Greek Resistance to Austerity

The Politics of Austerity – In the wake of a deteriorating public balance sheet, successive Greek governments accepted the politics of austerity demanded by an international troika (EU, European Central Bank, and IMF) as a way of gaining access to loans. The conditions for these loans are codified through a series of evolving Memoranda imposing increasingly strict and detailed directives for the social and economic policies of Greek governments.  The Troika imposed memorandum has been met by a tremendous resistance from Greek workers and communities.

Nationwide Resistance – During the 5 years of austerity and memorandum plunder, the Greek people have resisted and refused to become guinea pigs of the elite’s demand for “shock therapies”. Across the country from Crete up to Evros, and from Rhodes up to Florina, thousands of men and women, young and aged, natives and migrants, of different political persuasions and ideological beliefs have fought to overthrow the politics of austerity imposed by the Memoranda.

A vibrant new democracy – The people’s assemblies of the town squares in the summer of 2011, were a major expression of the solidarity movement that strengthened its roots in neighbourhoods. The assemblies gave communities a voice and a platform to begin to organise resistance. A key activity was the resistance to the extraordinary additional tax on housing property which was the last straw for many households experiencing unemployment and reduced salaries. This action of civil disobedience found allies in many left wing and progressive mayors and developed in parallel with new networks of practical solidarity.

On the industrial front –  the 10 month strike of the Hellenic Steel (Chalyvourgia) workers prompted a further strengthening solidarity and inspiring workers and communities all over the country. Teachers and other public sector workers have been in the forefront of efforts to protect their jobs and the quality of the public services which they are required to deliver.

The struggle for a public voice in media – In June 2013 the government unilaterally shut down ERT (the national television and radio broadcaster equivalent of the ABC) overnight rendering black screens across the country. It was a moment that came to symbolise the darkness towards which the country was being driven. ERT workers occupied the station and continued to broadcast for months afterwards until the government forcibly entered the building and removed them from their workplace.

The local solidarity movement – is now comprised of hundreds of self-organised collectives and initiatives, which carry out a variety of activities in fields such as social pharmacies for the poor, social kitchens and emergency food supplies, new cooperatives and farmers markets, immigrant support groups, legal assistance for the poor and cultural groups. The solidarity movement seeks the creation of new solidarity structures, to build social relations of a new type, new neighbourhoods, new public spaces in support of a broader social change. Solidarity is seen as a political struggle and not the philanthropic offer of those that have, to those who have not. It is the self-activity and the organisation of all those in need, in order to stand on their feet and demand all that belongs to them.

A slogan of the local solidarity movement:

“They want to make Greece an example of an austerity future –

Let’s make Greece an example of a future without them”

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