News Release

Major Protests in Greece and Spain


Panayotakis is an associate professor of sociology at New York City College of Technology at the City University of New York and author of Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy. He said today: “Today’s general strike in Greece forms part of the large wave of anti-austerity resistance currently sweeping the countries of Southern Europe. Days after the Portuguese government had to take back part of its austerity program in response to massive popular demonstrations against its policies and one day after the Spanish government used violence and rubber bullets to repress anti-austerity demonstrators in Madrid, today’s strike paralyzed much of the Greek economy and brought to the streets hundreds of thousands of workers and ordinary citizens in large demonstrations throughout the country. These demonstrations are only the beginning of resistance against a new wave of austerity measures which the new conservative-led coalition is planning and which goes against the pre-election promises that the coalition partners made just a few months ago. As austerity has led to a deep economic depression and skyrocketing unemployment and misery in Greece, recent polls show that the vast majority of Greeks consider the measures currently planned as socially unjust and especially burdensome to the poor. As the measures are presented to the Greek parliament in coming weeks, popular resistance is therefore likely to escalate, thus also challenging the stability of the shaky conservative-led coalition currently in power.”

See Panayotakis’ pieces: “Greek Elections Set Stage for New Round of Social Struggles,” The Indypendent, June 19, 2012.

“What’s Fit to Read About Greece,” NYTimes Examiner, August 23, 2012,

“On Europe’s Failure,” NYTimes Examiner, August 29, 2012,

Marty is with the International Organization for a Participatory Society in Spain and is co-author of the forthcoming Occupy Strategy. He said today: “Last night in Madrid thousands gathered around the Spanish Parliament to protest against the austerity measures and more broadly against its political class. A large number of buses arrived earlier in the day, transporting people from all over Spain, to join the protest. The police have been accused of detaining some of them, from Getafe just outside Madrid to Zaragoza, which is more than 300 km away). The police clashed with the protesters … The crowd was dispersed later on during the evening resulting in 35 arrests and 64 injuries (of which 27 were police officers).

“The organizers of the ’25S’ [25 September] protest, the Coordinadora 25S, have rejected accusations from the state representative in Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, of being a hotbed for Nazi groups: ‘…anyone familiar with our manifesto or our pamphlets understands that no Nazis would subscribe to it.’ Among other allegations, the government also compared the 25S to the infamous coup attempt carried out in 1983 by elements of the military and it has been warned that the protest was a criminal offense.

“Several videos have been posted on the web showing acts of intimidation by the police against the press, notably at the Atocha train station. As in previous protests in Spain where police actions have been controversial, none of the police officers wore their ID number, which is illegal. Later in the evening government officials hailed the police for their conduct during the protests.

“The Coordinadora 25S has called people to return tonight at 7 p.m., to hold another protest in front of the Parliament.” A recent interview with Marty and some of his writings are available at ZNet.