I apologize for not having posted in a while — I was vacationing with family in Pylos this past week (it’s a really beautiful region, maybe one of these days I’ll figure out a way to upload pictures without my USB cord), and didn’t come into much contact with computers.
It’s sort of late here though, so I will keep this post a short one. For the past two weeks, everything has gone on strike in Athens for at least one weekday, including the publication I work for. The strikes take down all forms of transportation, including the metro and, apparently, the media. A while a go there was a strike at the port of Piraeus, putting a halt to all ferry travel. The strikes are debilitating, but they only last a day at a time. The Greek communist party KKE is usually behind them.
KKE is a formidable force in Greece. Some large percentage of the Greek population claims to be communist (somewhere between 10%-20% was the last figure I read or heard..still looking for a source on it). Their name has been graffitied all over Greece, and appears in the strangest places, for example, on lone slabs of cement in the Peloponnese. As Greece’s oldest modern political party, KKE is organized and counter-productive to Greek growth. Their website, and whole image really, is like something out of the Soviet Union, complete with the hammer and sickle for their insignia. You can also read their website in one of eight languages, including Arabic, Russian, and Portuguese. KKE’s website is better than most other Greek ones I have encountered. Despite shutting down the country’s economic activity, the Greek communist party couches their strikes in terms of heroic martyrdom. See this video clip for unabashed, absurd communist propaganda. Somehow, KKE hasn’t taken any lessons from Greece’s overblown public sector, which is the result of politicians trying to appease the populus. KKE’s existence and power allude to deep, penetrative contradictions in Greek society and in Greek politics. Its blind idealism in the face of real problems is a scary thing.