Protesters chanted “Make the bosses pay” and “Where has all the money gone?” Union leaders hailed today’s general strike as a complete success. Public services ground to a halt in all major cities from Alexandroupoli in the north to Sitia in the south. Public and private sector workers both joined the action. “The prime minister has just returned from a tour of world leaders – including Nicolas Sarkozy in France, Angela Merkal in Germany and Barack Obama” “They all congratulated him for his courageous neoliberal reforms which has seen outrageous attacks on peoples pensions, wages and job security. But now he has to face the anger of the Greek people and these strikes are just the beginning.”
Greek workers are stepping up their resistance to austerity measures being enforced by the European Union. Riot police attempted to split the demonstration, but were met by fierce resistance. Skirmishes continued until the end when they were seen off from the area surrounding Athens Polytechnic. Thursday’s walkout by public and private sector workers, the second nationwide action to have taken place in the past two weeks, grounded flights, shut schools and halted public transport.
The situation in Greece March 11th, 2010 · post by Fred Goodsell ·
Tensions rise once again in the streets of Greece’s major cities. Radicals and Anarchists join workers from around the country in voicing dissent. Airports, hospitals and other public services have shut down for the day as the Greek Government attempt to impose harsh new austerity measures.
Greek authorities have reacted with an iron fist. Another anarchist Lambros Foundas, lies dead after police fired upon a group in the suburb of Dafni, south Athens. Thousands of police tear gas and attack crowds of protesters. Police snatch squads roam the streets making violent arrests.
Maybe in contrast to this an interesting discussion point is the fact some police joined the strike, weakening the states power to some small extent.
But what does this mean for the long term anti-authoritarian struggle within the country and for the international community? The backdrop of December 2008s riots,sparked by the police shooting of 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos give these fresh events a more revolutionary appearance. What could be framed as simply the acts of reformist trade unions now appears as serious social upheaval. In 2008 radicals, students and immigrants set a new precedent for social rupture in Europe, however there was a clear absence of the less marginal working classes. This time around it is already clear this is not the case. The insurrection has begun to leave the old left behind, taking on a more organic shape all of its own forged by the people taking part in it.
The day begins with a song by germany’s most influential “polit” Rockband Ton Steine Scherben “My name is human being”, that was published in greek to honor the anarchist Lampros Fountas assassinated by cops yesterday in Athens. After the updates comes a flier spread in Athens. If it sounds too familiar to you scroll a bit down to learn more about the current situation in Greece.
Soziale Kämpfe Weltweit Ich habe viele Väter. Ich habe viele Mütter, und ich habe viele Schwestern, und ich habe viele Brüder.
Meine Väter sind schwarz und meine Mütter sind gelb und meine Brüder sind rot und meine Schwestern sind hell.
Ich bin über zehntausend Jahre alt, und mein Name ist Mensch! Ich bin über zehntausend Jahre alt, und mein Name ist Mensch! Und ich lebe von Licht, und ich lebe von Luft, und ich lebe von Liebe, und ich lebe von Brot.
Ich habe zwei Augen und kann alles sehn. Ich habe zwei Ohren und kann alles verstehen.
Wir haben einen Feind. Er nimmt uns den Tag, er lebt von unserer Arbeit, und er lebt von unserer Kraft.
Er hat zwei Augen, und er will nicht sehen. Und er hat zwei Ohren und will nicht verstehen.
Er ist über zehntausend Jahre alt und hat viele Namen. Er ist über zehntausend Jahre alt und hat viele Namen.
Ich weiß, wir werden kämpfen, ich weiß, wir werden siegen, ich weiß, wir werden leben, und wir werden uns lieben.
Der Planet Erde wird uns allen gehören, und jeder wird haben, was er braucht.
Es wird keine zehntausend Jahre mehr dauern, denn die Zeit ist reif.
Und es wird keine zehntausend Jahre mehr dauern, denn die Zeit ist reif
– Ralf Pohle, in front of a judgeman (deticated to Lampros Fountas, killed by pigs on 10th March 2010)
* Gathering – Demonstration in Siteia on Crete island. Workers of public and privete sector, doctors, builders, farmers, teachers, pupils, students, self-employed, unemployed participated in the protests against the government’s and EU’s economical measures. 95% of the privete companies around the area were closed for the day, participating in one of the biggest mobilizations during the last years.
* Demonstration in Veroia town. The syndicalist leaders for one more time under the target and the slogans of the demonstrators.
* Demonstration in Irakleio on Crete island. Around 1000 persons, base’s unions, students, workers, anarchists, out-parliamentary communists demonstrated through the center of the town. Also, many slogans against the leadership of syndicalists. “Plaisio” company got blocked from the demonstrators because the bosses did not let the workers to strike. Many banks in the central street also smashed. Two teams of special pigs’ forces tried to attack the block but were pushed away by the people on the streets.
* Demonstration in Volos town. The protestors gathered at METKA factory (watch older update) and blocked the entrences, so the workers could participate in the actions despite the bosses’ tactics to forbid the right for striking. The syndicalist leadership demonstrated with 50 persons ceperatly from the main block of the protestors. Some hundreds of students, pupils, workers, out-parliamentary communists, anarchists demonstrated through the town against the government’s and EU’s economical measures. Two cameras were smashed on Iasonos street and the pigs tried to attack but they were pushed away and many slogans were shouted in front of the offices of PASOK and Nea Dimokratia while undercover cops were following in the near. Many multinational companies which forbid the workers to strike were also blocked from the protestors.
* Two demonstrations in Mytilini on Lesvos island, one from PAME (bureaucratic syndicalists) and one with independent base’s unions, students, etc. The second demonstration, behind a plakat on which was written “Capitalism is not to be reformed, only to be destroyed”, directed through the centre of the town, posters were rised up on banks, leaflets were spreded to people, walls of government buildings were sprayed and attacked with colour-bombs.
* Demonstration under rain in Ioannina town with participation of 1500 persons and heavy presence of special pigs’ forces.
* Gathering also on Naxos island against the economical measures.
* Demonstration in Thessaloniki with more than 7,000 people. Basic needs products were expropriated from two super markets and given to the people around. One camera burnt and many eggs, stones and paint were thrown against government buildings and ministries. Also smashed the offices of church institution, Vodafone company, cash machines from banks, fast food companies.
* Many thousands of people gathered in the centre of Athens to demonstrate against the government’s economical measures. The city full of undercover pigs and special pigs’ forces who attacked the protestors with teargas before the beginning of the demonstration trying to brake the body of the demonstration into several different small blocks. The pigs started attacking also in many different parts around the downtown with teargas, by beating up people but also in many cases driving, for one more time, against protestors with their motorcycles. It seems that the masses of people on the streets made them afraid, so they used tones of teargas and sound-flash granades since the beginning in order to terrorize any single person who resists. Strong clashes all around the centre of Athens, many protestors were heavily injured by cops but also in many cases the cops lost their motorcycles and other equipment. Many multinational companies, banks, street cameras, luxurious cars were also smashed by protestors. According to first information 11 people have been arrested.
Live Updates, chronical: http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2010/03/11/212-good-morning-strike-li…
* Flyer, today in Athens: 11 2 2010
Democracy: No exit!
The big dicks came out.
They will fuck anything around.
Take care of your backs.
– Harold Pinter (He said it alredy since February 2003)
We are now in the historic point where the contradiction (de: Widerspruch) of capital is becoming increasingly clear worldwide. Throughout the length and breadth of the world proletarians are in ebullition (de: Wallung) while their own reproduction (de: Fortpflanzung) becomes increasingly difficult. As for the proletarians is difficult now to continue their lives, it is the same chapter as an exploitative relationship (de: Ausbeutung) which is in crisis of reproduction. The modern struggles of the proletarians is the expression of the modern form of this exploitative relationship:
During the last years in China where the economy still grows very quickly all kinds of contradictions are rising. Clashes of workers with the police is common for a number of reasons: asking for increases of still very low wages (on which is based the economical rising), to prevent fencing the remained land in the villages, to pay compensation (de: Reparationen) to dismissed workers, against the inadequacy (de: Unzulänglichkeit) of the health system resulting a high number of dead children. In America where appearing a historical record low level of workers’ contentious strikes, thousands homeless and unemployed people occupy the uninhabited houses which were seized (de: pfänd) by banks and students occupy the universities in California and New York writting on their plakats: We have decided not to die, asserting (de: beanspruchen) this way for what was until recently a court (de: selbstverständlich), namely, simply the ability to continue being students. The reproduction of their own life (of course from a much worse position imposed by the hierarchy of capitalist states) assert also the proletarians in South Africa and Algeria when they clash with police because they still do not have water or electricity and are forced to live in shacks (de: Baracke); and in India because the price of bread suddenly rises and they do not have to eat. Last year in Spain the workers in shipyards which are shut down loot police cars, in South Korea dismissed workers also occupy factories and clash with police for two and a half months; in Bangladesh, dismissed workers again, clash with the police and loot factories. In France and Belgium the dismissed workers kidnap their bosses, placing explosives in the factories and threatening to blow them up if not compensated for their dismissal. In India and China they are killing their boss during the conflicts for the thousands of upcoming dismissals. In this historical phase the proletarian struggles are objectively struggles for the assert of life reproduction itself.
At the same time the working pelationships get reconstructed very fast and the precariousness (de: Bedenklichkeit) is the predominant (de: souverän) situation for everyone now. The precariousness is expressed now in the worst conditions: with the 43 suicides of employees in France Telecom in two years but also with 1,000,000 unemployed in USA waiting anxiously to see if Obama will lengthen for second time their unemployment money support ending again in April or if they will keep living without anything. Unemployment in most countries is ejected and grown in rates higher than any other historical period.
We are located in the historical stage when the proletariat is left over for the capital. The capital can not exploit enough the proletariat, namely, it can not produce the profits needed to put a part of the profits back into profitable investments. This is the essence of any capitalist crisis regardless of the form in which it appears. The present crisis puts objectively the reproduction of proletarians in the center of the contradiction. The crisis which first appeared as debt crisis of the proletarian households in America has already become a countries’ debt crisis and it is possible to become a monetary crisis, a debt crisis of large countries with strong currency or whole blocs of capitalist states like the European Union. The debt crisis is the one leading the capital to its only choice at the moment, which is to continue the strategy that created this crisis, namely to further reduce wages and benefits in every possible way. This is the only choice of the capital because the debt crisis is the result of the restructuring and glabalization of the capital from which there is no return. From the standpoint of the proletariat: “Trapped in the stranglehold of competition which is leading to price cuts by reducing the wages and to working for the debt which has become equally necessary for the income to enable the people to live, employees have only the ‘choice’ of tyranny which already pay themselves while the strengthening of cash-in-market is a process without end and the money always come from their own savings” (Le Monde diplomatique, March 2008). From the standpoint of the capital it is a relentless pursuit of the lowest possible price of manpower across the planet, but which has a limit that is the existence and reproduction of labor power as this is socialy defined in any capitalist state.
The capital is forced to try to resolve the crisis by destroying fixed capital (buildings, machinery, infrastructure) and variable capital (human) to recreate the conditions of its reproduction, without being still clear if doing this with their only directly effective manner: the widespread, global war. Thus, at present, the restructuring inevitably grows. The payment cut-outs are rising up to the point that the lowest payment and unemployment state support tend to be equal, event that results the explosive growth of debt for a larger part of the proletariat. The privatizations of reproduction sectors (health, education, social insurance) multiply, the unemployed have less and less money support and get forced into slave working with wages below enough than the level of reproduction. The present historical period reaches its limits. That’s why state places teams of fully armed policemen outside of schools in France and enforces cops inside schools in America to capture the unruly students. Capital’s only way out today is repression, namely it has absolutely none way out of the crisis. This is obvious in cases of natural disasters such as in Haiti and Chile. In such cases the capitalist system gets directly under questioning by the proletarians, who in order to survive, while temporarily they can not be a working power, orginize the expropriation of goods and use them according to their needs, and the only way to maintain the capitalist system of property rights is by using the military violence. Walking on streets during the night gets forbiden, straight asassinations (Haiti) or imprisonings without trial (Chile) take place and suddenly life turns into prisoners’ life in concentration camps such as the life of undocumented migrants who in thousands live imprisoned at the borders of each capitalist state.
The attack of the capital against the part of the working class living in Greece is an expression of this crisis of reproduction of capitalist relations. Greece today is in the eye of the storm of the debt crisis for many reasons. The most important is that the risky part of the proletariat rose up in the way we all know in December 2008. Greece is the experimental lab of the new phase of the forced global restructuring. The bourgeoisie class in Greece, as is often done in the past, requests the help of more powerful bourgeoisie classes to impose a new form of exploitation (the government immediately announced a higher national debt than the one announced by the ex-government to accelerate the introduction of the Stability Program) but also the bourgeoisie themselves are in the centre of the global crisis. The entire international economical press wait to see the reaction of the proletariat here in Greece and then have an overview of the situation internationally. The biggest stores of loan sharks are competing over who will lend, so control in the future the Greek state beside the control of the shape and intensity of the local proletariat’s exploitation. The creation of the European Monetary Fund to IMF standards clearly shows that the contradiction of competition between capitals can now be solved temporarily but also shows that it does not matter who is the boss of the proletariat.
Any attempt to present the situation in a better way than it really is just falls in a meaningless gap. Any attempt to present the restructuring as an attack by the Germans in Greece is suitable only for B-class TV-stations, even if SYRIZA tries to zip it forward with nonsense statements about the “sacred money” for reparations of German Nazi occupation. It gets necessarily enforced an orwell type propaganda of mass media that present the restructuring as a natural disaster. At present, this propaganda was partly successfull. Several officials and workers in the private sector welcomes the reductions in salaries of employees in the public sector. The public sector’s employees are divided on the basis of who is “truly privileged” and who is not. But all these have an expiry date. If someone wonders what means to be privillaged he can ask the employees of Olympic Airways who squatted the State General Accounting Office even if before 15 days they were recognizing “the difficult and quite heavy program of the certain Ministry” when the step-minister was ignoring them while they were begging him for a meeting. Also about the impacts on daily lives because of the attempted restructuring, someone can ask the workers at the National Printing Office who after reading the text of the economical law and realized that 30% of their income is cut, decided to squat the building they work inside in order not to print the Gazette! Someone can also ask them about the role of their leader syndicalists who ended the occupation because they were orally “promised by the government” a circular amending the law!
There is nothing that can improve the situation. The ceremonial demonstrations called by parliamentary leftists, as long as they remain as ceremonial, do not have any result but only show up the dead-end. We are in front of the undressing of reality from the clothes of policy. The thrown stones that hided the sky during last Friday 3.5th are not enough to make them listen to us. When more and more unemployed people will occupy buildings and police would supress them, when more and more precarious (de: bedenklich) workers/unemployed will clash with the forces of repression at any slightest opportunity, when the social chaos will tend to organize itself on its own and takes the form of class revolt, then the smile of the presenters of the TV-news will freeze on their faces and the match (de: Messung) will be on similar levels of the violence accumulated for many years because of the accumulation of capital and the expropriation of the proletarians’ lives.
“What will happen in history, tomorrow, it can only be compared with the major geological disasters who change the face of Earth …”