December 2008 Revolt,Multitude,Social Movements

Laissez faire, security, and liberalism: revisiting Greek December 2008

by Akis Gavriilidis

In December 2008, Athens became world news for the first time in recent years, for a reason that was soon overshadowed by the financial and debt crisis that came immediately after. I think it would be useful to revisit this event now, when it is not so loaded any more in terms of public attention and affect.

This reason was a totally unpredicted, contingent event: the pointless murder of a youngster by a policeman, which sparked a wave of massive and angry protests for several days in Athens –including in neighbourhoods where no demonstrations had ever taken place in living memory- as well as in all major Greek cities, and several minor ones. These consisted in mass rallies, mainly by equally young people with no previous experience in social protest, occupation of public buildings, “sieges” of police stations, but also considerable damage on private property and some looting of shops by the demonstrators and/ or others. The difficulty to tell a demonstrator from an “other” was precisely an important part of the whole picture, as no political or other body or organisation had made any official call for these protests. But this does not mean they were “spontaneous” in the usually pejorative sense that this term has in the left-wing tradition; many of these actions displayed a high degree of Συνέχεια

Droits de l'homme,exception,Multitude,Philosophie politique,Terrorisme,Violence

Les droits de l’homme comme règle et comme exception

Par Akis Gavriilidis

1. L’ «exclusion inclusive» du crime politique

La période pendant laquelle cet article est rédigé (juin/juillet 2003), et déjà pour plusieurs mois, l’actualité juridique et politique en Grèce est marquée par le procès de 19 personnes accusées comme membres de «17 novembre», une organisation terroriste (selon la terminologie officielle ; «de propagande armée» selon une dénomination probablement plus adéquate). Cette organisation d’extrême gauche a été active pour 25 années, pendant lesquelles elle avait tué 22 personnes, entre autres des anciens bourreaux de la dictature militaire et autres policiers, des industriels, des agents de la CIA, et de diplomates turcs, sans que la police ait pu en arrêter même un membre. Mais en été 2002 on a vu, l’une après l’autre, l’arrestation spectaculaire de ces 19 personnes, dont certaines nient toute implication et d’autres ont accepté puis révoqué leurs aveux, en soutenant qu’elles étaient dues à des «pressions», voire tortures, de la police, et que les autorités judiciaires leurs ont nié leurs droits à une assistance légale et une défense appropriée après leur arrestation et pendant l’examen.

L’évaluation de ces plaintes et le déroulement du procès en général n’est vraiment pas l’objet du présent article ; je vais plutôt relever un point précis, presqu’ un détail, qui présent un intérêt pour mon point de Συνέχεια

agency,Crisis,Debt,Multitude,Politics,Social Movements

Greek referendum: Chaos – Our Own “Gun on The(ir) Table”

By Akis Gavriilidis & Sofia Lalopoulou

First publication: Law and Critique (2012, DOI: 10.1007/s10978-012-9110-0)

Mια πρώτη μορφή του άρθρου αυτού είχε δημοσιευθεί στα ελληνικά εδώ


In October 2011, George Papandreou, the then Greek Prime Minister, announced he was planning to hold a referendum in order for the Greek people to decide whether to agree to the bailout plan prepared by the International Monetary Fund, the Central European Bank and the European Commission. This intention was aborted due to intense pressure by Papandreou’s European partners, especially Germany and France. This interference clearly shows the problematic relationship between the so-called “markets” and national-popular sovereignty. This article raises the question why this interference happened in the first place, why the global markets felt such a big threat before the possibility of a vote taking place in a small country of 10 million inhabitants. And also, importantly, what this means in terms of potential for political agency by those who are usually considered be lacking such agency, as having “no other alternative” than to follow the one way course of neoliberalism.