Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Eyewitness Accounts: ERT State TV Shut Down Occupied by Employees

                                        Burning the EU Flag at the ERT Occupation

Was at the Occupation of the state broadcaster last night till 3 am. Thousands of people kept on coming. At the headquarters of ERT in Agia Paraskevi where present both the KKE and Syriza and assorted leftists on top of thousands of people who had come to show solidarity to the mass sacking of 3,000 people.

Questions were asked to Stratoulis Syriza MP why dont they leave the Troika occuppied Parliament and stop waffling endlessly and call the people to struggle to get rid of the Troika, he said we are looking into that. One of his parliamentary minions stated we are with the People and we keep on getting teargassed, as if they are the only ones. Tsipras could have asked for an emergency debate in Parliament as Leader of the Opposition and taking into account that neither PASOK or DIMAR even knew this was coming so fast, but did not. GD announced indirectly that they are happy with the sackings as they aint allowed on state TV.

I judged that there must have been more than 50k people that turned up last night. They said the riot police was going to break through but it didn't. They shut down all digital signals so all foreign media outlets, BBC, CNN, Euronews are closed as well. The KKE is rebroadcasting from its own station in analogue signal the occuppied ERT colleagues broadcasts. Last time the Greek state media was shut down was during the last German occupation in 1940.

Greek TUC-ADEDY is meeting to allegedly see if it will call a General Strike. Another solidarity demo is called for today at 5pm.

VN Gelis

 ERT: Appeal to foreign media and journalists
In News on June 12, 2013 at 10:27 am
pic by @polyfimos

pic by @polyfimos

Yesterday the Greek government (primarily New Democracy party, without the support of coalition partners PASOK and DIMAR) announced they would shut down ERT, Greece's national broadcaster. The argument was that ERT is marred with corruption and that it operates at a cost to the public sector. First, ERT is profitable, as its employees testify. Second, the New Democracy spokesman Kedikoglou who announced the decision and raged about "corruption" was the same politicians that has requested the hiring of 23 of "his" people in ERT!

More importantly, the decision was not approved by the parliament, but was implemented through a ministerial decree (which is a violation of the Constitution and Greek legislative procedure). The decree is now at the office the President of the Hellenic Republic and parties opposing it have contacted him NOT to sign it. Neo-nazi Golden Dawn and New Democracy are the only 2 parties that have openly supported the decision (although it seems coalition partners were aware of it).

The decision was announced during the day and at 11pm riot police went to Mount Ymittos and turned off the digital and analogue signals. ERT was still broadcasting and used TVE (Spanish), and 902 channels (owned by the Communist Party), among others. A couple of hours later DIGEA (private operator of digital signal in Greece) turned off the 902 channel, claiming it should not broadcast ERT!

ERT employs more than 2500 people and operates channels across Greece, in remote areas where other broadcasters have no signal. It also broadcasts across the world, informing Greeks living abroad and providing a live link to them with Greek culture and "home". Protesters gathered outside the ERT building until 3 am in the morning and they are gathering again today.

Here in London, a demonstration has been organised to support ERT employees, at 5pm London time at the Greek Embassy W11 3TP.

This is the facebook link

This is the announcement by the European Federation of Journalists.

This is the announcement by the European Broadcasting Union.

This is a petition to stop the shutdown of Public Television in Greece.

Please follow #ERT on twitter to find out more.

Please write about this and support us, we have no other outlet except internet and foreign broadcasters.

This is about freedom of speech and right to independent information.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Update 13.06.13
There was a mini-General Strike today one of those that affect primarily the public sector. For the first time in 3.5 years the KKE was at the same location as the sellouts of the Greek TUC (thats how they refer to them) Around 15k in all (but people keep on coming and going so the number could be double) but the KKE matched the others (ADEDY Public Sector Unions-Syriza-assorted leftists).

The KKE seems to be implementing the policy of its minority by turning up in joint with others at the same location and remaining instead of going home immediately after a brisk walk and chanting the same slogans they wheel out constantly (they might go full whack the other way and drop from standing around too much!) It is broadcasting the occupation but the govt keeps on disabling the signal and Stournaras announced today that whoever broadcasts the signal will be in contempt of court. The reason they gave for the immediate closure was that otherwise they would have had endless strikes. But it appears both PASOK and Dimar are talking harakiri and by the end of next week we will know if the govt is going to go to new elections.

Syriza has called for what appears to be a pre-election rally in Sindagma sq Monday night and on Monday the Greek Troika will meet to see if they can continue to rule together. The way ERT has been closed is aiming to be the blueprint for Hospitals, Schools, University and Army units.

If they weaken the nightly occupation of the ERT headquarters the riot police may come in at 5am as they did with the Underground workers but that will occur in joint with the union misleaderships who will give the order to demobilise.

 Update 14.06.13

Demos continued all day outside ERT in Athens.

75 cadres of PASOK led by Skandalidis want Venizelos (party Leader) to drop out of the governing coalition. There are severe frictions in the other coalition partners of Dimar (Dem Left ex-Syriza).

Samaras offerred an olive branch today alleging he will rehire a smaller amount of journalists and re-open ERT by the end of next week.
In the meantime the head of the European Public Broadcast Union turned up in Athens criticising the govts actions.

ERT was transferred from the Ministry of Culture to the Ministry of Economics deiberately to be shut down and it appears it was a condition of the neo-fascist Eurogroups next bailout tranche of E3.3billion.

One cannot work out at this stage what is being played as the problem will emerge that the building will have to be vacated by the employees for it to reopen with less employees and that cannot occur unless the union leaders do a back door deal and call for them to empty it. The volume of people on the outside make a storming of the building by the riot police impossible as well. The corridors are long and there are many and there are at least 5 floors with two or more underground with expensive equipment, but knowing the gangsters that rule anything is possible.

 Update 15/16.06.13

 Tsipras Poster calling for Demo in Sindagma on 17th June (one year to the date Samaras won the election)
One can discern the red background from the man who will accept NATO and has met the top financial elites from Schaeuble, Brookings Institute and the LSE..

Large numbers of people were outside ERT most of Saturday and at night the Greek symphony orchestra played a free concert. At a certain stage in the late evening they reported on events in Taksim and gave out solidarity greetings to the fighters there for freedom.

The two parties in the coalition remain still in conflict with Samaras and do not agree with the middle road option of reopening it with fewer staff next week. So we could be going to a third option of Samaras resigning after the disaster with the privatisations that have fallen through (with Russians due to EU-USA involvement) and appointing another muppet until new elections are called for maybe after the German elections.

Today they are having a party which has a title 'Come and Eat as we Didn't Eat Anything' in response to the ex-Vice President of Greece Pangalos (PASOK) who stated that 'We ate it All' hence we needed the Troika.

In Thessalonikis station it has for the first time tried to change its programme (from when it was govt owned and was pure propaganda and globalism) to show a programme regarding Halkidiki gold mine protests, the occupation of an engineering firm etc.

The pension funds of the journalists haven't been merged as yet they are the last to go and this is also on the cards as ERT was the biggest employer.

Update 17/18.06.13

Syrizas Main Rally in Sindagma Square Billed to be one of Overturning the Tripartite Coalition

There were many developments yesterday as there were two rallies
(one by Syriza in the main Athens square and one by the KKE near the ERT tv studios in Agia Paraskevi) as well as a meeting of the three party coalition and a decision of the Supreme Court regarding the closure of ERT.

During Sunday evening late they circulated the first free paper called 'Independent Press' by the strikers from the media (without stating which media and who it belongs to for fear of reprisals) Inside the edition they had an interview with the leader of the Metro Workers Stamatopoulos who stood on the Antarsya electoral ticket and who was involved in the big sellout of the Metro Workers stating we need a new
( whilst in practice  organising nothing.

At the same time we had the circulation of Rizospastis by the KKE on Sunday and on Monday by Avgi of Syriza thus both breaking the journalists strike. Tremis the leader of the Journalists Union condemnded the KKE as 'strikebreakers' though who has done what is unlear and why as the strike was supposed to go on till Tuesday morning but was broken by all the private media on Sunday as well.

Throughout the whole of Monday the main point of contention was that 'no one wants elections' and this will cripple Greece so the tone for compromise was set, by the Tripartite Coalition. Under the background of the Surpreme Court (which stated that ERT should reopen) the Govt on paper backed down (pending the arrival of the German Finance Minister Schauble today) saving the coalition govt from collapse. What the actual decision means in practice or whether they are bying time for a few days no one can really know.

Syrizas rally in Sindagma billed as a 'rally for the overturn' of the Govt had very few participants taking into account they are the official opposition they couldn't even fill one third of Sindagma sq (PASOK's Andreas Papandreou in his hey day in the early 80's filled 1.5squares). The KKE's rally had a few thousand as well on the other side of Athens.

So far Syriza hasn't put forward a vote of no confidence has refused to leave Parliament and has allowed the situation to be dictated by the Tripartite Coalition when it has become common knowledge that the Greek govt no longer runs in any way on a parliamentary level but on dictat from the overseas Troika, with Acts of Legislative Enforcement which require no parliamentary majority (20 have been carried out so far) and half the working population is under a civil protection notice (ie cannot strike).

A significant occupation which has degenerated into a pop concert nightly with the support of the parties of the fake Left will end up being another missed opportunity to focus and channel the anger of the Greeks into a different direction, one which seeks conflict not compromise with the internal and external Troika...

23rd June 2013-

ERT occupation has continued unabated but the political will to take it a step further organising roving pickets and uniting with other areas of the public sector that are facing shutdown does not seem to be there from any significant wing of the Employees. The govt has offered two months redundancy pay and the departure of Syrizas ex-faction Dem Left from the Greek Tripartite Coalition has dented Samaras auythority to such an extent that he exists only because of the fakeness of the Opposition.

Commentators have noticed that Syriza does not want to govern and being unable to capitalise on this gravest of crises for the govt it did not once more stand the test of crisis. From early on Tsipras stated that the Tripartite coalition would not be brought down by its partners and when Ind Greeks put in a motion of ‘no confidence’ they refused to back it. The offer of 2,000 re-employment on 3 months contracts from the 2,700 employed at ERT is the carrot to split the labour force and silence any radical voices. Having an organised presence that is what Syriza is doing ensuring the radical nature of the occupation fizzles out over time, the riot police storm the building one evening and the whole thing is hived off to private tv operators (role model once again for the rest of the EU).

The govts reshuffle of Ministers that have departed from Dem Left and now to be taken over by PASOK shows the absolute merging of New Democracy and PASOK as well as a few MP’s from Dem Left who want to support the new govt reshuffle. In the background to all of this the Chinese company called COSCO is to increase its ownership of Piraeus ports to 51% and the privatisation of the gas import company DESFA which no longer has a Russian bid has been given to an Azeri company at half the original price ( now they realise the govt is a busted flush).

The IMF’s direct intervention that if Greece goes for elections now they would withdraw the ‘funding’ ie collapse the economy shows that Greece is no longer run by Greeks in any shape or form, but multinational operators for transnational corporations and their banking system and anything that questions their right to rule must be crushed one way or another...

Update 28.06.13
The ‘new’ govt which is just a rehash of the old without the official backing of Syrizas ex-cdes in Dem Left has put in certain hyperglobalists in neuralgic ministries. The son of the German collaborator friend of the Bush clan in Greece and ex-PM Mitsotakis, Kiriakos as Minister of the Civil Service to continue its destruction where the previous one left off, Manitakis.

Kedigoglou who left his position in charge of ERT has now become Minister of Education to privatise and shut down nurseries, schools and universities around 15k educationalists have been earmarked for that.

Adonis Georgiadis has been appointed Minister of Health to proceed with the closure of Hospitals (6 so far in the Athens region). He was a leading member of LAOS the grouping which had the positions of Golden Dawn before they joined the banksters Papadimos govt after Papandreous departure and then suffered an electoral wipeout. This party for years was labelled neo-nazi before GD took the mantle.

The labour force at ERT has been given two months redundancy pay and lists are being drawn up as to who will be reassigned to the new company and a letter was circulated to staff to protect the equipment there. Last night one of the Kouris bros who had the main publishing arm of PASOK (Avriani newspaper) and then had tv stations was stating he wants to reopen ALTER tv station to fill the void of collapsed ERT and initial viewing figures show that with no ERT the private tv stations which have been on the brink for a long time are profiting in viewing numbers.

So if half the labour force is forced out and they don’t go the govt has only the option of using riot police to intervene (they said they wouldn’t) so it becomes an issue for the ERT union POSPERT how they sellout half the labour force.

Yesterday there were three demos in central Athens (Katselis breadmaking firm with 500 sackings) outside the Economics Ministry, hospital workers outside the Ministry of Health and arms workers from EVO-Pirkal. ERT workers could have held demos in the centre, they haven’t and called for unity on their pirate station so far this hasn’t occurred. To each his own and to each in defeat, seems to be the prevailing view.

An unemployed metalworker in Pireaus district is reported to having his house repossessed for income tax charges of E1,600 in the KKE’s daily Rizospastis.

Debate on the closure of ERT with Bob Archer Greek Solidarity Committee
For Bob, 
-There was a significant general strike during the 40’s under the German occupation in Athens and hundreds of thousands went on demos when Bulgaria annexed Greece during the occupation. Strikes will always occur in Greece occupation or not. The issue at stake is why the parties of the fake left don’t leave Parliament and campaign on the streets to overthrow the Troika, that is what the difference is. For the simple reason is that they are embedded to the system, funded by it, promote it at every available opportunity and like yourself believe this is about stabilization theory (whatever that is!) not about a general decline and downfall of the last Capitalist Empire – the USA. It’s a difference to be a party of 4% and a party of 27% and when unemployment is one third of the population not to be able to fight for power (unless of course that is precisely what the Euros-Syriza don’t want to do). Syriza has spent the last six months going round the world promoting itself as the party that will save the EU and the Euro in all the worlds imperialists centres. A far cry from even the capitalist PASOK in its heyday. 

That is why when they had their first national meeting in Sindagma they could fill only a small section of the bottom part of the square (around 20k) with ERT still being fresh in everybodys mind. 

As for ERT they are buying time aiding the union sellouts that run the occupation to bore everyone to death with pop concerts and video clips about 9/11 and the ‘moon’ landings you uploaded, until August. The issue of ERT though is the new format of closures for hospitals, schools, transport (all that belong to the state sector) ie immediately with no warning here and and now. 

-The Greek political class were never de-nazified as opposed to the rest of Europe even nominally. Churchill promoted and supported the Greek collaborators inaugurating the Greek civil war against the Left. This was then supported by the British Labour party who had 5k troops stationed there throughout the 40’s. The cold war was inaugurated in Greece and with the use of napalm the Americans aided the defeat of the partisans.  It is this post war American order that is collapsing in Greece as the parties of the bourgeoisie which use to secure 80-85% of the vote now hover below 20% if that. 

So when the fake Left with PASOK and DemLeft march against GD they do it to bolster their own anti-fascist credentials and bolster New Democracy (direct heirs to the quisling administration of Tsolagoglou who run Greece during the 3rd Reich) and when council workers in their thousands march with nazi uniforms aboard  a tank with banners saying Down with the 4th Reich, you go on to dismiss this or ignore it as if : 
a) it never happened 
b) what it actually means in practice 
You then wheel out the old Healyite fake ‘build the leadership’ stuff as a red herring. Pray do tell me how Healy built the leadership supporting Arafat, the union sellouts in Cowley (against his own workers base) and receiving money from oil-igarchs to prop up a daily only members ever read? 

-You argued there could be no possibility of rights being gained within the confines of a nation state and I asked you how to explain the rights accrued to workers over the last two centuries? There is no solution for the Greek masses if they don’t fight for national sovereignty, against the EU and globalization  which destroyed the country, it has to make a sharp break if it wants to remain intact, otherwise it might as well be broken apart, hived off and the Greeks go the four corners of the earth. Only the Left can save Greece from destruction and no one else will do it for them, but not the current globalised left which like the transnationals is anti-Greek, promotes America at every available opportunity and has become the new napalm to contain popular anger and expression. 

Not all countries are in the same situation. When Britain was privatizing in the 80’s and attacking one section of industrial worker after another until they destroyed the labour movement, Greece was nationalizing the main sectors of its industries. Up until 1992 it had a very strong labour movement and they were able to bring down the Mitsotakis govt over attempted privatization of the buses. Now Greece has gone the other way and is the fastest in attacking wages and conditions (40-50%) more than any other EZ country. But parallel to that a whole new reserve army of workers came into Greece (equivalent in number) from the ex-stalinist states and the KKE refused to organize them instead becoming foremen in what proved to be the massive building boom of the last two decades (which collapsed in 2008) and has led to a near total meltdown as building involved around 150 odd subsidiary employment industries. Parallely there is no social welfare when unemployed here unlike in the imperialist centres, so one cannot but see an Argentinian style explosion, default and a return to a national currency. 

I didn’t put forward many views I just wrote what I saw was happening during the ERT occupation. Dan intervened to argue that Greece was propped up by the EU and development occurred in roads and bridges, then he used data from the EU and a shipowners daily to quote on the development of Greece. I countered with data from a KKE economist. In that dispute you were absent again. It is black and white. Either Greece benefited from the EU or it didn’t or to put it another way if it hadn’t joined the ‘Lions Den’ (EDA-precursor to Syriza in 1960) would  Greece have avoided bankruptcy and developed (even within the confines of capitalism) or would have arrived at the sorry state it is today? Either capitalism is collapsing or it isn't? Like I said previously in your youth you subscribed to breakdown theory when there was full employment now in you old age when mass unemployment is upon us you argue in similar terms like Dan (that we know from where we are where the system is going and that an upturn is upon us) when it is being propped up artificially by QE. I aint that optimistic for captialism. 


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