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KKE Press Statement on Murderous Violence against PAME October 21, 2011

Posted by Garibaldy in Communism, Greece.
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The KKE sent this statement to fraternal parties earlier today. I’m posting it as an expression of solidarity with the family and comrades of the PAME activist Dimitris Kotzaridis, and expression of support for the modes of resistance against the austerity measures adopted by PAME and the KKE, and their refusal to be sidetracked by the actions of others that serve only to strengthen the hand of the state against the working class and against the resistance to the troika.

Statement of the Press Office Concerning the Organized Murderous Assault Against PAME’s Rally in Syntagma and the Death of the Trade Unionist of PAME Dimitris Kotzaridis

Photos from the general strike

On this occasion organized groups with specific orders and anarcho-fascists unleashed an attack with Molotov cocktails, teargas, stun grenades and stones, in attempt to disperse the majestic rally of workers and people in Syntagma Square and especially in the area where PAME was concentrated. A result of this attack is the death of the trade unionist of PAME, Dimitris Kotzaridis, 53 years old, secretary of the Viron branch of the Construction Workers’ Union. Dozens more PAME demonstrators were injured.

The hatred of the hooded ones against the labour and popular movement and PAME expresses the fury of the forces which serve the system and bourgeois power. The government has massive responsibilities for this. The operation to intimidate, slander and suppress the labour and people’s movement is rooted in state structures, centres and services. History demonstrates this, today’s barbaric and murderous assault also proves this. The hooded ones, anarcho-autonomists, fascists or whatever they call themselves tried to achieve what the forces of repression, the blackmail and threats failed to do: to intimidate the people so that they submit. It objectively arises that the very same centres executed the provocateur murderous burning down of Marfin the day the Memorandum was voted on, 5 May 2010.

Their goal to disperse the rally of PAME failed. Likewise, the plans of the government, the mechanisms of the system, the parties of the plutocracy which seek to intimidate and suppress the torrent of the people’s counterattack which came onto the streets with the 48-hour strike must also fail.

The KKE expresses its sorrow and its condolences to the family of Dimitris Kotzaridis who fell in the struggle for the just cause of the working class and the people. It expresses its solidarity with the injured demonstrators, with all those who defended the workers’ and people’s demonstration from the provocateur groups. It calls on the people to stand up decisively; to struggle together with the KKE, to rally in the trade unions, in PAME and the other radical organizations which fight against the anti-people policies, the power of the monopolies. This is the opposition force to the parties of plutocracy, the EU and the IMF. This is the strength of the people in order to repel the barbaric measures, the violence and the intimidation of all the repressive mechanisms. The people can overthrow the anti-people policies and power.

ATHENS 20/10/2011

PRESS OFFICE OF THE CC OF THE KKE

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Comments»

1. ejh - October 21, 2011

their refusal to be sidetracked by the actions of others that serve only to strengthen the hand of the state against the working class and against the resistance to the troika.

There will be many, many people who are horrified by the comrade’s death, and yet who nevertheless think that the KKE had no business forming a human chain round the parliament building. That’s the job the police, and not of people who want to act as policemen for the movement.

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LeftAtTheCross - October 21, 2011

Why were PAME forming the human chain? My understanding was that it was a show of strength against the PASOK “social democratic” government, a protest against the vote being carried out inside parliament which implemented the Troika-imposed anti-worker measures.

Why were PAME being attacked by the mob? Was it an attempt to breach the human chain and attack parliament, or was it an attack directed against PAME’s demonstration of power, an attempt to provoke a reaction from the state?

EJH’s statement seems to suggest that PAME was acting as a people’s militia of some sort in defence of parliament and the state, in place of the police? Maybe I’m misunderstanding EJH but I’m not sure that was the situation.

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ejh - October 21, 2011

My understanding is that it was a conscious effort to prevent people who wished to assault the parliament building from doing so. About which my opinion would be that there’s good reasons for thinking that assaulting the parliament building was a bad idea (and, to be honest, some decent reasons for thinking otherwise) but I don’t really accept the right of any part of the movement to impose its tactics, choices and organising methods on the rest.

I also don’t much like calling people fascists who are not fascists, something which predates yesterday’s dreadful events.

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LeftAtTheCross - October 21, 2011

EJH,

I understood that PAME had called in advance for the yesterday’s protest to take the form of a cordon around parliament. If that was the case, then the attack can be read as an attack against PAME and their dominant position within the wider protest. Given the murderous history of inter-Left struggle in Greece I don’t think it’s beyond the bounds to view it that way. PAME’s discipline, in wishing to prevent the ultra-Left from escalating the protest and provoking state repression is something to be admired.

Agreed regarding the name-calling btw.

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ejh - October 21, 2011

to take the form of a cordon around parliament

…which, while not unheard of for a protest, is not entirely normal either. I wonder why it took such a form?

PAME’s discipline, in wishing to prevent the ultra-Left from escalating the protest and provoking state repression is something to be admired.

I really don’t think it is. It’s one thing to have discipline in your own ranks. It’s quite another to impose that on other people.

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LeftAtTheCross - October 21, 2011

EJH,

The cordon around parliament could be interpreted as a show of strength, an initmidation of the anti-democratic actions of the parliamentarians by a popular grassroots movement within Greek society, a display of the possibility of dual power.

On the other question, is it not normal for protests to have some element of stewardship? You might disagree about the level of stewardship, but the principle seems entirely reasonable. Given the very real antagonisms between the communists and the ultra-Left in Greece it seems reasonable that PAME would take a position of defending their protest against those who would aim to disrupt it. You could argue that it wasn’t “their protest” of course, perhaps that’s the point of debate here.

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ejh - October 21, 2011

I think PAME would have every right to defend themselves against the sort of idiot-anarchists who make that necessary (and I’m aware that there’s plenty about). And of course it’s normal to have stewarding on matches, and my sympathies are generally with the stewards rather than their critics).

On the other hand, this goes a bit beyond normal stewarding, and for that matter the whole situation has gone beyond a normal trade union-type march.

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LeftAtTheCross - October 21, 2011

“the whole situation has gone beyond a normal trade union-type march”

I think that’s the point though, isn’t it. The situation in Greece is far from “normal” in any sense of the word. While the situation isn’t perhaps pre-revolutionary there is certainly a democratic deficit, and one which is being opposed by the organised labour movement, led by the KKE, and which has popular support and ideological rigour at levels we would only dream of here in Ireland.

It wasn’t just another going through the motions type of protest by a movement resigned to defeat.

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ejh - October 21, 2011

Up to a point, but my complaint is that you have one group of people trying to prevent others from taking their protest where they wish to take it, and not in an entirely good-faith way either.

There’s a point where leadership by example, or leadership by force of argument – both good things – become leadership by physical force, which is not.

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LeftAtTheCross - October 21, 2011

“There’s a point where leadership by example, or leadership by force of argument – both good things – become leadership by physical force, which is not.”

But I’m not sure I would expect the KKE, or any communist party, to necessarily agree with that principle. It’s clear the ultra-Lefts have no hang-ups about using violence to further their aims, and it’s also clear that the Greek para-military police were prepared for conflict.

The Greek situation is not one of peaceful civil disobedience in a Gandhi or MLK sense. There’s a farily naked class struggle going on, as it elsewhere of course, but the difference in Greece is that both sides are awake to that reality, and the KKE/PAME have the ideological rigour to act accordingly, and with mass support.

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ejh - October 21, 2011

But I’m not sure I would expect the KKE, or any communist party, to necessarily agree with that principle.

Nor would I. I think CPs have historically been very willing to impose their will on the rest of the left by physical force, and it’s not the thing about them that I most admire.

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micheal2og - October 21, 2011

My understanding is that the PAME cordon was to prevent members of the parliament from entering and passing austerity measures.

It obviously suits anti-communist elements to misrepresent the cordon to further their own objectives.

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ejh - October 21, 2011

My understanding is that the PAME cordon was to prevent members of the parliament from entering and passing austerity measures.

Which members of the parliament were thus prevented from entering and passing those measures?

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2. JW - October 21, 2011

Just to point out that the PAME member died from inhaling too much police teargas, he wasn’t killed by anarchists.

Likewise, it seems the inital confrontation started off when the people from the “Dont Pay” movement (and possibly the taxi drivers union, hold on I’ll find that source again) wanted to get closer to the Parliament building, and the PAME/KKE stewards prevented them from doing so. So they were effectively protecting the parliament building against the people. Then the black bloc turned up, and as they say, “shit got real”. It wasn’t just anarchists fighting the stewards, it was Trots, base unions, and just random demonstrators, as it’s seems the PAME stewards were pretty indescrimanate when it came to dishing out a few beatings. And handing over people to the cops is inexcusable.

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3. Tel - October 21, 2011

According to the Irish Times the Greek media is suggesting the man’s death was “the result of tear gas inhalation”.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2011/1021/1224306217858.html

Apparently the hospital report has it that he had no head injuries – i.e. the injuries one would have it if one is hit with a rock.

Live blog from Greek English languague media is here –

http://www.athensnews.gr/portal/1/49312

Not being in Greece I’m not au fait enough with the situation on the ground to comment on whether attacking the parliament, or defending it, is to “strengthen the hand of the state against the working class and against the resistance to the troika.” the experience of other situations would suggest that either reading – either one lot as the unofficial-policemen-for-capital or the other lot as dangerous-isolated-adventurists – is possibly accurate, I am pretty sure however it is not possible to tell from here & likely as not an open/shut case.

I think it is pretty apparent that the above statement from the KKE is part of a continuation of violent conflict which as I understand it has been going on for several years – see the language employed – this was a clash between two groups not foxes in a rabbit hutch.

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Tel - October 21, 2011

Was posting that at same time as JW – hence replication of point re: tear gas.

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Tel - October 21, 2011

“I am pretty sure however it is not possible to tell from here & likely as not an open/shut case”

Or even likely IS not an open/shut case.

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4. Eugene CPI - October 21, 2011

The demonstration was called by the trade union movement and PAME. Clearly they had a worked out strategy of what they wanted to achieve on the day. They had mobilised hundreds of thousands of workers over the last two days. They are acutely aware of the ongoing role of agents of the state in various guises in attempting to interrupt and to discredit the mass resistance.

If these pseudo-revolutionaries wanted to attack the parliament then they should have waited until the mass of workers had completed what they had planned. They had not called, organised nor mobilised the mass of workers. Simply because they have no influence among workers.

So police agents used the opportunity to attack PAME and allow the massive assault on workers that took place. It has been the revolutionary discipline of the KKE that has built the resistance. That has blocked and delayed the austerity measures of the Greek ruling class and the mouthpieces of European monopoly capitalism the EU.

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ejh - October 21, 2011

That has blocked and delayed the austerity measures of the Greek ruling class

Really?

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5. Tel - October 21, 2011

“So, yesterday I credited the communists with trying to protect the protesters but now I feel like a chump. I’ve been criticised on Twitter for condemning them, but fuck whoever it was who attacked the crowd waving red flags. Twenty minutes after the first brawls, Elektra Kotsoni, Hugo Donkin and I were regrouping at a corner of the square; Elektra – a Greek – overheard the chatter: “the communists are coming”. Round the corner charged god-knows how many young men in helmets. They were holding long, thick wooden staffs and red flags; roaring. They smashed through the crowd – anarchist, democrat, bystander, journalist, whatever; they were swinging at us.

Yesterday it seemed as though there was conscience within the crowd. There was safety for those who wanted it. Today, whoever the red flag waving tosspots were with the sticks, they destroyed it. “Now, it’s civil war,” said some friendly passing guy to me. He wasn’t the only one using that term.”

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/athens-greece-riots-protests-anarchy-communists-syntagma-square-day-two

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6. Wacko Sadaka - October 21, 2011

Seems like some of the middle class ultra-leftists are getting a bit of the anarchy they so desire

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7. Wacko Sadaka - October 21, 2011

nice to her a few journalists are getting tap as well

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8. Shay Brennan - October 21, 2011

Good to see with Greece in crisis the left/far left are letting off steam by battering each other.

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WorldbyStorm - October 21, 2011

Got to say there’s a lot of truth in what you’re saying though like ejh I intensely dislike the ‘anarchist-fascist’ line in the statement above and not least because as he says the uncritical use of the term fascist in such context long predates the events of the week…

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HAL - October 21, 2011

I think the KKE were refering to last years riots when self same “hoodies” burnt down a house killing an occupant.It seems this group always tries to piggy-back onto the much larger union demonstrations,resulting in the same headlines worldwide and distracting attention from the rise of the workers protests.It’s also obvious from the statement that the KKE were implying that various groups were involved in this attack including Fascists , agent provocateurs hoodies and Anarchist types,maybe each had different reasons but the result was the same.It should also be mentioned that this was not solely a PAME and KKE demonstration but it was their section attacked.

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WorldbyStorm - October 21, 2011

Even so I think particularly given the death of a man it’s necessary to be very very precise as to what is being said and about who rather than throw out terms like ‘anarchist-fascist’ which is far too loaded, and indeed provocative a term. I’m no fan of black blocs and there’s little doubt that the events constituted a level of provocation but again that merely points to the necessity for precision.

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ejh - October 21, 2011

I also think that the number of people who think that storming the parliament building might be a good idea is likely far greater than the usual stone-throwing suspects who we’re used to from anticapitalist demos: precisely because of what is going on in that building and the apparently helplessness of more conventional and peaceful methods in trying to stop it. (Indeed, if this wasn’t true, isn’t unlikely the KKE would find themselves moved to try and obstruct the transformation of that sentiment into reality.)

Me, I’m divided on th subject: normally I think stuff like that is a very bad idea, but I confess that at times on Wedneday and Thursday, watching PASOK’s disciplined vote to destroy the lives of the people who voted for them, that I really felt that – just as it did, to my mind, no harm to burn down the British Embassy after Bloody Sunday – it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the parliament building was stormed.

I have to say, if you want prime ministers to leave the country in helicopters, as in the Argentine example much-quoted in Greece, then sooner or later this has to happen. And I don’t think any party has the right to decide, for other people, when that moment occurs.

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WorldbyStorm - October 21, 2011

Though a counter argument is that if the blocs went in the response from the police might be even more excessive and the collateral damage to those in the general protest unconscienable. Or as one comrade put it to me in the last year or two now that they’re in their 60s they don’t want to get involved in anything too hectic because truth is they can’t run fast enough away if things turn ugly. And the protests seem to be very broad based in terms of support.

But yes, I get flashes of thinking… what if?

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ejh - October 21, 2011

Though a counter argument is that if the blocs went in the response from the police might be even more excessive and the collateral damage to those in the general protest unconscionable

Oh I’m sure it is, and it’s a very easy argument to see, and they may very well be right. But is it their call to make? That’s the question, and I’m not remotely satisfied that it is.

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WorldbyStorm - October 21, 2011

I kind of wonder how do we determine how such matters proceed? In general terms this is something that is never really articulated, what weight is given to various components of such protests. Or put it another way, if it’s not the call of KKE/PAME to say stop, is there a call on whoever, and the identity of some of those trying to get through the cordon is a bit nebulous, they were to not say go?

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LeftAtTheCross - October 21, 2011

“But is it their call to make?”

Well, maybe it is, given their level of popular support, given the circumstances of the parliamentary vote, and given that they have the conviction to actually stand their ground and show some leadership. It can be disputed that it’s their call to make certainly, but they are contenders in the power struggle and have the critical mass to actually act centrally rather than from the sidelines, as we’re unfortunately used to here. It’s for real, they’re not going through the motions here. I’m not so sure why people are critical of the possibilities, or of the KKE and PAME for pushing events along as they see fit when they view those other elements as being a hindrance.

If the issue is one of the threat use of physical force then ok, but what do people envisage as the alternative in the Greek circumstances? Is physical force ever acceptable? Was it acceptable against the undemocratic military regime in the past? Is the continuity difficult to accept because its a nominally democratically elected PASOK government imposing anti-people policies on behalf of imperialism rather than the Colonels? If people genuinely believe that capitalism is stuffed, and that recovery isn’t going to happen, that there will be an intensification of class struggle, and that a socialist society is a workable alternative, then we would do worse than to look at the KKE / PAME for inspiration, because the same dynamics will come into play here and elsewhere, not just in Greece.

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ejh - October 21, 2011

then we would do worse than to look at the KKE / PAME for inspiration

I think you’d lose an awful lot more in Stalinist method than you’d gain in discipline and commitment.

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WorldbyStorm - October 21, 2011

It’s a pity the KKE seems genuinely to be fairly unreconstructed in relation to Stalinism, but those aren’t terrible points LATC makes in terms of at least some degree of legitimacy.

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Eugene Mc Cartan - October 21, 2011

Eugene CPI
Shay, Greece is not in crisis but capitalism in Greece is in crisis.

The struggle is between those who want workers to pay for the crisis, to weaken and break workers, remove their rights and the gains that they fought and won over decades.

– Those who wish to see some form of renewed capitalism with a human face a better form of capitalism.

– Or those who wish to replace capitalism with a more just social and economic system.

And yes they have delayed and blocked measures by the government. That is why the Greek government has had to go back many times and try and get renewed concession from the EU due to the resistance. Resistance which we have indirectly have benefited from in cuts in interests rates etc.
Your anti-communism blinds you to the reality of the struggle.

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9. Shay Brennan - October 21, 2011

How do you know I’m an anti-communist? I said nothing about communism, good, bad or indifferent. Anyway, left-wingers battering each other, great.

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10. Godot - October 21, 2011

PAME & the Communists/Stalinists dressed up in helmets, armed with sticks, formed a human chain around the parliament to try and prevent others from accessing the square. They also forced journalists to show press cards before allowing them access.

When other protesters tried to gain access, they where attacked by PAME and Communist party supporters.

Anarchists & anti-authoritarians (or anarcho-fascists & hooded youths, depending on your politics) then attempted to fight their way past PAME lines.

PAME & the Communists regard most groups who doesn’t agree with them (anarchists, anti-authoritarians, Trotskyist groups, base syndicates etc) as either ‘cops in black’, ‘state forces, or ‘agent provocateurs’, who purposefully use violence to try and discredit the protests.

They then side with the Greek police in attacking these groups.

It’s like Spain 36 all over again.

Great images at – http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/athens-greece-riots-protests-anarchy-communists-syntagma-square-day-two

Running updates from – http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/2011/10/20/live-updates-from-the-general-strike-october-20/

Yes, I’m biased :)

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ejh - October 21, 2011

It’s like Spain 36 all over again

a. No it isn’t
b. A cynic might suggest that for anarchists, everything is Spain 36 all over again…

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Reni's hairpiece - October 21, 2011

That is being ironic? Bloody hope soon.

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ejh - October 22, 2011

Eh?

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11. HAL - October 21, 2011

I wonder would the occupy Dame street protesters mind if some anarchists, anti-authoritarians, Trotskyist groups, base syndicates etc showed up to burn down the Central bank .Is this their protest now or can anybody show up and smash a few windows and do a bit of spray painting around the locality, toss about a few petrol bombs and tear gas cannisters.Would that help the Dame St protesters do you think,I mean like get them more support.How would people feel if say the CPI sauntered down and put up a few banners I mean it is a free world.That rag bag in Greece just show up for the row and are probably still out throwing stones and fighting with the Cops.

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Godot - October 21, 2011

If that situation arose, they should let the Gardai handle it – rather than launching physical attacks on those with tactical differences, setting up cordons, or checking for ids and hoodies before allowing people access to the protest.

I never said I agreed with the molotovs or petrol bombs btw – it’s a tactical mistake in the majority of situations (not all).

.

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12. Reni's hairpiece - October 21, 2011

Let the Garda look after it. Your some joker, countering the state but needing to rely on the state. I hope PAME crack some heads and stop the dilettantes from damaging the people’s movement.

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WorldbyStorm - October 21, 2011

Fighting fire with fire. – eh?

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Godot - October 21, 2011

In HALs analogy, do you believe it should be occupydamestreets role to physically protect a capitalist bank, or the Gardais?

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WorldbyStorm - October 21, 2011

The latter, that said I’m cautious about the us of violence in such contexts. Look, I have no clear idea what happened in Athens and who did what. My gripe above us that the KKE indiscriminately used terms like “Anarchist-Fascist” in a way which didn’t discriminat between this who attacked and the generality of anarchists and others.

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WorldbyStorm - October 21, 2011

But I’ll add that I don’t entirely blame the KKEfor feeling it was under attack and reacting accordingly.

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13. HAL - October 21, 2011

occupydamestreets are no more protecting the bank than PAME were protecting the parliament building,I mearly suggest that they have the right to protect their protest/protesters or do they.The hoodies attacked PAME when they refused to break their much publicised corden and I think it’s a bit dishonest to claim the cordon was to protect the parliament and more importantly the Greek people know exactly what happened.

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14. Eugene Mc Cartan - October 22, 2011

Eugene CPI
Shay apologies if it was not clear the first part of my comment was about the nature of the struggle in Greece and else where at this time and the nature of the to demands and strategy to be adopted. I was engaging with you.

The comments about anti-communism where not directed at you but other. Frequent visitors to this site.

We need to remember a number of things in relation to what happened in Athens.

1. These events came at the end of a massive 48hr General strike which involved hundreds of thousands of workers.
2. PAME and its allies had announced well in advance that they where planning to surround the parliament to try and prevent politicians entering to vote.
3. All PAME and KKE demonstrations are self policed. They call them “protection squads” from past experience they know this a approach is necessary to protect the marchers from attack and as event turned out they where once again proven correct. They do not ask nor engage with the state about when, where and how they demonstrate.
4. 80 PAME demonstrators where injured from stones, petrol bombs, stun granades etc being used against them
5. One comrade Dimitris Kotzaridis a building workers (early fifties)is dead. A family is left without a father. He may well have been the only person putting food on that families table. He has lost his life in this struggle. He is due respect.
6. What is happening in Greece is very intense class struggle. It is not pretty but that is the reality. Some talk about it other engaged in it.

People turning up on a demo with petrol bombs and stun grenades indicated a degree of planning and having a worked out plan of what they wanted to do.

So instead of people attempting to discuss and understand the strategy of the Greek resistance and what strategic lesson we might learn form them. We have a discussion about if the PAME give a few dilettantes a clatter around the ear for throwing petrol bombs at them.

We had a speaker over a couple of weeks ago from PAME speaking in the Teacher Club. There is an intense class struggle going on in Greece and I for one and the CPI know on which side we stand with in that struggle. Elements of the left need to abandon their anti-communism.

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LeftAtTheCross - October 22, 2011

“There is an intense class struggle going on in Greece and I for one and the CPI know on which side we stand with in that struggle.”

Workers’ Party also I think it’s fair to say.

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ejh - October 22, 2011

We have a discussion about if the PAME give a few dilettantes a clatter around the ear for throwing petrol bombs at them.

I think when you have people who feel entitled not only to call other people “dilettantes”, but (more importantly) that this gives them the right to dole out “a clatter round the ear”, then you have exactly the sort of thing I’m against.

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LeftAtTheCross - October 22, 2011

“you have exactly the sort of thing I’m against.”

EJH, in the class struggle being played out most prominently in Greece at the moment, the thing for people to be against is the anti-people measures being imposed by the Greek gov’t under the direction of the EU/ECB/IMF Troika. The rest of it is a distraction. That the KKE/PAME use measures they think fit to attempt to focus the situation on the real issue, and to remove the distraction being promoted by the mob, is understandable. There’s one fence here on which to take sides, not a multitude of choices to be faced, to be for or against the organised working class.

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ejh - October 22, 2011

. There’s one fence here on which to take sides, not a multitude of choices to be faced, to be for or against the organised working class

Ah, I’m afraid that’s bollocks, unless you assume the KKE and the “organised working class” are the same thing, which is an assumption they may make, and they may wish other people to make, but which most definitely should not be made by anyone.

It’s not “understandable” to call people “fascists” or to “use measures they think fit” (or indeed to use that euphemism). It’s something that needs to be opposed, because we know from history what it is and where it leads to.

Or put another way, I am not having some Stalinist deciding that I’m a Trotsky-fascist and caving my head in. Or having me shot.

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Reni's hairpiece - October 22, 2011

While working people suffer the drama queens can play out their fantasies – this is a democratic struggle not an violent one – the capitalist state will win in a violent confrontation therefore those who seek to provoke one are objectively anti-the people and must be dealt with. This is not about smacking cops – if you want to do that do it privately with lethal force and you can be applauded – this is the people confronting the Greek state.

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ejh - October 22, 2011

are objectively anti-the people and must be dealt with

It’s depressing that there are still people around who will write things like this.

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LeftAtTheCross - October 22, 2011

EJH, how do you see it working out without this type of conflict? Genuine question.

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WorldbyStorm - October 22, 2011

There’s another point here. My gripe from the off has been the tone of the KKE statement which I think is incorrect. But, from their perspective they were attacked by a group trying to break through them and which had only one way to do it which was to attack them. It’s not simply about ownership of protests or forms but about one group – for whatever motivation, and I this we have to be cautious ascribing progressive or positive aspects to them, there seems to me to be a strong element of provocateur like behaviour at work – physically attacking another group. From a subjective viewpoint I could understand entirely how the KKE/PAME would see this as a direct assault on them.

None of which is to suggest that ‘clatters around the ears’ etc are the way forward either, but I actually think that KKE self-defensive actions are entirely justifiable without condoning offensive actions by them or the language of the statement.

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15. Reni's hairpiece - October 22, 2011

Order must be maintained – a new order of the working class – things are getting real now and the fringe can not be allowed attack the people.

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16. Godot - October 22, 2011

The KKE have issued a new press release which deals with the media allegations that they were protecting parliament. It can be found at the very bottom of – http://inter.kke.gr/News/news2011/2011-10-21-murderous-attack-info/

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17. skidmarx - October 22, 2011

Were the “anarcho-fascists” trying to attack the rally or trying to storm parliament? While it may have appeared to be the former to the KKE, if it were ever possible that a neutral observer might be found, they would likely conclude that the AFs were only attacking the KKE insofar as they were blocking their way, and/or pre-emptively attacking the AFs. Perhaps if it is true that the black bloc are entirely a creation of the state the former might be a feasible scenario (if it were only the black bloc involved on that side), but there is a little history of Stalinists smearing their opponents.

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18. Garibaldy - October 22, 2011

I think part of the issue in this discussion comes from looking at this event in isolation, whereas it is part of a much longer series of events going back years, if not decades. There’s a pattern of the rioters seeking to exploit mass protests called by PAME or the KKE for riots, and thus distracting from the main reason for calling the march, and of coming into conflict with the march organisers because of it. There’s also attacks on political offices etc to consider, and of course the murders of the bank workers by the anarchists last year.

On second thoughts, isolation might be the wrong word, more looking at the wrong context. Some people seem to be looking at it through the prism of events from the last century, and ignoring the events of this one. That way the KKE is assumed to be at fault, whereas it seems clear to me that it was the hooded ones who attacked the marchers rather than the other way round. Regarding EJH’s point about attacking the parliament. If people want to storm it that’s up to them. The question is why they didn’t pick the day before the protests started or the day after. They could try to do what they wanted any time, but instead the pattern seems to be to try to use a peaceful mass demonstration as cover. Why is that? The idea that the aim is to discredit the organisers of the mass demonstration seems plausible to me. So does the idea, given the history, that there are some who welcome the chance to attack PAME marchers.

I see very little reason to assume that the hooded ones are acting in good faith here, and quite a lot of reason to assume they are not.

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19. skidmarx - October 22, 2011

I would assume for the same reason that the UK Uncut protesters chose the day of a big TUC march in London in March this year to launch their action, it seems tactically sensible to do so when the police are at their most stretched.
I think there is a long and discreditable history of march organisers saying that anyone who raises different demands or even different issues is distracting from the way they wish to frame one issue, and it is they who might best be described as sectarian. [Banners proclaiming Lesbians and Gays Support The Miners spring to mind]
and of coming into conflict with the march organisers because of it.Why should there be a conflict unless the KKE has taken it upon itself to do the police’s job? I suppose if we accept your contention that there is good reason to believe that anarchists find the state less of a thing to attack that PAME marchers, but for one I just don’t find that plausible.

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WorldbyStorm - October 22, 2011

But the obvious problem with that analysis is that then the ‘anarchists’ are using the KKE/PAME marchers and in ways that could, and in this instance were, injurious to them without making any effort to see if this was what KKE/PAME marcher wanted to be involved. There may well be a degree of elitism on the part of KKE, but it’s matched or exceeded by those who would use them to provide cover for them.

As regarded the stretched police forces argument I don’t think that logically stacks up. Firstly we know that the vast bulk of marchers weren’t going to turn on the parliament even in the case of a successful ‘anarchist’ action, so the exemplary effect of such actions is minimal, secondly where else are the cops going to be on the day? Surely not up at the Acropolis…

And, as in the example of the UK riots the reality is that the forces of the state weren’t used in a totalist sense at all yet in Greece. There’s plenty more for the state to bring into play.

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Garibaldy - October 22, 2011

It might well be because the crowd offers an opportunity. But from the other point of view, at what point does a much smaller group of people consistently exploiting demonstrations for their own ends (which as often as not seem to include attacks on the organisers) stop being tactically sensible and start being designed to interfere with the aims of the marchers as much as anything else? Certainly, this is how it seems to PAME and the KKE after years of this happening. I suspect that this helps explain the attitude towards the hooded ones, but so too does the repeated experience of smoke bombing, petrol bombing etc of the marchers.

The second press statement linked in the comments above also references there being evidence that agents provocateurs are involved too. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to us that there is a great deal of hostility towards the anarchists who engage in this type of action.

I’d also say there is a qualitative difference between someone turning up with placards the organisers don’t agree with or like and what often happens at marches in Greece. These marches usually have politicall distinct blocs. The KKE, as far as I can see, does not object to there being other blocs. It does object to these blocs attacking other marchers. And rightly so.

And I suspect that many of the hooded ones do see the state and the KKE as being part of the same continuum that they seek to overthrow.

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MIchael Carley - October 22, 2011

If we accept the analogy with the TUC march this year, it might be worth looking at the tactics used. A couple of us rolled up to Fortnum and Mason’s, having heard it was occupied, just as the back of the march was passing it. I happened to know a couple of the stewards (they were from my union) and at some point, they told me that the stewards had been told by the police to pull out. When it kicked off, the usual headbangers inflicted the usual damage on the litter bins (why?) and threw one at the window of the coffee shop where I was holed up, terrifying a lady in the window who I had to get away from it.

The analogy would be this: the people who occupied Fortnum and Mason’s were `using’ the march, and the police being overstretched, but they didn’t attack stewards or marchers, had broadly the same aims, and used their different tactics without kicking off. The few who kicked off did so with no concern for anything but their own fantasies of anarchism and some dream of radical glory.

There is a difference between taking advantage of a demonstration someone else has organized, and using it for cover to do something which endangers the people involved who are, in theory, on the same side.

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20. skidmarx - October 22, 2011

The attacks of the KKE, both verbal and physical, will help to confirm the hooded ones in that view.

But from the other point of view, at what point does a much smaller group of people consistently exploiting demonstrations for their own ends (which as often as not seem to include attacks on the organisers) stop being tactically sensible and start being designed to interfere with the aims of the marchers as much as anything else?
There are some assumptions in the question I don’t have time to disentangle right now. But if the hoodies are trying to storm the parliament and the KKE and friends get in the way, then the aim of the KKE is to defend parliament against the hoodies. That doesn’t seem like a laudable aim. And if that is the essence of what is going on now, trying to frame it as the hoodies attacking the legitimate protesters seems an a priori bias no matter what has gone on before.
Sorry if this isn’t as clear a response as it might be. What I’m saying is that I’ve never met an anarchist who would think that fighting the left was more important than fighting actual fascists or the state, even if I’ve come across many who think that the left and fascists in power are no different, and so the only way I could see that they were intentionally attacking the KKE rather than it getting in the way of their attack on a state institution that it wasn’t the KKE and co.’s business to police to impose their own position on others, then the KKE must have done a lot to piss them off. But I don’t believe that is a particularly plausible scenario.

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Garibaldy - October 22, 2011

“The attacks of the KKE, both verbal and physical, will help to confirm the hooded ones in that view.”

The hooded ones, I suspect, already have that view to a great extent, as suggested by the long history of conflict here.

PAME had an organised demonstration that was already in place, and that had mobilised hundreds of thousands, if not millions, across something like 70 cities and towns across Greece. There seems to be an assumption here that it was their job to end their protest early and allow the hooded ones to do what they wanted. I’m not sure why that should be the case, especially given the history.

I’m also not really sure as to why it is that the hooded ones are not being held more to account for attacking the PAME demonstrators who were continuing with their protests which had already been going on. I find the logic behind that very hard to follow.

I think there is a bit of a problem here arguing by way of analogy with political culture in the UK or Ireland. Greek political culture is radically different. Not the least of which differences is that in Ireland in particular, many (perhaps most?) anarchists have very little in common with the approaches taken by the hooded ones, and relations between anarchism and the rest of the left are totally different to how things are in Greece.

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WorldbyStorm - October 22, 2011

I think that’s a fair point G about the distinctive political cultures here and in Greece. Greek anarchism appears to me to be positioned in a radically different place to Irish or UK anarchism. It’s not surprising, having evolved during periods of totalitarian repression this I think has led to distortions subsequently as regards their engagement with the bourgeois state. One thing that strikes me is that some anarchist formations are far too eager to use low level but indiscriminate violence, bombings, shootings which have clear collateral damage as regards bystanders etc which many leftists would find difficult to stand over.

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Tel - October 23, 2011

Seems pretty clear that from some reports this was first a conflict between the KKE and other demonstrators then a conflict between KKE and anarchists, or otherwise not just KKE versus anarchist violence and clearly it is in the interests of the KKE to claim it was a conflict between themselves and anarchists and better yet ‘anarcho-fascists’.

Also it is pretty odd that when a member of a KKE affiliated union is killed by the police the focus is on anarchists in the KKE statement.

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WorldbyStorm - October 23, 2011

But the issue is who initiated it. From my read it was the ‘other demonstrators’. Again, I still think the KKE statement was woefully misconceived in terms of the language used which while perhaps part of a Greek political discourse makes no sense at all to places like here where the histories and nature of anarchist and left forces and the relationships is quite radicallly different. But that’s doesn’t to me imply that the KKE should simply stand aside when masked forces go through them for a short cut.

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skidmarx - October 23, 2011

the KKE should simply stand aside when masked forces go through them for a short cut.
So we are accepting that the intent was to attack the parliament rather than to inflict violence on the KKE and PAME? Actually I seem to remember that there is a marxist analysis of war that says it is irrelevant who fired the first shot (obviously when the first thousand shots come from the same side conclusions can be drawn). I think it is hard to get past the point that defending themselves is an entirely legitimate activity, but those not wholly antipathetic to the other side don’t see defending the parliament building as a reasonable way to demand ownership of the protest.

Note to Garibaldy: if you still receive the Quest TV channel, you might like the re-runs of Rescue Me they are showing at 2 and 3 in the morning, an interesting deconstruction of the myth of the post 9/11 American hero.

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WorldbyStorm - October 23, 2011

With no intention of being mealy mouthed or evasive, I’m not accepting any interpretation. I don’t know the motivations at work here on the day on the ground but as we both know from protests and protesting clearly belligerent activities are even more heightened in such a context with unknowable outcomes once groups interact. There’s another point too. The distinction between those who will use minimal physical force or passive protest and those who will use almost any level of active and violent protest isn’t insignificant.

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Tel - October 24, 2011

@ WBS “But the issue is who initiated it. From my read it was the ‘other demonstrators’.”

Maybe this was the case – however most of the above discussion revolves around anarchists versus KKE (or vice versa) – (& in fact see post 21 below this) – however according to at least one post above – which hasn’t been engaged with – violence began when the we won’t pay campaign (and possibly a taxi drivers union) attempted to reach the parliament building and were at least faced with coercion by the KKE (and affiliates) – before the arrival of any anarchists on the scene – or according to the report I linked to above anarchists attacked the police and then the KKE people effectivly ran amok attacking other demonstrators indiscriminatly.

And in fact later you say “that’s doesn’t to me imply that the KKE should simply stand aside when masked forces go through them for a short cut.”

– like do we know the don’t pay campaign were masked? (though for that matter KKE people were!)

It benefits the KKE for this to be read as KKE versus anarchists because sure they are seen as head-the-balls anyways. There is no reason to assume the conflict was just KKE versus anarchists and at least two reports above suggest it was not – now those reports may be wrong – but the lack of engagement with them doesn’t show that.

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Tel - October 24, 2011

There is a statement of the we won’t pay campaign here –

http://denplirono.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/%ce%b1%ce%bd%ce%b1%ce%ba%ce%bf%ce%af%ce%bd%cf%89%cf%83%ce%b7-%cf%84%cf%89%ce%bd-%ce%b5%cf%80%ce%b9%cf%84%cf%81%ce%bf%cf%80%cf%8e%ce%bd-%ce%b1%ce%b3%cf%8e%ce%bd%ce%b1-%cf%84%ce%bf%cf%85-%ce%ba%ce%b9/

– which run through google translate seems to condem the KKE and the anarchists in equal measure –

“PAME and the Communist Party, with the usual proprietary logic, occupied by the Constitution and forbade anyone else to demonstrate the same area. Unions, political organizations, fronts, and even ordinary people were the new “enemy within” PAME, and refused to approach parliament.”

I think ‘occupied by the Constitution’ actually means occupied Constitution square.

Photos of the apparent begining of the incidents are here

http://www.tsantiri.gr/koinonia-kinimata/dite-pos-archise-i-machi-pame-koukouloforon-fotoreportaz.html

– the people with the yellow banners are we won’t pay.

It seems the area thus occupied was the normal central focus of protest i.e. the equivalent of preventing entry to Kildare street as opposed to preventing entry to the Dail grounds.

An anarchist version of reality has it that:

“Today the police forces also had good allies, the youth of PAME (KNAT). They decided to “protect the demonstration” but in reality they decided to actively POLICE THE WHOLE AREA AT THE PARLIAMENT SQUARE, exactly like the police is doing. They made cordons AT THE PERIMETER OF THE SQUARE, and not only outside the parliament and were blocking the entrance for THOUSANDS OF DEMONSTRATORS.”

from here – http://www.urban75.net/forums/threads/athens-greece-cops-murder-a-16-year-old.199718/page-38#post-10560412

The popular assembly of Syntagma Square also released a statement –

http://roarmag.org/2011/10/resolution-by-the-popular-assembly-of-syntagma-square/

(as I understand it this is the Greek wing of indignants/occupy x)

It seems there is a great deal more to this than fits the narrative of protest-hijacked-by-ultraleftist-madsers irrespective of what one thinks of the Greek anarchist movement.

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WorldbyStorm - October 24, 2011

This in a way is my problem with all of it. There are now so many competing narratives at play it’s near impossible to know precisely what has taken place. Again I would work back from a number if base positions, firstly that KKE should consider their language usage given that their statements can appear needlessly provocative to those beyond Greek left politics, secondly that there are problematics about cooption of protests by differing groups, thirdly that the heightened context of protests can lead to dismal outcomes because if the emotional and physical responses they engender.

I suspect there’s less engagement with the concept of your ‘other’ group again beyond black bloc because the various protagonists to date seem to concentrate on the initial narrative with slight embellishments.

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neilcaff - October 24, 2011

The KKE don’t give a flying fuck what others on the Left in Greece think about them never mind anyone abroad. Although I don’t like the KKE’s rampant sectarianism I DO admire, in a horrified kind of way, the fact that they are completely unapologetic about it!

Reading the Xekinima, the Greek section of the CWI, statement on what happened (or rather what my Cypriot partner translated for me) it seems they are putting the balance of blame on the Black Bloc, condemning their total contempt for basic labour movement democracy and using the march as a shield.

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21. HAL - October 23, 2011

Wait until the next protest called by PAME and we can then all judge for ourselves the actions of the Hooded ones.Anyway between now and then they are free to attack the Parliament/Police whenever they want,any bets?

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22. Jim Monaghan - October 23, 2011

I find the tone unfortunate. I have little time for Black Bloc type formations. But in Greece which is in the eye of the storm such things are to be expected. A bit like the people breaking the bounds set down by the Nicra leadership in the North. Still the KKE is flexible. Look at the statement below where they forgive a former “ultraleftist” frolm a previous era.There is a great book called “The Kapitanios” on this struggle.

http://inter.kke.gr/News/news2011/2011-10-13

The KKE do not “own” the Greek struggle. It refuse to cooperate with other forces espially thos who come from splits in the KKE.Given their history I prefer to wait before judging.

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23. popeepopt - October 24, 2011

I’ve just speed-read this thread, so apologies if it’s already been covered, but I think we should consider the strong possibility that there were significant numbers of agent-provocateurs among demonstrators. I imagine that the number one priority of internal, EU and US security interests in Greece is splitting and discrediting the anti-austerity movement.

There are well documented cases in the last major rally in Greece of groups of masked men being ushered in from behind police lines.

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24. popeepopt - October 24, 2011

With all illinformed worship of Jobs as inventor, rather than ruthless entrepreneur, the death of a far more significant architect of the information age passed almost unoticed.

Dennis Ritchie invented the C programming language and was co-creator of Unix. The former is used somewhere in just about all but the smallest devices, including all of those from Apple (which include large chunks of the latter). As someone put it, there’s more of Dennis Ritchie in the iPod than Steve Jobs.

Bell Labs at the time of these inventions operated in a way now unthinkable in its openness, and somehow these tools of Ritchie became part of the commons and will live on as his legacy. They are analogous in significance and generality to the inventions of that of Rudolf Diesel in the transport industry.

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popeepopt - October 24, 2011

And I posted this on completely the wrong thread…goodnight from Roger Irrelevant.

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WorldbyStorm - October 24, 2011

:)

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25. JW - October 27, 2011

Just one other point to respond to some comments in this thread, PAME itself didn’t organise the demonstration, it was GSEE (an umbrella like ICTU), so PAME acting the way they did is a bit like IMPACT* or something cordoning off the dail and refusing to let anyone near it.

Also, on the taxi drivers union, it seems they were not involved in the inital clashes but were fighting the Stalinists during the day, as the KKE stewards ran around beating people up. Again, I found the source, then lost it again (oops!) but I’m fairly sure it was from Athens Indymedia… bear with me!

*I chose IMPACT at random, just needed a substituent union of ICTU for the example above.

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26. Do the Greeks get it? « Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist - February 9, 2012

[...] On October 19, 2011 the KKE/PAME organized a rally in front of the parliament building that was attacked by black bloc activists. Two days later the KKE issued a statement: [...]

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