Many leftists have been overjoyed that an anti-austerity party won the general election in Greece. For the left, including those in the UK, Syriza’s victory is seen as a turning point in Europe against economic policies based on harsh cuts. But is it?
SYRIZA (‘Coalition of the Radical Left’) started off as an alliance of various reformist left-wing currents. Its programme was very similar to Pasok, a socialist coalition of the 1980s. In fact, a large part of the old Pasok leadership is now in Syriza. Alexis Tsipras took over as Syriza leader in 2008, as the party was moving away from reformist ‘Eurocommunism’ to build a relationship with the grassroots social movements that had grown in Greece against austerity. As it was developing a presence on the streets and joining the large ‘square protests’, the party also increased its influence in trade unions, especially the public sector, and organised among university students. It quickly positioned itself as a last hope for change for the social movement.
Syriza will now be the political wing of a repressive State apparatus – the police, the army, the judiciary – that is historically riddled with right-wingers and fascists. It has already formed a coalition with a right-wing anti-immigration party and will continue to make compromises to stay in power. As the party is quite small with 35,000 members, around 10,000 will be moved into government positions in an attempt to counter the right-wing, well away from the grassroots initiatives that carried them into office.
Greek radicals with longer memories will remember that after Pasok was elected it rapidly dropped the radical programme that helped it to power. In any case, it was all but wiped out in later elections. Now here we are again with more leftist promises from Syriza. As one Greek anarchist Spyros Dapergolas remarked about the importance of people sticking to grassroots organising, “Everything else is a recipe for failure, disappointment, loss of time, and, of course, political and individual corruption … what power and state always create.”
Aftaka provide another English-language update on the unease in Iceland, including a festive anti-Coke action.
Only with the help of 6 police pigs could the Coke trucks continue their way from the center, which means that a lot of parents had to answer their kids’ question: “Why did the police stop the nice and fun Santa Clauses?”
This is a country with a population lower than that of Glasgow but many of the same problems in terms of a clique-ish government wedded to stupid development plans and personal enrichment. While its size and remoteness might make it seem irrelevant, you could also look at it as the canary in the coalmine of capitalism as the coaldamp of the credit crunch creeps onward.
Meanwhile in Greece, the streetfighting has died down and occupiers are leaving University buildings. While this isn’t as photogenic as confrontation and property damage, it is an exciting development. This movement has not been defeated: the police and state singularly failed to break it up or (it appears) isolate it from the Greek population as a whole.
…some spirit that is already spreading like fire: Municipal buildings and town halls are being occupied across Athens, and popular assemblies (λαϊκές συνελεύσεις) are being organised in neighbourhoods of both Athens and Thessaloniki. In what turns out to be one of the most positive aspects of the revolt, people are starting to take back their lives: street after street, square after square, neighbourhood after neighbourhood. This is not about a government falling, about some “justice” being paid, about a mere meeting of some demands, a vindication of some sort. The people on the streets demand nothing; they occupy, they organise among themselves, they know that there is no way back to normality, that fighting this very normality is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.
Friday 12/12, the assembly of the occupied Athens Polytechnic decided to make a callout for European and global-wide actions of resistance in the memory of all assassinated youth, migrants and all those who were struggling against the lackeys of the state, Carlo Juliani; the French suburb youths; Alexandros Grigoropoulos and the countless others, all around the world, a day of international action against state murders, Saturday 20.12.2008. Our lives do not belong to the states and their assassins! The memory of the assassinated brothers and sisters, friends and comrades stays alive through our struggles! We do not forget our brothers and sisters, we do not forgive their murderers.
Please translate and spread around this message for a common day of coordinated actions of resistance in as many places around the world as possible. Continue reading
Photos and information at the Alexis in Edinburgh blog. Saturday the 20th has been called as an International Day Against State Killing. More on this when we have it.
Fascists and plain clothes police disguised as demonstrators
After the disgusting attack on Alexis funeral yesterday afternoon we have also been receiving reports of fascists and plain clothes policemen masquerading as rioters and alternately attacking small shops and attacking rioters. This is an attempt by the establishment to discredit the rage of those on the streets. Continue reading
As if the cold blooded execution of a fifteen year old boy was not enough the Greek police have also attacked his funeral.
Following the despicable murder of young Alexis Grigoropoulis on Saturday night Greek cities have burned. Anger at not only this latest slaying but at decades of police brutality has erupted into justifiable attacks upon both capital and the Greek state.