Open Insurrection - Greece
By Petros Evdokas
Photos by Athens Indymedia
The new international human rights feature of Censored News
Grandmothers on balconies are tossing flower pots on the heads of Police below yelling, "Murderers, you murderers, take this!"
Street fighting has broken out in every city in the country and in almost every major small town, including the islands. A general strike has shut down the entire system.
Events are so numerous and widespread that quantitative reporting is no longer possible, numbers of incidents are impossible to maintain; what is now decidedly on the order of the day is the quality of events.
Citizens in many places are surrounding Police stations and attacking them with eggs, stones, molotovs - while Police are in it. The number of attacked Police stations is unknown. At least 25 Police stations are currently under siege by demonstrators who have surrounded and are blockading them.
Youths by the thousands have been taking to the streets shutting down main thoroughfares. Schools are either shut down or occupied by students who are often aided by teachers. Universities and colleges are almost all taken over by alliances of insurrectionist students and neighborhood or community activists.
Hundreds of Banks and major business offices and expensive glamour stores with luxury merchandise have been attacked with firebombs, have had their windows smashed, or been looted. A general ethic has been spreading in some areas whereby any luxury cars found on the street are destroyed.
The Government is hanging in office by a majority of one vote in the Parliament - there is a widespread expectation that even though the insurrection may not lead to a higher stage of general revolt, at least there's a very real possibility that the ruling party may be pushed out of the Government.
All sectors of society are openly acknowledging that the events are of a scale larger than anything experienced in Greece since the military junta fell in 1974 and the country was defined by a period of intense political turmoil.
Solidarity protests have already been held in Paris, Berlin, London, Rome, The Hague, Moscow, New York, Italy and Cyprus, and everyday more are being planned. Additional protests took place in Hamburg, Croatia, New York, San Francisco, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Brussels, Ιstanbul, Poland, Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, Burgos, Melbourne, Cologne, Dublin, Mexico City, Bristol, Bulgaria, and Slovakia.
In Greece itself large coalitions of mostly student-led organizations have issued calls for large actions and more occupations in the next few days.
The trigger for these events was the killing by Police in Athens of an unarmed 15-year old named Alexandros Grigoropoulos, an act which enraged the neighborhood and quickly became a focal point of conflict and a rallying cry for justice and revenge, spreading within a few hours to the whole country. The funeral of Alexandros was attended by tens of thousands of people.
But the sentiments and realities fueling this insurrection have been in the making for several years now. With an accelerated increase of poverty, inflation, loss of pension funds and other job benefits affecting a large percentage of workers due to Government corruption and mismanagement, endless financial and political scandals, curtailment of civil liberties and a terrifying rise in racism, systematic police brutality, an abandonment of real social struggle by the leaders of the progressive parties, and an almost out of control right-wing terror apparatus, the people in Greece have found themselves in a situation where only self-organized initiatives could matter. And they did.
Not a single one of the major "revolutionary" parties, neither Socialist nor Communist, are supporting the popular insurrection. They make statements, but they are not actively involved in the mobilizations. They've abandoned the people to fight it out alone, without guidance, leadership, or organizational support.
A characteristic phenomenon that testifies to the absence of any significant organization among the mobilized people is that Police have been seen and photographed dressed up as Black Bloc demonstrators (dressed in hoods and masks) while committing arson, vandalism, looting of small family owned stores, etc, working to destabilize the situation further by escalation of violence, to unleash chaos among the people and sow mistrust between the wider population at large and those who are now protesting in the streets. If the Police knew that their members would be stopped and questioned (or even apprehended and punished right on the spot) by popular organizations, they would not dare use such tactics. But they are gambling on the fact that most of the people engaged in the civil unrest are only in the early stages of self-organized initiatives that are often spontaneous, and many of them are politically inexperienced. If Police provocateurs or agents had to face a real people's militia or an insurrectionist security force, such Police tactics would have been unthinkable.
Regardless of what Police and the Parties are doing or not doing, the popular insurrection is real!
The question now that's on everyone's minds is how far, exactly, this insurrectionary moment will go, and how far will the rest of society go along?
The formal opposition parties want it go only far enough to topple the ruling party from the Government and let power fall in their hands. But not any further!
On the other hand, community activists who are involved directly with the mobilizations of tens of thousands of people in the streets, in the occupied academies and schools are hoping it will go ...all the way! Which to many people means a destruction of the power of Capital and the State, and its replacement by some form of democracy exercised directly by the people.
Greece is now suspended in that same kind of "pregnant moment" full of potential that existed in England during the 1980/81mass rebellion that began in Brixton and then again during the 2005 insurrection of France. Many parallel factors and elements are present, including the self-organized character of the events spearheaded by the population itself moving forward on its own moments, while at the same time there's almost total absence of participation by established parties, labor unions, etc.
Impossible to predict where it all will go. But the weather forecast for tomorrow, at least, is certain: it will be raining molotovs again.
Petros Evdokas, email@example.com
member of Cyprus IndyMedia
Weather forecast - editorial cartoon in "Kathimerini" newspaper:
"Youths threw stones and firebombs at police before dawn in a sixth day of protests since the shooting of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos ignited anger at police brutality and rising economic hardships due to the global economic slowdown.
The early morning violence gave way to calm as Greeks returned to work after a 24-hour general strike on Wednesday called by unions against the conservative government's economic policies..."
"...after dark hundreds of professed anarchists broke the windows of upscale shops, banks and five-star hotels in central Athens and burned a large Christmas tree in the plaza in front of Parliament.
Street-cleaning trucks tackled the mess Tuesday in the shattered heart of Athens. Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis advised Athenians not to drive into the city center and asked them to keep their trash indoors; rioters burned 160 big garbage containers in the streets on Monday night.
On Tuesday, the opposition leader, George Papandreou, a Socialist, renewed his call for early elections. But it remained unclear whether the riots would cause the government to fall or whether the stalemate would continue."
Article in the greek language showing photos of the Police infiltrators posing as demonstrators while committing crimes:
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