"Eyes With No Memory See Nothing": The E.U. Pushes Greece to the Brink

Search form

"Eyes With No Memory See Nothing": The E.U. Pushes Greece to the Brink

"Eyes With No Memory See Nothing": The E.U. Pushes Greece to the Brink
Wed, 10/17/2012 - by Laurent Moeri

The situation in Greece is reaching a point comparable to that of mid-1930s Spain. On the brink of civil war, as a lab rat in the ongoing neoliberal austerity experiment, Greek society is being pushed further and further towards the complete obliteration of democratically achieved civil and human rights and is becoming a festering sore of rightwing nationalism.

Last week, as the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the European Union, this troubling zeitgeist was clearly illustrated by further police repression and the violence of fascist gangs on the streets of Athens.

There seems to be no end to the rank hypocrisy. As hundreds of thousands of Europeans have been driven into poverty just in the past few months by austerity measures imposed by the Troika; as the gates of Europe have been slammed shut in the faces of destitute refugees overwhelmed by crises of all kinds; and as courageous, angry citizens across the continent have given democratic voice to their resentment of neoliberal policies only to be answered with clubs and teargas: Europe is being recognized for its efforts at achieving peace.

The esteemed ladies and gentlemen in Oslo are acting on false hopes, not reality. Similar to how they awarded Barack Obama the same prize shortly after his inauguration in the hopes that he would strike out on a path they mostly imagined for him, the pseudo-liberal Nobel committee seems to hope to rescue, with this now-dubious honor, the failing European Project from the rising forces of reaction and nationalism.

What awaits us if even if they do get their wish? Asian-model authoritarian capitalism, coordinated across all of Europe. These are times in which no index is nearly as important as those churned out by the Market; liberal democracy appears to the Merkels of this continent to be weak and stunted, ridiculously inefficient, and no longer factors into the value judgments that determine the futures of millions of people.

To be clear, we should not too eagerly defend the liberal ‘democracy’ we know now, which through its constant falsehood and hypocrisy fails completely to fulfill its promise. Moderate so-called democratic political parties have been trying for years and years to muzzle and incapacitate us citizens. As Slavoj Zizek told SYRIZA members just before the Greek elections in June, what these parties want is “coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol, ice cream without sugar;” in other words, democracy without participation—without dialogue, without debate. A form of democracy comparable to the late dialogues of Plato, in which we are presented with a string of empty yet airtight sentences and all we can do is respond every ten minutes or so with, “By Zeus, that’s right!”

It is truly with great discomfort that I write the next paragraphs—though anyone who has recently checked the clock of current events knows what time it has struck. The alarm is not only sounding in Greece. It is time to wake up and stand up—to prepare ourselves mentally and physically for very trying times.

More than ever the answer to all our mounting grievances must be active solidarity. This may of course be met sooner rather than later with the inhuman resistance of state violence. The freshly-Nobel-crowned E.U. did not set EUROGENDFOR in place for no reason. But to paraphrase Che Guevara’s prediction that it would take “two, three, many Vietnams,” today we need two, three, many Athens, Romes, and Madrids.

The volunteers in 1930s Spain knew that their struggle was far larger in scope than simply resistance to Franco. They were conscious of struggling for the future of all of Europe, against the rampant fascism then sweeping across the entire continent. The question whether Hitler would have had the audacity to act as he did were it not for the prior defeat of the Spanish resistance (due in part to American arms shipments) cannot be answered. But it is doubtful.

The measures being exacted on Greece by the Troika will, if we allow it, be used in copy/paste manner on other countries as well. This is what gives the social struggle taking place right now in Greece a forward-looking, far-reaching character similar to that of Civil War-era Spain.

Now as then, the future of Europe will be decided in Madrid, Rome, and also Athens. We are again standing at the crossroads between authoritarian capitalism and a possible ascent of anarcho-socialism. “Eyes with no memory see nothing,” Carmen Castillo stated in her film about the terror of Chile’s military junta.

It is fundamental that we learn the lessons of the past, that we give our eyes memory.

Laurent Moeri, a former activist with Occupy Zurich and OccupyWEF, is currently on his way by bicycle from Zurich, Switzerland, to Athens, Greece, where he will help run the internationally-oriented Library of Resistance. His article was translated from the German by Ed Sutton.

Article Tabs

Boris Nemtsov, Russia repression, Russia protests, Russian opposition movement, Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Putin

"If political views are punished this way, then this country simply has no future," Sergei Mitrokhin, an opposition leader, said of Nemtsov's murder.

Agreeing to Investor-State Dispute Settlement in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the U.S. further in favor of big multinational corporations – worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty.

union busting, Scott Walker, right to work, Madison protests, Wisconsin AFL-CIO, Wisconsin Citizen Media Cooperative, Wisconsin Jobs Now

Wisconsin unions bussed thousands of workers from around the state on Saturday to demonstrate against the impending adoption of a law to ban private-sector workers from being required to join a union or pay dues.

Occupy.com's New Original Series: Act Out! Premiers March 4th, Watch the Trailer Now!

Charlie Hebdo, ISIS killings, LGBT threats

A human rights commission report warns that anyone believed to be LGBT under the Islamic State control is likely at imminent risk of death.

Through "evergreening,” pharmaceutical companies could could retain ownership of and royalties to drugs for which their patents have expired – limiting access to generic forms of medicine that millions need.

Posted 5 days 22 min ago
Radical Independence Campaign, Scottish fracking moratorium, Scottish National Party, fracking ban, #GreenSurge

Following last month's decision to place a moratorium on fracking, widespread Scottish opposition is growing to other unconventional methods of fuel extraction.

Posted 6 days 2 hours ago

It's not easy writing a play about injustice in America much as it's not easy telling the complex, multi-layered story of the Occupy movement – something Catherine Hurd set out to do in her musical that premieres this week.

Posted 5 days 42 min ago
Killswitch, Lawrence Lessig, Tim Wu, Peter Ludlow, hacktivists, Aaron Swartz, Edward Snowden

Will this film be a cautionary tale of what happens when you dare to take on elite power structures – or will it be the spark that ignites a revolution that will redefine democracy in the digital age?

Posted 6 days 2 hours ago
tax the rich, raising taxes, wealth inequality, income inequality, taxing the wealthy, middle-class economics

Sixty-eight percent say wealthy households pay too little in federal taxes, 60 percent say the middle class pays too much, and more than half favor raising capital gains taxes on households of $500,000.

Posted 6 days 2 hours ago

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, essentially disappearing Americans and locking them in the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The 5 Largest U.S. Financial Institutions And Their Effects

Goldman Sachs, California school district bonds, capital appreciation bonds, Bank of North Dakota, public banking

In 2008, after collecting millions of dollars in fees to help California sell its bonds, Goldman urged its bigger clients to place investment bets against those bonds – a scam ensnaring future generations in mountains of debt.

Radical Independence Campaign, Scottish fracking moratorium, Scottish National Party, fracking ban, #GreenSurge

Following last month's decision to place a moratorium on fracking, widespread Scottish opposition is growing to other unconventional methods of fuel extraction.

fossil fuel protests, climate protests, Canadian oil, tar sands, Canadian terror legislation, British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Northern Gateway pipeline

New legislation would expand the ability of government agencies to infiltrate environmental groups on the suspicion that they are promoting civil disobedience or other criminal acts to oppose resource projects.

Sign Up