Another round up of posts, links and ledes on Greece – responses to the bank deaths, some history of Greek protests, and a few items on the crisis with the euro, which is being fueled by the situation in Greece…
Greece Now – with particular attention to the bank deaths
Who knew the European Union had so much power over its member states?: “For the time being, the markets have been pacified. For the moment, the riots in Athens have subsided. Only ‘hundreds’ of demonstrators came out over the weekend, fewer than the 50,000 who killed three people during a violent petrol-bomb attack on a bank last week. But this temporary truce in Greece has been bought at a high price—by which I don’t just mean that it was expensive….”
(via Slate Magazine.)
The welfare state’s death spiral: “Washington Post – By Robert J. Samuelson – May. 10 (Opinion) – What we’re seeing in Greece is the death spiral of the welfare state. This isn’t Greece’s problem alone, and that’s why its crisis has rattled global stock markets and threatens economic recovery. Virtually every advanced nation, including the United States, faces the same prospect. Aging populations have been promised huge health and retirement benefits, which countries haven’t fully covered with taxes. The reckoning has arrived in Greece, but it awaits most wealthy societies….”
Austerity measures approved in Greece, protests continue: “The new measures have been voted in the Greek Parliament yesterday by a majority of 172 votes out of a total 300, these including the votes of the ruling Socialist Party (PASOK) and the extreme-right party of junta nostalgic creeps, LAOS.
The Conservative party, the Communist Party and the Radical Coalition of the Left voted against the measures. The procedure was not without surprises as 3 PASOK MPs cast a blank vote, leading to their expulsion from the Party. One of them a veteran Socialist politician and Olympic Games champion Mrs Sacorafa is refusing to hand over her seat in Parliament. At the same time the ex-Foreign Affairs Minister, daughter of the ex- PM Konstantinos Mitsotakis, and defeated candidate for the leadership of the Conservatives, Mrs Bakoyanni voted for the measures leading to her immediate expulsion from the Party – a move expected to lead the Conservatives to a major crisis. The demand of the Left for a 180 vote majority for the measures to be passed (a rule applied for constitutional reform) was not accepted by the government….
THE FAIR UPRISING OF 120,000 DEMONSTRATORS, THE RAID AGAINST THE PARLIAMENT BY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF ENRAGED PEOPLE HAD NOTHING AND COULD HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PARA-STATE GANG WHO MURDERED THREE PEOPLE IN A BANK IN STADIOU STR. AND TRIED UNSUCCESSFULLY TO DO THE SAME AT THE BOOKSTORE IANOS
“Oh sky, your mirror image can be seen on the mud also”.
At first, we want to make it clear that our anger is indescribable, for the cowardly para-state gang who is responsible for murdering three people, two women, one pregnant on the fourth month, and a man who worked at Marfin bank at Stadiou Str., as well as for the gang of politicians and journalists who rushed to associate the fair uprising of hundreds of thousands of people in Athens and other cities with this atrocious murder.
But the truth cannot be erased. An angry river of protesters surrounded the Parliament and for hours and hours attempted to invade during a ferocious battle with the forces of repression….
(via Anarchist news dot org.)
In critical and suffocating times: “The Ta Paida Tis Galarias (The Children of The Gallery) group report on the recent demonstrations in Athens against austerity measures, including the events leading to the tragic deaths of three bank workers and its implications for the movement of opposition.
What follows is a report on the demo of the 5th of May and the one that followed the day after and some general thoughts on the critical situation the movement in Greece is in at the time being.
Although in a period of acute fiscal terrorism escalating day after day with constant threats of an imminent state bankruptcy and “sacrifices to be made”, the proletariat’s response on the eve of the voting of the new austerity measures in Greek parliament was impressive. It was probably the biggest workers’ demonstration since the fall of the dictatorship, even bigger than the 2001 demo which had led to the withdrawal of a planned pension reform. We estimate that there were more than two hundred thousand demonstrators in the centre of Athens and about fifty thousands in the rest of the country….
We have received and publish the following statement (English version follows; for Greek click here) by the Athens-based magazine “Flesh Machine”, announcing that it ceases publication in light of the May 5th events and the (non-)reactions that followed. A very important statement and one that will be disseminated widely, we hope – OL.
The Morbid Explosion of Ideology
Why is this age worse than earlier ages?
In a stupor of grief and dread
have we not fingered the foulest wounds
and left them unhealed by our hands?
(Anna Akhmatova “Why is this age worse?”, 1919)
On May the 5th the explosion of ideology that has plagued radical circles for some time now reached its tragic apex: 3 dead bank workers. With few honourable exceptions, in the next days knee-jerk reactions to the deaths consisted of blaming the police, the bosses, or even more abstractly Capital and the State for the carnage. Among these accusatory rituals, the lack of self-criticism is deafening….
(via Occupied London.)
Some background on Greek militancy of the last few years…
Theorie Communiste’s analysis of the December 2008 Greek riots.
This text is the introduction for the book, Les Emeutes en Grèce, published by Senonevero in April 2009.
The book also contains the following articles:
- An updated short presentation of the recent riots in Athens and Thessaloniki through the eyes of some proletarian participants – TPTG & Blaumachen
- The permanent crisis in education: on some recent struggles in Greece – TPTG
- Occupation, not democracy! Greek student leaflet, 2006 – Blaumachen
- Nothing will ever be the same – Movement for the generalisation of revolt
- Like a winter with a thousand Decembers – TPTG & Blaumachen
The Glass Floor
The riots (or the riot, spread out and fragmented in time and space) which broke out in Greece following the murder of the young Alexander on the evening of 6th December 2008, are productive of theory. They are practically – that is to say consciously – the self-understanding of this cycle of struggles in its current phase – they are a theoretical and chronological landmark. With all its limits, this movement is the first proletarian reaction (albeit non-global) to the crisis of restructured capital….
Greece unrest: the story so far – TPTG: “A detailed updated summary of the recent events in Athens, from the perspective of some proletarian participants…. (Updated 2 Jan 2009)
A detailed look at the strikes and occupations by teachers, students and parents in 2006-7 in response to neo-liberal policies being imposed on the Greek educational system.
Capitalist development in Greece during the 60’s meant the growth of the secondary sector, namely construction and manufacturing (mainly based on the low cost of labour and not on big investments in fixed capital), the corresponding influx of peasants in the towns and the erosion of local subsistence economies. Gradually, this development created the need for a more skilled and diversified labour power. As a consequence, public education expanded, basic education became obligatory and the population of university students started to rise. Wildcat strikes were on the daily agenda, campaigns on welfare, housing or local issues were organized in almost every neighborhood. This was also the time when struggles for a “free and public education” began….
Occupation, not democracy! Greek student leaflet, 2006: “This is a short text then a copy of a leaflet by a group in Thessaloniki called Blaumachen, about the student movement opposed to education “reforms” in Greece around May and June 2006….
Reflections on the recent unrest in Greece; “The rise of new organisational forms and contents of struggle is being discussed by all the insurgent elements”…
VIOLENCE means working for 40 years, getting miserable wages and wondering if you ever get retired…
VIOLENCE means state bonds, robbed pension funds and the stock-market fraud…
VIOLENCE means being forced to get housing loans which finally you pay back as if they were gold…
VIOLENCE means the management’s right to fire you any time they want…
VIOLENCE means unemployment, temporary employment, 400 Euros wage with or without social security…
VIOLENCE means work ‘accidents’, as bosses diminish their workers’ safety costs…
VIOLENCE means being driven sick because of hard work …
VIOLENCE means consuming psycho-drugs and vitamins in order to cope with exhausting working hours…
VIOLENCE means working for money to buy medicines in order to fix your labour power commodity…
VIOLENCE means dying on ready-made beds in horrible hospitals, when you can’t afford bribing.
Proletarians from occupied GSEE, Athens, December 2008….
The Euro Crisis
Euro crisis package provides breathing space | Larry Elliott: “After months of indecision and ineffectiveness, Europe has at last taken decisive action to tackle the threat of a deepening sovereign debt crisis. There were no half measures in the package pieced together in the marathon session of negotiations that ended early this morning: this time the kitchen sink has been thrown at the problem.
Last week, the financial markets were presented with a €110bn (£94bn) bailout for Greece. Today, they are digesting details of a €750bn package: an initial €60bn for countries facing problems beyond their control, coupled with loan guarantees of €440bn from euro area countries and €250bn from the International Monetary Fund….”
Euro jumps as markets welcome €750bn rescue package: “The euro soared on Monday morning as investors reacted with initial relief at the €750bn (£655bn) plan to defend the single currency and European Monetary Union from potential collapse….”
(via digg.com: Stories / Popular.)
The euro: Hanging together – and apart: “With Greek fever in the bond markets looking like it could mutate into Portuguese, Italian and Spanish flu, the monetary affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, insisted that Europeans would do ‘whatever it takes’….”
News Analysis: Europe’s Huge Rescue Raises Long-Term Doubts: “As Asian markets fell on Tuesday, some analysts challenged the wisdom of the rescue package’s main component, a promise of new loans to bail out European economies….”
(via NYT > Home Page.)
£645bn rescue package for euro: “Scale of surprise rescue package stuns most observers and analysts and sends stock markets surging
Europe’s bold attempt to dazzle the financial markets into lifting the siege on the beleaguered single currency paid early dividends today, with stock markets surging on the back of a gargantuan rescue package.
In the most radical move since Europe launched its monetary union 11 years ago, EU finance ministers concluded 12 hours of negotiations in Brussels this morning, unveiling a surprise €750bn (£645bn) package aimed at defending the 16-country eurozone against risks of unravelling in the wake of Greece’s debt crisis….”
European Officials Act to Carry Out Rescue Package: “Central banks began buying euro-zone bonds — an unprecedented move to inject cash into the system….”
(via NYT > Home Page.)