Down with the government of murderers! Greek left on the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos (+ video, audio; updated Dec. 23)
December 10-23, 2008 -- Links International Journal
of Socialist Renewal is publishing a number of declarations,
statements, calls and articles from Greek left organisations in response to the
assassination by Greek police of Alexis Grigoropoulos. Please keep in mind that
the translations may be less than perfect, but due to the urgency of the situation they have been posted as is.
The night of Saturday December 20 to Sunday, December 21, the area around the central square of Exarchia and the Polytechnic
University of Athens became again the battlefield between the riot
police and groups of youth. Earlier, Saturday night at 21.00 pm, at the
same hour and place of the assassination of the young Alexis by the
Police, a two weeks memorial meeting was held attended by a thousand
people. The street itself was renamed and new plates were installed
with the name “Alexandros Grigoropoulos Street”. The clashes started
immediately after the memorial and continued until the morning.
Sunday the occupation of the GSEE (General
Confederation of Labor) by the other “GSEE” (General Assembly of Labor
in Rebellion) was called off. Before leaving the building in excellent
conditions, the workers have called the security service of the trade
union bureaucracy and together examined the place and signed a paper
signaling that everything is OK. This was necessary to avoid any
provocation: the planting by the police of weapons, drugs or fake
claims of destruction of the luxurious neoclassical building in marble
where the so-called “leaders of the working class” are sitting doing
nothing and preventing the working class to do something. The workers
occupying the building left it in an orderly manner and marched through
Athens as a powerful group of 500 people shouting slogans for the
release of the arrested, for workers’ self-organization, and for a
The Popular Assembly of Petralona has
occupied for a while the private station 9.89 of the Town Hall of
Athens and broadcasted a political declaration denouncing the
assassination of Alexis, the Police, and the capitalist government of
the murderers, calling for the continuation of the revolt, and for a
Marches and conflicts with police took
place in most of the working class areas: in Kaisariani (famously
called “the Greek Stalingrad” because of the battles from house to
house and from room to room by the Communist Partisans against the
Nazis in 1944), Nea Ionia, Vyronas, Nea Smyrni, Chaidari etc.
The General Assembly of the schoolchildren
took the decision to continue the occupation of the schools. The main
slogan is: “Christmas are postponed but not the revolt!”
Now all the efforts are focusing in the
preparation of the big national march of schoolchildren, students, teachers and workers next Tuesday, on December 23.
The revolt continues in the context of a
deepening political and social economic crisis, as an expression and as
a factor of it. A phony budget presented by the right wing government
and claiming that Greece will not experience a recession (!) or a surge
in unemployment (!!!) in 2009 was voted tonight in the Parliament
despite the fact that everybody, from the government or from the
opposition knows very well that the budget is a fraud, rejected even by
the EU authorities. What was spelled out by former PASOK Prime Minister
Costas Simitis in the discussion is the already known fact that the
country is actually bankrupt, Greece possibly will be evicted from the
Euro-zone and the IMF will intervene.
Two former ministers of the previous PASOK
government, Christos Verelis and Thodoros Pangalos (the ex Foreign
Minister who betrayed and delivered the Kurdish PKK leader Ocalan to
the hands of the Turkish MIT) made a call to appoint a jointly accepted
“supra-party” economic virtual dictator in the Ministry of Finances
and/or to form a Coalition government of the right wing New Democracy
and of PASOK to manage the national bankruptcy. The same Pangalos in an
interview in a Sunday paper, “Elefterotypia”, today, called the revolt
“sheer political hooliganism” blaming the reformists of Synaspismos/SYRIZA, and fully agreeing with Aleca Papariga’s accusations ( despite
his own well known anti-communism or rather because of that). Papariga,
the General Secretary of the Stalinist KKE gave today an interview in
the Sunday right wing paper Real news where, apart from her fervent
defense of Stalin, of the Moscow Trials and of the mass purges of the
’30s, she was repeating that “there is no revolt” and the clashes with
the police is “the realization of a plan organized long ago by the
foreign intelligence services of imperialism”!! It is not a surprise
that the yellow right wing populist paper Avriani had in the front page
the headlines: “The Police are useless- Let ask the citizens or the KKE
to re-establish order!”
This order is now needed by the ruling
class more than ever as the disintegration of the over-indebted
capitalist Greek economy accelerates. Another former Minister of PASOK,
Alecos Papadopoulos proposed to invite officially the IMF or another
international institution of this type to take control and manage the
economy of the country!
Karamanlis is preparing a reshuffling of
his government that will solve nothing. Early elections that appear
inevitable cannot solve the country from a bankruptcy. The current
revolt is a precursor earthquake and not the principal earthquake,
which is coming in 2009!
As the slogan on the wall of the Athens University says in English: Merry Crisis and a Happy New Fear!
Savas Michael, Athens, December 21, 2008
* * *
Communist Organization of Greece (KOE)
Merry Christmas in the streets!
December 22, 2008 -- On Friday December 19 the Coordination Councils of occupied schools and faculties organized in the centre of Athens a big concert of support to the rebellious youth, with the participation of many music groups and singers. During hours thousands of people followed the concert, with slogans against the government and the state terror. In Peristeri (the suburb of Athens where the new murderous attempt against the youth took place during the night of 17 December – see 8th Statement) a new march took place with the massive participation of secondary education pupils, teachers and parents.
On Saturday December 20 hundreds of activists “visited” the new Christmas tree in front of the Parliament (the previous one was burned a week ago) and threw many sacks full of garbage on it. The Special Forces attacked the protesters and proceeded to new arrests; the bystanders booed the police and liberated some of the arrested. The Athens’ Christmas tree is now guarded round the time by hundreds of Special Forces and the people of Athens are laughing at the attempt of the government and of the mayor to “recreate the Christmas atmosphere in the centre of the city” – under the protection of the fully armed Special Forces guarding the tree!
On Sunday December 21 many demonstrations took place in neighbourhoods of Athens (Kessariani, Ilio, etc.) and other cities, organized by the forces of the Radical Left, most of them targeting the local police stations. The evening took place in the Parliament the discussion for the national budget. However, the discussion unavoidably focused on the revolt of the youth. The block of “law and order” once more made its appearance: apart the usual government attacks against the youth and the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA), in this exercised excelled again the extreme right-wing, the “socialist” PASOK and the “communist” KKE. The head of the extreme right-wing party LAOS, Georgios Karatzaferis, congratulated once more KKE for its “responsible attitude and exemplary organization”. The general secretary of KKE, Aleka Papariga, declared that “this is not a revolt; in an authentic popular revolt the masses will not smash even one glass” and once more tried to identify SYRIZA with the “provocateurs”. A leading cadre of PASOK, Theodoros Pagkalos, accused SYRIZA for “leading the phenomena of riots and political vagrancy”.
The head of the Parliamentary Group of the Coalition of Radical Left, Alekos Alavanos, in his combative speech declared: “When a frontal confrontation takes place, each political and social force must choose its camp: either with the system or against it. Today, the government party, the party of LAOS, and KKE are claiming that there is no revolt of the youth, and that all this is a conspiracy organized outside Greece. They remind us of the civil war and the post-civil war years, when the right wing was accusing the communists of been Moscow’s spies. Today, they accuse us even of been common criminals and human traffickers [see statement of KOE about KKE]. They remind us of the Sixties, when the right wing was accusing the girls of the left youth that they were prostitutes trying to attract the decent youth. Today, we heard the general secretary of KKE using the same terms with Ms Bakoyianni, Minister of Foreign Affairs. We heard Mr Karatzaferis congratulating KKE, accusing us of petting the rioters and proposing a new draconian law against the youth. All these are examples of how much the government of Mr Karamanlis is worried. That’s why the government party gets into this alliance with LAOS and KKE. They are all afraid of the near future, of the day when all the working people will rise next to the youth. We, the Coalition of the Radical Left, are warning them: They will not manage to make us retreat. We will not retreat even by one millimetre. We will not sign any declaration of loyalty to the system!”
On Monday December 22 the mobilizations continued on local level, while the Coordinations of university students unions and secondary education pupils prepare a new central demonstration in Athens, on Tuesday 23 December. In Peristeri, groups of young workers and students occupied the town hall, asking for the immediate liberation of the arrested and for the exemplary punishment of the murderers and of all the police members who attack the people.
Day 11 of the revolt in Greece: Occupation of state television
Listen to an interview with the author Savas Michael, from the Greek Revolutionary Workers Party (EEK) on Suzi Weissman’s Pacifica radio show Beneath the Surface. (Interview starts at 41:00 minutes into the program.)
December 16, 2008 -- This morning started with a very unpleasant surprise for the riot
police, the special force against popular mobilisations, which is busy
all these days of popular revolt in Greece to attack and brutalise 13- and 14-year-old kids: their central headquarters/caserne in the Kaisariani
area, in Athens, was put under siege for hours by a multitude of young
people throwing to them stones and Molotov cocktails.
During all day, the main roads of the Greek capital, particularly in
points near schools, were blocked by the schoolchildren for hours
stopping the chaotic traffic for hours.
In general, its has to be pointed out that all the schools and all the universities of the country have stopped functioning and their students
are in the streets fighting, protesting, singing, shouting slogans,
clashing with police, putting under siege or occupying public
buildings (town halls, cultural centres etc.)
In the evening, as it was decided previously in a general assembly,
a powerful march of thousands of inhabitants of Exarchia (the area in
Athens where the young Alexis was killed) took place to the local
police station of the murderers, which was pout under siege for hours.
The most spectacular action today, it was the occupation of State TV Broadcasting. When the state TV station was broadcasting the
main 3 pm news, and the Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was
addressing his parliamentary group and the Greek people on the recent
huge financial scandal involving the government and an orthodox monastery in Mount Athos (a scandal which just is scandalously covered
up by the government closing now the affair), suddenly the image was
interrupted and another image of a group of 100 militants was
broadcasted with banners against the murderers of the state and for the
liberation of those arrested so far!
It was not the first broadcasting station which was at the hands of
the activists -- the radio station of Ioannina in Epirus (northern western Greece) is already under occupation -- but undoubtedly this
action was the most impressive. The people received it with enthusiasm
and the authorities with hysteria. The Stalinist party KKE found that
the slogans of the activists in the state TV station today “were not
appropriate”. In general the Stalinists are against our call for the
liberation of the arrested that are considered by the KKE as
“hooligans” or possibly agents of the police and of the CIA!!! In two
at least occasions today as our trade unionists report (in the general
assembly of the federation of high school teachers OLME and in the
health sector, held to prepare for the strike of December 18, the
Stalinists voted down our call for the immediate liberation of all
those arrested, who most of them are young adolescents).
In Volos (central Greece), we took the initiative to circulate a
leaflet of MERA (front of radical left which includes EEK) addressed to
the members of the KKE asking them to kick out from their party the general secretary Aleca Papariga and all those collaborating with the
capitalist state against the revolt, and to join us in the common
battle. It created a lot of discussion on many levels.
Translated dimanche 14 décembre 2008, par Gene Zbikowski
this December 9, 2008 interview, Dimitris Papadimoulis, a member of
Synapismos, Greek European Union deputy and member of the EU
parliamentary group GUE/Northern Greens, denounces the role played by
the Greek government.
What is your opinion of what happened Saturday evening in Athens?
Dimitris Papadimoulis: It was a pure crime committed
by a policeman against a 15-year-old youth for no reason at all. You
heard me right: for no reason at all. One of the problems is that
there are far-right groups within our police force, groups with a very
violent attitude. This isn’t the first time that we’ve had to deal with
such cases. Already, last year many violent affairs involving police
occurred in Greece, without either the government or the police chiefs
imposing any sanctions. That’s why we think that this is a political
question and why we hold those who head the government for responsible,
the people who leave unpunished the crimes of these far right groups
that act within the police force itself. Moreover, together with all
the forces of the left, we call for demonstrations against this mad
What is the social context?
In Greece, the social crisis is
very serious, especially for the young generation. The unemployment
rate among young people is particularly high (it’s almost double the
European average), there is a lack of perspectives for these same young
people. The government has created an explosive mixture for the
majority of the population and for the young people of this country.
What is going to happen in the coming days?
For Monday, we have organised a
massive and peaceful demonstration in Athens and in many other cities.
We are reacting in a radical way, but, and this has to be emphasised,
peacefully. We are not just demanding that the government change its
social and economic policies, we are demanding that it step down. On
Wednesday there will be a general strike. It was planned long ago, but
obviously, with the murder of this young man, it will take on an
additional dimension. We will not only say `no’ to the government’s
neoliberal policy, which creates bigger and bigger inequalities, which
are more and more unbearable, but we will also say ‘no’ to the criminal
and aggressive attitude of the police towards young people, towards the
social movement, and towards the left.
AMY GOODMAN: Protests, riots and clashes with police have
overtaken Greece for the sixth straight day since the fatal police
shooting of a teenage boy in Athens Saturday night. One day after
Wednesday’s massive general strike over pension reform and
privatization shut down the country, more than a hundred schools and at
least fifteen university campuses remain occupied by student
demonstrators. A major rally is expected on Friday. And as solidarity
protests spread to neighboring Turkey, as well as Germany, Spain,
Italy, Russia, Denmark and the Netherlands, dozens of arrests have been
made across the continent.
On Wednesday, two police
officers involved in Saturday’s shooting were arrested, and one was
charged with murder. But anger remains high over the officers’ failure
to express remorse at the student’s death. The police officers claim
the bullet that killed Alexandros Grigoropoulos was fired in
self-defense, and the death was an accident caused by a ricochet.
unrest this week has been described as the worst since the end of the
military dictatorship in 1974 and could cost the already weakened Greek
economy an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s also shaken
the country’s conservative government that has a narrow one-person
majority in Parliament. The socialist opposition has increased calls
for the prime minister to quit and call new elections, ignoring his
appeals for national unity.
I’m joined now on the
telephone by a student activist and writer from Athens. He’s with the
Greek Socialist Workers Party. He’s a graduate student in political
philosophy at Panteion University in Athens.
We welcome you to Democracy Now! Can you lay out for us
exactly when this all began and how the protests have escalated and
what they’re about right now, Nikos Lountos?
NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yes, Amy. I’m very glad to talk with you.
So, we are in the middle of an unprecedented wave of actions now
and protests and riots. It all started on Saturday evening at around
9:00 p.m., when a policeman patrolling the Exarcheia neighborhood in
Athens shot and murdered in cold blood the fifteen-year-old schoolboy
The first response was an attempt to cover up the killing. The
police claimed that they had been attacked. But the witnesses all
around were too many for this cover-up to happen. So, all the witnesses
say that it was a direct shot. So even the government, in just a few
hours, had to claim that it will move against the police, trying to
calm the anger.
But the anger exploded in the streets. In three, four hours, all
the streets around Athens were filled with young people demonstrating
against the police brutality. The anti-capitalist left occupied the law
school in the center of Athens and turned it into headquarters for
action. And on Sunday, there was the first mass demonstration.
Thousands of people of every age marched towards the police
headquarters and to the parliament. And the next day, on Monday, all
this had turned into a real mass movement all around Greece.
What was the most striking was that in literally every
neighborhood in every city and town, school students walked out of
their school on Monday morning. So you could see kids from eleven to
seventeen years old marching in the streets wherever you could be in
Greece, tens of thousands of school students, maybe hundreds of
thousands, if you add all the cities. So, all around Athens and around
Greece, there were colorful demonstration of schoolboys and
schoolgirls. Some of them marched to the local police stations and
clashed with the police, throwing stones and bottles. And the anger was
so really thick that policemen and police officers had to be locked
inside their offices, surrounded by thirteen- and fourteen-year-old
boys and girls.
The picture was so striking that it produced a domino effect.
The trade unions of teachers decided an all-out strike for Tuesday. The
union of university lecturers decided a three-day strike. And so, there
was the already arranged, you know, the strike you mentioned for
Wednesday against the government’s economic policies, so the process
was generalizing and still generalizes.
AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, when you have this kind of
mass protest, even with the beginning being something so significant as
the killing of a student, it sounds like it’s taken place in like a dry
forest when a match is thrown, a lit match, that it has caught on fire
something that has been simmering for quite some time. What is that?
NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yeah, that’s true. Everybody acknowledges
that even the riots, the big riots—you may have seen the videos—they
are a social phenomenon, not just the result of some political
incident. There were thousands of angry young people that came out in
the streets to clash with the police and smash windows of banks, of
five-star hotels and expensive stores. So, that’s true. It was
something that waited to happen.
I think it’s a mixture of things. We have a government that’s—a
government of the ruling party called New Democracy, a very right-wing
government. It has tried to make many attacks on working people and
students, especially students. The students were some form of guinea
pigs for the government. When it was elected after 2004, they tried—the
government tried to privatize universities, which are public in Greece,
and put more obstacles for school students to get into university. The
financial burden on the poor families if they want their children to be
educated is really big in Greece. And the worst is that even if you
have a university degree, even if you are a doctor or lawyer, in most
cases, young people get a salary below the level of poverty in Greece.
So the majority of young people in Greece stay with their families ’til
their late twenties, many ’til their thirties, in order to cope with
this uncertainty. And so, this mixture, along with the economic crisis
and their unstable, weak government, was what was behind all this
AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos is a Greek activist and
writer. Nikos, the protests have been picked up not only in Greece, but
around the world. We’re talking about the Netherlands, talking also
about Russia and Italy and Spain and Denmark and Germany. What does it
mean to the workers and the students in Greece now? How significant is
that? Has that changed the nature of the protests back in Greece?
NIKOS LOUNTOS: It’s very good news for us to know that
many people around the world are trying to show their solidarity to us.
And I think it’s not only solidarity, but I think it’s the same
struggle against police brutality, for democracy, against war, against
poverty. It’s the same struggle. So it’s really good news for us to
hear about that.
I think you should know that the next Thursday will be the next
day of action, of general action. Every day will have action, but next
Thursday will be a day of general action. The students will be all out.
And we’re trying to force the leaders of the trade unions to have a new
general strike. So I could propose to people hearing me now that next
Thursday would be a good day for solidarity action all around the
world, to surround the Greek embassies, the consulates, so generally to
get out in the streets and express your solidarity to our fight. And I
think workers and students in Greece will really appreciate it.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the issue of civil liberties overall in Greece? Has this been a matter of controversy over time?
NIKOS LOUNTOS: Yeah. This government has a really awful
record on civil liberties. It all began during the Olympics of 2004,
aided also by the so-called anti-terrorist campaign started by George
Bush after 9/11. During the Olympic Games, we had the first cameras in
the streets of Athens. And there are now proofs that many phones were
tapped illegally at that period, among them the phones of the leaders
of the antiwar movement here in Greece, such as the coordinators of the
Stop the War Coalition.
And then came the biggest scandal of all. In 2005, tens of
Pakistani immigrants were abducted from their homes by unknown men.
They were hooded and interrogated and then thrown away after some days
in the streets of Athens. The Greek police, along with the British MI5,
had organized these illegal abductions in coordination with the
then-Pakistani government of Pervez Musharraf.
During the student movements and the workers’ strikes all these
years, hundreds of beatings and more police brutality have covered up.
Just one month ago, a Pakistani immigrant called Mohammed Ashraf was
murdered by riot police in Athens when the police dispersed the crowd
of immigrants waiting to apply for a green card. And the immigrants in
Greece in general are mainly from regions hit by war—Iraq, Afghanistan,
Somalia, Pakistan. And they are treated in awful conditions by the
Greek state and police. Many people have died by shells in the borders
or in the Aegean Sea, trying to get into Greece and then Europe. So
it’s really an awful record for the government on civil liberties.
AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, finally, as we travel from
Sweden to Germany, one of the things we’re looking at is the effect of
the US election on the rest of the world. In a moment, we’ll be joined
by the editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel, the largest magazine in
Europe. When President-elect Obama was elected, their headline was
“President of the World.” What is the effect of the election of Barack
Obama on people you know in Greece? What has been the reaction?
NIKOS LOUNTOS: Well, you know, all these years we had a
slogan here in the antiwar movement and the student movement that
George Bush is the number-one terrorist. So, many people were happy
when they learned that these will be the final days of George Bush and
his Republican hawkish friends like John McCain. But, of course, people
in Greece have experienced that having a different government doesn’t
always mean that things will be better. If the movement doesn’t put its
stamp on the changes, changing only persons will have no meaning. But
people have appreciated the change in the US administration as a
message of change all over the world.
AMY GOODMAN: Nikos Lountos, I want to thank you very much
for being with us, Greek activist and writer. He’s with the Socialist
Workers Party in Greece and a graduate student in political philosophy
at Panteion University in Athens.
* * *
Day six of the Greek youth revolt
Rustbelt Radical, December 11, 2008 -- Six days after the murder of the young boy Alexis Grigoropoulos by a
policeman triggering the biggest revolt of the last six decades in
Greece, the rebellion of the youth continues, with the schoolchildren
in the vanguard. More than a hundred of schools and faculties are under
occupation. Demonstrations of school children erupted in the morning in
most of the neighborhoods of Athens, police stations were attacked, and
public buildings were occupied. The provocative attitude of the
murderer and of his infamous lawyer Kouyas attempting a character
assassination of the victim, presenting him as a hooligan with a
disturbed behavior etc., and the attempt of the police to present the
crime as an accident gave anew impulse to the mass revulsion and
rebellion. In the afternoon a new demonstration of thousands of youth
took place in the center of Athens, and another one will follow
Outside Athens, the revolt is engulfing the entire country;
demonstrations take place even in regions traditionally conservative
such as Laconia in the South.
News for actions of international solidarity from Moscow to Buenos
Aires, and from Tokyo and Istanbul to Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Bologna,
Paris, Grenoble, Copenhagen, Stockholm, etc. is received here with
enthusiasm. The European bourgeoisie, on the contrary and its press
show great concern and fear for the contagious effect of the Greek
revolt to other European countries. Particularly the French bourgeoisie
and Sarkozy himself expressed their fears. The paper “Minute” wrote
that there is a danger for a new May 68 starting this time from the
revolt in Greece. Financial Times wrote that the rebellion in Greece is
an anomalous situation for the European Union”…
As the Greek schoolchildren say “Let’s make real ‘their’ worst nightmares!”
organisations of the anticapitalist left that sign this text, want to condemn
the murder, in cold blood, of 16-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police
special guard in the evening of December 6. We salute the demonstrations
against the government of murderers all over Greece. In our opinion the reason for what
happened is not the “extreme zeal” or the “loss of temper” or
the “lack of training” of a police special guard but the whole policy of
the New Democracy government.
It is a policy
that not only reinforces police oppression and legitimizes the use of lethal
weapons against demonstrators, but also privatises the ports and Olympic
Airlines, attacks social security and the rights of students.
It is the policy
of police beatings of students, of the kidnappings of immigrants from Pakistan, of illegal interceptions of phone
communications and of racist attacks that lead to the death of refugees that
came here looking for asylum and a better future.
It is the policy
of special “antiterrorist” legislation, of full compliance to the measures
adopted by the EU against democratic liberties and against immigrants.
It is the policy
of the new legal framework for the Universities, of legalizing Private
Universities. It is the policy of lower wages and rising taxes. Amidst an
economic crisis the government is trying on the one hand to offer billions of
euros to the Banks and on the other to find scapegoats either in radical youth
or in immigrants.
After the brutal
murder the government has chosen the path of police repression. That is why
police anti-riot squads attacked those who were demonstrating. The Socialist
Party, PASOK, has offered its consent to this policy. The message is simple:
the government will enforce its policy at any cost, a policy that will make the
workers pay for the economic crisis, by means of austerity, flexible work,
privatisations, implementation of the EU policies.
The anger of the
demonstrators is fuelled by the policies of the government, of the forces of
capital, of the EU. That is why the protest must grow stronger. We must meet in
the streets with the struggling workers, farmers and students. We will not pay
for their crisis. Today anger is not enough. What is needed is collective and
militant struggle in every workplace, every neighborhood, in order to transform
them into places of resistance and overthrow the government and its policy.
with the New Democracy government of murderers and its policy
must pay for its crisis, not the workers and youth.
escalate the struggle for our rights
ministers that are responsible must resign
police must be disarmed, police forces must keep away from demonstrations, and
Police Special Forces must be disbanded.
all people arrested during the demonstrations.
“antiterrorist”˙ and authoritarian laws
organizations of the Greek anticapitalist Left: ARAN (Left Recomposition), ARAS (Left
Anticapitalist Group), EKKE (Revolutionary Communist Movement of Greece), EEK
(Workers Revolutionary Party), OKDE, OKDE-Spartacus (Fourth International), SEK
(Socialist Workers Party ), NAR-N.K.A. (New Left Current-Youth Communist
Liberation), K.O. Anasyntaxi (Communist Organization Regroupment), K.A.
(Communist Renewal), EN.ANTI.A (United Anticapitalist Left), ME.R.A. (Front of
Greek Social Forum
Down with the
government of murderers!
pupil shot dead by policeman
Rage and mobilisation
all over the country for the cold-blooded assassination by a firearm bullet in
the stomach of the 15-year-old school boy, by a policeman, on Saturday 6th of
This is the
extreme expression of police brutality spreading in the last few years across
mobilisations of any description, of students, workers, migrants, peasants,
women, antifascist, ecological movements.
As from Saturday
night mobilisations spread all over the country, from Crete in the South to
upper northern cities, especially around universities, attacking police
stations and banks.
The Greek Social
Forum participated massively in the Sunday demonstration in Athens, of about 20.000, called at a few
hours notice by left wing organisations and parties, which was soaked in
chemicals and teargas in quantities heavier than ever in the last few years. It
also participated in all the cities in mobilisation.
have been demonstrating everywhere today Monday, in the centre of the cities
and in neighbourhoods, mainly by encircling police stations and dropping books
and pencils in a symbolic disobedience move against the repression forces.
closure of all grades of education for tomorrow, Tuesday, has been announced by
pupils-students and trades unions and a big mobilisation. At today, Monday, the Greek Social Forum
together with left-wing organisations and parties have organised a radical
protest expected to be massive and disobedient. We opt for disobedience and not
for indiscriminate smashing of property, as some antiauthoritarian forces do.
there is a general strike by the General Confederation of Labour, organised
independently and before the assassination against the government policies, and
the workers are called to take part in it massively, as well as in the rallies
of the unions. The rallies will be followed by marches, despite the shameful
announcement of the Trades Unions Leadership that they do not sanction marches
for the fear of “trouble makers” and damage of property.
of austerity measures, of complicity in land development of huge proportions in
collaboration with some HolyMountain monasteries, of selling-off everything
in the land (from ports and air companies to telecommunications and public
education) must be overthrown by this huge movement of people’s rage.
communities in Europe are carrying out activities of protest outside Greek consular
authorities. We consider this movement in Greece to be a part of all European movements,
thus we ask the comrades everywhere to find ways to align their forces with us.
Social Forum Monday 8-12-08
Press statement of Neolaia
Synaspismou (the Youth of Synaspismos)
is killing. We have to stop them!
assassination of a 15-year-old today in Exarhia square, demonstrates in the
most extreme way the criminal face of the Greek police and the government of
Nea Dimokratia. The government is the one that armed the hands of the killer
policeman and hold all the political responsibility of the murder.
For years when
the Greek police was left unregulated and uncontrolled for capturing and
torturing students, workers and immigrants, when in any demonstration we are
faced with the most brutal violence and state authoritarianism when incidents
such as “jardiniere” remain unpunished, today murder can only be seen as a
premeditated crime, and the guilty are the Greek state governments of N.D and
If some think we
will be afraid to walk on the street, with the risk to get any bullet they are
mistaken. Our response to authoritarianism and repression will come through the
mass struggles of youth and workers, through our collective resistance to the
authoritarian government, in defending and expanding the rights and freedoms of
all of us.
The press office
of Neolaia Synaspismou.
Down with this government
Anti-imperialist Component (Greece) informs the progressive public
evening, Saturday 6 December, a member of the Police Special Forces shot in
cold blood and killed a 15 year old boy in the center of Athens.
2. Dozens of eye
witnesses who came forward and spoke to the Media confirm that this was a cold
blood murder, as there were no incidents going on. The attempt of the Greek
government to lie to the public opinion, claiming that the kids attacked the
police, finally failed: Tonight, Sunday 7 December, even the mainstream Media
are openly calling the government’s claims "a blatant lie".
3. The police
murder comes after years of increasing state terror against the youth and the
working people, who goes always unpunished and is always covered and justified
by the neoliberal government of K. Karamanlis. During the last year, dozens of
demonstrators and other citizens or immigrants have been arrested, tortured and
wounded by the police.
4. The Greek
government tried to disorientate and calm the people by organizing a theater of
"resignations" of the Interior Minister and the head of the Greek
Police, who were right away "refused" by the Prime Minister.
5. Thus, the
Greek government bears the full political responsibility for the murder of the
15 year old boy, which was anything but an exceptional incident. The Greek
government armed the hand of the murderer. It is the Greek government who
trains the policemen and teaches them: "You are the State and you are untouchable,
you are over the laws".
yesterday evening thousands of youth and working people are expressing all over
Greece their indignation and their fully justified anger against this
government of thieves and murderers. Dozens of demonstrations are taking place
almost continuously in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra and many other Greek cities.
7. All the left
organizations (with the shameful exception of the Communist Party of Greece,
which only issued a statement...) are taking part in this revolt under the
slogan: "Down with this government of murderers and thieves!".
Sunday 7 December, the demonstration organized in Athens by the Left forces gathered
thousands of people. It was attacked by the police with exceptional brutality,
but the state terror did not manage to smash the march. Today afternoon we are
organizing a new demonstration. The protest continues everywhere. Similar is
the situation all over Greece.
9. The murderers
and their instigators, the neoliberal government of K. Karamanlis, shall pay
dearly for all their crimes! The state terror shall not pass! The people’s
struggle shall be victorious!
Athens, 8 December 2008
Statement of the Communist
Organization of Greece (KOE), 09/12/2008
The state terror
cannot stop the fully justified and generalised protest
(a) Monday 8
Yesterday was a
day of protests all over the country. The secondary education pupils gathered
in their schools and then headed to the centre of the cities in their dozens of
thousands. They demonstrated their anger in front of the Athens Police General
Headquarters. They threw eggs and stones to the Special Forces in front of the
Parliament. They reversed police cars in Pireaus. They attacked police stations
all over Greece. The whole day the youth and the
masses made clear their anger against the government of murderers. The
government answered by unleashing a huge wave of state terror. Dozens of people
were arrested and wounded by the Special Forces. In many cases the cops kept
beating and torturing barbarously 14 and 15 year old boys and girls after
arresting them. But this only increased the masses’ wrath.
afternoon in Athens took place one of the bigger and
most combative demonstrations of the last years, called by the Left parties and
organizations: 40.000 people got to the streets. Younger and older, students
and working people marched in the centre of the city for hours, shouting
slogans against the murderers’ government. The demonstrators bravely resisted
the repeated attacks of the Special Forces, which unleashed tons of chemicals,
gas bombs etc. against the people in a (failed) attempt to break the march. For
the second consecutive day the repressive forces attacked directly the massive
block of the Communist Organization of Greece, throwing chemicals right in the
middle of it; but they failed to break the block, which regrouped rapidly and
continued the march.
More and more
people are coming in the demonstrations prepared to face the repression,
“armed” with masks and liquids that limit the chemicals’ effects. Similar was
the situation (massive participation, combative spirit, huge repression) in the
other demonstrations all over Greece. The government and the mainstream
Media are vainly trying to focus on the “destruction of public and private
property” and divert the attention from the murder and the popular will to
bring down this government.
(b) Tuesday 9
Today is the day
of the funeral of the murdered boy, Alexis Grigoropoulos. It will take place
this afternoon. Before that, in , will start in the centre of Athens the new demonstration called by the
secondary education pupils and the teachers. The protests and marches continue
all over the country. In the neighborhoods we are in the streets, calling the
people to participate actively in the General Strike that will take place
tomorrow, Wednesday 10 December.
Organization of Greece and the Coalition of Radical Left condemned the sold-out
“leaders” of the trade-unions, who decided to change the place of tomorrow’s
central meeting in order not to make a demonstration. This attempt to break the
unity and the combativity of the movement, undertaken by the “liberal” and “socialist”
central leaderships, will fail. We are calling upon the youth and the working
people to gather in the initially fixed place and to march towards the
Parliament. The sold-out bureaucrats will not be able to gather even
(c) The character
of the protest, our orientation
The people are
for the fourth consecutive day in the streets. They are punishing this criminal
government, the government of the bankers, of the big business, of the
reactionary church, of the corruption and of the state terror. The youth are
punishing this criminal government that kills their future and privatizes the
education. The working masses are punishing this government that generates
poverty and unemployment, sells-out the national richness and provocatively offers
billions to the bankers and the big business.
Organization of Greece says: It is not enough that the Left participates in the
protest. The Left must lead the people! Now it is not time for hesitation and
“institutional” politics. We must transform the generalized anger and the
combative spirit into a popular revolt. It is time that the popular outcry
“Down with this government of thieves and murderers” becomes a sea that will
drown the criminal government of K. Karamanlis.
For this reason,
each and every member and sympathizer of KOE all over Greece goes over the top in order to bring
even broader masses to the streets and to punish the government. We are
organizing and supporting the strike in schools, in universities, in working
places, in neighbourhoods. We unite our action in order to chase away the
government of the rich and of the murderers. We work to transform the General
Strike into a Popular Condemnation of the murder, of the poverty and of the
the streets! Everyone to the struggle! We shall prevail!
Athens, 9 December 2008
Organization of Greece (KOE)
PS: We are
obliged to condemn the shameful position of the Communist Party of Greece
(KKE), which takes “equal distances” between the government and the “rioters”
and dares to accuse the Coalition of Radical Left and the Communist
Organization of Greece that we “cover the provocateurs”. They should be ashamed
by the fact that Ms. Petralia, Employment Minister of the criminal government
of K. Karamanlis, yesterday evening congratulated them for their “responsible”
attitude… One more time, the “big revolutionary words” go hand-in-hand with the
“realistic responsibility” and, again, they tend their helpful hand to the
government of K. Karamanlis.
Athens and all Greece are
in flames from last Saturday night. The cowardly murder of a 15 years young boy
by a member of the Special Guard of the Police in Athens on Saturday, December
6th was the immediate cause for a popular revolt, particularly of the youth,
which embraced not only the Greek capital but the entire country. It is,
undoubtedly, the biggest revolt from the time of the civil war of the 1940s and
the Polytechnic School uprising in 1973 against the military dictatorship.
Immediately after the news
of the death of the young boy the area near the site of the killing, near the
Polytechnic University of Athens, was full of people, mainly young. Clashes
with riot police have started and barricades were erected in the streets. The
Polytechnic was occupied and a call for a demonstration next day was issued.
Similar mobilizations took place the same night in Thessalonica, Ioanina,
Crete, Patras and other Greek cities.
Sunday, December the 7th at
least 20.000 people joined a mass demonstration towards the Police Central
Headquarters in Athens, which soon took the dimension of mass riots, continued
during all night.
Monday, December the 8th,
from early morning tens of thousands of very young schoolchildren of 15 years
or less marched through Athens and occupied the forefront of the Police Central
Headquarters. Youth attacked or occupied police stations and/ or town halls all
over the country, from Corfu to Rhodes, from Evros in the North to Crete in the
Early in the evening a mass
demonstration in Athens, double from that of the previous day, was transformed
to generalized clashes with the riot police all over the capital. The Faculty
of Law of the Athens University, the Athens Economic University and the
Polytechnic, are all occupied and general assemblies are discussing and
deciding the course of action.
Today( December 8), it was
announced and then denied that the right wing Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis
will meet the president of the Republic and the leaders of other Parties in
parliament to explain the necessity to declare the country under a State of
The mass media try to
cultivate hysteria among the middle classes against the “social hooligans” who
“exploit the unfortunate death of the boy” and “destroy private property and
put on fire the banks”. The x- Minister of Education Marietta Yannakou, who had
to resign because of the mass student movement of 21006-2007, has accused
“middle aged (!!) Trotskyites and anarchists who lead the riots through the
occupation the Law Faculty in Athens”"!!
The revolt, of course, is
not manipulated by anybody. It manifests the explosive situation produced by
the world capitalist crisis. The rebellion is an expression of a mass anger
accumulated the last period when the young generation lives without future, in
a present of misery under the worst conditions of labour flexibility,
unemployment, and continuous police harassment. Thousands of young boys and
girls have identified themselves with the innocent victim, the young Alexis
Grigoropoulos, and his tragic end. Sometimes the explosion of their anger takes
the form of blind violence, as in the 2006 revolt in the Paris neighbourhoods-
and this is why that many representatives of the ruling class call for a “Greek
Sarkozy”. But both in Paris and in Athens, the real causes are deeply social,
actually class issues.
The pseudo socialist PASOK
official opposition condemns the riots and their members in the leadership of
the General Confederation of Labour voted together with the Right to cancel the
march in Athens next Wednesday, December, 10, the day of a 24 hours General
The official left takes
also a dubious stand. The Stalinist KKE the first days did nearly nothing,
apart sending a delegation to discuss with the leadership of the Police, i.e.
of the killers. It does not take part in the common demonstrations, organizing
separately its own, and “guarding the social peace from the anarchists and
ultra-leftists”. The reformist Synaspismos (ex-Eurocommunists) try to play the
role of the “mediator” between the mass movement and the State.
The far left, mainly the
forces of two fronts, of MERA (Front of radical Left, where also our Party,
EEK, participates) and of ENANTIA (United Anti-capitalist Left), some Maoists
and the Anti-authoritarian Movement (anarchist), coordinate their actions. We
issued together a Call for a continuous struggle and a General Strike to
overthrow the Government of the Killers and put an end to its capitalist
policies, which try to make the exploited pay for the crisis of the system. We
decided the following actions:
Tomorrow, December the 9th,
a mass demonstration of schoolchildren, students, and University professors
will take place in Athens. A delegation of the march will participate in the
funeral of the young Alexis. In the afternoon, demonstrations and agit-prop
actions will be waged in all working class neighbourhoods.
On December the 10th, the
day of the General Strike against the decision of the leadership of the GSEE
(the General Confederation of Labor), we organize a march in Athens and in all
main cities of the country.
EEK intervenes in all the
main cities of the country fighting to transform the strike into an indefinite
General Strike on a program of transitional demands for a workers socialist way
out from the crisis, against the murderous capitalist State and its government,
for workers power.
December 9: Day 4 of the
revolt in Greece
Today at 15.00 pm took
place in Palaion Faliron, in a suburb cemetery of Athens, the funeral of the
unfortunate 15 years old boy Alexis Grigoropoulos murdered in cold blood by a
policeman on December the 6th, a State crime that triggered the
biggest revolt on a national scale from the end of the Second World War.
Thousands of people, young and older, participated in the funeral raising the
left fist in revolutionary salute. But at the end of the funeral, the riot police
attacked the crowd, targeting the youth. Clashes erupted. The big scandal now
is that the Police used again guns, shooting at least 15 bullets apparently on
the air to disperse the crowd!
Before the funeral, at
noon, thousands of schoolchildren, students, teachers and University professors
demonstrated in Athens and violent clashes again took place in Syntagma Square,
in front of the parliament, with the riot police attacking savagely 13-14 years
old young boys and girls.
The time of the funeral,
protest marches took place in all the main cities of Greece which ended
invariably to violent classes with the State repression forces. In Patras, the
city with the harbor connecting Greece with Italy and Western Europe, behind
the police were forces of the “Golden Dawn” fascist paramilitary group and
goons of the New Democracy youth organization( that have assassinated in 1991
the left wing teacher Temboneras). Important clashes took place also in
Thessalonica, Volos, and Crete. In many occasions very young schoolchildren
stormed the Police headquarters of their respective town.
The Prime Minister Costas
Karamanlis met with the President of the Republic, the leaders of the
Opposition parties in parliament, and the Chairman of the Parliament. Although
he did not succeeded to receive their direct endorsement for the declaration of
a State of Emergency, the government is moving towards this direction, namely
to declare a ’state of exception” using the article 11 of the Constitution to
forbid demonstrations and occupations. The hysteria campaign of the bourgeois
mass media against the “hooligans” is a part of these preparations.
Tomorrow is the day of the
long ago announced 24 hours General Strike against the government budget. In
collaboration with the Right, the PASOK leadership of GSEE (General
Confederation of Labor) has cancelled the rally in front of its headquarters as
well as the march. In replacement it will held an “all democratic memorial
meeting” in Syntagma Square.
The PASOK leadership of
George Papandreou limits itself to verbal criticisms that “the government does
not use effectively the police to protect social peace, the property of the
citizens and the public buildings”…
The Stalinist KKE
leadership goes farther to the right, by denouncing together with the
government and the far right … Synaspismos (the ex-Eurocommunists) as
“protector of the hooligans and provocateurs”. The General Secretary of KKE,
Aleca Papariga described the young rioters as “Talibans” created by the secret
services of the State under the governments of PASOK and of New Democracy and
now becoming uncontrollable!! She received an enthusiastic praise by the right
wing government and the fascist anti-Semite leader of the far right.
The KKE organizes its own
separate meetings, in other place and hour, absolutely respecting the social
peace that the current government of boy killers wants to impose.
Synaspismos, forming with
its allies in the extra-parliamentary left the “Alliance of radical
Left”-SYRIZA, calls for “the democratic re-organization of the police” and
other mild reformist economic measures to raise the living conditions of a
young generation with a miserable present and without a future. Being under
constant pressure from the right, Synaspismos/SYRIZA cancelled its previous
decision to hold the rally in front of the GSEE headquarters and then
participating in a popular march of the strikers. It will hold a rally nearby
So, the only march tomorrow
in Athens will be that organized by a number of far left organizations,
including EEK, from the Polytechnic University to Parliament. The situation, of
course, is precarious, open to all dangers for a police attack, but we will not
yield to State terrorism and the cowardly pressures by reformists and
While the clashes between the riot police and the
people, particularly the youth, five days after the killing of the 15
years old Alexis Grigoropoulos continue without interruption, a General
Strike called by GSEE (General Confederation of Labor) and ADEDY (National Federation of Public Employs) for December the 10th took
successfully place. The strike was particularly successful in the public, education, health and transport sectors.
The Prime Minister Karamanlis made a public call and
sent an official letter to the leadership of the Confederation to
cancel not only the march, which traditionally follows the central
rally the day of the General Strike, but the rally in Syntagma Square
as well and the strike itself “because of the tense situation”. The
trade union bureaucracy had already cancelled the march and transferred
the rally from the traditional place in front of the headquarters of
GSEE to Syntagma Square, in front of the Parliament “in support of
parliamentary democracy”… But the GSEE leadership dominated by PASOK
did not dare to cancel the Strike or the rally, as Karamanlis demanded,
fearing that the mass workers movement will mobilize independently and
against the bureaucrats.
Under the combined pressures of the New Democracy
government, of PASOK, and above all, of the Stalinist KKE which accused
the reformist Synaspismos and its allies in SYRIZA to cover up for the
“hooligans destroying social peace and private property”, SYRIZA
cancelled its march and transferred its rally near Syntagma Square.
The Stalinists of KKE( who recently rehabilitated
officially not only Stalin but also the verdict of the Moscow Trials
and the purges of the ’30s in the Soviet Union) have become the main
slanderers of the youth revolt calling the young rebels “Talibans”,
“gangsters”, “drug dealers”, ” prostitution dealers”(!!), “police
agents” etc. Today in all mass media, the Right and particularly the
fascists of the far right party LAOS praised, quoted approvingly, and
repeated ad nauseam all the despicable slanders of the Gen. Sec. of
KKE, A. Papariga against the revolt.
For the General Strike, they organized their own
separate rally in Omonia Square and then they moved two blocks in the
other direction and dispersed! They were less than 4.000.
So the only march in Athens in the day of the
General Strike was that organized by the far left organizations of
MERA( Front of Radical Front, which includes EEK) and of ENANTIA(
United Anti-capitalist Left), joined by two Maoist groups and the
Anti-Authoritarian Movement (anarchist). Some class struggle sections
of the trade union movement, particularly in the Public sector, Health,
Education, technical engineers etc., including the Federation of the
high schools teachers refused to go neither with the PASOK-led GSEE or
the Stalinists and joined us putting themselves in the first ranks of
our march. It was the most impressive march of the Greek far left for
decades: about 25.000 people! EEK had its strongest contingent for all
its recent history. The Italian TV( which took also an interview by
Savas Michael of EEK) as well as other foreign TV channels have showed
our march- but not the Greek State TV, which nevertheless showed the
tiny rally of GSEE in Syntagma and the Stalinist gathering in Omonia…
There were only small clashes with the riot police
during the march, which, of course, geometrically escalated after the
end of the march, and still continue this hour (around midnight, Greek
time) around the Polytechnic University under occupation. The police
use there tonight also goons of the paramilitary fascist group “Golden
Dawn” - as they already did yesterday in Patras injuring with a knife a
young girl- and threaten to attack also our Independent Action Center
in the occupied Law Faculty in the Athens University.
In the Law Faculty under occupation, after the
march, two General Assemblies took place: a Workers Assembly joined by
hundreds of class struggle trade-unionists and a Student Assembly
joined by representatives from nearly all the student unions of the
Athens University. The traditions of the 1973 Polytechnic uprising
against the CIA junta are revived: at that time too there were a
Workers’ and a Students’ Assembly coordinating their actions as we do
today. The Independent Action Center is precisely this Coordination.
A statement was drafted and voted with a series of
demands (for the abolition of anti-trade union, anti-pension, police
state legislations, for wages increases, against privatizations, for
nationalizations under workers control etc.), a call for an indefinite general strike to overthrow the government, and a solemn decision for
civil disobedience, demonstrations, strikes etc. against the State of
Emergency prepared by the New Democracy government. The Statement, of
course called also for the immediate release of all arrested, whose
number until now is higher than 150 people, most of them young boys and
girls around 15 years, the first target of this horrendous capitalist
government of kid killers.
Another provocation became public today: the Medical
-Legal Department of the Police wants to issue a verdict declaring the
killing of Alexis …an accident. At the same time the two police
murderers in their deposition in the Interrogator, made public by their
lawyer (a notorious lawyer of the mob), accused their young victim to
be “a nasty hooligan with a disturbed behavior”, “kicked out from his
school” (the school rejected officially the slander). This character
assassination- the Second Murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos- undoubtedly
will provoke a new wave of explosions, keeping in mind that in the
forefront of the struggle is 14-15 years schoolchildren.
Tomorrow there will be another student and
schoolchildren demonstration. The same, the day after tomorrow. The
mobilization will not stop until victory.
On December 18, the government budget is voted in parliament and another General Strike is planned for that day.
Greece: Combative general strike, counter-attack of the establishment
The 24-hour general strike met great success, much bigger than previous strikes, even in the private sector. Meetings and demonstrations took place all over Greece, with the participation of dozens of thousands of employees, workers, youth, unemployed and pensioners, despite the “personal plea of the Prime-minister not to hold public meetings in order to avoid further destruction”. The central demonstration in Athens took place from 10 am to 2 pm, despite the decision of the trade-union federation leadership to limit itself in a meeting. The blocks of the Communist Organization of Greece marched from the initially fixed meeting place towards the parliament, uniting during the demonstration with the other allies of the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA). The blocks of SYRIZA composed the bulk of the whole meeting.
During the demonstration there was no police presence, so no incidents took place. The slogans put forward by KOE were: "Resign now!" (addressed to the government), "ND and PASOK (the government party and the "socialist" party) shut up, you are both thieves and killers!".
After the conclusion of the demonstration and while thousands of people were still returning from the march, the Special Forces started provoking the people once again. The confrontation with the police continue until the moment we are writing these lines.
Report from Greece of Dec 9 and 10, 2009 Communist Organisation of Greece (KOE)
* * *
Down with the criminal government of Karamanlis!
In these critical moments, the “unholy alliance” of “law and order” takes shape, the composition of the two opposite camps gets clear. On the side of the “order” stand the big bourgeoisie and the government of Karamanlis, with their employees: the mainstream media, the police, the gangs of “angry citizens who protect their property” (composed by extreme right-wing cadres of the government party and by neonazis). Hand in hand with them goes the supposed “opposition”: the “socialists” of PASOK and the “communists” of the KKE, with their calls for “responsible attitude” and their open, calumniating attacks against the radical left. This “opposition” receives the congratulations of the government and of the establishment, who is only very happy to repeat again and again their accusations against the Coalition of Radical Left. Even the leader of the extreme right-wing party LAOS accused A. Alavanos, head of the Parliamentary Group of SYRIZA, that he “protects the rioters” adding: “It is not me who says that, Mr Alavanos. It is your kindred spirits from the KKE who affirm that”.
On the other side, the camp of the movement is composed by the revolted youth and by the forces of the Coalition of Radical Left and other left organisations, those of the extra-parliamentarian left. The combativity of the youth and the work of the communist current within the coalition, represented by the Communist Organization of Greece, have until now succeeded to keep this alliance within the protest and armed it with a correct demand: “This government must go!”. The position of our organisation is crystal-clear: We participate to the revolt with all our forces. We learn by the revolt and we try to develop it further and arm it with the necessary perspective.
Report from Greece of Dec 11, 2009: Communist Organisation of Greece (KOE)
Greece: teenager uprising, big general strike, but the left parties refuse to give a political solution
December 11, 2008 -- Yesterday
we witnessed a big general strike in Greece which expressed the strong support
of the workers for the struggle of the school students and the widespread
abhorrence at the government's police terrorism. The general strike was bigger than
the previous one of October 21. This was reflected in a rally of 40,000 people
in Athens' Syndagma Square, under the banner of the GSEE and ADEDY with the
participation of many school students. However, the KKE's trade union front,
PAME, organized a separate rally in Omonia Square with about 8,000 taking part.
The liveliest of the two rallies was the one in Syndagma Square organized by
the unions, while the other was more of a party rally than an authentic rally
of the workers and the youth.
students set the tone in the Syndagma rally with their huge enthusiasm and
fighting spirit. Unfortunately, the leaders of the GSEE limited themselves to
giving three speeches that lasted 45 minutes in total, without announcing any
programme of struggle for the immediate future. As a result the workers left the
rally with the feeling that their leaders were pushing them to go home and
leave the ground free for the police to attack and terrorize the students. In
fact, just 30 minutes after the last trade union leader had finished speaking,
the police attacked the students once more but the students fought back with
rocks and stones. The battle with the police continued until the late evening.
Today the school students are once again continuing to mobilize in front of the
police stations all over the country. And tomorrow morning another
demonstration is planned in the centre of Athens together with the University
The first political
four days of struggle we can now start to draw some first clear conclusions.
Without any doubt this movement deserves the title of "teenager uprising". We
have here a new generation of tens of thousands of school students erupting in
a huge explosion, the biggest for 20 years, if not even more, in Greece. We have
clear symptoms of an instinctive revolutionary spirit, and a clear tendency to
target not only the present bourgeois government but also the bourgeois state
and the capitalist system as a whole.
Students protesting in front of police station
movement is the result not only of the criminal killing of a young school
student - which was the trigger of course ‑ but it is also the result of the
big pressure the Greek bourgeois has been putting the working people under for
some years, on the basis of the crisis of Greek and the international
capitalism. Once again we see how the youth is moving as that sensitive
barometer of society and is indicating that even bigger class battles are being
prepared in the near future.
massive participation of the youth and workers in these events together with a
fighting spirit against the system is one side of the equation. The other side,
however, is ‑ for the moment ‑ the complete absence of clear demands and of any
serious coordination. The bureaucratic "coordination committees" promoted by
the KNE (Communist Youth) which have controlled the school student movement
since 1999 are playing a completely secondary role within the movement and in
reality they are being dragged behind the movement, rather than giving it any
lead. That is why the Marxists are proposing the immediate coordination of the
movement with the creation of elected student committees in every school which
will send representatives to a coordination committees at town and national
level. These committees should then build a united front with the University
students' movement and above all with the trade unions.
from this weakness, the main problem that this movement is facing is the
political attitude of the leaders of the workers' parties and of the trade
unions. We already have pointed out that the trade union leaders do not want to
do anything concrete to help the movement, apart from a few speeches at
rallies. The PASOK leadership completely abstained from the general strike. For
the first time Papandreou ‑ although he is raising the demand that the
government "must resign" - did not gave any indication to party members on
whether they should participate in the struggle. The "official" PASOK
leadership is making a clear strand that they are outside the present movement
and this is normal because the last thing that the right-wing reformist PASOK
leaders want is to come to power on the back of a militant mass movement.
leadership of Synaspismos, on the other hand, is trying to invest politically
in the movement, which is good, but from their behaviour it is clear that they
do this mainly as a way of staying high in the opinion polls. This is explained
by the fact that as the ND government becomes ever more unpopular, the majority
of the workers are turning electorally to the PASOK, as the easiest road to
remove the Karamanlis government. The leaders of Synaspismos in practice are
taking no concrete initiatives that could give a clear political expression to
the movement and also they do nothing to clearly separate themselves
politically and organizationally from the anarchists and their
counterproductive hooligan methods.
Students attacking a police station
what is even more unacceptable is the attitude of the Stalinist leaders of the
KKE. They have started a public conflict with the Synaspismos leadership by
accusing them openly of "coordination with the lumpen and para-statal elements",
which the reactionary pro-government mass media are exploiting in order to
present the Left as a whole as simply fighting each other over who will take
more votes among the leftward leaning voters. At the same time, the leaders of
the KKE are not trying to deal with the real movement, preferring to call party
rallies and demonstrations, separate from the rest of the working class and
spite of all this, for the moment, the youth movement continues to grow.
Objectively the struggle is a political one. This government must fall and this
is the main task that the workers and the youth understand and accept
massively, although their leaders are not giving a concrete political
expression to the movement. As the movement continues to grow, centred on the
schools and Universities and with the active sympathy of the working class, the
crisis of the government will become evermore deep.
Big general strike in Greece yesterday
these conditions, what is required is to coordinate the mass movement and
strengthen it, thereby putting pressure on the leaders of the Left parties and
force them to take on their responsibilities. There is in fact a huge gap
between the objective potential of the movement and the passive stance of the
official leadership of the Left parties.
the last analysis, the only way out of the present political impasse is through
a generalized mobilization of the working class and youth for a genuine
workers' government with a socialist programme. Only such a government could do
justice to the present struggle and achieve a real victory. The task is to put
an end to the present barbaric bourgeois power both politically and
economically. This is the final solution that we must fight for within the working
class movement and the Left.
workers and youth will be drawing important conclusions from the recent events.
From these will come the forces to transform the mass organizations from their
present state and turn them into genuine fighting parties of the working class.
That is what the Greek Marxists are struggling to achieve.
During the night from Saturday until early morning on Sunday December 14
violent clashes with the riot police took place in Athens, in Exarchia,
near the place where the young Alexis has been killed on December the 6th.
Saturday night, at the place and the time of the assassination a week
ago, thousands of people gathered in a moving memorial meeting. The
appearance of a unit of full dressed riot police in few meters from the
gathering provoked the anger and the clashes. An important thing to note
is that the majority of those who clashed with the police this time and
marched against the police station nearby( it is the police station to
which the two killers belonged) were not as usually the very young but
adult and middle aged inhabitants of this neighborhood infuriated by the
Police violence and harassment.
Today, Sunday, in the afternoon, despite the very strong rain and bad
weather nearly 1000 people gathered in the same place after a call by
the Initiative of the Exarchia Inhabitants Committee. The same Committee
called for another march next Tuesday early evening towards the police
station of the killers.
Police stations and banks are the principal targets of attacks by the
youth in rebellion. Public buildings are occupied in many popular
More than 400 schools are under occupation. Tomorrow, December the 15th,
students and schoolchildren will held another demonstration at the
center of Athens.
Similar activities take place in the main cities of the country
(Thessalonica, Patras, Larissa, Volos, Crete etc.). In Volos today, during a meeting of the local Trade Union Council to
celebrate its 100th anniversary from its foundation (Volos is the cradle
of the Greek workers trade union movement), our comrades of EEK and MERA
did an important intervention calling the trade unionists to declare a
strike on December 18th, day of national mobilization against the new
anti-working class budget of the government, and in defense of the youth
in revolt, against the government of kid killers. The call found a warm
An important week of struggle starts tomorrow!
The communists must have their eyes and ears open
asked the political leaders to explicitly condemn the acts of violence.
It is the responsibility of both the government and of all the
political forces to immediately isolate, socially and politically,
those who promote violence, illegal actions and antidemocratic
attitudes” -- Declaration of Prime-minister Kostas Karamanlis, after his meetings with the leaders of parliamentary parties
“The leadership of the Coalition of Radical Left must cease petting the rioters” -- Declaration
of Aleka Papariga, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece
(KKE), after her meeting with the Prime-minister
are political forces who display responsible attitude, and there are
others who are petting the rioters, as I heard someone saying a while
ago” -- Declaration of Georgios Karatzaferis, head of the extreme right-wing party LAOS
“Tell me who praises you, so I can tell you which errors you fell into” -- V. I. Lenin
Why so much loyalism?
times of social tension and political instability, the duty of the
communists is not to stabilize the system. On the contrary, they try to
further wound it and to limit its power, thus creating the
preconditions that are necessary in order to topple it. The KKE
leadership has divorced from this practice. Even more, it became a
repeating relay of the government’s claims about “the new asymmetric
threat against Greece
and public order”. The KKE leadership stood by the side of K.
Karamanlis when he demanded the political parties to “display
responsibility and consent in order to get out of this difficult
since when the “difficult situation” for the government is also a
“difficult situation” for the people and the Left? The “difficult
times” for the big bourgeoisie are perhaps “difficult” for the workers’
movement as well? Suddenly, the “pure class analysis” of the KKE is
taking a stroll!
on Wednesday 10 December, the government asked the trade-unions not to
organize a march towards the Parliament, the KKE leadership obeyed:
“PAME”, the trade-union fraction of KKE, “demonstrated” to the other
end of the city, outside the old building of the Employment Ministry
(which is nowadays located elsewhere!). When, on Friday 12 December,
dozens of thousands of students became a sea that filled the Constitution Square
in front of the Parliament, the KKE leadership sent its members
strolling in small alleys, kilometers away. And then, there is also the
violent and arbitrary attempt of the members of KNE (the KKE Youth) to
get under their control the Universities buildings, in order to prevent
the students entering and holding General Assemblies! Definitely, the
“uncompromising class struggle” waged by KKE becomes quite problematic…
The Party of the Working Class? Or the Party of “Law and Order”?
KKE leadership talks a lot about the working class, the class
consciousness and the class struggle. But its practice proves once more
that it is the party of “responsible attitude”, the party of “loyal
goodmen”. A party that wishes to keep everything within the
years ago, the daily organ of KKE “Rizospastis” made the revolt of the
youth in the French suburbs a central issue. At that time, KKE was
writing in “Rizospastis”: “The French government and all
those who talk of gangs of rioters are trying to diminish or sweep
under the carpet the reasons and the content of the revolt, as well as
the despair of the rebellious youth”. And also: “The KKE expresses its warmest solidarity to the contemporary Miserables of Paris and of whole France”.
That’s what KKE was saying then – when the revolt was taking place in
another country. Now, all this proves to be (once more) cheap
Now, that the explosion of the youth takes place in Greece,
what is the KKE leadership doing? They are accusing us that “we pet the
rioters”! An MP of KKE, a certain Ioannis Gkiokas, arrived to the point
to accuse SYRIZA during an interview in the state radio station that
“this party may cover common criminals and human traffickers”!
all these, results of KKE’s spite against SYRIZA? Are, all these,
results of KKE’s will to continue the “civil war” within the Left
movement? No! What is central in the practice of KKE is not its
hostility towards SYRIZA. It is the role that the KKE leadership has
undertaken, as “guardian of the social peace and stability”. Its
practice is the result of its role as right hand of the government and
of the government’s manipulations.
This government should be chased away by the movement? Or not?
KKE leadership does not support the demand “Down with this government
of thieves and murderers”. And, of course, it has not a policy that
would lead to this result. The permanent, supposedly “pure” position of
the KKE leadership is: “We do not want to change manager”.
ask: Since when, in which theoretical works, in which practice of the
Communist Movement, they discovered that it is a bad thing to have a
rebellious movement obliging a government to resign? Since when the
“Party of the Working Class”, while it can demand the resignation of
the bourgeois government, does not do so? Especially when this demand
is in the lips of the broad progressive masses of the revolted youth
and of the people?
ask: Why don’t they put in practice the big words (“Insubordination and
Counter-Attack”) that they use in their propaganda? Especially when the
so called social-democratic “opposition” of PASOK not only does not put
any pressure on the government to resign but, on the contrary, it is
asking from the right-wing to “rise up to its responsibility and
exercise its governmental role”?
ask: In case this government falls under the pressure of the social
unrest and of the youth rebellion, which can become a mass political
movement in schools, universities and workplaces, wouldn’t that be
(irrespectively of whom has less or more electoral gains) a great
achievement for the people’s movement? Wouldn’t that be a confirmation
of the people’s power and ability to break down governments and
KKE leadership defames once again communism. It did it in the past when
it was uncritically supporting the (in)existent socialism, and when it
formed “national unity” governments together with the right-wing party
and the social-democratic PASOK. It does it again now, by slandering
the youth rebellion, thus pushing the youth away of the Communist Left.
order to change the things, we all need a Left and a Communist Movement
that is dedicated to the overthrow the actual situation. We do not need
those who excel in verbalism, yield to the bourgeois blackmailing,
declare their loyalism, and do not try to become a force of revolt!