News

DW6 House Parties in Greece

DAGR Debate Watch DW6 House Parties

After upsets in IO and NH and with crucial tests in SC and NV ahead, the 6th
Democratic Debate (pre-dawn Friday in central European time zone) may be the
best one yet,. PBS carries it from the University of Wisconsin, with PBS
NewsHour co-anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff moderating.

Find a house party near you to watch it with friends!

THESSALONIKI
Friday, February 12, 7 p.m.
House Party at Panos Karousakis' home in Panorama 
Beer and wine provided - Potluck snacks! 
For address, directions and other details, call: 
Panos at 231 033 2565 or Kevin at 693 077 7237 or 231 091 6324

CENTRAL ATHENS 
Friday, February 12, 7 p.m.
House Party at Nikki Fellouris' home near the Hilton
Wine provided - Potluck snacks! 
For address, directions and other details, call:
Nikki at 693 661 8493

NORTHERN ATHENS
Saturday, February 13, 7:30 p.m.
House Party at Marion Kavallieros' home in Kifissia
Wine provided - Potluck snacks! 
For address, directions and other details, call:
Marion at 694 615 9203

If you'd like to host a party, reply here and we'll help put yours up on
this page.


DAGR WOMEN’S CAUCUS Women's Choice

We turn a spotlight on an issue which was solved on paper years ago. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear a landmark abortion case that could gut Roe v. Wade, it is important to know what is at stake.  Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (formerly Cole) is a case regarding a deceptive Texas law designed to shut down more than 75 percent of all women’s health clinics that provide abortion services in the state.

Take a look at a preview of the startling new documentary, "Trapped", a film that addresses TRAP laws—Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers—and their impact on abortion providers in the South. The film was recently showcased at Sundance Film Festival and in the above link, you will see Amy Goodman interview the Director Dawn Porter and guests Willy Parker and June Ayers, who are fighting to keep abortion accessible in the South.

For more information on the Supreme Court Case, The Center for Reproductive Rights is representing medical caregivers in their efforts to ensure women’s access to safe and legal abortion care and their website provides an excellent overview of the case and its implications. Follow this link for a captivating read.

Good visuals on how recent legislation has severely limited women’s choice all across America can be seen through the following graphs - Learn more about their work at the Guttmacher Institute

 

 


DAGR WOMEN’S CAUCUS

Hello from DAGR Women’s Caucus!

Thank you to those of you who took the time to return our Survey Monkey – we look forward to exploring the results together later this month when we confirm the date and time to go and see Suffragette.  So watch this space!

The link to the survey is still open if you would like to participate: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HQJ3GLQ

In the meantime, there is a Japanese Film Festival this week featuring four films that explore the role of women in contemporary Japanese Society.

The Film Festival Screenings take place at 7 p.m. on February 3, 5, 6 and 7 at the Alkyonis New Star Art Cinema in Athens and admission costs only 3 euros. There are English and Greek subtitles.

Women's Caucus will meet on Sunday for the Sunday Film in front of the theatre at 6:30 .

Alkyonis New Star Art Cinema, 42-46 Victoria Square, tel 210.822.0008, 210.822.0023


Good News Two Times Over!!!!!

When something wonderful happens for our friends, we share their joy. And that is especially true this week. Our Vice Chair, Steve, and Tony, a retired doctor and his partner of nearly 34 years, finally saw their commitment recognized under Greek law. Adding to the moment, theirs was the first same-sex civil partnership (symfono symviosis) signed by Athens Mayor George Kaminis and officially the first in Greece.

The news is spreading steadily now, and DAGR shares the joy, if not the credit. The country committee in Greece has exercised restraint in joining with LGBT activists locally, all the while supporting DA’s global effort. DA’s role, including participation in Pride events in more liberal countries, is to advocate for gender issues in the US. So, naturally, last year, when the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, Dems Abroad, and its LGBT Caucus in particular, cheered.

And so did we, even while worrying the decision might entice some of our supporters to take their spouses back to the US. With this new Greek law, our LGBT couples can choose to stay here, and DAGR can ‘come out,’ too. Potentially, this means a DAGR LGBT Caucus and participation as an organization in the next Pride event. There will be more events, because there will be many practicalities in the new laws (everywhere) to work through and because it takes a while for laws on the books to become laws of the heart.

Let me return, for just a minute, to the personal level. Steve and I first worked together for the 2009 Inaugural celebration at ACS. We’ve cooperated closely for almost 10 months now at the helm of DAGR. And it has been a total pleasure; he’s one of the most thoughtful human beings I know … and a lot more self-disciplined that I am. I flare up, Steve smooths me out, and a happy medium goes forward. Oddly enough, despite a few meetings held at Steve’s place, I’ve never met Tony. In these recent months, he’s been gone a lot, volunteering with Doctors of the World in refugee centers around the country. We’ve had one or two long phone chats about the refugee reality, and from these I gather he’s at least the second most thoughtful human being. He’s also served on the mayor’s refugee advisory committee, so it seems Mr. Kaminis shares my take. Friends of theirs add to the chorus of ‘really, really good people; couldn’t have happened for nicer folks!’

We thought it wise to check with Steve before ‘going to press’ with the news. He’s away on business this week, but here’s what he emailed back with the go-ahead, “We are really proud to be able to promote and celebrate social progress...and maybe along the way bring those Manolis in the closet out, so they can learn that they have power.”

And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Doing what each of us -- as individuals and as members of a historically progressive political organization -- can do to make the world a more just place, where everyone has the means to live and the liberty to pursue a bit of happiness.

To Steve and Tony, our heartfelt best wishes on this momentously happy occasion!

Karen Lee

DAGR Chair


Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act of 2015 (DRIVE Act)

DRIVE aims to provide funding for the federal transportation network as well as for investments in highway infrastructure. The recapitalization of the Highway Trust Fund, which faces financial difficulties, is another goal of the proposed legislation.

One of the provisions included in the multitude of pages authorizes the revocation, or denial of renewal, of a US citizen’s passport if the citizen has an outstanding tax liability to the IRS of $50,000 or more. When the law is passed, it is expected to generate a considerable dollar amount per annum in tax revenue.

thanks to Kat

Regardless of revenue gains, this provision might very well cause problems to the nearly 110 million Americans who hold valid passports (a much larger number than what is commonly believed) and who could sometime along the way have to deal with tax debt. The problem is even worse when it comes to Americans living abroad (a rough estimate places the number somewhere between three and six million) who rely on their passports far more heavily than their fellow Americans living in the United States.

If overseas Americans cannot renew their passports, or have them revoked, they will not even be able to travel back home and might see their lives thrown into disarray since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, currently codified as 8 U.S.C. § 1185, stipulates that: Except as otherwise provided by the President and subject to such limitations and exceptions as the President may authorize and prescribe, it shall be unlawful for any citizen of the United States to depart from or enter, or attempt to depart from or enter, the United States unless he bears a valid United States passport.

The aforementioned provision could be tantamount to exile. What is more, this policy was not introduced after consultation with the American diaspora and, to exacerbate the problem, communication between the IRS and the overseas community is not what it should be mainly due to overseas IRS office closures and funding cuts.

Another issue regarding the case is the fact that there seem to be questions of due process. It is not clear if citizens threatened with passport revocation or renewal denial will get to appear before a judge and have a fair and impartial hearing. Furthermore, taking into consideration that to err is human, is there a guarantee that no mistakes will be made and no person will be deprived of a passport due to some glitch in the IRS system? Will the Americans concerned be able to seek an injunction against the revocation of their passport if they are mistakenly branded as delinquent taxpayers? Will they be able to take any other course of legal action necessary in case they suffer damages due to passport problems? It appears to be rather difficult to sue the government due to the doctrine of sovereign immunity which holds it immune to damage claims unless it agrees to such litigation. Although certain kinds of lawsuits against federal employees are allowed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), the process is complicated and time consuming.

On a different note, one might see broader issues at play. Freedom of movement is governed by the United States Constitution under the Privileges and Immunities Clause and is seen by many Americans as a human right – whether it is movement within the US or internationally – that is fundamental to the pursuit of happiness. Such freedom is a characteristic of open societies, a valid passport being a means that makes it possible, and it is too important to jeopardize over tax debt or budget concerns.

Although it is true that the administration can deny or revoke passports on grounds of foreign policy, national security or suspected criminal conduct, one should tread carefully when such matters are involved. For example, in Kent v. Dulles, 357 U.S. 116 (1958), the United States Secretary of State refused the issuance of a passport to an American citizen on the basis of suspicions that they intended to travel abroad to promote communism. The Court did not deal with the question of constitutionality in this case, but in an opinion by Justice William O. Douglas it held that the federal government may not restrict the right to travel without due process:

“The right to travel is a part of the ‘liberty’ of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. If that ‘liberty’ is to be regulated, it must be pursuant to the law-making functions of the Congress. . . . . Freedom of movement across frontiers in either direction, and inside frontiers as well, is a part of our heritage. Travel abroad, like travel within the country . . . may be as close to the heart of the individual as the choice of what he eats, or wears, or reads. Freedom of movement is basic in our scheme of values.”

It also held that “the broad power of the Secretary under 22 U.S.C. § 211a to issue passports, which has long been considered ‘discretionary,’ has been construed generally to authorize the refusal of a passport only when the applicant (1) is not a citizen or a person owing allegiance to the United States, or (2) was engaging in criminal or unlawful conduct.”

By Vassilis Fragiskos

Editor’s note: In November, 2015, Dems Abroad (DPCA) wrote to members of Congress urging this provision be removed from the highway bill. DPCA continues to advocate for a careful review to reduce impacts on Americans living outside the US.


Help Dems Abroad! Help the US Embassy!

Double-Duty Voting Scores ‘Points’

Dems Abroad in Greece have so many choices. We can vote a home state primary AND save the Presidential slot to vote in the DAGR Global Presidential Primary (GPP) in March. We can send our ballot back by regular mail and pay postage, or by courier and pay more, OR by Embassy pouch and … mail postage free! We just have to plan our moves.

The US Embassy in Athens wants to get out the vote for 2016. Their goal is to encourage every eligible American voter abroad to exercise their voting right.

To get the ball rolling, US citizen groups, including Dems Abroad and our Republican counterparts, were invited to an informational exchange yesterday (26 Jan) at the Embassy. Key Embassy Athens staff, including the Deputy Chief of Mission, the Consul General and the Voting Assistance Officer presented their outreach plans.

Embassy Plans October Party

Besides providing voting assistance (advice and computers) on site and through support out of Athens ‘wardens’, the Embassy is preparing a “voting party” in October for the General Election. Citizens in the Athens area can bring in their absentee ballots, address the envelope to their county board of elections, and ‘cast’ it in the box that will go out via the State Department pouch system.

The envelopes will be counted, by destination address, along with those left in the Embassy drop-box. This will give Athens a tally of overall votes sent out and the spread of states they’re headed for.  We sensed there may be a little informal competition among Embassies and Consulates worldwide for highest per-eligible-capita and most states returned.

The October party promises to be a lot like DAGR’s Global Presidential Primary Voting Center (GPP), with ‘serious fun’ adding to the ‘real polling station’ feel. Expect drum rolls when the Ambassador casts the first vote, and for the youngest first-voter, the oldest and so on. Expect DAGR to borrow a few ideas for the GPP on March 6!

Embassy Efforts Enhance DAGR’s 

The Consular Section role in voter assistance in no way diminishes DAGR’s efforts. While the Embassy is promoting use of the FVAP registration form, we Democrats can still use our own VoteFromAbroad.org (VFA form based on the FVAP).

When we use the VFA site to register, the software keeps count. This predicts our members’ activity, but there’s no system, yet, to see how many ballots are actually voted and sent back.

Beyond those who call in for help, the Embassy has no way of knowing who registered by VFA or other online sites or directly with their home county. But they DO know how many ballots are returned through their mail system.

So, we can use VFA to register and the Embassy's diplomatic pouch to send ballots back, and that scores ‘good job’ points for both!

DAGR was well represented at yesterday’s meeting, officially by the Chair, Secretary and one At-Large Rep. The Treasurer and three other members were in delegations from three other American organizations. We seem to be well dispersed across the community, in fact the total number of DAGR people in attendance (6) made us the largest group by far.


DAGR's Launch of the Women's Caucus

DA Greece WC Launch Nov 16, 2016

Click on the pink link above to see the slideshow.


Generosity on the Ground in Greece part 5 - Athen and Pireas

For our fellow Dems Abroad who’ve asked how they can help, links to the groups on the front lines. This is the third of a five part series that began on Jan 11, 2016.  The series is divided up by the location of the services, so Lesvos volunteer organisations are found in the first 3 postings. The fourth posting is for Kos.

On the Mainland: Piraeus Port, Central Athens

Immigrant and Refugee Support Group in Athens

https://www.facebook.com/groups/204202716585823/

The group aims at providing information about what is going on in Athens and volunteering or offering donations. The volunteers meet at the port of Piraeus to greet refugees disembarking ships coming in from Samos, Lesvos, Kos and Rhodes to provide them with additional clothing, a back-pack filled with essentials, toiletries and guides before they board buses headed for the next border or head on to the camps at Eleona and Ellinikon hosting refugees while they complete the documentation process.

Sotiris Alexopoulos is the coordinator of Refugees Welcome to Piraeus.

_________________________________________________________________________

Project Soup Port

https://www.facebook.com/vereinsoliba/

The Swiss volunteers from Project Soup provide hot tea and soups - prepared and offered on the spot at the entrance of the refugee welcoming station based in E1 passenger terminal in the port of Piraeus. A group of Swiss residents in Greece have organized to bring soup to the port as a part of the meet and greet as travelers disembark the vessels at the port of Piraeus. The organization is devoted to the care of the refugees with the supply and preparation of food. 2 or 3 small trucks with a mobile kitchen included go to exhausted refugees to offer a warm meal.

Donation:IBAN: Ch15 0839 0034 0179 1000 6 (note soup-Port)
Bankclearing: 8390 Bic (Swift code): Absoch22

________________________________________________________________

Greek Council for Refugees

 http://www.gcr.gr/index.php/en/

The Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) is a Non-Governmental Organization, which has been active since 1989 in the field of asylum and human rights in Greece. On a daily basis, GCR welcomes and offers free legal and social advice and services to refugees and people coming from countries who are entitled to international protection, while special emphasis is put on vulnerable cases, such as unaccompanied minors, victims of trafficking etc. GCR’s Refugee Reception and Interpreters Unit handles the first contact with our beneficiaries since it is consisted of a group of multilingual receptionists, interpreters and political scientists. The interpreters, by conveying the social-historical-cultural features that characterize each case, contribute significantly to the proper function of the Service while they also participate in visits to detention centers, courts and hospitals in order to facilitate GCR beneficiaries’ access to services and goods.

gcr1@gcr.gr

25 Solomou Str., 10682, Athens    +30 210 3800990-1   F: +30 210 3803774

Donations: National Bank of Greece Account: 116/29606564   IBAN: GR5301101160000011629606564

________________________________________________________________________________

METAction

http://www.metadrasi.org/eng/

The Non-Governmental Organization “METAction” was founded in December 2009, its primary aim being to promote a rational system for managing mixed migration flows, while encouraging respect for human rights, national and international legislation, through the development of actions for the reception and integration of immigrants and refugees in Greece, as well as of actions of support for their voluntary return and reintegration in their countries of origin.

metadrasi@gmail.com / volunteer.metadrasi@gmail.com

8 Thesprotias, Athens, Greece
 +30 210 520 1792, +30 210 5201794
Donations: bank deposit at GR29 0140 1040 1040 0200 2019 320 of Alpha Bank

________________________________________________________________

The Salvation Army in Greece

http://www.salvationarmy.gr/

The Salvation Army is an international Christian movement that operates in 124 countries worldwide. In Greece, the Salvation Army has been operating as a nonprofit company from January 2011, standing by the homeless, elderly, young families with infants and victims of trafficking. They are assisting refugees in central Athens as well.

61 Kodrigtonos 10434 Athens

athens@salvationarmy.gr

v.katsantonis@salvationarmy.gr - volunteer coordinator,

emily.carlsson@salvationarmy.gr - program coordinator 

Donations: Eurobank IBAN GR0602602520000120200537860    SWIFT CODE: EFGBGRAA

________________________________________________________________________

Home for Refugees and Immigrants Notara 26

http://www.notara26.info/blog/?lang=en

This project stands for a self-organized solidarity project, wherein locals and refugees-immigrants decide together. Official “squatting” in an abandon public building in Athens at 26 Notara, volunteers cover the refugees/immigrants immediate needs: shelter, food and medical help. The decisive body is the squat’s open assembly where everyone is welcome to participate with no exclusions. 

Notara 26 runs a collective kitchen. Materials contributions are welcome and/or your help in the collective cooking.

+30 6947 908 121 +30 6978 873 643        notara26@riseup.net

 For part 1 - Lesvos: http://www.democratsabroad.org/1301/generosity_on_the_ground_in_greece

 For part 2 - Lesvos: http://www.democratsabroad.org/1301/generosity_on_the_ground_in_greece_part_2

 For part 3 - Lesvos: http://www.democratsabroad.org/1301/generosity_on_the_ground_in_greece_part_3

 For part 4 - Kos: http://www.democratsabroad.org/1301/generosity_on_the_ground_in_greece_part_4_kos


Generosity on the Ground in Greece part 4 Kos

For our fellow Dems Abroad who’ve asked how they can help here are some links to the groups on the front lines. This is the third of a five part series that began on Jan 11, 2016.  The series is divided up by the location of the services, so Lesvos volunteer organisations are found in the first 3 postings. The fourth posting is for Kos and the fifth one presents volunteer organisations in Athens and Piraeus.

By Stacey Harris-Papaioannou

staceymykonos@yahoo.com

Kos Solidarity

http://kos-solidarity.com/

The need for the Kos initiative was sparked by the arrival of refugees in boatloads in late spring of 2015. People were arriving from Bodrum in unseaworthy boats and dinghies in urgent need of food, water, tents, warm clothes and shoes, backpacks and help in establishing their legal status in order to travel safely by ferry to Piraeus. Kos Solidarity works in cooperation with other agencies like UNHCR and MSF etc. All the locals participate on a voluntary basis, daily and most have day jobs. Kos solidarity needs cash donations and volunteers.

info@kos-solidarity.com    +30 6946 085 065

Donations:   https://www.gofundme.com/mcgcu6rw

___________________________________________________________

Kos Refugees need your Help KRNYH

http://kosrefugeesneedyourhelp.com/ 

http://thecommunitykouzinaproject.com/2015/10/25/critical-nourishment-valerie-and-verena-founders-of-kos-refugees-need-your-help

Kos has been receiving daily arrivals of people mainly from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, who are in the process of making their way to Central Europe, to seek refuge. Generally, upon arrival in Kos, they begin the registration process (permitting there are no technical delays,) and refugees stay on the island for 3-4 days. Once they receive their registration papers, refugees continue their journey by ferry from the island. With the boat ride to Kos costing thousands of dollars, refugees often arrive with little money, and what they do have must last their entire journey. KRNYH offers daily distribution of hot meals (rice, vegetables, lentils) and bread/milk, provides for rooms for the vulnerable and distributes shoes and backpacks.

kosrefugees@gmail.com           communitykouzina@gmail.com

Donations: Epitopou e.V.   IBAN: DE 11370501981932915240   BIC: COLSDE33XXX   Sparkasse KölnBonn Address: Hahnenstrasse 57, 50667 Cologne, Germany

 For part 1 - Lesvos: http://www.democratsabroad.org/1301/generosity_on_the_ground_in_greece

 For part 2 - Lesvos: http://www.democratsabroad.org/1301/generosity_on_the_ground_in_greece_part_2

 For part 3 - Lesvos: http://www.democratsabroad.org/1301/generosity_on_the_ground_in_greece_part_3


Generosity on the Ground in Greece part 3

For our fellow Dems Abroad who’ve asked how they can help, links to the groups on the front lines. This is the third of a five part series that began on Jan 11, 2016.  The series is divided up by the location of the services, so Lesvos volunteer organisations are found in the first 3 postings. The fourth posting is for Kos and the fifth one presents volunteer organisations in Athens and Piraeus.

By Stacey Harris-Papaioannou

staceymykonos@yahoo.com

Lighthouse Relief Lesvos

http://www.lighthouserelief.org/

https://www.facebook.com/lighthouserelief/

They met in Skala Sikamineas on the northeastern coast of Lesvos in September 2015. This area suffers the highest influx of refugees per day yet lacks both sufficient infrastructure and financial resources.  None of the larger organizations are based here and help is urgently needed. These volunteers decided to start their own initiative. At present they provide hundreds of refugees everyday with emergency aid such as heated shelter, healthcare, clothes, food and water. The main priority is to protect the most vulnerable groups such as children, women and the elderly.

info@lighthouserelief.org                       medics@lighthouserelief.org

donations@lighthouserelief.org              volunteers@lighthouserelief.org

Donations:  Swedish bankgiro: 377-6507
International payments: IBAN SE2950000000054031040237BIC ESSESESS 

__________________________________________________________________

Helping Refugees Lesvos Island Skala Sykamineas 

https://www.facebook.com/Helping-refugees-Lesvos-island-Skala-Sykamineas--581610095340512/?fref=ts

In the village of Skala Sykaminea there are several thousands of refugees arriving every day, with a normal population of 300 locals in the summer and 50 in the winter. The village is working hard to help the refugees day and night and at the same time trying to maintain a normal life, which can seem impossible in those conditions. But they do, and still with a smile on their face and love to give. Without any government organizations, they are alone. Recently they have had help from private volunteers and smaller organizations who travel there to offer assistance.

Donations: Skala sykaminea Bank account  IBAN : GR5001104150000041563534522  BIC: ETHNGRAA

________________________________________________________________________________-

Lesvos Winter Proof

https://www.facebook.com/lesvoswinterproof/

Lesvos Winter Proof makes camp Moria in Lesvos ready for winter. Inspired by setting up major outdoor festivals, Lesvos Winter Proof fills the gap in terms of shelter, security, logistics, crowd management and production. This group of volunteers has experience in transforming open parking lots into tented rooms and collaborate as much as possible with small organizations.

lesvos@10000hours.nl

Donations:  NL93 RABO 0175271658 t.n.v. Foundation 10.000 HOURS and quoting Lesvos Winter Proof

_______________________________________________________________________________-

The Village of All Together

https://www.facebook.com/pikpalesvos/ 

The “Village of All Together” is a network of citizens, collectives, groups and other organizations in Lesbos with a common goal to act altogether. PIKPA is an open, self-organized refugee camp in Lesvos. They distribute food and clothes to the port, Kara Tepe and Moria This self-managed space has hosted more than 6.000 refugees, some for few days and others up to a year. The refugees include asylum and family unification applicants and/or vulnerable groups of newly arrived refugees e.g. people with disabilities, sick, pregnant etc. Food, clothing, medication, legal counsel and medical help as well as are offered.

Donations: ΙΒΑΝ: GR5301107620000076200126290 SWIFT (BIC) ETHNGRAA

_________________________________________________________________

Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean

SINIPARXI

https://www.facebook.com/groups/514654685298655/

It’s the eldest local group for the peaceful coexistence of Turks and Greeks on both sides of the Aegean. The main aim of “SINIPARXI”, as its name denotes, is the coexistence of different people, with different language, religion, ethnicity, culture, tradition, ideas. It is basically an antiracist organization, which deals with refugees and immigrants and with the development of friendly and peaceful relationships with the neighboring people.     

 For part 1: http://www.democratsabroad.org/1301/generosity_on_the_ground_in_greece

 For part 2: http://www.democratsabroad.org/1301/generosity_on_the_ground_in_greece_part_2