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Greece – snapshots of workers’ struggles

This article is over 11 years, 8 months old
From protests to strikes to workers’ control, resistance to austerity has become part of day to day life in Greece – Socialist Worker photojournalist Guy Smallman reports
Issue 2297
People queue to buy potatoes from farmers selling them cheaply in Athens—cutting out the middlemen to get cheap food to impoverished Greeks  (Pics: Smallman )
People queue to buy potatoes from farmers selling them cheaply in Athens—cutting out the middlemen to get cheap food to impoverished Greeks (Pics: Guy Smallman)

Potatoes for the people

In a disused car park on the former Athens Olympics site, farmers were selling their produce at cost price.

They are part of the “potato movement”, which started near Salonica as a response to the crisis.

It means that farmers’ co‑operatives, with some backing from local councils, are selling food to people directly instead of going through corporate middlemen.

The queue of cars to buy the produce extended for nearly half a mile up the road. Honey and olive oil were on sale too.

As food prices have gone up and wages have gone down, some of the poorest people have begun to starve.

And farmers have complained for years about corporations forcing down the prices of their produce.

The potato movement allows impoverished Greeks to get food cheaply.

It also allows farmers to make more money through cutting the big firms out of the deal.

The movement has now spread into most of the major areas of Athens as well as other towns and cities.

Guy Smallman

Newsflash: This TV station is occupied

Vassilis Dzimtsos, journalists’ union rep, AlterTV

“We have been on strike now for four months and we have not been paid for nearly a year.

Some 650 people work here. It is the third biggest news channel, with rolling live coverage 24 hours a day.

After our first strike last May, the owner agreed to give us 2,000 euros each to return to work. Then in July our wages stopped again. That is when the big strike began.

For the first month the station kept operating but with no live programmes. They were just showing movies and repeats.

Then we said to the owners that we would shut down the station completely so they could not collect money from the advertising.

We went into occupation to ensure that no news could be made here.

We started transmitting a workers’ news channel, giving other workers from different sectors the opportunity to come here and say what their strike is about. This made us very popular with workers from many different parts of Greece.

When we first started they cut the power to the building. But electricity workers came in and reconnected us.

Then in February, just three days before the government made their decision about the bailout, they cut our transmitter. That was because we were telling the truth about the strikes and what was happening on the streets.

Now we have an online video blog. We say the things that the other TV stations and newspapers will not say—the things that the government and bankers would rather people did not know about their system.”

Journalists at news channel AlterTV in occupation
Journalists at news channel AlterTV in occupation

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