The movement reignites in Greece

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Devrim
The movement reignites in Greece
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: The movement reignites in Greece. The discussion was initiated by Devrim.
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Devrim
What is happening in Greece?

 There is a thread on RevLeft about this. An anarchist poster from Athens seems very wary about it:

Quote:

Hellas- Orthodoxy. The biggest fear of the system.

...The opportunistic scums of the Left and anarchy in Greece that support that stupid fuckin thing that happens in Syntagma are diggin their own fuckin graves(ours too) and they should be held responsible.

...Lets see...

You have greek flags, orthodox priests, nazi salutes, banning of communist parties and anarchist groups, aggresive stance towards the unions, anti-politics stance, small tolerance to migrants, no clear agenda, no clear class orientation, populism, the shameless support of the same media that promote the IMF agenda.

Devrim

 

Alf
on the other hand.....

This was posted on libcom: http://libcom.org/forums/news/greek-thread-out-labyrinth-30052011

 

 

Declaration of an assembly of 3000 on Saturday 28th May::

For a long time now, decisions are taken for us, without us.

We are workers, unemployed, pensioners, youth who came to Syntagma to struggle for our lives and our futures.

We are here because we know that the solution to our problems can only come from us.

We invite all Athenians, the workers, the unemployed and the youth to Syntagma, and the entire society to fill up the squares and to take life into its hands.

There, in the squares, we shall co-shape all our demands.

We call all workers who will be striking in the coming period to end up and to remain at Syntagma.

We will not leave the squares before those who lead us here leave first: Governments, the Troika, Banks, Memorandums and everyone who exploits us.

We tell them that the debt is not ours.

DIRECT DEMOCRACY NOW!

EQUALITY – JUSTICE – DIGNITY!

The only defeated struggle is the one that was never given!

 

So clearly there are contradictory tendencies in both Greece and Spain. Furthermore, there is a  dynamic in the situation, which doesn't all work in our favour. There is a new article on the Spanish ICC page, which we we will try to translate soon, which argues that the forces of democratic recuperation led by the 'Real Democracy Now' group have been gaining the upper hand and that the 'proletarian wing' is in retreat. There is also a whole dossier of debates expressing different views of the movement. Unfortunately we don't ahve the capacoty to transalte all that, but we would very much welcome any effort by Spanish speakers to summarise the different points of view

https://es.internationalism.org/ccionline/2010s/2011_dry

https://es.internationalism.org/ccionline/2011_15M

 

 

kinglear
Contradictory tendencies and

Contradictory tendencies and points of view seem to be all the rage. There's a whole collection on the Libcom forum about the Unions and what function they perform for the working class. Various militants have contributed a variety of contradictory points of view, adding generally to a bewildering sense of confusion n at least one head! Something I have learned from the long discussion is that one useful function the unions perform for the working class, is to get them together in mass meetings which nothing else appears to do at the moment. Apart from that it is my opinion that the unions work totally for the interests of the ruling class. On some days this seems to be the point of view of some of the militants active on this Libcom thread. But on other days it isn't! It appears that the unions exercise a sort of spell over militants who, on the one hand, despise them for their being bourgeois lapdogs, but, on the other hand, admire, or envy them for the power they have over the working class. When the class eventually gets up on it's feet this risky ambivalent attitude to the unions will be dispelled. But, in the meantime, doesn't the ICC (or even the ICT) have a fairly short and clarified point of view on the unions, which suggests how we should behave towards them? As someone said: the unions are after all the red hot interface of the class struggle.

jk1921
I heard on the radio today

I heard on the radio today that suicides in Greece were up 40 percent in the first 5 months of 2011. They interviewed a crisis line counselor who said that before the collapse they got 6 to 12 calls a day and now they get anywhere between 600 to 1200 calls a day. The vast majority of callers are distressed and contemplating suicide because of personal financial ruin. I am not sure if there is a greater indictment of captialism than this. Captialism kills in more than a few different ways.

I do wonder though if this gets to some of the differences in response to the crisis we are seeing between the different generations of the working-class. In order to be driven to suicide because of financial ruin, does this mean that you had some financial stake in society to begin with--even if it was all fictitious money? Perhaps the loss of this perceived stake by the older generations is leading more to a response of desperation and fear that is leading more to inward despair, while the younger generations--who really have "nothing to lose but their chains"--don't feel the same despair and are more emboldened to struggle? They never had anything to begin with. I don't know, just thinking here.

radicalchains
KKE, violence etc

There is a lot of chatter on revleft about apparent KKE violence towards anarchists (and vice versa I guess) and other protests including protecting the parliament from others who wanted to storm it. See: http://www.revleft.com/vb/kke-assisting-police-t163031/index.html?t=163031

Just wanted to hear any suggestions on why this might be the case, what it represents and any conclusions.

I can't think of any reasons for violence against other workers but one of the reasons that has come out is that the KKE think it is too early to take power (they think anarchists/whoever will take power by storming parliament?) and it is not 'the right time'.

I said elsewhere I have some sympathy for this idea as we know what happens when the taking of power does not spread internationally. There are grave difficulties and eventual degeneration. But as it happens, do the KKE seriously think anyone is in a position to 'take power' i.e a section of the class - maybe some anarchists? I also mentioned that a realistic fear would be if power was taken too early and in the wrong manner a counter-coup would be likely of military or outright fascist content.

This brings me to more questions. If it is too early to think about taking power what is required? And what do we have to do before we get to that point? In general terms, as the KKE banner said (a while ago, now) "People of Europe Rise Up" - the movement in Europe and the world need to grow and deepen, drastically.

KT
Quick Response

Don't claim to be very 'up' on events in Greece but have seen a similar discussion on Libcom (Libcom.org, thread Out of the Greek Labyrinth).

The KKE, to my knowledge, is a Stalinist Party whose function is (and has been for many years) to defend the state apparatus. If they attack workers or other activists it's not because they fear a 'premature uprising' but because they fear any attempt to overthrow the state, premature or otherwise (unless, of course, it is their own party which is doing the overthrow, in which case it's a case of regime change, not the overturning of capitalist social relations).

Was recently talking to a young man from Greece, former member of the KKE youth wing who said that, prior to things kicking off in the country in 2008, the Party was always advising militants to 'keep their powder dry' for a time when conditions would be more favourable for struggle. When that struggle errupted following the police murder of a young student, he said that "the KKE didn't push forward the struggle but actively held it back, prevented it."

There are indeed times of great social turmoil when genuine political minorities or parties of the working class might argue that this or that moment is not the right time for insurrection (cf the Bolsheviks and the July Days, 1917) but this KKE thing isn't at all the same thing.

As for the important question you raise:  If it is too early to think about taking power what is required? And what do we have to do before we get to that point?, is a whole other discussion.

Fraternally

PS: This link may give some history to the opposition to Stalinism in Greece.

https://en.internationalism.org/specialtexts/IR072_stinas.htm

 

 

radicalchains
Thanks KT

Thanks KT it is really important and very crucial to hear "the KKE didn't push forward the struggle but actively held it back, prevented it." from an ex-member!

Thanks for the link too.

Hawkeye
Taking power

It seems probable that the working class can only take state, yes, state power when our class is in widespread ageement, which seems likely to require the communist leadership of a party.  A plethora of 'workers' committees' without the unifying organised leadership of a communist party won't gain state power.  All talk of the state being unnecessary to the working class and/or eventually withering away has little or no relevance to workers' needs today and tomorrow.

Hawkeye
Taking power how ?

When a communist party is sufficiently well supported and thus big enough to issue plenty of propaganda, day after day, then it will become possible to gradually win members of the armed forces and police to the side of the working class as revolution becomes likely as conditions develop.  Only with the equipment and support of the vast majority of the armed forces and police will it become possible for a revolution to be successful in all of its stages.  Thus the need is for the persistent building of a communist party, whatever else might come to mind.  The weight of capitalist propaganda is considerable, whereas communists seek to promote republican views, amongst others, in the UK.  The pace of deterioration of the capitalist system is full of dangers for workers and quicker solutions will seem tempting, but are they any good ? Good for our class ?  We have to consider what is necessary, whatever all the preferences.

Fred
In pointing out the

In pointing out the difference between the responses of youth to the crisis, and those of older people who may actually have had a job for years, jk21 is right. It's not so much that older folk have "a stake in this society" - they may well loathe it as much as we all do - but if you have a family to feed, or debts to manage that impinge on the family, then you do indeed have more to lose emotionally than just your chains. This is because you have a stake in life itself, but not necessarily in capitalism. This is a formidable situation to be in. The developing crisis is going to cause immense pain for the middle-aged and the old. Desperation, fear and despair may be the lot of many as jk says. But what can we do?

This is where Hawkeye comes in. His talk of the communist party, and it's propaganda, and it's bringing forth the idea and images of what the future society will be like, "as revolution becomes likely as conditions develop", is the antidote to fear and despair. So is solidarity, and the sharing of fear and despair, and the growing discussion of how we can actually replace this punitive system with hope for all. The sooner we start doing this, the sooner we spread the word, the sooner the better. And we don't need to wait for the formation of the party. The GA's are the place to do this now. Never mind discussions about what demands to come up with. Capitalism is now totally incapable of satisfying anybody's life needs - and always was! The only real demand we have is for the end of capitalism and the building of communism. We must turn all GA's into forums for the discussion of communism, and the revolution, and "true democracy" and how to get it; and stop worrying that people still have ridiculous bourgeois notions about communism. If we can't talk about it, how will we ever get it?

baboon
KKE

This is the third time I've tried to post this and it's not happening?

 

Agree with KT on the KKE. It looked to me from the pictures that its "troops" were actually protecting the parliament building. Par for the course for the stalinists.

 

About 3 weeks ago, the Greek unions organised a picket/protest of the German embassy by fire workers and police. The arousal of anti-German feeling and the reinforcement of nationalism is again the role of stalinism in this case.

Fred
A.Stinas

Thanks to KT for the link to some of Stinas writing. It is amazing that someone writing in the late 'forties should have such depth of revolutionary understandings coupled with a clarity of expression that brings them so to life. But then he lived through the 1st. International, and was able to maintain his revolutionary consciousness despite the horrors and power of the counter-revolution which followed it's demise.

If only we had his clarity in Athens now! The KKE would not be able to make all the running unchallenged. The masses of people looking for a lead in all the chaos and confusion would have a beacon as a guide. If only his clarity was represented in New York, Cairo, and Madrid, and the other hot spots round the world where the working class struggles to find it's feet and it's voice!

What I'm really saying, really asking, is why is the communist left still so thin on the ground at this time of mounting discontent? Why are there still so few comrades available for active and powerful intervention as the class starts to struggle again? If we had 50 comrades in Athens, 50 in NYC and so on, what an impact we could have.

ICC comrades will doubtless agree. But is there any good news? Are there any signs that the class is at last producing numbers of new militants? Are there increasing numbers of sympathizers? Is class consciousness spreading?

I agree with KT and whoever he quotes that it's " too early to think about taking power" (what bliss to be living at that moment!) but he also asks "what do we have to do before we get to that point? ". One obvious answer is we have to acquire greater numbers of committed comrades. The class has to strive to do this soon, before its too late. What can we do?

Crisanto
We have difficulties to overcome

Fred wrote:

Are there any signs that the class is at last producing numbers of new militants? Are there increasing numbers of sympathizers? Is class consciousness spreading?

"what do we have to do before we get to that point? ". One obvious answer is we have to acquire greater numbers of committed comrades. The class has to strive to do this soon, before its too late. What can we do?

Both the left and right of capital are trying their very best to sabotage and control the struggle. These questions must be answered sooner than later. What is certain is the proletarian milieu still has many obstacles to overcome in order to have a significant echo within the class and more so in convincing more militants to its ranks. The "what can we do" question is the most important of all. Yes we have gains in our interventions but its still not enough while the situation is getting worse towards barbarism. While we should be cautious against immediatism we should also recognize the urgency of asserting the proletarian direction of the struggle or else the "mutual ruins of contending classes" will become a reality than a simple prediction of the Communist Manifesto.

ernie
Solidarity

I want to welcome Fred's points about older workers not "having a stake in society". Those with family, both children and inceasingly elderly parents who need caring for, do face very emotional challenges. However, one of the most noticable things over the last few years is the way that both young and old have come together in demonstrations, struggles etc in order to support each other. Older workers bring a determiantion to the struggle based on expereince and the very fact they have placing so much at risk by struggling.

I fully agree with the comrade about the essential role of solidarity in the development of the struggle. This is one of the most striking characteristics of the assembly movement. People coming together and being willing to discuss and listen, is a basic expression of solidarity. It is also a powerful blow against the terrible atomizing weight of decomposing capitalism, which does all it can to isolate us from each other. This solidarity has grown and taken on more direct forms such as the movements to stop evictions in Spain, the calling of massive demonstrations by the assembles in Spain, etc. All this helps to breakdown the crushing weight of the poison seeping from every pore of capitalism. As Fred this solidarity is more important than the demands.

The comrade is absolutely correct to say that within the assemblies it is essential that communists put forwards the need for another form of society, for communism, along with the need for solidarity, extending the movement. The greatest problem facing the working class is the crushing of the idea of an alternative being possible. This will not be an easy task but it is crucial as the comrade says.

jk1921
I agree on the question of

I agree on the question of solidarity. Perhaps this is part of the reason why we have seen such an offensive by parts of the bourgeoisie against the entire idea of solidarity. This has been particularly strong in the U.S. with the Tea Party movement and the surging weight of extreme right-wing ideology. The bourgeoisie knows that solidarity is the working-class' main weapon in these times. Of course, we have also seen a parallell movement, in which the bourgeois left tries to trap the working-class' desire to come together in solidarity in a defense of some kind of state. This a big weakness of the movement in the U.S. right now, the prevalence of the idea that the state can serve as some kind of repository of solidarity, once it has been returned to the people.

There is no telling what direction this will take however. The tendency towards decomposition would seem to work to erode solidarity. We have certainly seen this in the U.S., with right-wing ideas pentrating many layers of society. The struggles we have seen recently are therfore very important in the potential they have to act as a counter-weight to these tendencies. This of course hasn't prevented a certain level of back-lash, such as the so-called 53 percent movement (the movement of the 53 percent of people who pay federal income tax, against the supposedly parasitic 47 percent who are too broke to pay any).

On the question of the lack of militants coming forward: I think this is a serious question. There does indeed seem to be a gap between the potential of the moment and its actuality in terms of emerging revolutionary elements. Part of this is probably still the weight of the bourgeois campaigns over the death of communism, but part of it is probably also the weight of a certain attitude towards politics, a certain political style, among the younger generations in which joining a particular organization seems out of step. The major step forward on this level at the moment seems to be the increasing openess of people to discussion and the exchange of ideas. If joining a revolutionary organization isn't exactly cool right now; these aren't the days when discussing with any political organization was mostly considerded a sectarian dead-end.

radicalchains
A worry

This kind of thing really worries me or should even say scares me:

"This of course hasn't prevented a certain level of back-lash, such as the so-called 53 percent movement (the movement of the 53 percent of people who pay federal income tax, against the supposedly parasitic 47 percent who are too broke to pay any)."

Sadly, I think in the US in particular there is a resevoir of this kind of ideology not just in the small minorites who come out with this stuff but in general even in sections of the youth. If you come across (non-political) popular forums, social networking sites, You Tube comments and so on it is pervasive. I think there is not yet the physical roots of a new fascism in the US but certainly a potential with regards to the ideological supplement. It is not always framed in so obvious economic terms.

jk1921
I agree RC. It worries me

I agree RC. It worries me too. You are right that this ideology seems almost pervasive at times. Its almost as if it is many people's first instinct. I guess the question becomes can these types of movements, in which the solidarity of the class comes to the forefront, act as a counterweight to these ideologies and help people resist their first instinct as individuals. Its an open question for sure. 

Fred
the fascist scarecrow

radical chains thinks "there is not yet the physical roots of a new fascism in the US but certainly a potential with regards to the ideological supplement." Bilan had thoughts about this back in 1935, in an article about the defeat of the proletariat and the rise of fascism. (en.internationalism.org/node/3570). They write: "Fascism cannot be explained either as a distinct class under capitalism, nor as an emanation of the exasperated middle class. It is the form of domination that capitalism adopts when it is no longer able, through democracy, to rally all the classes in society around the defense of its own privileges."

The 53% movement is no doubt "the exasperated middle class" and they certainly have difficulties now in rallying everyone else round the the defense of their privileges - which encompass the banks, stock exchanges, elite bureaucracies etc. And it is even questionable whether 'democracy' ( the dictatorship the bourgeoisie) can come to their aid anymore given the strength of the crisis. But this doesnt mean that fascism is on the agenda. The working class world-wide is undefeated. We may be slow in getting to our feet, but we are still here. The individualistic political movements like the tea party, the DRY, the various ideologically driven social democracies and pursuers of reformism, may seem to be making all the running: but this is largely a media driven manifestation, because they of course own and control everything including the media.

We have to put forward our own case, and discuss and elaborate what communism is wherever we can. Bugger the 53%, let's concentrate on the 47% which has to include the working class. Talk, discussion and solidarity are our weapons. To hell with individualistic and all bourgeois ideology.

Fred
the fascist scarecrow

radical chains thinks "there is not yet the physical roots of a new fascism in the US but certainly a potential with regards to the ideological supplement." Bilan had thoughts about this back in 1935, in an article about the defeat of the proletariat and the rise of fascism. (en.internationalism.org/node/3570). They write: "Fascism cannot be explained either as a distinct class under capitalism, nor as an emanation of the exasperated middle class. It is the form of domination that capitalism adopts when it is no longer able, through democracy, to rally all the classes in society around the defense of its own privileges."

The 53% movement is no doubt "the exasperated middle class" and they certainly have difficulties now in rallying everyone else round the the defense of their privileges - which encompass the banks, stock exchanges, elite bureaucracies etc. And it is even questionable whether 'democracy' ( the dictatorship the bourgeoisie) can come to their aid anymore given the strength of the crisis. But this doesnt mean that fascism is on the agenda. The working class world-wide is undefeated. We may be slow in getting to our feet, but we are still here. The individualistic political movements like the tea party, the DRY, the various ideologically driven social democracies and pursuers of reformism, may seem to be making all the running: but this is largely a media driven manifestation, because they of course own and control everything including the media.

We have to put forward our own case, and discuss and elaborate what communism is wherever we can. Bugger the 53%, let's concentrate on the 47% which has to include the working class. Talk, discussion and solidarity are our weapons. To hell with individualistic and all bourgeois ideology.

radicalchains
Fred,

Fred, don't get me wrong. Perhaps you could associate the kind of ideology I am alluding to with decomposition etc but I am not suggesting a resignation to it or that it is at a level or content which means there is no hope! The crux of Marxism on consciousness as we all know is that it can change rapidly and in spectacular fashion... to quote Tommy Cooper, "just like that". Hope that lifts your spirits, if not watch some Tommy Cooper! I think if we were not optimists in the sense that we think things can change despite all sorts of obstacles than we might as well not bother at all even having discussions, studying, intervening and so on. But not blind optimism like the apparent faith some socialists have. Instead one which is backed up by reasoning, experience and an understanding of Marxism. Dare I say... Scientific Socialism.

jk1921
So Obama announced a plan to

So Obama announced a plan to "aid" those in student loan debt, apparently in response to OWS. You mean he could do this through executive order all among, but is only doing it now? Anyway, read the comments to the article and you will get a real sense of the depth to which the right-wing anti-solidarity ethic has penetrated U.S. society. Granted, it seems like right-wing ideologous tend to monopolize the comments sections everywhere online (I wonder why?), but the idea that nobody should get anything on the taxpayers' dime is very prevalent. Of course, this is only the false solidarity to the state that is being objected to, but the reactions seem very telling of the problem RC and I are refering to. Its quite frighetening. How do we keep this in perspective?

http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/25/news/economy/Obama_student_loan/

radicalchains
on-line idiots

Just a quick note about this ideology particular to the USA - which is debatable in itself. I think what is on-line can vastly contradict what is off-line. A lot of the garbage you come across including personal opinion just doesn't get the time of day in the 'real world'. Also, I have found the worst of it comes from older, small business owners. Not surprising really, I mean who has the time or inclination to be on-line during these hours and writing so and so this, so and so that. Their class position also comes into the reactionary shit you read and come across. It can give the impression certain thoughts and feelings are all pervasive but I think some of it is an illusion, the anonymity of the net plays a part too. If you ever listen to talk radio you get a similar deal only the net magnifies it. 

Hawkeye
Reply to Fred

Thank you to Fred for his comments of Oct 22, 2011 - 02:54, in which he said that ...'we don't need to wait for the formation of the party'.  Now of course all the comments were following the ICC article on the situation in Greece, but the discussion has ranged wider than on the situations there.  Here I make no comment on the KKE, but consider the situation in the UK.

There has been a long succession of calls for new parties of various sorts.  Readers might know of the cartoon showing someone carrying a very small red flag torn from a much larger one held by someone else, each marching in opposite directions !   Size matters, especially in that a communist party needs the resources to issue enough propaganda in developing and critical conditions.  There will always be some who claim that a communist party isn't a communist party, but the main thing is that workers can see that they are not isolated fragments of capitalist chaos and that a lead is being given towards what is needed.

jk1921
I agree that this stuff is

I agree that this stuff is overrepresented online and in the media in general. The agressive nature of this type of politics is part of the reason why these people seem to dominate the "comments section"in  a lot of places, including even some nominally left-liberal sites. Most polls that we are seeing are showing rather broad support for the OWS movement, which whatever the problems with polling, means something positive I think in regards to this problem. Still, I would be careful not to minimize it. The U.S. bourgeoise has had a great deal of success spreading this type of anti-solidarity, each on his own, ideology for quite a while now and it is not going to go away very easily.

Hawkeye
Greece

'The Greek working-class movement from the 1930s to the present day' is the title of an excellent article in the November 2011 edition of the journal 'Lalkar'.  It is on the Lalkar website.  From the actual journal it photocopied onto four pages of A3.  I recommend it to anyone interested in Greece.

radicalchains
Lalkar

Hawkeye wrote:

'The Greek working-class movement from the 1930s to the present day' is the title of an excellent article in the November 2011 edition of the journal 'Lalkar'.  It is on the Lalkar website.  From the actual journal it photocopied onto four pages of A3.  I recommend it to anyone interested in Greece.

 

Even though I knew it was a Stalinist organ I read most of it, found it very vague and rested on mythologies rather than sources or facts. Did not find it of much value at all. What did you find in it that was so useful?