Category Archives: World Events

International Commentary

Capitalism laid bare

The Coronavirus pandemic is making painfully clear to everyone what socialists of all sorts have been pointing out for years: Capitalism doesn’t work!

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the response to the crisis where the “invisible hand of the free market” did absolutely nothing until it was too late and the costs of handling it have become prohibitive. Instead what is actually working is mutual aid. With people springing to the front and volunteering their life, health and even their very lives to help others.

You might see it in all those news about this or that celebrity donating so many millions to the Coronavirus response (we should of course not be praising a billionaire that if effectively giving what amounts to chump change for them, but mass media is gonna propagandize), but it is primarily the thousands of health workers and grocery store employees who are continuing to work with minimal wage and massive health risks because nobody else will. Sure the threat of homelessness is certainly making some people continue to work in life-threatening conditions, but from what I’ve seen, most do it out of a sense of duty. And even if it was the threat of destitution that made doctors and clerks for to their job during a pandemic, it would not exactly be a high praise for the system.

And the free market even now continues to malfunction. Sure a lot of companies are switching only now production to critical provisions, but either they’re doing out of sense of civic duty again (or at least, that’s how they’re portrayed in the media en large), or under pressure from their respective states. Not to mention that the pressures of the capitalist system are putting pressure to non-essential companies to continue operating, putting their workers and the general populace in danger, in order to not collapse.

This situation also makes it blatant on how illusionary money and monetary policy is. When things are going well, it’s all important to save money and “be responsible” and whatnot. But when a crisis comes, money is not important anymore, rather workers are expected to self-sacrifice for the common good, while companies get bailed out and CEOs can just take month-long vacations on their private yachts.

Think about it: For the world, nothing critical has changed. You’re still living in the same house and are getting food and supplies. The people providing supplies are also getting the same things, so they can stay alive and keep working. Now take money out of the equation: Nothing changes.

The only thing that money does in this situation is support the parasitic class of Landlords and Capitalists! We can plainly see that the world will keep turning without them but our ancestors were forced into a fool’s game and people have been running in that wheel out of sheer momentum ever since.

Now that suddenly so many people don’t get any income while their parasites still continue asking their due, people are starting to ask the question: “Wait a minute, why am I even having to give you money?”. And this is why as the bills are coming due, rent strikes and organized action are suddenly becoming widespread. And it’s beautiful!.

And believe me, Capitalists and their bootlickers are shitting their pants right now. The propaganda campaign is going in full-force in places like the /r/coronavirus subreddit whenever posts about rent-strikes rise to the top, but they can’t control it anymore. Governments are dumping trillions (fucking trillions! You can’t even comprehend how big a number that is) into people and companies, hoping to keep the illusion of the monetary system going until thing go back to normal. They literally give money to the workers to pay their landlords so that the workers who don’t have any money left, don’t question why they’re having to pay a landlord in the first place. That’s how desperate they are getting. Last time anything close to as massive happened, they ended up with The New Deal, and they remember!

But this is not going away soon, and the more plutocrats print money to throw at people to pretend the situation is still normal, the more people are going to start to wonder: “If money can just be made out of thin air like that, then what’s the fucking point of pretending it’s necessary?”

Sadly, disaster capitalism can’t let a good crisis go to waste, so we’re already seeing autocratic governments use this opportunity to take as much control as they always wanted. Just take a look at Hungary becoming a full-blown fascist dictatorship, or the Trumpian USA straight-up disemboweling environmental protections as they always wanted (and I fully expect Trump will try to postpone elections indefinitely once things get sufficiently worse, just as well). And on top of that, misinformation is taking advantage of the epidemic news coverage to reinforce denial of climate catastrophe. It’s completely fucked up.

Due to this, if we miraculously manage to contain Coronavirus fast enough, and “save the economy” (i.e. maintain the illusions of the working class) then we’re going to find ourselves in a much worse system. Much more authoritarian and much more dystopian than anything we’ve experienced until now.

However, as is looking much more likely, the endemic corruption of the capitalist class has become so terminal that it has stymied any effective response they might have taken and Coronavirus is set to last for months, if not years. And for the current system based on the absurd concept of infinite growth, this is fatal. And the more this takes to get under control, the more working class consciousness will grow as direct action for mutual aid will replace the state and market (non-)response. And if it grows fast and strong enough, when the system inevitably collapses from abject stagnation, we might just replace it with something wonderful just soon enough to start the massive global work we’ll have to undertake to stave of climate apocalypse.

Coronavirus has come at the worst time for the global capitalist system but as counter-productive as it sounds, the longer it takes to run its course, the better it might be for the future of humanity as a whole, as it lays the species-ending flaws of capitalism bare for all to see.

The interesting times begin

For Humans, Coronavirus by itself might not be as bad as other diseases like the black plague, but for the global capitalist system it might just end up being terminal.

It started by slowing down the productive capacity of the largest owner of means of production, China. It then progressed to disrupting the routine functions of wage-slavery in densely populated city centers. Soon it’s going to cause immense pain due as the landlords demand their parasitic rewards from people who have not earned any money for a month and have no safety net to fall back onto.

All these effects, are like vital organs in a human patient starting to fail. This, along with some other unexpected “inflammations” (such as the Oil trade war), and the people observing and taking bets on the patient’s recovery start to panic.

Which has now caused an unprecedented stock market crash. Faster than even the Great Depression crash of 1929 where we replicated the same percentile loss in less time. And it’s nowhere near the bottom yet, as the Coronavirus has not even fully taken hold of the US yet.

The cancer of the propaganda channel of Fox News and pretty much the rest of the Murdoch empire has weakened our global immune system enough in the past 3 decades that it managed to create the orange malignant tumor known as Trump, who proceeded to accelerate the dismantling of capitalism’s immune system even further. And now, the first real shock has already sent the global system into cascading failure.

The few million deaths due to healthcare systems becoming overwhelmed during Coronavirus are going not going to be nearly as disruptive as the repercussions of a stalled capitalist system supported by central banks which have no more measures to jump start it anymore and bad acting world leaders.

The situation forming right now will probably end up being the biggest Capitalist crisis the world has ever experienced.

Our Coronavirus reaction is like a test run to the climate catastrophe

It amuses me darkly to see the reaction of the so-called “civilized world” turn from schadenfreude at the plight of the Chinese, to denial and worry, to full-blown panic in the past month, as the Coronavirus spreads unchecked to our own communities now.

However I can’t help but see similarities in these reactions to the ones we have to the climate apocalypse, albeit at something like 3 orders of magnitude faster pace.

Like the climate catastrophe, nations not yet affected have been assuming nothing bad will come out of the Coronavirus and that business as usual should continue. Any steps of preparation were sporadic and isolated, from a few “doomers”, often ridiculed by the smug people who assumed this epidemic would simply fizzle out like the Ebola, or SARS.

They don’t realize, of course, that those diseases might have only fizzled out due to an immediate and good response. But it’s on our nature to label any successful attempt to prevent the worse as an “over-reaction” to something that “wouldn’t have been a big deal”. Frustratingly I see this daily in how many companies perceive investment in their IT departments as an overall loss.

The calls of “climate panic” of climate deniers map very well to the denials and conspiracies created by people when Coronavirus first appeared on the scene. It is for this reason that Europe and US have completely squandered all the time and lesson bought by the Chinese response. And by the time the effects of the pandemic were felt in the western cities, it was way to late to mount an effective response, and the cost of that response is likewise orders of magnitude what it could have been had measures been taken early enough.

Likewise, by the time the real effects of the climate catastrophe start being felt in an undeniable manner, it will be way too late to salvage it. The cost to the existing sociopolitical systems will be prohibitive and thus nothing significant will be effected.

The people in power assume that they will be spared the worst of a catastrophe, but as Coronavirus spreads indiscriminately and the old plutocrats realize their money cannot shield them, so will the collapse of modern civilization from climate catastrophe make their power vanish into thin air as their private security forces realize who has the power in an apocalyptic situation.

The worst thing in my opinion is that we cannot even use this epidemic as an effective wake-up experience because of the timescale of the climate. To mount an solid response to the global warming, we should have started 30 years ago, but like Coronavirus, we simply squandered out rime into business as usual because “it hasn’t happened yet”.

In the scale of climate Catastrophe I speculate we are at the phase Coronavirus was two weeks ago. Some isolated nations have felt the brutal effects, but they were either not significant enough, or those nations themselves could somehow be blamed for it. By the time the climate catastrophe finally manages to panic as many people as Coronavirus has today (5-10 years I expect), it will be too late to do much about it.

The many questions on the death of Zak

Recently there was a horrific incident of public lynching in broad daylight in the middle of Athens. Part of the event was captured on video but there was a lot of details missing, like, how did he end up inside the shop, why did the police did an atrocious job collecting evidence (not closing the scene, moving things around etc).

Media nevertheless immediately jumped to label the victim as a junkie thief who got caught breaking in1. As we only saw the part of him being already in the shop to begin with, it was difficult to oppose, but still, much of this narrative doesn’t make sense. Zak was obviously very addled and barely able to move, nevermind break in alone and leave quickly.

Quickly the medical judge announced that he didn’t die from the beatdown, but that the cause is “unknown”. Media further promotes this. Popular greek forums quickly promote all narratives painting Zak as a thieving junkie.

As days go on however, more and more details don’t add up about this story. Zak was apparently being involved in some altercation before entering this shop. The Shop itself looks like it was broken by the owner. The other assaulter was a rabid-homophobe who went home after the lynching and started posting anti-gay and victim-blaming texts on twitter.

And today another bombshell breaks. The police is caught on camera continuing the assault on an unconscious and bleeding Zak. The visibly seem to be carrying knife in their bare hands, disrupting any chance of investigating it and opening fears that they planted it themselves. They are visibly doing very dangerous assaults on the body, like stepping on its neck and violently jerking a bleeding person around, while the EMTs around are not being used. Simply barbaric stuff.

And the medical judge tells us the beat-down had nothing to do with his death? Right.

The media and right-wing social media onslaught is reaching peak levels as we speak. I posted the video of the police assault on reddit and it was burried with extreme prejudice. The reddit comments are swarming with right-wingers blaming the victim and praising the police for their actions, which shows the is an active campaign of disinformation here. I suspect because of fears of another “Grigoropoulos incident” are very real.

Given the amount of disinformation, evidence and witness testimonies that keep cropping up, and the character of Zak,  my suspicion is that this is a case of some sort of very obvious hate crime against LGBT, which was further exacerbated by brutality of the police who simply believed the perpetrators. So now we’re seeing a desperate and collaborative effort by the state and the right-wing to cover it up, and character-assassinate Zak, to avoid riots in the streets and justice for the victim.

This is a very raw story and I suggest you start paying a lot of attention and don’t let the right-wing command the narrative. There is a lot going on behind this event that is attempted to be covered up.

  1. same way they tried to label the death of anarchist P. Fyssas as a football-related fight? []

So much misinformation

I’ve been watching situations unfold in Ukraine and Venezuela lately with some interest from an anarchist perspective and I’ve been trying to get an idea of what is truly going on, but I find out that lately it’s been almost impossible to get a perspective of what is going on that is not extremely biased towards US-interests.

As the internet and social media has started significantly eroding established news sources for information dissemination, so has propaganda and misinformation tactics evolved to take better advantage of these new media, and the results are painfully obvious in places like reddit, where popular subreddits like /r/worldnews are dominated by specific perspectives.

Fortunately sources like /r/anarchism or individual blogs I follow are impervious to this blatant manipulation so I am able to discover articles like the following:

Now, I’m not saying that the authors of those pieces might not have their own biases, but it seems to me that they provide a more complete view of the situation rather than simply supporting one specific perspective.

At the moment I believe crowd-sourced information is severely compromised. People who want to get an idea of what is going on are better served following trusted sources explicitly, or using smaller and more focused social media (e.g. /r/anarchism or indymedia) which cannot as easily be dominated by special interests and astroturfers, since the nature of their subscribers defeats positive feedback on misinformation.

Disgusting: Teacher rapes 14-Year-Old and gets 30 days in prison.

You read that right, not 30 years. 30 days!

30 days!

There are no words…

Reasons for this result? The Internet was mean to the poor rapist. “The girl looked older chronologically.” The latter suicide of the victim complicated things for the prosecution…Yep.

This is like being in an MRA wet dream. Just go look at the comments on my post on why accusations of rape are not as bad as, you know, actual rape, and you’ll find it infested with all types of scumfucks pretty much wishing that all rape cases ended up like the above one.

Is real life imitating the Onion again?

This story is just unreal.

Police Taser boy with broken back 19 times

When police arrived, they found Hutchinson under an overpass on U.S. 65 Saturday morning, Springfield’s KY3 News reported. The boy had fallen 30 feet off the overpass and was lying on the shoulder.

When the boy didn’t respond to police, they Tasered him, repeatedly.

What the fuck?

However, Ozark police say the wounded boy was a threat.

“He refused to comply with the officers and so the officers had to deploy their Tasers in order to subdue him,” Capt. Thomas Rousset said. “He is making incoherent statements; he’s also making statements such as, ‘Shoot cops, kill cops,’ things like that. So there was cause for concern to the officers.”

Because it’s completely unexpected for someone in extreme shock to say incoherent ramblings..

Authorities say their use of a Taser weapon should not be questioned, because they were trying to help Hutchinson to safety.

“It’s a big concern for the officers to keep this guy out of traffic, to keep him from getting hurt,” Rousset said.

What the Flying fuck?

I can’t believe this story is real. Is WND.com a joke site like the Onion? This is just too unbelievable to be true.

Athens Polytechnic, 14 to 17 November 1973: When 350 dreamer-adventurers created the biggest defeat of the postwar labour movement

The below is a very thorough and interesting article on the Polytechnic occupation/uprising that was written by Gatouleas in Greek. It was so good that I decided to translate this to English so that more people may learn this important part of Greek anti-capitalist and freedom fighting history. Enjoy!


November 14, 1973

Black and White people of a large crowd of university students (primarily males) demonstrating in the streets.Rizospastis 13/11/20051

The Polytechnic is surrounded by police and students are gathered in the courtyard throwing Seville oranges. In the global-student assembly of the Law school, the news is spread that there’s fighting at the Polytechnic the assembly decides to descend to the University.

Ergatiki Allillegyi 09/11/20112

A syndicalist of the Revolutionary Left from the Physics-Mathematics [course],  proposes to stop the assembly and make towards the Polytechnic.

Ergatiki Allillegyi 09/11/2011

The leaders of both Communist Parties, during the first day in the Polytechnic were shocked that policy was determined by the line of anti-capitalist Left. They decided to stay “kneading” the perspective of the “coordinated retreat.” Already since Wednesday evening, that has been their proposal. When defeated, they began to struggle against the “leftist slogans” such as “General Strike” and “Revolution people.” But the General Assemblies of schools organized within the Polytechnic isolate this perspective.

On the subject of the Athens Polytechnic uprising against the Junta in the November of ’73 there have been written and spoken thousands of words and stories. It is only to be expected that there’s a lot of “storytelling” for such a historical event.

I will attempt to outline a perspective that has been covered extensively for decades. You see, the “myth” of the Polytechnic has attempted to describe those three days as a pandemic, celebratory and peaceful uprising of the whole Greek people against a handful of ridiculous and isolated dictators who survived only thanks to force of arms and American aid. “Everyone” had taken up arms (peacefully, always!)… Pangalos had been assembling bombs in the Latin Quarter in the May of ’68 and Simitis was placing them in the streets of Athens. On the other hand, the current Minister of Citizen Protection Papoutsis, along with Laliotis and Damanaki had organized the “mass movement” and the “sidewalks”, so that millions of people could flock to demonstrations, sit-ins and strikes.

All countries create such myths. Here even Germany has created the “anti-Nazi” people during the period of 1939-1945 in order to whitewash the fascist history of the “democratic” generals and politicians of their postwar history. Could the Greek politicians do anything less?

A Black and White photo of students occupying the Polytechnic University standing in front of a Tram. A sign for "General Strike" is displayed.
The occupying students of the Athens Polytechnic

But the Left as well has taken actions to make people forget that what happened in November was a genuine uprising, forged within the communist, jacobist tradition…

Today’s Left has relegated “Revolt” to a museum piece. Like a weapon we pull out very rarely. So rarely in fact, that for KKE (Communist Party of Greece) 62 years have passed and there’s still “not ripe conditions”… Needless to say that the last time was “wrong” as well…

Thus, today’s legalistic Left has a few prerequisites it requires before a “Revolt” can happen.

  • The Capitalist system needs to be in a “Crisis.”
  • The political system of governance needs to be in discrepancy with the “people”. A crisis of representation.
  • There need to be favourable international conditions (in grass-root movement terms).
  • The “people”, the “movement” to lie in “orgasm”. Have strikes, demonstrations, occupations. happening and those increasing in quantity but also shape a “communist” consciousness. Of course, the numerical participation in these events must also be “global”… and growing constantly in an arithmetic (if not exponential) progression.
  • To have one (or many) mass parties, with thousands of experienced members, networked throughout Greece, in all work and social places.

Of course, all these must last a sufficient amount of time so that a sequence of political events is created to “tie” the yeast. If ALL these things happen simultaneously, then YES! Our honoured Left will decide to murmur “Revolution.”

Let us travel back in time then, 38 years ago, to see what kind of conditions existed to make the “Uprising” of the Polytechnic. Was the Polytechnic uprising the peak, the maturing of a wholly-populist movement against a staggering regime, or a social “explosion” which found ground to break through via the “madness” of some “irresponsible, adventurist leftists”?

Crisis or Stability in Global Capitalism?

Black & White picture of crying children fleeing in VietnamFor 30 years, there was a continuous development at a global level which, in tandem with the capitalist profits, pushed a lower-middle class into a consumerist orgasm. Cars, refrigerators, televisions in every home…. opening of university education to wider social strata, formation of a “social wage” through an expanded program of public investment. Capitalism “appeared” to be living in its best days.

But in the last two years, the glass was cracking…

The US was being humiliated in Vietnam. For the first time, a great power was “losing” from a “small”. The symbolism was too strong.

On the other hand, A financial crisis breaks out in 1973 that is considered the “worst since 1929”, while the Arab countries declare an embargo on the sale of oil. 1973 is considered now the landmark year for the reappearance of the “capitalist economic crisis” in political terminology. The so-called “oil crisis of ’73” caused chain reactions around the globe.

Surely all these affected the confidence of the fighters of the Left. The Crisis and collapse of the system was not of course like the current one, but the appearance of the first crack often triggers – through sheer enthusiasm – disproportionate explosions.

But lets look at the other parameters.

Greek Capitalism and the Political System.

A parade of the Greek Junta in what appears to be a stadium. The sign says "Calm, Work, National Security".

Greece was a great postwar economic miracle! Growth rates reached 10% per year (second locomotive in the world after Japan)3 and the state budgets were in surplus until the fall of the Junta.

In 19694 Greece has the highest per capita income among OECD member countries, the largest – after Japan – increase of indices of total and per capita gross domestic product in market prices, the lowest price increase of the consumer index.

In April of 19725 the growth of industrial output reaches 10.5%, metallurgy 26.8% and chemical products 20.1%.

This economic growth had enabled the junta to “buy out” her social bloc. They spread the famous “sea-loans” to every middle-class, Housing loans for personal residence, farmer loans up to 100.000 drachmas (something like 200-300 thousand euros today), “investment” tourist loans6… and almost all of these never repaid. It is because of this that you still hear now the classic “How nice we were during the Junta”, which are the memories of middle-class for the “easy money” of the Junta.

The “oil crisis” that erupted in the summer of ’73 pushed the oil price and thus the inflation from 2% to 15%. Surely it was a shock, but I doubt whether it severed the social bloc power of the Junta.

The most important problem was the European orientation of Greek capitalism. The prospect of joining the EU (Then EEC) imposed a parliamentary democratic façade and created a rift in the strategy of the Greek capital. It was not possible to get a new member without parliamentary and european elections and without a rudimentary political system. So by the end of 1972 begins a period of “tolerance” and preparation of the climate for a controlled transition into some kind of democracy… something like the status of Turkey. In the summer of ’73, the monarchy is repealed by “referendum” and Papadopoulos is proclaimed “President of the Republic”, while in September placing Markezinis as a “Prime Minister” who would arrange the “Free Elections.”

Surely this “crack” of democracy, played the role. Some sporadic meetings at universities, the first union strikes, but everything could be counted in the fingers of one hand. Whenever they escaped the propriety of the cop (such as the occupation of the Law school in the February of ’73), repression was swift and merciless.

So, at the national level as well, we notice the first post-war cracks of instability. Too little? Or too critical?

Before answering, let’s look at “our own” forces and hopefully draw a safer conclusion.

International Movement

Black & White picture of President Nixon of the USA shaking hands with Chairman Mao of China.
President Nixon is meeting Chairman Mao. Totalitarian "Communism" and Imperialist Capitalism shake hands.

In 1973 the international communist movement has received successive defeats in its attempt of “May ’68” to challenge the capitalist domination. All its strains had been thrashed.

Mother “communist” Russia had invaded Czechoslovakia (Today’s Czech Republic and Slovakia) in 1968 to suppress the process of democratization and sovereignty of the country, creating a strange “equivalent” to that of the U.S. in Vietnam.

But the other versions of the communist movement had no “beacon of optimism” to offer either.

The center-left eurocommunism of democratic reform of the state was crushed in the summer of ’73 in Chile. The left-wing Allende fell dead from the dictatorship of General Pinochet, thus freezing a global solidarity movement to the Chilean people.

The Maoist movement had begun to receive huge credibility hits. Their “Great Helmsman” Mao had found a new “partner.” In early 1972, the U.S.A. President Nixon visits “communist” China and launches a new program of friendly relations. Yes! The president of the Vietnam war, the same from the Watergate scandal, is considered an “ally” of the “other” communist movement.

A Black & White photo of a Ulrike Meinhof in her youth, sitting in a couch looking towards the camera.
Ulrike Meinhof, part of the core of the defunct German Red Army Faction. A violent city guerilla with communist ideology.

Of course, the “grass-roots” [political movement] May of the French had been defeated in the same summer. The elections that president de Gaulle called had him re-elected with an overwhelming proportion over 50%. It was the first great lesson that if you don’t draw your own organizational strengths, you will always lose to your opponent…no matter how weak they are.

But even the city guerilla had received a hard blow. The arrest of Baader and Meinhof, i.e. the core of the German RAF (Red Army Faction) in 1972 put an implacable political dilemma in this concept. This followed the battle of the Olympic Games and the suppression of the Palestinian strike at the Israeli mission. Armed rebels seemed incredibly weak in front of the state machine.

All the hope that had been born in the ’60s, in Europe, America and the Third World national liberation movements seemed blocked. Each “proposal”, old or new, Stalinist – Trotskyist – Maoist – Guevarist – Eurocommunist – Autonomist, had suffered a crushing defeat.

The movement was entering a period of recuperation

Greek Movement

Things here are almost clear. The labour movement had been crushed in the coup of ’67. The entire reconstruction effort of the late ’60s, all the heroic battles of the Julians of ’56 had been dissolved by the military regime of Papadopoulos.

Black & White picture of a students on top of a building, holding a composite sign which spells "Freedom" in greek.
Occupying students of the Law University, shout "Freedom" from the rooftop, 9 months before Polytechnic Uprising.

The unions dissolved or became narks. Police had official branches of “labour” and “student” in order to monitor every suspicion of collective action. Even a gathering for a cultural association had its official snitch.

But the “whip” is never enough to sustain a regime. It also needs its “carrot”; it needs the arrangement of a social bloc – other than the capitalists – which will support it, and the rest of the overwhelming majority to “tolerate” it at least.

The economic growth that prevailed in Greece allowed the regime to buy-out the middle classes. This caused a corresponding ideology of happiness and anticipation for an even better tomorrow.

The exceptions of some heroic strikes cannot hide this reality. The “epicness” of the two 48-hour general strikes, the continuous 24-hour ones, the union continuous strikes and the occupations of public buildings that are happening today, did not occur even in the wildest wet dreams of the most drunken dreamer rebel during the seven years of the Junta.

The attempt to occupy the Law school 9 months ago, was crushed at birth, and (logically) a repeat of it would act as a disincentive. Is that not so?

Parties and organizations of the Left.

A Black & White Picture of a Man in handcuffs, surrounded by police and politicians of the Greek Junta
Alekos Panagoulis tried to execute the dictator Papadopoulos in 1968, but failed and was arrested.

Here is the absolute ZERO! Everything was illegal and KKE had split in 1968. The dissolution was absolute! A few members and without any kind of infrastructure. A telling example is given to us by Nikos Karras7, a leading member of KKE and later KKE Interior (The epochal version of the SYRIZA party):

…I was telling my wife that the whole point was to get in contact with Mina, since we had foreseen to erect an illegal infrastructure in case of dictatorship. When, thus, we met with Mpampis8 down at the beach, I asked: ‘Have you found Mina?’ ‘I found her.’ ‘Finally’ I say ‘let us prepare something.’ ‘Nah’ he answers, ‘she has nothing.’ ‘Nothing? Not even a polygraph?’ ‘Not a polygraph nor anything else!’

The reconstruction effort is slow and laborious. They have to overcome all the problem of lawlessness, and their political unreliability. The inability of the Left to resist the coup on one hand, and the economic and political stability of the regime on the other, put very large problems in front of the non-branded fighters… the others were either abroad, in prison, or exiled to barren islands.

Tragic finale and brilliant start

Typically, the Polytechnic was a “defeat” for the labour movement. And how could it be otherwise? With all these negative conditions around it, the uprising not only failed to achieve its stated objectives (the fall of the Junta, removal of NATO bases, etc.) but was repressed violently with dozens of dead. Even the rudimentary democratic rights and concessions that were being negotiated by the government, went on hold.

A Black & White photo of tanks rolling in the streets of Greece
Suppression of the Uprising. Tanks marching outside Polytechnic.

Neither did it usher in the Parliamentary Republic, as wrongly written by Greek mythology. That had already been initiated “from above” for capital needed a European profile on its way to the EU.

So, if these unfavourable circumstances were leading with mathematical precision towards a crash, was perhaps the uprising a “mistake”?

Not so in fact! The Polytechnic ushered in the Metapolitefsi (Regime Change)!  In other words, the entrance of the mass movement as a political factor. The workers, the students, the communist movement, was articulating against the aspirations of the bosses. The building of the trade unions, the leftist parties, civil rights are not won by Parliamentarism, but rather by the Communist labour movement. If in doubt, see the Patriot Act in the U.S.A., the civil rights in Turkey, and whether “Parliamentarism” has prevented the operations against house squatting in northern European countries.

The dead of the Polytechnic cancelled any chance of social consensus with the government. They brought to the fore, the social and political polarization. They redefined the boundaries of right-left… in our own terms.

Never again has a “defeat” in the greek labour movement been so promising, like that of the Polytechnic.

The legacy of left legalism – reformism

A newspaper clip of the time
A newspaper clip from the condemnation coming from a communist party speaker. The highlighted part reads "In parallel with the larger democratic unifying movement which promotes the entrance into democratic normality, dark forces are working to block the road to that direction and organize challenges so that the imposition of military measures are justified"

Rereading thus, the context of historical events 38 years later, one might say that there was not a single prerequisite for insurrection. Both against the Junta, let alone capitalism.

In an international and Greek level, capitalism did recover as the winner, the crisis had not begun to unfold, while the subjective forces of the labour and communist movement are fragmented and defeated, with the middle classes hostile to anti-capitalist points of view.

This explains the shouts of disapproval against the Polytechnic uprising, by the Communist Party (KKE) and KKE Internal (the SYRIZA of the times). Having read “correctly” the criteria that are ruminated, even today, by the majority of the left, the uprising was an “adventurist” move, without vision, without organization, without preparation, without social alliances, which put at risk the entire labour movement.

Even a year after the uprising, the two Communist Parties of the time were strongly condemning the Occupation of ’73 as a leftist setback of the movement. After the fall of the  junta they changed their tune and attempted to expunge from the Polytechnic of ’73, the element of the uprising as coming from an organized intervention of Revolutionaries – Communists.

A newspaper clip from the Panspoudastiki newspaper
An "announcement-answer" clip from the Panspoudastiki newspaper. February '74

The Communist Party of Greece wrote9 that the invasion of 350 provocateurs in the Polytechnic during November, was a minority act by Anarchists in order to set up a caricature revolt and provide an excuse to restore martial law.

The Communist Party, Internal of Drakopoulos  and Kyrkos, believed that “The Athens Polytechnic took us 10 years backwards”10 and condemned the “challenges that provide an alibi for the imposition of military measures.”11

Today’s Left is a true child of the despondent legalists of the KKE and the eurocommunist KKE Internal. Those rehashing the terms and conditions, those who “condemn” the extremists of provocateur elements which endanger the labour movement, do not belong to the generation of the uprising, but to that of compromise and reformism.

 The inheritance of the “350 Provocateurs”

After we’ve described the adverse objective and subjective conditions, it would be good to try to reach the “paste” of the instigators of the uprising. What the hell were they thinking?

Because the occupation of the Polytechnic was an organizationally set move coming from the, then, Revolutionary Left. The fighters of the Revolutionary Left chose it after the “defeat” of the Law school. The NPR was at a main road and could not be cut off by police such as the building of the Law school in Solonos. The PaSoK-KKE-SYRIZA were caught napping, the occupation happened, and the Junta attempted to act a “Democracy”. The occupation started becoming a mass phenomenon and the military suppression came 3 days later to dissolve an under-construction centre of revolutionary overthrow.

I suspect that the instigators of the occupation had any of the three characteristics

  • They made a wrong analysis of the times. They had not read the retreat of the movement and thus estimated a pre-revolutionary period.
  • They were inexperienced uber-revolutionaries. They had not imagined the dynamics that would arise from the occupation of the Polytechnic, nor the rabid response of the state. They might have considered it even as a “preparatory stage.”
  • They were subjectivists. They put their own volition over the objective circumstances.

Their most important characteristic however, was that they saw themselves as a Subject of developments.

A Black & White picture of a german revolutionary paphletThey were followers of a great tradition of the labour movement, which recognizes the need for a separate political centre of Revolutionaries. That sees Communism, not as education, enlightenment of the “ignorant by the enlightened leadership”, but rather as a Movement within the Movement.

Obviously I’m not advocating that wrong estimates and uber-revolutionarism are “recipes for success.” On the contrary! These weaknesses are what lost the wager for the Revolutionary Left and thus failed to “inherit” the uprising, to continue into winning a second attempt.

But they left a legacy that is almost lost in oblivion… That of revolutionary determination and Subjectivism. That which tries to find the weakest spots in its opponent and bit as hard as it can… with whatever strength it has. That which opposes Objectivism12, the Long Encirclement of Capitalism, and the Ripe Fruit.  That which does not consider revolution to be an exact mathematical praxis, but rather a chaotic system of equations where a Revolutionary Subject can change the course of history.

The legacy which makes people consider themselves as organizers and battering rams at the same time! And not a self-loathing analyst and “expressor” of social strata.

This is the required tradition for a Labour Movement which seeks a new proposal against the capitalist hell.

And a sci-fi “historic” test…

There is a simple way for each of us to recognise in which tradition we belong… and that may help us today.

Let us imagine that we possess a communist time-machine. A cocoon which teleports us to the past.

Suppose you are transferred as a student in the Law school’s meeting in the morning of the 14th of November 1973, and you can now vote.

You know what is about to happen, and the only thing you have, is your own skin. I am sure you will try to make the Junta fall, you will give everything for the Left and the movement.

However…

Would you have voted AGAINST the occupation, so that the uprising can be prepared better? To take better advantage of any democratic openings? To grow your organization? Would you attempt to convince on the 15th to leave peacefully and in form, “before dissolving”? Perhaps on the 16th you would beg your comrades not to give the state a justification to send in the tanks?

Or would you vote FOR and give a utopian struggle  to overthrow the Junta within 3 days, regardless of all the “objectively” difficult conditions you’re having and the repression you KNOW is going to come? Would you push furiously to take advantage of every minute of class struggle, determined for everything? Ready to continue with an ever greater momentum on the 18th for the next round?

In the first case, you do well to lie within the chains of PAME-KKE or bargain for ministries with CenterLeft-Kouvelis

In the latter, welcome to the most magical and utopian history written in the 21st century…

In the colours and music of the Revolution.

 

A Black & White picture oh a hand graspind a small black flag, rising from an erupting steet.

  1. Greek Communist Party newspaper, literally translating to “Radical” []
  2. “Εργατική Αλληλεγγύη” literally translates to “Worker’s Solidarity”. It’s a weekly anti-capitalist newspaper. []
  3. Sixth issue of the tri-monthly Economic Inspection of OECD, December 1969 []
  4. Yearly edition of OECD, 1969 []
  5. Monthy Edition of Main Economic Indicators []
  6. Financial Scandals of the Greek Military Junta []
  7. Interview in the Magazine “The Commenter” 60-61 []
  8. Mpampis Drakopoulos, another leading member and future president of the KKE, Interior []
  9. Panspoudastiki No 8, February 1974 []
  10. Nikos Karras – Interview in the Magazine “The Commenter” 60-61 []
  11. Newspaper Macedonia, 17-11-1973 []
  12. [Translator Note: Not the Randian Kind] []

A sobering look at the status (and future) of the USA

From reddit I was linked to this post in ClubOrlov about the Grim Truth of America written by a US immigrant. Go and read it, and then check the comments in all thee links. Some interesting thoughts. Some choice quotes:

If you had any idea of how people really lived in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many parts of Asia, you’d be rioting in the streets calling for a better life. In fact, the average Australian or Singaporean taxi driver has a much better standard of living than the typical American white-collar worker.

And

The fact is, they work you like dogs in the United States. This should come as no surprise: the United States never got away from the plantation/sweat shop labor model and any real labor movement was brutally suppressed. Unless you happen to be a member of the ownership class, your options are pretty much limited to barely surviving on service-sector wages or playing musical chairs for a spot in a cubicle (a spot that will be outsourced to India next week anyway).

And

If the people cannot make a change, how about the media? Not a chance. From Fox News to the New York Times, the mass media in the United States is nothing but the public relations wing of the corporatocracy, primarily the military industrial complex. At least the citizens of the former Soviet Union knew that their news was bullshit

And finally

Once the shit really hits the fan, do you really think you’ll just be able to jump into the old station wagon, drive across the Canadian border and spend the rest of your days fishing and drinking Molson? No, the government is going to lock the place down. They don’t want their tax base escaping. They don’t want their “recruits” escaping. They don’t want YOU escaping.

One hopes such articles would be enough to jar U.S. Americans out of their blissful delusion, but somehow I doubt it.

Now this is interesting…

The Pirate Party
Image via Wikipedia

Apparently the Pirate party of Sweden decided to take thing one step further and has announced the world’s first Pirate ISP which will be focused on protecting their user’s privacy and take the MAFIAA and the rest of the gang head on. I assume it’s going to be protected via the governmental immunity the parliamentary members have so it’s going to be much more difficult to shut down, although the US copyright industry will definitely focus all their political muscle in order to nip this in the bud. Remember how they managed to have the Swedish authorities raid the Pirate Bay Offices even though they were legal under Swedish law.

I find this a very good example of turning the state’s weapons against it, but ultimately I don’t know how successful it will be (but naturally I hope to be proven wrong). Of course this doesn’t mean that “The system works” since they’re in effect trying to combat the system in the first place. No. Rather what is happening is that they’ve found a loophole in the system which allows them to use it in a way the ruling elite didn’t plan to. This is a very good way to use the system actually but the problem is ultimately that the power still relies on the ruling elite. And when the new material circumstances make previous rules work against them, then they will make sure that the previous rules are modified enough to suit their interests.

At the moment, I can foresee a few ways they are going to go around shutting this down or neutering it

  • Change the law to make this illegal. Perhaps they will disallow parliament to be involved in business. Perhaps they will stop political immunity from affecting businesses run from parliamentary members. Sure, this may harm the already established interests but given how much the IP lobby (and remember, the US is practically surviving on IP at the moment) is set to loose if this idea starts to spread to other countries, they might be willing to compensate those who will be harmed by new laws handsomely, so that this particular tactic becomes impossible. Certainly the parliamentary members might try to fight this on constitutional grounds but seeing as how easy it was to find biased judges to oversee the Pirate Bay case, and how important this decision will be, this is certainly going to be stacked against the small amount of people behind the Pirate party.
  • Create a moral panic about child porn. Someone (planted or not) is going to start sharing child porn through the Pirate ISP which will then force the pirate party in a very precarious political decision. Either it will be seen as supporting or covering child porn and other nasty stuff, or the Pirate Party will have to start keeping logs and other tracking measures, which can then be used by law enforcement to track down file sharers. Perhaps they will attempt to provide the info only for child porn and not for piracy, but that’s how it always starts anyway.
  • Disconnect the Pirate ISP from the Internet. I don’t know how possible this is, but it could be possible that the anti-pirate outfits as well as the USA and its nation-bitches will attempt to block any connection coming from the IPs assigned to the Pirate ISP. This would not require a legal precedent but it will require a lot of logistics and coordination of many nations, which might in turn make in unrealistic or simply impossible given the distributed nature of the net. This means that the US could by itself try to protect its IP interests by blocking its own people from accessing the Pirate ISP addresses but what they’re most interested in – extracting the wealth from the developing nations though IP – will be severely harmed as the poor people will simply route via the Pirate ISP for the piracy fix.
  • Try to muscle Sweden into compliance via Trade Sanctions. They WTO might allow others to embargo Sweden in order to put them into a very bad imports/exports situation, therefore creating civil unrest and hopefully blaming this on the Pirate Party and their ISP and attempt to kick them out of parliament.

I can see the second point being used in conjunction with the first point for the most effect. If those two fail, it will be the 3rd and 4th one, as they do not require the compliance of the Swedish people. Whatever happens though, once again the system will have to reveal its true nature (protecting the plutocracy at the expense of the will of the people) and will once again show how using the state’s tools cannot work if it’s creating too many headaches for the ruling elite.

Of course, I might be wrong and the Pirate ISP will be a success, nothing will be able to take it down and in one fell swoop, Sweden will be liberate file-sharing,  which will in turn trigger a chain reaction in the other nations and their own Pirate Parties. But given how much is at stake here, I truly believe we’ll see all the weapons against harmful reformism come into play. It will be interesting to watch, no doubt.