Some testimony from Friday's action at Chalkidiki (Marmara)
Thérèse Michels, 21.06.2003 18:59

Accounts from demonstrators at the action on Friday, June 20 in Chalkidiki (Marmara), in Greece. Young people involved with the KKE and the KNE youth movement provide some background on the demo, and talk about social issues in Greece.

Romolis is a member of the KNE, and of the KKE youth movement: "Monday we had exams. Despite this, we are here, with 4 cars from our school, the TEI (Technological Education Institute) of Thessaloniki. We are doing our studies in agriculture. Many of us are members of KNE, but others aren't. Our school took part in a strike against the war on March 20, the day the bombs were dropped. We organized this with the PKS (Panspoudastiki Kinisi Sinergasias, the student movement). Through a general meeting for the whole school, during classes, with the participation of some teachers. At the elections of the 9th of April, the PKS won 13.5 percent of the voices in our school, and 15 percent in all the schools in Greece."

Sideris, another acriculture student: "I am not part of the KNE, I want to remain independent, but I do participate in all their demonstrations. Today, we should not be 10 000 at Marmara, but 100 000!

Ramolis adds: With the KNE, we have prepared these 3 days at Thessaloniki through some performances as well. The 17th of May, we presented a theatre performance and poems at the workers' centre of Thessaloniki. Amongst others, "Absenti Populo", to make allusion to the lack of democracy. And in June, we performed pieces by Dario Fo and Bertolt Brecht.

Chrisoula translates some of the slogans chanted by the older workers: "The only law is the law of the workers", "don't let your head fall, stand up and resist!", "our only enemy is imperialism!", "Prime Minister Simitis, don't behave [like] the tsar of Russia, bucause the people will curse you." As in 1917 in Russia, says Chrisoula. "It's a bit romantic!" We are not yet there. I think that things will not be able to change until people realize they could lose their job, their house, their car. As militants of the KKE, we are conscious of what society will become. We should explain to people, but today, lots of people are still not ready. We should listen to them a lot." Chrisoula is part of the OTE (Omospondia Gynekon Greece), women's organization of the KKE.

We meet young people with a flag of Lenin and a student even has a Stalin t-shirt. The group is very dynamic. They sing, they chant. They come from Czech Republic, from the KSCM (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia): "Our party rose in the last elections from 11 to 19 percent and we have won many seats in Parliament. This result is explained by the fact that the people have lost everything they owned before 1989. They realize this more today than before. At the university, they have the support of many young people, since their youth movement is taking a revolutionary path. Amongst law students, we have a score of 80 percent.

Finally, Hélène teaches private courses in Greek literature, as she cannot find work as a teacher. For her, the KKE is a real school. In Greece, it's easy to fall into drug-usage. At the KKE, one learns to reflect, and struggle.

thessaloniki reports |