Greece unrest updates thread

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Steven.
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Dec 18 2008 10:58

Firstly, everyone please desist their derailing conversation. Future comments on it (about bin burning, life stylists, etc) on this thread will be deleted.

madashell wrote:
Posted on u75:

Quote:
I promised you yesterday to give you more details of the open meeting at the GSEE taken over building.

As I told you a lot of workers attended, the decision was for a general strike today and a meeting at 11:00 at the Museum in order to take part in today's demo. A lot of workers unions have accepted that decision, and they are either on 1 day strike for today or for a 3 hours one, in order their workers to be able to attend the demonstration.

A new General Assembly has been organized for today at 17:00

it will be very interesting to see what the responses to this, to see how much support/influence this occupation has and what links it has with working people in general.

It is great to see that things are developing and moving forwards from the riots.

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Dec 18 2008 10:59
pghwob wrote:
What is the membership of the established GSEE union, and how many of the people who have been occupying the union HQ are actually members of GSEE union?

I don't know what the membership is exactly, but I know that it and the other big union confederation together have 2.5 million members - around half the working population of Greece.

Also, I don't think that those people involved should have to be members of the union. Plenty of non-members would have good reason to be pissed off with them.

radicalgraffiti
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Dec 18 2008 13:46

A student has been shot and injured, its not know who by

http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2008/12/18/26-1150-student-shot-in-peristeri-athens-student-demo-set-to-start/

wangwei
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Dec 18 2008 15:32
Quote:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jIVDJEwIjDFDxGPN5HDQqTzoSVNgD9555CK03

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Protesters hung giant banners off the Acropolis Wednesday calling for mass demonstrations across Europe, heaping embarrassment on a government reeling from Greece's worst riots in decades sparked by the police shooting of a teenager.

The two pink banners were unfurled over the walls of the ancient citadel that towers above central Athens and could be seen for miles around. One bore the word "Resistance" in large black letters in Greek, English, Spanish and German.

The other called for demonstrations throughout the continent Thursday, when students plan major marches in Athens and Greece's second largest city of Thessaloniki to protest the death of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, killed in a police shooting on Dec. 6.

The government was furious at the use of Greece's most famous monument.

I just got this off of AP news. Sounds great!

pgh2a
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Dec 18 2008 17:03
Steven. wrote:
pghwob wrote:
What is the membership of the established GSEE union, and how many of the people who have been occupying the union HQ are actually members of GSEE union?

I don't know what the membership is exactly, but I know that it and the other big union confederation together have 2.5 million members - around half the working population of Greece.

Also, I don't think that those people involved should have to be members of the union. Plenty of non-members would have good reason to be pissed off with them.

I asked the question to see if anyone knew whether this was a legitimate workers' protest, or just a bunch of college kids mouthing-off based on something they read in a textbook.

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Dec 18 2008 17:13
pghwob wrote:

I asked the question to see if anyone knew whether this was a legitimate workers' protest, or just a bunch of college kids mouthing-off based on something they read in a textbook.

for starters, textbooks don't exactly put forward a decent communist critique of the unions. Regardless of their status, there would be a number of legitimate reasons workers will be pissed off with the unions - them cancelling their march the other day being just one.

I think the only issue here would be that depending on who was involved, if none of them were wage workers or GSEE members then that could end up forcing a wedge between some of the workers and some of the more radical elements, if people felt "their" union was under attack from outside.

N.b. on the person who was shot, police are apparently stating that he was shot with an air pistol. And it happened yesterday around noon but didn't emerge until today.

Sotev
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Dec 18 2008 19:22

about GSEE, because there is some misunderstanding.

GSEE and ADEDY (ADEDY is for civil servants) are nationwide confederations. There are no other nationwide confederations (KKE's PAME structure is not a formal federation), so every union, be it trade union, factory/workplace union or whatelse is pretty much a de facto member of GSEE or ADEDY. In Greece there are no different unions like for example in France with GGT, CFDT, FO or others. There's just GSEE.

It is a tertiary organization, comprised out of its local workers' centers in every city, each of these centers is made out of the various local branches of the trade unions and the local unions -say a union in a factory- and so on.

Each party, from the right to the far left (trotskyists, maoists etc etc) takes part in the same trade union structures. they do elections, assemblies, voting etc all together. MIlitant workers (non-aligned) can of course participate too.

Those who occupied the building are "members" of GSEE either they want it or not. I would support the action even if some 12 year olds occupied the building to shit on the floors. Unfortunately this is not the case, and the occupiers are workers.

In the words of the GSEE president (a statement from today)

"GSEE is the collective organizer and leader of the struggles of ALL workers".
(emphasis in the original ! )

Hope this clarified things a bit.

many other stuff happened but no time.

petey
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Dec 18 2008 20:09
Steven. wrote:
pghwob wrote:
I asked the question to see if anyone knew whether this was a legitimate workers' protest, or just a bunch of college kids mouthing-off based on something they read in a textbook.

for starters, textbooks don't exactly put forward a decent communist critique of the unions. Regardless of their status, there would be a number of legitimate reasons workers will be pissed off with the unions - them cancelling their march the other day being just one.

yes, but i share pgh's interest. in the pix i see alot of good looking well scrubbed types wearing kaffiyehs and some blacbloccers trashing things. have i been looking at the wrong pix? i hope i have. i hope this is an explosion of workers' intolerance of economic victimization.

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Dec 18 2008 20:28
petey wrote:
yes, but i share pgh's interest. in the pix i see alot of good looking well scrubbed types wearing kaffiyehs and some blacbloccers trashing things. have i been looking at the wrong pix? i hope i have. i hope this is an explosion of workers' intolerance of economic victimization.

even the mainstream media, in almost every article, is saying that this clearly is the case. Take a look at our Greece unrest archive - there have been several general strikes recently, national banking strikes, clashes between strikers and police, government buildings and ministers occupied and taken hostage by health workers, etc

Even political violence isn't as abnormal increase as it is in most places - the military dictatorship only got overthrown in 1973, and violent street demonstrations were an important part of that, so they are widely accepted as part of the political scenery. The brutality and corruption of the police force and the government is widely disliked.

Anyway this thread is for updates to the situation, so please just post factual updates and related comments here. If people want to start other discussions please do so on different threads

petey
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Dec 18 2008 20:34
Steven. wrote:
petey wrote:
yes, but i share pgh's interest. in the pix i see alot of good looking well scrubbed types wearing kaffiyehs and some blacbloccers trashing things. have i been looking at the wrong pix? i hope i have. i hope this is an explosion of workers' intolerance of economic victimization.

even the mainstream media, in almost every article, is saying that this clearly is the case.

good, i'll be glad to be wrong.

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Dec 18 2008 23:11
Sotev wrote:
about GSEE, because there is some misunderstanding.

GSEE and ADEDY (ADEDY is for civil servants) are nationwide confederations. There are no other nationwide confederations (KKE's PAME structure is not a formal federation), so every union, be it trade union, factory/workplace union or whatelse is pretty much a de facto member of GSEE or ADEDY. In Greece there are no different unions like for example in France with GGT, CFDT, FO or others. There's just GSEE.

It is a tertiary organization, comprised out of its local workers' centers in every city, each of these centers is made out of the various local branches of the trade unions and the local unions -say a union in a factory- and so on.

Each party, from the right to the far left (trotskyists, maoists etc etc) takes part in the same trade union structures. they do elections, assemblies, voting etc all together. MIlitant workers (non-aligned) can of course participate too.

Those who occupied the building are "members" of GSEE either they want it or not. I would support the action even if some 12 year olds occupied the building to shit on the floors. Unfortunately this is not the case, and the occupiers are workers.

In the words of the GSEE president (a statement from today)

"GSEE is the collective organizer and leader of the struggles of ALL workers".
(emphasis in the original ! )

Hope this clarified things a bit.

many other stuff happened but no time.

thanks for the information sotev.

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Dec 19 2008 12:03

There was a greek soli demo in Amsterdam yesterday with around 200 participants, organised by Greek students along with people from the squatting scene/movement and various lefties.

http://www.indymedia.nl/nl/2008/12/56561.shtml

I think it was held yesterday as the initiative was coming from Greek students in Amsterdam and many of them are heading home for Christmas this weekend.

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Dec 19 2008 12:07

I don't know if this is a derail, if this has been posted already or if I should maybe start another thread, but I think this should go here. (?)

Editorial in The Economist

Quote:
Is it possible to imagine an Anarchist International, a trans-national version of the inchoate but impassioned demonstrations that have ravaged Greece this month? (Perhaps because it is easier to say what Greece’s malcontents are against than what they are for, the word “anarchist” is an accepted catch-all term for the anti-establishment rebels who form the hard core of the Athenian protesters.)

By definition, anarchy is harder to propagate than rigid Leninism. Whatever is spreading from Athens, it is not a clear programme for a better world. The malcontents of Greece include ideological class warriors, nostalgists for the protests against the junta of 1967-74 and people (including drug dealers and bank robbers) with a grudge against the police. Relations between police and the counter-culture have worsened recently; the police are accused (rightly) of bullying migrants, the bohemians of dallying with terrorism. A messy scene, with no obvious message.

http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12815678

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Dec 19 2008 12:32

The occupation of the trade union HQ and the beginnings of organisation into workers' assemblies is the clearest confirmation we have had that this movement is far more than a series of riots, but has an authentically proletarian core.

The characterisation of the movement as 'the riots', constantly used by the bourgeois press, has already been rejected by some elements of the movement itself. We are clearly moving onto the terrain of class organisation.

Inevitably, in this situation, the official trade unions show themselves to be open servants of the state, and are recognised as such by the most combative proletarians.

Of course it has to be remembered that the Greek state reflects the weaknesses of Greek capitalism and is not very sophisticated in its methods. Police openly fire on demonstrators, openly use fascist thugs, and the trade unions unashamedly turn up with their thugs to evict workers occupying their HQ. But these 'crude' methods actually reveal a much more universal reality, which is merely better hidden in more flexible democracies like Britain.

Mike Harman
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Dec 19 2008 12:42
Shorty wrote:
I don't know if this is a derail, if this has been posted already or if I should maybe start another thread, but I think this should go here. (?)

I think it's alright here, but it's sufficiently entertaining that I've split it into a new thread as well: http://libcom.org/forums/news/economist-greece-19122008

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Dec 19 2008 15:59

Just to note that we have switched to using the phrase Greece unrest instead of riots in our coverage. Initially we used the word riots, in part to get Google referrals for people searching for them using the language they saw in the media.

raw
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Dec 19 2008 20:39

"Greece Unrest" sounds very depoliticising steven, I think words like "rebellion in greece" or, dare i say it, "insurrection in greece" is closer to the reality especialy since many non-greek nationals are involved (Rom, migrants). I spoke with some comrades in the occupied GSEE building on thursday morning and they said that the occupation was/is meant to open up a wider debate and involvement with other workers. They are absolutely amazed what has been going in greece and they are hoping that other cities around Europe follow suit to bring about a wider crisis in the European Empire.

Sotev
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Dec 19 2008 21:52

a couple of photos...
first the evil stuff:

then the other stuff

MERRY CRISIS AND A HAPPY NEW FEAR
written outside the Bank of Greece...

"The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot take its poetry from the past but only from the future..." etc etc

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Dec 20 2008 13:16

Leaflet in solidarity with the Greek revolt, from Collective Reinventions, San Francisco;
http://libcom.org/news/greek-fire-riot-social-rebellion-collective-reinventions-20122008

kbranno
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Dec 20 2008 16:15

The Greek embassy was picketed in Dublin today. Some civil minded citizens also gave the facade of the building a paint job, all in the spirt of Christmas good will I presume.

XaViER
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Dec 20 2008 21:54

In Wroclaw, Poland, there was soli demo today with Greece. Over 100 people from local anarchist movement were present. Police, with help of some fascists from far right ONR organisation, tried to stop people from gathering on the main square and break the demo. But at the end we managed to start it. A woman from the Union of Sindicalists read the statement of greek workers that occupy GSEE building. There was some chanting like: "Today Greece, tomorrow Poland", "Cobbles at the government", "Bureaucrats, bourgeoisie your end will come soon" etc. One man was detained, but he is free now. Some people will have court case because of "illegal gathering".

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Dec 21 2008 06:19

12/20 in Germany

Following the call from the occupied polytechnical university in Athens, there have been demonstrations in Bochum, Delmenhorst, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Mannheim, Offenburg, Trier, Wuppertal. The biggest one was at Hamburg where more than 1.000 took to the streets and had some minor clashes with 1.300 police that tried to attack the demonstrations. The rest of the demonstrations whrere rather small, most of them less than 100 people. May be this was due to heavy rain and the fact, that people where already out on the streets in some 30 German cities within the past two weeks.

FAU-IWA locals published a leaflet with the text of the workers assembly from the liberated GSEE offices.

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Dec 21 2008 13:59

Interesting footage of Greek police:

Quote:
Greek police together with their friends here, in Exarchia....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvyvUrKRDRQ

Are these guys policemen? They may be... or they maybe fascists. The fact remains that the police uses such methods to infiltrate in the demos and create trouble.... These men they end up arresting people who are just watching or passing by, and then charge everything on them..

Something similar happened and on the following video... This young teenager, Dimitris, was there watching what was happening and taking videos with his mobile phone, and was attacked and arrested by MAT.. He is now charged with possession of explosive bombs, arson attempt, resistance to authority and a number of other felonies... If all these charges remain, this teenager may remain even more than 15 years in prison.

The video is here

http://www.tvxs.gr/v1953

radicalgraffiti
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Dec 21 2008 14:57

The police may be about to attack Athens polytechnic
From Occupied London Blog

Quote:
#32, 16:06: Athens Polytechnic occupation under imminent threat
A few moments ago one of the pro-vice-chancellors of the Athens Polytechnic announced to the people inside the occupied building that the control of the building is no longer with the university senate and that it has been passed on to an attorney general instead. Anarchist radio 98 FM reports that the senate has ordered the university guards to leave their positions.

There is a general assembly happening right now at the Athens Polytechnic, with people deciding whether they should leave the building or not.

What the pro-vice-chancellor claimed to have happened is absurd and 100% illegal even by the state’s own laws. What we are all fearing is that a police operation inside the Polytechnic is imminent. This would be the first time in over a decade that such an operation takes place - and the first time ever that police enter university grounds with a mass operation without prior permission by the senate.

Cleishbotham
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Dec 21 2008 15:58

Agree with Alf that the document from the General Assembly of Workers in the Liberated Building of the GSEE is the most significant yet from the point of view of showing that there is a possibility that new forms of organisation are beginning to develop. I don't think these are just students (you only need to compare the practicality of this document with the abstract stuff coming out of the occupied Athens School of Economy which is obviously dominated by autonomist windbags to see the difference). I also think it is interesting that they have a critique of the role of the unions which echoes the communist left but then have gone on to occupy the union HQ for the vey good reason that we paid for it to be built but it is used only by bureaucrats! Perhaps this is what we should also do in other places when the time comes ...

Oh BTW I have retranslated the document from the French version (because that was how I received it) and I think mine is not brilliant but is a tad clearer if anyone would like it.

Thanks to Sotev for his photo of the Bank of Greece. It makes an excellent New Year greeting for 2009!

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Dec 21 2008 20:02

Athens Polytechnic occupation under imminent threat

http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2008/12/21/32-1606-athens-polytechnic-under-imminent-threat/

A few moments ago one of the pro-vice-chancellors of the Athens Polytechnic announced to the people inside the occupied building that the control of the building is no longer with the university senate and that it has been passed on to an attorney general instead. Anarchist radio 98 FM reports that the senate has ordered the university guards to leave their positions.

There is a general assembly happening right now at the Athens Polytechnic, with people deciding whether they should leave the building or not.

What the pro-vice-chancellor claimed to have happened is absurd and 100% illegal even by the state’s own laws. What we are all fearing is that a police operation inside the Polytechnic is imminent. This would be the first time in over a decade that such an operation takes place - and the first time ever that police enter university grounds with a mass operation without prior permission by the senate.

The revenge of normality shall not pass, neither at the Polytechnic nor anywhere else!

http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2008/12/21/the-revenge-of-normality-shall-not-pass-neither-at-the-polytechnic-nor-anywhere-else/

(Statement by the Occupied Athens Polytechnic, issued a few moments ago)

From Saturday 20th of December onward, following the clashes around the Athens Polytechnic (one of the tens of mass clashes between protestors and police that followed the assassination of 15-year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos) there has been strong speculation surrounding the occupation of the Athens Polytechnic.

Continuous information that has been coming in regarding a possible police raid in the occupied Polytechnic, combined with the strategic maneuvering of the riot police during the clashes, foretold the obvious: The police are preparing to raid the occupation. Bypassing the senate, surrendering the Polytechnic to the police and the ministry of interior, the attorney general sent us an indirect yet clear message, with threats and blackmailing, that we have “a few hours” left.

We reply to them to them that the time we’ve got left is as much as the revolted part of the society decides and that this accepts no ultimatums. That they’d better respect and fear all who participated, participate and will continue to participate in practices of revolt. It is precisely those, the thousands of revolted, of students, workers, unemployed, migrants and comrades that we call to a high alert at the space of the Polytechnic, ahead of the coming raid.

- We call everyone to a mass presence at the Athens Polytechnic campus

- We call for an open assembly today, Sunday 21/12 at 9pm

- We call for self-guarded concert of solidarity and financial support for the prisoners of the revolt. 6pm at the Athens Polytechnic

We shall have the last word

These days and nights belong to Alexis

Athens Polytechnic Occupation

21/12/08

Beltov
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Dec 21 2008 20:17

The ICC's statement of solidarity with the student movement in Greece is now online here:
http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/2008/12/solidarity-with-students-in-Greece

In French too here:
http://fr.internationalism.org/icconline/2008/solidarit%C3%A9_avec_le_mouvement_des_etudiants_en_grece.html

B.

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Rats
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Dec 22 2008 04:19

I found this pamphlet, http://zinelibrary.info/files/greecesolidarity.pdf
but it's lost its quality over probably being photocopied a million times and then scanned. I'll use it if i have to, or even re-make it, but if anyone can email me something similar i'd be muchos thankful.

email - idontprayithink@riseup.net

Thanks

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 22 2008 14:13
Occupied London wrote:
the occupied GSEE (trade union) building was handed back to the GSEE yesterday, following a decision by the occupation’s assembly

sad

http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/

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Dec 23 2008 01:27

An account from Athens. I've not had the chance to read it all through but it might be worth tidying up for the library.