People's Assemblies Network

LATEST on Assemblies and Mass Protests in Greece

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26.6.11 Metamute is now providing a regular blog on the situation in Greece Updates from the Greek squares and people’s assemblies             Highly recommended

Comrades at Autonomy Against Barbarism are doing great work exposing police brutality and racism in the context of the social movement against austerity in Greece. Here below are some links and see also

http://eagainst.com/articles/greece-exposing-police-brutality/
http://eagainst.com/campaign-against-racism-and-police-brutality-in-greece/
http://eagainst.com/articles/greece-fascists-attempted-to-racist-pogroms-over-a-migrant-killing/
http://eagainst.com/articles/over-than-250-000-marched-in-greece/
http://eagainst.com/articles/police-brutality-keratea/ 

18.6.11 At yesterday’s Syntagma assembly in Athens some notable personalities of Greece were invited to speak: Giorgos Anastasopoulos: Professor of Politics and Social history, Manolis Glezos: 2 World war veteran, notable for his fight against the nazis and the right wing authoritarian regime during the post civil war era,  Kostas Douzinas: Professor of Philosophy
Giorgos Oikonomou: Professor of philosophy and Stavros Stavridis: Involved with the Zapatistas community

 

Democracy vs Mythology: The Battle in Syntagma Square

“I have never been more desperate to explain and more hopeful for your understanding of any single fact than this: The protests in Greece concern all of you directly.”

Read the whole, excellent post at Sturdyblog 

17/6/11 Al-Jazeera Editiorial on Greek Context
“Solidarity demonstrations outside the Spanish Embassy in Athens were quickly relocated to Syntagma, the main square overlooked by the Parliament building. And suddenly, that was it: a Pandora’s box of discontent had opened…
In the days and weeks that followed, a series of occupations of town squares across the country’s major cities saw a huge cross-section of Greek society come out to vent anger about the deterioration of living conditions – for which they felt they were not to blame and which they could not control. The thousands of people coming together daily at Syntagma square to participate in assemblies and joint activities have demanded nothing specific, but represent something entirely different and overwhelming. Everyone at these gathering is allowed equal time to speak, and issues range from organisational matters to resistance politics and international solidarity. Debates take place over the economy, education, and alternative commerce – and nothing is beyond proposal or dispute. People from different strands of life, political affiliations and ages are rushing to squares across the country to hear – and to be heard – without mediation, external supervision or internal force.” Read the rest here.

Direct Democracy in Athens – those who dont want it
in an article written by Vagelis Hristodoulou, published on www.eagainst.com, the author wonders why direct democracy is not among the demands of the Athens assembly although it is actually practised, and he poses the following questions:

How will direct democracy be established as part of the constitution ?
What can we do with the part of the population who do not want direct democracy ?
How will direct democracy be actualised as an institution, given the reactions that it will face?
How will we turn direct democracy not into a political system but into political establishment?

questions 1, 3 and 4 can be summed as 1 question, that is how will we make direct democracy a reality, which cannot be answered individually but collectively and only time will lead or not lead to the answer

Question 2 is hard to tackle as well because it is true that people are not convinced about direct democracy a) many still believe in the structure of the political parties and are members of parties (often fanatics) and they are not willing to give up power, however little they might have b) people cannot see any other way beyond representative democracy and are at a loss as to how the affairs of a large population will be handled if there is no central government

So we have to do with the narrow-mindedness of some and the lack of information and education of others as far as an autonomous society is concerned. What we can do is to discuss examples of societies which worked/work pretty much autonomously: the Paris Commune, Catalonia 1936, Marinaleda (existing today!), Madagascar (where large parts of the population lives entirely outside of state control like David Graeber says). Or we can propose the following article http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/David_Graeber__Are_You_An_Anarchist__The_Answer_May_Suprise_You_.htmlwhich claims (very rightly to my mind) that we are all anarchists in our daily lives. Posted at http://www.a-revolt.org/phpBB3/English/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=148

 15/6/11 Political Coverage in Guardian 
 
 ”Thousands of people come together daily in Syntagma to discuss the next steps. The parallels with the classical Athenian agora, which met a few hundred metres away, are striking. Aspiring speakers are given a number and called to the platform if that number is drawn, a reminder that many office-holders in classical Athens were selected by lots. The speakers stick to strict two-minute slots to allow as many as possible to contribute. The assembly is efficiently run without the usual heckling of public speaking. The topics range from organisational matters to new types of resistance and international solidarity, to alternatives to the catastrophically unjust measures. No issue is beyond proposal and disputation. In well-organised weekly debates, invited economists, lawyers and political philosophers present alternatives for tackling the crisis. This is democracy in action”
 Read the rest here
Film about Greek national debt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKpxPo-lInk
 11/6/11 News from the streets in Greece
 
 Hello friends,
I am writing to you as we are experiencing huge demonstrations all over
Greece on daily basis for the past week. After our entrance to the IMF,
a year or so later people have had enough.

There are daily demonstrations happening in over 60 cities around
Greece. Everywhere. In Athens yesterday some 200,000 people surrounded
the parliament chanting “Thieves, thieves, thieves” and calling
politicians names. They brought rope and hang a dummy representing a
politician. Women, children, young, old, from all walks of life have
come out with metal pans.

The movement is called “The outraged” and there is a web site and a face
book blog created where people are joining and are exchanging ideas and
organizing.

The movement is calling for direct democracy, for the IMF loan not to be
payed off, for the corrupt politicians to go to jail, for change in the
constitution and for the government to step down. They also are saying
they want out of the euro and to go back to our own currency, the
drachma. People are starting to take their money out of the bank,
effectively creating a “bank run” saying that if the government doesn’t
default on the IMF loan they will collapse the banking system. There is
a call for people to start taking 100-200 euros each day out of their
bank account until the government decides to default on the IMF loan, or
go bankrupt. Which ever comes first.

There are assemblies happening each night on squares around the cities
where people are getting together and talking about a new system using
direct democracy. They don’t want any political parties and when they
see anyone with a flag or a sign from a political party trying to
approach the demonstration or to come to the assemblies they turn them
away, asking them to come back without any political signage or
affiliation.

So far the demonstrations have been very peaceful. The movement has
created a security group to police the demonstrations, so no
provocateurs can infiltrate and cause problems. There are people
camping outside of the parliament 24/7, there are teams created to feed
people and teams created for legal support, medical support etc.

So far the people are learning how to self organize and the movement is
growing at the speed of light. Just yesterday on the Athens face book
there where 90000 people, today there are more than 110000.

People are massively calling TV stations and making their web sites to
go down because they are not covering the uprising and/or are
misinforming people.

Last night the politicians had to escape from the back entrance of the
parliament, at night, through the park where security took them with
flash lights because the people had blocked the front entrance. The
outpouring of the people was so large, estimated at 200,000 that even
the cops were not able to hold them back.

There is no stopping us now. Everyone is talking about change. People
who never even talked about politics, are now coming out in an outcry
for direct democracy. The government is scared and they don’t know what
to do. The prime minister has not appeared in days anywhere and has not
made any comments.

It is becoming known now that the IMF deal is a big scandal. The
agreement has been liked and is online and many constitutional lawyers
are going to the streets to inform people of what has really happened.
They have forced on us terms that are illegal even under International
or European law. They are not allowing us to go to elections. The IMF
agreement states that the Greek state cannot go to a Greek court to
challenge the agreement and it cannot sale its debt in order to pay it
back. We have to go to European courts (from 10-15 different European
nations who are the creditors of the loan) and challenge the legality of
the loan in each court individually. They, on the other hand, can sale
the loan to another country.

They have asked that all political parties in Greece accept the IMF and
EU loan as legal and that all political parties sign it, or else we will
not get the next payment. That is why they refuse to allow us to go to
elections. How can they stop us from having elections in our own
country? Well it is a term written in the loan agreement. Yet it is
illegal and there is no court in Europe or International that can uphold
such term. But our stupid sold out government has no guts.

Our system is parliamentarian, so we have a President of Democracy, who
is basically a person voted by all political parties in parliament, and
serves as a check and balance in our political system. If he resigns
the government gets dissolved as per our constitution. In the past week
he has refused to sign anything that has been voted from the Greek
parliament and the Government. We hope that he will do what is right
and resign. If he doesn’t sign an agreement or a law that gets passed
in parliament, it doesn’t come to effect.

Well, there are tons of things happening. It is crazy how people,
especially the youth, has mobilized. Even the church is starting to
come out for the protesters, although probably a political move to gain
sympathy and approval from the people.

I will write again soon with updates, there are a lot of things
happening and I cannot even begin to start elaborating on them. This
same movement is also going on in Portugal for the past 3 weeks, in
Spain for the past 2 weeks, and in Greece for a week now. It is
spreading now in France, Italy, England and other countries. Last
Sunday it happened all across Europe in dozens of European cities.
Millions of people came out on the streets and is now been organized for
the entire Europe.

This coming Sunday there will be a huge protest outside of the Greek
parliament where protesters will come from all over Greece. Look for
the government to possibly come out or escape via helicopters, like in
Argentina.

OUT OF THE IMF, EURO AND THE EU NOW.
DIRECT DEMOCRACY NOW!!!

Posted 7/6/11 Media blackouts / 400,000 in Athens Centre / People’s Assemblies for True Democracy Movement grows..!
“A crowd whose size was difficult to even estimate gathered in central Athens to protest against the crisis and the Memorandum yesterday [Sunday 5th June]. The call for European action saw more than 400,000 (some estimates give much higher numbers, around 600,000) flooding Syntagma Square and many central nearby avenues. In contrast to previous gatherings, police presence was much higher, with fencing erected around the Parliament building and double, or triple rows of riot police around it.
The city is now building up for the General Strike of June 15th, which is also the next date of action announced at Syntagma Square. Both mobilisations are aimed against the new agreement between the government and the troika (IMF/EU/ECB) which is planned to be voted at parliament on the morning of the 15th. The general assembly of Syntagma Square has already called for a blocking of the parliament from the night of the 14th. In addition to the fencing installed around the parliament (see below), a police water canon also appeared nearby.”
Other Recent Messages:
Dear all ~
I forward you a note a friend wrote regarding the silencing of the recent Greek people’s mobilisations. There are two more articles on the way, one for the way the movement of the squares (especially Syntagma square, the main square of Athens just outside the parliament) is organising itself by trying to get direct democracy at work and a more general article. I will forward them asap. Feel free to spread the word and to break the media silencing of the Greek movement.
in solidarity

*The UK buries news of social unrest in Greece*
The protests started in Syntagma square on Wednesday the 25th May, with a few smaller gatherings previously outside the Spanish embassy.
 
The UK news has decided to bury possibly the most important events in recent Greek history and uprisings.  Impressed at marble throwing hooded youths which featured repeatedly on front pages during the last 2 years in the uk press, tainting Greece as a rebel training ground and lawless, corrupt country (which some are actually proud of), the UK and its media has now felt a lot more threatened by the situation in Greece today, thus decided to NOT REPORT, as those who now take to the streets are not easily isolated and identified as a minority, but now that it is the masses.
 
Greece has successfully had a copycat gathering of Puerta del Sol and Piazza Cataluna and set up camps in the main squares of the country since the 25thof May, culminating in Sunday’s gathering of more than 200 000 to what some claim to be 500000 people (proportionally that would mean more than a million people in Parliament Square / Trafalgar …) to participate in the largest demonstrations since the military dictatorship and to run a public meeting to discuss days of action against the government’s new austerity measures.

The camps have a life of their own, open working groups, a collective kitchen, media centre and people are there all day and all night.   Public open meetings of the working groups are held every evening at 6-7 pm and the people’s assembly lasts from 9 till midnight, with about 3-4000 people SIT DOWN and participate every day for 14 days now, with thousands more hanging
around or shouting abuse at the parliament itself.  The camp’s organisation is a work in progress and a trial of direct democratic procedures, in an effort to genuinely organise and create an example of what one thinks is most just.  Its form and synthesis is totally unprecedented. The people’s assemblies have made a series of votes, through simple majority when obvious, to be discussed the next day if ambiguous, the first of which is:

*For a long time decisions have been made for us, without us.*
*We are workers, unemployed, retirees, youth, who have come to Syntagma
Square to fight and struggle for our lives and our future.*
*We are here because we know that the solutions to our problems can come
only from us.*
*We call all residents of Athens , workers, unemployed and youth, to come to
Syntagma Square , and all of society to fill the public squares and to take
life into its own hands.*
*In these public squares we will shape our claims and our demands together.*
*We call on all workers who are going on strike in the coming days to show
up and remain in Syntagma Square .*
*We will not leave the squares until those who compelled us to come here go
away:  Governments, Troika (EU, ECB and IMF), Banks, IMF Memoranda, and
everyone that exploits us.  We send them the message that the debt is not
ours.*
*DIRECT DEMOCRACY NOW!***
*EQUALITY – JUSTICE – DIGNITY!***
*The only struggle that is lost is the one that is never fought!*

*People are infuriated and it shows by the fact that the squares are full of thousands of people every day after 6pm till the early hours in the morning, for 2 weeks now. It has brought the young, the old, families, and people and activists throughout the political spectrum, to all shut the tv and get out in the streets in a process of creating a new unmediated political sphere.
 *The UK media has stunned me at its censoring of this, especially when a single petrol bomb last year was enough to ignite pages and pages of interest. There is a lot more to write about the situation and I will try to write something more substantial at some point, hopefully before we are fully privatised and run by German and French banks with an IMF official in every
ministry.
 
Kind regards,
Get it going in London ,
C

P.S. Extra info and the people’s assembly’s resolution you can find at
www.real-democracy.gr

ALSO: “some rumors spread on the Greek blogosphere that the guys from Greek Democracy Real (which has been renamed to Direct Democracy Now) are preparing to set up a party. Obviously this is a lie. Nothing like that exists. These info are totally false. These rumors have been spread by some irrational far right conspiracy theorists and fascists (or even neoliberals) who do everything possible discredit the assemblies. If you see anything like that better don’t take it that much serious. All they want is to fight this movement that has now been created (well, they saw that they can’t hijack it, so they want to destroy it). The government is afraid of it and the State TV (together with the private channels) seemed to be very reluctant in showing what is going on in the assemblies, choosing to promote only the guys with the flags that chant the national anthem. As a Greek journalist on the Greek SkyNews has said “we are not afraid of the trade unions, we are not afraid of politicians we are afraid of the youth”. They have done the same against Athens Indymedia 2 years ago (just a few weeks after the December 2008 social unrest). Athens Indymedia is website that reaches more than 100.000 hits per day. They claimed that “Athens Indymedia is funded by George Soros and other masonic conspiracies”. They are doing the same now. This propaganda could cause a massive division between the Greek and Spanish movement.” cheers

POSTED June 3:

Greece – Mass protests flood the country.Citizens gather in the main squares of every city, protesting and shouting anti-IMF and anti-government slogans, while hundreds of them set up assemblies that follow direct democratic procedures and freely exchange ideas regarding their next steps against the political system. Everything shows that something new is being born in Greece.

But, the situation is complex. From J:  ”No more real democracy for Greece. Only direct democracy.”

Greece, Direct Democracy Now

http://eagainst.com/articles/greece-direct-democracy-now/

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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