"Social Explosion" Begins In Greece As Massive Street Protests Bring Economy To A Fresh Halt

Tyler Durden's picture

One thing that became abundantly clear after Alexis Tsipras sold out the Greek referendum “no” back in the summer after a weekend of “mental waterboarding” in Brussels was that the public’s perception of the once “revolutionary” leader would never be the same. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what Berlin, Brussels, and the IMF wanted. 

By turning the screws on the Greek banking sector and bringing the country to the brink of ruin, the troika indicated its willingness to “punish” recalcitrant politicians who pursue anti-austerity policies. On the one hand, countries have an obligation to pay back what they owe, but on the other, the subversion of the democratic process by using the purse string to effect political change is a rather disconcerting phenomenon and we expect we’ll see it again with regard to the Socialists in Portugal. 

After a month of infighting within Syriza Tsipras did manage to consolidate the party and win a snap election but he’s not the man he was - or at least not outwardly. He’s obligated to still to the draconian terms of the bailout and that means he is a shadow of his former self ideologically. As we’ve said before, that doesn’t bode well for societal stability. 

On Thursday, we get the first shot across the social upheaval bow as the same voters who once came out in force to champion Tsipras and Syriza are staging massive protests and walkouts. Here’s Bloomberg:

As Greek workers took to the streets in protest on Thursday, Alexis Tsipras was for the first time on the other side of the divide.


Unions -- a key support base for the prime minister’s Syriza party -- chanted in rallies held in Athens the same slogans Tsipras once used against opponents. Doctors and pharmacists joined port workers, civil servants and Athens metro staff in Greece’s first general strike since he took office in January, bringing the country to a standstill for 24 hours. 


Greece’s biggest unions, ADEDY and GSEE, are holding marches accusing Tsipras of bowing to creditors and imposing measures that “perpetuate the dark ages for workers,” as the country’s statistical agency released data showing that 1.18 million Greeks, or 24.6 percent of the workforce, remained unemployed in August.


The former firebrand opponent of bailouts was catapulted to power this year on a promise to end austerity, only to capitulate to creditors’ demands after the freezing of aid from the euro area brought the country’s financial system to the brink of collapse, forcing Tsipras to impose capital controls.


Even more belt-tightening will be required before Europe’s most indebted state gains access to additional emergency loans to cover its budget needs next year, and creditors agree to ease its debt burden. The GSEE union of private sector workers says those measures will bring “punitive austerity, poverty and impoverishment,” to a country where a quarter of the workforce is already without a job.


“There’s a risk of social explosion, as pension cuts and tax hikes loom,” said Sotiria Theodoropoulou, a senior researcher at the European Trade Union Institute in Brussels. “Last summer’s shock took a toll on many sectors, and it’s difficult to see where growth will come from.”

Amusingly, Syriza supports the strikes against its own policies (via The Telegraph):

The party's department that deals with labor policy called for mass participation in the walk-out to protest "the neoliberal policies and the blackmail from financial and political centers within and outside Greece."

And more from The Guardian:

Schools, hospitals, banks, museums, archaeological sites, pharmacies and public services will all be hit by the 24-hour walkout. Flights will also be disrupted, ferries stuck in ports and news broadcasts stopped as staff walk off the job. 


“We are expecting a huge turnout,” Petros Constantinou, a prominent member of the anti-capitalist left group Antarsya told the Guardian. “This is a government under dual pressure from creditors above and the people below and our rage will be relentless. It will know no bounds.”


“Syriza may now be trying to save its soul but it has gone back on all its promises,” said Kalomoiris, a life-long leftist who joined a rebel group, Popular Unity, formed by Syriza dissidents when Tsipras signed up to the bailout in July. 


“In this country a graduate starts off in the public sector with a salary of €775 a month, or €9,300 a year, and we are being told that wages will be frozen for the next decade and that every tax imaginable will be increased. How will people make ends meet? It has got to the point where a social explosion is inevitable and it will come sooner rather than later.”

Finally, from CBC:

Greek workers stayed at home on Thursday to protest austerity measures, in the biggest domestic challenge to Alexis Tsipras's government since he was re-elected in September on a promise to cushion the impact of years of economic hardship.


Public transport was severely disrupted Thursday, with the Athens metro not running, bus and trolley routes reduced and ferries tied up in port. The strike shut down museums, schools and pharmacies, while state hospitals were functioning with emergency staff.


More than a dozen domestic flights were cancelled, while journalists also walked off the job, pulling news bulletins off the air except to report strike news.

Here, apparently, is what the beginning of a "social explosion" looks like:

Images: Protothema

So we suppose the lesson here for the troika is that you may be able to subvert the will of the people in the short term by forcing democratically elected officials to choose between their election mandate and financial ruin/depression, but that only serves to enrage an electorate that clearly was already fed up in the first place. 

Obviously, this is decidedly untenable scenario and if there is indeed a rash of massive protests that causes public (and private) services to go dark for days at a time, something will have to change politically and that, in turn, sets the stage for yet another showdown with the troika. Case in point... here's the Belgian finance minister's response:

And last but not least, the latest jobs data for the country is out on Thursday. Unemployment is still exceptionally high, coming in at 24.6% in August with youth unemployment hovering near 50%:

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VinceFostersGhost's picture





When they force Greece to take the Syrian terrorists....the fireworks will really start.

VinceFostersGhost's picture



AKA....the Washington Cartel.


Join us.....or pay the tax.....there is no escape.

Pliskin's picture

If I join do I still have to pay the tax?

VinceFostersGhost's picture



Yes.....but you get a special title in the cult.


You also get a Common Core tee shirt.

greenskeeper carl's picture

Burn motherfucker, burn....




Here ya go, guys. your anthem.

Latina Lover's picture

The Greek government should just default on their debts. There is no future for greece as long as they are in the clutches of the banksters.  Default now, to hell with Goldman Sachs!

VinceFostersGhost's picture



Walk like an Icelander.....or at least fake it.


I'd start there.....maybe improvise after that.

Mr.Sono's picture

yes, like the last protest worked out well for them.

tmosley's picture

Are we sure the stopped economy didn't bring the people into the streets?

Because that it what it looks like to me.

NoDebt's picture

Well, thank goodness Greece is finally back in the news.


coinhead's picture
coinhead (not verified) NoDebt Nov 12, 2015 10:06 AM

Greece back in teh news, record gold coin sales, Bitcoin rallying again, right shoulder of DOW breaking down, is this teh big one?  Stay tuned...

El Vaquero's picture

It's not the big one until you hear about some major players going under.  This shit will be papered over until something breaks in such a way that interferes with the flow of physical goods. 

BarkingCat's picture

They should have done that at least a year ago..... but late is better than ever

gatorengineer's picture

Why should they?  Want to know how this ends?

"Dear Angie, weather is great, and having a good wine crop this year, when you get a chance could you please send another 100Billion, love your little Kuchen, Tsakis."

Germans work Greeks party, rinse and repeat.


Crash Overide's picture

I thought Draghi fixed Greece?

Anonymous User's picture
Anonymous User (not verified) Crash Overide Nov 12, 2015 12:53 PM

They should go full greek on Draghi's ass:



kralizec's picture

I'm still struggling with the concept of "bringing to a halt" that which has had no discernable movement to begin with...


J Jason Djfmam's picture

If you bring imaginary momentum to a halt in the forest does it make any sound?

BurningFuld's picture

Welcome to the Euro. We are here to help.

piliage's picture

I think I see those green shoots... just the other side of the burning police car...

Enceladus's picture

and a spiderman towel signed by linda Green

Luc X. Ifer's picture

Guys, do you know that big protests happen for long already in Romania where USSA tries another 'Ukraine' ?!




Lorca's Novena's picture

I havent heard anthing about this, figures. Bt I do imagine the gold exploration company and oil co. will certainly provide jobs to ROMANIANS  and not global corporate asshats? No you say? Hmmmm  Thats like saying the son of a vice president will take over the enrgy department of an entire country!!

silverer's picture

"Goldman Sacks".  You spelled that wrong.  It's "Goldman Sucks".

caconhma's picture

The only thing Greek people can do is to walk. They became totally useless parasites.

RadioFlyer's picture
RadioFlyer (not verified) silverer Nov 12, 2015 9:39 AM

No No No, its Golden Socks.


skistroni's picture

The "violent" depictions above are due to a couple hundred so-called anarchists that have regularly been derailing every peaceful protest in the last 20 years or so. You haven't seen the people's anger yet.

The best Sun's picture

The "anarchist" provocateurs probably have pockets full of globalist Euros.

They want the defense minister in charge and the "Colonels".

I foresee violence even if the people don't want it.

Blame any collapse on the violence of the population not the German banksters.

back to basics's picture

There is no violence coming, the Greek public has been pacified and have accepted their systematic impoverishment and loss of sovereignty.

Considering the number of unemployed and the onerous and catastrophic measures Tsipras has been passing with the fast track repossession and auctioning of place of first residence for those with mortgages in arrears coming soon, the reported 30,000 demonstrators is not much of a show.

Part of the reason, however, why people don't show is the organized violence that accompanies these demonstrations in Greece carried out by the bought and paid for so called "anarchists". They are anarchists my ass, they are hired Molotov hurling thugs.

The war between the banks and the people in Greece has been fought and regrettably the people were routed.

shovelhead's picture

The bright side is that there is hope for jobs for those kids in Fergeson.

eforce's picture

From The Protocols:


6. The people, under our guidance, have annihilated the aristocracy, who were their one 

and only defense and foster-mother for the sake of their own advantage which is 

inseparably bound up with the well-being of the people. Nowadays, with the destruction 

of the aristocracy, the people have fallen into the grips of merciless money-grinding 

scoundrels who have laid a pitiless and cruel yoke upon the necks of the workers. 


7. We appear on the scene as alleged saviours of the worker from this oppression when 

we propose to him to enter the ranks of our fighting forces - Socialists, Anarchists, 

Communists - to whom we always give support in accordance with an alleged brotherly 

rule (of the solidarity of all humanity) of our SOCIAL MASONRY. The aristocracy, 

which enjoyed by law the labor of the workers, was interested in seeing that the workers 

were well fed, healthy, and strong. We are interested in just the opposite - in the 

diminution, the KILLING OUT OF THE GOYIM. Our power is in the chronic shortness 

of food and physical weakness of the worker because by all that this implies he is made 

the slave of our will, and he will not find in his own authorities either strength or energy 

to set against our will. Hunger creates the right of capital to rule the worker more surely 

than it was given to the aristocracy by the legal authority of kings. 


8. By want and the envy and hatred which it engenders we shall move the mobs and with 

their hands we shall wipe out all those who hinder us on our way. 

More Ammo's picture

There you go telling everyone the WHY of it all.  "They" won't believe it anyway.

eforce's picture

For those that are open to learning more I think it's worth posting, but this plan will happen whether people like it or not, it's beyond the realm of the commoners intelligence to resist it.

Oldwood's picture

I am convinced that the daily events suggesting eminent collapse will repeat until such time as we are led to believe them "normal", and at that point, it WILL collapse. So we simply prepare as we can and then relax.

doctor10's picture

The EU bought the NSA data file on Tsipras-

Looks like they've run out of leverage on the rest of the Greeks tho

JustObserving's picture

Apparently pensions of $94 a month are not enough.

Greek debt is $65,000 per taxpayer versus $1,720,000 per taxpayer in US per Kotlikoff.

Wealthy Germans Forced Pensions of Poor Greeks Down to $94 monthly


VinceFostersGhost's picture



Math makes my brain hurt.


That......and scatter charts.

mkkby's picture

I don't remember spending that $1.7 million.  Show me my signature on the note or FUCK OFF.  Better yet, try to collect, as I went galt a few months ago.

chubbar's picture

If the Greeks had welcomed Tsipras back home with a bullet in the head, the next guy to confront the Troika wouldn't be so eager to agree to their assfucking. That is what it is going to take to get your mandate taken seriously.

Pure Evil's picture

Well, now is the time to do something since the Germans have decided to fuck themselves in the ass with a muzzie phallus.

mkkby's picture

Germany hates greeks and loves muzzies.  If you are a poor greek, throw away your ID and go to germany posing as a refugee.  Free shit for life.

If you feel like it rape a white german woman.  They'll make excuses why it's okay.

mademesmile's picture

What will it take for the government to change currencies? The Euro is killing them.

Oldwood's picture

Nothing changes until they "believe" that they have nothing left to lose. With all of the delusion and misinformation, people just don't realize that given their collectivized debts, they have less than nothing.