INTERNATIONAL ANARCHIST MOVEMENT-GREECE:
INTERVIEW WITH THE GREEK ESE:
The following text is taken from the A-Infos website, and it is an interview conducted by the French anarcho-syndicalist CNT-F with the international secretary of the Greek anarcho-syndicalist ESE (Eleftheriaki Sindikalistiki Enosi). Both organizations are in the current of international anarcho-syndicalism outside of the AIT. The following gives more background to the recent events in Greece.
To say the least mass uprisings always catch ideologues by surprise. This is as true for those who see such things as the be-all and end-all of their ideology, the "insurrectionists", as for those who see beyond such ephemeral events. Molly was in Greece a few years ago, and she took note of the divisions of the Greek anarchists, between those who had a positive vision of a libertarian society and those whose whole political activity revolved around confrontation, the "autonomists". No doubt the latter are now breaking their arms patting themselves on the back with this supposed "confirmation" of their vision. As events develop, however, it is becoming more and more apparent just how much of a brake they are on the positive development of the riots into a true change in the way that society is organized. "More and more fighting" is not any sort of program. If the Greek autonomists are congratulating themselves their American admirers are practically pissing their pants with joy. When the inevitable happens, and the movement recedes, one hopes that the piss will turn to the feces of shame, but lots of luck on that.
In the absence of a large anarchist movement this mass uprising of the young in Greece is rapidly being colonized by the parties of the left. That sort of thing is inevitable, as much larger forces than the anarchists move in to advance their own interests. The problem is that even the most "progressive" of these, the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left-Syriza (see also the Wikipedia article on this party), hardly has such things as self-management or radical decentralization on its agenda.
Some forces within the Greek anarchist movement such as the platformists, the ESE and the Anti-Authoritarian Movement do indeed have such a vision that would move the present situation beyond mere street fighting, but it is a fact of life that they are quite small and their programs are barely beyond generalities. They are simply unprepared, as are we all, for events such as are happening now. Still, the way they see forward is actually a way forward and not merely emotional bluster. Here's the interview with one of their representatives.
An interview by the French CNT-F with the International Secretary of the Greece ESE (union of libertarian syndicalists):
An interview by the CNT-F with Yannis - the International Secretary of the ESE (union of libertarian syndicalists - Eleftheriaki Sindikalistiki Enosi), discussing the death of Alexis Grigoropoulos and the events that have followed.
Q. Can you describe the events surrounding the death of Alexis again?
A. For the last three years the Greek police's strategy in Exârcheia, a district famous for popular struggle and home to many students., young people and libertarians, has been one of provocation. Police patrols have become more frequent recently and on a daily basis the police are insulting the people in the area. When it comes to the murder of this 15 year-old boy all the witnesses (residents, passers-by etc) state that the police were provoking a group of young people by insulting them. When the youths responded the police parked their car and then returned to where the youths were sitting. Then they fired three times. The witnesses state that the murderer fired directly at Alexis who died on the pavement.
Q.What are the tactics of the Greek police?
A.Since the end of the dictatorship of the Colonels dozens of Greeks have been killed by the police. Amongst the dead are: Mikalis Kaltezas, a 15 year-old anarchist militant killed in 1985; Issidoros Issidoropoulos, a 16 year-old extreme left-wing militant killed in 1976; Koumis and Kanellopoulou, two demonstrators and also a number of immigrants and people from ethnic minorities (gypsies and Thracian Turks etc). Recently the police murdered a young disabled boy. At the same time we're seeing countless cases of militants, demonstrators and immigrants being tortured by the police; as well as a systematic and unjustified use of tear gas bombs and other gas weapons at all demonstrations. I'll add a final note, a police officer has never been killed by a demonstrator, furthermore no police officer, has ever spent more than two and a half years in prison.
Q.What is going on, and where?
A.The revolt has exploded in virtually all the regional capitals. In Salonika, Agrinion, Yannena and across Crete there have been clashes between police and demonstrators. In Patras the police attacked demonstrators accompanied by a battalion of armed neo-nazis, so-called "outraged citizens". Every day in Athens there are two or three different demonstrations, with tens of thousands of participants. In solidarity 20000 demonstrators attended the funeral of Alexandros Grigoropoulos. This isn't about "blind rebellion" like the media claim, on the contrary it is a real movement and one that continues... The targets of the demonstrators are the banks and the multinational enterprises that are the symbols of poverty and suffering. The revolt unites young and old, militants and the non-politicised. It is the largest revolt in Greece since the Second World War and the Civil War which followed in Greece. It could be the largest revolt in the western world for the last forty years. For us this revolt is a completely legitimate response.
Q.Apart from the murder of this young man, what are the other reasons for this explosion of protests?
A.We are the first post-war generation to experience worse economic and employment conditions than our parents. In Greece we often speak of the "700 euro generation". Without a doubt this slogan doesn't express how bad things are. In fact the majority of people under 30 live on less than 700 euros a month. The only jobs available are casual or short term, a lot of people are forced to work on the black market. The bosses fire people, blaming them for the crisis, meanwhile Greek Capital is benefiting from the massive profits gained from the pillage of the Balkans.
The situation is worse for immigrants who suffer from racist laws, widespread xenophobia and attacks from Nazi groups which go unpunished. We must underline that immigrants have played a large part in this movement and, as usual, they have been the main victims of state repression. Of the 400 arrests so far, half have been of immigrants. As far as politics and corruption goes I can briefly sum up the situation for you: Recently there was a scandal as the 'Vatopedio' affair saw the government giving land to the church. Two families, the Papandreous of the centre-left and the Caramanlis of the right have governed Greece for 34 of the last 40 years. To this we can add the disastrous mismanagement of the fires in 2007 and of the aftermath; the attacks on Social Security by the Socialists in 2001 and by the right in 2006. And the privatisation of the electricity company, the ports and of Olympic Airways.
*Interview by Jérémie, International Secretary of the CNT.
OTHER NEWS ABOUT GREECE: