Thursday, November 24, 2011

Helpfully, the BBC's Adam Curtis Explains It All For You (about the Greek Colonels and the 1973 University Uprising That Led To Their Downfall)

"History may not repeat, but often rhymes." Attributed to Mark Twain.

Adam Curtis has been making too much sense of things for a lot of years. I would only mention his "Century of the Self," and "The Power of Nightmares" as two of his remarkable documentaries looking into why things are the way they are.

He's found and posted some excellent background material from the vaults that help to explain why things are the way they are in Greece today. I encourage everyone to read it and watch the videos at the link.

Recently, The Greek Thing has come to the fore for a whole lot of reasons. Why things are the way they are in Greece is a complicated story to be sure, but one of the chief reasons has to do with the fascist military dictatorship ("The Colonels") that overthrew the civilian government in 1967. Georgios Papandreou (grandfather of the recently deposed Greek PM of the same name) was PM of Greece several times, the last time from 1964-65, until he was deposed and replaced by a series of caretakers who never managed to gain a vote of confidence in the parliament and finally the whole apparatus of "democracy" was swept away by the intervention of The Colonels who established a very harsh authoritarian rule from 1967 to 1974.

The Colonels were emplaced as Greek rulers with the complicity -- if not active involvement -- of NATO and the CIA.

Many Greeks suffered under The Colonels -- though some flourished, of course. The experience of that military dictatorship (which many Greeks consider to have been worse than the harsh German occupation during WWII) has stuck with the Greek People. They will never forget. And I doubt they will ever entirely forgive.

During the recent tumult in Greece, including the forced resignation of Georgios Papandreou as PM and his replacement with a "technocrat" (as if the American educated Papandreou isn't a "technocrat"), the issue has been ultimately whether the Greek People will be forced to part with what's left of their patrimony and sovereignty and be forced into poverty and servitude to German and French bankers.

The People are not allowed a say in their government's determination to yield to the demands of the European Central Bank and the further demands of Germany and France (primarily) for ever greater levels of Greek "austerity." Meaning basically that whatever assets remain in Greece are to be stripped in order to service their growing debts, debts that will continue to grow because there aren't enough assets to pay them, and the austerity requirements have fatally crippled the Greek economy.

It's a fine mess. And the Greek People are well aware of its nature.

So there have been constant protests and demonstrations in Athens and many other Greek cities against the Eurozone demands for more than a year.

There have long been protests and demonstrations in Athens and elsewhere for all kinds of reasons. Greece is a volatile political environment.

Part of the reason why is that the Will of the People has often been ignored by the Greek Powers That Be.

Gee. Whodathunkit, eh?

There is some very powerful footage in the second video at the link -- I cannot link it directly here -- of the Greek military seige of the Athens Polytechnic University in November, 1973, and there is testimony from survivors. Dozens of students were killed, many shot summarily. The revolt at the University was crushed, but the events that took place there led to the dissolution of the military dictatorship within six months.

Linda Katehi, current Chancellor of the University of California at Davis, was a student at the Athens Polytechnic University in November of 1973, and she says she remembers very well what went on and why. No one who was there is ever likely to forget it.

Last week, she presided over the failed efforts of the UCD police to crush a student revolt on her own campus. It seems sometimes that everyone on the planet has now seen the shocking videos (many of which I have posted here) of Lt. Pike pepper spraying a non-violent line of sitting students on Friday, November 18, 2011. The outrage has been fierce.

And many times, Linda Katehi has been challenged about what happened and why and calls for her resignation have echoed far and wide.

She has not resigned, but she has apologized -- apparently sincerely -- and the Occupy UCD encampment the removal of which she ordered and which was the proximate cause of the protest which led directly to the Incident at UC Davis, has been re-established with the active assistance of the UC Davis police and administration.

She says she does not want anything like what happened on Friday to happen again.

When she has been reminded of the student uprising in Athens in 1973 -- that she was part of -- and the parallels between her ordering the crushing of rebellion on the UC Davis campus and what happened in Athens back then, she has said that the students in revolt in Athens in 1973 were "mainstream." When she is challenged over her recent consultation with the Greek government over the "University asylum" policy -- which the government canceled -- she denies ever recommending that they do any such thing, and she justifies repression of protests and demonstrations in Greece on the basis that the protestors are "anarchists" and have "burned down" the Universities repeatedly. They are not students, and they have no interest in learning.

Of course she's lying, but the whole point of the police brutality and the lies surrounding it -- which have been going on for years -- is to enforce the neo-liberal privatization of the University for the benefit of the 1%. Nathan Brown explains it very clearly here:

This is what is going on -- throughout the UC system -- and this is what Katehi is part of, as are all the other University of California Chancellors and administrators.

This is their vision of the future, this is their goal.

Much as, ham-handedly, The Colonels had a vision and goal for Greece when time was.

But when they found out the People would rise up, they backed down.

Something similar is happening in Davis and elsewhere in the UC system, elsewhere in the country, elsewhere in the world, but whether the Powers That Be will continue to retreat remains to be seen. My own sense is no. Not on a bet.

They will without doubt ratchet up the pressure and the violence against the Occupy Movement, and resistance to further rule by the Banksters simply because they have to.

If you haven't seen it, "Debtocracy" is an excellent summary of what has been going on lately...

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