donderdag 8 maart 2012

Greece at the precipice of Insurrection

The specter of the revolt of December 2008, which shook the country deeply after Alexis was murdered by the cops, has haunted minds for months in Greece. Indeed, faced with the unprecedented poverty in the country, with the impossibility of “improving” the economic and social situation, faced with the turning of the screw on the whole population in the name of upholding the system and power, many people have put in their lot for the return of that specter, for a vast revolt against the State and capitalism without compromise or mediation.

After the vote went through on the nth package of austerity measures, which among other things stipulated a 30% reduction of the minimum wage (with all the prior reductions, this adds up to a 50% wage reduction in less than a year), it’s not “just” that specter that’s taken hold of Athens as it has of several other cities – it’s something more: that night, after the vote, a breeze of insurrection blew in. Dozens of buildings were burned to the ground (banks, institutions, supermarkets, “historical heritage sites,” ministerial buildings,...), hundreds of businesses were pillaged and destroyed, barricades were erected, aside from the heavy confrontations with the forces of order, building occupations, etc. But that gust blew away all attempts to make “calculations” about what was happening too… the sheer vastness of its scope, involving dozens of hundreds of thousands of persons, every one of them charged with their own load of rage, desire, ideas – every one of them ready with their hands. No politician, no manager, no “politics” could lay a finger on it without the risk of getting burned.

Every country in Europe has been made to swallow the pretty pill of austerity, the only difference is in the dose and the rate of administration. Everywhere, the last ramparts of the “social contract” between the exploiters and the exploited are collapsing… and they’re being replaced by resignation, the cynicism of surviving on the backs of other poor people, depression, suicide; or by the anger, the rage, and the life that is starting to throb in people’s hearts once again. What’s happening today in Greece proves at least one thing for sure: an insurrection on European territory isn’t really so unimaginable after all. Moreover, it is quite possible, and there’s no reason to hesitate in making it. The transformation of the authoritarian and capitalist foundations of society, the construction of another world based on freedom, solidarity, and self-organization will come about by total assault on what exists now, by its violent destruction, by vast insurrections.

We cannot allow this new breeze to be shut out; we cannot allow this new upsurge of revolt that has spiked in Greece to be suffocated. Letting that country’s revolt be isolated means digging it a cruel and bloody grave; the revolt there must be expanded, must tie in with revolts here (which are certainly far more modest for the time being), and must encourage us to intensify our attacks against everything that suffocates, exploits, and oppresses us. In Greece the possibility of a real future has cropped up, just as it did in the still ongoing uprisings and confrontations in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and elsewhere in the world. It is a possibility that can take on body and soul here too, right in the heart of the European capital, where the rage is latent, the tensions palpable and the “adjustment” slight. Today is no time for waiting, if ever there was a time for that. The conflict is there, now, it is everyday, and it’s up to all of us whether we want it to explode in vast movements of revolt and insurrection. The fear that keeps so many of the poor frozen in the ranks of social order can change sides here too, like it did in Greece. Soon it will be time for the other side to tremble with it: the powerful, the rich, the exploiters.

Let us arm ourselves with the courage and determination to face this world down, let us rid ourselves of resignation and acceptance, let us embrace what was unimaginable yesterday, and is today entirely possible: insurrection against the existent.

Translation of "Tout commence aujourd'hui; La Grèce sur le pied d'insurrection", Hors Service 26, february 2012