What is the society you are dreaming of?
“A society where you are able to survive.”
“To be able to survive, not only me, but everyone.”
Survival, as a dream. Talk about being reduced to “bare life,” where even Doctors without Borders comes in and declares there is a humanitarian crisis in Athens itself, and people dream of merely being able to eat again. Citizenship stripped of anything substantial, reduced to dust, a mere abstraction.
This film by Ross Domoney interviewing Dimitris Dalakoglou is set against the backdrop of protests, and some terribly moving expressions of despair. One might be forgiven for thinking this film was set in Romania in 1989–except that it is Western, capitalist Greece, right in the European Union that shows us what neoliberal social breakdown looks like. This is in the continent where politicians deploy jets to “protect civilians” in Africa–to protect them from having the kinds of social security, welfare, and social and economic guarantees that were once enjoyed in Libya and which Europeans can only dream of. Or Americans for that matter, whose plummeting social and economic fortunes are poorly counterbalanced by empty political promises, of living in a society where “we can hope to one day dream together as a nation”.
“We will not pay much longer for your protection”. I think that one can discern when we are not dealing with “just another protest,” from the kind of language that is used. I have never heard this in any protest in which I have participated, either at home or abroad:
“We will hang you by your tie!”
“Asshole…You have made the children, asshole, to protect you.”
“You have made 25 year olds protect you, asshole.”
“We will eat you alive!”
“Our children will fuck you!”
Here suicide is also not just protest, not intended as such, but is the act of someone who has lost all hope and has reached the end of the rope. This is not self-immolation, with the hope of unleashing a wave of mass action that will change a system, or overthrow a dictator, which is implicitly future-oriented. Here suicide is explicitly a statement that there is no future.
“We don’t want capital to govern here, not only here, but the whole world.”
“This is not democracy, this is bank democracy.”
Political violence, which as Dimitris Dalakoglou explains in the film, is the violence of the police against those who resist and protest against government decisions. He further explains that the violent apparatuses of the state have been politicized further, not just in separating policing from society, turning policing against the society, but also in terms of a specific right-wing ideology. While the explanation is admittedly a bit murky in this film, that the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party had some of its strongest gains in specific areas of Athens where police were working on election day and thus casting their ballots in polling stations closest to their precincts.
As in the film by Domoney previously posted here, this one also brings up the question of the meaning of democracy under conditions of impossibility and futility, that is, where neoliberalism has wrought social breakdown. There is, however, some glimmer of possible alternatives here: of de-monetized transactions, barter, collective work, and of course articulations of the kind of humane futures that capitalism cannot offer or sustain.