General Strike in Greece leads to mass walkout but very small marches

The general strike in greece called by public and private sector umbrella unions has led to a mass walkout but demonstrations have been composed of very small numbers of protesters.

The general strike called by GSEE (private sector umbrella union) and ADEDY (public sector umbrella union) for the 20th of May was the first mass mobilisation against the IMF/EU related austerity measures since the massive but also tragic general strike of the 5th of May.

According to all existing sources the participation in the strike was massive, and has been described by bourgeois media as reaching levels near 100% in some areas.

However the numbers of protesters on the streets of Athens and other major cities were strikingly small and the protest marches have been characterised by low-key or even numb tone of participation. In Athens the central protest march called by PAME, the Communist Party union umbrella did not walk to the Parliament but opted to march to the Ministry of Labour which PAME workers had occupied since early in the morning, and then to Thesion. The GSEE-ADEDY demo, numbering only a few thousand people, marched to the Parliament where slogans like "Thieves, Thieves", "Fascist scum, nooses are coming" and (surprisingly perhaps given the fire-related tragedy of the previous General Strike) "Burn, burn the brothel called Parliament" dominated the moment. A striking feature of the march were the firemen who shouted slogans holding big pictures of colleagues who have lost their lives at work (a video of the firemen's march can be see at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ9bezrc3XM&feature=player_embedded). Before the start of the march, strong motorised police forces performed 98 preventive detentions while blockading the central social center of AK, Nosotros, in Exarcheia and the offices of the Anarchist Archive. The police only let people inside Nosotros to go to the march after noting down their papers, a thoroughly illegal act of authoritarian arbitrariness.

It must be noted that in contrast to today's little attended marches, last Saturday PAME performed a rather impressive solo march against the measures numbering up to 100,000 people; a clear indication that the course of action adopted by the Communists lately is drawing mass popular support.

Whereas many people welcomed the respite of violence in today's marches, the small numbers of the protesters have caused widespread search for the meaning and reason of this anti-climax, believed by many to be the result of the death of the three people in Marfin Bank on the 5th of May. It must be noted that texts by anarchist collectivities criticising the Marfin burning as well as more general militant attitudes related to it are multiplying, not without counter-arguments raised in texts by other anarchists and notably a long communique by the NFC where the armed group goes as far as theorise and entice what is calls "revolutionary militarism", quoting the Peruvian Stalinist leader of the Shining Path, Abimael Guzman in support if its self-proclaimed nihilist project.

Posted By

taxikipali
May 20 2010 20:34

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David Jacobs
May 20 2010 21:45

As always, many thanks for your reporting, Taxikipali.

Just to clarify one detail: the NFC you refer to in the last paragraph
is the Nuclei of Fire Conspiracy, I assume.

Their quoting Abimael Guzman favorably certainly is remarkable.
It should give pause to any anti-authoritarians inclined to look on their
activities favorably.

iaourti iaourtaki
May 20 2010 22:20

o.k. there is the communique?
AND: Guzman was a maoist not stalinist!

taxikipali
May 20 2010 23:25

Naturally I will not waste my time to reproduce here the militaristiccommunique of the NFC, their supporters can do it instead if they so wish...and as everybody knows one of the main characteristics of maoism is its staunch defense of the stalinist tradition (hence Guzman called himself the "Fourth Sword of Marxism", after Lenin Stalin and Mao). At any rate, quoting that scum Guzman as a revolutionary authority is a clear act of divorcing oneself from any conceivable set of anti-authoritarian and anarchist values.

Obviously some people prefer the spectacle of "verbalism plus gun-powder" from the long and 'oh so boring' struggle for social emancipation...However, the best sign around Greece at the moment is that anarchists are breaking their omerta style silence regarding such phenomena, and the long now repetitive bravadoism of the latest NFC communique cannot hide the armed nihilists' panic at the sight of some serious sociocentric critique.

Devrim
May 21 2010 07:44
Quote:
AND: Guzman was a maoist not stalinist!

Maoists are Stalinists!

Devrim

Incubus
May 21 2010 09:15

taxikipali, thank you for your invaluable reporting.

Can you tell us just how severe the repression was yesterday? i.e. were people kettled in, in Exarchia, for the whole day?

Also, media reports widespread hostility towards the koukouloforoi (the hooded ones) amongst striking workers ( Saying they are known popularly as the "unknown ones" or "strangers"). Is this bourgeois propaganda, or is there an element of truth to it? If so, are the Insurrectionists aware of how they are regarded by workers, and do they care?

Do you think the bomb attacks (claimed the night before the strike) by "Conspiracy Cells of Fire", which injured two people, had an effect on the popular mood?

Many questions! Sorry!

taxikipali
May 21 2010 11:21

Yesterday the police engaged in a repetition of December 2009 techniques of preventive detentions and paper checks of people in Exarcheia and particularly people heading for the anarchist demo at the Museum. The number of the preventive detentions (98) is indicative of the ad hoc silent re-institution of the Idionymo, the 1920s law that ruled communism a thought-crime, now applied to anti-authoritarians.

As for the perception of anarchists in the social imagination, I think it is a complex issue. The term koukouloforoi (hooden ones) was invented in the last few years by the media (or the Ministry of Public Order) in an attempt to stir popular emotion against anarchists. The term originally refers to greeks wearing hoods and pointing at resistance fighters during Nazi blockades of entire areas in Athens during the German Occupation (the pointed out were summarily executed). In other words, it is a term identifying anarchists as fascists. The older derogatory terms used by the media is "gnostoi agnostoi", or the known unknowns, suggesting that anarchists are operating with the benefit of police toleration or even implicit control - another trick of mobilising popular sentiment against anarchists.

Finally, I dont think the Conspiracy's latest bombs had any serious effect on the popular mood, although the choice of bombing buildings a few days after the May 5th tragedy certainly did no favor to the image of the armed struggle fringe.

iaourti iaourtaki
May 21 2010 14:55

how can one proof if it's really the cells bombing or writing or even better what's about the EA-case and the communique of the 3 "members" when here is no link(s) to find? .
would be a nice help to post the links here in greek so that we can translate it directly!

sorry, man, not all people have the time to read all posts or even follow the events going on esp when they don have internet access.
on the other hand it's kinda scarry when folks that romantized a "urban guerilla" via their postings now denounce it...

nice would be some background about some "inner greek rascism" when german-greek house(s) get spray painted by the "real greeks"...

AND: What's that fuss about what the workers have to say, are they all revolutionaries?
are there no jobless, "migrants", homeless, PRISONERS, free lancers, small "business" men and women, disabled, transgenders and 30% of the people working inside the "shadow economics" or so many others who don't join the strikes because they have to carry out 2, 3 jobs to feed their people and are scarred to loose their jobs?
sounds like that's the majority in Greece...

sounds more like a shortened class analysis carried out by "commies" who only referr about the "workers"

i thought anarchists talk about the world-wide proletariat and we all have an anti-imperialist consensus that cares more about the worldwide situation than a national... (and destroy world trade and block the suez together with the pirates from Somalia)

what if the "greeks" want something totally different aka making lots of money and drive frat cars that endanger human and all other life?

what if Papandreou keeps on getting money from the middle and far east and pays the other money faster back to europe/IMF?

for me this site - as far as i can follow because our time is limited - sounds more and more like a socialdemocratic project

what about the prisoners of the movement?
or is the movement history?

from_gr
May 25 2010 09:16

@iaourti iaourtaki

The cells claimed the action with a long communique. Normally, if it wasn't really theirs, they would publish another communique. Moreover the language is not very different than the usual one. The communique can be found here: http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1171848

Also they published an announcement about the events of 5/5. Greek text here: http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1171853

The communique of the 3 members of revolutionary Struggle can be found here: http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1160139

The movement has many prisoners, more than any time in the recent past of the country.