« Greece: the fight is far from over… » de Panagiotis Sotiris

En passant

Despite the signs of relief from the part of EU and IMF representatives, the results of the June 17 election reflect a society that is highly polarized along social and class lines, a society that is still facing an open social and political crisis, and that is still filled with anger. As a social and political landscape, it still resembles a battlefield, and the struggle is far from over. Whoever thinks of the future in Greece simply in terms of implementing successive waves of austerity packages, based on a simple projection of the possibility of a pro-austerity government, will soon realize that reality is always richer in possibilities.

If one looks at the electoral results, the signs of social polarization are more than obvious. The Left is the leading political force in the voters that belong to the productive ages (18-55), in wage earners, in people from working class and lower middle class strata, in people in urban areas. The Right is the leading force in the voters that belong to higher age groups (older than 55), to bourgeois and upper middle class strata and rural areas. It is obvious that people that are facing social disaster and insecurity and are reacting more in terms of anger and collective struggle tended to vote for the Left. On the other hand people who were reacting to the deterioration of living prospects in more phobic terms, or were in fear of losing whatever real or imaginary social gains they had, tended to vote more for the Right. The Right could also benefit from a deep-rooted conservatism especially in provincial Greece, where the consequences of the crisis have not been felt in the same way as in urban areas. Moreover, New Democracy could benefit from the fact that the total ‘right-wing’ electoral bloc (including both pro- and anti-Memoranda forces) was already big on May 6, thus giving it a broader initial electoral ‘reservoir’. Lire la suite

« Chez les Grecs », Lettre destinée au dessinateur du Monde Xavier Gorce, par Michel Volkovitch

Hier en ouvrant mon journal, Monsieur, j’ai trouvé ça :

J’ai crurecevoir une gifle. Les Grecs, un ramassis de branleurs… J’ai cru entendre legros rire d’Angela Merkel suivie par des millions de nantis du monde entier. Jene savais pas que Le Monde pouvait courtiserun tel public de beaufs.

Non, les Grecsne passent pas leur temps à glander. Tous les Français n’ont pas un béret etune baguette sous le bras. Et les dessinateurs n’ont pas tous du talent. Connaissez-vousles Grecs ? Moi qui depuis trente ans les fréquente et les traduis, jepeux vous l’assurer, et une étude publiée dans Le Monde le confirme : ils ne bossent pas moins que lesAllemands. Ou que les Français. Ou qu’un dessinateur fort bien payé, sûrement,pour pondre son dessin du jour en un quart d’heure. Ils bossent dans desconditions souvent plus difficiles que nous, ou s’ils ne bossent pas, c’est qu’ilspassent leur temps à chercher du boulot en vain. Lire la suite

Postcards from Greece: The Parades of Anger

Postcards from Greece (2): The Parades of Anger

by Panagiotis Sotiris [1]

Independence Day (25 March) parades in Greece have been traditionally a day of celebration, not of protest. A national holiday to commemorate the beginning of the popular insurrection against Ottoman rule in 1821 that led to Greece’s independence, they are associated with watching the armed forces march along with school children, since in most cities we also have school parades. Moreover, for most people of the Left they always seemed like a remnant of an authoritarian past when these official displays of nationalism and militarism were part of the rituals of power.

However, in the past two years parades have become venues for protest against the policies of austerity and reduced sovereignty imposed by the EU-IMF-ECB Troika. The traditional presence of representatives of authority in such parades and celebrations, such as local members of parliament, government ministers or high ranking officials, and mayors made them an easy target for protest, especially in a period of intense and prolonged struggles. This has been particularly evident in provincial Greece, where members of parliament and aspiring local politicians have faced many forms of protest in the past years. Lire la suite