Indignant Athens: ‘get your tax off my ass’

Article published on June 29, 2011
community published
Article published on June 29, 2011
I haven’t been on the streets for about twenty years, but I can’t stand this anymore. I decided to protest after many years because I cannot bare our politicians’ apathy for people’s problems. They just keep on slamming the taxes on us - and that’s all. If politicians really wanted to find solutions for the country they would.
One indignant protestor speaks

money_-taxes-young-people.jpg The Aganaktismenoi (αγανακτισμένοι) indignant movement started on 25 May with the first call for a public gathering at Syntagma Square in the centre of Athens. The message of the movement varies with the participants you meet. Yet people from all ages (especially twenty- and thirty-somethings) and walks of life (you’ll spot many suits and ties in the crowd) share one thing in common: we do not want any political coloration -correlation within the Aganaktismenoi movement.

deuteri.jpg Syntagma Square | Aganaktismenoi movement

One of the main dangers is for trade unions and left political parties to take advantafe of these gatherings and present the situation as they want. This cannot be more further from the truth, because we do not want any syndicalist or political party invasion. We’ve had enough with all political parties in power and within parliament – right, left, centre, socialist, conservative, communist, no matter!

triti.jpg The classical greek ‘moutza’, or the five open fingers sign | Ancient gesture symbolising aversion and abhorrence of a person towards a situation

This is all about French history in the end - during their revolutions, whoever sat left was branded communist, whoever sat right became a conservative. It has never suited the Greek reality (for example, the communist leader Aleka Papariga enrolled her child at the prestigious, private American College in Athens, Deree). The Greek people want politicians to leave, since all the austerity measures they have taken have failed. They have put the social cohesion of the country in great danger. Cutting pensions, wages, creating an instable fiscal system and executing blindfold economic theories have nothing to do with the reality of the country. They are just an execution from the government of what the international monetary fund (IMF) and European creditors (especially Germany) say with no adaptation to the country’s specificities.

tetarti.jpg The maid reacted…what are we going to do?’ | T-shirts refer to the sex scandal surrounding the former IMF chief and creditor of Greece, Strauss Kahn

In history, revolutions started because people could not stand any more taxes. My generation’s future is decided by the people and the same political class that created the problems in the first place. The least I can do is to hit the streets. Whoever remains silent, consents (ο σιωπών, συναινεί). Over the last years youngsters have been so appalled that they have turned their backs on everything that had to do with politics. I hope to see new leaders coming from this situation and not from the same political families.

The Greek premier George Papandreou or opposition leader Antonis Samaras have never worked in their lives. How do we expect them to understand where can youngsters find money to pay the taxes? Politicians do not allow innovation or create a positive environment for young entrepreneurship or growth. They push us to leave abroad. A very good friend of mine who works in green energy was told by a representative in Silicon Valley: ‘the problem is not that you are Greek, but that you are a Greek company.’ What else is there to say?

pemti.jpg All in all, this is just a description of a symptom of deeper-rooted reasons. We Greeks have never believed in the notion and idea of a central state.

Main image is an ‘Art Bank’ opening in Athens, a performance about the ‘non-value of money’ (cc) SpirosK/ Flickr/ SpirosK official blog