Peter Bratsis. Syriza and Its Discontents — Truthout-OpEd

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza), speaks in Palai de sport, Thessaloniki, Greece, a few days before the national elections of 2015. (Photo: Arvnick / Shutterstock.com)

 

One of the key talking points for Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the Syriza leadership for the last few years has been that political power is not “won” in elections; that power must be created; that it comes from below. Tsipras often noted that without people on the streets, making demands, pushing the government, demonstrating popular will, a Syriza regime would not be able to achieve its promises and goals.

This question of the production of power has become all the more pressing given recent events. Many have voiced their opposition to the conditions that the Greek government accepted in its recent agreement with its creditors in extending “bailout” loans for the next four months. Notable Syriza members such as Manolis Glezos and Stathis Kouvelakis, as well as supporters such as Tariq Ali (among many others), have been very vocal in denouncing the agreement as an overwhelming defeat and a retreat from Syriza’s campaign promises, these promises having proven to be no more than “an illusion” in the words of Glezos.

There is a call for the mobilization of left forces inside and outside of Syriza to demand that the government follow through on its mandate of ending austerity and not capitulate to fear and threats. Concurrently there is the demand that the Syriza leadership change its tactics or risk further demobilizing Greek social forces and losing the political momentum it has had held since the elections; Kouvelakis noted that thanks to the failure of the negotiations we have come to the end, for now at least, of “the climate of mobilization and rediscovered confidence that we saw in the first weeks after the election.”

The mantra that power comes from below is contradicted by the idea that it is the subjectivity of those at the top that gives coherence and direction to state power.

Leaving aside for the moment the details of the agreement and of whether it is or is not a retreat for Syriza, there is a key fundamental assumption present in the arguments of the Syriza leadership, as well as those of its internal critics: that the subjectivity and will of those at the top are what gives shape and direction to political power and that mobilizations that push these leaders may be necessary for achieving desired political goals. For example, like Odysseus tied to the mast of his ship, Syriza leaders ask for social movements and protests to bind them to their original program lest the siren song of public office and the practical considerations and anxieties of running a government overwhelm and overtake their radical intentions. Indeed, Yanis Varoufakis has gone as far as to suggest that he should be shot should he start acting like a politician.

Popular mobilizations in the form of marches, general strikes, demonstrations, pot banging and a plethora of other possibilities are manifestations of political power and are crucial to any attempt to reshape policies and to counter pressure from competing political forces.

For the Syriza leadership, as well as for their chorus of critics, the “power” that stems from the streets is fundamentally a capacity for shaping the calculations, discipline and political will of those who hold the reins of power. The levers of state power are just that, and the role of the streets and protest movements is to compel those who control these levers to take notice and account of popular sentiment and act accordingly.

Protest and resistance that does not disrupt the everyday does not destroy the existing circuits of power and certainly does not create new ones.

Thus, the mantra that power comes from below is contradicted by the idea that it is the subjectivity of those at the top that gives coherence and direction to state power. When protesters make demands, they are assuming that power is contained in the state institutions and that if enough pressure is brought to bear, we can influence the will of those who hold the commanding positions within these institutions and exercise state power. Is this political power being produced from below?

Where Does Political Power Come From?

Both sides of the coin of the current debates within Syriza are, thus, stuck within a fundamentally undialectial understanding of political power as a property of institutions and that the exercise of power is a matter of will (power as the capacity to impose your will); the strategic dilemma of the day being to create a “strong” will among the party leaders and/or the social classes and movements that support the party. If we take the more Marxist standpoint, however, that power is produced, not immanent to the institution or actor, the strategic dilemmas and debates within Syriza take on new dimensions. Nicos Poulantzas famously defined state institutions as condensations of class struggle, of social activity and relations. The daily struggles, activities and conflicts from the shop floor to the classroom and household are the matter from which even the most grand of state institutions are created.

A new political power, thus, presumes new forms of living, new struggles and new rhythms. Political change is a change of the everyday, or it is not change at all. To say that power comes from ‘below,’ that our own practices are the generators of political power, thus puts the primacy on action and not will.

There is no doubt that the vast majority of Greeks were and are opposed to the many austerity measures adopted in the last few years. So what? To the degree that their daily routines and activities stayed constant, the production of political power continued unabated and the Greek state was able to implement austerity with little difficulty. The minds and will of the Greeks may have been opposed to austerity, but their bodies were fully in support.

What then should a “mobilized” society entail? How can grassroots activity help transform the balance of forces and produce a new political power? The idea that popular mobilization involves taking to the streets to give voice to grievances and demands would seem to contradict the idea that changing practices is the goal of action. Protest and resistance that does not disrupt the everyday does not destroy the existing circuits of power and certainly does not create new ones. Let us remind ourselves of the great failure of 32 days of general strikes and many more days of protests and demonstrations to make any impact on the austerity governments of the last few years. To the degree that such protests and strikes were not new forms of practice but merely a moment of expressing demands and opinions or, much worse, integrated within the existing routines of contemporary Greece, the physics of political power remained unchanged. As such, the relevance of the”‘street”‘ is not as a venue through which people can express their political preferences and demands but as a site of activity.

Retreat or Disaster Averted?

The necessity for Greece to achieve an agreement with the Eurogroup for a loan extension is all the more clear and obvious from this standpoint. The move to crash the Greek banking system by eliminating access to liquidity was a gun to the head of Greek society. Even though the current regime enjoys very high levels of popular support (76 percent in the latest poll), the sudden closing of banks would have resulted in dramatic changes within the everyday practices of Greeks. The production of political power as it is presently constituted would have stopped. Political order would break down; a collapse of the government would be fast and ugly.

That Tsipras and Vaourfakis presented the agreement as a victory should not be taken as simply trying to put a positive spin on what is a capitulation to the demands of the European Union. It is certainly true that the new agreement is not far removed from previous ones in terms of the mandated oversight by the EU, ECB, and IMF, and it is also true that most of the previous austerity measures will continue for the time being, namely the many cuts to pensions and salaries.

It cannot be denied, however, that today we are in a very different climate than before the elections. Whereas the discussions before were in terms of what further cuts would be necessary (increase in VAT and further pension cuts were to be approved by the previous government), the new agreement takes it as a given that the agenda is now the reverse, undoing austerity, and the question is which reversals will be able to be funded and, thus, allowed. Most of all, however, without an agreement, the Greek government’s days would have been very numbered, and there is no question that this would have been a definitive defeat of the left in Greece and Europe more broadly.

The uproar that the presumed “retreat” or “defeat” has created within Syriza is diverting attention from key problems that need to be addressed. The four months of time that this new agreement has given Syriza, not much time at all, is the new window of opportunity for the Greek government to begin the transformation of society and the creation of new circuits of power.

Regardless of the new agreement, it was already a given that any new spending could only be accomplished if new revenues were found. Further loans for the purpose of increasing public spending were not possible; this is not a new development. The expectation is that if indeed Syriza is able to follow through on being able to collect more unpaid taxes and decrease tax evasion, those additional resources could be used to fund its social programs. This is certainly a daunting task but speed here is key, and the sooner that the government can begin its attempts to collect more taxes, the better. But, what has been forgotten and ignored in the frenzy of the last few weeks is the project of creating new forms of political power and to transform Greece into an ever more democratic and capable society.

Lost in these discussions is any attention to all the political and cultural transformations that need to take place for Greece to produce new circuits of power and become rewired so that new institutions of politics and new cultural sensibilities come into existence.

If the temporary deal with the Eurogroup is going to lead to disaster it is not because the Greek people will lose faith in the Syriza government and withdraw support, nor is it because it will demobilize social movements and keep them from actively asserting their preferences and interests in support of Syriza initiatives. We have already seen that public opinion is of no consequence, actions matter, and that protests and strikes are of similarly little consequence today if they do not transform the everyday. The real risk, in my opinion, is that the fear of the Syriza government in alienating segments of the Greek public, combined with a obsession with economic questions and implementing the Thessaloniki program without any delays or changes, will take away all attention from making the changes to political practice and everyday life that are necessary for new a political power to emerge and replace the old.

The Limits to Economic Reason

The question of austerity has overwhelmed all political discussions inside and outside Syriza. This is not surprising. However, it has set up a set of false divisions between those who disagree on how best to undo austerity in Greece. Must the efforts be Europeanist in character or can a more traditional patriotic and nationalist effort be more effective? Must banks be nationalized or can economic growth be furthered through private control? At what price does it make sense to privatize public assets? And, most centrally, can Greece stay in the eurozone and end austerity or must a return to a national currency occur so that Greece can regain the political sovereignty necessary for imposing a new set of policies. One side presents itself as the more “left” option, but the differences are fundamentally ones of tactics and not of values or principles.

Lost in these discussions is any attention to all the political and cultural transformations that need to take place for Greece to produce new circuits of power and become rewired so that new institutions of politics and new cultural sensibilities come into existence.

Marxism has produced a sizable and quite distinguished literature on the limitations and undemocratic nature of the capitalist state. One would expect a Marxist government in Greece to have an agenda of transforming the state in ways that further popular participation of citizens and that transform its functions to those in line with democratic desire. One would expect plans to counter the suburbanization of Athens and renew the cultural and political vibrancy of urban life. One would expect measures to reduce mechanisms of representation and reverse the centralization of political authority. One would expect rapid and decisive transformations of the ideological state apparatus of schooling.

Instead of intense discussions on the foregoing, what we find, in the best-case scenario, is great dedication to combat corruption and eliminate clientelism. In other words, rather than being critical of the state-form as such and thinking of ways that we could try to reconstitute Greece, we are stuck in the liberal fantasy that an objective and impersonal organization of state authority would, finally, provide the conditions for prosperity and justice. Were Cornelius Castoriadis alive today, he would be rolling in his grave.

Raising more money by combating tax evasion is necessary, but it will never be sufficient for changing Greek society. If we indeed understand power to be produced from the bottom up, we need to act like it. If the daily routines and social relations of Greek society continue as they were yesterday and the day before, the possibilities of change are zero. Where will a new political power come from?

The Greek government seems too fearful of endangering public opinion and too obsessed with eliminating austerity to think about the broader political project and tasks that need to be addressed.

The dangers that the current debates within and about Syriza present us with are two-fold. On the one hand, the forces within Syriza risk polarizing themselves over tactical differences rather than fundamental divisions of goals and values. On the other hand, it is precisely these common goals that have limited the discussion to how to undo austerity and have kept us from exploring ways to transform the political and cultural routines of Greek society so as to create new modalities of political power.

If the next four months are focused on questions of economics with no attention to other matters, we lose the chance to begin the work of transforming the society and for creating new power relations. Paradoxically, the Marxists will have conformed to the liberal viewpoint of homo economicus; “humanitarian” programs will have reduced the residents of Greece to “bare life”; our capacity to found our own cultural and political life will have been abandoned to market forces and unthinking repetition.

In this moment of crisis, when so much could be done in changing the rhythms of life in Greece, the Greek government seems too fearful of endangering public opinion and too obsessed with eliminating austerity to think about the broader political project and tasks that need to be addressed.

Etienne Balibar and Sandro Mezzadra are completely correct to point to the importance of the time and space that this temporary agreement between Greece and its creditors has won. This time needs to be used to focus on the materiality of the class struggle and the concrete social activity that political power is founded upon, and we must abandon the idealist fixation on political will.

The real possibility of Greece leaving the eurozone should indeed be prepared for, and we should be planning and thinking about how to minimize the disruptions to everyday life in such an event. At the same time we need to be working on the purposeful transformation of that same everyday life so as to create a new political reality in Greece and finally overcome the limits of liberalism and the nation-state.

 

Peter Bratsis

Peter Bratsis is associate director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and Work at the Graduate Center and assistant professor of political science at Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New York.  He is the author of Everyday Life and the State, editor (with Stanley Aronowitz) of Paradigm Lost: State Theory Reconsidered, and edits of the journal Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination.

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Δημόσια Συζήτηση εις Αστόρια – Σάββατο, 12 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Οι Πολιτικές Προεκτάσεις της Κρίσης στην Ελλάδα
Μετά τις Ενέργειες Καταστολής της Χρυσής Αυγής

Εναλλακτικές Προτάσεις της Αριστεράς

Δημόσια Συζήτηση
Σάββατο, 12 Οκτωβρίου 5-8 μμ

[ ENGLISH ]

Church of the Redeemer, 30-14 Crescent Street
Γωνία Crescent & 30th Road
Τραίνο: N/Q 30th Avenue, Astoria
(Note: Ο Ναός Church of the Redeemer παραχωρεί μόνο τον χώρο, χωρίς να προσυπογράφει τις απόψεις που παρουσιάζονται στην εκδήλωση)

Θα μιλήσουν:
– Κωστής Καρπόζηλος, Ιστορικός, Columbia University, σεναριογράφος του ντοκυμαντέρ «Ταξισυνειδησία»
– Peter Bratsis, Επίκουρος Καθηγητής Πολιτικών Επιστημών, CUNY, μέλος ΣΥΡΙΖΑ- Τομέας Νέας Υόρκης
– Ιάννης Δελατόλλας, Ακτιβιστής, ΑΝΤΑΡΣΥΑ
– Δέσποινα Λαλάκη, Κοινωνιολόγος, ΝΥU, Αριστερή Κίνηση Νέας Υόρκης- Κίνημα Ελληνικής Συμπαράστασης

Στις 18 Σεπτέμβρη δολοφονήθηκε ο αντιφασίστας αριστερός ακτιβιστής και διεθνούς φήμης χιπ-χόπ μουσικός Παύλος Φύσσας από μέλη του νεο-ναζιστικού κόμματος Χρυσή Αυγή. Ο Φύσσας και έξη φίλοι του, βγαίνοντας από καφετέρια στην περιοχή της Νίκαιας, στον Πειραιά, δέχτηκαν επίθεση από 30-40 μέλη τάγματος εφόδου της Χρυσής Αυγής. Ο Φύσσας μαχαιρώθηκε κατά τρόπο που θεωρήθηκε από τις ιατροδικαστικές αρχές ως μη ερασιτεχνικός. Σε απάντηση στην δολοφονία, χιλιάδες πολίτες κατέκλυσαν τους δρόμους της Αθήνας ενώ συγκεντρώσεις συμπαράστασης έγιναν σε δεκάδες ευρωπαϊκές πόλεις καθώς και στη Νέα Υόρκη και το Τόκυο.

Έχοντας αγνοήσει την βία της Χρυσής Αυγής τόσα χρόνια η ελληνική κυβέρνηση ξαφνικά στις 28 Σεπτεμβρίου αποφάσισε να ενεργήσει. Ενώ οι επιχειρήσεις της αστυνομίας συνεχίζονται ακόμη έξη μελη της οργάνωσης, από βουλευτές και ηγεσία μέχρι ενεργά μέλη έχουν προφυλακισθεί ενώ αρκετοί άλλοι έχουν κριθεί υπόδικοι με κατηγορίες που κυμαίνονται από συμμετοχή σε δολοφονικές πράξεις και εκβιασμούς μέχρι προστασία σε μαγαζιά, βιασμούς, μαστροπία, και επιθέσεις κατά της σωματικής ακεραιότητας ελλήνων και ξένων κατοίκων. Και ρωτάμε: Γιατί υπήρξε τέτοια καθυστέρηση από πλευράς της κυβέρνησης να λάβει μέτρα;

Τις τελευταίες δύο δεκαετίες διαδοχικές κυβερνήσεις της Νέας Δημοκρατιας και του ΠΑΣΟΚ ανέχθηκαν και υπέθαλψαν την βία της Χρυσής Αυγής εναντίον μεταναστών, αριστερών, ομοφυλόφιλων, αναρχικών, καλλιτεχνών, διανοουμένων, και άλλων. Στις μέρες που ακολούθησαν την δολοφονία του Παύλου Φύσσα, δύο ανώτατοι αξιωματικοί της αστυνομίας παραιτήθηκαν, επτά άλλοι μετακινήθηκαν και αντικαταστάθηκαν, ενώ η ΕΥΠ έχει αναλάβει τις έρευνες στα στρατιωτικά κλιμάκια. Πάμπολλα παραδείγματα δείχνουν ότι η βία της Χ.Α. εξυπηρέτησε την κυβέρνηση αποθαρρύνοντας κάθε αλλαγή, καταπιέζοντας κάθε διαφωνία, και υποστηρίζοντας τα μεγάλα οικονομικά συμφέροντα και την άρχουσα τάξη. Μιά εβδομάδα πριν τον φόνο τάγματα εφόδου της Χ.Α. επιτέθηκαν σε αφισσοκολλητές του ΚΚΕ και τους τραυμάτισαν, πιθανότατα γιά να καταστείλουν την οργάνωση των εργαζομένων στα ναυπηγεία εναντίον της λιτότητας και των νέων περικοπών στα μισθολόγια.

Η βία της Χ.Α. δεν διαφέρει πολύ από την βία της κυβέρνησης. Και οι δυο θεωρούν εχθρό όποιον απαιτεί κοινωνική αλλαγή. Η κυβέρνηση καταπιέζει ειρηνικές διαμαρτυρίες με δακρυγόνα και μαζικές συλλήψεις. Το κέντρο της Αθήνας αποκλείεται από την αστυνομία κάθε φορά που βαθμοφόροι της τρόικα επισκέπτονται την χώρα γιά να ελέγξουν την πρόοδο της εφαρμογής του μνημονίου. Κατά την διάρκεια της απεργίας των εργαζομένων στα μέσα μαζικής μεταφοράς και των δασκάλων η κυβέρνηση κήρυξε στρατιωτικό νόμο, απειλώντας τους εργαζομένους με επιστράτευση και με τον νόμο περί προδοσίας. Η πολιτική της λιτότητας έχει βοηθήσει την ανάπτυξη αντι-μεταναστευτικού κλίματος και νεοναζιστικών ομάδων και έχει προβεί στην κλιμάκωση του αυταρχισμού και ποινικοποίησης της πολιτικής και κοινωνικής διαμαρτυρίας. Στην προσπάθειά του να τρομοκρατήσει το εκλογικό σώμα ώστε να δεχτεί αδιαμαρτύρητα την εφαρμογή του προγράμματος λιτότητας η κυβέρνηση έχει προαγάγει την ρητορική των «δύο άκρων» εξισώνοντας τα κόμματα της αριστερής αντιπολίτευσης με το νεοναζιστικό κόμμα.

Τα δύο τρίτα των νέων κάτω της ηλικίας των 30 ετών είναι άνεργοι. Μισθοί και συντάξεις έχουν περικοπεί κατά 30%- 50% τα τελευταία τρία χρόνια. Αλλά η επακόλουθη κοινωνική αναταραχή και αντίσταση έχει αγνοηθεί από την κυβέρνηση η οποία συνεχώς ανακοινώνει ανύπαρκτες επιτυχίες, με τον ίδιο τον Πρωθυπουργό να παρουσιάζει μία στρεβλή και ψευδή εικόνα δήθεν συνολικής υποστήριξης του κυβερνητικού προγράμματος κατά την διάρκεια της πρόσφατης περιοδείας του στην Αμερική.

Στις 12 Οκτωβρίου, ημέρα της Απελευθέρωσης της Αθήνας από τους Γερμανούς Ναζί το 1944, θα παρουσιάσουμε μία ριζικά διαφορετική εικόνα της κατάστασης στην Ελλάδα από ό,τι μας παρουσιάζουν τα ΜΜΕ και θα συζητήσουμε τις προτάσεις της Αριστεράς γιά έξοδο από την κρίση. Προσκαλούμε όλη την Ελληνο-Αμερικανική κοινότητα να παραστεί. Τα γεγονότα στην Ελλάδα είναι μέρος μιάς γενικώτερης, παγκόσμιας κρίσης που αφορά και τις ΗΠΑ. Η Ελλάδα έχει γίνει το πεδίο άσκησης του παγκόσμιου καπιταλισμού. Τα συμπεράσματα που αντλούνται από το ελληνικό πείραμα ήδη εφαρμόζονται σε άλλα μέρη του κόσμου, όπως και σε περιοχές των ΗΠΑ.
Η συνάντηση θα γίνει στα αγγλικά αλλά θα υπάρχει δυνατότητα μετάφρασης.

ΤΕΛΟΣ ΣΤΗΝ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΚΗ ΤΗΣ ΛΙΤΟΤΗΤΑΣ.
ΑΠΟΚΑΤΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΤΗΣ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑΣ ΤΩΡΑ

ΔΙΟΡΓΑΝΩΣΗ:
ΑΚΝΥ- Κίνημα Ελληνικής Αλληλεγγύης (www.AKNY.org)
ΣΥΡΙΖΑ- Τομέας Νέας Υόρκης (www.syriza-ny.org)
ΑΝΤΑΡΣΥΑ ΝΥ
Campaign for Peace and Democracy (www.cpdweb.org)
Occupy Astoria LIC (www.OccupyAstoriaLIC.org)
Queens College Socialist Club

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Astoria: Politics & Crisis In Greece After the Crackdown on ‘Golden Dawn’

WHAT IS THE LEFT ALTERNATIVE?

Public Meeting in Astoria – 5pm Sat, Oct 12, 2013

[ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ] — [ PDF στα Eλληνικά – FLYERPOSTER ]

[ FACEBOOK ] — [ FLYER IN ENGLISH ] — [ POSTER ] — [ CONTACT ]

LOCATION: Church of the Redeemer, 30-14 Crescent Street, Corner of Crescent & 30th Road. N/Q Train to 30th Avenue in Astoria. Church of the Redeemer is the venue, not an endorser.

LOCATION: Church of the Redeemer, 30-14 Crescent Street, Corner of Crescent & 30th Road.
N/Q Train to 30th Avenue in Astoria. Church of the Redeemer is the venue, not an endorser.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On September 18, Pavlos Fyssas, an internationally known hip-hop artist, anti-fascist and left activist, was assassinated by members of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn (G.D.). Fyssas and six friends were assaulted by 30-40 members of a G.D. “attack battalion.” Fyssas was stabbed to death in what the coroner attested was not an amateur hit. In response to the assassination, hundreds of thousands of outraged people took to the streets in Greece, with solidarity protests in a dozen European cities as well as New York and Tokyo.

After years of failing to prosecute acts of violence attributed to Golden Dawn, the Greek government of New Democracy and PASOK finally struck against the neo-Nazis on Sept. 28. About 40 G.D. leaders, parliamentarians and party members have been arrested. They are charged with running a criminal organization responsible for 32 cases of violence, including 10 alleged murders and attempted murders.

We are forced to ask: Why were the first nine cases not enough to prompt action?

For years, Greek authorities tolerated and even protected G.D.’s violence against immigrants, gays, leftists, anarchists, artists and others. In the week after Fyssas’ murder two top police officials with alleged G.D. links resigned suddenly for “personal reasons.” Many examples show G.D.’s violence worked in the service of avoiding change, eliminating dissent, and defending dominant economic interests and social structures. A week before the murder, the G.D. “attack battalion” assaulted and injured Communist Party (KKE) members, apparently because they were organizing shipyard workers against wage cuts.

G.D.’s violence, we submit, serves the same functions as the violence of the Greek government. In both cases, those who demand social change are seen as enemies. The government suppresses peaceful protest with tear gas and mass arrests. Central Athens is shut down by thousands of police troops whenever EU officials visit to oversee the Greek austerity program. When transit workers and then teachers tried to strike, the government declared martial law, issuing conscription orders to strikers and threatening to charge them with treason and imprison them. Thus, the austerity policies have not only created social conditions that allowed anti-immigrant sentiment and neo-Nazi sects to flourish. They have also gone hand-in-hand with ever-more authoritarian attempts to eliminate political challenges and social protest. To frighten voters into accepting authoritarian measures, the government presents a “narrative of the two extremes,” attempting to equate left opposition parties with Nazis.

Two-thirds of people under 30 are unemployed, pensions and wages for most have been cut by 30-50 percent or more. But the resulting popular discontent and anger fails to register with the political machinery. Two weeks ago, the University of Athens was forced to shut down altogether due to budget cuts!

In the face of immense failures, the government bizarrely declares success after success, and expects everyone to play along with its charade.

Even during Prime Minister Samaras’ visit to New York, he presented a false picture of unity behind his government’s policies. On October 12, the Greek left of New York will present a radically different picture. We will discuss and debate alternatives the left in Greece offers for moving past the country’s crises. We invite the Greek-American community to take part and we also invite all New Yorkers. (The main language of the meeting will be English, but people are also welcome to speak in Greek; translations from Greek will be provided.)

Developments in Greece are part of a global crisis that also affects the United States. Greece has become capitalism’s testing ground to see how much pain a people can take. The lessons learned in Greece are already being applied in other countries, including in parts of the United States.

End the Politics of Austerity.
Restore Democracy Now!

With

KOSTIS KARPOZILOS
Historian, Columbia University
Writer of the documentary film “Greek American Radicals
DESPINA LALAKI
Sociologist, NYU
AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement
PETER BRATSIS
Asst. Professor of Political Science, CUNY
Member, SYRIZA NY
IANNIS DELATOLAS
Anti-fascist, activist
Member, Antarsya

SPONSORED BY
• AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement (www.AKNY.org)
• Syriza-New York (www.syriza-ny.org)
• ANTARSYA NY
• Campaign for Peace and Democracy (www.cpdweb.org)
• Occupy Astoria LIC (www.OccupyAstoriaLIC.org)
• Queens College Socialist Club

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Photos: NYC, Berlin, Cophenhagen – Against Fascism and Austerity in Greece

Protest Greek Government at United Nations

Friday, 9/27 – Videos by Stanley Heller
Part 1 (Rally & D. Lalaki) – Part 2 (N. Levis)


Part 3: Sia performs “Lysistrata Lyceum


Part 4: Peter Bratsis on the functions of violence
Ten video segments from 9/27 by SH/The Struggle

New_York_UN_9-27-13Photos from Friday 9/27 in New York by Greek Photog, Michelle Equality Kaplan, Jerry Levy, Chiu Ng Photography and Mickey Z-vegan.

From Ethnikos Kirikas/National Herald, New York, Sept. 30: "Under the aegis of Aristeri Kinisi, New York and SYRIZA, New York, a protest was organized across from the United Nations building in New York against austerity and fascism."

From Ethnikos Kirikas (National Herald), New York, 9/30:
“Under the aegis of Aristeri Kinisisi, New York and SYRIZA,
New York, a protest was organized across from the United
Nations against austerity and fascism.”

Additional video by Carlos Sabater


Friday 9/27: Also in Berlin…

Berlin_9-27_antifa

And Copenhagen – At Greek Embassy

Copenhagen_9-27_FyssasMarch[ Berlin photo album ] — [ Copenhagen report ]


Breaking Sat. 9/28: Golden Dawn Leadership,
“Attack Battalion” Members Arrested in Athens

Michaloliakos_ArrestedLive Blogging:
Greece’s Golden Dawn Leader Michaloliakos, several MPs arrested
Report:
Golden Dawn head, MPs arrested in unprecedented Greek crackdown

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VIDEO: “CRISIS AND THE EUROPEAN LEFT”


AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement presented an all-star panel on “Crisis and The Left in Europe: Germany, Greece, Spain and Italy” last Sunday at the Left Forum 2013 in New York. With Peter Bratsis, Despina Lalaki, Carlos Frade, Marcus Graetsch and Bruno Gelli. Thanks to New Jersey Video Collective and FanSmiles channel.

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AKNY Invites: Friday to Sunday, June 7-9, Pace University, NYC

Greece Solidarity at the Left Forum 2013

During the big conference next weekend in New York, AKNY is holding three panels and taking part in the Turkish-Greek solidarity protest. Get your tickets at the Left Forum site, discounts available for all in need.


SATURDAY

“Responding to Neo-Fascism: Greece, Golden Dawn and Diaspora”
Session 2, Saturday June 8, NOON-1:30pm, Room: E305

Nikos Levis (author, Astorian, Occupy activist, member “Stop Golden Dawn” NY)
Alan Akrivos (union activist, Justice newspaper, Queens Socialist Alternative)
Emmanuelle Mimieux (anarchist and anti-fascist)
Neni Panourgia (anthropologist, New School for Social Research)
[Facebook Invite] [Official Link]

IMMEDIATELY AFTER: In Solidarity With The Turkish People–
Occupy Gezi NYC & AKNY-Greece at OWS Zuccotti


SUNDAY

“Environmental & Social Struggles in Greece: Skourgies – Halkidiki”
Session 5, Sunday June 9, 10:00am-11:50pm, Room: W606

Alan Akrivos (union activist, Justice newspaper, Queens Socialist Alternative)
Costas Panayotakis (NYC College of Technology)
Panayota Gounari (University of Massachusetts – Boston)
[Official Link]

“Crisis and the Left in Europe: Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain”
Session 6, Sunday June 9, NOON-1:50pm, Room: W626

Peter Bratsis (City University of New York)
Marcus Grätsch (Interventionist Left, Germany, FelS Berlin, Left Forum NY)
Despina Lalaki (New York University)
Bruno Gullì (City University of New York)
Carlos Frade (University of Salford, Manchester, UK)
[Official Link]

Cosponsored by the Campaign for Peace and Democracy (cpdweb.org).

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HISTORICAL MATERIALISM NY 2013 – AKNY PANEL

Syriza and the Strategic Challenges of the Greek Left

AKNY panel with Costas Panayotakis, Despina Lalaki, Iannis Delatolas and Peter Bratsis, moderated by Aaron Amaral. At Historical Materialism 2013 Conference, New York, April 27, 2013.

Audio with Q&A

PAPERS

Costas Panayotakis
“Syriza’s Dilemmas: The Challenges of Political Realignment at a Time of Economic Crisis”

Despina Lalaki
“The Crisis in Greece and the Left Response. Successes, Failures and High Expectations”

Iannis Delatolas
“Anti-Capitalist Answers to the Crisis: The Antarsya Perspective”

Peter Bratsis
“The Impossibility of Reform: Revolution or Servitude?”
(Paper unavailable)

Chair
Aaron Amaral

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GREECE & GLOBAL CRISIS IN POLITICS & CAPITALISM

“Beyond Scapegoats and Moralism”

March 2nd, 2013 panel with Alan Akrivos, Nikos Alexiou, Peter Bratsis, Despina Lalaki and a very lively, far-ranging discussion with the audience. Hosted by Syriza New York.

Part One

Part Two

Video by Joe Friendly

A panel discussion with a small delay, March 2, 2013

Report by Nikos Levis

Syriza New York is a support group for the “party of the radical left” and current main parliamentary opposition in Greece. Syriza NY invited a panel of scholars, action and labor people to speak in Astoria on March 2nd, 2013, on the subject of “Greece and the Global Crisis in Politics and Capitalism.” The event was announced a month in advance. The literature called on everyone to go “Beyond Scapegoats and Moralism.”

March 2 AnnouncementIf only!

By now everyone has heard that Astoria recently acquired a handful of Greek or Greek-American neo-Nazis or Nazi wannabes. However, as these things tend to go, no one expected that a small, unknown group who seem to fit that description would show up at the venue hosting the Syriza event – a private building – after midnight before the day of the event. Whoever they were, they made intimidating noises to the residents, who remained inside the building. Before dispersing, the unknown group used heavy tape to plaster the front of the building with “Golden Dawn” leaflets. These accused the venue of hosting a meeting of “anti-Greek terrorists.” That night, in addition, threatening anonymous phone calls were made to parties responsible for the Syriza event and the Astoria venue. The venue felt compelled to cancel.

(For the full story see “Fascism Comes To Queens,” in The North Star; also, coverage in the New York Greek-language press; also, the AKNY statement on the affair. In addition, in a possible clue, the anonymous wordpress.com blogger who presents himself as the voice of “Golden Dawn” in New York celebrated this atrocious behavior as a glorious victory for Hellenitude.)

But seriously: Nazis. Is this still New York City?

With only hours left before the announced start of the Syriza panel, a replacement location was just found in time, in Manhattan. Word about the incident got around. Turnout was strong and energetic. Many people traveled in from Astoria. The apparently dangerous discussion went ahead, on the original themes as planned.

Now, thanks to tireless videographer Joe Friendly, here’s your chance to listen to ideas about Greece and the crisis of world capitalism; ideas that narrow minds would silence with terror, if they could.

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Εθνικός Κήρυκας, 6 Μαρτίου 2013

Συμπόσιο του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ-ΝΥ, 2 Μαρτίου 2013

Σελ. 1 Σελ. 2

Headline in Kirika, March 6, 2012

“Threats and declarations against SYRIZA New York.”
Headline from Ethniko Kirika, New York, print version, March 6, 2012.

The story covers in detail the “Greek Crisis” panel discussion of March 2nd, 2013, and also reports on the threats and acts of physical intimidation delivered the night before to the Astoria venue by apparent “Golden Dawn” sympathizers, including denials of involvement by official party spokespersons.

For a report in English, see here.    

 

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Εθνικός Κήρυκας, 23 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Ιδρυτική Συνέλευση του Σύριζα-ΝΥ

Σελ. 1 Σελ. 2

Photo following the founding of SYRIZA New York, October 21, 2012.

Group photo after meeting to found SYRIZA New York, October 21, 2012.
The accompanying Greek-language story is from
Ethniko Kirika, New York, print version, Oct. 23, 2012.
 

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