Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Two reports from Greece at the weekend highlight the continuing unrest at the political situation. One speaks of the rise of a 1970's style terrorism that sounds chillingly nihilistic.
...the Sect of Revolutionaries, believed by experts to be a branch of Revolutionary Struggle - a group that made its debut with a rocket attack on the US embassy in 2007, and also thought to be behind the attack on Citibank - has stood out for its cold cynicism and marked lack of ideology. "We don't do politics, we do guerrilla warfare," it declared.
There was also a long and thoughtful piece on the disturbances by Helena Smith and Ed Vulliamy, based predominantly on interviews with some of the protagonists. It is worth reading in full. Two contrasting interpretations caught my eye. First, here is a leftist veteran of the events of 1973 that brought down the Colnels' junta.
One leading member of the polytechnic occupation was Dimitris Hadzisokratis, who now leads a left-wing parliamentary group wary of the current insurgency... He meets us in his office in parliament, to contrast then with now. "What happened last December was an explosion, not a revolt," says Hadzisokratis, "which means something else. The situations are entirely different, we were rebelling against a dictatorship, they are rebelling against a democracy. We had a set of demands and goals. Yes, there were ultra-leftists and anarchists involved, but they were doing something else, and that's all I see in this explosion. Who are they fighting, exactly? It is amorphous, it has no aim and, as such, it will reach an impasse and will be judged as pointless."
However, Constantinos Tsoukalas sees something else, the serious degeneration of hope and disillusion with mainstream politics.
He sees "the uprising as a symptom of the end of political hope and the beginning of something else. One of the nefarious consequences of the end of the Cold War and the emptiness of the global market that was supposed to put an end to ideology but, in crisis, has instead created this moment of great ideological tension".
And now the British Police fear that the same could happen in this country. I am sceptical, as is Olly, but the most perceptive expression of doubt comes from a young Greek Anarchist who knows England well.
"We are at one extreme edge of Europe, but not really part of Europe, and you are at the opposite edge, but also not part of Europe. Here, an uprising, there... nothing. Though the violence is the same in your country, in fact it's much worse. But you commit it against each other; knife crime, drunken fights and gangs. Here, we challenge the state and the banks, not each other".
Besides, if disturbances did break out here this summer, it would be guaranteed to rain.

1 comment:

Taylorakis said...

Thanks for the link to the Observer piece on the situation in Greece. It's surprisingly thoughtful and rounded. As I have put some observations on the Greek uprisings on our Blog I'll link to it.

All of which is a prelude to saying that I've pinched 2 further bits from your ruminations and linked to them on our March blog, which has just gone up - the Wolf piece on Adult education, which resonates powerfully with our concerns about youth and community work and the lovely piece about crusty pies! In fact you will find what might appear somewhat sycophantic praise for your blog, but it is genuinely meant.

I'm back in England seeing family, doing a bit of agitation and presenting a workshop at Youth and Policy's History conference in Durham. all of which means that I'm in danger of not seeing a game apart from the grandson playing for Wigan St. Patrick's Under Sevens.

Back to Greece the locals are very fond too of conspiracy theories so there is much discussion around the suggestion from one of the old convicted November 17 guerillas that the two new 'terrorist' groups are infiltrated by or even fronts for the Greek Intelligence Services. There is a history of this type of State 'entryism' into the organisations of the Left.

Yia sou