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Wot no Greece thread?

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Standfield
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Jun 9 2012 04:53
Auto wrote:
A Golden Dawn spokesperson has apparently been arrested after throwing water at a Syriza MP and punches another live on Breakfast TV.

From the Guardian Liveblog:

Quote:
Reports say the guy ran out of the studio after the vicious assault but has now been arrested.

According to the Guardian now, Police still haven't arrested Kasidiaris. Can anyone clarify this?

Quote:
Constantinou, a tall, thin man who has spent years running an organisation that protects migrants, is, like a growing number of Greeks, convinced that it is the police who have facilitated Golden Dawn. "Without police cover and protection Golden Dawn would not have survived," he said. "And the proof of that is the failure to capture Kasidiaris.

"How is it possible that a man can do what he did in a television studio and yet manage to get away and stay on the run after a state prosecutor has ordered his arrest? The police clearly don't want to arrest him."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/08/greek-police-golden-dawn

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Jun 9 2012 14:07

The answer is that the cops and the fascists have been cooperating openly for years (in for example, attacking anarchists) and like 60% of them voted for Golden Dawn in the last election. So yeah, he prolly wont get arrested anytime soon.

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Jun 11 2012 11:29

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/11/golden-dawn-politician-athens-court

Quote:
The far right politician who assaulted two leftwing female politicians on live television has appeared before a public prosecutor to press charges against his victims.

Wearing aviator sunglasses and surrounded by black-clad bodyguards, Ilias Kasidiaris, the official spokesman of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, repeated allegations that the extraordinary punch-up, relayed on live TV, had been a "set up".

"I will press charges for provocation," the 31-year-old former commander said as he arrived at the magistrate's office.

Quote:
In another incident highlighting escalating tensions ahead of the poll, eight other members of Golden Dawn, including a candidate MP in northern Greece, were also arrested over the weekend after running amok in the town of Veria.

A 53-year-old man was badly injured in the attack in which a local cafe was ransacked. The eight were similarly due to appear in court on Monday accused of grievous bodily harm and damaging property.

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Jun 13 2012 01:59
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Earning loud applause at an election campaign rally in Athens, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros said: "If Chrysi Avgi gets into parliament, it will carry out raids on hospitals and kindergartens and it will throw immigrants and their children out on the street so that Greeks can take their place."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/12/golden-dawn-hospital-immigrants-greece

Quote:
Neonazi thugs of the Golden Dawn break into the house of Egyptian fishermen in the working class district of Perama, heavily injuring one

http://blog.occupiedlondon.org/2012/06/12/neonazi-thugs-of-the-golden-dawn-break-into-the-house-of-egyptian-fishermen-in-the-working-class-district-of-perama-heavily-injuring-one/

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Jun 13 2012 10:10

http://www.forbes.com/sites/billfrezza/2011/07/19/give-greece-what-it-deserves-communism/


Quote:
What the world needs, lest we forget, is a contemporary example of Communism in action. What better candidate than Greece? They’ve been pining for it for years, exhibiting a level of anti-capitalist vitriol unmatched in any developed country. They are temperamentally attuned to it, having driven all hard working Greeks abroad in search of opportunity. They pose no military threat to their neighbors, unless you quake at the sight of soldiers marching around in white skirts. And they have all the trappings of a modern Western nation, making them an uncompromised test bed for Marxist theories. Just toss them out of the European Union, cut off the flow of free Euros, and hand them back the printing plates for their old drachmas. Then stand back for a generation and watch.

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Jun 13 2012 11:08

Funny thing, but it seems what he actually suggest to Greece is not communism, but closing down the Greek markets from the global capital flow, and nationalization of capital. Because for many, this is communism.

And then they can say: hey, these guys are so backward, they don't even have the Apple latest products because they don't have access to the world market!

bastarx
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Jun 13 2012 11:26

I made the mistake of reading several of that clown's columns and like most of his ilk he doesn't have much of a clue about anything. Which is comforting in a way although I suppose the bourgeois thinkers who can actually think are around somewhere.

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Jun 14 2012 11:12

This caught my eyes, reading the guardians' doom and gloom blog (Euro-crisis live updates).

Guardian wrote:
Ultra-left Syriza is the biggest party, pockets the 50-seat bonus and forms an anti-bailout coalition with some smaller leftist groups.

The quote is from an economist working for a German bank. Anyway, this sentence speaks volumes about the current political European political regime. What would have been called left in the early '70s, a "decent" social democrat party, today is the ultra left for these wankers. I don't know though, how would call us, anarchist communists, if the Syriza is described as ultra-left. roll eyes

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Jun 14 2012 12:42
soc wrote:
I don't know though, how would call us, anarchist communists, if the Syriza is described as ultra-left. roll eyes

I had a conversation with a friend of mine a while back that studies Political Studies in a London uni, and he said that the idea of "left-wing" and "right-wing" came from the French Assembly a during the 1789 revolution, as a way to distinguish the opposition from the King's side (who were sat to the right) and the ones who wanted revolution (who were sat to his left).*

So, as the idea of right and left is based on a Parliamentary system, I'd say Anarchist-Communists are neither. We're not left or right, we're anarchists. Which suits me just fine. Don't know what other Anarchists would think about that though.

But you're right - there's still something inside of me that grates when I hear people call out the SWP or some such to be "ultra-left". I just want to scream, "not fucking extreme enough!"

*Like I said, it was a while back, so I may've got the dates or facts wrong.

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Jun 14 2012 13:28
Standfield wrote:
soc wrote:
I don't know though, how would call us, anarchist communists, if the Syriza is described as ultra-left. roll eyes

I had a conversation with a friend of mine a while back that studies Political Studies in a London uni, and he said that the idea of "left-wing" and "right-wing" came from the French Assembly a during the 1789 revolution, as a way to distinguish the opposition from the King's side (who were sat to the right) and the ones who wanted revolution (who were sat to his left).*

So, as the idea of right and left is based on a Parliamentary system, I'd say Anarchist-Communists are neither. We're not left or right, we're anarchists. Which suits me just fine. Don't know what other Anarchists would think about that though.

But you're right - there's still something inside of me that grates when I hear people call out the SWP or some such to be "ultra-left". I just want to scream, "not fucking extreme enough!"

*Like I said, it was a while back, so I may've got the dates or facts wrong.

I, and probably most of anarchists and communists would agree that we are neither left, neither right. But I would argue, that since the French National Assembly the "left" and "right" definition has changed significantly, and for people within the parliamentary democratic tradition, communists of any sorts qualify left, far-left in particular for the different kind of bolshevik parties (stalinists, trotskist etc.), with the extra-parliamentary revolutionary traditions as
ultra-left.

Given this logic which is undoubtedly held up by the mentioned banker, since he is referring to the word "ultra-left" which would not make sense in the context of the French Assembly you referred, calling a parliamentary social democrat party ultra-left leaves precious little space for position anarchists on the left's revolutionary spectrum.

It's like when some American Tea Party style libertarians arguing that fascism and nazism are left-wing ideologies. It doesn't make any sense in any historical interpretation of the term "left", but they are happy to make a new one, because the some parties are defining themselves only in relation to their counter-parts. Left = all bad you can imagine. Right = us.

Also, the ultra-left as an expression was rather derogatory term used by mainly Stalinists, and since our dear chief economist used the term for this function, it makes even funnier.

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Jun 14 2012 18:03

@soc.

I understand what you are saying, and I completely agree that the economist quoted obviously didn't take into account the linguistic and historical origins of the "left" or "right".

And I agree that it, " leaves precious little space for position anarchists on the left's revolutionary spectrum", but I, personally see it as a positive thing for anarchists. By this I mean it allows us to make a clean break between left and right, and offer something fresh. I'd say 99.9% of people have no idea of the differences between Trotskyites and Stalinists, and I'm not being patronising, since I was in the same position only a couple of years ago. It's all just "left-wing", ultra or not.

I've been in Australia for a couple of months since leaving the UK, and I see the Tea Party mentality you are referring to here. My girlfriend, an Aussie, was brought up to believe that the Nazis were left in the political spectrum, because they are National Socialists. But as I see it, it's an even bigger reason to leave this type of political symbolism behind.

I know it's all just semantics, and in practice, pretty meaningless, but I'd argue that the idea of "left" and "right" was a clever visual device into making people believe there is no other option, but left or right parliamentarianism. I think to say we are neither left, right or central, but outside this system provides a good hypothetical base from which people can assess our politics without being judged on certain historical misconceptions.

Am I making any sense? Be free to call me out for missing the point - I'm a very slow reader. And sorry for dragging it off topic.

Inhousejoke
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Jun 16 2012 17:16

4 WSM members including two Greek anarchists did a discussion panel entitled "Greece, the crisis, resistance & elections" talking about the current conditions in Greece, the state of the resistance movement there..... and well tbh loads of stuff. Both audio and video in the link above, thought it would be worth posting here.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jun 19 2012 13:30

Pro-bailout parties are elected and Youtube is awash with videos of fascist street attacks, including this horrible one below (read the captions below the video if you wanna ruin your day): https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XmaWNPj3fwc

(Admin: don't embed this)

What has happened to the workers' movement? Why are we seeing GD in the ascendancy? Is the distraction of electoralism, generalised despair or anomie (and if it's the latter, why isn't the disorder revolutionary in nature?)?

Sir Arthur Stre...
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Jun 19 2012 18:06
Caiman del Barrio wrote:

Why are we seeing GD in the ascendancy? Is the distraction of electoralism, generalised despair or anomie (and if it's the latter, why isn't the disorder revolutionary in nature?)?

GD is on the rise for many reasons, though one not often talked about is that there is a power vacuum in Greece. The state is unable to be positive as it can no longer claim legitimacy nor enforce directives, it can only remove its support mechanisms. The police meanwhile are occupied with maintaing order and are fascistic themselves so are quite happy for GD to operate. In a time where debate is so fractured and time seemingly short the transcending argument of violence comes to prominence.
I do not believe in the correlation of poverty and the far right, as I don't think relative wealth causes one to loose their morals. Poverty does cause desperation though and GD is perhaps an easier 'fix' than joining a workers movement.
And IMO if the disorder isn't revolutionary in nature that because our idea of revolution is unable to offer short term solutions to Greeks (and workers worldwide).

jameswalsh
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Jun 20 2012 16:57

It is revolutionary precisly because they can't offer short terms solutions.

orkhis
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Jun 20 2012 20:35
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
What has happened to the workers' movement? Why are we seeing GD in the ascendancy? Is the distraction of electoralism, generalised despair or anomie (and if it's the latter, why isn't the disorder revolutionary in nature?)?

Perhaps the question was anticipated:

Kropotkin wrote:
The direction which the revolution will take depends, no doubt, upon the sum total of the various circumstances that determine the coming of the cataclysm. But it can be predicted in advance, according to the vigor of revolutionary action displayed in the preparatory period by the different progressive parties.

One party may have developed more clearly the theories which it defines and the program which it desires to realize; it may have made propaganda actively, by speech and in print. But it may not have sufficiently expressed its aspirations in the open, on the street, by actions which embody the thought it represents; it has done little, or it has done nothing against those who are its principal enemies; it has not attacked the institutions which it wants to demolish; its strength has been in theory, not in action; it has contributed little to awaken the spirit of revolt, or it has neglected to direct that spirit against conditions which it particularly desires to attack at the time of the revolution. As a result, this party is less known; its aspirations have not been daily and continuously affirmed by actions, the glamor of which could reach even the remotest hut; they have not sufficiently penetrated into the consciousness of the people; they have not identified themselves with the crowd and the street; they have never found simple expression in a popular slogan.

The most active writers of such a party are known by their readers as thinkers of great merit, but they have neither the reputation nor the capacities of men of action; and on the day when the mobs pour through the streets they will prefer to follow the advice of those who have less precise theoretical ideas and not such great aspirations, but whom they know better because they have seen them act.

I don't know what the worker's movements have been doing in Greece (so I'm not criticising them), but the fascists have been active and have clearly gained support.

orkhis
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Jun 20 2012 20:40

FWIW, the Communist Party of Greece's statement on the election results can be found here (in English):

Mark.
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Jun 20 2012 22:49

The second and third parts of the Reel News series on Greece

Mark.
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Jun 21 2012 23:10
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Why are we seeing GD in the ascendancy?

Guardian cif piece on the rise of Golden Dawn

-----

The Greek Orthodox church gives its blessings

-----

Edit: Spanish translation of statement from ESE Athens

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Jun 21 2012 01:27

That Guardian piece is suspect. I would say the use of Sherlock Holmes' clue of "the dog that didn't bark" (that Derrida made a career out of) should give a clue to the writers political agenda. In other words, which party is not criticised here? O look. No mention of PASOK... (and no mention of the anarchists who have been actually fighting the fascists - but then they're not part of the electoral game, therefore nonexistent in this writers agenda).

Mark.
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Jun 21 2012 12:05

@ocelot - I posted that Guardian link without giving much thought to the writer's political agenda. From a quick search Spyros Marchetos seems to be a leftist academic critical of the pro-euro stance of Synaspismos (the main component of Syriza) and with a research interest in the history of Greek fascism. He has a couple of articles translated on the no debt no euro blog, including 'mass movements and popular radicalization in Greece' and 'the eurobond left' http://nodebtnoeuro.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/τhe-eurobond-left-by-spyros-marchetos/ (which won't embed for some reason). This doesn't sound like Pasok, and ignoring anarchists seems pretty standard for left academics everywhere.

Spikymike
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Jun 21 2012 15:44

I suspect that the article in the Guardian was taylored to some extent for that publication and would not wish to write this person off as simply a 'left academic'.

Whatever political label they go under I have seen several useful historical and other articles from their pen.

Perhaps they or their comrades from Greece would comment further if they felt it was needed.

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Jun 22 2012 00:08

ehemmmm.... thanks, mike!

i can assure you that Spyros Marchetos has nothing to do with Pasok, and never had. He has been rather active in the anarchist movement for a few decades now, and was a candidate of Antarsya in the last two elections.

Mark.
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Jun 22 2012 08:57

@Spikymike, experimentalis - thanks for the clarification.

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Jun 22 2012 09:02
experimentalis wrote:
He has been rather active in the anarchist movement for a few decades now, and was a candidate of Antarsya in the last two elections.

Is there something I'm missing on Greek anarchism?

Mark.
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Jun 22 2012 10:02
Juan Conatz wrote:
Is there something I'm missing on Greek anarchism?

Well I think some anarchists were hoping for a Syriza election victory. I've no idea how widespread this feeling was but see for example these comments on From the Greek Streets in response to a report and claim of responsibility for setting a ballot box on fire in Exarcheia on Sunday.

From the Greek Streets wrote:
At approximately 19.20 GMT+2 group of approximately ten people entered a polling station in Exarcheia, attacked the two police officers present and set the ballot box on fire. It is still undecided/unknown how this will affect the election result announcement. There are currently (20.45 GMT+2) people gathered at Exarcheia square, chanting anti-election slogans.
Maria wrote:

At this point, I think it would be useful to make a first attempt for a qualitative analysis of the elections:

According to statistical figures, New Democracy was voted mostly by the elderly; Above 55-year-olds and especially above 65. Secondly, by the housewives, probably because of their over-exposure to mainstream media narratives, which cultivated fear, terror and pseudo-dilemmas. Last but not least, ND was voted by economically well-off citizens. For example, in one of the richest areas of Attica, Ekali, 70% of the people voted for New Democracy. Given the demographic problem of Greece, we can understand why the results were the ones we all saw on Sunday.

It is my firm belief that elections change things, in this case for worse. Taxation of the poor is getting higher, three people committed suicide the day after the elections, there will be no minimum guaranteed income, there will be more cuts in wages, etc. If SYRIZA won the elections, it’s not that we would suddenly see the materialisation of our anti-authoritarian vision, but it would stem the austerity policies against the working people.


Furthermore, it would be a way to intercept the rise if the Golden Dawn, which reproduces its power through the tyranny of the implementation of austerity policies. What is going to happen in Greece now, is that we have the worse Right ever, with its parastate in the parliament, doing the dirty deeds for them; Attacking immigrants, leftists and anarchists.

The answer will be as fierce as the challenge.

Maria also wrote:

What happened, was extremely unfortunate. Let me illustrate what is going on in Greece this year:

Thousands of people commit suicide, poverty rates are rising high, according to the official statistical rates, there are 1500000 unemployed people (mostly young people), common meals is the only way for many men and women from former middle class and poor people to feed themselves, children faint at schools out of starvation, several families in the countryside provide their families with cooking oil form the cemetery candles, pupils had no books at schools until April, thousands of families could not afford to turn on the heating during one of the most fierce winters ever in Greece and children having just a flue were staying ill for weeks. There are tens of thousands homeless people on the streets for the first time after the political changeover, wages for young workers do not exceed 350 euros per month, unemployment benefit has been reduced to 370 euros, the vast majority of young people have no social security, pensions have been reduced, we are forced to pay for our medicines, etc… etc…

Within this context, neo-nazism is rising, social violence as well. What we are facing now, is a radical-centre right wing government and its parastate, Golden Dawn, in full unfolding. The latter, celebrated its “victory” by stabbing immigrants and attacking members of SYRIZA in Piraeus.

To conclude with, what those “anarchists” did, thankfully, was not representative of the Greek anarchist movement. The “funniest” thing of all, is that they chose to burn ballot box in Exarcheia, a historical district in the city centre of Athens, where people would never have voted for the conservatives.

In any case, I state that I find this attitude 100% authoritarian and antisocial. Anti-authoritarians fight for and serve freedom with all our power, we don’t patronise, we respect and we are struggling to make people understand that our values are the only ones that serve people’s needs. From both the perspective of anti-authoritarianism and our values, as well as from the perspective of effectiveness, this was an action to be fiercely criticised.

Akrabz wrote:

Most of the “anarchists” who burn election boxes etc. have rich parents to pay their stupid live. They dont have the problem that the state pays pnly 350 euros for one year of unemployment and afterwards nothing, they dont have to wait 3 months for a medical operation, they dont know how it is to have no electricity at home… They live their lives in a theoretical dream far behind reality. And also this theory isnt very logic because also as an anarchist you could vote for a left party as a strategical step.

Edit: as a footnote to this it's interesting that Paul Mason suggests that Syriza themselves may have been rather less keen on actually winning the election.

Paul Mason wrote:

At Syriza HQ, after about two hours poring over election results scribbled on notepaper, amid discarded cans of Amstel, they broke out a fresh packet of Marlboros and breathed. "We have lost. It's great for us," one woman beamed at me.

The party's MPs arrived, their suits and slick hair incongruous amid the Che T-shirts and the stubble. The press were crammed into rooms where the party's filing system sits: box files, with the names of obscure conferences stencilled onto them in felt-tip.

Greece had come within three percentage points of being ruled by a party whose HQ is smaller than a primary school. Syriza - an alliance of communists, feminists and ecologists - had avoided having to run the army of a Nato country and the economy of a collapsing state.

New Democracy's three-point victory, under the Greek system, gives them 50 MPs on top of their proportional allocation, and with the support of the rump of the former ruling party Pasok, and that of Syriza's rival eurocommunist group, Democratic Left, should give them a working majority in parliament.

The victory was delivered not only by ND's party machine, but by the hundreds of thousands of liberal and socialist voters who gritted their teeth and voted for the conservatives to stop Syriza. I heard stories of "progressive" middle-class people - with antagonisms toward ND going back generations - flying back from remote islands just to vote for Samaras.

Syriza's leader Alexis Tsipras not only conceded early, but assured the press he would not try and form a coalition of his own: that is, he would not be waiting to tempt Pasok and the Democratic Left into a Syriza-led coalition if the main talks fail...

Spikymike
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Jun 22 2012 09:51

Well it seems that 'Antarsya' whilst far more radical than
Syriza is actually a far left grouping with little claim to any anarchist credentials if this text is accurate:

http://kasamaproject.org/2012/05/08/antarsya-another-radical-view-from-greece/

The trotskyist wsws.org site also weighs in with some criticism of other trotskyist influence in this grouping.

I'm not sure what if any anarchist involvement there is?

Mark.
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Jun 22 2012 11:45

Kathimerini: Violence against migrants in Greece intensifies

Athens News: Golden Dawn member charged with rape

Yanis Varoufakis: The nature of the neo-nazi threat in Greece

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Jun 22 2012 12:33

Actually Antarsya is a front of the extreme Left and anarchists. Besides many independent members, it includes people from New Left Current (NAR) and the homologues of the british SWP, and also from a dozen other organisations of the extreme left. But it functions on direct democracy principles; the statement quoted above is not really representative of its climate.

Most anarchists voted for Syriza in the last elections. In the previous ones, of May, let's say a quarter of them had voted for Antarsya, because of its more democratic organisation and its active involvement in the streets against nazis and in labour and local struggles, such as Keratea. But in June, almost all of them voted for Syriza, often travelling great distance in order to vote. My impression is that, let's say, at least 4-5% of the 27% of Syriza comes from anarchists and libertarians.

Marchetos appears also in this interesting documentary:

http://www.catastroika.com/indexen.php

Caiman del Barrio
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Jun 22 2012 12:40
experimentalis wrote:
Most anarchists voted for Syriza in the last elections.

That may or may not be true, and the merits of Syriza's programme and the tactical decision to vote for them can be debated, but surely anarchist praxis means that you don't just vote then sit on your hands? Voting takes up maybe 30 minutes of one Sunday afternoon, where the fuck is everyone the rest of the time?