New Year Statement by the Central Committee of EEK
THE REVOLUTION IN GREECE IS THE FIRST SIGN OF A WORLD IN FLAMES!
1. The December 2008 popular revolt in Greece sent the message to the entire world showing in practice what the New Year 2009 will mean for all the oppressors and the oppressed: a Happy New Fear for all the oppressors and exploiters, a New Year of Hope for all the oppressed and exploited!
The revolt following the murder of the 15 years old Alexis Grigoropoulos by the Police is definitely the biggest revolt in the history of the country from the 1973 Polytechnic University uprising against the military dictatorship and from the Greek civil war. It is not solely a youth rebellion but a popular revolt headed by the youth. Without popular support could not last so long. Day after day, week after week, on a national scale, from North to South, from cities to villages, thousands of people with the youth in the frontline, above all very young schoolchildren, students, youth of an emerging precarious proletariat and from a rapidly proletarianized petty bourgeoisie, supported by workers and the urban poor, joined by immigrant workers and other oppressed groups like the Roma, confront the repressive apparatus of the bourgeois State, the riot police assisted by their para-military fascists of the “Golden Dawn” waging a real chemical warfare with tons of toxic tear gas. There is a non stop direct action of the revolted attacking police stations, police vehicles, banks etc., putting fire everywhere to disperse the suffocating clouds of tear gas, occupying schools, Universities, public buildings, the headquarters of the trade union bureaucrats of GSEE (General Confederation of Labor), TV and radio stations, cultural centers etc., transforming them to centers of action and sites of new bodies of decision from below, the general assemblies.
The message sent from Greece to the world is an echo of the Paris Commune and of the immortal words of the International: We are nothing, let us be everything!
2. This major event is not a locally or nationally limited exception. It is a political breakthrough in a world situation dramatically changed by an unprecedented historic systemic crisis: it is the first political social explosion in Europe and internationally produced by the current global capitalist crisis, the worst crisis in the history of world capitalism.
The ruling classes of the European Union and of the world have openly recognized it. Sarkozy had to retreat from his counter-reform of the Education under the threat that the mass youth movement in France takes the “Greek road”. Strauss-Kahn, the Chairman of the IMF, warned that Greece could show what will happen to other countries under the impact of the global crisis. Even in China, an official voice, Zhang Xiaojing of the Institute of Economics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences “linked the continuing riots in Greece directly to the global economic crisis and said that Beijing was wary of a similar situation erupting in China”( Financial Times December 21, 2008).
The ruling classes recognize well the link between economic crisis and mass radicalization when many skeptics in the Left doubt it; the capitalists can see a real revolutionary event when it erupts while pseudo-communist bureaucrats like the Stalinist KKE deny the reality, refuse that there is a revolt (“when a real popular revolt will take place, it will be well organized, no shop will be touched, not a window will be broken!” said in parliament Aleca Papariga, general secretary of the KKE), and slander the revolt as the product of “a conspiracy planned by the local and foreign intelligence services”!! The Mao-Stalinists of KKE-ml and ML- KKE share the same concept that “the riots are the product of the rivalry between US and Russian imperialism” with “the CIA trying to overthrow Putin’s friend Karamanlis”. Stalinism, although a brainless stinking corpse, continues to defend the stability of the existing destabilized capitalist order. It is not a surprise that the KKE and Papariga receive much praise for their stand against the riots from the bourgeoisie, the Karamanlis government, even from the far right party LAOS.
But the Greek events, as we have already noted, give a bitter lesson to all those skeptics in the left who although recognizing the obvious, the current economic crisis of world capitalism, particularly after the precipitating bankruptcies from September 2008 onwards, although paying now lip service to the seriousness of the crisis while previously condemned as catastrophist the Marxist analysis of the world crisis, still they stubbornly refuse the revolutionary implications that the impact of the capitalist crisis has on the class struggle.
Capitalist Greece with its enormous public and private debt and huge deficits is the weakest economic link of the imperialist chain of the European Union; now it is actually proved to be also its weakest political link, despite the objection of all those refusing any causal connection between crisis and radicalization. This relation, of course, is not mechanical nor a linear but a dialectical one. In the case of Greece, world contradictions interacting and exacerbating all inner contradictions and peculiarities of the Greek social economic formation torn apart its weak material base while all the political superstructures as they were formed after the fall of the dictatorship, are losing their legitimacy and are disintegrating. The two bourgeois parties alternating in government the last decades, the right wing New Democracy and the former populist mutated into social-liberal PASOK are discredited are losing their mass support after years of implementation of anti-popular and neo-liberal policies, subservience to imperialism, nepotism and huge financial scandals of corruption, the most recent one connected with the Vatopedi Monastery in Mount Athos involving both the previous and present PASOK and New Democracy governments and the Church. It is not a surprise that all surveys show a decline and a crisis of legitimacy of all institutions in Greece.
Social problems are accumulated unresolved for along period, over-exploitation and mass unemployment, low-paid, precarious, “flexible” labor, particularly among the youth, educated and non educated, who lives a miserable present without a future, under a corrupt political regime and constant police harassment . Unbelievable crimes are committed unpunished by the big bourgeois, the bourgeois politicians, the Church while any manifestation of popular and youth discontent is treated as a capital crime and violently is repressed. Frustration and social anger was building up for a long period.
But its was the qualitative leap in the world capitalist crisis and its dramatic impact in the crisis ridden capitalist economy in Greece that the government tried desperately to cover up until autumn 2008 which put fire not only to the old accumulated problems but introduced as well totally new ones. The government and the parliamentary Opposition are seen as totally unable to manage the crisis and its tempo of acceleration.
Every analyst agrees that 2009 will be a year of a synchronized world recession or worst that have already started. The G20 meeting in mid November 2008 pompously called by Sarkozy and Brown “a new Bretton Woods”, as it was predicted (by serious analysts and by the CRFI) miserably failed; its call to avoid protectionism did not last 48 hours as Russia introduced car tariffs, any prospect for the Doha talks was dumped immediately by Bush, and one country after another took a protectionist stand. China, the last hope for some sectors of world capital for an engine driving the world economy, has already plunged in crisis. The continuous collapse of the oil and commodity prices has destroyed the base not only for a stable ruble but also the stability of the Putin regime itself.
The Greek events are the writing on the Wall for all the rulers in the world. Greece itself faces the prospect of an official default in 2009. Three variants are posed: either an official default by declaring inability to continue paying for the external debt; or a turn to the IMF with all the draconian measures required by it; or turning to the European Central Bank that will “help” Greece to pay its debts and remain in the eurozone by imposing equally draconian measures on a people in revolt.
The ruling class is split, particularly those sectors linked to globalized finance capital and the industrial bourgeoisie. The fact that the strongest financial group in the country, Marfin, left the traditional Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (SEV) is a clear sign. The Chairman of SEV during the current crisis made a dramatic call for a National Unity government of New Democracy and PASOK assisted by technocrats and supported by the official Left “to save the country’s economy’. His call found a favorable echo to some sectors of the bourgeois parties but deepened also their inner crisis as the attitude of the people is so far negative to such a perspective. Alternative scenarios for a Coalition government of the Right with the Far Right New Democracy/LAOS (the “Austrian model”) or of a Center Left PASOK/SYRIZA government are circulating but still do not find a sufficient popular support producing more problems and splits than expectations. Probably one or more of these scenarios will be tried, particularly as the country moves towards early elections that will solve nothing.
The ruling class, its political personnel and elites are split among themselves but above all they are separated by a growing gap from the people. There is no any monolithic “united bloc of bourgeois power” as some forces in the far Left in Greece claim; on the contrary there is a deepening regime crisis, a crisis of governance, a worsening crisis of political power.
3. The eruption of violence both from above, from the capitalist State, and from below, from the youth and the popular strata, is not the result of “ a few over-reacting policemen” nor the making of some “ anarchists, troublemakers and agent provocateurs covering their face with a hood” as the bourgeois media and the Stalinists of KKE claim. It is a symptom of the destabilization of a declining capitalist society in crisis. Violence both from above and from below are manifestations of the need to find a new axis of stabilization either by re-establishing the old social order of capital or by re-organizing society on new social i.e. socialist bases. For this reason we cannot take an “equal distance” against “all forms of violence”, condemning the violence of the oppressed as all bourgeois, Stalinist, neo-Stalinist, reformist and centrist forces did.
The same hypocrite condemnation from the Right and from the Left was proclaimed in 2005 during the revolt in the Paris suburbs and other immigrant ghettos in France. The same disgusting “equal distance” position is taken today between the Zionist high tech genocidal aggression in Gaza and the Palestinian resistance including Hamas artisan Kassam rockets not only by the hypocrites U.S. and E.U. imperialists and all other accomplices of the aggression such as the United Nations, and the Arab bourgeois governments but as well by some sectors of the international left and far left.
EEK and the CRFI are not neutral. Today we stand firmly with the Palestinian people. In 2005 we supported the revolt in the Paris ghettos and we did the same with the rebellion now in Greece. Those bourgeois politicians and monks who have stolen unashamedly the public property, those capitalists who continuously steal the surplus labor of workers have no right to speak about “broken shops” and “hooliganism”.
No concessions to petty bourgeois philistinism and “good manners”, no mercy to bourgeois hypocrisy! We defend our revolutionary morals against theirs, the morality of kid killers and brigands.
4. The December revolt included in it all the memories and living experiences of previous revolts- particularly the 1973 Polytechnic uprising against the junta of the colonels, the rebellions following the killing of youth and militants under the post-junta bourgeois democracy in the’80s and ’90s (killings of Koumis and Kanelopoulou, of the 16 years old Kaltezas, of the teacher Teboneras), the recent revolt of the students in 2006-2007 against the privatization of the Public Universities.
There were also some aspects echoing the 2005 revolt in France, and even the spirit of May ’68, as it can be seen in the occupations, in the imaginative actions of artists (especially of the students of actors’ studios), and in the exuberant humor of the slogans and graffiti despite (or because of) the deep mourning of the young boy killed.
But as a slogan of the rebellion itself says “This revolt comes from the future!” It shows what is coming in the capitalist world, particularly in Europe within its mega-cities, where live an over-exploited precarious proletariat, a youth without future, millions of unemployed, of social excluded, of immigrants and other oppressed communities such the Roma who continuously have been harassed by the racist State. A combination of all these elements can be found in the Greek revolt.
It is not an accident that immediately preceded it a national revolt of all the prisoners in the hellish Greek prison complex, in a struggle for human conditions and, for the first time, with clear political aims. The entire social fabric is torn apart by its insoluble contradictions.
As a young boy in the occupied Law Faculty of the University of Athens has said in a general assembly “I cannot imagine that one day this revolt will stop and we will return into a society like that which existed before!”
5. During the revolt have emerged contradictory political tendencies. We have already indicated and denounced the openly counterrevolutionary role of the Stalinist guardians of the Karamanlis bourgeois order that already creates crisis conditions within the KKE and its youth KNE. It is important to remember that this reactionary stand against the revolt coincides with the publication of the official Theses of the KKE leadership for the coming 18th Party Congress, where they fully “rehabilitate” and praise Stalin, Stalinism, the Moscow Trials and the mass purges of the ’30s. A new, young generation can now see the connection between these political positions and the equally shameful positions against the revolt, understanding thus what the role of Stalinism was in the Spanish civil war or in the betrayal of the Greek Revolution of 1941-49.
The most vicious pressure by KKE was exerted upon its rivals in SYRIZA; the alliance of the former Euro-communists of Synaspismos with forces of the extra-parliamentary far left (Maoists of KOE, the “Kokkino” group of sympathizers of the USFI, the DEA supporters of the ISO in the United States et al.). The obvious reason is that in all polls after the 2007 national elections, for the first time after the split in 1968 of the original KKE between the pro-Kremlin wing that kept the name and the future supporters of Eurocommunism, the latter have an advance in the polls. This is due to the disintegration of PASOK, from the one side, and a left turn, from the other side, of a majority of Synaspismos towards far left forces, especially those participating in the movements against capitalist globalization. The support of these forces is crucial for the spectacular growth of SYRIZA, so the KKE accuses Synaspismos/SYRIZA to “cover up for the hooligans and blind violence” to push it again to its old right wing position, to oblige it to denounce publicly the revolt and loose its allies in the far left that helped it to supersede KKE in the electorate.
The reformists of Synaspsimos/SYRIZA understood the danger to loose their recent gains in popularity and tried to keep a middle of the road position: they denounced all forms of violence but not the revolt as such, they yielded to the demand by Karamanlis and cancelled their participation in the march on the day of the General Strike on December the 10th but they kept their bridges to their left flank. Those in the far left that play the game of Synaspismos/ SYRIZA keep quite about its reformist “ 15 demands” which does not break the limits of capitalism, or its call for the ‘democratization” of the police, a repressive apparatus that have demonstrate its murderous nature in the service of the ruling class.
With all the crimes and sins of the official bureaucratic left, it is fully understandable why a galaxy of various anarchist groups and collectives with big differences among themselves, were propelled in the frontline of the battles with the police. But it is wrong, misjudged or consciously fraudulent to identify and exhaust the entire revolt with anarchist activities. Anarchists played indeed a very important role in direct action but the revolt involved much broader layers of youth, particularly of schoolchildren, as well and some sections of the population without any previous or current connection with anarchism or with any other radical left group.
The revolt is the property of nobody and a challenge for everybody. Differentiations, even polarization emerged in every grouping and collectivity. The political limitations of the anarchists were shown not in their combativity but in their inability to advance any alternative political perspective and/or program of social revolution; they represent more a transitional phenomenon which could develop either into a revolutionary direction or back into individualism and anarcho-reformism.
Most of the organizations of the so-called radical and revolutionary Left took part in the revolt but a majority of them excelled in militant reformism and distaste to direct conflict with the forces of State repression. What was covered many times under distrust for anarchists or even a kind of anarcho-phobia, it manifested an impatience to put an end to the “disturbances” of the revolt returning back to the usual routine of protest and electoralist politics.
The SEK/SWP (IS Tendency) has become notorious with its pacifism, disappearing immediately when any serious physical clash with the police starts. They vehemently condemned the occupation by class struggle trade unionists of the headquarters of GSEE (the PASOK dominated bureaucratized General Confederation of Labor with which SEK has traditional ties). They do not hide that they are eager to form an “anti-capitalist coalition of ENANTIA –MERA” to capitalize the current radicalization in electoral profits in the coming elections.
This tendency see the “mobilization” as a linear continuation of previous mobilizations from 1999 Seattle and 2001 Genoa onwards and as an opportunity to advance the so-called unity of the anti-capitalist Left particularly in the coming elections and Euro-elections. Under the name “anti-capitalist left”, they explain, it has to be included everything under the sun opposing capitalism “from the margins of PASOK onwards”, “forces in struggle who are not yet ready to accept a revolutionary outlook”. After the disastrous experience of “Respect’ in Britain and a possible similar disaster with the “New Anti-Capitalist Party” in France (in which the LCR is liquidated), SEK and its centrist allies want to build such an ill fated “anti-capitalist” entity in Greece too, diluting any demarcation line between reform and revolution into an anti-capitalist soup – at the moment and in the name of a revolt with revolutionary content!
EEK is and will remain categorically opposed to such a disastrous perspective. We refuse to go to the swamp; we have to build a real class pole of working class revolutionary struggle, a united class front, and the indispensable weapon of the proletariat: its workers’ revolutionary party and the International!
6. The revolt has not ended yet. There was a temporary slowdown in activity during the Christmas-New Year’s holidays with some sporadic actions, one of the most important being the protest occupation of HSAP and solidarity actions for Kostadina Kuneva, the immigrant Bulgarian class struggle trade unionist that the gangsters of capital tried to kill by throwing at her face sulfuric acid.
The demonstrations, rallies and clashes in the mobilizations in solidarity to the heroic and martyred Palestinian people of Gaza has to be seen also as an integral part of our revolt against the good allies of the Zionists, the Greek bourgeois government.
Our agenda of struggle is in front of us: on January 5, they will be held students general assemblies in the faculties to decide a new wave of occupations. On January 9 a new big demonstration of schoolchildren, students, teachers and workers will take place. ADEDY (the National Federation of Public Employees) called for another day of strike action in the public sector.
We have to fight for this new wave of occupations, of mobilizations in Education and in Health, for the transformation of the one day strike action of ADEDY into an indefinite General Strike both of the public and private sectors on a program of workers demands to confront the crisis with emergency socialist measures, for the overthrow of the Karamanlis government and for workers’ power.
We need radical political objectives, radical forms of struggle, and revolutionary forms of organization.
* We have to base ourselves on the dynamics of the world capitalist crisis itself. Early in 2009 Greece probably will be put under E.U. Inspection imposing draconian measures as an alternative to be ruled by the IMF conditions. The General Strike is not a militant luxury but an urgent necessity.
* Repudiation of the foreign debt to the world’s usurers! IMF-EU out!
* Break from imperialism of NATO, E.U. US! Immediate dismantlement of the US/NATO military bases, bastions of the war in Palestine and the Middle East! Down with the EU, for the United Socialist States of Europe!
* Expropriation of the banks without compensation under workers control!
* The firing of workers has to be forbidden by law. Expropriation of all factories that fire workers or close, without compensation under workers control!
* Re-nationalize all privatized public enterprises (Olympic Airlines, OTE-Telecommunications, DEH- Electricity, harbors, etc.). Nationalize all strategic sectors of the economy under workers control to confront the pressures from the world capitalist crisis.
* Free and public Education for all!
Dismantle the riot police, the special guards, and all the repressive apparatuses of the bourgeois State! Down with the Karamanlis and any other bourgeois government! No to the Center Left scenarios!
For a workers’ government, and a Republic of the Workers’ Councils to build Socialism, the only way out from the capitalist crisis!
7. The Greek revolt by its source, dynamics, and content is an international event. Our future depends from the expansion of an international revolutionary spiral. The ruling classes of Europe and of the world are frightened from the danger of “a contagion by the Greek virus”. Let us make real their worst nightmares! We have started; now let the youth and the working class, all the oppressed in France, Italy, Germany, all over the old Continent, but also in North and Latin America, in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East in flames join us in the struggle for a universal human emancipation, for world communism!
Forward for the re-foundation of the Fourth International as the continuation of the October Socialist Revolution and the renewed revolutionary International of the 21st century
Forward for the world socialist revolution!
_________January 1st 2009
The Central Committee of EEK