Resources for Understanding the Crisis in Greece

by Matt

November 8, 2011

The crisis in Greece leaps from one crumbling precipice to another. The situation changes from hour to hour. This week’s attempted capitalist coup, where all of the capitalist parties are to unite in government to prevent the Greek people from having a possibility of rejecting the savage austerity about to be imposed, shows just how unstable Greek society has become. A crisis of legitimacy has engulfed all of the traditional parties and organizations.

The Greek working class is inspiringly militant and creative; young folks in Greece rose in rebellion for weeks in December, 2008 over the cop killing of Alexis Grigoropoulos. That generation is now facing the most dramatic political and economic crisis in many decades. Greece is the sight of a real class war; if the Greek working class is forced to succumb to the austerity imposed upon it, it is hard to imagine any working class being able to resist the ruling class assault.

If you are like me, following Greek strikes and street actions has become routine these last few years and nothing warms your heart more than to catch a glimpse of Loukanikos, the Riot Dog, darting through tear gas to safety on the television news. If you are like me, you are constantly trying to figure out who is who politically and organizationally and without much luck at that. There is a bewildering array of organizations and coalitions and just what the politics and alignments are at any given time is sometimes hard to judge without reading Greek (difficult even if you do speak Greek, I imagine). If this week shows anything, it is that the machinations of the capitalist parties in Greece are even more Byzantine.

In the hope of coming to some grip on the situation, here are a selection of links to Greek leftist political and workers organizations followed by links to blogs and other news sources in English. Not all of the organizational links have English language pages, but many do and are all worth checking out for the flavor of the situation. If you know of other good links or information please post them in the comments.

The videos are all really informative, give great background, context and flavor and are in English as well.

Leftist Parties and Workers Organizations

The Front of the Greek Anti-Capitalist Left (ANTARSYA)- the acronym means ‘mutiny’- received 96,959 votes or 1.80% in the 2010 regional elections. Its constituent organizations include:

The Coalition of the Radical Left (ΣΥΡΙΖΑ or SYRIZA) won a seat in the European Parliament in 2009 receiving 240,898 votes or 4.70%. That same year SYRIZA won 315,627 (4.60%) votes for Greek Parliament taking 13 seats (now down to nine due to four defections). It formed in 2004 and includes:

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) If anyone deserves the title of Stalinist it is these unreconstrcuted folks. A major force in Greek politics they are the initiators of PAME All-Workers Militant Front union which has a lot of English resources. In the 2009 European Parliament vote they won 425,96 (8.35%) and 2 legislators. The same year they won 517,154 for Greek Parliament (7.54%) and 21 seats.

Fighting Socialist Party of Greece (ASKE) Are ex-PASOK, in the 2004 European elections ASKE won 11,598.

The Workers Revolutionary Party (EEK) is from a Totskyist tradition with many English language texts.

In addition to PAME, with 400,000 members, large trade union federations include: General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) with 400,000 members, the traditional union federation founded in 1918. Government workers are organized into the The Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY).

Blogs and News

Along with the above organizational sties there are a number of places I go to for news and opinion. Here is just a sampling of blogs or news sites that have covered Greece either exclusively or in part. These sites are also entirely, or in large part, English language sites.

Varoufakis Yanis is a professor of political economy at the University of Athens and a well known commentator with some valuable on-the-scene insights.

Reflection on a Revolution has become an indispensable resource on the situation of Europe since it came onto the scene a couple of years ago. Jérôme E. Roos, in particular, has a focus on the Greek crisis in relationship to the European crisis.

International Viewpoint has a lot of Greek coverage, including translations into English of statements and perspectives of Greek revolutionaries.

The Greek Crisis is a nice aggregate of the English language bourgeois news and commentary on the crisis. For in-depth thinking of the enemy there is no better place than the Financial Times’ special Greek Debt Crisis page.

Always excellent, The Real News has had extensive video coverage of the European debt crisis and the working class response. Some of the best interviews on the subject can be found right here.

Indymedia Athens has been one of the best Indymedia sites for many years. Anarchist in perspective, this is where I go for on the ground multimedia from the strikes and street demos in Greece.

Michael Hudson is a well known, and politically eccentric, economist and commentator on the international debt crisis.

And finally, type ‘Greece’ into the search tab on the top right of this page!


2 responses to “Resources for Understanding the Crisis in Greece”

  1. Andrew Avatar

    This is great, I don’t know of anything else like it!

    I have to admit, you really won me over by featuring the infamous riot dog.

  2. kate griffiths-dingani Avatar
    kate griffiths-dingani

    Great list! This is what webzines are made for. Thanks–I hope i get time to browse these links tonight.