Not everyone will swallow the discourse of austerity, of “tighten your belt” and shit out your soul, delivered from on high (EU, etc.), with rude tonalities of necessity and no alternative.
It matters now, in the pitiless relation of forces, what kind of Left remains – if any remains. No one is fond of the parties and unions, and only fools give them blind trust. But those were the basis for organized self-defense. Where they have been crushed or corrupted into their unprincipled opposite, the working classes exist as object of exploitation but no longer as political force.
Of course movements can be organized again from scratch, outside the old structures – but then, where are they, and who, if not us, would need to do this work?
In Greece, where more than in most countries remnants of an organized Left persist, alongside a robust autonomist culture, resistance to austerity measures is also stronger and more explosive. (This is partly what is meant when Euro politicians talk condescendingly of Greek “backwardness.”)
The austerity package just passed by Parliament was the work of the ruling “socialist” PASOK party and supported only by the far-right LAOS. The rightwing party New Democracy and SYRIZA, the Radical Left Coalition, voted against it, while the Communist KKE boycotted the vote.
On the day the measures passed (5 March) the main unions went out on strike and rallied outside, the communist PAME in the morning and the GSEE and public-sector ADEDY in the afternoon.
In the demos, 87-year old Manolis Glezos was tear-gassed in the face by riot cops -- near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
In 1941, during the Nazi occupation, Glezos and Apostolos Santas climbed the Acropolis and tore down the swastika flying there. For that act of defiance, they tortured him. He was imprisoned again during the Civil War and again under Papadopoulos and the Colonels.
Glezos was hospitalized for respiratory problems.