third World countries in all but name, quasi-colonial holdings of their wealthier neighbors, and the banks bailing them out.

Absent from the street art imaginary of newspapers and magazines, obsessed with chronicling the new urban cool of now middle-aged artists like Banksy, such flyers are a sore reminder of the faddishness of this public art craze, and the fundamentally apolitical concerns of its audience.

The proliferation of political flyers, however lacking in aesthetic sophistication, comes from the same fundamental place. The only difference is their more explicit foregrounding of social concerns.

The following flyers, shot in Turin and Brussels, testify to the intersection of the crisis, with the rise in appreciation of street art. Photographed over a three year period, between 2011 and 2014, they mark the transition from the irony trafficked in by punk muralists, (see the Turin flyer, immediately below) to the more sincere, struggling masses imagery of the Belgian flyer, at the bottom. Time takes its toll on humor, clearly.

Judging from the content of the flyer translations, however, the change in design sensibilities is less evident. What was bad in 2011 – austerity – is translated as famine in 2014. Hence, the figure cut by the Roma beggar, in the lead photograph, standing, coincidentally, outside a photo studio, on Berlin’s reliably named Karl-Marx-Strasse.

Turin, March 2011.
Turin, March 2011.



The burden of debt is used in all countries to justify strict austerity policies: reduction of social expenditure, reduction of public salaries and pensions, increase of labour flexibility, privatization of sectors such as water, energy, transport, health care and school, reduction of subsidies for disadvantaged groups, crackdowns on wages and salaries.

And (the) Monti government, completely in line with the previous government, has a leading role in implementing these policies.

Poor Greece has been used as a test subject to impose an actual social massacre, and a loss of democracy and sovereignty; the purpose is to save banks and their profits. An unjust Europe is establishing itself, the Europe of masters and of growing inequalities. We can’t accept it. We can’t leave our future in the hands of the new aristocracy (the so called debtocracy,) greedy and exploitative. The illegitimate debt must not be paid.

We want to build an alternative instead: a supportive Europe, with rights for workers and social justice.

We will be begin discussing these themes using the book Debtocracy [Alegre Edizioni].


Public Assembly

Tuesday 6th of March, 9 pm

Sala della Circoscrizione, Corso Belgio 91


Alessandra Algostino,

Professor of Constitutional Rights at the University of Turin

Pietro Passarino of (the) No Debt committee

Roberto Firenze of Sinistra Critica

Sinistra Critica, via S. Giulia 64 Turin tel. 011 8177972

Email: http://sinistracriticatorino.blogspot


Brussels, March 2014.
Brussels, March 2014.



Day of action in Belgium for greater access to land, we’re going to plant some potatoes!



On 17 April 1996, nineteen Brazilian peasants were massacred by hands paid by big land owners. In memory of their struggle, Campesina declared 17 April the “International Day of Farmers’ Struggles”.

Both in the north and the south, access to cheap, safe and green food is getting more and more difficult. Why is this? Vicious land grabs of agricultural land by shameless, strong economic actors. Result? Growing industrialisation of farming and the side-lining of farmers across the world. It is no surprise that a crushing majority of people starving in the world are farmers!

In Belgium, over 63% of small farms have made way for big farms in the past 30 years. Buying agricultural land to build houses, infrastructure and for leisure use has increased property market pressure. This means direct property speculation on the land and soaring prices which is a huge obstacle to establishing new farmers and the intergenerational transmission of farms.

From local to global, thanks to our projects and political beliefs, we, the Citizens, social movements and Belgian associations, are already working to defend local agriculture and food sovereignty. The time has come to focus on the thousands of ways to reclaim our food : collective vegetable plots, converted farms, seed funds, social shops, co-ops, local markets, kitchen workshops, short-circuit initiatives … there are so many ways!

However, these efforts will not be enough without a real democratic debate on the use of our agricultural lands.

In order to change the world, we have to do it everywhere and all together. We need you, each of you for your own ways! That is why we are meeting on 17 April to demand access to our land. We will be planting potatoes in the name of a food future for all.

Join us in the different places destined to make our social choice heard! Those who want to organise an action or activity in their region should contact us.




Translated from the Italian and the French by Giulia Pace, and Kit Rickard. Photographs courtesy of Joel Schalit.

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