When the Indignados took over Spanish squares, Maro Pantazidou wondered why it was all quiet on the Greek front. Facing the most extreme austerity measures in the Eurozone, it seemed as if Greek citizens were experiencing a shock, holding them back from exploding in national rage. However, could it be that by focusing on mass movements, we were overlooking smaller but meaningful initiatives below the radar?
As it turned out, a lot was already happening out of sight. Things had started to bubble, eventually resulting in the mass movements appearing on televisions worldwide. The Syntagma Square in Athens was occupied by a movement of 200.000 people, for over two months. Before and after the Syntagma Square Movement (SSM), citizen agency had been, and is still present - "creating a galaxy of moments of citizen action in which a new culture of social change is being cultivated", in the words of Maro Pantazidou.
In this paper, she argues we witness an unprecendented number of Greek citizens moving away from traditional, representative and recognized forms of citizen action. The new initiatives stand out in their horizontal organization, forming anti-hierarchic networks, ranging from so-called "social kitchens", to neighbourhood assemblies, to the "I don't pay" movement, in which drivers lifted the bars of toll stations, to drive through without paying.