“Greek youth will arm themselves”

Submitted by Matthew on 18 April, 2012 - 12:38

On Wednesday 4 April a 77 year old pensioner, Dimitris Xristoulas, committed public suicide in Syntagma Square, Athens. He left a militant political note denouncing his “murderers”.

His murderers are those who have robbed the pensions and salaries of Greek workers, who have dismantled and destroyed public services who have indebted Greece until at least 2020 through an austerity program.

Xristoulas' note reads: “The traitors’ government of Tsolakoglou (refering to the first Prime Minister of a Greek collaborationist government, during the Axis Occupation in 1941-1942) has taken away ... my right of a decent pension and a decent survival although I have been paying for my pension during 35 years of hard work.

“My old age does not give me the opportunity of militant resistance (without excluding the fact that if one Greek person was armed with a Kalashnikov I would be the first to join).

“I cannot find another solution apart from giving a decent ending to my life before I was forced to search at the dustbin for my food.

“I believe that the young people with no future one day will arm themselves and will hang at Syntagma Square the nation’s traitors, in the same way that the Italian people hanged Mussolini in 1943.“

The 77 year old pensioner was neither defeated nor intimidated by the barbarism of the capitalist system. He did not overdose in the privacy of his room or jump off his balcony. He chose to put an end to his life at Syntagma square, where last summer masses of people gathered every day defending their right to struggle and to direct participatory democracy.

The response of his daughter confirmed the meaning and symbolic status of Xristoulas' stance: “For the people of his generation … the stubborn kids of the left … during the current political and economic climate, the act of suicide is considered not an act of escapism but as an act to spark and re-invigorate the resistance … it is a cry for everybody to join the struggle and overthrow the coalition government”.

Immediately a spontaneous call to gather at Syntagma square dominated the social media and internet and was passed from mouth to mouth. The gathering quickly became hundreds and thousands as the day went on. The citizens of his neighbourhood community movement called for a demonstration and protest on 7 April, the day of his funeral, with the slogan “Let’s transform our anger into organised collective political struggle”.

But on 7 April the police forces, including riot police, encircled Syntagma square in order to stop the mobilisation.

A heavily-armed force, using as an excuse minor attacks by anarchist forces, suffocated the protesters (among them a lot of elderly people) with gas, injured a female journalist, and arrested at least 10 of the protesters. A murderous attack was made on photographers’ trade union leader, Marios Lolos, bashed on the the back of his head by the police.

The pro-austerity forces can only govern by the power of fear and attempting to silence those who can tell the truth about what they are doing.

The working-class movement needs to confront both the political measures of the government and the state being employed to enforce them; it needs to embolden its struggle and politically annihilate Pasok, New Democracy, and all their acolytes and misleading political “alternatives”.

The mainstream politicians could not hide their frustration about Xristoulas' suicide because it spoiled their electoral plans (set for 6 May).

They excelled themselves in dishonouring his memory by trying to downplay the political character of his act. Pasok spokesman Panos Beglitis made the preposterous statement: “We do not know who has misspent the deceased's money, his kids or the victim himself”. Outraged people in his neighbourhood destroyed Beglitis’ political office. The cynicism of all mainstream politicians is another proof of their detachment from the wants and beliefs of the whole of the Greek society.

The best way to pay tribute to Dimitris Xristoulas’s memory is to respond to his call and make reality the cause for which he has given up his life — the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a socialist society.


Submitted by david kirk on Sat, 21/04/2012 - 07:06

SPA's contribution above is Anti Semetic trolling crap disgised as psuedo history.

It starts talking about the fate of the Palestinians but thats basically a figleaf for posing the idea that "the jews", "The Zionists" & "isreali's" are inter changeable terms. It also hints at the old Catholic charge of "Blood Libel" being true and a vast Zionist conspiracy. It generalises by saying: "The Eastern European Jews, who were Marxist". thid is classic rightwing Anti Semetic conflation.

Its so called facts are also just lies or misunderstanding. Mosses Hess was a contemporary and collaborator with Marx. However he did not write any parts of the Communist manifesto and any students of Marx know the "opiate of the masses" quote is from A Critique Of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. Also the writer obviously has never even read the actual quote:

" Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo."

Submitted by guenter on Sat, 21/04/2012 - 13:50

whats up with the trolls above, fighting about israel &palestine?
the article above is about an greek comrade who did comitt suicide, cause he had nothing more to eat. and its about greek youth, discussing arming.
pls talk about this subject in ur comments!

Submitted by AWL on Mon, 23/04/2012 - 10:20

Guenter is absolutely right. It's not clear at all why a comment on Israel-Palestine has been posted on an article about Greece.

I will delete the comment tomorrow morning if no one can suggest a good reason why not to.

Sacha Ismail

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