Friday, January 21, 2011

Athens, gym of anarchy

In the last month, we have an enormous attack from the government (of PASOK) with very hard economic measures against the employers. Especially, the first economic measures focus on the wages of the civil servants.
As the mass-media are writing, “the debt-ridden country is under intense pressure from both markets and the European Union to reduce its deficit from 12.7 percent of economic output in 2009 to 8.7 percent this year. Last week, Greece introduced a harsh $6.5 billion austerity package that cut civil servants' wages, froze pensions and raised consumer taxes”.
The percdentage of the duty of the greek state only to four greek banks arrives the 23%, while the previous government (of Nea Dimokratia), before almost 8 mounths, gave to all the greek banks enormous economic amount for supporting them.
The first strike was done on 10 February and was organized only from ADEDY, the union of the syndicates of the civil salaries. The next one was on 24 February and it was organized both from ADEDY and GSEE (the general confederation of the trade unions in the private companies).
Another general strike was done in 5 March with the participation of about 25.000 people in the central manifestations in Athens. We have to point here that the trade unions that are controlled from the stalinist Communist Party of Greece (KKE)  and have formed the PAME (from the words “panworking front”) always make a different manifestation in all the centers of the greek cities. In the manifestation of that general strike, we had clashes between the police and protesters. Also, in this manifestation, leftists and anarchists attacked against the president of GSEE, who is a member of PASOK, and hit him. In the some manifestation, the old left militant Manolis Glezos, 88 years old, while trying to save a protester who had been arrested, accepted an attack from the special forces of the police with tear-gas and went to the hospital, fortunately without serious problems (Manolis Glezos, with another comrade of him, had brought down the flag of the Nazis from the hill of Acropolis, when Hitler;s troops had conquered Greece).
On 11 March, we had in Greece the last general strike with a satisfactory amount of employers and servants participating in it. In the two central manifestations in Athens, the protesters were more than 30.000 and in Thessaloniki about 14.000. Also, in this manifestation, the tension between the protesters and the huge special forces of the police was not missed. We had clashes body-with-body between protesters (usually, anarchists-antiautoritarians) and policemen, broken banks and big shops and 9 protesters arrested. The commands at the police forces were not to tolerate attacks from the protesters. In some cases, the policemen attacked very violently against protesters (and especially groups of anarchists) without a several reason, and so we had as a result also injured protesters.  
It is true that the social-democrat government of G.Papandreou, that has the power the last 6 months, has still not so the support but the tolerance of the society. The people want to believe that the state and the big capital couldn’t be to  prepare a very bad future for the greek society.  They do not want to believe that they will not live as now but with much more bad salaries and conditions. So, they can see the attack of the government but they avoid to face it with very massive manifestations in the streets.  On the opposite site, there is -not a large but- an important part of the society, that faces in the streets and the manifestations the straight class attack of the greek and European bosses against the employers and the civil servants. It is characteristic that after the last manifestation, the police couldn’t  dissolve all the protesters and for two hours, there were sporadic clashes with the police in the streets, especially in the area of Eksarheia.
In the last three decades, the syndicalists of PASOK and KKE had the total control in the workplaces. Now, the syndicalists of PASOK preserve the control of the most of the syndicates of civil servants and in the trade unions they divide the control with the stalinist communists of KKE. The leaders of the syndicates are professional syndicalists and basic members of the big parties and the people do not trust them generally but support them only for solutions of the daily problems of the work. Nevertheless, in the last 5-6 years, something has started to change. Some new syndicates of base, like those in the employers of the bookshops, the couriers, etc have started to create a new form of syndicalist action, a form of the syndicalism of base. In parallel, some other groups of workers-employers from the extreme left and the anarchist-antiautoritarian political space, have made some efforts to strengthen the class struggle forwards a destination of the syndicalism of direct action.      
The state knows that the anarchist militants in Greece have started to have presence and influence not only in the youth (like until 2000) but also in several  neighborhoods and working places. In parallel, the anarchist-antiautoritarian movement in Greece preserves a dynamic presence in the streets and responds –with more or less successful and clever methods- to the police repression. So, in the first three months, the basic propaganda of the government was against the “criminal violence” of the anarchists and the way to face it. The creation of an enormous new part of policemen with motorcycles (group Delta) in the center of Athens is one of the new police anti-anarchist measures. Of course, the state wanted to dissolve every point of out-of-resistance before bringing this –and of course another- packet with heavy economic measures. But, it succeeded it only in a part and not totally.
We know that the days that are coming will be very difficult. The new measures hit not only the economic possibility of the society but also the way of life. The fear of the unemployment and the presence of almost one million immigrants, especially from countries from Asia and Africa, provoke dangerous social conditions and we do not know how many poverty we have to face and also which will be the destination of the social hate that is increasing. We have to create new forms of struggle and also new forms of solidarity and mutual aid between the people. The social-class war must find us united in the next difficult years that will come for European south (and of course not only). We have to believe in a society that seems not to believe in itself and this is a very dangerous point also for the anarchist movement. So, we have not only to wait from the society but, through the new forms of struggle and organization, to create new social relations.   
Libertarian  communists Group
Athens, 14/3/2010

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