An International Day of Solidarity is being called for January 23, 2009, for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the Greek Anarchists and other anti-authoritarian activists in Greece. There are many overlaps between these two struggles, and those similarities are explored below. The date of the demonstration is to also commemorate the anniversary of the Riots in the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland, during the period of Nazi Germany (1943), where 70,000 Jewish people took this city back, and held it for a long time before the Germans took over. The date and the atrocities exposed in this article are highly ironic, given that the Jewish people of Israeli have experienced a genocide of their own: the Holocaust.
On Saturday, December 6, a 16 year old activist in Athens, Greece was shot
and killed by the police. He is only one of many other
demonstrators that have been killed by the state. In an effort to take
back their lives, anarchists and anti-authoritarian activists have been demonstrating in Athens;
most notably with the occupation of the Polytechnic Institute. The
Economic and Law schools are also being occupied. Banks and poice stations
are also reported to be held to some extent by the
protesters. Riots have broken out in neighborhoods all over Athens, as well as many other
cities in Greece, in an effort to protest the deprivation in the lives
of the people of Greece under an unfettered, free-market, Capitalist government.
Greek anarchists and activists are attacking police stations and public offices (even the Parliament)
in at least a dozen cities. Using home-made petrol bombs, they are destroying property of the people
in power and are being falsely accused of being "violent" as a result.
These educated and dedicated organizers are also being misdescribed as
"angry youth." There are also many strikes being carried out by unions. Ministers have taken
hundreds of dollars away from the people while lining their own pockets.
People are struggling in Greece to pay their bills. Youth who can't afford to
study abroad get lousy tuition to a Greek University, and few chances
of getting a job. Unemployment for graduates is now at 21%, compared
to 8% for the population as a whole. That unemployment rate is going to
get higher as this "global recession" continues for *all* of us. The Greek people have been complaining for years that their DUOPOLY(family-based) government does not represent the people.
The wages/rates are not compatible with quality of life and sustaining a living.
Politicians priorities are corrupt for the elite top rung of society with nothing for the masses that are living in abject poverty.
Protests are also now happening in the Gaza Strip. Palestinians there are trying to fight back against the "settlers" in Southern Israel, who are (with the help of their right-wing Prime Minister) bombing them and have already killed more than 700 Palestinians with air raids that began on December 25, and a "ground offensive" by Israel that just started on Saturday, January 3rd. As usual, the Palestinians are fighting back with whatever small-scale weapons available to them: including home-made "rockets" that have killed no more than 5 Israelis during this entire war perpetuated by Israel against them. Israel is air-bombing towns and cities across the Gaza Strip, and has virtually destroyed its infrastructure, rendering the Gaza Strip depleted of electricity, water and medicine. They are out to destroy the infrastructure created by the Palestinians, as well as the Palestinians themselves.
The United States has supplied Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with the weapons to pull off this genocide against the Palestinians. The Israeli soliers have actually been *applauding* when they hear a new airstrike in the Gaza Strip. And now they are using United States manufactured and donated tanks and other weaponry for the "land offensive" against the remaining Palestinians. The home-made "rockets" that have been launched by Hamas and other resistance parties in the Gaza Strip have destroyed almost entirely *property,* not people. They are trying to fight against the violent infringement of their land by the so-called "settlers" from Israel. In this regard, the Palestinians are somewhat similar to the activists and anarchists in Greece right now, who are simply fed up living under circumstances of abject poverty, intimidation, and violence by the state of Greece. They are also ready to take extreme actions to end this, and they are entirely destroying property, not people, in their efforts.
Interestingly, the Israeli's interest in the Gaza Strip is similar to the corrupt government in Greece. Control and ownership of the strategic gas reserves off the Gaza coastline are currently owned by a British corporation (BG Group) and a Greek corporation called “Consolidated Contracts International Co.” The deal they made with the Israelis and their “acceptable” representative of the Palestinians, the “Palestinian Authority,” gives these two corporations a 25 year agreement for oil and gas exploration rights beginning in November, 1999. However, Israel could not settle for this; they decided to transfer ALL of the control over the sale of oil and natural gas to themselves. So, after they had planned the “offensive” over the Gaza Strip, they held “negotiations” with BG to channel an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Asukelon. The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel, in violation (once again) of International Law.
In destroying the infrastructure and the people who live in the Gaza Strip, Israel has much to gain by gaining all of the rights to Palestine's offshore drilling rigs. They have already destroyed much of the small amount of land referred to as the “Gaza Strip,” and they have killed off many of the people who used to live there (a tremendous amount of which are actually children). All this was planned months in advance, and the ultimate goal is to gain the rights to the offshore rigs, a pipeline, and the oil produced. People in Israel already have a higher standard of living than people in the United States, yet they keep pushing the Palestinians into more and more densely populated places, like the so-called “refugee camps,” which are more like concentration camps given that the people there have no water, no food, no electricity, or medical resources. There is nowhere to flee, and these people are simply just waiting to die due to the Israeli offensive.
Sounds a lot like the Holocaust. But this time the “jews” are the Palestinians. And the global situation is different: the United States has a big stake in maintaining Israel as an ally. Israel is the only ally the US has in the middle east. So no military coalition is able to come in and rescue the dying and injured Palestinians, unlike when the U.S. Military and “Allied Forces” liberated the concentration camps toward the end of World War II in Germany. Any effort by the US to save the Palestinians from the genocide Israel has in store for them would require an entirely new global economic policy. This would require taking on the Military-Industrial Complex, which is exactly what we (as conscientious objectors and protesters) need to do.
In making these comparisons, I am not saying that Hamas is akin to the Greek anarchists. Hamas is poised to *kill* any Israelis that try to take over the Gaza Strip. There are other Palestinian resistance parties, and Greek anarchists and anti-authoritarians do not have such a violent agenda; they rather seize the property of those in control, who are perpetuating a very oppressive reality for the people in Greece. Occasionally riot police who are trying to destroy them get injured. We need to march in Solidarity with both the Greek anarchists and anti-authoritarians and the Palestinians, who have both lived under a terribly controlling and violent regime for so many years. The situation in the Gaza Strip, as well as the West Bank, is extremely violent, and keeps getting worse. One of the Palestinian children killed by the Israeli soldiers was *decapitated* by a bomb. And now that the "land offensive" has started, who knows what will happen.
Just as in Greece, protests in Palestine are being broken apart by police brutality, bullets, and arrests. But unlike in Greece, people who want to flee and hide from this violence are also dying from US supplied weaponry. This is, without question, an attempt at *genocide* of the Palestinians. This brings us to the proposed date for this Solidarity March with the Palestinians and the Greek Anarchists and Anti-Authoritarians. January 23rd, 1943, marks an important vicotry by the Jewish people against genocide of the Jews by the Nazis. The Israeli attempt at genocide against the Palestinians is unbelievable given their own history. The people in the Warsaw Ghetto, like the Palestinians in Gaza Strip and the Greek Anarchists and Anti-Authoritarians, were and are incredibly brave, and committed to freedom, equality and democracy for everyone. We should all be inspired and eventually we will also need such bravery to fight our own battles against the ugly realities of imperialism, capitalism, and the global recession, which will leave the majority of people in the *entire* world unemployed and in poverty.
Economic problems and rising awareness that corporations are actually running everything has motivated unions and others interested in change from the current global economic policy to a whole new system. By marching in solidarity with these people, we are making a lot of statements about the power of the grassroots organizations to make change in an insidious system where multinational corporations and banks are in control, and they are making the lives of people everywhere more miserable every day. Politicians are unable to challenge the corporations, for a variety of reasons. Authentic change has always come from the people who are oppressed challenging those in power. It may not be what we learn in our US History books in high school, but try reading Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States for proof of this reality. We have got to get organized as the “rank and file” service workers, unions, African-Americans, the homeless, the laid off workers, other people of color, immigrants and people already doing activist work band together to expose things like bank “bailouts,” consequential theft of wages, as well as all the other crimes against humanity and the earth perpetuated by corporations and their current rule over the earth.
This is happening now in the 3rd World, with the rise of structural adjustment programs (the removal of any kind of social welfare), and it will spread to our "service economy" in the first world, where the rich keep getting richer and more powerful, and the increasing number of poor keep getting poorer. Barack Obama has *already* gone back on his word and is appointing neoliberal economists as his "economic advisors." Obama is thinking about creating a "stimulus package" that will be aimed at the *millions* in the US who have already slipped or are about to slip from the middle class into poverty. This package does not address the millions of Americans who are moving from working poverty to desperation. Originally Obama claimed to want to help this class of people, but under his new advisors, it looks like they will be targeted for programs the neoliberal economic advisors (such as Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk whose been a big backer of NAFTA) describe as "digging holes." These manufactured schemes basically put poor people to work accomplishing "tasks" that are totally unnecessary (unlike the New Deal). Obama's chief concern when it comes to the “recession” is to prove the resiliency and health of the “free market.” His idolatry of the “free” market prevails over common sense.
Obama wants to be seen as the founder of a new “New Deal.” But it is important to remember that it was only after militant challenges by the labor movement (including the IWW) that Roosevelt changed his economic policies to help enfranchise the poorest and most brutally hit people from the Depression. Obama's plans do not solicit the voice of the working people. Obama faces a global economic challenge: foreign policy cannot be put “on hold” while a new international economic policy is put in place that fosters rising wages, decent work, and balanced growth (as he claims to be working toward). And wars no longer create a “boom” economy like they used to. The US is actually in a lot of debt now for all of its military spending under George W. Bush, Jr. It is this financial crisis alone that inspires many Americans to to ask for withdrawl from Iraq and Afghanistan; wars which are simply draining our federal budget by using weapons created in the United States and used by the US Military to destroy the lives of people, the infrastructure of these countries, and also the land of our so-called “enemies.” The ultimate ideal here is something like the “restructuring” of Iraq, where multinational corporations come into the ravaged countries and claim its resources as their own. In Iraq, companies like Shell and Exxon/Mobile have already been competing for the rights to all Iraq's fossil fuels when the war is over. That will only be one of several “resources” in Iraq that will be “privatized” by corporations if the “restructuring” is allowed to happen.
Obama's plan is to repair schools, make federal buildings “energy efficient,” and to extend Broadband service everywhere. He is not talking much these days about the increasing number of people who are losing their jobs and are hungry and need basic welfare programs. This is likely to only get worse. Obama's appointed head of the economic council, Lawrence Summers, served as chief economist of the World Bank in the 1990s. Summers, along with the IMF, threatened to withhold $1.5 billion from Russia unless they abided by a structural adjustment program that demanded “privatization, stabilization, and liberalization” for international corporations that wanted to get into the “free market” in Russia under Boris Yeltsin. This ended in catastrophic results: 72 million people were seriously impoverished as a result of this policy over the course of 8 years.
The "free market," capitalist states are using GATT, the World Bank,
the G8 and NAFTA to enforce structural adjustment programs on the Third
World, who are losing so many social programs that people are actually
*starving.* It's going to happen *everywhere* if we allow this to keep
happening. So let's follow the lead of the Palestinians, as well as the Greek
anarchists and anti-authoritarian activists and take to the streets to fight against
this nightmare the capitalist regimes are creating for all of us.
These protesters in Greece are actually bold enough to take over banks and
they are being met with bullets, tear gas, and beatings. That 16 year
old protester who was killed by the police on December 6th was only
*one* of several who have died at the hands of a right-wing,
These brave protesters in both countries have been met with chemical gas, bombs, beatings, and
bullets. They continue to revolt in a struggle for freedom and equality that truly
affects us all. It may be the Gaza Strip or Greece today, but the economic recession, authoritarian rule by CEOs and their pawns, and the loss of welfare programs and jobs will soon be affecting us all, if we are not feeling it already.
"WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER; WE BELONG TO OUR TIME; PUSHING RELENTLESSLY TO RESHAPE THE WORLD TO OUR VISION."
P.S. If you are in any way interested in coordinating an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinians and the Greek Anarchists, please contact me ASAP at the email below (We don't have much time; but I can supply the literature--you'd mainly just need to do a flyer to put up in your area.)
CONTACT: julia.smedley2 [at] gmail.com