“Revolution like in Greece” – scrawled onto a pharmacy wall in Belgrade, Serbia by local Anarchists inspired by massive riots in Greece, December 2008.
A couple of notes about the ongoing rioting in Greece:
1. The riots are coordinated – like so many contemporary riots – with classic smart mob technologies like SMS, Blogs posts and Twitter(?)
2. It seems left wingers are responsible for much more public order violence in Europe than right wing groups or immigrants.
3. Minor copycat rioting has occurred in other European cities , but not in near neighbours like Serbia where the economic conditions are worse. I suspect this is because there is an overall sense of improvement in Serbia but the opposite feeling in Greece.
4. Greece is perfectly suited for leftist organized violence. A string of weak governments and poor policing have allowed Anarchist gangs flourish. A constitutional loophole also bans police from university campuses so “demonstrators can regroup behind barricades at the Athens Polytechnic and pick up fresh supplies of petrol bombs before heading back onto the streets” .
5. Something has made very large number of Greek youths prepared to join the anarchist core in rioting. They are obviously fed up – and it would appear corruption, economic stagnation and failed (or missing) educational reforms are part of the reason.
6. The kid was shot by mistake, hit by a ricochet.
7. Criminal gangs are now in on the action, is it time to deploy the army? The military can raid the campus sanctuaries, destroy the petrol bomb factories and arrest the ring-leaders
6. English students are too ignorant of world events to even know about the riots, so not much chance of copycat rioting there.
Added Sunday 14th
7. We know the teargas reserves of the Greek police are about 5000 canisters. It has taken about a week of sustained rioting to use them all up, so now Israel and Germany are rushing tear-gas supplies to Greece.
8. Rioters are using other technologies now, like laser pointers, to target police commanders.
9. It seems that rubber bullets (baton rouns) are much more effective in quelling riots than just using passive dispersal agents like teargas. Greek cops were reduced to throwing stones back at gas-masked anarchists – immune to their gas – who were able to shower them with projectiles including petrol bombs. Water canons seem to effective too. Some claim that there is an unwritten agreement between the cops and the rioters not to hurt each other , but even in riot gear being hit by a petrol bomb is dangerous and can lead to serious injuries. This policeman – hit by a petrol bomb – was extremely lucky his training, fireproof protective clothing and colleagues saved him from being harmed. New reports say that the rioters are now attacking police with crossbows, swords and slingshots
10. The riots have been descibed as “the first credit-crunch riots”. Countries with high youth unemployment and a tradition of mass protest (e.g. France, Italy, Spain, Serbia) should be concerned about the riots spreading. From Belgrade to Bordeaux solidarity graffiti warns of “The Coming Insurrection“.. My personal belief is that we are entering into period of turmoil as the young push back against growing authoritarianism in Europe. A combination of highly manipulative late stage Capitalist media culture, eroded civil liberties, nanny state/Political Correctness, political cynicism and now economic hardship (caused mostly by elite greed and short-sightedness) have combined to engender fury in Europe’s young. Part of me is delighted to see it.