“Politics needs force” – Manu Chao
Capitalism’s favorite and suitable political system is democracy. A democracy that analogically represents the society groups and always (with a magical manner) the most powerful wins. That kind of democracy is the one that flourished in the western societies, in contrast with the oligarchies and the inhuman tyrannies that have been imposed in Middle East, Africa or Asia.
The representative democracy always takes into account the economically and socially weaker groups, as long as the interests of the upper classes of the capitalist society are not offended. Of course, the generosity of the powerful of the democratic societies indicates that, in order to feel (and to be indeed) stronger, they must give a great amount of crumbs to the ones below. The hierarchy, in this way, remains well-preserved. But what happens if the lower classes in a just and democratic society demand their rights? How a mature democracy reacts to the people that go on the street to “destabilize” a well-organized democracy that is operating with the above mentioned way?
The answer is maybe well known to the majority of the peoples either in the developing countries or in the capitalistic societies of our beloved Europe: Repression. In which scale this repression appears, depends on the specific characteristics of each society, how much disintegrated or corrupted is the democratic system in operation and on the demands of the protest groups. In our case, the greek one, one should add the failure of a whole economic system that, in relation with the rotten political structures, has gotten terrible turns in an already stillborn society.
The repression can take the form of the ideological hegemony, the auto-censorship of the consciousness that is dressed with the democratic veil of our societies, and of course it takes the form of violence. Police violence can be justified with the excuse of a dangerous diversion of the democratic procedures, the protection of private property and the protection of human life! The effect of the massive movement of the Syntagma square, with the direct procedures that has adopted, the questioning of the sovereign discourse of the technocrats of capitalism and the new meaning that has been given to democracy, its functions and its targets, apparently is frightening the greek political powers, which have reacted with an iron fist.
The last days, everyone who has been in the Syntagma sq. has been a witness of a robust police force that is trying to reoccupy back the square while trying to silence the voices of the protesters that are stretching their voices out against the Medium Term Programme, imposed by the IMF and Brussels.
The terrifying austerity programme brings greek people in front of an unrepeated neoliberal dictatorship which, after all, has been presented through an economic coup. The austerity measures, which finally were voted on Wednesday, are a condition for Greece to receive the last part of the loan and a second bailout of 120 billions of euro, and in addition is a good way to make the people of Greece pay for the mismanagement and the theft created by the vast interests of the globalized financial institutions. In short, the most frustrating austerity measures of the M.T. programme are, the generalization of poverty in a bigger sector of the greek people, concerning measures about the increase of the tax factors in all the aspects of the economical life, such as, that of the petrol, electricity, and that of the general income – the taxes will now start on a 8.000 euros yearly income, as if someone can live with dignity with this amount of money.
It also concerns the rise of the taxes on all the basic nutrition products, the further reduction of the salaries and pensions and facilitates the dismissals on both the private and the state firms. The latter, gradually, will not exist anymore because the Fund for the Utilization of the State Property will be founded. This institution will take a close look on all state firms and properties and privatize them. And the austerity measures should have passed, otherwise the future of the European Union and its allies, could be under a great threat.
Consequently, the greek state chose to put under a great threat the protesters outside of the Parliament, demonstrating their repulsion against the neoliberal dictatorship, in the first two-days strike after the restoration of democracy in Greece, in 1974. The greek state chose to repress its people with the worst way, leading more than 600 protesters to the improvised clinic of the Syntagma sq. that was made in the Syntagma metro station and more than 50 of them in the Athens hospitals.
The police reacted to the anger and the slogans the people yelled, with excessive use of tear-gas – the frequency was really amazing during day and night, giving to their reaction characteristics of brutal repression that you don’t easily see in a “civilized” democratic country of the western world. Nevertheless, the “civilized” repression forces choose to use tear-gas (CS, CN) that is prohibited clearly from the 1925 Geneva Convention and was updated in 1969 during the Vietnam War and the American intervention. The Geneva Protocol banns the use of hazardous chemical gases even in the war battlefields.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the people at Syntagma sq. were treated by the police forces firstly as annoying cockroaches, but mainly as an “interior foe”. The “interior foe” dogma is not something general and abstract. It concerns the modernization of the state politics, one side of which is the militarization of the police. A lot of people don’t remember the exercises the greek army made in early February 2011, during also the Arab Spring, for the dealing and suppression of urban uprisings(1). This is, of course, not a greek individuality, but a general NATO dogma against the “interior foe”, which combines also the use of military force by the police, in emergency cases. The admission of an ex-brigadier of the greek army that the police forces (MAT) acted with a premeditated military plan for the reoccupation of the Syntagma sq. on 28 and 29 of June, is shocking(2).
The truth is, these emergency cases appear more often lately, in a global scale. The greek government has been out of legitimacy already for a long time. So it needs repression to survive. And the national salvation that it claims, is a salvation dressed in khaki colours. The suffocation caused by the tear-gas is not only a literally suffocation. It is also a symbolic one. It shows the perplexity and the state of panic that there is in the greek government and the dysfunctions of the capitalist system. The years of prosperity for the working classes and that of the wider social consensus between capital and labor, have long passed in Greece. The social struggle will now be more obvious.
(1) http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xgxv8g yyyyyyyyyyy-yyyyyy-yyyyyyyyyy news
(2) “To Pontiki” newspaper: http://topontiki.gr/article/18935