From Socialist Voice, April 2010

Greece: Stepping up the struggle

by Elisseos Vagenas
Head of the International Section, Communist Party of Greece

The recent summit meeting of the European Union was presented in Greece by the government, and was considered by the media, as a great success. They cultivated the idea that the European Union had managed to protect the Greek economy through the forming of a European political mechanism jointly with the International Monetary Fund as well as the intervention of the European Central Bank.
        But, on the contrary, we are not talking about a short-sighted mechanism only for Greece, but it seems that they will need this also in the future in other cases, such as for Portugal, Spain, or Italy. This political mechanism has a specific orientation. Regardless of whether the funding mechanism will be enforced, and regardless of the discussion whether a country will remain in the euro zone, its orientation is specific: political blackmail to make the bourgeois states and the bourgeois governments comply on at least one issue with the rules of the EU market and with the global capitalist rules; to make the labour force—which is a commodity in capitalism—even cheaper so as to further steal from and suppress the people.
        The big monopolies and the bourgeois governments are competing fiercely among themselves and face rivalries among themselves, but when they have to cope with the peoples and the elimination of their rights they are aligned and in full accord with each other.
        It is a lie that the “stability pact” that is being introduced by the Greek government, with the support of the ND [New Democracy] conservatives, will prevent worse for the Greek people. On the contrary, it paves the way for even harsher measures and a generalised attack. The supposed “heaven-sent” intervention of the French and Germans, which means more loans and more debt for the Greek working class and tightens the rope around our neck, guarantees only one thing: the rescue of French, German and Greek capitalists, the capitalists of Europe and exploiters of the working class all around the world.
        The social democrats of PASOK [Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement] and the liberals of ND, as well as the nationalists of LAOS, together with the opportunist forces of SYN-SYRIZA, are all adopting the policy of “we should all make sacrifices, in a fair way.” They cultivate an alleged patriotism, claiming that all the Greek population, capitalists together with workers, “should protect the country from the German, French or US invaders.” They claim that “the EU and its euro zone should become stronger and protect the Greek economy.”
        They try to hide the fact that the bourgeois class of Greece is playing a significant role, especially in the Balkans, and that the Greek capitalists keep their own interests, which are met with imperialist rivalries among German, French and US capital.
        It is well known that the Greek government, in order to gain political or economic support or bail-outs by the big imperialist forces, has given unacceptable returns in cases like the Balkans issue, the issue of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greek-Turkish relations related to the Aegean Sea, and oil exploration, as well as the Cyprus problem. All the so-called “rescuers” of Greece follow the same line: fierce measures against the people, and new tax-free measures and privileges for the capitalists.
        Even through the euro zone, or through the IMF, there is no dilemma, the people will have to cope with the same thunderstorm of austerity measures. Those false dilemmas, together with disorienting discussions about the need for the strengthening of the European Union or euro zone or for the improvement of the Stability Pact, are causing harm only to the people.
        Such dilemmas encircle the peoples in the reactionary framework of the European Union, and cultivate the illusion that the European Union could be converted into a pro-peoples union; but this is impossible. The workers should draw political conclusions and realise that a merely defensive way of struggle is not adequate nowadays.
        Of course the struggle will be continued. Already we have organised a new demonstration throughout the country just after the Easter holiday, on 9 April, and we will do our best to step up the struggle, for new strikes. But at the same time it is necessary for the work of the trade unions that the movement be updated with today’s needs.
        The experience that we face is that the bourgeois class tries to convince the workers not about the fairness of the measures but for the necessity of a “single EU strategy of the capitalist road of development, that there is no other solution.”
        The workers and popular strata need to form a counter-strategy that would stress that what is required nowadays is not just a change of government but a change of the character of power, another path of development that the workers could produce without the capitalists upon their heads. We must stress that the only real perspective is that the workers should rule the economy, the factories, and the wealth that they produce.
        The people should reject the capitalist road of development and challenge the power of capital, fighting for another path of development based on workers’ power, on socialism.

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