by Greek Socialist Panos Garganas
The anger that exploded in Greece following the police killing of 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos is still raging.
Workers’ strikes, student occupations, walkouts by school students, mass demonstrations and clashes with the police are intensifying the pressure on the right wing New Democracy government.
The shooting of Alexandros on Saturday 6 December has become a focus for all the discontent in Greek society – over job cuts, low wages and lack of opportunities.
Instead of dying down, as the government had hoped, the revolt has instead taken on a more organised form.
Teachers struck on Tuesday of last week over the killing, as Alexandros’s funeral took place. Thousands of school students also demonstrated.
A general strike of workers over the government’s austerity budget plans shook the country the following day.
Trade union leaders cancelled a march that was to take place in the centre of Athens and held a rally instead. But the Anti-Capitalist Left coalition went ahead with the march.
And it was massive – with several thousand joining it. The march reinforced the feeling that it is possible to act and to demonstrate – and that we will not let the police teargas us off the streets.
Many students refused to go to school the next day. They marched to the local police stations and attacked them.
When the police fought back, local people intervened on the side of the students to help chase the police away.
A coordinating meeting of university students has called for a day of action and national demonstration on Thursday of this week. It also urged the unions to call a new strike.
Hospital workers are already planning to strike on that day against cuts and privatisation, and the teachers’ union is also expected to join the action.
The Greek TUC has called a demonstration outside parliament for Friday of this week, as that is the day of the budget debate.
The following day there will be an anti-racist demonstration against recent attacks on Pakistani immigrants.
While things may calm down over the Christmas period as schools and universities are closed, there are signs that the movement will re-emerge in the new year.
There is already a day of action planned for 12 January, when teachers will commemorate a colleague killed by right wing thugs during a wave of industrial action in 1991. The day will also now be used to remember Alexandros.
The revolt has intensified the government’s crisis. Its support is plummeting, with polls showing it trailing the centre left Pasok by 5 to 7 percent.
But the parliamentary left is in disarray. The Anti-Capitalist Left has argued that the riots should turn into an organised movement that could then overthrow the government.
The first part of this has happened. Now many people are pushing for the second part to take place.
There is a massive feeling in society that the government must go. So there is a big opportunity for the radical left—and we are trying our best to grasp it.
The solidarity protests across the world have shown us that we are not alone. People around the world should continue to stand with the uprising in Greece.
The following should be read alongside this article: » Greece in revolt» Voices from the Greek struggle» 1973: the student uprising that drove out the colonels in Greece
Panos Garganas is the editor of Workers’ Solidarity, a Greek revolutionary socialist newspaper.