The Casualties – Gagarin205 – 25/02/2011
Crowd shots and over 100 more band shots @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/imagechange/sets/72157626154311006/with/5481414385/
The Casualties – Gagarin205 – 25/02/2011
Crowd shots and over 100 more band shots @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/imagechange/sets/72157626154311006/with/5481414385/
606 photos later, I start to bring you Omixli who supported The Casualties at Gagarin205 in Athens… So much hairspray!
Click on the pictures to see more.
More shots of headliners The Casualties coming up!
“…we may not be the same, but it’s not like we’re from different planets…”
“…I’m just appealing to your sense of fair play…”
“…I guess it comes down to what kind of world you want to live in…”
“..And if diversity is disagreement, disagreement is treason…”
“…It takes a village to raise a child, but just a flag to raze the children…”
“…a madman’s dream of a paradise. Complexity reduced to black and white…”
…Fuck it. Lets grab a frappe…
Pig Portraits from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/imagechange/
At the risk of repeating what has already been said, Athens is fucked. The whole world knows that Greece is fucked, and yesterday’s incidents will serve as a nice media distraction and something juicy for news corporations to get their teeth into. But what has happened has had a profound effect on everyone, even people that have been fighting for a long time.
Massive questions are obviously and rightfully being asked by, and of, very many people. In regards to the deaths of the bank workers, the first thing everyone asked was why the hell they were in work on a day of general strike, and in a bank on the main avenue leading to parliament. A statement released by the union representing bank workers here in Greece has said that they were told to turn up to work or they would be fired (no pun intended), they were told that they would be provided with police security whilst they were at work (they had no protection whatsoever). I mean the banks massive front door was locked and could not be opened. The bank itself had never had any fire drills or even been inspected by the fire service because certificates had been obtained under the table.
I am not for one single moment defending the actions of a group of people who, it seems, knowingly petrol bombed a building with people inside. I saw these same people smash the front of a bookstore. A BOOKSTORE! And they have the audacity to call themselves anarchists. I am not an anarchist, neither am I a communist or any other ‘ist’ box that people like to put themselves in. But I have a brain and a conscience, and when I see people who purport to be fighting for the greater good of a struggling working class smashing book shops, shoe shops and ripping up plants you can’t help but wonder who these people really are. According to the owner of the bookstore, they smashed the windows, threw petrol on books and a person inside and threatened to torch the lot if they didn’t leave.
The KKE party here have said that they were agent provocateurs who were trying to insight the violence and destruction, but what I saw was a small pocket of people who were barely into their teens and unable to take responsibility or even grasp the enormity of what they were getting themselves in to. The damage that has been done transcends the burned out building, and even the deaths themselves. At a time when all eyes were watching, and when what the country needed most was unity and collective response to so many years of deceit and robbery, they were let down by the very people who were meant to be fighting against the killing and degradation of a nation. The mood now is on the edge of plummeting into obscurity. Ironic considering so many people around the world were holding the Greek resistance movement as a beacon of radical social change from the bottom up. The damage is untold.
The whole incident is like a microcosm of the broader situation.
All of a sudden the police can now use this as an excuse to raid immigrant centres and attack cafes and bars on the street to make arbitrary arrests and release some testosterone via there carbon fibre, gloved knuckles and knees. Social centres and squats have been forcefully emptied. The politicians and their enforcers must be rubbing their hands together. They have been dealt an opportunity to deal with resistance in absolutely any way they see fit, and no one can say shit to them.
I feel a lot of resignation among people. Anger. Bemusement. The worst might have just got a little worse. And its not stopping. Yesterday a mass protest was held outside of parliament in Syntagma Square, and just as the protest was coming to a close riot cops charged to clear the area. Everyone who could be reached was arrested or beaten. And this came after a peaceful demonstration in which everyone stood, held candles and done a bit of shouting. Interestingly enough though is the theory of some kind of corroboration between the communist party and the police force. Immediately after the bank attacks, the KKE wanted to show how much they’re supporters weren’t to blame. So on their very own separate demonstration, on which they flatly refused welcoming efforts from other left wing groups who wanted to join forces in front of parliament, they marched there own route to join the main demonstration in Syntagma. Upon arrival, they shunned the rest of those present and left after ten minutes. Not half an hour later, mayhem broke again and people were left to scamper for their own protection from the police.
A well-known Greek musician living in Exarchia had the cheek to come out to his own balcony and shout to the riot police to stop throwing tear gas in his street. Undercovers proceeded to smash their way through his home beat and arrest him and break his wife’s arm. These actions are unprecedented.
Outside the bank today the pile of floral tributes and burning candles continues to grow, as does the anger and, conversely, the apathy. The resistance movement may now be stunted, definitely set back. And whilst the other anarchist and activists groups around the world look to their counterparts in Greece for inspiration and a ray of hope for social justice, no person should be regarded as collateral in any fight, and the only lesson learnt from this should be how not to conduct yourself when attempting to bring about the revolution.
But another thing to remember is that 300,000 people all over Greece took to the streets to demonstrate. People shouted and fought and are 100% committed to justice and fairness. People who have drive, direction and organisation. These are the people who everyone should try to emulate. Old and young and everyone in between played their part in the demonstrations.
The mass media and politicians have jumped on the deaths, immediately calling everyone to parliament, berating the ‘blood thirsty murders’ and the anarchists. They gave their deepest condolences to the bereaved families and held a minute’s silence, yet since their enforcers murdered Alexis, the country still awaits an apology and a minute’s silence. This will be spun every which way to benefit them and their regime.
The effects of the failing system in Greece are already shockingly real. A friend’s dad who worked for 55 years before retirement has lost every last penny of his pension. Every day brings another announcement or twists that further angers the public and further deepens the divide between the political tribes and the masses.
The general feeling is that this is only the start and things are only going to get worse for Greeks and Greece.
New post and pictures coming…….
Check out all the pics on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/imagechange
So after another day on General strike, Athens is going to whirl back into an all singing all dancing, crookedly functioning city again…for now at least. And an anarchist has been murdered.
The whole of the public sector, including staff at airports, train workers, teachers, bus drivers and, once they had scaled their mountains of paper work, the office workers, staged another general strike in response to the Governments attempts to reduce their debts and budget deficits by increasing the retirement age, freezing wages and increasing taxes. My experience with those employed in the public sector here in Greece has not exactly been a shining ray of light through the overcast clouds that have loomed over the city of late. Rude. Miserable. Unhelpful and, more often than not, complete useless jobsworths. And this description partially fits the hospital staff, but more on that later. So when I am stranded downtown on a day where it is even harder to get business done than usual, I am not as keen on taking to the streets with the placards and whistles and demonstrating my disgust at the elite as I usually am. In fact it was a nice excuse to pick up my tools and work in the garden for the day. I can understand the grievance of these people though. Several decades of corruption, deceit, and international canoodling has ended up with revelations about giant multi-national banks doing cover up jobs on a debt that stretches far into the billions of euros, and despite election campaign promises from socialist prime minister Papandreou, the people seem to be paying the price. However there is a flip side to this as well.
My stay in Athens has only been relatively short so far, but it didn’t take long before realising how things worked here. It is very easy for the hard-done-by, honest people of the land to complain about having to spend their hard earned wages on the scurrilous spending of the ruling classes, but unfortunately for the citizens of one certain ancient city, there isn’t nearly as much honesty or hard work as the strikers would like to believe. I’ve no doubt that those in power and the weasels that surround them have been lining their pockets and siphoning money off into untold, off-shore accounts. But taxes are avoided by the ‘people’ at every opportunity also. If you can run a business without making it official you avoid compulsory payments to the tax office, if you can pay without getting a receipt then you don’t have to pay the 19.5% tax rate. In Greece, income tax is paid on a declaration basis, at the end of the year you tell them how much you have earned, prove it is that amount and then pay the tax. Of course this system is open to, and indeed is, abused a hell of a lot. I was told that the common thing to do is to declare as little as half of your wages and then pocket the difference. Thank you very much! But then again if you can’t see what your tax money is going towards in a country that only seems to be heading downwards in all sectors besides the ‘who strikes the most’ league, then why would you willingly give over a large chunk of cold cash to people who are regularly reported in the news for having hundreds of properties and even more businesses registered off shore and who aren’t paying a penny themselves? Its a vicious circle in which the point of blame is muddled and murky. My instinct tells me to continue to take aim at those in the big cars with the big empty words, but its hard to shake the niggling feeling that its not only them who is at fault.
If there is one thing I will always happily donate portions of my money to, it is nationalised free health care, our dear old NHS. Woefully underfunded and now, it seems, equally underrated. the National Health Service has come in for some harsh criticism in recent years for service and cleanliness and a whole host of other reasons, some of them justifiably so. And I have a proposal that will cure any doubters of their cynicism, a brief visit to a public hospital in Athens is going to have any one welcoming with open arms any NHS service that Britain as to offer.
On Sundays only one public hospital in Athens is open. Last Sunday it was the turn of Evangelismos. We followed the Ambulance in the car and then followed the stretcher in by foot. Nan was sick and needed to be rushed in for diagnosis and treatment. Through the first set of doors fine, but i catch a glimpse of two security guards either side of the entrance, but think nothing of it. Then we round into a crowded corridor of coughing, wheezing, groaning people looking very sorry for themselves. We clear our way through and as we attempt to pass into the treatment room we are stopped by a very young ‘security guard’ who abruptly informs us that only person is allowed to escort the patient through the doors, the rest must wait in the holding pen with all the other sick people, anxious relatives and more germs flying around than the inside of a pigs grave in Mexico. ‘Your name’s not down, your not coming in’.
The staff are stretched beyond belief. I relieve myself of the hot, breathy atmosphere of the corridor outside and am grateful to find only 25 people smoking in the entrance where no less than six ambulances are cued up waiting to drop their patients off. A bloody traffic jam of ambulances. As it turns out security are brought in as a crowd control measure on Sundays because of the sheer number of patients shuttling in and out of the hospital. My mouth would be agape as I stare at the syringes of blood that sit next to an ancient looking test machine in an open busy corridor, only I am afraid of what might be ready to fly in and infect me with whatever it is that has presumably infected the blood which sits on a table top right in front of me. Throughout the course of the day we run around like headless chickens and have to push our own patient in her stretcher from department to department because the porters are either busy or don’t want to help. Bedside manner doesn’t really exist either. You can easily put this down to the strain of the work though, hundreds of patients, most of whom really do not need to be in a hospital push the people the equipment and the system to their complete limit. One doctor remarks that the hospital isn’t even a third world standard…it’s fourth, now it definitely doesn’t live up to the NHS but I’m guessing that doctor has never visited Darfur or Gaza. The same doctors and nurses who are on shift when we get to the E.R early in the morning are still working when we leave at nearly midnight.
Interestingly we see a television broadcast van outside and ponder as to the reason why. We assume it is not because the world is interested in Nan. It turns out that a big union leader is in the hospital after being severely beaten by none other than the people he represents. A big scandal had been revealed and the union members weren’t best pleased. So they beat him until he needed to be taken to hospital. Justice. Now this sounds like a perfect case which should be dealt with by the always fair and just police force of Greece. Too bad they were already busy with tidying the mess they had created a couple of days earlier when they unknowingly gassed, assaulted and seriously wounded a Greek national hero. Manolis Glezos was the man who, 1941, scaled the flag pole at the Acroplois and tore down the swostika during the Nazi occupation. He became an emblem because of that moment and was reduced to a fetal ball by a shielded man part of a shielded machine charged with the task of suppressing any revolt.
Worse than this was news which emerged today. Whilst all of Greece was focusing on the strikes, 35 Year old Lambros Foundas was shot dead by police. Of course the police are claiming he was a ‘terrorist’ and was in the act of stealing a car and carrying a fire arm. Deserves it if you ask me… stealing a car… maybe carrying a gun… definitely a left-wing anarchist…. KILL HIM!
Athens has responded in typical fashion with protests and rioting coinciding with today’s general strike. Fire, smashing, beating and bashing are always on the menu and the portions are always American in size. But the question that has bugged me since i got interested and involved in this murky world is it at all working?? The riots, the arrests, the anger, the protests, the strikes and all the other action that happens when people apparently get pissed off, do they make a blind bit of difference other than to make the perpetrators feel a bit better about themselves because they are ‘acting’ on an issue? Yeah people are angry, incandescent with rage even, but unless people stop factionalising all the different groups and get a bit more directed anger, no people ain’t gonna change shit anywhere! Besides the obvious suggestions of organisation, mass communication and unification its hard to see how anything will get done. Don’t get me wrong, it warms my cockles to hear that when 14 year old Alexis Grigoropoulos was murdered by two police men whilst sitting with a friend the entire city, not just those active in sub culture or anti-government types, rose to their feet immediately and let the disgrace in their voice be heard by the world. The ensuing riots made world headlines and the animosity exists to this day. But now all the world and the majority of Greeks see is those who are grieved at the time being joined by the same bunch of kids in black jeans and hoodies scrapping with very big men with truncheons. All that being said, if people cared half as much as that about what the government and their forces where doing in Britain, I would whole heartedly join in.
So as the European Union frowns harder down on Greece from high up on their statistic charts, Greeks beat down harder on each other. The media continue to broadcast nonsense news to a divided nation, those who are angry and idle, and those who are angry and active. News reported today that the police have been ordered to break up a week long protest that has blocked the main avenue in central Athens, a protest because a member of Olympic Airways was fired! Oh i forgot to mention that once you have a job in the public sector you are not allowed to be fired. No matter what. That might go someway to explaining why its impossible to get some workers to do anything further than lifting a pen.
I end with news that after today’s riots and protesting, the public service television channels have been taken off air, but i have found Robin Hood on the other channel! I’m going to become angry and idle and stick my feet up!
60 minutes of soulful sounds to help you get down.
Click the link and have this show in your life! Binky Griptite spins them grooves like no other on the airwaves…