Costas Douzinas

COSTAS DOUZINAS is a Member of the Hellenic Parliament, a Professor of Law and the Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London. His recent books include The Meaning of Human Rights (co-edited with Conor Gearty, CUP, 2014), The Cambridge Companion to Human Rights Law (co-edited with Conor Gearty, CUP, 2013), Philosophy and Resistance in the Crisis: Greece and the Future of Europe (Polity, 2013), The Idea of Communism (co-edited with Slavoj Žižek, Verso, 2012), and New Critical Legal Thinking: Law and the Political (co-edited with Matthew Stone and Illan rua Wall, Birkbeck Law Press/Routledge, 2012). Douzinas has served as an editor for Law & Critique, his books have been translated into thirteen languages, and he has written extensively for The Guardian, OpenDemocracy, and other global publications.

The Final Blackmail of Baron Papandreou

The unexpected announcement by Greek PM Papandreou yesterday that he is to call a referendum and ask people to vote about the October 24 agreement is the opening salvo in the endgame of the Greek tragedy. Is this extraordinary gambit a genuine request for a popular mandate or a desperate bluff of a gambler down…

The Indictment

The workers of a small bakery and corner shop in central Athens announced yesterday (Weds) that while they would not close because they are serving many vulnerable people they are joining the 2-day general strike by charging all products at cost. It must have been an unexpected surprise in these hard times for their customers…

In Greece, we see democracy in action

When Stéphane Hessel wrote in Time for Outrage! that indignation with injustice should turn to “a peaceful insurrection” perhaps he did not expect that the movement of indignados in Spain and aganaktismenoi (outraged) in Greece would take his advice to heart so soon and so spectacularly. The Greek resistance to the catastrophic economic measures was…

These hunger strikers are the martyrs of Greece

As the world follows the north African revolutions with bated breath, a less public north African revolt and tragedy is taking place in Athens and Thessaloniki. Three hundred non-documented migrants, mostly from the Maghreb, have entered the 35th day of a hunger strike. Many have been taken to hospital in pre-comatose condition and are reaching…

Anomie: On civil and democratic disobedience

Greek Minister for Public Transport Reppas stated last week that the government will not let ‘Greece exposed to the risk of international disrepute and marginalization, destinations of countries characterized by anomie. The attack on the social acceptability of the free-rider and the political dismantling of its simulacrum of progressiveness is paramount.’ The harassed minister was…

Before the Law (School)

What is the role of legal education, what does it mean to learn the law? The law teacher’s first duty is to understand and teach the language of justice, the breath, spirit and equity that should move the body of law. A law without justice is dead letter, body without soul, remnants and ruins of…

The Europe to come

This Mediterranean to come is not some fu­ture utopia; it is hap­pening here and now.Jürgen Habermas and Ulrich Beck enthused about the European model and prophesied its exportation to the world. Many were the successes of the Union, they claimed. Old nationalisms and xenophobias had been left behind, former enemies collaborated in peaceful competition creating…

For a Humanities of Resistance

I first realised that there is something strange about the term ‘Humanities’ when as the Director of my University’s Humanities Institute I participated at a meeting to set up a European Consortium of Humanities Centres. Except for the host centre in Utrecht and mine no other participating European University had a Humanities Institute.  The other…

Adikia: On Communism and Rights

1.  Back in the Eighties and Nineties, Marxist intellectuals, shaken by the Gulag revelations and the collapse of the communist states, started welcoming human rights. Claude Lefort, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Etienne Balibar and Jacques Rancière amongst others participated in this move. It coincided with the ‘end of history’ bragging of liberal capitalists and the revisionist histories…

The End of Politics (2): Europe

How different does Europe look today from ten years ago. In 2000, influential commentators hailed the dawn of the ‘new European century’ to replace the atrocious ‘American’ 20th century. Europe was on the way to becoming the model polity for the new world. The re-unification of Germany, the successful introduction of the Euro and the…

The End of Politics and the Defence of Democracy

In this month of the ‘Greek passion’ one thing is certain. The country will never be the same again. But while the commentators, academics and ‘experts’ discuss endlessly the economic crisis, the deep political malaise has gone unnoticed. The three ‘waves’ of ‘stability’ measures have befallen Greece like an evil tsunami which will turn the…

The Greek Tragedy

Few events in recent European political history have baffled analysts and commentators more than the widespread insurrection or ‘riots’ (according to right-wing commentators) that took place in Greece in December 2008. The catalyst was the unprovoked police killing of the 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos on December 6 in the Exarcheia district downtown Athens next to the…

Jerry Springer Politics in Greece

A sense of deja vu has dominated the Greek election campaign. The protagonists, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and leader of the opposition George Papandreou, have been repeating earlier skirmishes between Costas Karamanlis senior (uncle of the prime minister), the rightwing leader of postwar Greece, and George Papandreou senior in the 50s and 60s, and Andreas…

The Left and Constitutional Reform

What surprised me most in the Guardian New Politics articles was that the majority have little to do with politics. They are suggestions for changes in constitutional law – some relatively minor (reducing the number of MPs, shortening their holidays or abolishing the archaic protocol – although this reform zeal may end up with a…