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Violent Dissent in Greece

November 20, 2009

by Alexandros Stavrakas
from The Guardian

In a few weeks, Greece will commemorate the “December events”, which began last year when a police officer killed a young boy in Exarhia, an area that’s been described as a semi-ghetto of leftist dissidents and anarchists in the centre of Athens. Following this event, weeks of protests ensued and from there began a trajectory of decline on many levels of society, which ended with the fall of the undoubtedly inadequate government. Then, just three weeks on from the victorious election of a new government, and a wave of grassroots terrorism was making headlines. This was, apparently, unprecedented: it is said that never before had there been a substantial wave of terrorist activities during the honeymoon of a new government.

And, yet, there is nothing really surprising about it. For, despite their – quite substantial – differences, the terrorists, smaller parties, a large number of political analysts, and an even larger number of intellectuals, all agree: nothing has really changed. Neo-liberalism and capitalism are here to stay. The only promise that the new government seems to bring is that it will have a human face. Far from being a bombastic cliche, this, of course, translates into policies: a larger welfare state, more justice, less privileges for the privileged, fairer distribution of wealth etc. But instead of a friendly version of an explicitly exploitative and fundamentally unjust system, the radical left wants to negotiate the system itself. more

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