…And as Day 11 of the uprising in Greece turns into Day 12, labor is now getting into the fray in a more serious manner.  Worker’s have taken control of the main offices in Athens of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) in order to “create a space in which to facilitate a grassroots and self organized workers response to the crisis, and bring the wider working class into the events unfolding on the streets of Greece.”  City Hall buildings in Athens, Thessaloniki and other locale’s have also been occupied by resistance forces in order to hold general assemblies, as the complete dismantling of the Greek State is unfolding before our eyes.  The statement released by the occupying worker’s reads in part:

“WE DECIDED TO OCCUPY THE BUILDING OF GSEE 

-To turn it into a space of free expression and a meeting point of workers. 

-To disperse the media-touted myth that the workers were and are absent from the clashes, and that the rage of these days was an affair of some 500 “mask-bearers”, “hooligans” or some other fairy tale, while on the tv-screens the workers were presented as victims of the clash, while the capitalist crisis in Greece and Worldwide leads to countless layoffs that the media and their managers deal as a “natural phenomenon”. 

-To flay and uncover the role of the trade union bureaucracy in the undermining of the insurrection -and not only there. GSEE and the entire trade union mechanism that supports it for decades and decades, undermine the struggles, bargain our labor power for crumblings, perpetuate the system of exploitation and wage slavery. The stance of GSEE last Wednesday is quite telling: GSEE cancelled the programmed strikers’ demonstration, stopping short at the organization of a brief gathering in Syntagma Sq., making simultaneously sure that the people will be dispersed in a hurry from the Square, fearing that they might get infected by the virus of insurrection. 

-To open up this space for the first time -as a continuation of the social opening created by the insurrection itself-, a space that has been built by our contributions, a space from which we were excluded. For all these years we trusted our fate on saviours of every kind, and we end up losing our dignity. As workers we have to start assuming our responsibilities, and to stop assigning our hopes to wise leaders or “able” representatives. We have to acquire a voice of our own, to meet up, to talk, to decide, and to act. Against the generalized attack we endure. The creation of collective “grassroot” resistances is the only way. 

-To propagate the idea of self-organization and solidarity in working places, struggle committees and collective grassroot procedures, abolishing the bureaucrat trade unionists.

All these years we gulp the misery, the pandering, the violence in work. We became accustomed to counting the crippled and our dead – the so-called “labor accidents”. We became accustomed to ingore the migrants -our class brothers- getting killed. We are tired living with the anxiety of securing a wage, revenue stamps, and a pension that now feels like a distant dream. 
As we struggle not to abandon our life in the hands of the bosses and the trade union representatives, likewise we will not abandon no arrested insurgent in the hands of the state and the juridical mechanism.”

The union bureaucracy, of course, is enriched and empowered by the very system that exploits the working classes, and as such, they’ve been working hard to keep the labor movement and class issues out of the conversation happening throughout Greek media about the events unfolding in the streets.  It’s great to see that at least some elements of the labor movement have had enough of it.

Elsewhere, it came out over the weekend that police forces have been collaborating- in the streets- with neo-fascists in an effort to subvert the youth movement.  A blog in Greece first published this photo:

which shoes police, plainclothes cops, and members of a far-right fascist movement as they coordinate tactics.  Their scheme: while the rioters have been focused on attacking banks, multinational corporations, chain stores and high end shops, undercover cops and fascists have been roaming the streets attacking local “mom and pop” operations, and throwing rocks at locals on the streets in order to divide the population and dissuade popular support for the uprising.  It’s a smart, and common, tactic, but news (and this photo) is apparently going somewhat viral throughout the Greek blogosphere.  The Greek population has strong, unpleasant memories of the military dictatorship that they overthrew just a few decades ago, and this is the kind of thing that- if it really gets out there- could have a tide-turning effect on popular opinion.

Here in the States, it’s been interesting to note that solidarity actions have spread from the major cities and known hotbeds of radical activism (New York, San Francisco, Boston, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh) but to places where one doesn’t all too often here of much in terms of radical action and resistance (Nashville, Atlanta, Columbia, MO).

Advertisements