Other documents and news from our activity in Greece.
Thousands of people have participated, for the sixth consecutive year, in the Resistance Festival and its political and cultural events under the general moto "Many Peoples, One Struggle!". Dozens of foreign guests assured the internationalist aspect of the festival, while many of them animated the public meetings and the debates.
The main event of the opening day, Friday 21 June, undoubtedly was the central meeting under the title “Spark of hope for a way out: A new Mediterranean Peoples’ Spring” (see photo). Comrade Hamma Hammami, leader of the Popular Front of Tunisia, conversed with Alexis Tsipras, president of SYRIZA, about the necessity to build the cooperation of the peoples and movements from both sides of the Mediterranean against our common enemies. They were both preceded by an inspirational intervention by Ali Sait Çetinoğlu, progressive intellectual and academic from Turkey, who transmitted to the large audience the spirit of the rebellion in his country. Before the central meeting, however, the festival kicked-off in a most symbolic way, by comrade Rasem Obeidat from the PFLP, who talked about the situation and the struggles of the Palestinian People.
6th International Meeting of Movements
21-22-23 June 2013
Agricultural University of Athens
(Iera Odos Street)
Nearest Metro (blue line) Station: “Kerameikos”
Bus lines: A16, 812, 836, 856]
Political and Cultural PROGRAM:
19:30 Palestine in the geopolitical storm
- Rasem Obeidat, journalist of the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds and representative of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine)
20:00 Spark of hope for a way out: A new Mediterranean Peoples’ Spring
- Alexis Tsipras, head of the Parliamentary Group of SYRIZA-EKM
- Hamma Hammami, head of the Popular Front of Tunisia
- Short intervention by Anneta Kavadia, sacked journalist of the public TV, and Ali Sait Çetinoğlu, progressive intellectual and academic from Turkey
Concert Scene: The Last Drive, Nightstalker, dj set Polly B
Tavern Area: Cretan Feast (Fragkiadakis, Katsouna, Kontonias, Hatzimakris)
(On the left, poster for the central public meeting of KOE that took place in Athens on 26 November 2012)
As we are approaching SYRIZA’s Pan-Hellenic Conference, which will take place in Athens from Friday 30 November to Sunday 2 December 2012, hundreds of local and sectorial popular assemblies are taking place these days all over Greece in order to debate and elect their delegates. Since this process started, after the June 17 elections, SYRIZA has almost tripled its membership – despite the hesitation of certain forces within SYRIZA to adopt the orientation towards its necessary transformation into a broad, popular, democratic force of the Left. Below we reproduce large excerpts of the contribution to the pre-Conference debate, submitted by the representatives of KOE in the outgoing Executive Secretariat of SYRIZA.
[Non translated: “Introduction”]
At a time of great unrest
Greece and, in fact, the whole region of Southeastern Mediterranean find themselves amidst an economic, political and geopolitical storm. The contradictions between the IMF and the EU (but also between the most powerful EU countries) for the management of the crisis in the South European countries, and their implications for the European banking and financial system, are in full motion. The essence of the confrontation is not whether the burden of the crisis will be loaded on the back of the peoples or not. This, to force the peoples into an unforeseen misery and catastrophe, is the only point of agreement among the powerful of the imperialist directorate. The crucial issue of the inter-imperialist contradiction is how they will make one another bear a part of the damage. In this respect, the greater damage of one side can be considered as a profit for the other.
Motivated by the economic antagonisms, politics return to the forefront. It is not simply the “markets” and the banking giants that impose solutions. The political control over the countries, in a background of geopolitical antagonisms and rearrangements, gains special importance in the planning of the enemy camp. Next to the imposition of economic restructuring, next to the experiments (for global use) carried out in order to test a people’s limits of endurance to “therapies” based on the neoliberal shock doctrine, what is also imposed are the neocolonial policies of modern type. By this, we mean the process of completely “handing over the keys” of a country (in our case, Greece) to foreign forces, which obtain the full control of this country’s productive and natural wealth and of its very geopolitical position.
Yesterday, Sunday 1 July, the 5th edition of Resistance Festival was successfully concluded with a debate under the theme “A country in transition – Struggling for a different Greece”. The leader of SYRIZA and head of its parliamentary group, Alexis Tsipras, and the other three panelists (Sofia Sakorafa, SYRIZA MP, Eftychis Bitsakis, philosophy professor, and Rudi Rinaldi, member of KOE’s Secretariat) discussed in front of more than 1.500 people under the coordination of the writer Loukas Axelos. The debate, also enriched by several interventions of other participants in the meeting, expressed the climate of creative reflection that prevails in society after the deep changes in the political scene and the possibilities open for the Left and SYRIZA.
The previous two days a series of other debates and seminars has been realized, confirming the particular political and internationalist aspect of the Resistance Festival [ the full program (and photos) can be retrieved in the festival’s website: http://www.resistancefestival.gr/ ]. The Organizing Committee expressed its gratitude to the dozens of volunteers, members and friends of KOE, who worked tirelessly under most difficult conditions, overcoming all the material and financial constraints and thus making possible the successful realization of the Resistance Festival for the fifth consecutive year.
The Organizing Committee is particularly grateful towards all the international delegations for their precious participation, which contributed decisively in the success of the event: from overseas (Argentina, Revolutionary Communist Youth / Reunion, JERF / USA, Kasama Project and Occupy Movement), from the inspiring movements of the Arab Spring (Egypt, Popular Socialist Alliance / Morocco, Democratic Road / Tunisia, Communist Workers Party), from Europe (Catalunya, Republican Left / France, Front of the Left / Germany, Youth Rebell / Netherlands, Rode Morgen / Portugal, Bloco of the Left / Scotland and Britain, Revolutionary Communist Group / Turkey & N. Kurdistan, several delegations, among them DCP, ESP, MKP, PF). On its part, KOE salutes a series of fraternal movements and parties from all over the world which finally were not able to send delegations, mainly because of the shameful refusal of EU's consular authorities to grant them a visa of entry in Greece; among them, the Nouveau Parti Communiste Haitien, the Rassemblement des Travailleurs Africains - Senegal, the New Socialist Movement (Georgia), etc.
Apart their participation in the festival’s events, the international delegations took part in other activities as well. Among them, the most important was a seminar of exchange of information and experiences about the situation in their respective countries (including an extended report from KOE about the developments in Greece, which was followed by a lively questions & answers session). Finally, we mention the appreciation of the public for the rich cultural and musical program, which has become a distinctive characteristic of this annual meeting of peoples and movements in struggle. We renew our appointment for the 6th Resistance Festival in summer 2013!
Statement of KOE
As we have already noted on a number of occasions, a crucial aspect of the recent political period in Greece is the radicalism and the new mass movement emerging among the people. In both elections, there was a significant people's movement that managed to terrorize "yesterday's rulers." The elections of 17 June were also a difficult battle under highly polarized conditions. On the one hand, popular power was mainly expressed in the form of the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA) itself. On the other hand, the right wing New Democracy represented a pro-Memorandum, pro-Troika axis with strong anti-left and far-right characteristics. The old dominant forces aimed to strike the people's movement, stop SYRIZA and curb the overall morale of the Greek people. All key international and European forces of capital rallied around these goals, along with the pro-austerity domestic forces.
In these circumstances, we must recall that SYRIZA earned only 4.6% of ballots cast and 315,000 votes in 2009. This jumped to 17% and 1,060,000 votes in May 2012, then 27% and 1,655,000 votes in June 2012. Such a result was inconceivable even a few months ago. It demonstrates a tremendous shift in the consciousness of Greek society. It reflects the steps taken by the popular movement within two years and shows a convergence of popular power with the Left. In other words, SYRIZA finally succeeded to articulate the intense search of broad masses for a way out of the crisis, as well as their rejection of the bankrupt political system.
The results of the two recent elections, which brought the impressive collapse of all the pro-Memoranda parties (PASOK, New Democracy, LAOS, Democratic Alliance) compared to their score in the 2009 elections, and the fact that most of the votes that they obtained was based on their pre-electoral promises for "renegotiation" of the agreements with the Troika, lead to one conclusion: The policy of the Memoranda and the regime imposed by the Troika are delegitimized in the conscience of the Greek people. And this fact constitutes the major problem of the once mighty bourgeois parties. Nobody can ignore this reality; nobody can govern pretending that this policy is "approved" by the Greek people.
* The following text is based on a “non paper” released by circles of KOE on Sunday 17 June 2012 at 21:00 hours, i.e. before the final results of the elections. The official statement will be translated into English soon.
Initial thoughts on the electoral outcome
We salute the big political current directed towards the Left, the big popular current seeking salvation for the country, ignoring the unprecedented anti-democratic pressure from the black net of domestic centers of political and economic power and of global imperialist institutions .
These elections, to a large degree, were centered on the morale and the fighting spirit of the Greek people. The Greek people recognize very well the right way forward for the country. It is for this reason that even the pro-austerity and pro-Troika forces were compelled to adopt a lukewarm anti-austerity rhetoric [in their electoral campaigns].
The geopolitical dimensions of the developments in Greece
Article by Rudi Rinaldi (published in the weekly “Dromos”, issue Nr 117, 26 May 2012)
It is not only fears of the domino effect that might worry the various international centres and powerful countries. It is not simply a matter of economic turbulence or shocks that feeds world-wide interest. Our country has been at the epicentre of international rivalries and processes. It would therefore be a mistake to imagine that some autonomous process is driving the evolving situation, without considering the interference in terms of players' strategies, tactics, traps, rearrangements, new alliances, challenges and double games.
Objectively, the election result of May 6 has created a new environment. The failure of governance in Greece is a blow to the European political project under ‘Merkelism’. Greece is not Hungary (the geographic centre of Europe), but it is at the centre of the grid of the international system’s central contradictions. It is a meeting and coupling point of these contradictions. Controlling this situation is of particular importance for the manipulation of political developments. Greece is not just a guinea pig for policies that, after they have been tested on it, will be exported to other EU countries as well. It also has central importance as a site for the balancing of international relations. Thus, the role of governing in Greece is critical to the geostrategic plans made for both Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Popular force and political balances
The latest and new element (and perhaps unexpected by many) is the emergence of the ‘popular factor’ that, by selecting SYRIZA as its expression in the central political scene, has created a new situation and is forcing readjustments on all the already unstable scenarios. This being the case, it is useful to go behind the rhetoric to see what the real goals are. Does the U.S. want the strengthening of a ‘German’ Europe? What is the impact of the rearranged alliances (in the broader Middle East and south-eastern Mediterranean) on the policies of the United States, Russia, Israel and the European powers? To what extent are the "markets" (and their disproportionate effects) influenced by the strategic goals of various key players?