The night of Saturday the 20th to Sunday, December 21st, 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 General Strike.
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 General Strike.
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 the 23rd.
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