Sunday, April 25 2010
The crisis is not a natural disaster that simply happens; the crisis is the outcome of the choices of all those who want to maintain this system, in which we are exploited, repressed and governed. Their proposals on how to come out of the crisis do not differ from suggestions on how the existing situation could be reinforced and take root. Our propositions can be nothing less than strikes and solidarity, occupations and sabotage, expropriations and mutual help… in order to create the world that we choose for ourselves, against all kinds of segregations and hierarchy.
-Assembly of the revolted in (the island of ) Salamina, (and the neighborhoods of) Perama, Keratsini, Nikaia, Koridallos, Piraeus
While the IMF meets in Washington, D.C. this weekend, Greece’s financial troubles have continued to deepen. Greek Prime Minister Papandreou chose the remote Aegean island of Kastelorizo on Friday to announce his government was to activate the IMF-EU “rescue” plan, effectively throwing the proletariat and lower middle classes in the country at the mercy of international financial giants. IMF loans always have nasty strings attached, rules that force the recipient to re-structure their economy along a neo-liberal, privatized, U.S. friendly model due to the influential U.S. position in the IMF.
The current situation in Greece has many similarities to the IMF crisis in Argentina in 2002 that sparked a nation-wide rebellion and created a of worker-run businesses in its wake. Add to this crisis the recent revelations that the Greek ruling class has been evading paying its share of taxes for years, and you have a country that is turning into a powder keg.
This is social war at its peak; this is the guarantee that the Greek standard of living will be crushed, and that a dictatorship of capital shall reign.
“What a day today, huh”, shrugged the old man from inside the kiosk. “What about it?” I try to sound oblivious. “April 21st, the junta…” He’s quickly agitated, starts to move his hands up in the air, drawing some imaginary bird, the junta’s shivering emblem. “That was the day they came, the day we went into hiding. We knew what was coming, oh did we know. But you know what? This is something you learn to appreciate after all these years. I never thought I would say this, but at least you knew what was coming. Yes, back in the day, a dictatorship was actually declared.”
Meanwhile, the repression and control capital demands to enforce it’s rule continues to express itself in attacks against immigrants by fascists and police, and in the case of the Revolutionary Struggle prisoners. The actions the state is taking against these prisoners are the actions of a dictatorship, of a government without legitimacy.
This morning the Athens daily Eleftherotypia issued a statement explaining why it has abstained from covering the latest “developments” in the “revolutionary struggle” case. It has openly accused the police of offering no access to journalists covering the story – and sure enough, of fabricating much of the story. This all comes from a paper that ranks among the very top in circulation in the country – and one that has been fully supportive of the PASOK government, so far. There’s something rotten in the air, some sense of an impending authoritarian rule, or is it already here? Hard to tell, these days. Back in the day, at least, dictatorships were actually declared.
Where has this economic crisis come from? It is not a natural disaster. It is not a storm that has blown in off the sea. It is a manufactured crisis, created by international banks that prey on the weak. There is no new and sudden shortage of raw materials, labor, food, or other tangible goods in Greece that are the causes of true crises in meeting people’s needs. There is the same capacity for production as before the crisis began.
This crisis has been the creation of Goldman Sachs, among others, which helped Greece hide it’s true debt in order to gain membership in the EU, and is now betting that Greece will default on repaying that very same debt they helped hide. Greece is also being forced to pay more to access credit, which exacerbates the crisis as the interest payments on Greece’s debts rise, creating a vicious cycle of increasing interest payments and increasing hesitance to loan Greece money. At the same time, the very banks creating this vicious cycle are taking out bets that Greece will default on it’s payments, giving them an incentive to keep the cycle going. These actions, along with other speculative attacks to try and push Greece into default by banks with bets on default are the cause of this crisis, but the Greek people are its victims, and the crisis seems to only be getting worse.
Anarchists responded the same day the IMF deal was announced with marches in at least 4 cities, including a 2,000 person march in Athens. Any response by a government whose true interest lied in protecting its citizens would have expelled these international banks, seized their assets, or imprisoned them for attempting to financially burn down the country.
But anarchists know that governments will always serve the interests of capital first, and so the only solution to the crisis is anarchist revolution and expropriation of all resources from the hands of capitalists to the hands of the working class, who can continue producing the things people need regardless of the position Goldman Sachs has on Greek debt.
While the new IMF deal agreed to by the government is not certain to end the crisis, it is certain to inspire a long, hot summer of hatred for for capitalists and their lackey politicians.
(h/t Occupied London for some of the writing and photos)