A Future That Works

A Future That Works
NO2aTory/Liberal coalition - Vote with your feet for an alternative to a neo-liberal economy and neo-conservative state Yes2aLeftFront and a Red/Green Left Alliance

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Greek trade unionists keep up the pressure

Communist leader Aleka Papariga led thousands of union activists and their supporters in a peaceful rally in central Athens on Saturday, accusing ministers of colluding with international bankers to "skin the people alive."

About 6,000 members of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) affiliated All Workers Militant Front (PAME) marched against the government's "medium-term fiscal programme" in the capital's Omonia Square, while slightly smaller numbers turned out in Thessaloniki and other major cities.

The European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are threatening to withhold a €17 billion (£15bn) loan from Socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou's government unless it agrees by the end of the month to slash public spending by €28bn (£24.75bn) and sell off €50bn (£44bn) of state assets.

Mr Papandreou claims that he has no choice but to go ahead with the cuts because, without the new loan, his government would have to default on its debts.

But the country's trade unions say that the government should raise taxes on the super-rich and clamp down on tax dodging and other elite corruption, instead of taking an axe to the country's social safety net.

Following a general strike and massive protests led by trade unions last Wednesday, Mr Papandreou reshuffled his government and made former rival Evangelos Venizelos the finance minister.

But people at Saturday's rally insisted that it was the government's regressive policies that needed changing.

Addressing the crowd outside parliament, Ms Papariga said: "Don't be fooled - don't fall into the government's trap.

"Lenders and debtors will sit at the same table, having agreed to skin the people alive."

Actors from the French Theatre de Soleil group joined protesters and put on a show that depicted IMF and EU officials battering a bloodied figure of Lady Justice.

Director Ariane Mnouchkin said: "The people here in the square are asking for only one thing and that is justice.

"They want to retake the keys to our European countries which we gave away, very carelessly, 40 years ago to the financial markets."

Mr Papandreou's new government faces a confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday. The ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement holds a slim majority, with 155 of the 300 seats.

If it survives the vote, Mr Papandreou is expected to seek parliamentary approval for the austerity package by the end of this month.

Greek unions have announced that they will kick off a 48-hour strike if that happens.



  1. In light of the EU-IMF bailout package for Greece and the resistance being shown by the KKE and Greek people dose this highlight the need for a European united left.

    If the resistance in Greece to cuts fails what are the consequences for resistance in Britain and the rest of the European Union. In Britain we know the force with which the capitalist class can and will apply neo-liberal theory and to what extent the power of the neo-conservative state is used to divide and break working class resistance.

    I believe if we are to have any chance of succeeding in resisting the forces of British, European and global capitalism and its institutions we need to be moving more effectively towards a coordinated European resistance rather than as individual nation states.

    It’s my feeling that the IMF, World Bank, ECB and national governments are coordinating a tactical offensive and as such can pick of individual national resistance such as is being mounted by the people of Greece and a defeat would have the same consequences as it did when the NUM and mining communities were defeated by the Thatcher government in Britain.

    What will be the knock on affect if the KKE and Greek people are defeated for the struggle in Britain and the rest of the European Union to resist the further advance of the neo-liberal offensive against post-war Keynesian social-democratic welfare capitalism?

  2. The Communist Party of Austria (Kommunistische Partei Österreichs), Communist Parties of Belgium (KP Flanders and PC Wallonie-Bruxelles), Communist Party of Finland (Suomen kommunistinen puolue), French Communist Party (Parti Communiste Français), Communist Party of Italy (Partito della rifondazione comunista), Communists Party of Moldova (Partidul Comuniştilor din Republica Moldova), Communists Party of San Marino (Rifondazione Comunista Sammarinese) and Communist Party of Spain Partido Comunista de España are all members of the European Left group.

    Whereas the Communist Party of Czech Republic (Komunistická strana Cech a Moravy), Communist Parties of France (Parti Communiste Français and Parti Communiste Réunionnais), Communist Parties of Italy (Partito dei Comunisti Italiani and Partito della rifondazione comunista),Communist Party of Greece(Kommunistiko Komma Elladas) and Communist Party of Portugal (Partido Comunista Português) are members of the GUE/NGL grouping.

    The French Communist Party (Parti Communiste Français), Communist Party of Italy (Partito della rifondazione comunista) are in the European Left Party and the GUE/NGL grouping.

  3. In the light of the current attack on the social-democratic consensus that existed in Europe and further attacks on what is left of the British welfare state how best can the European and British Left organise resistance so that the IMF, World Bank, European Central Bank, EU aren’t able to pick of resistance in individual nation states such as Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. If the people of Greece fail to resist the austerity plans imposed by global finance capital what knock on effect will it have for the labour movement in Britain in resist the austerity plans of the Tory/Liberal coalition?

    It would appear that the Labour Party leadership are already retreating back into safe new-labour ideology, so what’s the British and European Left strategy for resistance to the national, European and global offensive of the capitalist classes and the institution of the state, superstate and global governance. Bob Crow highlights ‘‘We stand on the edge of the biggest industrial confrontation in over 80 years’’ in Britain and calls for us to ‘‘Taking inspiration from our comrades on the streets of Athens’’ calling for ‘‘full support for every group of workers engaged in this battle and when it comes to solidarity, co-operation and co-ordination, we will be right up there in the front line’’. The broad left have to have an ‘alternative economic and political strategy that goes beyond resistance within the nation state or the people of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain will be picked of one by on and the conservative/liberal government of Britain will feel more confident about its plans for further privatization and marketization of the NHS and its attack of the welfare state.

    If this happens conservative governments of Germany and France will then be equally confident about following similar neo-liberal restructuring policies. As the socialist/social-democratic parties of the European Union follow Labours example and acquiesce to the neo-liberal agenda of global capitalism, what will be the political and economic strategy of the British and European left parties and the British TUC and European TUC. The Kommunistiko Komma Elladas (KKE) and people of Greece are showing their anger and strength with a general strike and a demonstration of 250,000 strong on the 15th of June against the austerity cuts and privatisation programme followed by the strike by electricity power company workers on the 20th of June against privatisation plans, but on their own they cannot win. Is this a European equivalent of the Miners’ strike in 1983/4 and we know the consequences of that for the British Left and labour movement.

    We have two left political groups the European Left and GUE/NGL along with the ETUC but we haven’t an alternative economic and political strategy. What’s needed is leadership that can put theory into practice, Lenin argued for political as well as industrial action, direct action with a political purpose and for the ability to make all necessary practical compromises rather than taking a doctrinaire attitude. The question is where the leadership is capable of applying theory and practice in a social-democratic and socialist political and economic resistance to the offensive of the capitalist classes and the capitalist state, superstate and global institutions of governance and finance capital as the social-democratic parties continue to retreat and accept the privatisation, liberalization and austerity programs of global capitalism.



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