OPINION

Editorial

The spontaneous citizens’ movement and the heterogeneous groups which swarmed into Genoa to protest against the antisocial aspects of globalization – following similar rallies in Seattle and Gothenburg – was rightly welcomed by the majority of the public. People tend to see such protest rallies as the reaction of civil society against the extremes of the neoliberal economic system. They also seem to appreciate that – apart from the basic organization which is necessary for protesters to clash with the world’s powerful – the protest rallies actually managed to preserve their spontaneous character without being subsumed by political parties. The maintenance of this positive momentum does not presuppose, of course, that demonstrators confine their action to international gatherings. It is normal that they mobilize at the national level as well. Given this, it is needless to say that protests should not degenerate into a mere addiction. The purpose of each demonstration should be related to the danger which caused the reaction of the people of Seattle. Protesters, whether individuals or organizations, have to protect their autonomy and not become the stooges of political parties or self-interested individuals. Perceiving the above threat, the Labor Center of Thessaloniki rejected proposals for organizing Genoa-style protests in the city during the opening ceremony of Thessaloniki’s International Fair – an event which is not related to the promotion of an antisocial policy but to advertising the Greek economy. In contrast, the organizers of Genoa 2001 Initiative, a Greek anti-globalization group, which insists on organizing a protest rally on that day, cannot help raising suspicions that they have either lost all sense of moderation or, what is more likely, that they aspire to assume public positions without hesitating to enter the zone of absurdity by leveling accusations not just against the government but also against the unions. Did our fellow citizens who traveled to Italy to express their genuine indignation against the current state of the world deserve such leaders? Or is it the fate of even the most noble of movements in Greece to be betrayed by the ambition and frivolity of their leaders?