(eagainst) by Julien Febvre – 04/09/2011 On August 24th the Greek parliament voted in favour of the education reform bill submitted by the Minister of Education, Anna Diamantopoulou, which includes some of the most sweeping changes in the country’s educational system. The law introduces a UK-style administration of universities, with external individuals and non-academics taking part in the running of institutions and assessment-based, industry-oriented funding. Diamantopoulou – supported by some members of the far right party LA.O.S (Popular Orthodox Rally) – announced the complete abolishment of the historic university asylum (which prevented police from entering academic grounds in the name of the freedom of expression) and the election of university vice-chancellors primarily from their academic community.
Students responded with demonstrations and mass occupations. At least 222 departments across the country are now occupied. There seems to be a completely unprecedented agreement between students across almost the entire political spectrum for mobilisations against the voted law: this is rapidly becoming a stand-off between the Student community and the Parliament.
Yesterday, the indignants of Greece took back Syntagma square. Around 20.000 people protested against the IMF, police repression and lack of democracy. Many leftist groups participated, among with many anti-cuts and anti-racist organisations and a small group of Kurdish immigrants. Over 2000 joined the assembly. However in the upper Syntagma square the presence of flag wavers-nationalists was strong.
During the protest, the police without any reason raided the square and arrested 14 people. They threw tear gases and flash grenades and left one protester seriously injured.
Below is the statement of People’s assembly:
On September 3rd, we are everywhere – we fill up Syntagma Square
The squares are us and we are everywhere. We are all. We started as indignant people, we have decided, and in a little while we will be revolting in masses until those who drove us here go away. Until we kick out the bankers and the market’s governments and system.
We all agree that we do not need any spokesmen in this movement, because by definition, but especially in the context of this political and economic system, they will be corrupted, cut off from the people, and will betray the people. We want to decide collectively for ourselves. We demand to take our lives into our own hands.
The 3rd of September (the day when the first Greek constitution was drafted in 1843, and also when PASOK, the ruling party was created in 1974) is a date we can retake, by giving it back its original meaning, that of the people’s needs.
The 3rd of September is an important date for us. It is also the day that reminds us of the “cancellation” of the people’s aspirations for democracy, freedom and dignity. That reminds us of the lies told and the mockery made by our government.
We do not have any illusions: we understand that we cannot have direct democracy and people’s rule without overthrowing the government, the Troika, and the whole political and economic system.
We call all citizens to the big demonstration and people’s assembly in Syntagma Square and all the country’s squares on September 3, 2011 at 19:00
Bread – Education – Freedom
Equality – Justice – Liberty
The squares are we and we are everywhere