A Short Update on the Current Greek Crisis
By Chris Spannos at Feb 09, 2010
The current situation is marked by two notable factors…
(1) The EU is going after Greek debt by pressuring the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) in power to apply “austerity measures” to Greece. The rationale for this pressure on Greece is fear of financial crisis spreading to Spain and Portugal and so thus weakening the euro and consequentially attempts to forge a common “European Identity.” In Greece, PASOK is an ideological accomplice in pro-market deregulatory policy and so is willfully swallowing EU medicine. Three examples of reaction to the imposed “austerity measures” are:
(a) Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers are expected to strike next week against cuts in pay and retirement funds.
(b) While Greek Farmers, who are one of the largest farming sectors in the EU, are beginning to lift their 20 day blockade of the Bulgarian border in demand for higher payment for their goods, the EU commission announced it was prepared to take legal action against the farmers. At the same time tax and customs workers have walked off their jobs to protest cuts in pay.
(c) Last January Elite shoes in Athens, the country’s second largest shoe producer, was occupied by its workers, who were not paid for two months. Here is a short yet very informative video taken at the time (but you will have to watch on youtube becuase the embedding has been disabled by the producer): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk3athMB1WE
(2) A couple weeks ago the trial of the cop, Epaminondas Korkoneas, who shot the teenager Alexandros Grigoropoulos, which helped spark the Dec 08 uprising, began. Alexandros’ mother asked that the courts not move the trial from Athens to Amfissa, a small town 120 miles outside Athens, because key witnesses would not be able to make it. She also called the cop who caused her son’s death a “monster” at the trial and said that her son’s life had as much value to him, and the other cop complicit in the shooting, as a “cockroach.” The courts moved the trial for fear of safety of the cops on trial, supposedly because “anarchist groups…have vowed to kill the two defendants.” (BBC) About 300-400 anti-authoritarians traveled to Amfissa for the trial opening. The trial will likely last for months and so we will also likely hear of relevant political actions relating to the trial as it proceeds. The trial outcome is no doubt waited by many and the outcome has the potential to reignite simmering tensions.
In other news, I’m told by comrades in Athens that they are focused on making better the existing occupied social spaces as well as expanding and creating new occupied spaces more generally. There are of course many prisoner solidarity actions, some high profile and also ongoing migrant and anti-fascist work. And of course, we hear about the urban guerilla actions too.
In the Boston area we are planning a series of long-term solidarity efforts, beginning with a night of Greek food and information about the Greek Uprising then and now. We will be showing a documentary called “After the Greek Uprising” that Lydia Sargent of Z and myself produced, filmed May of 2009, which includes a walking tour of Exarhia with Athens anti-authoritarian movement comrades taking us to the site of the shooting of Alexandros and explaining one of the key pieces of evidence being debated in the trial now – the cop is arguing that the bullet he shot that killed Alexandros was not fired directly at him, but ricocheted off a nearby building before piercing the kids chest. The outcome of the trial, as mentioned above, is crucial.