Before the signing of the memorandum, workers? protests were a kind of informal negotiation with whichever government was in power that brought some kind of balance to society. Ever since Greece came under international supervision and has been flirting with bankruptcy, protest rallies have degenerated into a battle of the rear guard. Preserving rights won in the past has started to feel like an exercise in futility. Under the shadow of bankruptcy, displeasure and pessimism have been growing within households as they try to survive in a hostile new environment. They are scared for their salaries, pensions and savings, and they had hoped that the painful policies of the memorandum would help the country overcome the crisis.
The more this hope is dashed, however, the more the fear starts going away. The more unemployment shoots up and the destruction of small and medium-sized businesses escalates, the more despair builds. And as despair builds, it begins to turn into rage.
After all, this wave that is gaining momentum in society would never have been held at bay by the fact the prime minister likes to set dilemmas that have only a yes or no answer, like ?Memorandum or bankruptcy? or ?New measures or return to the drachma.?
The mass rallies by the ?Indignant? that were held on Wednesday and Thursday night in almost every major Greek city represent a new parameter in political developments. This is a new phenomenon, which in form mimics the initiative by Spain?s youth, but in essence is stoked by the impending local economic crash. The movement is spontaneous, ideologically multicolored and politically astray. Its demographics and the symbols used to represent it represent a great departure from the usual stuff seen in protests. Here we don?t see a configuration of many small, tight-knit groups — or blocs — and the ?professional? protesters of the left; you see people who are novices at protests. Instead of banners and red flags, you see Greek flags and hear the national anthem. Moreover, there is no fire missing from the chanted slogans, which sweep aside political correctness in favor of a morally accusatory tone.
In the conventional way of looking at things, the Indignant movement appears apolitical. In reality, though, it is profoundly and surprisingly political. It has emerged from the bowels of society and expresses the rising up of the silent majority, which is seeing the basic constants of its way of life being threatened. The way the prime minister is being gradually undermined effectively marks the beginning of the end for this government.