What about “Popular Unity” ? by: Stathis Kouvelakis

After Syriza

 Stathis Kouvelakis3

Syriza failed to stop austerity in Greece. What can Popular Unity do differently?
by Stathis Kouvelakis

Published by “Jacobin”


A Greek election official prepares a polling station before the July 5 referendum. Ekathimerini
A Greek election official prepares a polling station before the July 5 referendum. Ekathimerini
When Alexis Tspiras resigned his premiership earlier this month and called for a snap election, it signaled a new round in the ongoing battle between Greece and its creditors.

For Tsipras, next month’s election represents an attempt to secure a mandate for the deal Syriza has signed off on. Yet the former prime minister’s approval rating has dropped from 61 percent to 29 percent in the last month. Almost 80 percent of voters say they’re disappointed with Tsipras’s performance during Syriza’s time in office. And 70 percent think the bailout package the leadership approved will deliver more economic pain than the previous two austerity agreements.

It is to this discontent which Popular Unity, a new formation of dissident Syriza members and other anti-austerity forces, hopes to give institutional expression.

In this recent interview — conducted by Thomas Lemahieu for the French paper L’Humanité — Stathis Kouvelakis, a member of Popular Unity’s leadership, discusses the formation’s anti-memorandum program, how to find allies outside of Europe, and what Popular Unity wishes to accomplish in the upcoming election.

When did Syriza reach the point of no return that led you to create a new party, Popular Unity?

When the agreement was signed on July 13. The fracture had already appeared earlier, when, in the space of a few days, the “no” from the referendum was transformed into a “yes,” and when the Greek government went to negotiate in Brussels with a mandate that effectively meant accepting the austerity framework.

But it was Alexis Tsipras signing the agreement that started the process leading to Syriza splitting — indeed, we would more accurately speak of Syriza disintegrating. Then there were two votes in parliament on the agreement’s two packages of preliminary measures, and then the one on the memorandum itself, which confirmed the split. The Tsipras government signed the memorandum without ever obtaining the approval of any of Syriza’s internal structures, at any moment.

Alexis Tsipras cannot cite a single text, a single decision authorizing him to do what he did; on the contrary, on the few occasions that the central committee did meet during Syriza’s time in power, its decisions all had one same orientation: namely, that in no event would we sign a memorandum. “Anything but that!”

What happened was exactly the thing that had been totally ruled out on principle. While the coexistence of different currents and sensibilities in one same party was possible so long as it maintained the central objective of overturning the memorandums — even if there were disagreements, including on the euro question — it was not possible for supporters and opponents of signing the memorandum to coexist in the same party.

When Alexis Tsipras decided to accept a memorandum, he was himself deciding to dissolve his party!

Have you rallied all the Syriza MPs who spoke out against the new memorandum? Surely Popular Unity’s twenty-five initial MPs aren’t all of them?

In the vote there were thirty-two “against,” and seventeen who voted “present” — which in the Greek parliamentary system does not exactly amount to abstaining, but is very close to a “no.”

The ones we don’t have yet are Zoe Konstantopoulou — the president of the parliament, who still has her institutional functions, but who will soon join us — and three MPs of Syriza’s Maoist KOE current, who we are in discussions with. Then there is Yanis Varoufakis, who won’t come with us, since our positions are too far apart.

It’s important to remember that Popular Unity is not a party, but a front jointly mobilizing a dozen component parts. Some of them came out of Syriza, others were part of Syriza in the past, and still others come from the far left, like currents from the Antarsya coalition.

Fundamentally, Popular Unity is quite close to what Syriza was until 2013, before its currents merged into a single party. This is a formula that we are sticking to: we are a political front based on pluralism, respecting each other’s differences, and placing a stress on self-organization.

Our goal is to ensure that the “no” vote expressed in the July 5 referendum, which was in the crushing majority among youth as well as among working-class and popular layers, is given political structure. We want to construct broad, open committees from below.

Of course, we are also expecting militants, individuals, and political figures to join us, too. You do not have to agree with all the points of our program, but the heart of the matter is the recognition that it is indispensable to break with the memorandums, and that this implies a confrontation with the European Union — even if there may be points of divergence as to the means that ought to be used in such a confrontation.

But clearly, we have all drawn lessons from Syriza’s strategic failure, and we have an alternative approach to avoid ending up in the same capitulation.

Since Popular Unity is the third largest group in the Greek Parliament, the constitution gives it an “exploratory mandate” to try to form a government (i.e. before the next elections are formally called). How are you going to make use of this mandate, which lasts up until August 27?

We have been given these three days, and we will try and use them to demonstrate what our conception of politics is. We are guided by the principle that social forces should have their say, and our proposals work in this same direction: namely, the democratization of Greece’s institutions.

So firstly, Panagiotis Lafazanis will have discussions with representatives of the social forces most affected by the memorandum’s various different aspects, and who are in the front rank of the fight against the memorandum and its consequences. That is to say, representatives of the unions of employees and retired people particularly affected by the coming pensions cuts and the liquidation of our remaining social rights; citizen campaigns against privatizations; farmers, fishermen, etc.

The idea is to show that for us politics is not simply about conclaves with the representatives of political parties. Politics is something we do with social forces and mobilizations.

Secondly, we will make institutional proposals: as a democratic measure, we want to do away with the fifty-seat bonus that is given to the party who comes first in the vote, as Syriza itself had promised before the elections — one of its key policies, abandoned just like the rest. And we also propose to support the discussion that Zoe Konstantopoulou has tried to initiate in parliament with respect to German war reparations, such that the parliament can continue its work to its proper completion.

You have been sharply critical of Alexis Tsipras’s decision to go to the polls again. Why is that?

What we criticize is the fact that the elections are being rushed! It is a classic way of trying to catch your opponents unaware, but Tsipras has done something that none of the system parties ever dared to do, namely to call elections in the middle of August: and in a country like Greece, that means a time when people are on holiday. And that’s when he chose to call the election. Which reduces the electoral campaign even further.

The purpose of this maneuver is more than obvious: he is going to the polls as soon as possible, before the concrete effects of the memorandum make themselves felt among the population.

What are the key elements of Popular Unity’s program?

The decisive point is rupture with the memorandum and austerity policies. We want to cancel the memorandums, just as Syriza had promised to do. We want to break with the budget surplus targets.

Our policy is based on immediately stopping the debt repayments: we will negotiate for the cancellation of the greater part of the debt, but on that basis! Greece cannot get back into shape so long as it is being bled dry to pay back this debt.

One of the Syriza government’s major errors was to continue paying back the debt: and with €7 billion taken out of the public coffers between January and June, they were left totally empty.

Moreover, we have no illusions as to the compatibility of this rupture program with the euro framework. So if the institutions are intransigent, with the ECB deciding to restrict access to liquidity, we will return to a national currency. The transition phase would present difficulties, certainly, but also important opportunities for relaunching the economy, and for an economic policy working for social and environmental justice.

You referred to the institutions’ “intransigence.” Are all of you in Popular Unity agreed on exit from the euro?

Yes, we think that we have to prepare for euro exit. That is absolutely clear!

Popular Unity’s program has now been finalized and it will be published shortly. Preparation for euro exit is a fundamental point. This question has several aspects. The first is clearly the recuperation of political sovereignty, in a context where a government is confronted by a Holy Alliance of all the neoliberal powers.

As we have seen, deprived of monetary levers, we were taken hostage by the ECB. Syriza suffered that ever since February 4. Secondly, it is a means of making it possible to restart the economy, guaranteeing the supply of liquidity. Furthermore, it is an extremely important lever with regard to the debt question: if we instead go for a national currency, the debt will become almost unpayable, since no one would accept the repayment of a debt redenominated in a national currency. That places us in a position of strength.

Finally, devaluation would make it possible to kickstart growth, indeed vigorously so: all countries that have found themselves in a situation of deep recession have only been able to restart the economy by making use of currency devaluation.

The choice is a simple one, really. Either we have currency devaluation, or else internal devaluation, meaning the structural adjustment plans imposed in order to reduce wages and pensions and drive down the cost of labor.

Certainly, currency devaluation does create certain problems, but also opportunities: it boosts domestic production, it allows for exports to be substituted for imports, and makes exports more competitive. Without doubt it creates problems for some things that have to be paid for in hard currency: petrol, energy, some medications that have to be imported — although not all that much, since domestic production can provide a good part of that.

All that does open up temporary difficulties, in the transition phase. But as all the economists hostile to neoliberalism have shown — from Krugman to Stiglitz, and from Aglietta to Lordon — the debate is over. As they tell us, Greece’s best possible choice, and in reality the only viable one, is for it to return to a national currency; naturally, within the framework of a progressive policy to relaunch the economy, and which can also handle the problems that result from this. There will be inflationary pressures, but even in that context a left-wing government can protect wages.

Your program would have Greece leave the eurozone — but would it quit the European Union?

No, not necessarily. The question may well be posed, but not automatically so. After all, there are ten EU countries that are not in the euro. For us, that’s not a done and dusted question. What our program prescribes for, in the case that the confrontation does go further, is to go to a referendum.

The British government is preparing such a vote: its political orientation is entirely at odds with our own, but we don’t see why we couldn’t pose the question, too. But leaving the EU is not one of Popular Unity’s objectives.

Over recent months, neoliberal circles reacted to the Greek government’s efforts with phenomenal determination, and it seemed that they were prepared to totally destroy the country’s economy. If there were, for example, a devaluation, with the expected effects that would have on the debt, how would you protect yourselves from their attacks?

The conclusion we have drawn from the Syriza government’s experience — immediately being confronted with the blockade and the war unleashed by the European institutions — is that you have to show at least the same level of determination as they do.

That is precisely where the Syriza government let itself down: it did not take any self-defense measures. That is the context for our proposed return to a national currency.

This would also help us on the question of repaying the debt, because it puts us in a position of strength for making the creditors accept the cancellation of the greater part of the debt.

We want that kind of compromise: like what happened with all the other over-indebted countries. I’m thinking of Argentina, Ecuador, etc. We think that it is indispensible to take back monetary sovereignty — within the framework of a democratic reestablishment of popular sovereignty, and absolutely not in terms of turning in on ourselves in a nationalist sense. Our approach is profoundly internationalist.

We are not telling tall tales, like Syriza did: we are not saying that we will convince the other Europeans, and we have no illusions that Hollande or Renzi or whoever else in the EU is going to help us.

Rather, we are counting on the mobilization of the Greek people, European public awareness, and solidarity from social movements internationally. They are our true allies!

You don’t think you have any institutional allies in Europe?

No, not in Europe! We might find some elsewhere. That’s a whole different question.

In that regard, you seem to want to establish strong relations with other states, elsewhere around the planet, in order to cover Greece’s financing needs. But still today the Tsipras government say they did make attempts to do this, but that these initiatives didn’t lead anywhere. Is that not the case?

Firstly, I should say that not everything the Syriza government did was bad. It was the Syriza government’s mistaken strategy that made it possible for large sections of the Greek population to see the European Union for what it really is.

The referendum battle allowed for a powerful popular mobilization, a decisive advance in the terms of the debate, and that also owes to the Syriza government. All this did result in defeat; but we also need to have a clear view of the road that was taken.

So in the initiatives that the government did take, there were indeed openings toward certain other countries, but we got stuck halfway. It took a hesitant attitude toward Russia, in particular: some approaches were made, but at the crucial moment the Syriza government did not follow through.

At what moment?

During the critical turning point, the referendum. The agreement that Panagiotis Lafanazis had secured on the gas pipeline — he was energy minister at the time — was a highly favorable one. He had the political space to make this important move.

But truth be told, fundamentally the Russians did not know what the Greeks wanted. They were extremely distrustful, since they had the impression that Greece’s moves toward an opening were being used as a card in its negotiations with the European institutions, as a PR tool.

The photos with Putin served as a means of exerting pressure, but it all remained very superficial, and they could tell that it was not going to be followed up with concrete commitments. And they did not appreciate being toyed with.

So if Greece left the euro, would you find sufficient financing from outside the EU?

We don’t take a eurocentric view. In any case, Europe is not just the EU; Russia and Turkey are part of Europe, for example. Europe itself has to break out of its imperialist and neo-colonialist attitude toward the world’s other countries.

And of course we want to develop relations with the progressive governments of the South, and in particular the South American ones — that is a strategic choice of Popular Unity’s — as well as powers like the BRIC countries.

Of course, we would do so on terms favorable to the interests of the Greek people. Developing relations with Russia or with China is not exactly the same thing.

The Chinese interest is in trade and business. We don’t want the privatizations that so attract the Chinese; but at the same time, they have made openings with regard to establishing a BRIC bank.

With Russia, it’s a different matter, since it takes an essentially geopolitical view: for Russia, economic interests are subordinate to this geopolitical outlook.

It is also clear that having relations with Russia in no sense means thinking that Putin is politically or ideologically close to us. This is a question of international relations.

Another question on your program: how do you think you can stop the privatizations?

One of our key points is the nationalization of the four systemic banks. That’s something very simple, and it was a strong element of Syriza’s program.

In three of the four banks there is already a majority public stake, but its rights over the bank are muted and passive, under the recapitalization conditions imposed by the European Stability Mechanism.

We are for insubordination against these rules, and therefore we want to take immediate control over these banks. In principle, this is simple — it would suffice to activate the existing public holding.

One of the most scandalous aspects of the third memorandum is the fact that €25 billion will be devoted to recapitalizing the banks, and these €25 billion are the first funds resulting from the sell-off of Greek state assets!

This was criminal, and the Syriza government agreed to push it through. These €25 billion will exclusively be devoted to repaying the loans for the future recapitalization of the banks. We have to put an end to this scandal now, and nationalize the banks.

We are also in favor of the country’s essential infrastructure coming back into public ownership, such as the electric grid, ports and telecommunications.

For us, economic recovery will come through public investment: no country in world history — and here I am not talking about countries in transition toward socialism — has been able to resume growth unless it had a public sector and public investment serving as locomotives.

We don’t believe the claptrap about encouraging private investment in an asset-stripped country paying poverty wages. That’s not how we’ll get the Greek economy going again! And particularly not through this European finance, with its very tight conditions: that clearly hasn’t allowed for any kind of economic recovery, during five years of crisis.

Everyone knows that the objective set for the privatizations — that is, raising the €50 billion that the lenders are demanding — is entirely unachievable, and that the country will not be able to live up to such commitments. So what is the point of such demands?

They serve the purpose of systematically bleeding the country dry. This is a true neo-colonization effort, liquidating the Greek state as a democratic and sovereign state.

The €50 billion privatization fund is directly controlled by the troika. The budgetary policy council is composed of seven members, four of them directly appointed by the four institutions: the IMF, the European Commission, the ECB, and the European Stability Mechanism.

In the event of budget overspend, they have the power to impose automatic, horizontal cuts. The national statistics institute is also under the institutions’ control. The general secretariat of tax receipts is to become a completely independent authority, though in reality it is obviously under the heel of the institutions, and it can make decisions with the status of ministerial degrees.

Whatever the composition of the government, today it no longer has any levers under its control. Which means that this third memorandum takes us an awful lot further than what went before.

How would you explain this dogged hostility to the first radical left government in Europe?

There was a very clear punitive dimension to all this. In breaking Syriza, they wanted to kill off any attempt at a break with austerity. At the same time, we ought to be clear that the current capitalist crisis is far from over, and that the ruling classes seem prepared to do everything necessary to deepen austerity policies.

Once again, Greece is serving as a laboratory: it was the guinea pig for the first stage of austerity, but now it is being forced to serve as the guinea pig for the second stage, the even more violent onslaught of austerity policies.

Syriza was the counter-attack against phase one of the austerity experiment, and Popular Unity is the political response to phase two.

You are now breaking into the Greek political landscape, but where would you set your ambitions for the coming elections?

If there is one aspect of Syriza that we are intent on preserving, it is that of speaking in a language that the population can understand; of aiming to build a majority around a simple but radical program that truly responds to the people’s needs and urgent problems, and of being able to offer an applicable alternative.

That was a fundamental point of Syriza’s — to do mass politics, not the politics of little groups, not sectarian politics or politics limited to protest.

It is very much possible that Alexis Tsipras and Syriza will win the current elections. But without going into alternative histories, we can say that it is possible that they won’t get an absolute majority. If Popular Unity does succeed in making an electoral breakthrough, would you be able to govern together with Syriza?

The memorandums are like the god Moloch, they demand ever greater sacrifices. They already destroyed two governments, even before Syriza. They annihilated Pasok — a party much more solid and better implanted in Greek society than Syriza, transforming it into a groupuscule. They also destroyed New Democracy, in good measure.

The third memorandum will destroy Syriza, and indeed that is very much already underway: in any case, the resignation of its general secretary in recent days was a striking symptom.

So anyone would be very much mistaken to think that the political instability in Greece is over. A new cycle is opening up with Popular Unity, allowing popular layers and social movements hostile to the memorandums to find political expression. From that point of view, our strategy is not all so different from Podemos’s.

We want to make a breakthrough, overturn the political landscape, and do fundamentally what Syriza had done between 2012 and 2015. I don’t see why we will be any worse placed to do so than they were — we were also part of that “they,” after all!

Translated by David Broder.


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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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AKNY Statement: Neo Iraklion Murders & ERT Shutdown

On the Murders Of Two Golden Dawn Members
And Yesterday’s Shutdown of ERT

Please follow latest developments on our FB page.

Last night, November 6, as footage of a 4 am raid by Greek riot police at the headquarters of the public broadcaster ERT streamed online, we were reminded of the hypocrisy and the sinister plans of the present Greek government of the New Democracy party and its junior partner PASOK.


ERT, the Greek Public broadcasting TV and radio network, was summarily ordered shut down by the Samaras government last June, in a cabinet decree later found to be illegal by the Greek courts. Since then the unpaid ERT workers have occupied the network’s headquarters and continued broadcasting on the Web, creating a true open forum for struggling workers and the issues of the day.

Last night eight squadrons of riot police raided the ERT building and took possession of it. Today, ERT workers showed their continued defiance by broadcasting the news from the street outside the locked-down headquarters, with 1.25 million views online. Strikes have been called to protest the raid in days to come. The parliamentary opposition of Syriza, the Coalition of the Radical Left, has filed a censure motion that threatens to bring down the Samaras government.

ERT journalist Aglaia Kyritsi, who has refused to apply for a post in the government's new privatized

ERT journalist Aglaia Kyritsi, who has refused to apply for a post in the government’s new privatized “public” channel, presents the news outside locked-down ERT headquarters, Nov. 7, 2013. Behind her riot police in full gear "protect" the building from its workers. (Adapted from Panagiotis Sotiris)


Last Friday, November 1, two members of Golden Dawn were shot to death and another man was wounded by unknown assailants who drove up on a motorbike and opened fire outside the Golden Dawn offices in Neo Iraklion.

We condemn this crime absolutely and find that it is entirely counter to the spirit and the practice of the Greek democratic left and of the grassroots anti-fascist movement that has until now opposed the neo-Nazis in Greece.

There has been much speculation in the media and by politicians about who may have been responsible for the Nov. 1 murders, although so far no salient details as to the identities of the perpetrators have been made available to the public, and it is unclear what if anything the authorities know about who is responsible. (See news in Greek and English/NYT)

Police investigating at scene of murders in Neo Iraklion, Nov. 1. (Links to story in Greek on tvxs.gr)

Police investigating at scene of murders in Neo Iraklion, Nov. 1. (Links to story in Greek on tvxs.gr)


Despite the lack of information about who the perpetrators of the attack on G.D. were, the government under Prime Minister Samaras is using the murders to reinforce its “narrative of the two extremes,” which equates the neo-Nazi far-right with the people and workers of Greece who are resisting the austerity measures dictated by the EU-led troika and imposed by the same Samaras government. The government has chosen this moment to press forward with its attack on the workers and the left, as we are seeing with the raid on ERT, and to facilitate the rehabilitation of the far-right elements inside and close to New Democracy and the Greek state.

Until very recently, the government tolerated neo-Nazi associates in its police force, but we are supposed to never mind. Never mind that special units of the army were providing training to Golden Dawn cadre. Never mind that the murderer of Shezhad Luqman last January had Golden Dawn materials in his apartment, and that the police tried to minimize this. Never mind that the murder of Pavlos Fyssas was a well-orchestrated hit by a Golden Dawn “attack battalion” with apparent countenance by elements in the police.

Never mind that high police officials were forced to resign after their ties to Golden Dawn were exposed. Never mind that there are reports that Golden Dawn has distributed weapons stockpiles in “strategic locations” throughout Greece. Never mind all that, because now the government is claiming that there are “left wing extremists” who must be met with the same tough legal measures imposed on leading members of Golden Dawn–although the latter are being investigated in connection with 10 homicides and attempted murders.

Athens, Nov. 7,2013. After a night raid (!) that's how police chose to seal the front entrance of the Greek Public TV!

Athens, Nov. 7,2013. After the night raid this is how police chose to seal the front entrance of ERT.

We believe the fight against the neo-Nazis is one that is fought in the streets, every day, in broad daylight. The movement of the people will turn back Golden Dawn in the streets and bring down the Samaras government by resisting by democratic and popular means, in every workplace and neighborhood, against their authoritarian and brutal economic policies.

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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


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.


ΑΚΝΥ- Κίνημα Ελληνικής Αλληλεγγύης (www.AKNY.org)
ΣΥΡΙΖΑ- Τομέας Νέας Υόρκης (www.syriza-ny.org)
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’


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

[ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ] — [ PDF στα Eλληνικά – FLYERPOSTER ]


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.


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!


Historian, Columbia University
Writer of the documentary film “Greek American Radicals
Sociologist, NYU
AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement
Asst. Professor of Political Science, CUNY
Anti-fascist, activist
Member, Antarsya

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

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Panagiotis Sotiris: “The Crackdown on Golden Dawn”


Comment by Panagiotis Sotiris

We must make sure that the Left is not simply voicing anger and protest, but also offering a radical alternative narrative for Greek society, transforming the subaltern classes into a collective subject of resistance and emancipation, a new ‘historic bloc.’

Panagiotis Sotiris is a professor of political philosophy at the University of the Aegean and Mitilene.

Panagiotis Sotiris is Professor of Political Philosophy at University of the Aegean and Mitilene.
He may be contacted at psot@soc.aegean.gr. Photo from tjen-folket.no.

For many people in Greece – including the writer of this comment – watching the Golden Dawn leadership in handcuffs, with only a handful of supporters protesting their arrests, was a happy moment. A neo-Nazi organization, with a long history of attacks, beatings and cold-blooded murders, is finally accused of being exactly what it is: a criminal organization. Although a small comfort to all those who suffered from Golden Dawn’s attacks, recent developments are indeed a victory for anti-fascists and the mass movement against Golden Dawn, especially after the murder of 34-year-old Pavlos Fyssas, an anti-fascist rapper in a working-class suburb of Piraeus.

However, the decision by the Greek government and the Greek judiciary to finally bring charges against Golden Dawn should not make us forget the responsibility of successive Greek governments and pro-austerity parties for the rise of Golden Dawn. Both New Democracy and PASOK not only tolerated for a long period the activity of Golden Dawn, but also took advantage of its rise in order to shift the political debate to the right. Golden Dawn is being penalized but the agenda of the far-right has become part of the political mainstream. Racist anti-immigrant policies, authoritarian attacks on protesters in the name of “law and order” and anticommunism are the trademarks of the Greek government. In the name of the theory of the “two extremes,” both the radical Left and anarchist groups haven been attacked. Pundits in big-business controlled media have suggested that a more “serious” and modernized version of the Far-Right could be part of a potential government coalition against the Left and anti-austerity movements…

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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…


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
Golden Dawn head, MPs arrested in unprecedented Greek crackdown

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Friday at United Nations: For Pavlos Fyssas!


Join Us 5pm Tomorrow 9/27 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza

[ FLYER: ENGLISH ] — [ PDF στα Eλληνικά εδώ ]
On the occasion of Greek government junior leader Venizelos’
Speech to the United Nations General Assembly
5-7 pm Friday, Sept. 27 at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
East 47th Street and Second Avenue

Photo album of international protests
since the murder of Pavlos Fyssas

ATHENS – SEPTEMBER 250_Athens_NewDemo_Sept25

Images from Greece, Cyprus, London, Paris, Madrid, Stockholm, UK and France, Germany…
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Nazi Golden Dawn Murders Activist in Greece!

Statement by AKNY & Syriza – New York

Organize against Fascism and Austerity
Protest Greek Government at United Nations
5-7 pm Friday, Sept. 27

On the occasion of Greek government junior leader Venizelos’
Speech to the United Nations General Assembly
Banner from 18-Sept-2013 demonstration in response to murder of 34-year-old Pavlos Fyssas by Golden Dawn thugs in Piraeus, Greece.

“34-year-old dead; today fascism dies.” Banner from 18-Sept-2013 demonstration in response to murder of 34-year-old Pavlos Fyssas by Golden Dawn thugs in Piraeus, Greece. Photo: Δρομογράφος

Despite the near universal condemnation of the murder of Fyssas, there are fundamental connections between the neo-liberal regime of the New Democracy/PASOK coalition and the efforts of Golden Dawn on the streets.

On September 18th, 34 year old hip-hop artist and left activist Pavlos Fyssas was assassinated by members of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn. He was cornered in the working class neighborhood of Keratsini, in Piraeus, by approximately 30 thugs. As police looked on, a car pulled up and a well-known member of Golden Dawn jumped out and stabbed the victim; the coroner would later attest that this was not an amateur hit given the two strategically placed stabs to the chest and an upside-down L shape cut to the abdomen.

The reactions to the murder have been predictable. Golden Dawn has denied any connection to the assassination. Members of the governing coalition have condemned the violence but continue to re-broadcast their argument against the ‘two extremes’, that the far right and far left are threats to legal order and stability in Greece – thus equating the neo-Nazis with those on the left, especially SYRIZA, the leading opposition party of the Coalition of the Radical Left.
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