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en:sic1-the-indignados-movement-in-greece [2011/12/01 22:13]
titorelli
en:sic1-the-indignados-movement-in-greece [2015/04/12 21:08] (current)
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 ====== The ‘indignados’ movement in Greece ====== ====== The ‘indignados’ movement in Greece ======
  
 ===== What is at stake? ===== ===== What is at stake? =====
  
-Over the last few months, the immediate concern for the European Union and the Greek state has been to finalise the terms for the additional financing – 12 billion euros – required to service the Greek state’s debt repayments. The Medium Term Economic Program (the updated version of the ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ with the EU–IMF–ECB ‘Troika’) was finally voted for on June 29. Further funding of about 30 billion euros will be required next year, and even more in 2013. The Greek state missed budget targets set last year when the imf and Eurozone provided a 110 billion euro loan package, to be delivered in tranches. The centrepiece of the new bailout package is a privatisation drive that is predicted to raise 50 billion euros by 2015. State-owned power and water companies, ports, banks, the former telecommunications monopoly (OTE), the train operator, and other companies such as opap, the largest European lottery and sports betting firm, will be included in the sell-off, which means an even greater reduction in the indirect wage and the deterioration of living conditions in general, as well as a permanent and substantial loss of revenue for the State budget, ‘necessitating’ an even bigger deterioration in living standards and so on. In addition, there will be further spending cuts – more than 6 billion euros within twelve months, equivalent to 2.8 percent of Greek GDP – and regressive tax hikes targeting the reproduction of the domestic working class. This will mean wage cuts up to 30%. The trade-union confederation of public sector workers – ADEDY – estimated that the average overall cut initiated by last year’s package of measures would reach 40–45% of public sector workers’ salaries by the end of the present year.+Over the last few months, the immediate concern for the European Union and the Greek state has been to finalise the terms for the additional financing – 12 billion euros – required to service the Greek state’s debt repayments. The Medium Term Economic Program (the updated version of the ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ with the EU–IMF–ECB ‘Troika’) was finally voted for on June 29. Further funding of about 30 billion euros will be required next year, and even more in 2013. The Greek state missed budget targets set last year when the imf and Eurozone provided a 110 billion euro loan package, to be delivered in tranches. The centrepiece of the new bailout package is a privatisation drive that is predicted to raise 50 billion euros by 2015. State-owned power and water companies, ports, banks, the former telecommunications monopoly (OTE), the train operator, and other companies such as OPAP, the largest European lottery and sports betting firm, will be included in the sell-off, which means an even greater reduction in the indirect wage and the deterioration of living conditions in general, as well as a permanent and substantial loss of revenue for the State budget, ‘necessitating’ an even bigger deterioration in living standards and so on. In addition, there will be further spending cuts – more than 6 billion euros within twelve months, equivalent to 2.8 percent of Greek GDP – and regressive tax hikes targeting the reproduction of the domestic working class. This will mean wage cuts up to 30%. The trade-union confederation of public sector workers – ADEDY – estimated that the average overall cut initiated by last year’s package of measures would reach 40–45% of public sector workers’ salaries by the end of the present year.
  
 This is the continuation of a //​horizontal//​ attack against the wage – the level of the reproduction of the working class – which started in 2009. It also encompasses various petit-bourgeois and wage earning middle strata, in particular through tax hikes and the opening up of protected professions,​ measures which tendentially change the structure of Greek society (namely, its overgrown petit-bourgeois sector). The state subsidies for the survival of the surplus workforce tend to disappear and the result is the proliferation of informal labour and poverty. Proletarians (and rapidly proletarianised middle and petit-bourgeois strata) have no other option but to work, mostly informally, in order to survive, and at the same time find it impossible to find a job or gain an income that would cover the cost of reproduction of their labour power. The official unemployment rate in March 2011 was 16.2% compared to 11.6% in March 2010 and 15.9% in February 2011, while it was 42.5% for 15–24 year-olds and 22.6% for 25–34 year-olds. Capital declares that it cannot afford the survival of the proletariat and makes it clear that a significant part of the latter is useless (in terms of the valorisation of capital), and more importantly,​ that the desired recovery does not include any re-integration into production of this over-abundant part of the proletariat. This is the continuation of a //​horizontal//​ attack against the wage – the level of the reproduction of the working class – which started in 2009. It also encompasses various petit-bourgeois and wage earning middle strata, in particular through tax hikes and the opening up of protected professions,​ measures which tendentially change the structure of Greek society (namely, its overgrown petit-bourgeois sector). The state subsidies for the survival of the surplus workforce tend to disappear and the result is the proliferation of informal labour and poverty. Proletarians (and rapidly proletarianised middle and petit-bourgeois strata) have no other option but to work, mostly informally, in order to survive, and at the same time find it impossible to find a job or gain an income that would cover the cost of reproduction of their labour power. The official unemployment rate in March 2011 was 16.2% compared to 11.6% in March 2010 and 15.9% in February 2011, while it was 42.5% for 15–24 year-olds and 22.6% for 25–34 year-olds. Capital declares that it cannot afford the survival of the proletariat and makes it clear that a significant part of the latter is useless (in terms of the valorisation of capital), and more importantly,​ that the desired recovery does not include any re-integration into production of this over-abundant part of the proletariat.
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 >We say that the debt is not ours. >We say that the debt is not ours.
 > >
->DIRECT DEMOCRACY NOW !+>DIRECT DEMOCRACY NOW!
 > >
->​EQUALITY – JUSTICE – DIGNITY !+>​EQUALITY – JUSTICE – DIGNITY!
 > >
 >The only defeated struggle is the one that was never fought!((Resolution by the Popular Assembly of Syntagma square, 28 May 2011.)) >The only defeated struggle is the one that was never fought!((Resolution by the Popular Assembly of Syntagma square, 28 May 2011.))
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 An effort to interpret the nationalisation of the movement in Greece must take into account: a) the social structure (overgrown petit-bourgeoisie) and the history of class struggle in Greece (national liberation movement during the German occupation in wwii, civil war, recent seven-year dictatorship,​ identified by the Left as American-imposed),​ which has given birth to and maintained very significant anti-imperialist reflexes in Greek society; b) the fact that the austerity measures are perceived as imposed by foreign powers/​interests,​ in a view that mistakes the rule of largely financial, and by nature international,​ capital for a rule of foreign, more powerful nations and their interests on ‘our’ sovereign nation and its people. This gives rise to fantasies that the Greek state’s break with the eurozone can permit a self-sustained development which will comply with the interests and needs of Greek people; c) the position of the Greek state in the global hierarchy of capitalist national formations (we saw the presence of national flags both in Egypt and Greece – although in Greece they were not as prevalent as in Egypt – but not in Spain), which is related to the above; d) the migration crisis in Greece which occurs in a context where an already over-abundant surplus population is increasing further, which is just one part of a European and ultimately global migration crisis: An effort to interpret the nationalisation of the movement in Greece must take into account: a) the social structure (overgrown petit-bourgeoisie) and the history of class struggle in Greece (national liberation movement during the German occupation in wwii, civil war, recent seven-year dictatorship,​ identified by the Left as American-imposed),​ which has given birth to and maintained very significant anti-imperialist reflexes in Greek society; b) the fact that the austerity measures are perceived as imposed by foreign powers/​interests,​ in a view that mistakes the rule of largely financial, and by nature international,​ capital for a rule of foreign, more powerful nations and their interests on ‘our’ sovereign nation and its people. This gives rise to fantasies that the Greek state’s break with the eurozone can permit a self-sustained development which will comply with the interests and needs of Greek people; c) the position of the Greek state in the global hierarchy of capitalist national formations (we saw the presence of national flags both in Egypt and Greece – although in Greece they were not as prevalent as in Egypt – but not in Spain), which is related to the above; d) the migration crisis in Greece which occurs in a context where an already over-abundant surplus population is increasing further, which is just one part of a European and ultimately global migration crisis:
  
->At the same time, there is an uncontainable migration crisis. Tens of thousands of Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Bengalis, Somalis and North Africans are packed into crumbling buildings owned by slumlords, mostly Greek, who double as traffickers. Around Omonia Square, migrants search in rubbish for bottles, cables, clothing, anything to sell. The charity Médecins du Monde has declared a humanitarian emergency; in the lobby of its small clinic young men wait for hours […]. Like the debt, the migration crisis has a European dimension. Greece is a main entry point for people trying to reach the EU from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa; 150,000 entered the country without papers in 2010 alone. Most of them cross the Turkish border, where the government plans to build a seven-mile wall; hundreds are detained there in conditions unfit for animals. Few want to stay in Greece, but under pressure from the EU the government has tightened controls over the exit points, turning the country into a giant lobster trap to keep migrants from reaching London, Paris or Berlin. According to the 2008 Dublin ii Regulation, refugees have to apply for asylum in the first EU country they reach; Greece has 54,000 pending asylum applications and an approval rate of 0.3 percent.((Maria Margaronis, ‘Greece in debt, eurozone in crisis’, The Nation, 28 June 2011.))+>At the same time, there is an uncontainable migration crisis. Tens of thousands of Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Bengalis, Somalis and North Africans are packed into crumbling buildings owned by slumlords, mostly Greek, who double as traffickers. Around Omonia Square, migrants search in rubbish for bottles, cables, clothing, anything to sell. The charity Médecins du Monde has declared a humanitarian emergency; in the lobby of its small clinic young men wait for hours […]. Like the debt, the migration crisis has a European dimension. Greece is a main entry point for people trying to reach the EU from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa; 150,000 entered the country without papers in 2010 alone. Most of them cross the Turkish border, where the government plans to build a seven-mile wall; hundreds are detained there in conditions unfit for animals. Few want to stay in Greece, but under pressure from the EU the government has tightened controls over the exit points, turning the country into a giant lobster trap to keep migrants from reaching London, Paris or Berlin. According to the 2008 Dublin ii Regulation, refugees have to apply for asylum in the first EU country they reach; Greece has 54,000 pending asylum applications and an approval rate of 0.3 percent.((Maria Margaronis, ‘Greece in debt, eurozone in crisis’, ​//The Nation//, 28 June 2011.))
  
 It must be stressed that this migration crisis is territorialised in the city centre of Athens, where whole neighbourhoods have been transformed into ghettos/​no-go areas, dominated by unemployment,​ petty crime, drugs and prostitution. This in turn has led to a proliferation of far-right/​fascist groups in the area, many of which organise daily attacks against immigrants, in many cases together with the police, and they echo the concerns of the Greek petit-bourgeoisie of central Athens who see themselves vanishing in the ongoing recession and the depreciation of their neighbourhoods due to a growing lumpen population and associated crime. It must be stressed that this migration crisis is territorialised in the city centre of Athens, where whole neighbourhoods have been transformed into ghettos/​no-go areas, dominated by unemployment,​ petty crime, drugs and prostitution. This in turn has led to a proliferation of far-right/​fascist groups in the area, many of which organise daily attacks against immigrants, in many cases together with the police, and they echo the concerns of the Greek petit-bourgeoisie of central Athens who see themselves vanishing in the ongoing recession and the depreciation of their neighbourhoods due to a growing lumpen population and associated crime.