Saturday, February 14, 2009

Greece: update #2

  • A demo had been announced for Saturday, February 14 to express solidarity to those on trial for December's events (18 of which will be tried under the anti-terrorism law). It collected 1,000-1,500 people according to athens.indymedia, a somewhat-far cry from the demos one-two months ago. The cops made sure that nobody could get close to the parliament; no idea whether the demo intented to in the first place, of course... meanwhile, the following is a communique by people who suggested that as many people print it out & distribute it in Psyrri on Saturday night (Psyrri plays a central role in athenian entertainment; all the more show on valentine's day, I guess...).

Everything was in place

Everything was in place! The starving in Africa. The "specialists" on TV. The "bad ones" in prison. The "anarchists" in Exarchia square [according to a slew of greek governments, Exarchia square is the Greek Anarchist HQ; more importantly, essentially all anarchists are supposed to be contained in that region... see also the article 'Exarchia square is everywhere' here]. Those deciding in the parliament. Our money on loans. The police around the next corner. Our houses to the banks. Our enemies in Turkey & Macedonia. Our parking spots in the parks [a reference to the recent events in Kyprou square, where the municipality of athens cut down the trees in the neighborhood's last park so as to commence construction of an underground parking].

Our entertainment in the bars. Our kids at school. Our friends in Facebook, Art in museums & galleries. Our desires in advertisements. Our trees in Syntagma square in Christmas [a reference to the mayor of athens's decision to protect the city's Xmas tree at all costs, including by surrounding it with a riot squad - the surrealistic video can be found here]. Beauty at dieting institutes. Love on 14 February. We in between four walls.

The End Of Discipline. [The Beginning Of] Magical Life.

Those starved in the parliament, the specialists in Exarchia square, the bad ones in dieting institutes, the anarchists in museums & galleries, those deciding on 14 February, our money in Syntagma square on Xmas, the police in Africa, our houses in the parks our enemies in Facebook, our parking spots in the banks.

Our entertainment at school, our kids in the bars, out desires around the corner, our art on the loans (I'm not gonna pay, I'm not gonna pay),

Our trees on the streets
Beauty on the streets
Love on the streets

In between four walls?

december's love children

  • Meanwhile, unemployment is raging - especially in the north, it seems. Recently, 200 workers descended from Naoussa to Athens & camped outside the ministry of economics for about 32 hours. They represented a total 1,200 of workers employed in the local spinning mills (run by the Lanaras family) who have not been fired but have nevertheless left unpaid for 6 months. (Unemployment in the region is skyrocketing, what with textile businesses moving out of the country & into neighboring balkanian countries.) They had been "assured" that the ministry will resolve the issue twice before; this time around, they got in print that they'll be paid for their labor (meaning they labor they have already put in, of course). Meanwhile, further increases in the prices of basic foodstuff seem to be coming; the ministry of development made public a list of a dozen or so companies that are profiteering - a boycotting movement followed suit, the scale of which I cannot assess. Amidts all these events, a group of people in Larissa (the city where people apprehended in December will face charges according to the anti-terrorism law) entered a super market, topped up a bunch of carts, exited the super market as it entered it (&, needless to say, without paying), & distributed the contents of the carts to people at the open air market nearby (information in greek here). Such actions have become more & more frequent in the last year or so; here also, as in many previous cases, the response of the people has been reported to have been positive. But, 4 people were apprehended; they will be reportedly charged with aggravated theft & are facing incarceration for up to 10 years... The following is the leaflet distributed at the open air market.

"Find it impossible" to remain apathetic in front of inequality, injustice, the pain & poverty that the capitalistic system gives birth to, we assume action that defies it. Today, we decided to expropriate items pertaining to survival from the Galaxias super market & to distribute them in the nearby open air market. That is, to reclaim the goods from the bosses by returning them to the workers, the unemployed & the retired citizens.

The goods on the super market's shelves are products of the workers' labor & not of the bosses'. These products belong to those producing them. To those sentenced [to work] in the work dungeons where they are blackmailed, terrorized, labor & occasionally murdered for a piece of the bread that they themselves make in the whole & which is snatched away by the bosses.

Our action is symbolic, as three carts [filled with] pasta, rice, & oil solve no problem once & for all, but we urge the citizens to stop accepting everything, to stop being alone & to pass on to the attack through collective actions.

- Let's reclaim what belongs to us
- Let's turn all we dream about into action
- Life without bosses


  • On a related note, & in order for people outside the country to understand what the political crisis in greece entails, in terms of the prevailing corruption, here's a list of recent facts:
  1. First, Panayotis Tzanikos, the former mayor of Amaroussion (Maroussi), got convicted recently by a final judgement to 12 months of incarceration for unlawful actions pertaining to the construction of The Mall. The name says it all - a mega-complex of shops which totalled about 12,000,000 visits in its first year, as detailed here - & which many Maroussi residents & some members of the municipal council opposed due to the environmental reasons from the very first moment. Those debating the complex's construction took their claims to the Council of State, which decided that the construction would be an uneven burden on the residential area; subsequently, the Hellenic Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning & Public Works brought forward a specific law that legalized everything needed for the complex to be constructed. Residents debated the law & took the issue to the State of Council, which decided that the law is unconstitutional & has delegated reaching a final judgement for May of the current year. (Further reaing - in greek - may be found here; The Mall has been constructed meanwhile, see above - a demo in The Mall related to the December uprising took place in 29 December, the video's here). &, what do you know - it has been claimed, by people active in this, battle that the Tzanikos trial & decision went largely unreported by greek mainstream media...
  2. The Thessaloniki Prefect, Panayotis Psomiadis, has just been convicted to a year of incarceration by the Three-Member Appeate Court (report in greek here) - apparently, the Prefect reduced a fine imposed on a gas station owner - issued by the former municipal administration for dilutting the gas in the station - from 89,000 euro to 5,000 euro. The question now is whether he'll step down & how, as greek law seems to be rather explicit on this point. (I vividly recall that, to collect my scholarship from the greek state while in university, I had to provide the department with a copy of my criminal record - which had to be blank. It'd seem rather strange to be able to head the Prefecture with anything but a blank criminal record, especially when you've been convicted for abusing your own authority as Prefect...) Psomiadis is clearly no Blagojevich, but still - so long & thanks for all the fish?
  3. The third bullet point relates to the ongoing Konstantina Kouneva ordeal, & it will be covered in detail in the next update. To keep the bitter suspense of insanity going, I'll just mention that OIKOMET's owner (OIKOMET being Kouneva's employer) is Nikitas Oikonomakis, a member of PASOK, the country's very own socialist party...
That's it for now, more coming this weekend hopefully.


Captain Svejk said...

Hey, many many thanks for translating and posting these articles. I live in Exarchia, just off the plateia and I experienced a lot of this stuff first hand, but these pieces are very valuable and incisive in making more sense of this whole crazy time.

Thanks and keep up the good work!
Paz y amor!

tapes gone loose said...

Hey Cpt., thanks for the comment :). Too bad I'll have to give up doing the politics stuff - time is scarce, & it recently got even scarcer... (At least, the December events have made the country high-profile news, so that a lot of material can be found at libcom & a bunch of other sites.) Glad to know a few people appreciated the work here - thanks again!

panole8riambos said...

Hope you're doing well...

tapes gone loose said...

Thanks :)!!! I am well, just swamped beyond belief :(... I even started writing a new post two weekends away, something else cropped up, & as you see nothing has been posted yet - so many obligations & open projects... I even fell out of touch with your costakis p.'s blog - but I'll be baaaaack!