Wit and Greece's economic crisis

Ironic slogans, food, and antiausterity sentiments

by Daniel M. Knight

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Ironic slogans voice opposition to neoliberal austerity measures as people in western Thessaly, Greece, strive to account for dramatically increasing poverty and cultivate a sense of collective suffering in an era of economic crisis. The slogans are pinned to moments of socioeconomic turmoil in recent Greek history, such as the 1941–43 famine and the 1973 polytechnic uprising against military dictatorship. Through satire, they capture local and national attitudes toward the government's current austerity policy and neoliberalism more generally. Drawing on powerful tropes of food, the slogans critique the experiences of neoliberal reform, becoming sites of resistance and solidarity that reframe relations between local people, their government, and international creditors.