The election of PASOK (Greek socialist party, think NewLabour, but controlled by a family dynasty) in the recent snap general election has, so far, changed absolutely nothing in Greece. The pattern of state repression, and resistance by workers and other social movements, continues.
On a turnout of 71% on 4 October, PASOK got 44%, which means about 160 seats in parliament out of 300. The commies got 21 seats, and a radical left coalition 13 seats. Papandreou, the PASOK leader, took power on 8 October, announcing his government were ‘antiauthoritarians in power’! On the 9 October the police and security forces launched a 3 day invasion of the radical Athens area known as Exarcheia. This saw thousands stopped, searched, humiliated and brutalised on the streets and in bars, clubs and cafes, with well over 100 detained. The 10th saw a protest march in the area. The 8th had seen a smallscale sabotage attack against banks and a fascist bookshop. At the final rally before the election of the soon to be outgoing right-wing Prime Minster, a bomb went off near to him, allegedly planted by radicals. On the 9th October a Pakistani immigrant ‘without papers’ died of wounds inflicted on him by police after being tortured in a police station between 26 to 28 September. He had been wrongfully arrested…but without papers he had no rights, and no right to healthcare. He is one of many migrants to die in the last year. This is life on the streets of Athens, and all major towns in Greece, day after day after day. Resistance, repression, resistance, repression.
At the port of Peiraeus, just outside Athens, and Greece’s largest, dockworkers are now on their 13th day of strike against the privatisation and sale of this publicly owned asset. Despite PASOK’s promise (oh yeah?) to renegotiate the deal, the dockworkers are committed to staying out until the 18th October. Also recently announced, 2 national one-day strikes by workers of Vodafone and Wind telecoms, one for the 14th and one for the 15th October. This is life for the workers of Greece, strike after strike after strike.
The Greek economy is fucked. The only solution of the bosses and politicians is privatisation, cuts, pay freezes (and real non-payment of wages), unemployment, repression. The cops are heavily infiltrated by, and work with, the fascist groups on a daily basis. The prisons are horrendous and inhumane, despite the prison uprisings last November. So it goes on, repression and resistance, in a battle the EU and international capital cannot afford the Greek government to lose. In a battle the people cannot afford to lose.
We hear little of this in the UK. Whilst the election results made the news for a couple of days, we hear nothing about the daily struggle and class war. Its like Bristol Comutiny happening every day magnified a thousand times, but never being reported. And the radical anti-authoritarian movement in Greece is many thousands times bigger than here. There are independent media sources that we can turn too – the most regular, and in-depth is on the LibCom newswire. Athens Indymedia has an English page. Occupied London blog has regular updates, whilst 325 is good for actions of social war and prisoners. The Wombles site is good for all round international news and actions. Clandestineenglish is great for migrant and no border issues.
What can we do here in the UK? Well keeping ourselves better informed is a start, as the battle playing out in Greece is extremely significant and a pointer towards things to come. People going to London and/or Brighton in late-October will have the chance of hearing first hand from Greek speakers on the current situation, and of asking them directly – what can we do in solidarity with you?