Greek scholar barred from entry to US

More Soviet-style hi-jinx from Bush/Cheney!

What follows is, first, a statement of the case by Prof. Michael Zweig, who organized the conference to which John Milios had been invited; and then Milios’s own account of what befell him when he tried to get into the USA to speak at said conference.


Subject: statement concerning Professor John Milios, refused entry to the United States

To all participants in the How Class Works – 2006 conference:

I am releasing this statement this evening concerning an event affecting our conference. This incident came to my attention only on Saturday afternoon when I heard from Professor Milios. As you will see, I have brought this to the attention of political representatives and academic leadership who are working on the problem. I will be away until June 29, and will update you when I return.


Center for Study
of Working Class Life
Department of Economics

Statement on U.S. Government refusal to admit professor John Milios into the United States to attend the How Class Works – 2006 conference at Stony Brook University

On the afternoon of Thursday June 8, the How Class Works – 2006 conference at the State University of New York at Stony Brook was disrupted by the action of U.S. government officials who refused to allow Professor John Milios of the National Technical University of Athens to enter this country on his arrival at JFK airport from Greece. Professor Milios was detained at the airport and questioned at length by the FBI concerning his political views and affiliations. He was put on a plane back to Athens eight hours after he arrived, on the claim of technical difficulties with his visa.

Professor Milios came to the United States at the invitation of the How Class Works – 2006 conference program committee to present a paper reflecting his recent research exploring ways in which class position in society shapes people’s attitudes. His absence was a serious loss to the intellectual life of the conference and the university. Upon hearing the reason for his absence, conference participants were shocked and angered that a colleague in the international community of scholars had been subject to political interrogation when trying to enter the United States, and then refused entry. This is a wholly unacceptable practice. The action of U.S. officials on June 8 isolated American faculty and students from important research results derived overseas and made it impossible for a senior international expert to interact with his colleagues in the United States.

I am embarrassed to have to protest this unacceptable political intrusion into the flow of ideas and intellectual work across borders, a mission at the heart of any university’s purpose. Staff members in the offices of Congressman Tim Bishop (who represents the Stony Brook University community) and New York Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton have agreed to investigate and act to set these practices right. Senior Stony Brook University administrators and the leadership of United University Professions, the union representing SUNY faculty and professional staff, share my distress at this development. Working with these offices, the Center for Study of Working Class Life will do whatever we can to right this wrong and prevent such treatment of visitors to the United States in the future. We extend our apologies and regrets to Professor Milios.

Michael Zweig
Director, Center for Study of Working Class Life
How Class Works – 2006 conference coordinator
SUNY Stony Brook — June 13, 2006

Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384 tel:631 632-7536 fax: 631 632-7516

Entry refused to Greek scholar

Dear Portside,

Copying a post from John Milios, which will be self-
explanatory. “Jerry” is Gerald Levy, moderator of
OPE-L, a list to which I belong.

David Laibman


Dear Jerry, dear all,

This is to inform you that I was refused entry to the
United States at JFK Airport on Thursday June 8 on
political grounds!

I arrived to the US to participate in the How Class
Works conference, at Stony Brook University (Conference
coordinator: Michael Zweig). After being detained for a
number of hours at the airport, I was then questioned
by the FBI and ultimately sent back to Athens by the
border police. They claimed that I was denied entry
because of a visa irregularity despite the fact that I
had travelled to the United States on exactly this visa
several times in the past and had just checked with the
U.S. Embassy in Athens before coming to confirm that
the visa was valid even though it was in the final six
months of its ten-year duration.

The interrogation by the FBI focussed on my political
beliefs and affiliations, which I finds totally
repellent, an extravagant theatre of the absurd, and a
clear clue of the extremist right-wing policy of the
present-day US administration.

This refusal of entry was yesterdayâ*™s front page news
in nearly all newspapers in Athens and elsewhere in
Greece, the conservatives included, and was also
extensively discussed in todayâ*™s papers. Most of the
radio stations in Athens reported it for several hours
on Friday afternoon as first piece of news. I have been
giving dozens of interviews to radio stations and
newspapers on Friday. I also gave a press conference
soon after my arrival, parts of which were broadcasted
by several TV stations. Below are the relevant links of
two of the countryâ*™s biggest newspapers. (One should
understand Greek to be able to read them. However, we
will probably translate some excerpts soon).

All Greek opposition political parties (i.e. The
Socialist Party [PASOK], the Communist Party [KKE] and
the Coalition of the Radical Left [SYRIZA]) drafted
resolutions condemning the United States for this
action; one party (SYRIZA, of which I am a member) has
already presented such a resolution to the European
Parliament. The Confederation of Greek University
Teachers, the union representing academics in Greece,
is joining in the protests. Human rights organizations
have also taken stance.

Professor Michael Zweig, the How Class Works conference
coordinator, has already applied to the leaders of
Stony Brook University and United University
Professions to alert them to the situation, in seeking
some possible actions or measures.

Would it be worthwhile to think of some more

Hasta siempre,


0 thoughts on “Greek scholar barred from entry to US”

  1. This is appalling. Almost gets my blood boiling as it did upon reading about that poor woman in Ohio, the activist who, while hanging up rally adverts was overtaken by pigs, injured, taken to the hospital, and forced into psyche evaluation for opposing Bushco’s policies! Sounds as though she’s STILL in a major jam.

    It’s like the “no fly” lists a few yrs back, there are so many of these stories that make you shudder and think, “this cannot be happening,” but it is, all over the place. Yet many average people are unware of the magnitude because such stories that would reveal how the police state apparatus is being ratcheted up are suppressed.

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