Quote of the day

Greece remains roiled by the imposition of an austerity regime on the country. This regime has been and will continue to be harsh medicine for most Greeks. Greece’s political elite have shown themselves to be impotent when confronting the crisis, as Patrick Cockburn illustrated in this report:

The general strike and the parliamentary vote on reforms demanded by international creditors came before a European Union leaders’ summit, when Greece should receive €8bn — without it, the country will run out of money by November. In parliament the Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told MPs that Greece had no choice but to accept fresh hardships. “We have to explain to all these indignant people who see their lives changing that what the country is experiencing is not the worst stage of the crisis,” he said.

“It is an anguished and necessary effort to avoid the ultimate, deepest and harshest level of the crisis. The difference between a difficult situation and a catastrophe is immense.”

But for many Greeks, the catastrophe has already happened and protests increasingly involve the well-educated middle class. The strike yesterday involved air-traffic controllers, tax officials, pharmacists and doctors — as well as taxi drivers, dock workers and garbage collectors. Schools were closed and hospitals were only open for emergency cases. Every street in Athens has a heap of rotting rubbish on it despite a court order to the public service union to end its strike.

What Mr. Venizelos seems unable to understand is the nature of the disturbance in the streets of Athens. The strikes and street fighting are not features marking the final phase of Greece’s political crisis. They are manifestations of an insurgency that spans the globe and promises to endure long into the future.

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