General Strike in Greece: Plutocracy Must Pay for the Crisis!

The following article is from the website of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE):

The new 24-hour strike held on February 24th against the plans of the social-democrat government of PASOK to place the burdens of the capitalist crisis on the shoulders of the workers was a great success.

Millions of workers resisted to the intimidation by the capital’s parties (the social democrat PASOK, the conservative ND, and the extreme-right, racist LAOS) which argue that workers must submit in order to “rescue the country from bankruptcy”. The “patriotism” of these political forces has only one goal: to maintain and expand the profit making of the capital at the expense of the workers’ gains by means of raising the retirement ages, cutting salaries and pensions, further dismantling of the social-security system, deteriorating the working relations and increasing the anti-people taxes.

At the same time the vast majority of the working people were mobilised and participated in the mass rallies organised by PAME, (All Workers’ Militant Front) the alliance of class oriented trade unions in Greece. PAME rallies industrial federations, Labor Centres (regional trade union organisations) as well as hundreds of primary trade unions. Thus, the majority of the workers showed their aversion to the compromised trade union federations in private (GSEE) and public sector (ADEDY) which –just like the government of PASOK does- present “speculative games” against Greece as the main problem in the country. In fact, speculation is merely a result and an aspect of the decay of the capitalist system and the manifestation of the intra-imperialist contradictions between Euro and Dollar. The vast majority of the working people who participated in the demonstrations of PAME in 70 cities showed that they support the line of the overall confrontation with the bourgeoisie, the line which is promoted by PAME, that demands the plutocracy to pay for the crisis and struggles against the EU, the anti-people capitalist union and its anti-labor measures in order to strengthen the struggle for the overthrow of the capital’s power.

Strike preparation – Athens stock exchange blockaded

PAME prepared this strike by visiting hundreds of workplaces, discussing with the workers about the necessity of the struggle and preparing this battle at all levels. At this point, we should mention the meeting organised in Athens by the Immigrants’ Secretariat of PAME. This meeting was attended by immigrants from all over the world who live and work in Greece and join the action of PAME.

Communists played a significant role in the organisation of this strike through the political campaign that KKE unfolds in workplaces, revealing they the real goals of the government and calling on the working people to struggle for the repulse of these measures. On the eve of the strike the Press Bureau of the CC of KKE stressed amongst others: “The government, the EU and the plutocracy have said enough. Whether these barbarous measures pass or not, depends also on the stance and the action of the working people. For that reason KKE calls upon all workers, irrespectively of the party they voted for in the elections, to take a responsible class patriotic stance through their participation in the strike and the mass rallies of PAME. It calls upon the workers to defy the manipulation and the employers’ intimidation. The struggles and the sacrifices of our class, the present and the future of the working class require the working people to stand up and struggle; not to hand over the last popular gains as demanded by the needs of the capitalist profit making and competitiveness”.

Moreover KKE organised a series of placard protests and demonstrations in neighbourhoods in Athens and other cities throughout the country urging the working people to join the struggle.

The blockade of the building of the Athens stock exchange by the forces PAME played a significant role in the propagation and the success of the strike. On February 23rd, at 6:30 in the morning the forces of PAME blocked the three entrances of the building of the Stock exchange, the symbol of the plundering of the working people, their pension funds and their wealth by a handful of capitalists. “Plutocracy must pay for the crisis” was the slogan on PAME banner. At the same time the placards revealed: “Here is the money: the deposits of the enterprises were in 2004: 36 billion Euro, in 2009: 136 billion Euro. 250 thousand workers receive a salary of 740 Euro. At the same time, 700 billion Euro are in the pockets of the big enterprises. PASOK and ND filled the pockets of bankers from 233 billion to 579 billion”.

On the day of the strike thousands of working people and students joined the picket lines of PAME in the gates of the factories and other workplaces.

Strike and mass rally in Athens

Thousands of factories and enterprises, construction sites, schools, ports and airports, the entire production activity froze. The mass participation in the strike and the mass rallies of PAME gave a vigorous response to the government and the EU. It created better conditions for the unfolding of a dynamic workers’ and people’s counterattack that will prevent the barbarous measures and finally overthrow the anti-people policy.

In Athens the mass rally was held at Omonia square, at the city centre. The chairman of the trade union federation of workers’ in printing companies, Yiannis Tolis, delivered a speech in the rally and stressed among others that: “The forces of the capital and their political representatives understand that the more they blackmail and intimidate the workers, the more they try to mislead them and place new burdens upon them, the more anger and indignation they cause. They dread the perspective of the general uprising of the workers and for that reason the government along with the employers, the opposition, the ND and the EU as well as their instruments and the parties of the EU one way road create a joint front. They are mistaken if they believe that they can manipulate peoples’ will, once in the path of the class struggle. History has proved that when the river flows it cannot retrace its path”.

Representatives of immigrants and Students’ Struggle Front (MAS) extended a greeting at the mobilisation.

In the rally also participated a delegation of the CC of KKE headed by the General Secretary of the party, Aleka Papariga, who made the following statement: “Workers should overcome fears and fatalism. They must intimidate their enemy and not fall into the trap of choosing between the EU and the US as the prime minister, Mr. Papandreu intends”.

Thereafter, the protestors held a march to the Greek Parliament.

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