From Socialist Voice, March 2010

Success of huge Greek strikes

Both mass demonstrations organised by the Greek class-oriented forces on Thursday 4 March in sixty-two cities and the 24-hour strike on Friday 5 March were a great success. The immediate mobilisation of the class-oriented forces was a strong response to the announcement of the reactionary measures that impose severe cuts and launch a sweeping attack on the people’s income.
     The class-oriented forces exposed the co-ordinated effort of the social-democrat government of PASOK, along with the liberal ND, the nationalist LAOS, the opportunist SYN/SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left), and the leaderships of GSEE (General Confederation of Greek Workers) and ADEDY (Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants’ Trade Unions), which seek to conceal the fact that the new measures are a result of the strategy of capital, that they are permanent and affect all working people.
     Tens of thousands of protesters flooded the centre of Athens and dozens of other cities to protest against the cuts in salaries and pensions, the 30 per cent cut in Christmas and Easter bonuses and holiday allowances, and the drastic increase in taxes on all categories of products and services and especially on public consumer products.
     With the announcement of these measures the class-oriented federations and trade union organisations in the All-Workers’ Militant Front (PAME) called for a strike for 5 March. At the same time, under the pressure of the immediate response of PAME, which called for a 24-hour strike, the compromised leaderships of GSEE and ADEDY called for three-hour and four-hour stoppages. In this way they proved in practice that they seek the extinction of the militant spirit of the working people.
     We should only add that the yellow leadership of ADEDY had initially called for a strike for 16 March, although the vote on the anti-people measures was on Friday the 5th.
     PAME’s call for a 24-hour strike had a big impact. Class-oriented federations, labour centres and trade unions played a leading role in organising the strike. It is noteworthy that the leadership of the trade unions of white-collar workers in Athens public transport, who traditionally follow the line and the forms of struggle of GSEE and ADEDY, were forced to call for a 24-hour strike, which paralysed transport in the capital. The same happened with a series of primary trade unions that have not joined PAME.
     Yellow trade unionism was once again isolated. In critical moments, the masses of workers trusted the class-oriented forces of PAME for the organising of the struggle. From dawn on Friday they organised picket lines in ghetto-workplaces, enabling workers to go on strike, to defy employers’ intimidation, and to participate massively in the strike.
     The social-democrat government, supported by the extreme-right party LAOS, passed the measures while tens of thousands of strikers were surrounding the Parliament building.
     The parliamentary group of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) abandoned parliamentary procedure, considering that there was no room for the discussion of such hostile bills for the working class.
     The general secretary of the KKE, Aleka Papariga, saluted the strikes and explained the party’s stance, emphasising that “right now it is not worth discussing a bill that is clearly at the expense of the interests of the workers and constitutes the prelude for new measures.
     “In this phase, everything discussed in the parliament is tragic for the working people, and so we fight before a bill is put under discussion. When discussed in the parliament there is a majority that will vote for it.
     “So today, it is not enough to vote ‘no’ to a bill, because this may be relatively easy and may happen when people’s discontent rises so as to be able to manipulate people. What matters is what the ‘yes’ means, what you demand, and how you assert it. That’s what actually matters.
     “There is one slogan that will always be valid: People, workers, employees, working people, they must all take this case into their hands, whether now as opposition or tomorrow as the class in power.”

     Another militant response will be given immediately through the mass demonstrations organised by PAME and the Federation of Greek Women for International Women’s Day. After the recent developments these demonstrations acquire a new content. At the same time, PAME is organising a new nationwide strike for Tuesday 11 March.

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