Nikos Lountos is a writer and activist with the Socialist Workers Party in Greece and the anti-capitalist organisation Antarsya. He spoke on the anti-capitalist left in Greece at the Marxism Festival at the beginning of the month. This is what he said.
The first signs of working class resistance to to the crisis in Greece began about a year ago. We knew we must connect with people becoming radicalised by the movement. On one day, two million people either demonstrated, struck or occupied a square [the population of Greece is around 11 million - Left Turn]. We had Tahrir-style public occupations, working class strikes and workplace occupations. Public demonstrations give confidence to workers and strikes politicise those people involved. The anti-capitalist left has been crucial in calling for the government to default on its loans, to nationalise the banks and in occupying to save jobs.
Greece has two left parties in parliament, one of which is the Communist Party. Although it is a hard Stalinist party it has been crucial. The media tries to play the square movement off against the workers' movement, with some success as the Communist Party is hostile to the squares movement. However, the anti-capitalist left has stopped this division by being part of both movements. When the police tried to beat the occupiers out of the square it was people with the banners of the anti-capitalist left that went back in.
The movement politicises people and pushes more people towards the ideas of the left. In recent elections 20 councillors were elected for Antarsya.
In 2011 there were many fascist attacks on migrants in Greece and some argued the movement should not get involved. This is why it is so important for revolutionaries to be independent; we brought migrants to our demonstrations and defended them.
Discussions in the movements across Europe are homogenising. The events in the Middle East and North Africa have taught us not to give in to 'realism' in times of crisis. The challenge is to put the ideas of revolution into practice.
You can watch Nikos Lountos' speech here.