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Greece: Numerous demonstrations against an authoritarian society and the police state

Greece. Its difficult to write something on last weekends demonstrations against the authoritarian state and police brutality across the Greek territory. Many different groups and people were involved in the demonstrations, among them some parts of Syriza in some of the demonstrations. In the times Syriza was in power, there was a lot of police brutality as well. The treatment of migrants wasn’t much different. The inhumane EU-Turkey deal was implemented under the Syriza government. Camps like Moria already existed before Nea Demokratia won the last elections. The evictions of migrant squats and the accompanied police brutality in Exarcheia started under the Syriza government. So its quite problematic that Syriza is now presenting themselves as a party against police brutality, because it just doesn’t fit with the reality on the ground when Syriza was governing the Greek territory. What follows is a piece by Yannis Youlountas on last weekends demonstrations across the Greek territory, to give an idea what’s going on, but please remember, Syriza & friends are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. In some of the demonstrations there was also a strong presence of anarchist comrades.

Riot Turtle

Image above: Demonstration in Patras on March 13, 2021.

Originally published by Blog YY. Written by Yannis Youlountas. Introduction and Translation by Riot Turtle.

Last Saturday and Sunday, throughout Greece, a powerful protest movement took to the streets.

Anarchists, revolutionaries, leftists of all kinds, ecologists, multiparty activists, but also people who are not very politicized and who are simply fed up, some of whom mentioned the Yellow Vests movement in France: the greek streets were crowded last Sunday and Saturday. On the other hand, fewer squares were occupied than expected, but this is only the beginning. For the moment, the movement is growing, in many areas of Athens and in other cities of Greece: Patras, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, etc.

Demonstration in the Exarcheia district in Athens on March 13.

The most interesting thing is that we don’t only talk about exploitation, as usual, that is to say wage claims, working conditions, unemployment, social security, pension cuts year after year, the bureaucratic labyrinth of students, the suffering of migrants… We also and above all talk about domination, power, authority, police, state, government. In other words, we address the problem prior to its social and economic consequences. Indeed, are we not the ones who have built the huge prison in which we are locked up? Are we not the ones who are our own jailers? Are we not the ones who create the tyrants who oppress us, within a political regime that is only democratic in name?

For years, more and more people have become aware, in Greece as in France, that we will not solve our problems without going back to the source. And this root of the evil, this first scourge, this poison in the fruit, is power. Power that is established by seduction or by force. The power which, then, is exercised more and more violently on the gutless and cowardly people that we are, letting ourselves be governed by a few mafiosi who are not bigger than us, who go to the small corner in the same way, who really have nothing extraordinary, but who meticulously use the State to protect themselves from our anger and to impose the liberticidal and inegalitarian laws that they write in their interest and in the interest of their accomplices.

Demonstration in Thessaloniki on March 13.

Here it is Mitsotakis. There, it’s Macron. Elsewhere, another one. But, in the end, even if there are some differences, even if Mitsotakis is worse than Tsipras, even if Le Pen will probably be worse than Macron, the problem remains. It is therefore urgent to take to the streets to question the power itself: the one that is exercised over us, day by day, in a more and more authoritarian way and that controls us, with laws of exception, in a more and more totalitarian way. It is time to learn to say no again: not only to a president or a prime minister, but to all the thieves of lives who, in the last few months, have continued to take new and disturbing steps in the domination they exercise over us, everywhere in the world.

This is the fundamental question that needs to be addressed urgently as we begin to see the end of the tunnel. Let’s not fall back into our pre-pandemic routine, with our heads down and our backs arched. Let’s seize the opportunity to finally address the problem, based on this experience.

Athens March 13.

Because, deep down, we know it well: we don’t want a 50 euro salary increase, nor one hour less of work per week, nor 5% more reimbursement to the social security system, nor a few points of pension, nor an improvement of the students’ living conditions, nor even another way of welcoming poor people coming from elsewhere. No, what we want, pure and simple, is to choose ourselves the life we want and to organize ourselves differently to better harmonize our desires and the mutual aid which is the cement of society.

So, let’s not wait any longer, let’s say it outright, without detours or periphrases, without adding other superfluous complaints and, above all, without waiting: we want to take our lives in our hands.

Yannis Youlountas

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