Corrente

If you have "no place to go," come here!

Greece: Syntagma Square and general strike to come on Wednesday

Agence France Press via the Times of Oman:

Greek: Protesters who have occupied Greece's main square [#173] for over two weeks, drawing thousands to their fight against austerity, called for a new mobilisation on Sunday ahead of new planned cuts.

"Our voice must be heard loudly everywhere," the loosely-knit protest group, speaking on behalf of the "Syntagma Square popular assembly", said in a statement mailed to media, calling for a broader European "uprising". ...

The non-political, non-ideological demonstrations that began in Greece on May 25 are modelled on a similar mobilisation in Spain led by a group calling themselves 'the indignants'.

Last week, over 50,000 Greeks according to police responded to a similar call to assemble in Athens and another 3,000 gathered in Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city.

News reports placed the Athens turnout at around 100,000 people. ...

The Spanish protesters decrying their country's economic crisis since mid-May last week decided to dismantle their encampment in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square that had become a symbol of the anti-establishment movement.

But their Greek counterparts on Syntagma Square have vowed not to budge.
"We will stay on the squares until those who created today's impasse leave and do not return under another guise," the Syntagma protest group said, pointing the figure at politicians, banks and the 'troika' of Greece's international creditors -- the EU, IMF and European Central Bank.

Another protest on Wednesday is timed to coincide with a general strike as the government prepares to push through parliament a new austerity package worth over 28 billion euros ($40 billion) by 2015.

Opinion polls show most Greeks have lost confidence in the country's government and a political and judicial system that has repeatedly failed to uproot endemic corruption ["non-political" and "non-ideological"? Maybe. "More and better Democrats"].
Another survey in Kathimerini daily on Sunday showed 88 percent of Greeks are unhappy with how democracy works in the country while 92 percent disapprove of the Socialist government of George Papandreou.

(Here's another perspective on the corruption frame, though I suppose I'd rather have Boss Tweed than the Corleones we have now.)

And via Global Research, here's a comment on the coverage* Syntagma Square is getting, and some of the implications of the story:

How many were there on Syntagma square (Constitution square) in the centre of Athens, just in front of the Parliament building on Sunday 5 June 2011? Difficult to say since one of the characteristic features of such popular gatherings is that there is no key event (speech or concert) and that people come and go. But according to people in charge of the Athens underground, who know how to assess the numbers of passengers, there were at least 250,000 people [can't find a link on the Athens Metro estimate. Readers?] converging on Syntagma on that memorable night! Actually several hundreds of thousands of people if we add the ‘historic’ gatherings that took place on the main squares of other Greek cities (see map).

At this juncture we should however raise the question: how can such a mass movement that is shaking the Greek government (in which the EU has a particular interest) not be mentioned at all in Western medias? For these first twelve days there was virtually not a word, not an image of those unprecedented crowds shouting their anger against the IMF, the European Commission, the ‘Troika’ (IMF, European Commission, and European Central Bank), and against Frau Merkel and the international neoliberal leaders. Nothing. Except occasionally a few lines about ‘hundreds of demonstrators’ in the streets of Athens, after a call by the Greek trade unions. This testifies to a strange predilection for scrawny demos of TU bureaucrats while a few hundred yards further huge crowds were demonstrating late into the night for days and weeks on end.

While they were first completely disorganized the Syntagma Aganaktismeni have gradually developed an organization that culminates in the popular Assembly held every night at 9 and drawing several hundreds speakers in front of an attentive audience of thousands [#174]. Debates are often of really great quality (for instance on the public debt), actually much better than anything that can be seen on the major television channels [Quelle surprise]. This in spite of the surrounding noise (we stand in the middle of a city with 4 million inhabitants), dozens of thousands of people constantly moving, and particularly the very diverse composition of those huge audiences in the midst of a permanent encampment that looks at times like some Tower of Babel.

All the qualities of direct democracy as experimented day after day on Syntagma should not blind us to its weaknesses, its ambiguities or indeed its defects as its initial allergy to anything that might remind of a political party or a trade union or an established collectivity. While it has to be acknowledged that such rejection is a dominant feature among the Aganaktismeni, who tend to reject the political world as a whole, we should note the dramatic development of the Popular Assembly, both in Athens and in Thessaloniki, that shifted from a rejection of trade unions to the invitation that they should come and demonstrate with them on Syntagma.

Interesting dynamics.

One of the weaknesses of the Sharp Taxonomy is that [#174] and [#179] are far too broad; you'd have to throw direct democracy, "small pieces loosely joined," and a revolutionary vanguard into the same big conceptual bucket, and that makes no sense; especially since, at least academically, they all lead to [#198]. A limit to the "method," I fear.

NOTE * Where's the Al Jazeera live cam? Isn't neo-liberalism the same problem everywhere?

0
No votes yet

Comments