In May 2011, hundreds of thousands of Greeks swarmed into Syntagma Square in Athens to protest against the firesale of their country, their labor rights and their livelihoods to corrupt domestic elites and foreign financial interests.
In a matter of days, a protest camp was set up – organized on the principles of direct democracy, leaderless self-management and mutual aid – providing a glimpse of utopia in the midst of a devastating financial, political and social crisis. On June 28-29, during a Parliamentary vote on further austerity measures, the state finally responded with brutal force, eventually evicting the protesters from the square and crushing the radical potential of their social experiment.
A year later, Leonidas Oikonomakis and Jérôme Roos – PhD researchers at the European University Institute and co-authors of the activist blog ROARMAG.org – returned to Athens to speak to activists involved in the movement and the occupation of Syntagma Square, as well as WWII resistance hero Manolis Glezos. What follows is this dramatic portrait of a country veering on the brink of collapse; and the people who chose to struggle in order to build a new world on the ruins of the old.