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Commentary on the outcome of the Greek elections by the Blockupy Coordinating Committee; February 1st, 2015
We have waited far too long for the ECB to announce the date of the festive non/opening of their new headquarters. During this time we have asked ourselves whether we’ve repeated a mistake from the anti-globalization movement: making ourselves dependent on the agenda and calendars of the rulers. Now we can say: that mistake was our lucky break.
Because something has happened. The Greek population did not accept what was considered to be without alternative. They have taken their crisis – the crisis of daily life, of healthcare, of refugees and migrants, of the working and unemployed, of schools and families – back to where it came from: to the German Europe of the Troika, of the austerity mandate, and of exclusion. They did not give in nor resign after the embittered defensive struggles of past years. We want to say this without pathos: We bow down before this resolve and rebellion, before the stamina and the hope that comes from it.
March 18th is our opportunity and simultaneously our responsibility to form our own response. In Frankfurt, Germany. In front the ECB and with our friends from all over Europe and beyond. This is also why we “invented” Blockupy 2012, firmly held onto it, and developed it into a transnational space that also operates in Frankfurt, in Germany.
We are also saying this because we don’t want to have false hopes about what was made possible by the elections in Greece. You can’t just vote crisis capitalism out of office. A different, better world won’t be introduced through a cabinet decision but rather through the deconstruction of a democracy from below and across all borders. This is why we aren’t placing ourselves on the side of some government project. That is not our question; that is not our task. We are on the side of the solidly united, fighting people in Greece and of the societal leftists.
But as long as the new government carries their fight into the European institutions as opposed to passing the constraints of austerity on to its own people, there is a chance for all of us. Yes, this opens up the space for a new quality of political debate around the crisis regime and neoliberalism and sets in motion a domino-effect in Spain, Italy, and elsewhere. The opening of this sort of political corridor is what everyone is now expecting from Syriza – and it’s what Syriza will have to measure itself against in the future.
Of course this also applies to all the other struggles in Greek society: those of the migrants, the LGBT community, the anti-fascists, and the activists against forced evictions, privatizations and destructive large-scale projects.
However, we should not fall back into the old way of thinking of a main contradiction, especially in light of the coalition with right-wing populist ANEL. The opportunity of the Greek elections will not only be gauged by the government’s dealing with the Troika’s restrictions, but equally by their relationship to the questions from the left-wing movement. Social doesn’t work as national, patriarchal, homophobic, anti-Semitic, or racist. We know that the decision for ANEL was meant to be a tactical one. We also know that Syriza’s work, like the solidly united, anti-racist movements, has been a stronghold against right-wing populism and fascism in Greece. Nevertheless, the decision for ANEL clearly shows what little leeway the political situation offers and what constraints are inherent in governmental work. This is also why we must keep discussing and arguing with each other; there is no need for unconditional solidarity. At the same time we shouldn’t forget that it’s in the practical arguments where controversies can become productive.
Avoiding submission under the constraints of government and party politics is only possible with a strong, independent left-wing movement. Political progress can only be achieved where it is already a social reality. The development in Athens has made clear that there needs to be patience and attention at every position, there needs to be self-organized projects to create hope and revolutionize society.
The situation that has emerged in Greece cannot be revoked with reference to ANEL and the government coalition. It goes beyond the question of parties and governments and its venue is once again Europe. The question that has burst open for everyone here in Germany is whether or not one stays on the side of the crisis regime, or moves to the side of those who are daily victims. Many within the German media – all the way into the left-wing, liberal milieu – have already begun to clearly position themselves against “those insolent Greeks.” And less surprising: Brussels and Berlin are showing their teeth – not only in the direction of Greece but to all the corners of Europe that have recently made their move.
We also need to make a move. On March 18th we can take to the streets and clearly show that resistance to the unreasonable demands of the crises regime is more necessary than ever before; that we can recognize ourselves in the struggles of the Greek movements for a better life for everyone. In doing so, we will actively position ourselves against all nationalistic and racist actors. We need to make the protests in Frankfurt on March 18th large, not just because the ECB in Frankfurt stands for the reign of the European elites, but because the crisis is also taking place here [in Germany] and there is no alternative. We are taking on the challenge. Now.