19 & 20 October 2011 Athens, Greece
Scenes from the largest general strike that took place in Greece in the last decades. Over a million people filled the streets demanding the overthrow of the goverment and its austerity measures.
camera: KyrBanos, Mina X.
editing: Stelios Mich, Alex Mar
subtitles: Costas Tod.
additional footage: Real Democracy, NewsIt, anwnymos30, narvideos, eossyriza, perseus999, papakiteliagr (youtube users)
article from the english newspaper Socialist Worker:
"Greece's 48-hour strike on 19-20 October was the biggest success for the workers' movement here in decades (Socialist Worker, 29 October).
It was more than a general strike—it had elements of a mass strike. A million people marched through the streets while dozens of ministries and public buildings were occupied.
Despite this, friends and comrades living abroad tell me that the foreign media coverage of the Greek strikes has focused on clashes at Syntagma Square outside the parliament building.
The Greek media has attempted to play a similar game. On previous strike days they focused on clashes between riot police and demonstrators. This time they used the fights between anarchist groups and the Communist Party (KKE) contingent.
It is important to understand the context of the clashes. On the second day of the strike the KKE decided to participate in the demo in front of the parliament instead of staging separate protests in other parts of the city.
This is the first time in a decade that the KKE has joined the wider movement. The Communists have also adopted the slogans of the anti-capitalist left, such as "Stop paying—cancel the debt" and "Down with the government". This shift has to be credited as a political victory for the workers' movement and the anti-capitalists.
Despite this, the way the KKE chose to encircle parliament angered many demonstrators, who felt that they were being blocked from reaching their usual assembly point. Massive blocks of striking refuse collectors and nurses came face to face with KKE stewards, exchanging political slogans.
The situation was picked up by the media and the government, which tried to paint it as the Communists "protecting the parliament". This was a dirty lie—the KKE contingent were demonstrating just like everybody else.
Some anarchist groups, totally unaware of all this, channelled their anger against the KKE demonstration. They started pelting stones at KKE stewards, and went on throwing bottles and firebombs at anyone demonstrating behind the KKE cordon.
It was a disgrace to use this kind of violence on strikers, no matter what the political differences between us. But the day was also a blow to KKE claims that their macho stewards are the best protection for every demonstration.
Instead of protecting the demonstration, the police took advantage of the clashes to tear-gas the lot of us. A Communist Party militant died as a result of this police violence.
This episode must be a lesson for the most militant sections of our movement. Violence between sections of the movement is not helpful. Let's keep the focus of our anger on our enemies—the capitalists and the state.
Nikos Lountos, Athens, Greece"