THE DECEMBER REVOLT IN GREECE
A brief history
On December 6, 2008, police officer Epameinondas Korkoneas murdered the 15-year-old pupil Alexandros Grigoropoulos in cold blood. During the same night, massive riots broke out in many greek cities. What had begun was a genuine riot, the greatest since the change-over of 1974. The following days saw attacks on police departments taking place in most cities, towns, even on remote islands. The protests, public building occupations, and the conflicts with the police continued until Christmas. In Athens, Thessaloniki, and in more than 30 cities, hundreds of banks, shops as well as dozens of police cars sustained severe damage.
Hundreds of thousands of people took part in the revolt, for the most part the young especially pupils and students. Others came from a broad range of workers, the unemployed, and the 'employable' with the second generation immigrants having a prominent presence. The organizations and parties of the Left were also actively involved in the revolt (except the Communist Party that denounced it) whereas the anarchists played a leading role in the conflicts with the police.
Causes and characteristics of the revolt
Long before December, a decline of the influence of the Conservative government, acompanied with an unprecedented distrust in the two-party political system (Nea Dimokratia and PASOK), as well as a widespread, contradictory social discontent, charged with intense radical elements, became evident. In combination with the large mobilisations of the past years, mainly the movement in defense of public education, spring 2007, and the continuous, spirited activity of the anti-globalization movement (Genova 2001, greek EU presidency, protests against the war on Iraq 2003 and the 4th European Social Forum in Athens in 2006 being its most important landmarks) shaped the "subjective" preconditions for the December Revolt.
Although the revolt failed to dislodge tge government, and did not manage to penetrate the workplaces - and this, combined with social-liberal PASOK and syndicalist beaurocracy's conscious choice to support the government and the system, resulted in the Movement's confinement in the streets - it is beyond doubt that the revolt highlighted a new social potential, it put on the map forms of struggle and concepts that only a revolt can bring to surface. The murderous acid attempt against the immigrant syndicalist worker Constantina Kuneva by employers' instruments in late December, sparked off an extraordinary movement of resistance and solidarity that still resonates.
Soon after Christmas, the government, the state political staff, and the mass media launched a fierce counter-attack. Fearing that the antisocial politics of this government, and the worsening of the crisis will result in a new December, they targeted against the potential for upheaval and the political spaces that support it. This involved an unforeseen campaign of ideological terror and preemptive repression: They threaten to abolish the university asylum, while they legislate for the criminalization of concealment of face features and insulting of authority and further establish police impunity.
In this respect, on 24/2 "unidentified" (parastatal fascists) launched a grenade attack against the Immigrants' Haunt in Athens, that houses the Network offices. It was pure luck, that the grenade did not go off inside the Haunt but in a garden stand outside, causing large damage. The government and police kept silent, while for the mass media this attack does not constitute "news".
As of today, over 20 protesters that had been arrested in December remain in prison. A number of them have been charged under the anti-terrorist act. We believe that the struggle for their immediate release together with the mobilization against terror-hysteria and the intensification of the state repression are the most urgent priorities of the movement.
NETWORK FOR POLITICAL AND SOCIAL RIGHTS