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On 19 October in tune with the 48 hours general strike huge anti-austerity protests organised by the two major trade unions GESEE and ADEDY took place in Greece. In Athens alone perhaps as many as a million people marched towards Syntagma Square expressing anger against the vote on austerity measures in Parliament. More than 10,000 police officers were deployed on the streets of Athens in order to oppress the demonstration and the demonstrators were attacked several times by riot police. On October 20 MPs were expected to finally vote for a bill which aimed to further reduce the living standards of millions of Greek workers. But on this occasion protestors were confronted with a new development. The Stalinists of PAME, who normally hold separate demonstrations in other places, were already in Syntagma Square. Many reports claim that they lined up holding sticks (some with red flags attached). They prevented other demonstrators from getting onto the pavement in front of parliament. These reports also suggest that people had to show their KKE (Greek Communist Party) or PAME (the KKE trades union) membership card to get by. At this point there was no visible police presence (they were still in vans in sidestreets). The Stalinists were about to play the role of the police, in a move which was clearly aimed to make them appear the “responsible opposition”. When some demonstrators from the liberal ‘Den Plirono’ (I don’t pay) movement realised what was going on they began to protest and moved against the PAME cordon. A Greek source tells us what happened next…
"Then blocks of anti-authoritarians arrived, as well as the Anarchists’ Assembly for Social Self-determination. Clashes erupted as protesters tried to reach the Parliament. An anarchist block attacked Stalinist lines. They confronted each other by the Great Britain Hotel in Syntagma. Police fired tear gas. The clashes were severe; flares were shot straight into the crowd. Generalized clashes between hundreds of anarchists and Stalinists in Syntagma took place; stones, bottles and flares were thrown. Protesters tried to break through PAME lines to reach the Parliament. The communists attempted a counter attack and beat up several – not only black bloc – protesters. They even “arrested” some youths and gave them to the police. Their co-operation with the state was obvious … " ( eagainst.com)
This was clearly a premeditated plan by the KKE as it was repeated in less dramatic form elsewhere in Greece. In Ioannina, PAME threatened and beat up protesters who were opposed to them and who had to reach government buildings. On Crete, members of KNE (the youth wing of the Communist Party) threatened protesters with sticks, outside the city hall. In the course of the demonstration a PAME member, Dmitiris Kotzaridis, died due apparently to inhaling police teargas (he had a history of respiratory problems). This did not stop the KKE from claiming he had died as a result of a blow to the head from a rival demonstrator. Indeed their own press release about the incident is chillingly reminiscent of the sort of Stalinist propaganda that accompanied the Show Trials and the way the Stalinists operated in Spain in the 1930s.
Statement of the Press Office [of the KKE — ed.] concerning the organized murderous assault against PAME’s rally in Syntagma and the death of the Trade Unionist of PAME Dimitris Kotzaridis. On this occasion organized groups with specific orders and anarcho-fascists unleashed an attack with Molotov cocktails, teargas, stun grenades and stones, in attempt to disperse the majestic rally of workers and people in Syntagma Square and especially in the area where PAME was concentrated. … The hatred of the hooded ones against the labour and popular movement and PAME expresses the fury of the forces which serve the system and bourgeois power. The government has massive responsibilities for this.
“Anarcho-fascists” has chilling echoes of Vyshinsky’s demands for “Death to the Trotskyist-fascists” in the Show Trials. A couple of years ago the KKE got some kudos for putting up a banner “Peoples of Europe Rise Up” on the Acropolis (why not “workers of Europe rise up”? we asked) and have sent missions round Europe to put their case. The evidence demonstrates that this case is the reactionary one. Defending the bourgeois state comes as a norm for these Stalinists who are communist in name only. On the other hand the individualistic and anonymous antics of the black bloc play into the hands of the state’s “democratic game” [which includes the KKE] just as they did in Rome on October 15 (see page 7). It is not the way to widen class consciousness. In the meantime the internecine warfare amongst the protestors provoked by the KKE has enormously strengthened the austerity drive of the Greek state …
The Internationalist Communist Tendency
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