Archive for October, 2011

24 hour strike of all mass transport today

The blue buses, tram, trolleys and metro will be on strike all day today. The train will operate in the morning and go on strike at noon.


The 19-20 October protests a turning point

The two day protests (19-20 October) of the Greek working people constitute a landmark in modern Greek history. The protests of October have fundamental differences from the protests of last summer.

In spite of the Government’s hopes, the doubts of the right wing opposition, the hesitation of the new left and the downright skepticism of the Communist party Syntagma Square continued to attract anti-austerity protesters. It is true that it was a completely uncoordinated crowd: from the nationalist wing to the apolitical, self-serving taxi drivers, from the unemployed to the civil servants, from the extreme right wing to the rebellious students, from the General Confederation of Greek workers to the shop keepers union. All these groups were brought together by their inability to survive under the austerity measures and the heavy and unjust taxation imposed in the name of “national salvation”.

This rising, heterogeneous movement was headless. The new factor in this uprising is that the Communist party of Greece decided to claim the hegemony of the movement. PAME, a Unionist Front by its own definition, the Communist party’s expression in the union movement, stated their decision to protest in Syntagma Square on the 19th and to take part in the Parliament siege on the 20th. This announcement was hailed as positive by the majority of the other groups of the movement since it would reinforce the common struggle. What was not immediately clear was that PAME considered the Square as its own grounds and did not take kindly, to say the least, to other forces, like the “DEN PLIRONO” ( “I don’t pay movement”)demonstrating next to them.

This attitude is not new in the purist attitude of the Communist Party of Greece. Their protests and marches are always strictly organized and separate from the other forces in order to protect them from agents provocateurs. The Syntagma Square crowd is something unknown to them. The clashes were inevitable and when the hooded so-called anarchists tried to go through the PAME ranks to reach the Parliament a full assault developed. The police stayed back, throwing tear gas and chemicals only when directly attacked.

The outcome of a few hours of generalized street fighting was one of the PAME protesters dead and several others injured.

On the political level the great loss was that the focus was turned away from the real issue, the voting of the new austerity measures in Parliament, to the fights outside it.

The only casualty in Parliament was Ms Luca Katseli, former Finance Minister, who voted against article 37 of the new law and was ousted from the PASOK Parliamentary group.

The third wedding – a tale of two women

“The third wedding” is an iconoclastic book.

The writer, Kostas Tahtsis, a self proclaimed homosexual, does not hesitate to expose the  hypocrisy and false ethics, the strength and weakness of the Greek middle class he depicts with such accuracy.

The adaptation of the novel for the theater was undertaken by Mr. Stamatis Fasoulis, a respected actor and director in collaboration with Mr. Niarhou who is unknown to me. The result was impressive. 50 years more or less of Greek history depicted through the narrative of two women: Nina- the one with the three weddings – and Hecuba or Ekavi, the executioner and victim of her family. This tale of two women follows the social history of Greece from the Balkan wars to the Second World War and the Greek civil war. These women’s story, because it is a women’s story and afterwards a women’s play, has little to do with the heroic world of the men. This is a world of survival, struggle, failure, rise and failure again. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth despite the author’s witty sarcasm.

The female characters, portrayed by Nena Mendi – Ekavi and Filareti Komninou-Nina, overshadow all the male ones. Tahtsis book and the play which follows faithfully the novel depict the Greek society’s struggle for survival during these 50 years.


The book and the play allow us another view of Greek society of that period, a view that is not as noble as the ones we usually see but has a taste of reality that one cannot escape from.

Is the situation of today a result of those long, difficult decades of poverty and endless struggle to make ends meet? One cannot but wonder.