Greece in Flames: the Prelude of the European Revolution
G8 Summit Moved
On March 6, the White House announced that the G8 summit, scheduled for Chicago on May 19-20, will be moved to Camp David, although the NATO summit will still take place in Chicago. Protesters claim victory and pledge to continue with plans to march. “We will march on May 19th to deliver our message: Jobs, Housing, Healthcare, Education, Our Pensions, the Environment: Not War! We and tens-of-thousands will be in the streets that day for a family-friendly rally and march, with cries so loud they will be heard in Camp David and across the globe. We will be in the streets that day to fight for our future, and speak out against the wars and their cutbacks that are designed to benefit the one percent at the expense of the 99 percent of the world.”
The worst fears of the ruling classes of Greece and Europe are becoming true: an uncontrollable social explosion is under way in Greece.
When these lines were written, late in the night on February 12-13, 2012, the violent clashes and street fights between demonstrators and the riot police, in the center of Athens and in other cities all over the country, still continue. The phony “majority” that just voted in Parliament the new package of measures of social cannibalism imposed by the troika of the EU, the European Central Bank, and the IMF cannot and will not stop the Greek social wildfire to expand in the country and spread beyond Greece, all over Europe and internationally.
The popular rally in Syntagma Square Sunday, February 12 was literally gigantic: nearly a million people converged in the Square in front of the Parliament from all the neighborhoods of the Greek capital, in a mass mobilization that superseded in magnitude and fighting spirit every previous one, including the huge rallies during the General Strikes of June and October 2011.
Last week, already two General Strikes had taken place, on February 7 and on February 10-11 but many factors—lack of preparation, bureaucratic opposition to a real mass mobilization, extremely bad weather conditions—although significant, they had nothing in common with what happened on February 12, when the masses flooded the streets in Athens and nearly all other cities giving a nearly insurrectionary character to the mobilization.
The riot police, with a prepared plan, attacked the people in Syntagma from the early moments of the rally, at 5:15 p.m. When the well-known composer Theodorakis and the hero of the anti-Nazi resistance Manolis Glezos, both nearly 90 years old, advanced to enter the Parliament to make a joint statement of protest, the riot police attacked them and all the demonstrators in the Square with tons of chemicals. From that moment the center of Athens was transformed into a battlefield, while people continued to come en masse from all directions. In front of the Parliament itself, they have resisted and remained until 10:30 p.m. some contingents from the EEK [Worker Revolutionary Party], ANTARSYA [Front of the Greek Anticapitalist Left], and the youth of SYRIZA [The Coalition of the Radical Left]. But all the streets and avenues from Omonia to Syntagma and even around Acropolis were packed by people resisting the savage police brutality until late after midnight.
Barricades were erected in some of the streets. Banks, big shops, cinemas etc., about 40 buildings, were set on fire. The police station in Exarchia was attacked. A hundred citizens from all age groups were injured, some of them seriously and brought to the hospital. Another hundred were arrested, including the demonstrators who had occupied the Town Hall of Athens. The center of Athens looks today like a bombarded city.
It is noteworthy the fact that the Stalinist KKE [Communist Party of Greece] one more time held its own independent rally in Omonia Square (they claim to have assembled 50-thousand people) but they avoided to join the many hundreds-of-thousands of people in and around Syntagma Square because of the clashes of the demonstrators with the police, and they remained far way from the battle, finally dispersing peacefully their contingents. According to the Stalinist mantra every violent clash with police forces, and any form of direct action is “a State provocation.”
The popular rebellion is not limited to Athens. In other cities, all over Greece, from Corfu in the North West and Thessalonica in the North to Patras in the West and Creta in the South, were and are taking place mobilizations, demonstrations, occupations of public buildings, town halls, prefectures, etc. Attacks by angry demonstrators against the political offices of bourgeois members of parliament took place: in Corfu (North West, Ionian Sea), Agrinion (Western Greece), Iraklion (Creta, South Aegean Sea) the offices of all local deputies were destroyed.
The fury of the rapidly impoverished and ruined people was reflected even in the Parliament, blowing up the bourgeois parliamentary political system as it used to be the last 38 years, after the fall of the dictatorship. Although, a two-thirds majority of deputies voted for the barbaric Memorandum imposed by the troika and the current Papadimos government, the negative vote of an unprecedented large number of deputies was followed by massive expulsions from the ruling parties supporting Papadimos—46 deputies, including founding members or parliamentary spokesmen of their respective parties, ministers etc., were expelled in the middle of the night from the neo-liberal “socialist” PASOK [Panhellenic Socialist Movement], the right wing New Democracy and the far right LAOS [Popular Orthodox Rally[. Now in Parliament the second in numbers party is the “Party of the Expelled,” 63 deputies from the beginning of the crisis (PASOK now has 130 deputies from the initial figure of 158, and the New Democracy 62. The total number of the deputies is 300). The far right LAOS, seeing its influence shrink dramatically in the polls, voted against the new bail out, expelling two of its leading members who remained in the government as ministers and voted in favor. Nevertheless the Fuhrer of the LAOS, Karatzaferis, said that he will continue to support the Papadimos government to “save the fatherland from communism!”
A similar statement was made by the leader of the right wing New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, saying that his Party is the last rampart against “mob rule”—by “mob” meaning the rebelled masses that lean more and more to the left.
The political personnel of the bourgeoisie is decimated. Many attempts were made in these last months to create new bourgeois political parties—and more attempts certainly will come in the next period with so many bourgeois politicians becoming “homeless” after their expulsion—but they had no success at all so far, disappearing nearly after their first public appearance.
The political challenge comes to the Left. But the Stalinist KKE continues its self-centered policy focusing mainly to its own electoral and organizationally strengthening and keeping the slogan for “a workers people’s power” a vague slogan for a very distant future; the Synaspismos, main force in SYRIZA, looks to the remnants of the excluded from PASOK to build a kind of “popular front” coalition with governmental ambitions; and the “Democratic Left,” the right wing split from Synaspismos, thanks to its good results in the polls, becomes a pole of attraction for all refugees from the right wing of PASOK, hoping to become a junior partner in a future bourgeois coalition government, replacing perhaps the far right LAOS.
The lack of any real radical alternative to the collapsing system from the parliamentary and from the centrist extra-parliamentary Left, makes the re-groupment of the vanguard fighters, particularly from the young generation, in a revolutionary internationalist Party of the proletariat the main challenge and urgent task for our own Party, the EEK.
As the social-political explosion is under the way, we keep fighting with even more determination for an indefinite General Political Strike to overthrow the government, to break with the dictatorship of the EU and the IMF, to cancel the debt to the international usurers and to re-organize the entire economy on new, socialist bases, under workers power. Our hopes are focused in our class brothers and sisters in Europe and all over the world to join us in revolutionary struggle as well as in a revolutionary International needed now more than ever before.
—ZNet, February 13, 2012