Now, 6 days after the totally stupid decision of shutting down ERT, people in Saloniki seems to be a bit confused. We must be aware, that the position of ERT journalists before the closure was clear – popularly they were considered faithful servants of the regime. People here say: “we were throwig them away, they were our enemies.”. But as it is usually, more and more of technicians, journalists, even administration people in ERT were silent allies of social movements, now sharing two major enemies: the government & Troika.
That was probably the core reason for the decision of restructurization ERT into “smaller, more manageable” entities. The process, so to speak, to separate sheep from goats and provide better control over official information channels. Other, private broadcasters are already 120% into the neoliberal narrative and will be more than happy to support any stance government may take to protect their investments.
At the same time, people in Greece expect soon the elections to be announced, as a way for currently ruling group to escape from the growing chaos. Also, major shift towards fascism is expected. That would justify that rapid move – having ERT in the lengthy process on reconstruction and election campaign at the same time would probably produce very inconvenient results for the ruling class.
Meanwhile, the rage and frustration of ex-employees triggered by the arrogant decision, gave the shocking result: for couple days ERT, slowly being blackouted from official channels, sending their programs mostly over Internet, become really public television – for the first time, independent initiatives were presented, people from prominent communities – like famous VioMe – were interviewed. And Greeks started supporting their broadcaster. But two days ago PM sent a teasing message – “a small number of people could be hired to produce news and current affairs programmes until a new public service broadcaster is set up.”. At the same time ERT people lost their initial momentum, and they apparently did not get enough community support to develop their unified political position: ERT was always divided and animosities between administration, journalists and technical staff were kept and fed as a way to control people. Now, with a decoy from the PM, it may be really hard to build any consensus.
And, as the very ERT people gets confused, so do supporters. They say “they want us to protest, to demonstrate, to support them. But noone invited us to their assembly. They are closed.” And the support is gradually droping.
At the same time the moment seems to be historical. The state is falling apart. As a natural reaction, fascist movements gain the ground, especially in the police and army. But also among citizens who do not see any – other than the state – protection against poverty, uncertainty, humiliation.
ERT will not keep the Greek state from sliding down the slope. Those, who obediently accept positions given by the government, will be regime’s cannon fodder. Despised by citizens, selling their souls for a decreasing dole of privileges, will be thrown away when the state – new, strong state – gets its legs again. If not, they will be easy sacrifice to the revolted masses, buying some time for their masters to escape.
This is the recurring story, in every country, when the political situation is at the verge of revolution. I saw it couple times in Poland.
But ERT people can push Greek cause of freedom onto new level. And this is the historical chance for them. This is the first time, when a government entity proclaimed actual rebellion. And this is the chance to open a way, to give an example of migration from bankrupt state sector to solidarity based social movement. If ERT – or at least part of ERT people – goes that way, they will make strong precedence, for all other state agencies.
It is clear and simple: every day you make a choice. And one day your choice may be to leave the house of slavery and to join those who are free. I really hope ERT will lead the way – we all need it.