[Pga_europe_process] annex for the factory/labour day: some reflection texts 1)

kolektiv eimigracija migrativeart at skynet.be
Wed Jun 16 10:37:49 CEST 2004

here is a significative text by our eurodusney friends which analyses: But
for these ³miracles² human lives are being sacrificed. The Olympic works are
being constructed not only by the extreme exploitation of the workers but
also without meeting any safety regulation. The need for finishing the works
on time along with the ambitions for maximizing the profits resulted in
working 6-7 days per week for far more than 8 hours per day for the majority
of the workers, with minimal or even no safety precautions. The result was
the death of more than 30 workers and many severe injuries of others in the
Olympic worksites.

our goal will be than to invite some greek workers from construction field
to jint the debate..


    The Olympic games of Athens will take place in a period of significant
political developments in both Greece and in the whole world. They will be
the first Olympic Games after September 11th and the launch of the ³war
against terrorism² by USA, NATO and the EU, which is targeted against the
people. They are the Olympic Games of a new era, especially in the field of
security and oppression, as it is being declared by Greek and foreign

    For the Greek capital, the issue of the Olympic Games is an ³open bet².
>From the mid Œ80s when the discussion on the naive request for the permanent
holding of the Olympic Games by Greece started, till the first Greek
application for the Olympic Games of 1996 was rejected and the application
for the forthcoming Olympic Games was filed, this issue was always connected
to the visions and the interests of the Greek capital according to its
priorities in every period.

Thus, this discussion is not new for the Greek capital. It is not just ³a
new trick² to fool the people and to take away some of the rights of the
labour class and the youth. This discussion is old and the Olympic Games is
a strategic means for them to accomplish their targets. They intend to use
the Olympic Games as a catalyst to impose their policy. They also intend to
use the Olympic Games as a guarantor of the ³National Unity² and the ³Labour
Peace². Measurements that would else be unacceptable from the Greek people
are now being imposed with the justification of the ³national target² of the
Olympic Games. 

In other words the issue of the Olympic Games has been used by the Greek
capital in the last two decades in order to achieve the highest level of
exploitation of the labour class and the youth. In the course of these two
decades the Greek businessmen ³stressed² the delays (when it failed to be
given the 1996 Olympics) in imposing the new flexible labour relations, in
demolishing the insurance and retiring system, in crushing the ³internal
enemy², in expanding their investments in the Balkans and in the Eastern
Europe. However, the success to be given the 2004 Olympics signaled its
success in all the fields mentioned above. The bourgeois class of Greece
managed to ³change Greece² as the ruling party PASOK (socialists) says, with
fuel the rights and the lives of the working people and the youth.
Thus, undertaking the 2004 Olympics signals for the Greek capital a
breakthrough to a higher quality and an increased speed of both exploiting
and submitting the labour class and accomplishing its targets in its
imperialistic policy in the area of the Balkans and the Eastern
Mediterranean. In the summer of 2004 there is a feast for the capital. The
holding of the Olympic Games by Greece (the smallest country that is holding
Olympic Games in the last decades) is a ³medal of honor² for the Greek
capital. The fact that this medal is gained by the blood of the workers who
died in the worksites of the Olympics is just a ³collateral damage² for the
Greek capital and its political representatives.  As the Golden Age of
Pericles in the antiquity (an era of complete dominance of the city-state of
Athens based on its military and economic power) was ³sealed² by the
building of the Parthenon, the bloody era of ³modernization² (the slogan of
the ruling party PASOK was ³modernization of Greece²) will be sealed by the
huge and repugnant works of Kalatravas (a Greek businessman who is the
holder of many works concerning the Olympic Games). Now as then, the
official history will never name how many ³slaves² were buried under its


The consequences of the Olympics to the working people and the youth will be
horrifying and will concern every part of their lives. Both today and it the
future they will tend to cancel any demand the movement might raise. Every
request from the point of view of the interests and the needs of the working
people will stop at the ³wall² of the huge depts inherited to the Greek
people through the Olympic Games and will be crushed by the cut in the
social expenditure imposed by the governments.
The costs of the games will leave an unbearable dept of approximately 5
billion euros (!) according to estimations of some newspapers. This dept
will bury any intention of demand from the side of the people but it will
also be used for new cuts in the social expenditure, for imposing
privatizations in education, health, insurance etc, for increasing the taxes
for the working people and the prices for the majority of goods. The large
companies of course will not be asked to pay for this dept. An example of
huge and unjustified costs of the Olympics is the rebuild of the main
stadium in Athens: in the Greek application for the Olympics (in 1997) it
had a budget of 3,3 million euros. In 2001, when the auction for the work
started it had a budget of 10,3 million euros. When the auction was
completed in July 2002 (and the work was given to the company ERETVO A.E.)
the budget was approximately 14,7 million euros. On the other hand the
workers are being asked to work harder, beyond their limits, with low wages
and doing unpaid (or almost unpaid) overtime. That¹s how the huge profits of
the construction companies are being justified. Specifically, in 2001,
before the beginning of the majority of works in Athens, the company AKTOR
had a profit of 41 million euros and the company GEK 32 million euros. Today
their profits have been tripled. Although, the ³Olympic works² are extremely
expensive they do not meet any need of the citizens of Athens. On the
contrary, they destroy the environment for the sake of the profit.

That¹s how the huge dept will be produced and will become a burden for the
working people and the youth, producing profits for the large companies
(mainly the construction ones). Beyond the field of the concrete economic
consequences, there is a whole series of changes in progress that is
connected with the Olympic Games. Because of the Olympics these changes are
being speeded up and becoming more violent.

LABOUR RELATIONS: The Olympic works consist a modern ³miracle² for the Greek
capital. Highways, squares, stadiums, residence blocks are being constructed
extremely fast in many neighborhoods of Athens. But for these ³miracles²
human lives are being sacrificed. The Olympic works are being constructed
not only by the extreme exploitation of the workers but also without meeting
any safety regulation. The need for finishing the works on time along with
the ambitions for maximizing the profits resulted in working 6-7 days per
week for far more than 8 hours per day for the majority of the workers, with
minimal or even no safety precautions. The result was the death of more than
30 workers and many severe injuries of others in the Olympic worksites. Of
course, the official trade unions were never worried by these accidents. Not
even once did they call for a strike in these worksites. That is exactly
what it was expected as these unions support the ³national vision² of the
Olympics. The president of GSEE (the national workers¹ union) is one of the
16 appointed members of the organizing committee of the Olympics. Some other
members are 2 mayors (the mayor of Athens and the mayor of Maroussi ­ a
suburb where the majority of the works are being constructed), the vise
director of the Bank of Greece, the president of a large insurance company,
the managing director of a large Greek corporation, the executive director
of the multinational chemical company DOW.

Because of the Olympics, the discussion for extending the commercial stores,
the banks and other services opening hours started. Government officials
spoke only for the need of the stores and the services to be open 24 hours a
day only during the Olympics but the representatives of large chains of
stores (such as CARFOUR and PRACTIKER) lobby for the perpetuation of these
measures. At the same time, with the excuse of the Olympic Games the Greek
capital is trying to impose new flexible labour relation. The huge wave of
lay offs that will follow the Olympics will help them in this effort. Thus,
the Olympic Games are a significant tool for the deregulation of the labour

SECURITY ­ OPPRESSION: As we are living in the era of ³war against
terrorism² and the dominant doctrine of capitalism is ³zero tolerance², the
Athens Olympics will be an image from the future. For a long time the 2004
Olympics have been an excuse for a discussion between officials from many
countries (from Australia, to Israel, the UK and the US) concerning the
effective ³protection² of the society (=capitalism) and its structure
(=their profits). In this discussion the Greek capital has a leading role,
as it understands that by using the Olympic Games as a means, it has the
potential to transform Greece into an authoritarian and police dominated
society. During the Olympics it can also acquire the means (infrastructure
and the know-how) to crush effectively the movement in any occasion,
protecting its profits and the barbarity of capitalism.

That¹s why the budget for the security ­ oppression during the Olympics is
the huge amount of 300 million euros. This budget includes electronic
surveillance systems, hundreds of cameras in the streets, software for video
identification, small armored vehicles, and conventional and chemical
weapons. This equipment and the personnel trained to use them will of course
remain available for the Greek government after the OlympicsŠ This gigantic
and nightmarish project will be coordinated by the team of Olympic
consultants of the Ministry of Public Order. Participants of this team are
representatives from countries leading the global antiterrorist campaign
(USA, UK, Spain, France, Germany, Israel etc). It is the most ambitious
program with the largest budget ever in the history of the Olympic Games
(even from the ones of Atlanta in 1996).

Ministers and government officials did never stop terrorizing all opposite
views. For example the secretary of the ruling party PASOK and former
minister of Public Order stated, ³During the days of the Games no threat
will be insignificant². Of course in his list of threats demonstrations,
labour protest and strikes are included. There is a plan for a law that will
define tens of ³red zones² inside Athens and emergency repressive measures
in case of protests. The suggestions of Gianna Aggelopoulou (chief of the
organizing committee of the Olympics and wife of one of the richest
businessmen in Greece) to the parliamentary committee working on this law
are truly outrageous. They include giving the security forces the right to
conduct preemptive searches to residences without a warrant, preemptive
arrests etc.  Another example is that to buy a ticket for the Olympics (if
you can afford itŠ) one is asked to bring a certificate of his criminal

Despotism and repression are escalating to a higher level. The basic
democratic rights of the people are being abolished not only during the
Olympics but also (and this is even more important) after them. Whatever
they organize during the Games it will remain available for them after the
Games. If the movement does not fight against this measures, this situation
will define the conscience of the majority of the people of Greece and will
become an obstacle for the movement in the future.

ENVIRONMENT: In the extremely densely populated Athens of pollution, where
the 40% of the population the whole country is living (in Athens and in its
suburbs) the Olympic works are coming to destroy the last free space of the
area. In order to complete the works faster and with the largest profit the
destruction of the environment is immeasurable. First of all, there is an
immediate threat for the health of the citizens of Athens from the rise by
20% of the particles that pollute the air in the area and from the cheap and
cancerous materials that are used in various works (asphalt in the new ring
avenue of Athens, material used for the cover of the Olympic stadium etc).
Furthermore, there will be long-term effects to the health and to the
quality of life for the citizens of the area. For the ³Olympic village² (the
residences of the athletes and the international zone that will be used from
the companies for the construction of commercial centers, entertainment
spaces, hotels etc) that is being built on the foot of the mountain Parnitha
­ one of the largest works in progress ­ an area of 325 acres of land will
be built. 125 of these acres are officially marked as a forest area that
will be destroyed for the needs of the Olympics. In another forest area of
Athens, the Alsos Veikou, which is the largest free space in urban area,
huge stadiums for the sports of ping-pong and gymnastics are being
constructed destroying illegally part of the forest. In the town of Maroussi
for 3 works in a total area of 132,5 acres the ³coefficient of building² has
been increase from 0,6 to 1,8, with destructive consequences for the quality
of life in this suburb of Athens.

The area of the old Athens airport in the southern suburb of Elliniko is
given to private corporations and will be built instead of making a new park
for the area. The same thing happened to the beach of Saronikos (south of
Athens). In another free space near the sea, Agios Kosmas, an installation
concerning yacht racing ready to host 50.000 spectators, along with marinas
for private yachts and cruise ships are being built. In the Delta of Faliron
(nearby the port of Piraeus) huge stadium will be constructed that after the
Games will be used as commercial and private exhibition centers although in
an official plan for Athens in 1985 this area would be transformed to a
green area of entertainment, culture and free sports for the people!

These are only a few of the cases of environmental destruction caused by the
Olympic works. These examples are indicative of the way the capital stands
against the environment. Capitalists are willing to sacrifice the
environment and the quality of life of the people for the sake of their
profit making. 

THE ARMY AND THE OLYMPICS: The Greek army is called to play a very
significant role in both the field of the security and the field of Olympic
volunteers and the propaganda for the Olympic Games. The army is being
rapidly modernized (formation of new strike force units, hiring mercenaries
etc) to cope with the increased needs of the capital. Among these needs is
its role for the submission of the internal enemy in the future.

For the first time after the 7-year military junta (1967-74) the army is
exiting the camps and the sphere of future wars and is involved in political
and social activities. For the needs of the Olympic Games the Ministry of
Defense in collaboration with the organizing committee of the Olympics has
formed the ³Olympic Division² with 10.000 soldiers and officers. Its aim is
the guarding of significant targets in Athens and the suburbs in
collaboration with the police.

Simultaneously, inside the military camps along with the intensive training
(result of the ³modernization² of the army) the Army Staff has launched a
campaign to recruit volunteers for the Olympics and persuade the conscripts
for the ideas of the Olympic Games. In the beginning, that campaign tried to
get advantage of the bad situation the conscripts faced during their duty,
promising them long term leaves to those who would apply and being accepted
as Olympic volunteers. After the poor results of this campaign, the army
officials are using the ³weep instead of the carrot² presenting the
assistance of conscripts to the Olympics as a military order.

The army is taking part actively in preparing, organizing, guarding and
justifying ideologically the Olympics. It is present in the political and
social developments during and (most significantly) after the Games.

VOLUNTEERS ­ IDEOLOGICAL PROPAGANDA: The Olympic Games are the new ³Great
Idea² of the Greek capital , the new ³national vision² that combines the
modern nationalism with the ³ancient Greek spirit² and the ³eternal
achievements of our race² with the modern ³powerful Greece² (slogan of the
ruling party PASOK) in the world order. It is the vehicle that has all the
reactionary ideal of capital. To this ideal is the capital trying to
mobilize the young people.

All the campaign of the political representatives of capitalism for
recruiting volunteers does not only aim at mobilizing the young people to
the cause of the Olympic Games. They are also trying to promote the
voluntary submission of the young generation to the barbaric ideals and
policy of capital. The brainwash conducted every day to the young people at
schools, in the army and from the Mass Media to submit voluntarily to
flexible labour, to the society of oppression, to the ³national interests²
and to the ³national unity² is applied to the program of Olympic volunteers.

The course of ³Olympic education² that is introduced at secondary education,
where the young people are being poisoned by the most barbarous ideas
humanity ever witnessed such as the eternal superiority of our race, the
³light² and the civilization of the ancient Greece and the duties that come
from them for modern Greeks. With these ³duties² for creating a ³powerful
Greece² they aim at forming an army of young people submitted to the ideals
of the capital without any wish to resist its transforming needs.

The Olympic Games are presented by the government as a ³national target² the
accomplishment of which will benefit the whole country. The ³return of the
Olympic Games to the place where born² is the main sentimental argument of
the government. Thus, they ask the people to join the effort for a
successful organization. The truth is that they just want to persuade the
people to accept the reactionary reforms in the labour market, the insurance
system and in the issue of security. However, so far this effort hasn¹t been
very successful as the majority of the Greek people are rather skeptical
about the Olympics.

Of course, sports have always been a means to make people forget their own
problems for the sake of a glorious event. The Olympic Games are presented
as such an event. However, in modern sports everything is a fake. It is no
more the best athlete that wins but the best sponsored and the one that is
taking the best drugs among the good athletes that comes first. In Greece,
the media show the preparations of many athletes for the Olympics, telling
the people that they have good chances of winning a medal. However, the
history of the Olympics of recent years shows that the athletes of the
countries that are holding the Olympic Games always wins more medals that
usual. It is nothing but a trick of the World Olympic Committee to attract
more spectators to the Games and of the local governments to fool the
people. In Greece, this will be an effort to persuade the people that they
live in an important and successful country. To persuade them that they can
both organize successfully the Games and win many distinguishes. It will be
also used to make the immigrants forget the exploitation they are suffering
every day in Greece and cheer their ³colleagues² (many successful Greek
athletes sports such as weightlifting are immigrants from Albania or the
former Soviet Union) who win golden medal under the flag of Greece.

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