Tag Archives: Greece

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? []

Syriza’s Judo techniques

I’ve been following the latest happenings between Greece and EU with some amount of fascination. While I’m not a believer in parliamentarism, I can’t help but be glad the current government is sticking to their guns and promises to their voters and is willing to go head to head with a very hostile and condescending Europe.

I do not think they have a chance in hell to succeed. Even if it’s merely a bluff. But I suspect they didn’t intent to. I believe this is part of their strategy.

My feeling is that Syriza knows that it’s been given a unique opportunity to break the bi-party lockdown of greek politics which has led to unprecedented corruption and nepotism. Something which EU/US government and businesses have been more than happy to take advantage. But this support is yet very fragile. The Greek people do not trust politicians anymore and most expected just another PASOK. However without the historical opportunities the original PASOK had to win people (i.e. effectively money away for votes) it would be impossible for Syriza do retain power in a similar fashion, so the only way to do this is to retain the popular vote.

And this is where their main antagonist comes in. EU, and particularly Germany looms especially large in the minds of Greeks, with a lot of dislike for what they’ve done to their country in the past 5 years. And while German media loves to coddle German citizens with tales of lazy Greeks who live beyond their means for decades, the reality for the Greek citizen has been completely different. Greeks saw the “support” of EU go to save EU, German and Greek banks with the capitulating Greek governments as an intermediary, with very little benefit to their own lives. In other words, the Greek Bailout was just another EU Plutocracy Bailout with the Greek populace as the ones socializing the damage.

At the same time, the actual life quality of the average Greek family has been declining rapidly as public services and social nets have been slaughtered on the altar of austerity and increasing competitiveness. Something which conveniently started raising the specter of Greek Nazism to the forefront of politics. One thing which EU is very happy to see when it serves their interest (see: Ukraine)

But it seems the Greeks are a bit less tolerant than our Slavic counterparts. I never expected Greeks to tolerate living with 100 Eur per month and I was surprised at how little social upheaval was happening as wages were being slashes lower and lower. But it finally seems they grasped their first chance to break the cycle and demand some radical change, by voting for a seemingly radical party to try something different from abject capitulation to economic demands.

Which takes us back to Syriza. Their current moves are unlikely to convince Germany and EU to change their course. But I suspect they already know that, given how Varoufakis had even precisely predicted the ECB’s retaliatory move a few years ago.  Rather I suspect their “stick to their guns” strategy is meant to show Greeks that there is another path than the way of the “Ragias”1. And Greeks are responding VERY positively to it. Not only is Syriza giving Greeks something to be proud of, but they are promising and taking actual steps to attack the local Greek Plutocracy and crony politics at its root! If you live outside Greece, you have no idea how many Greeks were waiting for something like this to happen for decades and instead saw corrupt politicians continue business as usual.

This is unprecedented in modern Greek history!

At the same time, the unwavering negativity from our EU partners and Germany in particular is playing exactly into the strategy of Syriza, who do not even need to propagandize to show how Europe is hostile to any valid fix in the Greek situation, and would rather prefer to keep the above stated “business as usual” strategy going until they squeeze blood from stone (or “fat from a fly” as the Greek prefer to call it).

This economic hardline is akin bombing a military dictatorship. Your tactics might defeat the dictator but they are not going to turn the people to your side. In fact, the indiscriminate damage is going to have the exact opposite effect, it’s going to make people rally around their existing government and try to repel the invading forces any way they can. We have seen this again and again such as in US interventionism is Serbia and Iraq.

This is likewise rallying people around Syriza. And this includes Anarchists, right-wing “anti-communists” (Syriza’s leadership is Ex-Communists or Communists on paper), and a lot of apolitical people who never cared to support a party which would continue “business as usual”. If elections happened right now, merely a few week after the previous ones, Syriza would win in a landslide!

I do not believe however that Syriza leadership is being merely cynically opportunistic about it. I think they believe in what they do, but they MUST know that either of two things will happen. Either EU will blink, or Greece will completely collapse. I think they’re OK with both outcomes. The former, one I am not sure will happen, but if it does is because EU knows that a defaulting Greece will start a domino effect in Portugal, Spain and Italy and they cannot afford it, and not only that, but if a Greece outside of the Euro manages to recover faster than the doomsayers propagandize, then it will provide fuel to parties similar to Syriza in those other countries. Already Podemos of Spain is making huge gains just from being in the same timeline as Syriza’s rise to power!

The latter is what I think is more likely. The political cost of being lenient to Greece is far too large for the German government to stomach, especially since their mass media has been busy brainwashing their populace to dislike Greeks for the past half of a decade. So diplomacy will fail and Greece and Germany will start getting increasingly hostile to each other (more than they are already), with Greece poking at Germany more and more to illicit a response. This is, in fact, already happening with Syriza once again bringing German reparations owed to Greece into the spotlight.

Syriza knows a Grexit might be unavoidable at this point if they want to keep to their campaign promises, but they seem to want the decision to be made by their EU partners, rather than deciding it themselves. And if EU does kick Greece out, then it’s another chance to radicalize and rally people around them and manage to grab complete control of the government to follow their own strategy once out of the Eurozone.

And if THAT happens, I believe Germany and EU will have only one option remaining to them, a road richly paved by US realpolitik before them. Interventionism. I believe EU cannot allow Greece to succeed in any way after a Grexit. Not just because plutocrats are vindictive bastards, but because it will inspire others inside and outside the Euro to do similar. It’s one thing to have an Argentina or a Venezuela do that at the other part of the world, but this is in their own back-garden. You can’t let Portugal and Spain start getting ideas!

IF a Grexit happens, I foresee very bad times in the future of Greeks. Not necessarily because of Syriza’s flawed strategies, but due to supreme capital flight, as well as very likely funding of Nazi parties and even a potential attempt at a military coup. There is no doubt in my mind that a Greece of Syriza cannot be allowed to succeed.

I can only hope that the intervening times will radicalize Greeks more and more to be able to counteract these classic Capitalist reactions. Neo Nazis have been dealt some serious blows and I hope the recent courage Syriza provided will be enough to keep people on the left, rather than start blaming immigrants once more. Although I want to hope that if it’s EU that forces Greece out, it’ll be far more difficult to do so. In the same vein, the Greek standing army has been demotivated for long that I hope they won’t be able to use it for a military coup, even if they have support of a police force they’ve been busy making into happy little fascists for the past decade.

If all else fails, a proxy war via Turkey might be their last chance. And I truly hope it’ll never come to that.

  1. meaning, Greek Slave []

Για τους οπαδούς του φον Πλεύρη

Κάλιο αργά παρά πωτέ που λένε. Ανακάλυψα σήμερα τον άγριο ξεφτιλισμό του Κωστάκη Πλεύρη μέσα απο το κείμενο Κώστας Πλεύρη: Ο Ιεροεξεταστής της Ιστορίας το οποίο είναι απλά εκπληκτικό και ως πρως τον ξεμπροντιασμό του φασιστάκου, και ως πρως το χιούμορ που διαθέτει.

Είναι μακρύ αλλά αξίζει πολύ να διαβαστεί.  Ένα μεγαλο εύγε στον συντάκτη.

Big university party. Riot police bring the fireworks

So the Greek university asylum has finally ended, in practice, as well. 4 Days ago, the un-elected government of Papademos, backed up by Juntaist and far-right politicians decided to storm the Thessalonikian universities shortly after the demonstrations of the 17th November for the Polytechnic had ended. This was this unelected government’s first “Polytechnic anniversary”, so the symbolism is fairly blatant.

Then with the tanks, now with the banks.

You now know to express heavy repression on the anniversary of Alexis. Be prepared.

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] []

Not in our Name

The following text was taken from the recent blog action call initiated here which attempts to raise awareness about the country-wide hunger strikes going on in Greek prisons. The translation is my own in order to help a non-greek speaking audience to understand what is going on. If you wish to take part in this protest, you can publish this text on your own blog on the 20th of November and link to the original article or sign the petition.

“The situation in the greek prisons is inconsolable. The radical change of the greek penal system is a main subject”
Karolos Papoulias 6/11/08

“We’re human – prisoners. Humans, I say”
Vaggelis Pallis, Prisoner, 9/11/08

Since the third of November, a shattering shout is shaking the bases of our Democracy. From the third of November, the whole prisoner population or the Country is starting a hunger strike claiming the intuitive: Their lost dignity. Against them is poised the absolute silence of the national media and the absolute indifference of the political hegemony. To these practices, those of us signing this letter, DO NOT AGREE.

The situation in the Greek prisons is undescribable and can be only be understood through the rigid language of mathematics. In the country’s so-called “reformation” institutions, 417 deaths have been recorded in the last decade, while their frequency has taken off to such a degree, that today 4 people are expiring in the hands of the state per month. The occupancy touches 168% (10.113 prisoners for 6.019 positions) with each prisoner’s area ratio reaching 1 square meter. With the daily govermental expenditure per prisoner being 3,60 Euro, the rations provided are despicable, the infrastructure reminds of medieval ages and the medical coverage is very lacking. Simultaneously, the Greek government is sending to jail one citizen for every thousand, with the withheld people (those temporary imprisoned) reaching 30% of the total number of prisoners.

If the quality of a Democracy is judged by its prisons, then our Democracy is asthmatic. If the punishment of illegal behaviour with imprisonment by the state is happening in the name of the society, then for this situation in the prisons, we are all responsible, and the lion’s share of the blame on those of the state machine. In this reality, all of those signing this text respond NOT IN OUR NAME.

The information revealed by official representatives about the Greek prisons sketch an image of a hellhole. The essay of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (2007) discovers torture, inhumane treatment and life-threats against prisoners, series of violations regarding the conditions of detention, a lack of investigation and punishment of the guilty parties, silencing of incidents of violence with the collusion of doctors and guards, unacceptable medical conditions etc.

The European Court of Human Rights has published a series of damning decisions for Greece in regards to the maltreatment and/or violations of other prisoner rights from the prison authorities. The National Commission on Human Rights has taken a strong-willed decision about the abuse in prisons, proposing immediate actions for their resolution. The Ombudsman (Sinigoros tou Politi) is complaining about the total lack of cooperation from the responsible state officials, as a result of which he has been virtually banned from entering the country’s prisons for the last two years. The bar associations of the whole country, the non-government organisations including Amnesty International and many political/social institutions denounce the unacceptable situation and request a wider cooperation to resolve this problem.

If human are the rights which every human being should enjoy, every deprivation of those becomes an open wound for our society. In this situation, everyone signing this text reply BREAK FINALLY THE PRISON ABATON.

With this hunger strike the prisoners are fleeing to their last fort of resistance they have left, their own body. This was preceeded by a final request from them towards the leaders to monitor this problem as the situation could go no more. In order to resolve this hunger strike, they request to meet demands which restore their lost dignity and recover their basic human rights, demands specific, decent and immediately feasible.

Against the prisoner movement the political leadership is spending its actions with indifference, promises and repression of their demonstrations.  Any indifference and heatlessness of the political leadership at this stage as well would mean dead hunger strikers. In this frontal collision that the country prisoners have selected for claiming their self-evident humanity we can not wait pathetically while crossing our arms and waiting for the news of hunger strike deaths but we will stand in solidarity.

If the defense of democracy and human rights require the watchfulness of all of us, now is the time to take a stand against this problem without indifference and evasions.

Faced with the tense situation in prisons throughout the country, those who sign this text are making the political leadership fully responsible for what will happen and demand the immediate, both institutional and practical GUARANTEE OF BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE PRISONERS OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY

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Διαγράφομαι απο την Φιλελεύθερη Συμμαχία

Radical Libertarian
Image by acebal via Flickr

Με λύπη μου ανακάλυψα οτι η ΦΣ την οποία υποστήριξα στις προηγούμενες εκλογές είναι τελικά δεξιοί-φιλελεύθεροι που σημαίνει οτι υποστηρίζουν την απόλυτη οικονομική ελευθερία με την μορφή της ελεύθερης αγοράς, καθώς και την ατομική ελευθερία. Γενικά είναι παρόμοιοι με το Libertarian party των Η.Π.Α.

Αν και είμαι εντελώς φιλελεύθερος όσον αφορά τις προσωπικές ελευθερίες, είμαι διαμετρικά αντίθετος στην απόλυτη ελευθερία της οικονομίας. Η ελεύθερη αγορά ή το laissez-faire που υποστηρίζουν οι δεξιοι-φιλελεύθεροι απλά αφήνει τον δρόμο ελεύθερο για αυτούς που θα το εκμεταλευτούν, να το κάνουν όπως και έγινε πάρα πολλές φορές στο παρελθόν όταν ο κρατικός έλεγχος άρθηκε (με το καλύτερο παράδειγμα την οικονομική κρίση των Η.Π.Α. των τελευταίων ημερών)

Για να μην τα πολυλογώ, συμφωνώ με του λόγους που αναφέρει ο ebonmuse στην σειρά άρθρων του Why I’m not a Libertarian“.

Προσωπικά χαρακτηρίζω τον εαυτό μου ως αριστερό-φιλελεύθερο ή αλλιώς σοσιαλφιλελεύθερο (αν και δεν μ’αρεσει η λέξη) παρόμοια με τον Noam Chomsky και άλλα ονόματα εκείνης της πλευράς (Αν και τείνω να είμαι περισσότερο αριστερά και φιλελεύθερα). Όχι μόνο αυτό, αλλά μ’αρεσει να δουλεύω τους Libertarians γιατί μπριζόνονται άσχημα και βγάζουν αφρούς όταν ακούνε για κομμουνισμό.

Για όλα αυτά. αποφάσισά να διαγραφώ απο την ΦΣ ωστε να είμαι σωστός με τον εαυτό μου.

Είναι κρίμα που δεν μου ταιριάζει η ΦΣ μιας και μου άρεσε ο τρόπος οργάνωσης. Δεν έχει πολύ σημασία έτσι και αλλιώς μιας και δεν μπορώ να ψηφίσω ή γενικά να συμμετάσχω απο εδώ που είμαι αλλά τουλάχιστων δεν νοιώθω υποκριτής τώρα. Απ’οτι φαίνεται το μόνο κόμμα που βρίσκεται κοντά μου στον Ελληνικό χώρο αυτή τη στιγμή είναι η ΣΥΡΙΖΑ αλλά απο την άλλη, δεν είναι ούτε αρκετά φιλελεύθεροι ούτε σοσιαλιστές.

Oh Well. Θα περιμένω να οργανωθεί ένα Ελληνικό Κόμμα Πειρατών.

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Gold medal of…doping

We interrupt our normal broadcast to bring you these hilarious news

Greece has been awarded the gold medal for doping (article in greek) from the president of the IOC Jacques Rogge. He has apparently named and shamed the Greek team as the most doped up team in the Beijing Olympics with the second and third places being taken by Bulgaria and Russia.

For a country that is so hell bent in maintaining a good image, they have managed to put yet another badge of shame on themselves (following the ban on computer games, suing lesbians and other funny stories)

You know what the sad part it? It’s the government itself that is promoting this kind of behaviour. After the recent shame came up, did anything happen? Was anyone fired or forced to resign? No.

Same as in the past where the doping of two Athletes was ignored and they were eventually not punished at all by the greek national sports comitee, only to have them 1 year later admit to the IAAF that, you know, they did dope themselves.

Pathetic.

But at least it makes this easily amused expartiate laugh at their antics.

The Beginning of the end or the end of a beginning?

Apparently back in my homecountry, Greece, people have been finally waking up to the blogging phenomenon and as with anything new, the knee-jerk reaction is starting.

What is happening is that the anonymous blog Press-gr which has been publishing various inside stories for a while has finally drawn enough ire (and lawsuits) that the Greek goverment has mobilized to reveal who the anonymous bloggers behind it are. Apparently, they managed to track down an “author” of the blog by revealing ip addresses from his ISP. Nevermind that this is ridiculous as, without knowing from which IP addresses the authors used to connect to press-gr (which they can only get from Google) they might as well be catching any regular reader (Although without knowing the specifics of the investigation, I guess I could be wrong but I don’t see how unless they set up illegal packet sniffers).

In any case, I was reading Press-gr in the beggining, when the information seemed genuine, but when it started posting any BS that came to their hands, even things posted by anonymous commenters or obvious political propaganda, I decided to call it quits. It was just getting too unreliable (as well as being suspicious due to the amount of adverising) as far as accurate information ios concerned, not to mention annoying as the commentspam was ridiculous – A clear example that freedom of speech does not equal freedom to spam.

So what happened now is that various famous personalities of Greece are claiming that they were blackmailed from the authors of Press-gr and were threatened with defamation. Now, ignoring the fact that groundless defamation from an anonymous blog who’s quality is arguable by most sceptics, is not going to do much damage, the blackmailed people have gone public and are asking for goverment intervention. I’m actually wondering if those fighting back against an anonymous posting have ever heard of the Streisand effect

The most scary thing of all, of course, is that the goverment is now considering putting limits on free speech. This is exactly what the big media companies (and Televangelist/Telemarketers) want. Specifically, they are going to request people that blog about “informative issues” remain eponymous. If they still wish to remain anonymous then it will be much easier for the goverment to violate their rights and find out who they are.

Seeing how backwards the Greek goverment has been until now as regards to digital rights, then it’s fairly certain that things will move towards the worse case scenario. I just hope that more people will start using wikileaks which the Greek goverment cannot touch and also has a much higher standard

Generally speaking, after being sent a cease and desist myself for supposedly defaming my previous employer (although no details were given other than the scary lawyer email), I’m seeing a larger interest in the blogosphere from all the people that are set to have their skeletons drawn out of the closet.

Truly, there is nothing more that these slimy worms fear than the unedited light of truth. Blogs and the internet are the only thing they cannot control and all their secrets are finally slipping through their fingers. Don’t let them take it away from you people.

Sometimes I’m really glad I escaped Greece…