Greece: How do you spell “technocrat”? F-A-S-C-I-S-T

Austerity And Fascism In Greece – The Real 1% Doctrine

By Mark Ames, CounterCurrents.org

"Hammer" in an earlier time

The new Minister of Infrastructure, Makis "Hammer" Voridis in an earlier time

25 November, 2011

See the guy in the photo there, dangling an ax from his left hand? That’s Greece’s new “Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks” Makis Voridis captured back in the 1980s, when he led a fascist student group called “Student Alternative” at the University of Athens law school. It’s 1985, and Minister Voridis, dressed like some Kajagoogoo Nazi, is caught on camera patrolling the campus with his fellow fascists, hunting for suspected leftist students to bash. Voridis was booted out of law school that year, and sued by Greece’s National Association of Students for taking part in violent attacks on non-fascist law students.

With all the propaganda we’ve been fed about Greece’s new “austerity” government being staffed by non-ideological “technocrats,” it may come as a surprise that fascists are now considered “technocrats” to the mainstream media and Western banking interests. Then again, history shows that fascists have always been favored by the 1-percenters to deliver the austerity medicine.

This rather disturbing definition of what counts as “non-ideological” or “technocratic” in 2011 is something most folks are trying hard to ignore, which might explain why there’s been almost nothing about how Greece’s new EU-imposed austerity government includes neo-Nazis from the LAOS Party (LAOS is the acronym for Greece’s fascist political party, not the Southeast Asian paradise).

Which brings me back to the new Minister of Infrastructure, Makis Voridis. Before he was an ax-wielding law student, Voridis led another fascist youth group that supported the jailed leader of Greece’s 1967 military coup. Greece has been down this fascism route before, all under the guise of saving the nation and complaints about alleged parliamentary weakness. In 1967, the military overthrew democracy, imposed a fascist junta, jailed and tortured suspected leftist dissidents, and ran the country into the ground until the junta was overthrown by popular protest in 1974. Continue reading

Greece: workers blockade state electricity sites

(AP)  ATHENS, Greece — Protesting power and municipal workers blockaded several state electricity company buildings around Greece Monday, in protest at an emergency property tax being collected through electricity bills.

Members of an electricity workers’ union cut off power last week to the Health Ministry for four hours, and on Monday blocked the entrance to a site where power disconnection orders are issued.

Pharmacies also closed in greater Athens, demanding that state-assisted health insurers settle growing debts. On Tuesday, transport workers are to hold a four-hour stoppage to protest staff cuts. Continue reading

17 November: Greece braces for large protest rally in Athens

17 November 1973, at the Polytechnic, Athens

16 November 2011, BBC–Greece is bracing for a large rally to mark the anniversary of the student uprising in 1973 that helped bring down the country’s military dictatorship.The march is expected to be joined by protesters against planned austerity measures, which Greece must implement to tackle its growing debt crisis.

Some 7,000 policemen are being deployed in Athens amid fears that the rally may turn violent.

It comes a day after Greece’s interim government won a confidence vote.

The governing coalition of Lucas Papademos had a huge majority – 255 MPs voted in favour, and 38 against.

The technocratic government must approve a new bailout package and commit to reforms in order to secure the next instalment of an international loan. Continue reading

Greece: Strike wave builds toward 48 hours general strike

Greek strike wave grows ahead of austerity vote

ATHENS, Greece, October 17, 2011 – Greek railway workers and journalists joined ferry crews, garbage collectors, tax officials and lawyers on Tuesday in a strike blitz against yet more austerity measures required if the country is to avoid defaulting on its debts.

The protests will lead into a general strike over the coming two days, culminating on Thursday when Parliament holds a crucial vote on the new painful cutbacks that follow nearly two years of austerity. A similar strike before an austerity bill in June was accompanied by large protest marches which degenerated into street battles between rioters and police.

The highly unpopular new measures include further pension and salary cuts, the suspension on reduced pay of 30,000 public servants out of a total of more than 750,000 and the suspension of collective labor contracts. Continue reading

Crackdown in Spain

October 10, 2011
Wave of Arrests Sweeps Barcelona
by PETER GELDERLOOS, COUNTERPUNCH

The message went out to a thousand phones on Monday morning, the 3rd of October: the first of the arrests from the Parliament blockade had taken place. Four undercovers snatched him up as he left his house. A protest was called for the same day, at 7 o’clock in the evening, Plaça Catalunya. Two more arrests soon followed. The news quickly spread via telephone, internet, and word of mouth. Several meetings are called to share information and organize the response. By the time people started gathering in the hundreds for the protest, a fourth arrest had occurred.

Back in June, the popular rage that has been growing in Barcelona, in tandem with other parts of the world, coalesced once again as 200,000 people blockaded the Catalan Parliament in an attempt to prevent the passage of the latest austerity laws. These laws cannot accurately be called cutbacks, for in addition to slashing healthcare and education, they augment the ranks and arsenal of the police and continue the urbanization projects that tailor the city to the needs of tourism and social control.

This was not the first round of reforms to hit Catalunya, and in fact the Socialist Party was already voted out of power for inaugurating the crisis measures, so now it’s the conservatives’ turn to continue the same policies. Half of the people never voted for any of them, and an increasing number of these have been taking to the streets to win back control over their lives in an escalating series of strikes, protests, occupations, and popular assemblies that have spread across the Spanish state. The media and the academics have referred to this phenomenon as the movement of “indignados,” the “Real Democracy Now” movement, or the 15M movement, but in reality the feeling on the street is increasingly closer to rage than to simple indignation;  its politics are much more heterogeneous and in large part more anticapitalist than a narrow, naïve call for a “real” democracy, whatever that means; and the activity ascribed to it predates the 15M—or 15th of May—plaza occupations. Threads of the ongoing defiance run continuously back through the joyful Mayday riots in the wealthy neighborhood of Sarrià, the January 27 general strike that was called only by anarcho-syndicalist and far-left minority unions, in an unprecedented move demonstrating a new boldness, the September 29 general strike that reached massive proportions on a countrywide level and in Barcelona erupted in a daylong insurrection, which itself evoked references to and drew on experiences from an entire history of struggle against dictatorship and against the democracy that replaced it, a struggle that not everyone has forgotten.

On June 15, for the first time in much too long, politicians remembered the taste of fear as people blocked their path and harangued them, assailed them with insults, spat on them, threw trash, and in at least one case, attacked them with spraypaint. Many lawmakers had to be flown in by helicopter, and only in the face of undeniable public opposition and with the help of an army of riot police were they able to pass the reforms. For at least one day, the lies of democracy were put in their place, and the curtain masking the reality of social war was parted. Continue reading

Protests turn violent in central Athens

October 6, 2011
More than 30,000 public sector workers demonstrated in Greece in a strike against deeper austerity cuts that closed courts, schools and transport, including air transport.

Police clashed with demonstrators during a protest rally marking a 24-hour general strike on Wednesday in Athens.

By Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star
ATHENS—The menacing black-clad anarchist, who had just hurled rocks at riot squad cops, ducked exploding tear gas canisters and been chased through the streets with a police dog nipping at his heels, lowers the bandana from his face.

He’s 19: Economics student at the University of Athens, son of a taxi driver father and hospital food worker mother, part-time fitness instructor, despondent about his future, furious and frightened.

“My heart is beating so fast, I can hardly breathe.”

The stick in his hands seems such a feeble weapon of rage.

Sticks, stones, chunks of concrete, Molotov cocktails — this is the arsenal that some of Greece’s youth have brought to the barricades against a powerful state. A generation ago, their parents toppled a military junta. Protest is in their bones, a legacy. Continue reading

General strike brings Greece to a standstill as public sector closes down

Protesters flood into streets of Athens

in Athens

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 5 October 2011

Greeks protesting in Athens over the austerity measures. Photograph: KeystoneUSA-Zuma/Rex Features

Greece edged deeper into chaos as workers brought the country to a standstill with a general strike.

The closure of the entire public sector – from schools to hospitals to government offices – left Athens airport looking like a ghost town and kept museums and archaeological sites shut.

Anger was evident on the faces of the protesters who flooded into the streets. “We have no work, we have no money,” they screamed, denouncing the EU and IMF which have propped up the near-bankrupt Greek economy with rescue funds. “Erase the debt! Let the rich pay. There will, there can, be no more sacrifices.”

Nearly two years after Europe‘s great debt crisis erupted beneath the Acropolis, the people on its frontline have clearly had enough. An austerity programme that has begun to resemble a bad dream of relentless wage cuts, tax increases, price rises and pension drops has crushed the middle class and sent poverty levels soaring.

Wednesday’s demonstrations, the biggest anti-austerity protest since June, were the “beginning of a battle” to eradicate further emergency belt-tightening measures announced last month.

“The government is behaving as if it has a pistol to its head,” said Stathis Anestis, a spokesman for the Confederation of Greek Unions. “It is not just that it is the poor who are forced to carry the burden of this barrage of measures,” he insisted, denouncing the terms of the €110bn (£95bn) bailout Greece received from the EU and IMF in May last year.

“It’s not just that all our hard-earned rights are being peeled away. It is that we wake up every day to another cut, another tax, another pay rise. No one can keep up!” Continue reading