…2008 to the present (more or less)
Other sites, notably this, update information constantly, and for reasons of insufficient time on my part I have decided to update the chronology following April 2019 pretty sporadically and rather inconsistently.
re-arranged on 8th August 2016
The chronology, which dates from March 2013 up until the present, is now at the top of this page. It is followed by a list of texts with links from December 2008 until more or less the present, and includes also events preceding March 2013, which the chronology dates from (scroll down to the bottom of the chronology for this list).
“There is no avoiding war. It can only be postponed to the advantage of your enemy.”
This is a list of links taken from my “news of opposition” page together with comments placed in reverse chronological order up until March 2013.
Report on the last month.
The camp is now more than 11 times overcapacity, with 7,497 people registered as living in and around the facility designed to house 648. For an anlysis in 2017 of aspects of the refugee situation in Greece, see this.
“While the greek government has been terrorizing the neighborhood of Exarcheia since the summer with squat evictions, attacks on people inside coffee shops and bars and brutal beatings and arrests for no reason – especially following the protests on 17 November and 6 December, where an atypical martial was imposed in the area -, few days ago made an attempt to cover up the riot police crimes against the people in the area, by decorating Exarcheia Square with Christmas lights and a Christmas Tree…” – here. See also this, this and this.
See also Greece unrest: Merry Christmas! – TPTG (December 2008), Greek Fire (Collective Reinventions) (December 2008),Workers in Greece occupy union offices (December 2008), WE DESTROY THE PRESENT BECAUSE WE COME FROM THE FUTURE (December 2008), Like a winter with a thousand Decembers – TPTG/Blaumachen (on the events of December 2008 and other things).
“…when the Joker film came out, police raided cinemas to check IDs, threatening parents who brought their children to see it that someday they might lose custody of their children as a consequence.”
Greece, Athens: excellent intervention by anarchists on Municipal Radio; later, participants were attacked by cops
“… a counter-information intervention took place at the municipal radio “Athens 9.84”. The intervention was organised by the open assembly of squats, collectives, immigrants, internationalists, and solidarians with the participation of 30 comrades. The comrades entered the studio after coming into agreement with the employees, and the intervention lasted half an hour. While on air, the intervention made a speech about the squats, immigrants, and the general oppressive and impoverished conditions that prevail. Next, a recorded message which ridicules the regime of terror they are imposing, was broadcast. To set the record straight, we have to inform that during the intervention there was no conflict with the employees of the radio station. Whoever listened to the intervention on air understood what was the mood, and we expect from the employees to weigh in against the fabrications of the Greek Police and the Mayor of Athens. As expected, the intervention was removed from the archive that gets uploaded on the radio’s website, in an attempt to conceal the political content of the intervention and its characteristics. After the intervention, the comrades left in array towards Kerameikos tube station where they were attacked by police forces that scattered the body of the intervention through force and violence. Afterwards, 8 arrests took place in the nearby area. 7 female and 1 male comrades got apprehended, 2 students among them. One of them got sexually harassed by a cop in the police vehicle. Consequently, the arrested got transferred to the Hellenic Police Attica Headquarters. There was a solidarity gathering until midnight. The riot police attacked the gathering with chemicals, and pushed the comrades back to the Ampelokipi tube station.”
Though this site seems to be the best one for following events in Exarcheia, it may well be that some of thier stuff should be taken with a pinch of salt – exaggeration of numbers, for instance. Some reports say cops attacked a couple of days ago unprovoked, when in fact they were responding to an attack. Doesn’t help to present these anarchists purely as victims – it’s playing a classic Leftist game that probably a majority of Greek anarchists criticise when Leftists do it.
“… around 02:30am, while a group of 30 anarchists attacked MAT (riot cops, Enough 14) at the corner of tositsa/trikoupi street with molotovs; MAT who were surprised by the attack and got burned from molotovs, started to destroy and smash the banners which were outside the steki squat of anarchist immigrants.”
Video here. More here (though this journocop says the 15-year-old was killed by a “warning shot”, when everyone knows that this was a deliberate fascist killing). This takes place within the context of the state clearly aiming to destroy the Exarchea anarchist milieu (see this) .
“Hundreds of protesting migrants clashed with police for a third straight day in northern Greece on Saturday, with migrants throwing rocks at officers who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. …Several migrants, including children, fainted amid the clouds of tear gas Saturday. The protesters have lit fires to make the air more bearable, but blazes have also erupted from exploding stun grenades. In Athens, migrants left a main railway station after blocking trains on Friday and services resumed Saturday.” See also “Asylum seekers in Greece and Germany”
Greece: cops attacked in Athens and Thessaloniki “In Athens, about 40 masked individuals, dressed as revellers, attacked a police precinct in the neighborhood of Koukaki, throwing at least four firebombs. The precinct’s entrance was damaged, as were two patrol cars parked outside and an adjacent baker. Police have detained ten individuals over the incident. In Thessaloniki, about 50 people attacked police officers guarding the Turkish consulate at about 2.40 a.m. Sunday, throwing firebombs and rocks. Police responded with tear gas and stun grenades and gave chase, but the assailants run into the grounds of Aristotle University, which, like university campuses across the country, are off-limits to police. Firefighters extinguished a couple of small fires ignited by the firebombs.”
Greece, Athens: 100 hooded youths attack cops on demo against plans for university entrance exams…More here “The clashes erupted after a demonstration by hundreds of students demanding that the Ministry of Education withdraws a bill which they claim will increase their workload and force students to seek private tutoring.”
“… the protest turned violent after about a hundred hooded rioters started throwing flares, petrol bombs and rocks at police officers near the parliament building. Police resorted to shooting rounds of tear gas to contain the riot.”
Greece, Athens: Anarchy ERUPTS as thousands rampage through the shadowy streets on 5th anniversary of fascist murder of musician Karl Kraus comments on this report: “Journalist: a person without any ideas but with an ability to express them; a writer whose skill is improved by a deadline: the more time he has, the worse he writes.”…and in Piraeus, Patras & Thessaloniki, where the anarchy is maybe a bit less eruptive and the streets slightly less shadowy“…groups of protesters challenged police cordons, hurling rocks, bottles and firebombs. Police responded with tear gas”. More here “A group of unknown individuals threw petrol bombs and stones against a riot police van in Piraeus stationed next to the Municipal Theatre, to block access to the offices of Golden Dawn. There were similar clashes in Thessaloniki. A group of masked youths attacked riot officers with petrol bombs as they were guarding ruling SYRIZA’s offices.”
Greece, Athens: self-styled anarchists v. self-styled protectors of order…Lesbos: concentration camp workers start work-to-rule, announcing strike for 10/9/18 in protest against massive inhuman overcrowding
Greece, Athens: hospital workers clash with cops as they try to storm Finance Ministry “...the national union of public hospital workers (POEDIN) on Monday clashed with police in a protest outside the Finance Ministry over ongoing austerity. Police fired tear gas at protesters who tried to storm the ministry building. Some protesters threw eggs and vegetables at officers. POEDIN is opposing staff cutbacks and reductions to the benefit for hazardous work usually paid out to hospital staff.”
Greece, Piraeus: football fans clash with cops, disrupt Finance Minister “Scores of soccer fans clashed with police in the Greek port city of Piraeus, near Athens, on Wednesday as they tried to disrupt a speech given by the country’s finance minister. Police fired tear gas to disperse the youths, who threw rocks and set fire to trash bins. The violence broke out a day after the government ended a two-week suspension of the Greek soccer league after saying it had received a commitment from clubs to crack down on violence.”
Greece, Athens: 3 cop cars destroyed in anarchist attack on police station “At around the same time, a group of hooded anarchists attacked the riot police unit stationed in the corner of Patission and Tositsa streets in Athens, next to the National Technical University of Athens. The assailants threw molotov cocktails and rocks at the police. The exchange of fire bombs and tear gas between the two sides lasted for almost three hours.”
Greece, Thessaloniki: cops throw stun grenades & teargas 2000 anarchists protesting nationalism “…the anarchists… barricaded themselves at the University of Thessaloniki. Police are prohibited by law from entering the campus to make arrests. The gathering of Balkan anarchists was organized after far-right activists burned down an anarchist collective’s premises during a January rally protesting the use of the name Macedonia by Greece’s northern neighbor.” Videos here. “Black-clad rioters were seen throwing petrol bombs, fireworks and other missiles at Greek police”
Greece, Athens: luxury shops smashed up in solidarity with imprisoned Greek anarchist on hunger & thirst strike against his transfer to prison outside Athens On 24th February at dawn, 3 days after the start of his hunger strike, cops entered his cell and violently extracted him for the purpose of transferring him back to the distant Larissa Prison. When the news of this was heard, a mutiny broke out at Athens prison and mobilizations took place in many prisons throughout the country; on February 25th he began to refuse liquids. See also entry for 1/3/18.
Greece, Athens: cops molotoved in day-time march for Alexis Grigoropoulos …and in the evening also “After the march, police clashed with protesters hurling petrol bombs at them in the bohemian Exarchia district, where the unarmed boy was shot dead. There were more demonstrations in other cities across the country. Clashes broke out during protests in the northern city of Thessaloniki.” … videos & photos
Greece, Athens: cops beaten as workers break into Labour Ministry in protest against new strike restrictions Video here. Though this mainly involved Communist Party workers (notorious for opposing riots, occupations and strikes not under its control over its history, including the last 9 years), coming on the eve of the 9th anniversary of the assassination of Alexis Grigoropoulos might make for some unusual developments…though this is probably just wishful thinking.
Greece, Athens: cops clash with anti-foreclosure protesters “Greek police used teargas on Wednesday to disperse protesters from an Athens courtroom where they had been trying to halt dozens of planned foreclosure auctions of property….TV footage showed protesters hurling objects at police in a corridor filled with smoke and police pushing them back.”
Greece, Lesbos: refugees demanding transfer & trying to camp in main square attacked by fascists & shopkeepers Report on the Lesbos concentration camp here
Greece, Athens: following previous day’s riot, state ideologists prepare justifications for an attack on Exarcheia in the name of “anti-terrorism”, as shots are fired at Socialist Party offices on edge of Exarcheia
Greece, Athens (& Larissa): anarchists throw molotovs at cops etc., courthouse in Larissa graffitied “Hooded anarchists launched a barrage of petrol bomb attacks against police during extensive rioting in the notorious area of Exarcheia, Athens, on Sunday evening. The clashes continued until the early hours of Monday morning, resulting in vehicles being damaged. No injuries or arrests were reported….The opposition is accusing the government of turning a blind eye to the anarchists, who have created a no-go area in the centre of the Greek capital. Meanwhile, anarchists for the Rouvikonas group (Rubicon) vandalized the main courthouse in the central city of Larissa. In an attack, which was recorded on camera for propaganda purposes, a group of men threw paint at the entrance of the building in broad daylight in the centre of the city.”
Greece, Athens: anarchists petrol bomb cops after torture of anarchist Clarification of background to this, here
Greece, Athens: further clashes with cops on anniversary of fascist murder of rapper “Two bystanders were injured by flying stones, and a member of a Greek TV crew covering the march was beaten up by protesters. Police detained three suspected rioters. Youths smashed the windows of a local municipal building, damaged and looted a coffee shop and threw at least one gasoline bomb at police. About 2,200 people took part in two separate marches organized by left-wing groups. In the northern city of Thessaloniki, another protest in memory of the slain singer degenerated into clashes with police, who fired tear gas and stun grenades after coming under attack with Molotov cocktails and rocks. Rioters also smashed up a coffee shop. A similar protest Sunday in central Athens ended in violence, with riot police using tear gas against protesters using gasoline bombs. One detained youth was injured after being struck by a car while trying to escape from custody.” More here
Greece, Athens: cops attacked yet again in Exarchia Apparently this is a bit of a ritual there: the only cops in the area guard the Socialist Party (PASOK) building, and they – from time to time – are the object of attack. A lot of cops don’t want Exarchia to remain the virtual no-go area that it is, but the government doesn’t think it’s worth the bother to push them to end this largely cop-free zone, as it would provoke a massive, and fruitless, confrontation with the world-famous “anarchist ghetto”.
Greece, Athens: 3rd night of rioting “In a separate development, a group of hooded youths vandalized the façade of the building housing the city hall of Zografou and scattered leaflets protesting the recent death of a sanitation worker.”
Greece, Lesbos: migrants clash with cops, burn tents “The unrest began when a group of migrants launched a protest outside the so-called pre-departure center which operates within the Moria camp in a bid to draw attention the substandard conditions in which migrants awaiting deportation to Turkey are being held.”
Greece, Athens: further clashes with cops on anti-austerity demo (includes video & photos)
Greece, Athens: clashes with cops on anti-austerity demo More here & here “…hooded youths smashed the windows of a TV van and threw a firebomb at police, who responded with bursts of tear gas.”
Greece, Athens: labour ministry occupied by about 30 anarchists protesting pension cuts and security contribution hikes …Syriza offices occupied “The incident followed attacks with Molotov cocktails against riot police units in the Exarchia district of the capital by self-styled anarchists at the weekend.”
Coriolanus, Act 1 Scene 1:
[Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weapons]…
- First Citizen. We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good.
What authority surfeits on would relieve us: if they
would yield us but the superfluity, while it were 15
wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely;
but they think we are too dear: the leanness that
afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an
inventory to particularise their abundance; our
sufferance is a gain to them Let us revenge this with 20
our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know I
speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
Greece: general strike “The general strike is organised by the two big labour confederations without any prospect to continue in some way. It’s what you said about the integration of the so-called labour movement. Despite that we will be there. Even the Labour Department of Syriza will be there! It has issued a call for participation in the strike and the demo against the new law which is supposed to be imposed not by them but by the… IMF. This is just to give you an idea of what a comedy “class politics” has become nowadays!” – from an email list
Greece, Athens: riots on 8th anniversary of cop killng of Alexandros Grigoropoulos (for background analysis and history see this; for an eyewitness account by a participant see this)
Greece, Athens: polytechnic occupied on 43rd anniversary of overthrow of colonels. More here “Dozens of anarchists occupied the National Technical University complex, site of the failed pro-democracy revolt, and attacked police with petrol bombs, flares and stones. Riot police responded with tear gas and stun grenades as street battles lurched outside the university in the densely-inhabited Exarcheia district, away from the embassy. No arrests or injuries were reported.”
Greece, Chios: refugees set fires, loot stores etc. “…they smashed a fireworks store and started displaying them into houses and residents, smashed cars and shops around the place. The significant part of the camp has burned.”
Greece, Athens: molotovs v tear gas during demo against visit by Obama Video here. This seems to have been dominated by anti-imperialist ideology, and included the wretched consistently counter-revolutionary Communist Party, though it obviously included others (see here) not at all compromised in this way. See also this anarchist “welcome” to Athens [SF]
Greece, Athens: about 80 attack cop riot unit with molotovs…Xanthi: anarchists clash with cops over opening of Golden Dawn HQ “Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd of around 300 anarchists who tried to break through a cordon to attack the Golden Dawn premises, launching Molotov cocktails and vandalizing shops after being thwarted.”
Greece, Athens: anarchists chuck molotovs at cops after conflict with Golden Dawn fascists “…the anti-authoritarians attacked a group of GD supporters on their way to attend the Golden Dawn trial where major witnesses are expected to testify about the murder of left-rapper Pavlos Fyssas….Riot police that rushed to the area became also target of the anti-authoritarians who were throwing stones and several other “items” from the roofs of the building complex….On Saturday night, they again attacked police squads near the Polytechnic School in Exarchia district of Athens. The traffic on Patision Avenue was halted for several hours.”
Greece, Lesbos: migrants torch 4 offices used for social control, chuck stones at cops “Jose Carreira, executive director of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), said at least four shipping containers where interviews were conducted were entirely destroyed, and three more were damaged. “Incidents have occurred in the past but this is the most serious one,” Carreira told AFP.”
Greece, Athens: cops attacked with molotovs by about 150 people “150 protesters locked themselves inside the National Technical University of Athens in Exarcheia, and exited only to confront riot police, however, they did not provide a reason for the violence. At least two people were detained at the scene….Protesters threw Molotov bombs and other objects at police forces, set garbage cans on fire and destroyed sidewalks in order to use the broken pieces of marble as ammunition. Riot police responded with tear gas, pepper spray and stun grenades. According to Greek law, however, university premises are protected by “academic asylum” and police forces are banned from entering buildings. One of the major highways in the Greek capital was blocked for more than than four hours because of the violence.” Video here
Greece: Minister’s home attacked with molotovs and other responses to state eviction of squatters and destruction of squats in Thessaloniki “Anarchists in Thessaloniki responded by invading a cathedral during mass, and setting fire to the offices of the company carrying out the demolition work. A number of Syriza offices in Greece were occupied, while Minister Alekos Flambouraris’s home was attacked in Athens, reportedly with molotovs. In Turin, Italy, the Greek consulate was graffitied. In Crete, comrades set fire to a church.” (these events happened between this date and August 1st)
Greece, Idomeni: cops clash with refugees as they clear out camp on railway track “police had to resort to flash bangs and tear gas to disperse a group of about 200 refugees, who were attempting to use a train wagon as a barricade.”
Greece, Lesvos: migrants riot against teargassing cops “There were reports on social media that refugees had taken control of the camp, chanting “Freedom, freedom” over the public address system. The clashes broke out after a Greek policeman reportedly slapped or hit a minor, refugees inside the camp said. The violence took place during a visit to the camp by Yannis Mouzalas, the Greek migration minister, and a Dutch minister.” More here “Tension sparked when the ministers entered the unaccompanied minors department and some young men asked them if Europe wil ever open the borders for them. The reply of the Dutch minister was a desicive and rude “no”. Anger spread out and some teenagers sprayed with him water. Greek riot police answered with a really violent attack, beating at least 2 minors. That incident provoked a full uprising with young refugees throwing stones at the police, lighting fires and taking over the sector. New police forces arrived and with the extensive use of tear gas they managed to control the situation. Sources speak of at least 20 injured refugees, 2 of them with broken legs.” Video here
Lesvos containers on fire
Greece, Idomeni: migrants riot over cop van’s hit-and-run “Hordes of men reportedly wanted revenge when it was claimed cops had run down a migrant in a van….The mob is said to have smashed a window of a police van before they were driven back by officers.“
Greece, Idomeni: refugees break through border, beaten back by cops (video) More here (this thread here has constant updates on the situation with refugees and migrants in Greece)
Greece, Samos: migrants force cops to let them out of detention centre “Rioting broke out at a migrant “hotspot” reception center on Thursday on Samos, which resulted in 250 refugees pouring into the streets of the Greek island…About 560 people from the hotspot demanded the police officers, who had been protecting the center, to let them leave the facility and started threatening policemen with knives and broken glass… the local police chief decided to open the facility’s doors and allowed some 250 migrants to leave the center, however the local authorities continued their efforts to return them back”…Athens: anarchists attack offices of nauseating newspaper
Greece, Idomeni: refugees occupying railway tracks clash with cops trying to remove them “The protestors reacted violently when police attempted to clear the tracks, throwing stones at police. A minor scuffle then ensued when the police officers detained a woman and put her into a patrol car, with the gathered refugees rushing the officers and pulling her out. Calm was restored a short while later in the Greece-FYROM no-man’s land, with the protesting refugees remaining on the tracks. They have now also set up a sound system so that they can keep those staying at the Idomeni camp informed”…Athens: report of anarchists helping refugees occupy private empty houses and a university building
“…farmers from the island of Crete clashed with police outside the agriculture ministry after arriving by ferries at the port of Piraeus. They pelted the police with tomatoes and other items, broke windows in the ministry and set fire to dustbins. Police, who blocked their route, responded with teargas, and arrested four people. “The first floor of the building sustained damage, it is fortunate that no staff were hurt,” Agriculture Minister Evangelos Apostolou called on the farmers’ leaders to contain “extreme” elements in their midst. The junior interior minister for police, Nikos Toskas, said 10 police officers had been hurt, two of them requiring hospitalisation.”
Unfortunately they also waved the Greek flag all over the place.[SF]
“The European Commission (EC) is following the developments regarding the blockade on the Greek-Bulgarian border closely and with concern, considering the risk of disruption to the free movement of goods…the Bulgarian and Greek authorities have sent notifications to the EC within the context of the so called Strawberry Regulation. Under this regulation, whenever a potential obstacle to the free movement of goods occurs, the member states are required to notify the EC about the state of play and the measures they indend to take to remedy the situation. . ”
More here: http://www.tovima.gr/en/article/?aid=772511
Greece: roadblocks, ferries immobilised, agriculture minister barricaded as movement against pension cuts hots up ““It’s war,” says Dimitris Vergos, a corn grower speaking from the northern town of Naoussa. “If they [politicians] go on pushing us to the edge, if they want to dehumanise us further, we will come to Athens and burn them all.”…convoys of tractors in Thessaly, the nation’s breadbasket, blocked the road at Tempi, effectively cutting the country’s main north-south highway. Hundreds more lined the seafront in Thessaloniki while, further north, police were forced to fire rounds of tear gas at protestors barricading Evangelos Apostolou, the agriculture minister, in an administrative building as fierce clashes erupted in Komotini….“We are going for all out confrontation,” said the prominent unionist Yannis Vangos, warning that by Friday roadblocks would be erected across a large swath of the county. “
More here https://www.facebook.com/yiannisbaboulias/posts/10207726570338360
“Syriza …is accepting European “help”. The first actions are to arrest volunteers in Chios and Lesvos with ridiculous charges (some were charged with trafficking, others with carrying small amounts of weed), close down infrastructure like soup kitchens and observatories for approaching boats to help those arriving and establish fast deportation routes back to Turkey, where a recent BBC report showed that refugees have been tortured. This breaks two promises: the first is that under Syriza, solidarity networks that essentially fill in the gaps for a semi-collapsed central government, would be allowed to operate unabated.The experiment was successful, but now it’s being curtailed. The second promise broken is that of the promotion of human rights and humane treatment of refugees. By agreeing to allow Frontex to operate as border police and with the tactical police cracking down on activists, Syriza is succumbing to turning Greece to an open air detention centre for refugees, and the country as a whole to a European borderland where a quasi-autonomous force (Frontex) operates with a hazy mandate. The final straw is the extension of the operation of detention camps in Greece, all of which have come under heavy criticism for the squalid conditions under which detainees live, until at least 2018. The government has vowed time and time again that they would be shut down. Now they won’t be.”
fire outside national assembly, Athens
Greece: general strike – clashes with cops in at least 2 cities “Greeks in several major cities still took part in the day-long strike, with an estimated 8,000 people turning up in the port city of Thessaloniki, the country’s second largest population center. The march was marred when a group of about 300 masked people threw rocks and incendiary devices at police, who responded with tear gas and flash grenades, ending the confrontation, witnesses said. A few bombs struck the Greek central bank….In a surreal move for the government, Syriza called on Greeks to take part in the protest against neoliberal policies the Syriza government is implementing, distinguishing the government from the party. …The ruling Radical Left SYRIZA Party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for mass participation in Thursday’s strike. …Greek government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili denied suggestions that leftist SYRIZA was trying to play both sides in supporting the anti-austerity strike.”
Greece, Athens: token occupation of government General Accounting Office by union protesting pension reform plan… Conscripts from 50 units of the armed forces refuse to participate in anti-migrant operations ‘The Greek state and the army are part of the problem and not its solution. The SYRIZA-ANEL government continues the War on Terror, participates in imperialistic plans, targets “asymmetric threats” (immigrants, social movements), playing on the false distinction of “good” refugees from war – and “bad” economic migrants. The Armed Forces call on us, the conscripted soldiers alongside professionals and officers, to make war on the “enemy within”… We, the 16th Division in Evros, are on guard against migrants coming from Andrianopolis. We’re ordered to take part in Crowd Suppression Drills, as in Kos after the dramatic events in Kalymnos when the governor requested military aid to use weapons against hungry-thirsty-imprisoned immigrants. We guard the murderous fence which is the real reason of all the drownings in the Aegean. WE DON’T FIGHT, WE DO NOT SUPPRESS, WE DON’T HUNT DOWN MIGRANTS. We, the soldiers in struggle are against all this, against both their past and present crimes. We call for a mass movement, both inside and outside the Army…‘ This statement, although released on 19th of this month, was only translated on the 27th, and I include it here to give such an exemplary action wider exposure. Any further info on the consequences and further developments of this move would be welcome. [SK]
SamFanto: Though almost anywhere else conscripts making a statement like this is virtually unheard of, apparently this is not that unusual in Greece, which has a tradition of far leftists accepting being conscripted and forming some kind of opposition within the army; anarchists, however, are far more likely to find ways of avoiding the army by having themselves declared mentally unstable or whatever.
A friend in Greece writes:
1. I don’t think that the conscripts are involved in a act of specific
insubordination with regard to specific orders to hunt down
immigrants, because the Greek army is not so much involved in policing
immigrants during the last years. This is the job of the coast guard
and FRONTEX. Before some years drafted soldiers were used for the
policing of land borders but since the building of the fence the flows
through the land border with Turkey are much lower.
However, the act of signing such a statement itself constitutes a
violation of the army law and in that sense it is a respectable act of
2. Anarchists with maybe a few individual exceptions are campaining
against military service as such and therefore do not attempt to
contact and agitate amongst military conscripts.
3. There is alternative community service but it lasts for 24 months
(or 18 I have to check the legislation changes) and nobody opts for
that. Most of the anarchists, as I told you in the phone, get examined
by psychiatrists friendly to the milieu and get false medical papers
with which they can avoid service after 3 examinations within a period
of 2-3 years.
4. There are also a significant number of anarchists (maybe 20, maybe
more) which made a policical statement of refusing the draft and face
legal persecution. For example, N. Maziotis started his political
trajectory in the milieu with such an act.
5. There is no social movement to resist the draft. There is a quite
big part of young people who avod the draft through the use of
psychiatric exams. Its completely unconnected with the crisis of the
6. I believe that nobody wants to go to the army to avoid poverty and
unemployment. First of all, a conscript needs money to have a not
completely miserable life there. Money provided by the state is a joke
(something like 5 euros per month).
That’s all for now. I think that this act should not be taken out of
its proportions which are rather narrow.
Greece, Athens: strikers on trial This article calls them “unionists”, but certainly not all (if any) of them have a position within the union.
Greece, Agia Triada: anarchists smash up privatisation finance company’s office “The comrades levelled the floor. Computers, laptops, offices, windows, printers, cameras etc. were broken. Files were also destroyed “
Greece, Halkidiki: demonstrators and cops clash at international protest against gold mine…More here“protesters … started pelting the police force with rocks and bolts and threw firebombs….Protesters say the police, unprovoked, fired stun grenades and tear gas.“…and here “Employees of Hellenic Gold held a counter-protest in response to the government decision to temporarily shut down the site, due to technical violations.”
molotovs against syriza
Their national vision
Their system of creating internal divisions (Memorandum Vs Anti-memorandum)
The efforts of the State and of capital together to become embedded in our lives
We respond with our combative action
See you in the streets for the anarchist conflict without compromise
– Group of anarchist high school students – anti-educational Attack
Greece, Athens: call out for further assemblies of workers and unemployed This is in Greek; translation here:
THE ASSEMBLY of WORKERS and UNEMPLOYED
AGAINST THE ONGOING POLICY OF AUSTERITY AND DEVALUATION
at SYNTAGMA SQUARE
MONDAY 20/7, 7 pm
For the last five years, the policy of devaluation not only of our labour power but also of our life as a whole (also known as the “Memorandum”) has been relentless and inexorable. It is served and promoted both by the Right wing and the Left wing of the state and capital.
We, waged workers, unemployed, students and housewives who make this announcement, are people who have been involved in various class struggles, either within the workplaces or in the working-class neighborhoods, all these years.
We are the ones who, whether we voted in favor of NO, meaning NO to the policy of austerity and devaluation as a whole, or abstained from the referendum consciously, rejecting the dilemmas posed by the political parties, share a common desire. The desire to defend the interests of our class against the interests of the bosses and to contribute to all possible ways of collective action to meet our social needs.
We share, in short, the necessity:
TO ORGANIZE THE VISIBILITY OF OUR CLASS AND OF OUR NEEDS IN THE PUBLIC SPACE
For the last five years we have suffered far too much and now the capitalist state is assuring us, after adopting the 3rd Memorandum, that we will continue to suffer: wage and pension reductions, cuts in health and education spending, non-existent unemployment benefits, increases in the direct taxation of our homes, increases in the indirect taxation on food, catering, transport.
We spit on the “humanitarian aid” offered to us by local and the international capitalists and the political personnel that represents them. We are not beggars, we do not need them; they are the ones who are still here thanks to our own “humanism” and the coercive labour time that we provide them with.
WE WILL NOT REMAIN PASSIVE SPECTATORS OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS. WE WILL NOT GO WINDOW-SHOPPING STARING AT THE PRICE OF THE VARIOUS POLITICAL COMMODITIES
“We were spared the grexit and financial suffocation! ”, say the government crooks who share smilingly together with the usurer states the same mystifying ideology and practice of the “state of exception”. Behind this ideology and practice of false blackmailing dilemmas (“euro or drachma?”) they hide not their ‘exceptional’ but their permanent need to usurp the wealth produced by the productive and reproductive labour of the local and “foreign” proletariat.
WE WILL TAKE BACK WHAT BELONGS TO US! WE KNOW THAT THE SATISFACTION OF EVEN OUR MOST IMMEDIATE NEEDS NECESSARILY LEADS US TO THE REAPPROPRIATION OF THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND COMMUNICATION THAT WE AND THE PAST GENERATIONS OF PROLETARIANS HAVE CREATED
We declare that the presence and involvement of fascists, racists, sexists and stalinists in our assembly is undesirable. We are not patriots, we do not struggle under any national flags. The earth is our homeland. We do not struggle under the vague and misleading labels of “citizens”, “residents / neighbors”, “private owners” and the “people” that crooked politicians everywhere use to obscure the reality of social inequality and the exploitation of labor.
We invite all comrades, all the people who have been fighting, and still are, in an autonomous way in workplaces and neighborhoods against the policy of devaluation and recuperation in the previous years, to join organizational efforts with us and continue resisting the application laws of the new memorandum to be voted these days in the Parliament by the informal all-party government of SYRIZA-ANEL-ND-PASOK-THE RIVER. And above all, to find ways for the immediate satisfaction of our needs.
ASSEMBLY of WORKERS and UNEMPLOYED at Syntagma Square
ADDENDUM: On Wednesday 15, after the end of the morning demonstration of workers in the public sector, the Assembly made an intervention at the subway to claim free transport. On Thursday 16, working groups which were proposed in the first meeting for the organization of activities and events were formed. On Sunday 19, the Assembly will take solidarity action with the striking workers in the commercial sector who will blockade the central commercial street of Athens against the abolition of the Sunday holiday. On Tuesday 21st and Thursday 23rd, the Assembly will organize two public meetings, one on the new austerity measures and one on the self-reduction of prices and debts in Syntagma Square.
Greece, Athens: demonstration of impotence…public sector unions announce 24-hour general strike for 15th July “The deal involves increasing taxes, pension reforms, making the Greek statistics office independent and automatic spending cuts in case Greece misses primary surplus targets – all of which must be legislated by Wednesday. Greece also has to commit to overhauling the justice system and implementing European Union rules on handling bank failures by July 22. These are noticeably tougher reforms than those Greece overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum earlier this month.”
...EU demands limitations on ability to go on strike “…a drop in the national minimum wage and the weakening of sectorwide collective bargaining agreements. On top of that, Athens will pursue further measures designed to bolster the leverage of employers against unions. Likely among that new batch: laws that pave the way for companies to issue mass layoffs and rein in the ability of workers to go on strike.”
…Superyan (Yannis Varoufakis) asks to have his luxury home privatised “On Friday, July 10, 2015, when the Hellenic Parliament voted on the “Tsipras submissions” to the EU, Yannis Varoufakis, former minister of finance, and current MP, wasn’t there. He wasn’t there to vote “yes” “no” or “present.” …If the Syriza had a hair on its ass, which it does not, it would designate all of Varoufakis’ property for immediate assignment into the privatization fund.”
Syriza up in flames
DEAD OR ALIVE
(preferably the former)
Greece: reports, which though ideologically leftist, show why Greece is hardly to blame for its debt –here ; and here (the latter is a broadcast: details about the history of the debt start at about 8 minutes 30 seconds in)
Greece, Athens: anarchists celebrate No victory by chucking molotovs at cops…Part 2 of Wolf Report’s “We interrupt this referendum…” …and more from the wolf, FWIW…and another interesting article…Democracy is when “no” and “yes” mean the same thing
Rough translation (from French) of anti-election leaflet originally written in Greek (added 11/7/15):
For abstention in the referendum and conflict with the institutions of democracy
The Greek state is in search of accomplices. The referendum is the best way to
find them. By generously offering illusions of free mediation and making us contribute to the project of its reinforcement, its maddest desire is materialized: We will be the ones
who will bury ourselves under our own tombstone! The dilemma is simple: yes or no? Bad
foreign creditors or good management of the state by the Left? Memorandum heavy or light? Measures totaling 12 billion or 8 billion? Another opportunity to put our lives
in the hands of the government and saviours. Another opportunity for national unity,
to forget what divides us and unite the motley crowd (fascists, patriots, bosses,
good citizens) to address the common external enemy, the lenders, and by this path
clear the local bosses of all responsibility.
As anarchist high school students, we choose to abstain in the referendum (although
we do not have the right to vote). We are opposed to the system’s dilemmas and its
illusions, and we clarify in advance that we will not participate in any institutional or electoral proceedings of government. Because simply, such a process is aimed at stabilizing the system and preserving and strengthening the national and institutional domination of the state, as is each option given to us through this expedient. However, we do not support abstention as an alternative or third way, because we think that abstention alone only leads to passivity and assimilation.
So based on this mindset, the only abstention that satisfies us is that resulting
from conflict, insurrectional action and anarchist struggle. Far from the parties and their
lines. Far from saviours and leaders. Self-organized, radical and aggressive, because it is
only in this way that can we take our lives into our own hands.
For a frontal attack against the state, capital and all forms of authority.
Group of anarchist high school students – anti-educational Attack.
Greece, Athens: pepper spray and stun grenades used against rock-throwing demonstrators…supermarket raided by anti-austerity people ” “A group of around 30 people raided a supermarket in the Athens neighborhood of Vyronas on Friday, throwing anti-austerity flyers into the air and grabbing food off the shelves. The youths, who were believed to belong to anti-establishment groups, left the supermarket without paying and shared their loot with passers-by in the street before fleeing.” See this on the referendum.
Greece, Athens: Syriza’s cops tear gas leftist trying to put up “No” poster on EU offices The headline here wrongly describes the protesters as “anarchist”; they’re not – they’re various forms of Leninists (Trots, Maoists, Stalinists).
Greece, Athens: Syriza office torched by anarchists In the meantime, Syriza’s referendum has distracted from the fact that Syriza has given way to most of the detestable Troika’s demands, but the Troika, it seems, just wants its pound of flesh – wanting to punish the Left of capital and the Greek proletariat at the same time, to discourage any very minor tendencies towards some very watered-down Keynesianism. The call for a referendum is not just brinkmanship in response to the brinkmanship of the EU, but also a way of preventing splits in Syriza’s party, which would have become very overt if Syriza had conceded absolutely everything to the Troika: it would have destroyed its hold on parliament. However, the EU don’t particularly want a Greek exit – it’d be the first time the EU area would have reduced in size in its entire history. Plus, with Podemos possibly coming to power in Spain, the fear that another country might follow will not be something the Euro bankers particularly want. Their hope might be that the return of the drachma will be so devastating for Greece, that the voters of Spain will decide not to support Podemos in less than 6 months time. But they might feel that’s not a risk worth taking and in the face-off they’ll be the first to blink. However, I suspect that neither side will withdraw from the brink and a Greek exit is more likely than one side conceding (though it’s possible the EU will make very slight concessions which Syriza will somehow spin as something a lot more than what they’re likely to be). Speculating on such possibilities however is a way of making me feel that I’m in some way contributing to effecting a situation totally outside my (or the vast majority of proletarians’) control. Because, without any international confrontation with the forces of capital on any revolutionary scale, Greece is caught between the rock of brutal EU-managed austerity and the hard place of brutal nationally-managed austerity. Isn’t democracy a wonderful thing? More witty analysis here: “The referendum is less than sound and fury signifying nothing. It’s less than zero. A tic. The trembling of a dead body. “
Greece, Athens: anti-authoritarians fight Syriza’s riot cops with molotovs and fireworks as demo against debt regenerates (video here) See this, for latest reflection on Greece’s debt
Greece, Athens: union members occupy European Commission offices for a few hours after demo against austerity (see also this, for a critique of the false choice between the rock of complicity with Troika demands and a hard place of Grexit)
Greece, Athens: 5 ATMs of bank (belonging partly to head of murderous oil refinery company) torched “5 National Bank ATMs torched in Athens on 10.06.15. for the workers who were killed in the #Aspropyrgos Refinery explosion on 08.05.15. The refinery is run by the company Hellenic Petroleum (HP). “The National Bank was chosen as a target because the capitalist-gangster Spyros Latsis* owns an 11% share of it’s capital…Revenge for the dead HP workers! Class against class!”
*note: Spiros Latsis owns 42% of Hellenic Petroleum.
Greece, Athens: heavy clashes with cops on anti-gold mine demo (video)…contradictions between mine workers and opponents Without a pan-European and international movement seriously threatening life dominated by an ecologically-disastrous commodity economy (of which gold mining is an obvious part) it’s kind of inevitable that such conflicts of interest amongst proletarians get expressed. Especially in a country where being unemployed is generally already disastrous. How to overcome these separations is a significant strategic question, particularly as the Greek Communist Party plays on maintaining such separations (they distributed a traditional workerist leaflet opposing the closure of the mines). As well as, obviously, the mining company – who bused in these workers for the demonstration. ( more here)
Greece, Athens: anarchists continue rioting A Greek friend writes: “…the anarchists played a good game with the limits of the new soft policing strategy of the state. Whether they have managed to gain something I don’ t know because the new law on prisons will probably pass next week. Unfortunately, because of their avant-guardist mentality, they were unable to connect with anybody outside of the anarchist milieu.” The group of prisoners the anarchists were rioting in support of come mainly from Revolutionary Struggle. This group has, in meetings, expressed its opposition to looting, saying that a social movement would have to violently prevent the next insurrection from having the looting that characterized part of 2008. This isn’t so foreign to the Greek anarchist scene. Someone got burned (literally) when he started looting during the 2003 riots in Thessaloninki – not out of hostility, but because the crowds throwing molotovs couldn’t imagine someone would go inside the shops to take things instead of just destroying the temples of commodity-democracy. On the other hand, on hearing this from a leading light of Revloutionary Struggle, some anarchists were horrified by it. Presumably there are also full-time support people for the Revolutionary Struggle prisoners who also felt opposed to their, essentially Leninist, stance on looting (see, for instance, these hilarious moralistic comments by Demogorgon303, Alf and other ICC people from here onwards, about the “looting” of stuff washed up on the shore of a Devon beach after a shipwreck in 2007). Of course, in an insurrection where the state and the market has suffered a major defeat and forced to massively retreat, the organisation of the distribution of things under a proletarian democratic form will involve suppressing looting as this could be done by little survivalist gangs or even remaining sections of the elite at the expense of the general interest, but this was not what Revolutionary Struggle had in mind. (My thanks to H about most of this about the Greek group Revolutionary Struggle).
Greece, Athens: anarchists torch cars, fight cops (video here – tasteless, horrifying, shocking, nauseating …but music aside, interesting) “Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Giannis Panousis requested Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ intervention in order to address the riots issue, while he even hinted that he may resign if Tsipras does not take any action. “The Prime Minister must decide which side he wishes to support and which he will leave behind,” he said. Panousis also stressed that the anti-authoritarians want someone to die so that they will be able to repeat the episodes that occurred in 2008 after the death of Alexis Grigoropoulos.”
Greece: various public buildings occupied by anarchists in different parts of the country “Around 20 people entered the courtyard of the parliament building in central Syntagma square…. they left after about five minutes. They scattered flyers and chanted slogans including for the immediate release of “Xiros”. Savas Xiros is serving multiple life terms for his role in the November 17 group, which killed Greek, US and British diplomats before being dismantled in 2002. …Protesters also called for the end to high security prisons, which the new Syriza government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has vowed to scrap. Small groups took over Syriza offices in the southern town of Patras, the office of a governing lawmaker in the Cretan capital Heraklion as well as the town hall in a suburb of Athens…Protesters also occupied part of a university in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, and have been occupying the offices of one of Athens’ main universities since Monday.” (video here) It should be pointed out that there are many currents of “anarchism” in Greece, including Leninoid-type shitheads who totally oppose looting. Also, seethis mainstream journalistic take on these occupations “…there are signs government patience with the protests is finally wearing thin. The prolonged seizure of the Athens’ administrative building since March 30 prompted exasperated employees to stage a march last Wednesday outside their occupied offices. …”This hasn’t happened for years now — not in this manner,” said university vice-rector Thomas Sphicopoulos of the occupation. “We can’t work, and the university was already in a very difficult situation due to budget cuts.” Other demonstrating employees were more pointed in their anger at the government for not intervening. “Where is the respect for liberty, and where is the state?” fumed one university staffer who asked to remain anonymous.”
A friend in Greece wrote, referring to the above link: “The demonstration of the “exasperated university employees” against the main university occupation mentioned in the link you sent was actually very small. Most of the employees were either indifferent or supportive of the anarchists (without taking part in the occupation).”
Greece, Halkidiki: anti-gold mine protesters clash with cops More here: “Protesters accused the police of making heavy use of tear gas, causing a fire in the woods, and of chopping down trees to prevent demonstrators from approaching the mine. Police say protesters threw firebombs at them, setting ablaze a forested area on the site. Either way, the fire has been put out.”
Greece, Athens: anarchists get angry after fascists attack monument to anti-fascist musician “anarchists marched through the city center, broke one car, threw Molotov cocktail on the other, burned garbage bins, broke some shop windows…After the march, anarchists staged a protest against new agreement between Greece and the international creditors.”…though this report claims it’s only about the Syriza-Troika agreement (video here) (see also this, on privatisation in Greece)
Greece, Athens: anti-state riot in support of anarchist hunger striking prisoner (slightly absurd but kind of funny video here)
Greece: call no lager – a pdf of a call out from comrades in Greece about the upcoming trial of the migrants accused of the uprising at Amygdaleza detention center in Athens. The Amydgaleza uprising of August 2013 is a major event within a continuum of migrant struggles against detention centres, which consists of revolts, frequent hunger strikes and even actions of self-harm. This is why we believe that the trial of those accused of the Amygdaleza uprising is of extreme importance, and it is essential that it gains broader attention. This is a call to initiatives abroad, asking for their support in any way.
Greece, Athens: molotovs thrown, banks attacked on anniversary of fascist murder of rapper “… extreme left protesters threw Molotov cocktails and rocks on the sidelines of an event marking the first anniversary of the murder of a rapper by a fascist sympathizer of the Golden Dawn. Thousands of protesters gathered in Keratsini, a town in the nearby suburbs of Athens, where Pavlos Fyssas, known by the stage name of P Killah, was killed a year ago by a militant nationalist formation. Brief scenes of violence erupted when dozens of hooded protesters left the ranks of the event before being chased through the streets by law enforcement. According to a police official, at least four banks, two shops and a kiosk were attacked.”
Greece: unions call off electricity strike after state threatens to jail strikers “There is no avoiding war. It can only be postponed to the advantage of your enemy.” –Machiavelli
Greece: hunger strike against maximum security jail by 3800 prisoners...solidarity demo…here it claims that the strike is being followed by 90% of prisoners, though I suspect that’s an exaggeration; it also mentions that a banking agency was attacked in Volos in solidarity with the prisoners (June 6th) …list of videos concerning Greek prisons
“No work – no shopping”
Greece: farmers block roads and toll booths “The farmers gathered at the critical Nikaia roadblock in central Greece — just off the main north-south national highway linking Athens and the country’s second-largest city Thessaloniki …Earlier, they had blocked traffic on the national highway near Larissa for two hours before departing. A little further down, their colleagues in Lamia had also blocked the road for roughly half an hour before departing, with traffic restored just before 2 p.m. …As part of the protest, farmers in Lamia poured milk and farm produce on the road. Protests were also held on the Patras-Corinth national highway linking Athens with the west, where farmers occupied the Rio road toll booths and let cars through free of charge, and in Pella where they occupied a public building in Edessa. Meanwhile, services at the Eastern Macedonia-Thrace Region headquarters will be closed on Monday in solidarity with farmer protests scheduled to take place on Monday afternoon in the region.”
Greece, Attique : toll booth burnt Sunday night – 9 arrests Monday morning, including the mayor (video here) I should point out that often – and everywhere, not just in Greece – there are demonstrations about local problems in which the local mayor is involved; the point it, too often those who are behind the mayor stay behind the mayor – turn to him/her for inspiration. But those who have a certain official position habitually play 2 sides and as soon as the mayor stops participating in a movement (often because of their need to represent which is endemic to their political role), those who are behind them also stop, having given them an excessive degree of authority (and this is also applicable to union reps at the base of the union as well) . For example, in India, attacks against toll booths are partly expressive of inter-political party rivalry (see here).
Greece, Athens: 11 week strike by University admin enters new phase as the state tries to enforce its recent law making it illegal The government wants to cut administration staff, plus manual workers (cleaners, electricians, etc.) and technicians, by 60%. Those left would have to work longer hours for lower wages. The rector/dean is opposed to this, and supports the strike (though, of course, playing 2 sides – denouncing its more radical aspects). In part his support for the strike is because the University would have to employ less experienced workers, and that messes everything up for him. Up till now the law has been that it is up to the rector to call the cops; the state can’t “conscript” the workers (ie force them to work on pain of punishment or sacking) without his consent. The university students support the strike, even though this has meant that onsite coursework has been suspended for 2 months. In practice, though, it’s only about 5% of the students – roughly 1000 out of roughly 20,000 – who in fact do anything to support the strike – like mounting picket lines and blockades, turning away the more passive acquiescent students. It looks like things are moving towards some significant development. Watch this space. (see also the entry below for 6/11/13)
Greece: 24 hour official general strike Apparently some of these strikes are breaking out of the unions’ hold. For instance, in Athens at the University, there’s been a strike of all the various sections of state employees for 9 weeks and they often refuse and confront the bureaucrats’ directives, and make links outside of the university. More on this when I get more information.
‘Kaminis, no wall will be left untouched,’
In Athens a strike (against massive public sector worker redundancies) of employees at the University (the University of Athens) and Polytechnic (National Technical College) has been going on since Friday the 6th, with an occupation of the Physics and Pharmaceutical departments of the University and the whole of the Polytechnic going since Tuesday 10th, with entrances being blockaded, though often not totally successfully. These occupations, however, are minority occupations – run by the more politicised (leftist/anarchist etc.) sections. The majority are mostly passive.
************end of chronology***********
This was originally put up in July 2015 following the “No” vote which Syriza, like rapists hearing a woman’s “No”, pretended was a “Yes”
Greece: the birthplace of democracy:
This is basically “a reader” with links to various texts and reports covering the period 2008 to the present day
“…the independent “new left” party SYRIZA (Coalition of the Left and Progress) has sought to position itself—by extending a kind of critical support to the protest movement—so as to be able to co-opt the discontent for its own electoral ends.”
The current debt crisis tends to be seen purely within the terms of economics and politics in its most obviously conventional forms. Even by those opposed to SYRIZA and the state. But one of the factors in the brutal punishment of the Greek proletariat which is rarely talked about is to wipe out the memory of what happened almost 7 years ago, to show the world that rising up against the economy and its state will inevitably lead to terrible unending hardship. Of course, the only “inevitability” comes from the fact that the movement in Greece had an insufficient influence on proletarians in other countries – it didn’t subsequently inspire a worldwide movement capable of subverting the world of wage labour and commodity production. Nor did this movement, generally speaking, lead to a subversion of the world of work within Greece – workers hardly came out on strike and Leftist ideology and control of the more traditional forms of class struggle ensured that the movement remained largely outside of the world of work (though one could add that many anarchists and other anti-authoritarians had no interest in making connections with workers in their work situation).
The following is a list of texts that deal firstly with the uprising of December 2008 and subsequent movements, leading up to the recent spectacle of the referendum and the complete and utter acquiescence of the SYRIZA government. It’s a bit of a lazy method on my part – so far, I have no synthesis to make of all this. Rather, for the moment all I’m doing is providing people reading this with the facts and analysis that could help towards an understanding of the situation that could help future movements, but I’ve only done so mainly by linking to texts and newspaper articles. Hopefully, this will help the reader to do their own research.
Texts in chronological order from the end of 2008 to the present day
TPTG texts are here, but for more readable versions for those who read off a screen, I suggest what’s listed below (amongst non-TPTG stuff)
Greece unrest: Merry Christmas! – TPTG (December 2008)
Greek Fire (Collective Reinventions) (December 2008)
Workers in Greece occupy union offices (December 2008)
WE DESTROY THE PRESENT BECAUSE WE COME FROM THE FUTURE (December 2008)
Like a winter with a thousand Decembers – TPTG/Blaumachen On the events of December 2008 and other things
The following is a translation of a leaflet I wrote in French in April 2009 (to fill a gap in the lack of information in the French language), though unfortunately I don’t have all of it – the last paragraph is missing:
The movement in Greece, January – March 2009
“VIOLENCE means working for 40 years, getting miserable wages and wondering if you ever get retired…
VIOLENCE means state bonds, robbed pension funds and the stock-market fraud…
VIOLENCE means being forced to get housing loans which finally you pay back as if they were gold…
VIOLENCE means the management’s right to fire you any time they want…
VIOLENCE means unemployment, temporary employment, 400 Euros wage with or without social security…
VIOLENCE means work ‘accidents’, as bosses diminish their workers’ safety costs…
VIOLENCE means being driven sick because of hard work …
VIOLENCE means consuming psycho-drugs and vitamins in order to cope with exhausting working hours…
VIOLENCE means working for money to buy medicines in order to fix your labour power commodity…
VIOLENCE means dying on ready-made beds in horrible hospitals, when you can’t afford bribing.”
– Proletarians from occupied GSEE, Athens, December 2008
It’s well-known that in December 2008, a great uprising spread throughout Greece, catalysed by the murder of a young 15-year-old guy (Alexandros Grigoropoulos) by a cop: riots in at least 15 towns; attacks with molotov cocktails and stones on 35 police stations in Athens, and against a lot of other police stations elsewhere; shops looted everywhere, especially large supermarkets and luxury shops; banks attacked everywhere; occupations of 800 high schools and 200 universities; occupations of several town halls and prefectures, of radio and TV stations, and of some local newspapers, of theatres and of some trade union offices and revolutionary texts criticising this stupid brutal world distributed everywhere, etc. etc.
Just as the French Minister of Education (Darcos) in December decided to postpone the reforms planned for the high schools for a year because of the riots in Greece (without saying it was because of this, but it was obvious), the media thought that it would be more prudent this year to remain silent about the movement in Greece. According to the media, almost nothing has happened in Greece since the uprising. In December, there were demos in solidarity with the Greek movement, sometimes violent, including occupations of Greek embassies, in more than 100 towns throughout the world. The fear of the ruling world that what happened in Greece could have an influence elsewhere (and certainly not in solidarity with other movements: solidarity begins at home) shows that the media likes to mainly speak about the misery and idiocy of this world but very little about the opposition to this horror.
As a contribution towards breaking this repressive silence, we have made a list here of some aspects of the movement since December (it’s true that the movement after December didn’t reach the same intensity, but it continued).
There were at least 62 universities occupied and open to everyone (not like what often happens in France, where often occupations remain corporatist, only for the students). There were also some high schools occupied, particularly in reaction to punishments inflicted on pupils who had participated in the movement in December.
The employees of the water company in Thessalonika went on strike against privatisation and against the corruption of the bosses, occupying the company’s building (even if they are threatened and intimidated by the bosses).
The building belonging to the journalists’ union was occupied by youths and by media workers (Athens).
A town hall cafe was occupied by anti-authoritarians, so as to use it as an open space for counter-information, for discussion and for the co-ordination of actions.
The threat (and not just the threat) of a big demo managed to force the cancellation of the transport of American arms destined for Israel (during the massacre in Gaza) through the private port of Astakos on the Aegean Sea.
End of January, and continuing for almost 21 weeks, there was an occupation of the National Opera House by dancers, open to everybody for discussion and debate. They declared “the streets are our stage, revolt is our art”.
A lot of actions were linked to the sulphuric acid attack on a striker, Konstantin Kouneva, thrown into her face by by a state-linked fascist just before Christmas (often fascists openly help the cops and are a part of the State; they even openly threw tear gas at demonstrators alongside the cops). This cleaner was the leader of a strike and almost died because of this attack. The company for which she works is directed by a Socialist Party M.P.
On top of several different demos, there’ve been several actions in soliarity with her over the 12 weeks which followed the attack. Here are the most recent ones:
Tuesday, March 3rd, 1 o’clock in the morning: after having asked passengers to leave (it was the last stop), some masked and disguised passengers set fire to and burnt the whole train and the fire spread to other stationary trains, causing 16 million euros of damage. The railway company “ISAP” was Konstantina K’s employer, and the group who did this – “The consciousness band” -published a communique citing this.
Friday 6th March: activists occupied an “ISAP” station, putting the ticket machines out of action, so making transport free.
Saturday, 7th March: the offices of the National Electricity Company, another company which employs the cleaners who are on strike, were burnt and 7 vehicles of this company were destroyed. Before this, the offices had been occupied by demonstrators out of solidarity with K.K., just as had happened with several offices of “ISAP”.
There have been a lot of attacks on distributors of commodities – the shops (particularly those selling luxury cars). At the beginning of January, a chain of groceries was attacked and the shopping trolleys were filled with food and other stuff and given to people going about their shopping in the market. But more recently (Sunday 8th March) there was an arson attack on a large supermarket in the south of Athens (Dafni), which was completely destroyed. On 8th March as well, the General Secretariat of Employees (in Kalithea) and the Office of Work Inspection (in Agio Anargiroi) were seriously damaged.
During January and February, there were lots of actions on the part of farmers/peasants demanding an increase in subsidies and in pensions and a reduction in the price of fuel. In January they blocked several motorways in Greece for several days, and in Crete they occupied airport runways, forcing the cancellation of several flights. They managed to get an increase of 500 million euros in subsidies, but Crete was not included in this agreement. At the beginning of February, 1000 farmers from Crete arrived at Pireas port in order to do a very slow drive (operation snails-pace) to Athens, but the cops blocked them off and attacked them with tear gas and truncheons; the farmers responded with stones and other missiles, burning dustbins, and attacked the cops with tractors. In response to the brutality of the cops, there was a wildcat spontaneous general strike in Crete which lasted several days; all public sector workers left their offices, taxi drivers went on strike, petrol stations and even the shops closed. Farmers occupied 2 offices of the Ministry of the Economy and blocked the Bank of Greece.
Tuesday, February 24th: state-linked fascists threw a grenade against a centre for immigrans in Athens, where 2 meetings full of people were being held. By chance, the grenade bounced off the wall and exploded in the street. 2 days later there was a demo asgainst this attack and a large group of anarchists left the demo to attack the offices of a right-wing daily newspaper (which had collaborated with the frascist coup d’etat by the gnenerals in 1967) with a sledge hammer and other things. Several cars belonging to journalists were also burnt. A 2nd demo on March 5th was attacked by cops and there was a large riot. Some banks and some shops for the rich were attacked, and the office of the fascist organisation most associeated with the cops (“Golden Dawn”) – responsible for a lot of attacks against the movement – was completely destroyed by fire. There was also a riot in Salonika that day.
Monday, March 2nd in Patras, an Afghani immigrant tried to climb onto the back of a lorry but another lorry behind it had accelerated in order to crush him between the 2 vehicles. He almost died. Given the atmosphere of racist attacks, often supported by the cops, the reaction of more than 1000 Afghans along with other people from the neighbourhood was to construct burning barricades and confront the cops supported by the local fascists. The tear gas and the brutality of the attacks pushed the Afghans to retreat to their ghettoised zone. Later some Greeks from the neighbourhood prevented the state-linked fascists from attacking the ghetto by throwing bottles and other missiles from the balconies onto the amassed fascists below. You have to realise that these fascists from Patra had already killed people opposed to this society.
Wednesday, 4th March – some young people assemble at the spot where Alexandros Grigoropoulis was murdered. They tried to prevent the construction of a building to the side of this site by attacking construction vehicles and by burning and destroying a big bulldozer. The cops attack with tear gas.
Something similar happened at the end of January and at the beginning of February when some people occupied one of the rare parks in Athens, a park where the mayor wanted to get a private car park built. They built some barricades and attacked the bulldozers; the cops attacked with truncheons and tear gas, but the occupiers responded with stones and barricades across the main road, whilst some demonstrators attacked 2 local police stations, which had a reputation for extreme brutality (in the past they’d tortured and raped people who’d been arrested), burning cop vehicles. The occupation of the park continued for several weeks, with parties and discussions in which the whole neighbourhood participated.
The high schools movement continues. One example: on Friday 27th February, pupils from 2 state middle schools in Athens attacked a private school, reserved for children of the ruling class. They broke one of the entrances and the security guard post, writing up anarchist graffiti, and chucking fireworks and oranges at the school….
Greece: reflections on some of the contradictions of the movement there (January 2010) Discussion thread on libcom started by me. Worth looking at the entries by taxikipali on this site – there are a lot, and it’s a very eclectic bunch of information which goes up to the last quarter of 2010. Also check out Thrasybulus. Again, an eclectic collection, but worth sifting through.
There’s only one thing left to settle: our accounts with capital and its state – TPTG (March 2010) On the crisis there and some of the movement opposing austerity
In critical and suffocating times – TPTG (May 2010) On various anti-austerity demos and events
Is it Possible to Win the War After Losing All the Battles? by Cognord (Ferbruary 2015)
If Syriza is the answer, then the question was wrong – Cognord (March 2015)
60 days older and deeper in debt – by the TPTG (April 2015)
Minister of Sic (April 2015) This is less about Greece than about the “communisation” milieu from which one of the more prolific of theoreticians of this scene became a minister in Syriza’s government.
Changing of the Guards – Cognord (July 2015)
greece: the big deception (july 2015) – written by the TPTG
The Wolf Report: nonconfidential analysis for the anti-investor (2015 )This links to the latest text, but in fact, all of the texts from January to July 2015 are about Greece. Written in a sarcastically witty style, it concentrates mainly on SYRIZA and the ridiculous illusions that people have had in it, as well as aspects of the political economy of the the Greek debt written from a marxist perspective. Its main weakness is a failure to talk at all about concrete examples of the social movement against SYRIZA in Greece, apparently because this comes mainly from anarchists and his blog is intended for marxists, who he assumes are his main readers. Which seems like a narrow perspective, insofar as anyone who wants the development of social opposition should be interested in all proletarian opposition, regardless of the political label that proletarians attach themselves to.
The Social Crisis in Greece by TPTG (march 2017)