Patrice Riemens on Sun, 18 Jan 2009 17:59:55 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> What We See, What We Hope: Declaration of Solidarity with the Uprising in Greece

Bwo Multitudes-infos list/ Ben Matsas

What We See, What We Hope:

Declaration of Solidarity with the Uprising in Greece

We want first of all to say a collective yes! to the
uprising in Greece. We are artists, writers and teachers
who are connected in this moment by common friends and
commitments. We are globally dispersed and are mostly
watching, and hoping, from afar. But some of us are also
there, in Athens, and have been on the streets, have felt
the rage and the tear gas, and have glimpsed the dancing
specter of the other world that is possible. We claim no
special right to speak or be heard. Still, we have a few
things to say. For this is also a global moment for
speaking and sharing, for hoping and thinking together...

No one can doubt that the protest and occupation movement
that has spread across Greece since the police murder of
Alexis Grigoropoulos in Athens on 6 December is a social
uprising whose causes reach far deeper than the obscene
event that triggered it. The rage is real, and it is
justified. The filled streets, strikes and walk-outs, and
occupied schools, universities, union halls and television
stations have refuted early official attempts to dismiss
the social explosion as the work of a small number of
'young people' in Exarchia, Athens or elsewhere in Greece.

What remains to be seen is whether the movement now
emerging will become an effective political force, and, if
it does, whether it will be contained within a liberal reformist
horizon or will aim at a more radical social and
political transformation. If the movement takes the
liberal-reformist path, then the most to be expected will
be the replacement of one corrupt party in power by its
corrupt competitor, accompanied by a few token concessions
wrapped in the empty rhetoric of democracy. These would
almost certainly be the smoke-screen for a reactionary wave
of new repressive powers masquerading as security measures.

Only radically democratic and emancipatory demands, clearly
articulated and resolutely struggled for, could prevent
this outcome and open the space for a rupture in a
destructive global system of domination and exploitation.

As we count ourselves among those who experience this
system as the violent negation of human spirit and
potential, we could only welcome such a rupture as a
reassertion of humanity in the face of a repressive
politics of fear.

Observing events in Greece and the official and corporate
media discourse developing in response to them, we note the
emergence of what begins to looks like a new elite
consensus. The 'violent unrest' in Greece, we are told
with increasing frequency, is the revolt of the "700-Euro
generation" that is, of overeducated young people with
too few prospects of a decent position and income. The
solution, by this account, is to revitalize Greek society
through more structural adjustments to make the economy
more dynamic and efficient. Once all people are convinced
they will be welcomed and integrated into consumer reality
and rewarded with purchasing power commensurate with their
educational investment, then the conditions of this
'revolt' will have been eliminated. In short: everything
will be fine, and everyone happy, once some adjustments
have made capitalism in Greece less wasteful of its human

We have seen this strategy before, in response to the
uprisings in the suburbs of Paris and around the CPE
'reforms' in France several years ago. Indeed, since the
1960s this has been the perennial, preferred strategy of
power to all uprisings that show themselves unwilling to
disappear immediately. Its functions are crystal clear:
to channel the movement in a neutralizing liberal-reformist
direction and to provoke divisions by means of lures and
promises. Those who don?t take the bait are left isolated
and can be safely targeted for repression.

We hope those in the streets and all those who sympathize
with and support them in and outside of Greece will see
through this strategy and expose and denounce it. We?re
sure that there is much more at stake, and much more to be
imagined, hoped and struggled for, than will be on offer in
this neo-liberal sleeping pill. And we hope that, in the
space opened up by the real rage and courage of people who
have left passivity and hopelessness behind, this social
movement will now organize itself into a durable political
force capable of scorning such recuperative enticements.

In light of the above, we declare openly that:

1) We are moved by the courage and humanity of those who
have repeatedly filled the streets and are now
occupying schools and university campuses in Athens,
Thessaloniki, Patras, and cities across Greece. Our
solidarity with them will not be shaken by official
attempts to divide the movement into 'good' protesters
and 'bad'. In the face of the police murder of a 15-
year old only the most recent in a long series of
such murders by state officers ? and in the face of
the grinding inhumanity and relentless militarization
of everyday life under the capitalist war of all
against all, the destruction of private property does
not upset us. To be clear: We're not endorsing
violence blindly; in fact we are heartened to see that
actions are becoming more selective, more political,
with each day. But we know how divisive fixation on
the 'violence' of protesters can be in moments such as
these. And so we refuse to go along with attempts to
isolate certain groups. Those who play along with
that script allow themselves to be used in a way that
delivers others to direct repression.

2) We call for the immediate liberation and unconditional
amnesty for all those arrested for participating in
the uprising - more than 400 people at this writing.

3) We reject all attempts to trivialize this uprising by
reducing it to the revolt of an overeducated "700-Euro

4) We categorically reject any attempt to smear this
uprising with the label of 'terrorism'. The only
terror it is appropriate to speak of here is the
ongoing state terror inflicted on the autonomists of
Exarchia, on immigrants, on the poor and vulnerable,
and on all those who refuse to conform and submit to
the bleak and violent givens of capitalist normality.
We condemn any attempt, now or in the future, to apply
draconian 'anti-terrorism' laws and measures against
those participating in this movement.

Brett Bloom (Urbana)
Dimitris Bacharas (Athens)
Rozalinda Borcila (Chicago)
Peter Conlin (London)
Alexandros Efklidis (Thessaloniki)
Markus Euskirchen (Berlin)
Nathalie Fixon (Paris)
Bonnie Fortune (Urbana)
Kirsten Forkert (London)
John Fulljames (London)
Jack Hirschman (San Francisco)
Antoneta Kotsi (Athens)
Isabella Kounidou (Nicosia)
Henrik Lebuhn (San Francisco)
Ed Marszewski (Chicago)
Jasmin Mersmann (Berlin)
Anna Papaeti (Athens)
Csaba Polony (Oakland)
Katja Praznik (Ljubljana)
Gene Ray (Berlin)
Tamas St. Auby (Budapest)
Gregory Sholette (New York)
G.M. Tam?s (Budapest)
Flora Tsilaga (Athens)

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----- End forwarded message -----


Patrice J.H. Riemens
Case Postale 10.644
NL 1001 EP Amsterdam
(French is the official language of the International Postal union, you

Tel: +31 20 6831341 (pvt)
Fax: +31 20 6203297 (Geert)
            5255040 (InDRA/UvA)

"Je ne suis d'aucune faction et je les combattrai toutes"

                                    Louis Antonin Leonce SAINT JUST 

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