Τα παιδιά της γαλαρίας

English

* Counting Defeats: Internal devaluation, the failure of working class struggles in Greece & the Sino-Greek «success story», counting_defeats.pdf

* An interview, interview_en.pdf

* Burdened with debt reloaded, reloaded.pdf

In Greece, the initial austerity measures developed into a full blown shock policy of devaluation of capital, which has deepened the recession and increased public debt. A main ingredient of the politics of devaluation of capital is the depreciation of labour power which aims at the weakening of the power of the working class by establishing permanent austerity and disciplining mechanisms, and by the creation of a large reserve army. Furthermore, this depreciation of labour power is facilitated by the institutional abolition of collective bargaining agreements, a process which, to a great extent, undermines the very function of the labour power representation mechanisms…

…The extremely volatile and explosive situation does not allow any safe conclusions for the time being since the inability of the proletarian struggles to have any real and persistent effects (in the production and reproduction spheres of the capitalist totality) is accompanied by a deep, generalized and amorphous despair and anger precipitated also by the destruction of any safety valves for their containment. Therefore, the widespread prospect of a rather prolonged dead-end period looming ahead could be easily reversed by a social explosion that will change more deeply the balance of forces.

* Down with the Stalinists! Down with the Bureaucrats, down.pdf

As the capitalist attack deepens, this Greek style of ’self-policing’ of ‘problematic’ crowd events has signaled the comeback with a vengeance of the left political parties and the left unionist bureaucracy against a proletarian crowd that had managed to escape their mortal embrace last June in the squares movement (albeit in a very contradictory way). We can’t say whether this concerted public-order policing by the KKE and the professional police with the approval of most of the left and leftist organisations and unions is the visible part (in the streets) of a deal for a national unity government, but it certainly revealed very dramatically that the capitalist state has a lot of left-wing reserves as well as alternative police methods against us…

* Second Open Letter to those concerned with the progress of our enemies (including some necessary clarifications and refutations of the cop consultant’s defence team’s claims), open_letter_2.pdf

* Open Letter to the British internationalist/anti-authoritarian/activist/protest/street scenes (and to all those concerned with the progress of our enemies), open_letter.pdf

* Preliminary notes towards an account of the «movement of popular assemblies», prel.pdf

This volatile, contradictory movement attracts the attention from all sides of the political spectrum and constitutes an expression of the crisis of class relations and politics in general. No other struggle has expressed itself in a more ambivalent and explosive way in the last decades. What the whole political spectrum finds disquieting in this assembly movement is that the mounting proletarian (and petit-bourgeois) anger and indignation is not expressed anymore through the mediation channels of the political parties and the unions. Thus, it is not so much controllable and it is potentially dangerous for the political and unionist representation system in general.

* Burdened with debt, burdened.pdf

Greece has been located at the heart of the continuing global capitalist crisis during the last months. The outbreak of the “debt crisis” and the implementation of a “shock-therapy” by the PASOK government in cooperation with the EU and the IMF have drawn an international attention: certainly, the outcome of class struggles in Greece will greatly influence the outcome of the crisis on an European level. The following text tries to put the developments in Greece into a broader framework of analysis of the capitalist crisis and attempts to give an explanation for the fragmented and inadequate so far ongoing struggles against the harshest class attack since the end of the 2nd world war called “austerity measures”.

* The ivory tower of theory, ivory.pdf / ivory.doc

One of our first priorities, after the first week of the December 2008 rebellion had passed, was to record its most important events so that comrades abroad could have some first-hand information. The recording took the form of a rough chronology of the events in Athens, supplemented with a chronology of what had happened in Thessaloniki which was written by the Blaumachen group and other comrades. Later, in the end of January 2009, we attempted a first analysis of the rebellion which was the text Like a Winter with a thousand Decembers (co-written with Blaumachen) –a text that, as the Chronologies before it, was sent to numerous comrades abroad.

The above-mentioned texts, as well as an older text of ours, The Permanent Crisis in Education, constituted part of the primary material used by Theorie Communiste to write The Glass Floor in 2009. They are all included in the book they published on the December 2008 rebellion in Greece, Les Émeutes en Grèce, Senonevero, April 2009.[1]

What we have in common with TC, as expressed both in The Glass Floor and in their theory in general, is the view that social movements reveal a deep crisis of the reproduction of the capitalist relation, the definition of communisation as the abolition of the value form, the critique of unionism and democracy.

The text we are criticizing here differs from many others that were written on the December rebellion in the sense that it is not a usual descriptive presentation of events. On the contrary, it is one of the few attempts to analyze the rebellion within a theoretical framework and the fact that it came from outside Greece makes such an attempt even more interesting.

Among what we consider important in this text is the presentation of the social category of youth as a part of the proletariat, the recognition that the movement of December was not self-complacent and self-referential (that is to say, it did not promote an alternative lifestyle), the critique of militantism (whether of a unionist or a political type). However, since even those elements are seen by us from a different angle and since our disagreements with TC’s historicist, structuralist, objectivist, immiseration theory are a lot more than our partial agreements, we had to write the critique that follows. We will show that despite a few good insights their analysis both of the December rebellion and the world present moment is ultimately flawed and inadequate.


[1] Le Plancher de Verre, translated in English as The Glass Floor, is the introduction to this book: Les Émeutes en Grèce. Unless it is stated otherwise, all the quotations in italics are from the English version of the text.

* In critical and suffocating times, suffocating.pdf

Although in a period of acute fiscal terrorism escalating day after day with constant threats of an imminent state bankruptcy and “sacrifices to be made”, the proletariat’s response on the eve of the voting of the new austerity measures in Greek parliament was impressive. It was probably the biggest workers’ demonstration since the fall of the dictatorship, even bigger than the 2001 demo which had led to the withdrawal of a planned pension reform.

[...]

In hindsight, such tragic incidents with all their consequences might have happened in the December rebellion itself: what prevented them was not only chance (a petrol station that did not explode next to buildings set on fire on Sunday the 7th of December, the fact that the most violent riots took place at night with most buildings empty), but also the creation of a (though limited) proletarian public sphere and of communities of struggle which found their way not only through violence but also through their own content, discourse and other means of communication. It was these pre-existing communities (of students, football hooligans, immigrants, anarchists) that turned into communities of struggle by the subjects of the rebellion themselves that gave to violence a meaningful place. Will there be such communities again now that not only a proletarian minority is involved? Will there be a practical way of self-organization in the workplaces, in the neighborhoods or in the streets to determine the form and the content of the struggle and thus place violence in a liberating perspective?

Uneasy questions in pressing times but we will have to find the answers struggling.

* There’s only one thing left to settle: our accounts with capital and its state, debt-strikes.pdf

[I]n a climate of fiscal terrorism that has been orchestrated for some months now by the media, a state of emergency has been called in Greece in an effort by international capital and the greek state to turn the country into a laboratory of a new shock policy. The huge ”public debt” and the ”imminent bankruptcy of the country” are the mottos used as efficient tools to terrorize and discipline the proletariat and legitimize the decrease of the direct and indirect wage and thus curb its expectations and demands in an exemplary neoliberal fashion of international proportions.

The mobilizations have been rather lukewarm so far and certainly do not correspond to the critical situation and the ferocity of the measures. There is a generalized feeling of impotence and paralysis but anger as well that cannot find a proper outlet. Certainly, there is a real discontent for the shock policy that the PASOK government is promoting (cuts on wages, cuts on benefits, more direct and indirect taxes, extension of retirement age, intensification of police control etc.) One can trace that discontent in the every day conversations in the work places, however, there is a prevailing fragile silence facing the dictatorship of the economy and the omnipotence of the “markets”. The “national unity” mantra is one of the government’s favourite tools, as expected in such times, however, it has not reached yet a dangerous point.

* Questions & Answers from the conclusion of the 56a Infoshop publication «Everyone to the streets», Q&A.pdf

* The rebellious passage of a proletarian minority through a brief period of time, rebpas.pdf

The December rebellion and the post-rebellion developments as aspects of the crisis of capitalist relations in Greece.

* Like a Winter with a Thousand Decembers, LIKE-A-WINTER-e.pdf

Last December, the wind of insurrection blew over the cities in Greece. The joyful and festive atmosphere of Christmas was set on fire together with the Christmas tree on Syntagma square. The assassination of the 15-year-old student Alexis Grigoropoulos by a special police guard on the 6th ignited the spark. In general, the social unrest of December can be characterized as a violent proletarian rebellion which had a sudden, mass and wild burst that gradually gave way to less violent, more imaginative and more political acts but with less people involved.

* An updated short presentation of the recent riots in Athens and Thessaloniki through the eyes of some proletarian participants, CHRONOLOGY.pdf

Shooting by police on Saturday 6th of December has triggered off in cities all over Greece the fiercest riots in decades. What follows is a first –and incomplete– presentation of the recent riots in Athens based on our own experiences and on what we have heard of. On the one hand, the fierceness of the riots and the determination of the rioters and looters and on the other hand, the unfolding strategy of the state certainly need more time and closer attention to be adequately estimated, something that we are honestly not in the position to do at the moment, because we still participate in several local activities, demos and assemblies.

* Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas.pdf

“No one has the right to use this tragic incident as an alibi for brutalities”.

Statement by prime minister K. Karamanlis, one of these days

“There is no question of ‘violence’; there is just a side being attacked during a war already in progress and thus the question of the means sufficient for victory”.

Sorbonne Occupation Committee in Exile, Paris, June 2006

“VIOLENCE means working for 40 years, getting miserable wages and wondering if you ever get retired…
VIOLENCE means state bonds, robbed pension funds and the stock-market fraud…
VIOLENCE means being forced to get housing loans which finally you pay back as if they were gold…
VIOLENCE means the management’s right to fire you any time they want…
VIOLENCE means unemployment, temporary employment, 400 Euros wage with or without social security…
VIOLENCE means work ‘accidents’, as bosses diminish their workers’ safety costs…
VIOLENCE means being driven sick because of hard work …
VIOLENCE means consuming psycho-drugs and vitamins in order to cope with exhausting working hours…
VIOLENCE means working for money to buy medicines in order to fix your labour power commodity…
VIOLENCE means dying on ready-made beds in horrible hospitals, when you can’t afford bribing.”

Proletarians from occupied GSEE, Athens, December 2008

* The permanent crisis in education, permanent crisis.pdf

Capitalist development in Greece during the 60’s meant the growth of the secondary sector, namely construction and manufacturing (mainly based on the low cost of labour and not on big investments in fixed capital), the corresponding influx of peasants in the towns and the erosion of local subsistence economies. Gradually, this development created the need for a more skilled and diversified labour power. As a consequence, public education expanded, basic education became obligatory and the population of university students started to rise. Wildcat strikes were on the daily agenda, campaigns on welfare, housing or local issues were organized in almost every neighborhood. This was also the time when struggles for a «free and public education» began.

* A brief outline of the student movement in Greece, A brief outline.pdf

On the 28th of April, the Greek ministry of education published a draft proposal for a bill regarding the reform of university education. The key points of this proposal are the following ones: Specific regulations for the expulsion of ‘inefficient’ students. This category includes students failing to complete their studies after n + n/2 years, where n is the scheduled duration [a two year course must be completed in three years, a six year course in nine years], as well as students failing in a main course more than three times. It must be noted that the state had repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to introduce such regulations since the beginning of the 80’s. Economic ‘rationalization’ and cutting down on expenses by appointing financial managers, putting an end to the provision of free textbooks for university courses, as well as establishing ‘retributive scholarships’ for poor students. Setting university spaces practically open to police raids through the abolition of ‘academic sanctuary’. Student mobilizations and university occupations will be more difficult to take place in the future since prosecution will become possible. At the same time, there is an ongoing process for the revision of the constitution which will enable the establishment of private universities. This proposal, which was to be voted during the summer in the parliament, is the last one in a series of laws passed in the previous years considering the alignment of university education with the imperatives of ‘lifelong learning’, quantification, standardization and evaluation of academic labour, but which have not been implemented yet. At this point, it must be emphasized that these policies conform to a broader initiative in the context of the European Union referred to as ‘Bologna Process’.

* Developments and workers’ struggles in the Greek textile industry, textile.pdf

* Bank clerks and dockers on month-long strikes in Greece, bankdock.pdf

* War, Peace and the Crisis of Reproduction of Human Capital ( part B) , War, peace2.pdf

The term “reproduction of human capital” does not refer to the simple reproduction of labour power but to its expanded reproduction. It refers to the production of a disciplined, enhanced, qualified labour power, through productive investment in the quality of education, in health, in family planning; that is, in the formation of social capital. Falling (or rising) birth-rates, student riots and welfare demands can lead to a “crisis of reproduction of human capital”. This, when combined with workplace struggles, leads to a general crisis of exploitability of labour. That was the case in the late 60’s-early 70’s in the “West”. Today, as we show in this article, the crises of reproduction of human capital in the 70’s and 80’s in the “West” and in the so-called “Third World” have been aggravated by the violent politics of deregulation which tried to confront the results of the previous social conflicts. All this has led to a generalized crisis of reproduction of capitalist relations, which appears as an “economic crisis” and is dealt with, unsuccessfully, through the use of more violence.

* TPTG’s Conversation with George Caffentzis, caffentzis_interview.pdf

* War, peace and the crisis of the reproduction of human capital in former Yugoslavia (part A)War, peace1.pdf

If one leaves aside the left patriots (CP, various marxist-leninist organisations) who used the anti-war demonstrations, which they organised and led, as a vote-hunting tactic, all the «well- intentioned» anti-war protestors who dragged themselves to the spring demonstrations in Greece, failed completely. They failed, not in the sense of stopping the war- that was impossible and, anyway, it was primarily the duty of the Albanian and Serbian proletariat, who in the best of cases would have had the help of the proletarians of the countries which the mercenaries of NATO came from. They failed, and this is most important, to ask the fundamental questions about this war, which, we should not fool ourselves, has been going on in Yugoslavia for the last ten years. Questions like:

- What is the function of war in promoting the larger aims of a globalized economy?

- What role does it have in maintaining/ restructuring the dominant mode of production and the consumption of ideologies?

- In what way is it a means for the production and reproduction (i.e. the organisation and control) of labour power?

- How can we, as a class and not in disarray, react in such a way so as to create a community of struggle?

* A heavy burden on young shoulders, A heavy burden.pdf

The educational law 2525 laid the foundations of the enterprise school which seems to be the future type of what we used to know until now as elementary and secondary education. If we go only 8 years back, in the early 90’s, we will find out that a similar law was under way. Some of its provisions the right wing government tried to pass then (leaving the fundamental ones temporarily aside) aimed at restoring discipline at state schools through uniforms, morning prayers, a point-system evaluation and a decrease in the number of absences from classes allowed. A vigorous school occupation movement followed which, to some extent, had the silent support of the socialist party. Soon the provisions were taken back, the minister of Education retired and no government had dared to impose large-scale reforms until 1997.

* Days of June 98: Days of class struggle in Greece, daysofjune.pdf

What follows is an estimation of the moments we experienced around the 18th high school of Patisia in Athens, which was used as an examination centre. We talk neither about victory nor about defeat. From our proletarian point of view we would like to shed light to those sides of theory and practice that led to this explosion of struggle, thus contributing to its continuation.

* Upheaval in the land of the eagles, Upheaval.pdf

In the beginning of 1997, the «criminality of Albanian immigrants was, once again, the prevailing issue in Greek media and reached its climax when some burglaries took place in east Attiki. However, a few months later the image of the «Albanian criminal» gave way to that of the «Albanian rebel». Greek media made a spectacle out of the rebellion and the Greek government supported Fatos Nano and even allowed his pre-election campaign among Albanian immigrants in Greece. How come that the cheapest labour force in Europe armed themselves with Kalashnikovs, how did things come to a rebellion? To answer these questions we had to go back in the past and follow the history of antagonistic social relations in Albania.

* Mexico is not only Chiapas nor is the rebellion in Chiapas merely a Mexican affair, Mexico.pdf

In January 1994, in the south eastern state of Chiapas in Mexico, news of the Zapatistas armed revolt composed mainly of Indian peasants, travelled all over the world bringing about an explosion of interest and information on Mexico because the rebellion was automatically connected with the Mexican revolution. In this text we undertake an analysis of the class struggles in Mexico since the beginning of the century up till now, which includes a critical presentation of the guerilla movement of the Zapatistas.

* If you want peace, prepare for class war, peace_class_war.pdf

During the last year there was much political debate between Greek and (Slav) Macedonian bureaucracies upon the name, the constitution and the symbols of the new Macedonian state. Two large nationalist demonstrations were held by the major political parties in Greece in order to put pressure on EEC bureaucracy to stop backing our neighboring nation-state’s claims on the name »Macedonian«. The first one took place in February 92 in Thessaloniki and the second one in Athens last December. Over one million people took part in them (that is one in ten Greeks) and apart from the Trotskyists and some other Leninists who opposed the demonstrations, agitating for »the right of (Slav) Macedonia to self-determination « – a bourgeois statist concept derived from Lenin, which cost them harsh persecutions on the part of the Law – few »anti-authoritarian« groups managed to confront nationalist propaganda, at least on theoretical terms.