Greece in bankruptcy: a new stage of class struggle

Traumatic memories of History never die.

On April 23, 1941, the Greek government of Tsolakoglou had surrendered the country to the German Occupation Army and transformed itself into the first “government” of Nazi collaborators.

On April 23, 2010, the Greek government of Papandreou officially activated the so-called “rescue mechanism” for a bailout to avoid an official default, agreed with the European Union dominated by Germany, surrendering the country to the grips of the EU Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF.

Many Greeks, including the Press, particularly of the Left, draw the parallel between the two surrenders.

It is the fist time that a Greek government calls the IMF to intervene in its debt crisis, and it is the first time that the Washington based IMF is called to intervene in a country member of the Eurozone.

While the “rescue” operation can not stop the State bankruptcy of Greece, it will produce a real social catastrophe. Even the mainstream Press writes that what happened in Latvia after the IMF intervention is nothing in comparison to what would take place in Greece.

Apart the austerity measures already decided by the government in its “Stability and Growth Program” of March the 3rd, 2010, the IMF demands new draconian attacks on workers both in the public and private sectors: more pay cuts on wages and pensions, mass sackings above any limit established so far by labor legislation,, abolition of collective contract bargaining between trade unions and bosses, destruction of what remains of Health and Education services, destruction of the pension rights system.

The announcement for the activation of the EU/IMF “rescue” operation was made by Prime Minister George Papandreou from Kastelorizo, a tiny rocky island in the most remote southeastern corner of Greece, producing actually a theatrical effect of farce in the tragedy for millions of people. And the people, obviously, became furious.

In the same evening of Friday, April 23, a few hours after the Kastelorizo announcement, thousands of workers and youth spontaneously filled the streets of the center of Athens and marched towards the headquarters of the European Union to be repelled by riot police and mass use of chemical gas.

On April 27, again thousands of people demonstrated in protest in the streets of Athens and other cities called by class struggle unions and the ADEDY (National Federation of Public Employees). The KKE (Communist Party of Greece) trade union faction PAME organized its own separate rallies and other activities, as usual.

The coming Mayday rallies and demonstrations all over the country will be the next important step as well as another 24 hours General Strike already called for May the 5th. In that General Strike participates even the GSEE (General Confederation of Labor) controlled by a PASOK bureaucratic clique with the collaboration of the right wing and the complicity of bureaucrats of Synaspismos (former “euro-communists”).

Class collaboration exposes the bureaucrats as open agents and policemen of capitalism within the workers’ movement. The Chairman of GSEE, Giannis Panagopoulos, a leading member of PASOK, met with the troika of the IMF/ECB/EU Commission supervisors of the Greek economy despite the opposite decision taken even by the other members of the GSEE leadership… Thus it is not a surprise that a few weeks ago Panagopoulos was physically attacked in front of the parliament by an angry crowd of demonstrators.

The crisis affects the entire bourgeois political system. The previous right wing government party Nea Demokratia(New Democracy) is considered as directly guilty for the State bankruptcy, massive corruption and “creative accounting” of public finance statistics. The PASOK government looses its legitimacy not only because of the rejection of its fraudulent pre-electoral promises and because of its own economic sins when it was in power for two decades but first of all for its current anti-popular policies and its complicity with the IMF/EU barbaric deflationist offensive. Internally, splits are proliferating in PASOK and their only unifying force is participation in the benefits of bourgeois government power.

As both bourgeois parties that traditionally govern Greece are discredited, it becomes popular among the workers and other popular strata the slogan well known from Argentina in 2001 “que se vayan todos”- “all have to go”. The bourgeoisie worries very much and among ruling circles are discussed alternative scenarios for an emergency “national unity government” either combining PASOK and Nea Demokratia or a “government of technocrats”.

The official Left proves to be far behind the demands of the historical moment. The KKE from the one side uses a left wing rhetoric up to the point to raise the possibility and necessity for a struggle for a “popular- workers power” and from the other side limits its action to controlled protests on a reformist program, exclusively of its supporters, rejecting any idea of united front or united action with other forces of the left. SYRIZA, the coalition of Synaspismos with some far left groups is in a deep internal crisis and fragmentation that paralyze it and make its political influence to drop.

In the radical left, the situation is no better. ANTARSYA, a front of a number of groups of the extra-parliamentary left is active in the mobilizations but with a completely centrist, confused perspective making some participants in that front to criticize the KKE from the…right, blaming it for “ultra-leftism”(!) by raising the dilemma “bourgeois or workers power”.

Our Party, the EEK, is active in all mobilizations throughout the country. It fights for an indefinite General Strike to defeat the EU/IMF program, and to overthrow by mass action the PASOK/EU/IMF government opening the road for workers power and a socialist way out from the crisis through the repudiation of the external debt to the international usurers and speculators, and a re-organization of all social relations on a socialist basis: nationalization of the banks and all strategic sectors of national economy under workers control, a break with the imperialist EU and the European Monetary Union, a fight to extend the revolutionary “contagion” all over Europe, from the South to the North, for a Socialist United States of Europe.

From many sides, particularly among forces who had participated in the December 2008 revolt, the call is raised for Committees of Action and for a rank and file self-organization against the GSEE /ADEDY trade union bureaucracy. Such Committees and Initiatives of Struggle already are emerging in various areas.

The capitalist State tries to prevent the growing threat of a popular revolt by the usual means: building up of repression in the name of combating “terrorism”. A number of arrests of “usual suspects” from the anarchist milieu were over-publicized by the Police and the mass media as the dismantling of the “Revolutionary Struggle” group that had in the past, among other operations, attacked with a rocket the US Embassy in Athens. The police-orchestrated anti-terrorist hysteria campaign by the mass media misfired; the majority of the people are convinced that the “antiterrorist” offensive by the State is just a diversion to cover up the role of the real terrorists of the finance capital, the IMF and the EU. The real threat for the rulers is mass revolt by the ruled, not minority violent actions.

Greece is in transition from the December revolt of the youth to a Spring of mass workers revolts.

Savas Michael, 28/4/10

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