A collective text on the events of October 20th in Athens.
Popular revolts and dentist appointments (or, what to do in the case of Stalinist betrayal?)
In the past few days we have struggled to put together thoughts on what unfolded before our eyes in Syntagma on October 20th – let alone to put pen to paper. Sure, we had heard all about the notorious, dark stories of betrayal of the all-encompassing Party of the Left here in Greece. The dark stain of Varkiza, a pen stroke selling off the hopes of thousands while safeguarding the Party elite. The outright lies about the Polytechnic uprising of 1973, an uprising the Party had failed to control – beyond any doubt, then, it must have been provocateurs behind it. The storming of the Chemistry School in 1979, the Party youth lined up in military formations, following orders directly from the police. Or again in 1998, when their co-operation led to the arrest of nearly 200 anarchists. Sure, the events are reiterated and narrated over and over, having by now gained a formidable place into our collective consciousness, inscribed deep in our feelings and our attitude toward this mountainous rock – both in its size and sturdiness – of the Greek Left, the KKE.
And yet, living through history played out on the streets has something of a chilling effect upon you. Seeing the front lines of PAME (the union front of KKE) chain up in front of us, turning their backs to the Parliament left us, like thousand others, jaw-dropped. It wouldn’t take a futurologist to predict what was to happen next. “People beware, they’ll betray you in Varkiza once again” – the chant could only be an oral prelude to a huge mess.
We will never get ourselves to support the hurdling of molotov cocktails into a crowd of demonstrators, even if this crowd was strictly following Party orders to safeguard the Parliamentary Junta we are faced with. Molotovs that were thrown with explosives inside them, not all aimed at the front-line of PAME, but some landing deep inside its demonstration. We are historical subjects, shaped by the times that we live in – and to read the wild Athenian youth that has swiftly emerged in the streets as an army of “provocateurs” can only support the KKE’s conspiratorial reading of history (this time round, sadly, joined by a large section of the other Parties of the Left). And yet we are also potentially revolutionary subjects – or so we claim to be: sure, the KKE suffered its largest defeat on the streets in decades, most possibly a proof of how out of touch it has been with the the sweeping pace of change in the dynamics of the Athens streets in the past months, weeks and days. But what does that leave us with? Is this really a victory? In terms of communicating a message, only too many are happy to believe, it seems, that the thousands that lined up in front of the lines of PAME last Thursday were “police provocateurs” or “hooligans”. Worse even, the largest part of the Left kept reiterating the tired claim of a people “unprepared”, “unready” for storming Parliament – in order to justify its own pathetic unwillingness to break through the red lines of democratic consensus. It went as far as making the ludicrous claim that no “Parliament storming” had been scheduled for the day, and so the KKE was not defending the parliament building, only its own demonstration….
… The ideological deficit of the wider Left renders them irrelevant in the current process of political and historical making. Not least because of their religious obsession with the coming of a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, a future day of liberation, PAME folk, must remain unrestrained from carrying out their revolutionary agency, protect the Parliament, until the Holy Day comes when the proletariat rein. Nothing must come in their way, no deviation from the mapped route. Using false dilemmas about ‘violent demonstrators against non-violent protectors of democracy’ KKE are forever trying to convince us all that the act of revolution belongs to some narrowly defined social class, who use non-violent methods to overthrow capitalism. Yet revolts, let alone revolutions, are not time-scheduled – never have been, never will be – this is not dentist appointments we are talking about. And still (just like dentist appointments) these are inherently violent; anyone claiming that radical change can come without violence are either deceiving themselves or trying to deceive and to pacify those around them.
At a time when the people of Athens are reaching the tipping point of seeing a revolutionary break-through in their hearts and in their minds, any act preventing people from realizing their revolutionary potential is a major act of historical betrayal. We stand firmly against the Parliamentary Junta, the plexus of Power in the Greek territory and far beyond it. We are using our revolutionary agency to fight in the streets. We are using our revolutionary spirit to imagine different escape routes from the parliamentary nightmare.