From Socialist Voice, February 2010

Workers’ resistance and counter-attack

Kostas Papadakis
Central Committee, Communist Party of Greece

Before the elections and later on, KKE [Communist Party of Greece] had been warning of an attack that will blow people’s rights in Greece, and very soon the reality vindicated it. It has nothing to do with divination or metaphysics: it’s just very good knowledge of the essence of the problems, of the policy of the social-democrat government of PASOK [Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement] and of the European Union.
     In Greece there’s a lot of talk about bankruptcy and lending. However, the plutocracy has accumulated enormous wealth, despite the fact that the crisis is under way. Who is it that promotes the economic scaremongering? It’s the plutocracy, the social-democratic government, the liberals of the ND [New Democracy], the EU, the international banks, the bourgeois mass media, and the labour aristocracy, which has the majority in trade union confederations, using means of encirclement, blackmail, and misconduct.

Scaremongering on the economy aims at bringing forward new anti-people measures

All these forces fear the people’s reaction. Scaremongering and terror are the “alibis” for the new attack against the working class, so that it tolerates and accepts the anti-people measures. The same measures are taken in all member-states of the EU and in the United States. The scaremongering is everywhere the same.
     It is a fraud to claim that the situation of the economy is simply due to embezzlement. The economic crisis, as well as the deficits and the debt, is the outcome of the profitability of capital, of the state money given to companies. The system is inherently corrupt, because the corruption of the bourgeois politicians is merely one result of the legal plundering of workers’ toil.
     Crises are an outcome of the capitalist mode of production. The “entrepreneurship” of companies leads to the concentration of capital in fewer hands, to the ruin of companies, the self-employed, and small peasants. Crises will become more frequent and more acute.
     The historical limits of capitalism are proved to be obsolete. This system does not meet the new potentials and needs of society. The prolongation of its life will be “guaranteed” by the constant plundering of the people, the destruction of productive forces, using the same excuses.
     Profitability will be guaranteed through the greater reduction of the price of labour power, constant austerity, and the restriction of workers and people’s rights. These measures are taken in order to maintain the decaying exploitative system! These decisions were taken years ago and are in line with the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties.
     In the name of “EU entrepreneurship” and “financial stability” they promote measures that increase the retirement age, turn pensions into an allowance, abolish collective agreements, and liberalise dismissals. The changes in the health and welfare services as well as the reactionary reforms in education place new burdens on the workers’ shoulders and increase the field for the profits of capital as well as the activities of the enterprises.

The bourgeois class, the government and EU jointly organise the anti-people attack

It is pure mockery that the government resists the pressure exerted by the EU; in reality they jointly organise the anti-people attack. “Consensus” is the key to achieving their goals. They call on the people for “national unity” and compliance with the ultimatums and threats of the EU in trying to abstract the people’s acquiescence.
     The class-oriented movement since 1999 has created a class-based alliance of federations, trade unions, trade union centres and trade unionists against the front of the bourgeoisie and the yellow trade union leadership of the confederations that consent to the anti-worker plans. This class alliance is PAME, the All-Workers’ Militant Front. Governments’ call for social partnership talks and round tables that will ensure the people’s consensus on anti-people measures have been rejected by KKE and PAME. On the contrary, they opposed the myth of “prosperity for all” and the “common interest” of the bourgeoisie and the working class.

The plutocracy is responsible for the crisis, and must pay for it!

The social-democrat government of PASOK, the liberal ND, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEB) and the compromised leadership of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants’ Trade Unions (ADEDY) drag workers to a pre-arranged “dialogue” where they will bargain away workers’ rights. GSEE on the recent big strike of the class forces of PAME on the 17th of December put out a strike-breaking statement, urging the workers not to participate in the strike. They openly supported the capitalists as a strike-breaking mechanism, declaring illegal the strike of PAME decided by trade union centres, federations and trade unions throughout Greece. The strike was also boycotted by the opportunists of SYN-SYRIZA [Coalition of the Radical Left].
     The success of the strike of PAME on the 17th of December proves the advantages of class orientation for the movement and the big contribution of the communists, which are in the front line of the struggle.

The Irish example

Our party often explains to the people how the so-called “Irish miracle” was presented as an example for the bourgeoisie and its parties in Greece. We emphasise that the working class and the poor popular strata in Ireland paid the bill during the period of growth of the Celtic Tiger, and that nowadays workers’ and people’s rights are suffering another blow.
     The “yes” vote achieved through the intimidation of part of the Irish people, as well as the cuts in benefits, the dismissals and unemployment, show that the only road for the people to follow is not the consensus but disobedience to the EU, capital, and its parties.
     At the same time they intensify the terror of “civil insecurity,” of the “new movement” of hooded people—provocations that lead to the increase of measures against the popular movement. Thus, the anti-communism and the attack launched against KKE grow, become more brutal and flagrant.

People’s and workers’ counter-attack

Our response to the class war is the workers’ counter-attack and disobedience! The demands of the Greek class-oriented movement, as expressed in the successful strike of PAME on the 17th of December, strike at the heart of capitalist profit-making.
     • The working people are not responsible for the crisis, and they should not pay for it!
     • Stable employment for all!
     • Seven-hour working day, five-day and 35-hour working week!
     • €1,400 minimum salary.
     • Retirement at the age of 55 for women and 60 for men, at 50 and 55 in hazardous occupations.
     • Measures for substantial protection of the unemployed and their families, and not charity supermarket vouchers.
     • €1,120 unemployment benefit for the whole period of unemployment, without any conditions and prerequisites.
     • Full health and pharmaceutical care.
     • Drastic taxation of the big enterprises by 45 per cent. Abolition of all tax reliefs and privileges.
     On the basis of the experience from the strike on the 17th of December the class-oriented forces of PAME are organising a new strike on the 10th of February. PAME does not need the yellow trade unionists: it is supported by the radical progressive working people, who increase more and more.
     At the same time, peasants have decided to intensify their struggles, along with their support for the All-Peasants’ Militant Rally (PASY), against the same anti-people attack and the common agricultural policy. In the next period youth will also join the struggle.
     The interests of the capitalists served by the EU, the government and the parties of the “EU one-way street” should face a strong, unwavering people’s movement that will struggle for the workers’ rights.
     Communists will do their best for the organising of the class-oriented movement, the regrouping of the working-class movement, and the building of an anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly, democratic front that will struggle for people’s power, for socialism.
     This struggle can mobilise and organise the working class, the producer of the wealth, which can put an end to the exploitation of man by man and pave the way for socialist state power.

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