The Greek President has reportedly issued a statement (see below) indicating that he expects a ‘social explosion’ soon. This meshes with the statement, published on a blog last November, by the former Greek ambassador to Canada. Either both men are genuinely concerned that there are revolutionary or counter-revolutionary elements at work, or their statements are disingenuous and the Greek Government is preparing the way for a security clampdown. More on this below…
Two weeks ago we reported on how the former Greek ambassador to Canada, Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, claimed that six private security companies – mercenaries – had been contracted by the Greek Government to oversee the police and guard Government personnel. Via the blog he specifically named Blackwater (later renamed Xe, then Academi) The article resulted in 15,000 viewers over 36 hours, with almost 5000 viewers from Facebook alone, as well as 35 comments from across the political spectrum. It was also re-blogged many times over (all in all, we estimate around 30,000 viewers over three days).
The day after the article was published Academi issued a statement (via the New Statesman, which had also published an article based on Chrysanthopoulos’ claims) denying that they were one of the six security companies. However, since then it is interesting to note another article on how Blackwater is rather expert at escaping prosecution and covering its tracks, so perhaps at this stage we should not come to any conclusion on the matter. However, we believe that the Greek Government have a responsibility to clarify: a) the names of private security companies it is employing and b) their precise role/purpose.
Back to the recent statement by the Greek President… Karolos Papoulias said that he feared the Government’s squeezing of taxpayers will blow up in the country’s face. “We are faced with a societal explosion if any more pressure is put on society,” he added. This is exactly what Chrysanthopoulos had said, some months earlier.
We also warned of a possible ‘strategy of tension’, whereby far-right groups (as with Third Positionists in Italy and elsewhere in the 1980s) create mayhem so as to encourage martial law or at least heightened security measures.
Of course, this heightening of tension, via such statements as issued by the President and by Chrysanthopoulos, could well be a crude attempt to divert attention from the failures of Government. Greek Reporter sums up the economic situation… There are 1.35 million unemployed people in a country of 11 million, while the shrinking number of workers are the main source of paying taxes, though reports said nearly one million taxpayers aren’t paying their taxes on time – or at all – and, moreover, are being forced to work without pay in the hope that one day they might get their salaries back.
Meanwhile, there are (probably) four strands of revolution at play in Greece:
The first strand we have dubbed the ‘parallel economy’, which we have reported on in the past. This ‘parallel economy’ is a mix of bartering, alternative currencies and co-operatives, such as food co-ops. Interestingly, in some neighbourhoods, especially in Athens, the popular assemblies , or community associations, are reportedly playing a role in dealing with this aspect of daily existence.
The second strand is the resistance on the streets . This was particularly evident in 2011 and into the early part of 2012. In recent months there has been less rioting, though squats taken by police have been retaken by anarchists.
The third strand is industrial resistance. Three weeks ago there was a one day general strike. Greece has seen numerous one day general strikes over the past two years but are becoming less well attended. Last month, workers took over the running of the VioMe factory and it remains to be seen if other takeovers will follow.
The fourth strand is the insurrectionary current, which we reported on in detail in an earlier article. Last month, on February 13, for example, the Piraeus office of Golden Dawn was set alight. The group “Organisation Zero Tolerance” claimed responsibility for this action via a communiqué.
Or, as a recent article in LibCom puts it… the Greek state clearly fears that there will be more social unrest in the future and are acting to combat it. All large demonstrations are now met with a massive police operation, water cannon and preventative arrests. In addition the last few months have seen cases of police torture of activists as the state becomes more repressive. Central Athens resembles an occupied city with the police presence being heavy and constant, riot police units are permanently stationed at important points and DELTA/DIAS(police special forces) constantly patrol.
What happens next, is anyone’s guess.
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