Written by Corriente Roja
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 12:35
This article is the first in a series of reports and interviews made by a correspondent from Corriente Roja in Greece.
Athens’ urban landscape
Europe is awaiting for Greece’s outcomes. The Left activists, in one way or another, put their main hopes in this country. And Athens has just the look you’d expect from a city that lives at least a strong political turmoil. It is virtually impossible to walk through the city without seeing walls and columns filled with all kind of posters, graffiti and stickers, even in the most central and tourist areas of the city. Slogans and calls of the most combative left groups are a daily part of Athens landscape.
After leaving a metro station for the first time I saw this wall full of political banners
“Revolutionary painting” all over the city
Newsstand selling Left newspapers
Antarsya’s graffiti on a touristic area
A neighborhood square
Syntagma Square is plenty of graffitis
Brotherhood between peoples
It is usual to see Spanish or Portuguese flags in the demonstrations at Syntagma Square. Not only because of cultural proximity, but because the enemy and problems are the same. Everyone understands that Greece is facing international giants like the EU or the IMF and those who suffer the “austericide” need to stand together. The references to the Spanish Civil War (1936) are not uncommon; especially known is the slogan “They shall not pass!” This brotherhood among peoples of which I speak is reflected in the propaganda that adorn the city, where slogans in Spanish can be found here and there.
Spanish written banner (DES for the country and against capitalism)
We will win!
The referendum, Syriza and the necessary revolutionary alternative
If there is a main topic today is the renewed agreement between the Tsipras administration and the European Union. In general the Greeks used to have less expectation in Syriza than there was in the Spanish State, and this agreement was the last straw. Many activists complain that Syriza had promised a lot, and now does not fulfill anything. Often they see Syriza’s victory less as a commitment to a radical way out, but as a reflection of people seeking for alternatives to traditional corrupt policy in a path of least resistance. The question is, what happens now? All indications are that Syriza will not reverse the social crisis, so it will deepen, and is therefore likely that political changes will follow. Will discouragement spread or, as it seems to me, fight will continue? Will the revolutionary left achieve an alternative audience in the Greek working class? For me, these two questions are the key to the situation, and in the following days I’ll interview many activists and militants who will be protagonists of what is to come.
NO until the end
No to new German fascism
In English too
No to EU and IMF terrorism. No to the new memorandum
The social situation
Greece is the country where the crisis and “austericide” have caused a major damage. The working class is paying for the corrupt governments that falsified their accounts and for the injection of millions of euros in banks. Unemployment has risen, wages and working conditions have worsened, public services have suffered major cuts, there have been labor and pension counter-reforms and taxes have increased. The hatred and unpayable debt has become a political tool of European imperialism to plunder the country and seize its economy through privatization after privatization. Tsipras’ agreement with the EU does nothing but following the same path, adding suffering on the back of the Greek people.
A picture serves to exemplify the situation I speak of. Below I present a picture of one among many self-managed clinics by health workers and neighbors in Athens. These clinics, which are run thanks to the solidarity of the neighbors and the work of volunteers, provide assistance to those who have been left out of the health system (public or private). They can’t address the most serious and complex medical problems, but provide basic health care that relieves the abandonment in which many people in Greece is thrown.
On the track of struggles
Greece has been famous in recent years for its numerous general strikes and tireless mobilization. After the last spasm of the referendum and the agreement of the Eurogroup, a lower pace is taking place, but it is not difficult to track the struggles in the city. Burned containers testify street clashes, many paintings and antifascist murals encourage to face the threat of Golden Dawn and a strong 24-hour police checkpoint protects the headquarters of the European Commission in Athens.
The activities have not completely ceased. The day I arrived a concentration in solidarity with the Kurds, who have suffered the attacks of the Islamic State and Turkish shelling took place. Despite the small number of demonstrators, a large police operation blocked the way to the Turkish embassy. Also in the neighborhood there is movement. I attended a neighborhood assembly at Vironos where they discussed what role they could play after the recent fire on Mount Imitos where these same neighbors had helped to extinguish. The meeting took place in a social center where there are weekly activities and is a place for distribution of self-managed goods.
Rally in solidarity with the Kurdish people
Anti-riot buses outside the EU office
Homage to the anti-fascist raper Pavlos Fissas