Greece: coup with a parliamentary disguise

Submitted by Matthew on 9 November, 2011 - 2:19

A militant from the Greek revolutionary socialist group OKDE in Athens spoke to Ed Maltby from Solidarity.

You call for the creation of “structures and organs of workers’ control in workplaces and neighbourhoods”. Are these things coming into being?

At the industrial level this has not gone further than simple propaganda or agitation. At the level of neighbourhoods there are a lot of popular assemblies. The number of people participating is fluctuating a lot, both for people in general and people from the left. In general the Communist Party does not participate in any of this.

These general assemblies are dealing with local problems like people not having the money to pay for electricity; as the new taxes are being applied through electricity taxes, these committees are a good front for organising resistance.

People are looking at these assemblies as a new way of expressing themselves.

For the majority of the forces participating, the assemblies are seen as strictly connected with purely social issues. They do not have a view of how to connect these struggles to the central political problems of the country. There is no governmental slogan. The attempt from us to start discussing the central political problem is being dismissed by anarchists and so on, or from the reformist left like Syriza, who are looking to solve the problem through making gains in electoral terms.

These assemblies are taking place in squares — the weather is still helpful for that — or in municipality offices.

And in workplaces?

Recently it seemed the strongest unions were being revitalised in the public sector. All the people working in the public sector were experiencing a lot of cuts, threats of layoffs, and this created strong mobilisations, to occupy the ministries and so on. But it remains weak. The control of the struggle remains in the hands of the administrative bodies — we do not have the means for control from below. It is still at the level of the first push.

There is a problem of how the overall social climate of disobedience and rebellion is translated into the workplaces.

The expression of the movement is to follow political ways rather than social ones — that is through trade unions and workplaces. There are struggles in workplaces but they do not set the tone of events.

The occupations of the ministries may be sowing something for the future — forms of struggle closer to what we would describe as workers’ control or self-management. But it would be an exaggeration to say that we are there already.

The overall feeling of the people is a general disappointment with the political situation — a lack of confidence that anyone can manage the situation. I don’t think that people have risen to the bait, despite the media propaganda, about our destruction if we leave the euro and stuff like that. The handling-from-above by the European Union is not a way out of the crisis.

We think the political crisis will grow even more acute in the next weeks. New Democracy has played its political cards and now, in coalition government, they are being asked to vote for all the emergency measures. The crisis is growing. Bonapartism is growing.

Is a military coup possible?

It is difficult to imagine that the bourgeois apparatuses, from the EU down to the military apparatus, are ready to impose such a solution. On the other hand, one must be wary of this. It is in the political logic of things.

You could say that this new coalition government is a coup with a parliamentary disguise. It makes no difference what the people want and what the people vote for. The ruling class will somehow impose this or that coalition. So it is an end for a type of bourgeois democracy even if it does not take the form of an open coup.

Are you growing?

OKDE is growing. It has not got further than the primary accumulation of forces; we are not able to play a large-scale role, and this is the key problem in which all other weaknesses of the workers’ movement converge.

There is still not a visible revolutionary tendency or a centre around which to organise. So all the rebel energy of the Greek movement, although it is creating huge political results, is undirected. The reformist left only begs for elections. We feel that the basic tendency of the far left is to start looking for “popular front solutions” with the reformist parties. But this also is not clear.

The process of the creation of the revolutionary tendency is underway. But you cannot say you are happy with this until you have managed to do it. It is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss.

• More on Greece: No to the Unity Government by Theodora Polenta.

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