Archive for October, 2012

Non Greek students: the new targets of Golden Dawn

A while ago, Golden Dawn MPS submitted a parliamentary question asking to know how many non-Greek children are kept in Greek kindergardens.
Emprosnet, a Lesvos local newspaper, reports a new target of the Fascist leaning party: non-Greek students. Ignoring the usual method of asking for information through the Ministry of Education or the Dean’s office one of their MPs addressed an e-mail to all the administrative offices of the University of the Aegean and to all its academic staff. In this brief note Mr. Iliopoulos wants to know the number of Greek and non-Greek students accommodated at the University residences.

According to Emprosnet the message could have been an innocent oversight if the specific party and its practices were not known. The academic community of the Aegean University has tacitly agreed to leave the message unanswered.

Kouvelis on labour laws

The meeting of the government supporting leaders has just finished. The first leader to come out was Fotis Kouvelis of the Democratic Left. In a brief statement he expressed his total opposition to the Troika suggested changes in labour laws. “These changes in labour rights find me and my Parliamentary group in total opposition and we shall not cast our vote in favour of them.” According to Mr. Kouvelis these labour laws have nothing to do with the country’s fiscal debt and will farther feed recession and unemployment.

Greek government negotiating its stance

The leaders of the three parties which comprise the Greek government are still in a meeting trying to come to an agreement regarding the new austerity measures.

The difficulty has risen due to the new labour laws proposed. Fotis Kouvelis’Democratic Left party has stated that they cannot agree with such measures while PASOK is hesitatingly discussing them.
The new austerity measures, including the labour laws proposed, have to be ratified by the Greek Parliament. This move has already caused casualties: a New Democracy MP has been expelled from the party Parliamentary Group while a Demoocratic Left MP left his party’s Parliamentary Group on his own.
Alexis Tsipras, leader of SYRIZA, stated during an interview that these will be the first austerity measures that will not be ratified by the Parliament.
It is true that the Troika intervention in the private sector of the economy is regarded as utterly irregular and beyond their jurisdiction.

Workers in Greece go on strike – part 2

Today, 18 October 2012, Greece goes on general strike. Public and private sector employees, the small businesses, taxi drivers, public hospital doctors have announced their participation through their unions. Air traffic controllers will stop working between 10 and 13.00 to express their support to the strike. Aegean Airlines have announced two international flights cancellation while local flights will be jeopardised as well.

They must not pass - the new measures which will annihilate society and economy

The GSEE and ADEDY poster for the October 18 mobilisation

Primary and High School teachers have joined the strike.
Buses, metro and the urban train operate normally after 9 o’clock to allow the protesters to reach the gathering points. Trolleys will not work at all together with intercity trains (mainly the Athens Thessalonini network, from what one can gather from their statements).
The strike has gained momentum due to the extremely harsh new austerity measures still under discussion within the government but also at the EU Summit Meeting taking place today.
The demonstrators will gather at various points and as usual converge outside the Greek Parliament in Syntagma Square.
11 o’clock, in Pedion Areos (a square near the General Confederation of Greek Workers headquarters) is the official meeting point of the demonstrators. We shall report from there from now on.

Greece:General strike on October 18

The major Greek workers unions for both the private and public sectors have called for a general strike in Greece on the 18th of October, the day of the Summit Meeting of the European Union. National hospital doctors have stated that their strike will start on the 17th and continue on the 18th. Shop owners and small family business are also taking part together with the taxi owners’association.

Whose turn next?

Out of the many reports that one hears about racist (mainly..) attacks perpetrated against immigrants I chose to relate you the following: A young man of Greek Egyptian parentage got off the bus at a central spot in Athens. He was the only foreign looking passenger and thus a gang of 3 black dressed, chain waving thugs attacked him instantly swearing at him in Greek. He realised that they thought he was not Greek and started addressing them in Greek. The vicious attack continued while the dogs they had with them threatened to tear him to pieces. The victim managed to get away while the passers by remained passive, possibly frightened or just shocked. When the bleeding man reached the police station he was conducted to a hospital where it was confirmed that one of his eyes was so injured that he would never recover full sight again!

This story struck me as I happen to have been born in Egypt myself. My Greek parents, who were also both born there, repatriated in 1956 and my father died saying that Egypt and its people were the best he had ever known. The man mentioned above also said that there are still many Greeks living in Cairo and Alexandria and they are treated as full citizens.

I mention this to add to the already expressed, during the attack against HYTYRION theatre, position that extreme right thugs, under the umbrella of the Golden Dawn party and its Parliamentary representation, belief of mine that the racial hatred attacks are the heralds of much worse. Anyone who is not “with them” is against them and they are entitled, no, they are duty bound, to annihilate them. Greek society, living in a constant state of fear and shock, has been taken by surprise. It is my belief that the democratic reflexes of the vast majority of the citizens of this country will soon settle in. It is the duty of all progressive and democratic forces to join against this common danger.

Golden Dawn MPs terrorise actors

Golden Dawn MPs accompanied by religious fanatics and at least one priest managed to cancel the openning night of “Corpus Christi”, a play that very few have managed to see or know about. The videos that appeared on social media but also on all major channels were offensive, to say the least. The language used reeked of fascist rhetoric accompanied by swearing and insults. Mr. Pappas, Golden Dawn MP, freed a rioteer from a police car without any resistance by the policemen present. He is being charged.

On the second day, and while the Golden Dawn was once again moving towards the theatre, they were confronted by actors, artists and performers ready to protect their right to view any play they chose. SYRIZA and Democratic Left MPs were also present at what was termed an “anti-rally”. The performance took place normally.

The episode was carried into Parliament by Mr. Kassidiaris, Golden Dawn Parliament Speaker, who did not hesitate to support this act of violent censorship stating that whenever the Golden Dawn thinks that the Greeks’ patriotic or religious feelings are attacked his party would intervene “dynamically”. He also threatened SYRIZA and Democratic Left MPs accusing them of being unpatriotic.

The Actors’Union has issued a statement condemning similar acts of censorship that limit freedom of expression and promised to stand by the specific play and its director and cast.

Red carpet week in Athens: Mr. Davutoglu visits Greece

Watching Greek television news reports yesterday was like a deja vu experience. The headlines were about Ms. Merkel’s 6 Greek hours and how they were presented in the foreign media and how the Greek Media interpreted her silences or pauses disregarding what she actually said which was what she has been saying in the last two weeks!

On the other hand, the visit of Mr.Davutoglu, Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Minister, was considerably played down and with good cause.

Mr.Davutoglou’s visit had no tangible results on any level. There were no decisions announced either on the declaration of the EEZ by the Greek government or on the issue of illegal immigration which currently originates mostly through Turkish channels.It should be noted though that since it is more than obvious that cooperation and friendly relations are imperative for the benefit of both countries all contacts are worthy of note and should be put to good use.

International solidarity to Greek protesters and SYRIZA

From a SYRIZA press release we learn that foreign movements and personalities together with Greeks abroad are supporting the Greek working people’s mobilisations.
From the UK the Greece Solidarity Campaign states that there will be a demonstration outside the German Embassy in London today.
The movement “Campaign for Peace and Democracy” together with its solidarity movement informed the SYRIZA International Relations dpt that there is a meeting today to protest the Golden Dawn office that has opened up in New York.

In Athens there is a new mobilisation outside the Central Police Headquarters to protest against the arrests made yesterday. The protesters claim that these arrests were arbitrary and should be at least accompanied by the presence of lawyers. After the Guardian article on torture in the Greek police headquarters this move seems urgent and imperative.

Stay informed about Merkel’s visit-at least in Greek

A left wing blog will be briefing us from Syntagma Square and from all over Greece about developments from the Greek working people’s welcome to Ms. Merkel but especially to the policies she represents. It is in Greek but the videos are easily watchable (is there such a word?) by everybody.