Friday, 12 December 2008

Who has been protesting, how and why?


The night of the boy's murder the anarchists of Exarhia started the protest, but also residents and passers-by.

People on the streets in the past days:

- Anarchist and Leftist groups routinely protesting about the injustice of the capitalist system. Obviously this was one of the times of the largest mobilisation and organisation of the members. They believe in symbolic violence and in injuring the system at its heart (government buildings, banks, chain stores).

- 'Simple people', who have nothing to do with politics. You can see various gradations there:
Those who share a left wing ideology but have not been actively involved in any political group, for various reasons including that they couldn't be bothered or that they saw that political parties and other groups may be using their base for political/personal benefits. Those who have not worked out quite clearly the interconnections of the system but acknowledge that the event was not an isolated incident but reflects the inherent violence of the police as an institution, the lack of control over the police to restrict its power abuse, and the necessity of fascist ideologies for a body like the police to justify its existence to itself and work. Those who don't even go that far, but still believe that the event indicates criminal inefficiency in the lack of training of and control over the Greek police - even upper middle class citizens have seen that this has caused the death of 'one of their own', they have seen the very state of affairs that has been benefiting them and generating their profits can get out of hand and turn against them.

- Students and young people belonging to any of the above categories, with the additional outrage for being handed over this mess to deal with for the rest of their lives.

- Pupils - here I'm not sure to what extent full-blown ideologies are a mobilising force, when it comes to socio-economic fineties, but I daresay most of even the youngest get the message. Even the most politically uninitiated ones cringe (or rather, throw stones) at the idea that 'talking back to a cop' can cost them their lives, despite their young age and altough they may 'have done nothing wrong' whatsoever.

- Party political groups. Anybody not voting for the goverment had already gathered resentment which turned into anger. However, I would not say that any of these voters went on the srteets completly indifferent to emotion and with the sole purpose of changing government - with the exception of party political leaderships (who can afford to be guarded by said police), I want to believe that they too share the rage across party lines. Interesting is the case of the Communist Party, which seemed to resent that this is not 'their' protest, tried to appropriate it and 4 days after the beginning of the protests conflicts took place belween Communist Party youths and other leftist.anarchist groups. Communist party members and anarchists have long term rivalry - this is not the time for it.

On the other side you have the police (special forces), fascist groups, plain clothes policemen and provocateurs. A Facebook group was created entitled 'Honour and golory to the cop who killed the anarchist'. It was reported so much that by Tuesday 8 Dec. it was closed.

Of all the categories the most interesting ones are the people who would not otherwise participate. They have very different backgrounds, have all been united by the rage for the death of the young boy but may have quite different agendas. A spark was all it took to light the fire, but how long will it keep burning (and to what end)?

No comments: