Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Day in the Life of the Left Platform

April 1, 2014. Ecofin, the Council on Financial and State Finance Affairs of the EU, is holding a conference in Athens. The ND-PASOK government forbids demonstrations in the downtown Athens area pre-emptively. GSEE-ADEDY has planned a demo and PAME calls for a demonstration against government repression. SYRIZA does as well. But in the actual demo, as plenty of tweets from participants testify, the very small SYRIZA contingent that actually attended is Missing in Action, leaving only a group of MPs, who are walking way ahead of the rest of the demonstrators and without any visible plan. This peculiar avant garde is composed of Panagiotis Lafazanis, Dimitris Stratoulis and other members of the "militant left" of the "Left Platform". Let's see the video, as they are approaching the point where the police have blocked passage to the city center:

Lafazanis to cop, who makes a signal: We are not doing...we are all MPs here.
(Photographers and cameramen are following them and taking photos and videos).
Lafazanis and others of the team (to cops): We should discuss, we should discuss.
(Cop makes a gesture to the effect of "halt; no further")
Lafazanis: All of us here are representatives of SYRIZA MPs. Our request, our demand, is that the police vehicles are removed so that we can pass in an orderly fashion -- at least us, the MPs [as if there's no one else behind...]
Cop: I will transfer your request.
Lafazanis: Of course.
Cop: So you want to cross...
Lafazanis: To go to the Parliament, yes.
(Photographers and cameramen flock around the MPs; cop comes back)
Cop: If you want to go to the Parliament, you the MPs [that's what was requested], in order to exercise your duties, you may cross. The MPs only.
Lafazanis: We don't want to exercise our duties. If we wanted to, of course we could cross. Here, we are not simply as MPs, who want to exercise their duties, we are also here as demonstrators. We are MP-demonstrators. And what we are asking is the removal of the police vehicles, so we [who?] can move on collectively and in organized fashion as a demonstration. Do you understand?
Cop: I unders...
Lafazanis: The issue is not for me to cross and ...
Cop: Unfortunately, Mr. Lafazanis, I have told you, the decision of the Police Director is...
Lafazanis: Communicate with him.
Cop: I did. It's pass only on the grounds I gave you. If you want to go to the Parliament, you can go.
Lafazanis: Ha ha, of course, if I wanted to go through, I could go through. But...
Cop: My kind request is, you know our situation, don't put us in a difficult position.
Lafazanis [switches to soapbox mode, giving a the photoreporters]: We condemn, with all our strength, the autocracy and arbitrariness of the government. At this moment, the government is preventing a peaceful demo whose head is MPs [via self-appointment] from crossing to Syntagma square in order to protest. So it is forbidding the most elementary democratic right of the citizens. The government is tearing the Parliament to shreds, and now subverts democracy. Autocracy shall not pass. The Greek people will protect democracy and its own survival with all its means. Greece will not become a Protectorate and a Banana Republic to the Eurocolonialists. The Greek people have rights, demonstrators have rights, democracy must be supported and reinforced, not butchered. This is what we are defending today. Democracy for all the people, for all citizens.

After the speech is completed, Lafazanis and Co. turn on their heels and leave.

This, on the other hand, is how the communist working class movement (PAME unemployed) dealt with a similar police block when they were heading for the Finance Ministry, a month earlier, on 6 March 2014. In the second video, among the beaten workers, you will see KKE MEP Babis Aggourakis, who died about a month and a half after the events of that day:

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