More on the going-ons in Syntagma Square

I recently linked to a WSWS story about the Indignants in Syntagma Square. The Kathimerini newspaper has a story as well. As can be expected, the tone is much more equivocal.

In Syntagma Square, some see the dawn of a new politics

As Indignant protests enter second month, opinions divided about nature and future of the movement


Costas Douzinas, a law professor at Birkbeck, University of London, recently penned one of the most flattering profiles of the Indignants in Britain’s The Guardian newspaper, after being invited to speak in Syntagma. For him “this is the most political movement we have had in Greece, and perhaps in Europe for the past 20 years. It is totally political and in a way it changes our understanding of what politics means,” he says.


When it comes to self-criticism and proposals to overcome the crisis, detractors say, the Syntagma folk are uncomfortably laconic. “Far form being the frontline of any kind of solid movement, the Syntagma camp-in is a confused, depoliticized, borderline-petulant response to the economic crisis,” writes Brendan O’Neill, editor of spiked website, in The Australian. He is annoyed at the absence of any serious debate about the hard stuff. Save their vociferous opposition to austerity measures, “absolutely nothing of substance is proposed,” he writes.

There is also some discrepancy with the WSWS piece regarding the time allotted to each speaker in the square:

Every evening, hundreds of people gather here to discuss anything and everything about the crisis. Speakers, who are chosen by lot, are given a two-minute time limit so as to allow for the greatest possible number of contributions. There is little of the typical booing and hissing, and audiences react mostly with hand gestures: waving their hands in the air for approval or giving a thumbs down when they disagree. Interpretations of what is happening in the square range from the groundbreaking to the delusional or just plain silly.

2 Responses

  1. It’s interesting that the critics of the movement seem to come from the hard left — Brendan O’Neill and most of the Spiked team hail from the magazine Living Marxism (now defunct) the journal of the British Revolutionary Communist Party. I know these guys quite well, having published some of their books.


  2. […] sortition to the Egyptian revolutionaries. In June, the Greek activists in Syntagma Square were using randomization to distribute speaking turns. The idea of citizen councils appointed by lot was also featured in […]


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