Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Listen: Athens is home right now possibly to the highest ownership rate of gas masks per capita in the world. A surprisingly rapid dissemination of anti-police violence survival and counter-attack tactics, a small but vigorous nucleus of anarchist protesters having been practically raised skirmishing with the police and having all sorts of asymmetric street-fighting know-how, and the rapid increase of unemployment combined with the sort of quasi-Mubarak level police violence we saw yesterday is bound to increase the ranks of those ready, willing and able to fight. You see police throw tear-gas or charge the crowd and the amazing thing is that most of the protesters react quickly, but not panicky, as if they are seasoned veterans, very unimpressed by the riot-gear and the blatant readiness of the police to inflict grievous bodily harm to people of all ages. It is amazing to witness. You realize that people adapt pretty quickly to circumstances.

If the protesters weren't peaceful in their great majority yesterday, there is no way short of actually shooting people, that the police could stop them. Should the Communist Unions (who have a rather dim view of "petty bourgeois rebellions" such as what is unfolding in Syntagma) ever decide to act violently (not likely) they could storm the Parliament, in circumstances similar to yesterday's, in half an hour. Heck even the much less muscular unionists of SYRIZA and the extreme left could do it. Possibly with no casualties. They won't though. Most of the relevant parties are wedded deeply to representative democracy. Most of the left considers (with some justification) that establishing democracy after 1974 is its own doing. And they will not allow all Hell to break loose.

After all, the question would then be: what next? And there's the rub: no one has any idea what to do after storming the Winter Palace any more.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Jun 30th, 2011 at 06:35:16 PM EST
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