CPGB-ML » Posts for tag 'EU'

Austerity and resistance as Greece moves towards default

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 March.

A condition of releasing sufficient bail-out funds from the EU for Greece to be able to avoid default has been that even more stringent austerity measures should be implemented. The measures have been duly passed by the Greek parliament, and so the Greek people have been rising up in rage as their living standards are being mercilessly and sharply forced downwards.

As the Greek people put up a spirited fight against austerity, and opinion polls suggest that they will use their votes in April’s parliamentary elections to vote against austerity and, subject to leftist parties being able to cooperate for the purpose, perhaps even return a government that will resist the demands of Greece’s creditors, the inclination among politicians from other EU countries is developing towards letting Greece default and leave the euro. This is seen by many as the cheaper option, although others are still more worried about how much their own banks will lose if this happens and consider it is worth while attempting to turn the screw even harder on the Greek people for at least a little while longer.

An article on this subject appears in the latest Lalkar.

Greek communists on the economic and political crisis in their country

Communists unfurl their banners from the Acropolis in Athens on Saturday 11 February 2012, day two of a general strike

Communists unfurl their banners from the Acropolis in Athens on Saturday 11 February 2012, day two of a general strike

Regarding the Expressions of Solidarity with the Greek People
Communist Party of Greece (KKE), 20 February 2012

Recently, demonstrations have been held in many countries across the world under the ‘umbrella’ of slogans of “solidarity with Greece” and “we are all Greeks”. Working-class and popular solidarity are powerful weapons in the struggle of the peoples. But the workers must deal with any attempt to mislead them.

Which Greece needs solidarity? The Greece of the capitalists, who seek to acquire new loans from the EU and the IMF in order to strengthen the profitability of their capital, to reinforce their position against the people, or the Greece of the working class and the other popular strata, who are suffering due to the consequences of the capitalist crisis, for which they bear no responsibility?

At many of these events this issue remained unclear. And this is the case because there is an effort by certain forces (mainly of social democracy, the opportunists of the party of the European left and the ‘greens’) to use vaguely the idea of ’solidarity with the Greek people’ to whitewash the support that they gave in the past to the Maastricht Treaty, to the other Euro treaties, to the EU of capital itself, which is reactionary and can in no way be ‘democratised’, as they are even now claiming.

In addition, there is an attempt to use the issue of Greece in the inter-imperialist rivalries, inside and outside the EU.

Yes, the workers in Greece want the solidarity of the workers in Europe and all over the world! But solidarity with their struggles, their strikes, their militant demands, the KKE, and the class-oriented trade-union movement, PAME which is in the front line of the struggle, not the ’solidarity’ that seeks the continuation of capitalist exploitation and the squeezing of the workers.

Regarding this issue, the Press Office of the CC of the KKE issued the following statement:

The KKE addresses a message to all the workers of Europe: It is not necessary for you to ‘become Greeks’ in order to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Greece.

We call on you to join us on the same road for the contemporary rights of the working class and the poor popular strata, in order to impede and overthrow our common enemy: the dictatorship of the monopolies, the EU, and the parties that serve them.

Their overthrow in every country or group of countries, the socialisation of the monopolies, disengagement from the EU and Nato, with working-class people’s power, will be the greatest contribution to the struggle of the peoples of Europe and the whole world.

The newest and most contemporary slogan, which is more timely than ever is: “Workers of all countries, Unite!”

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. Down with the coup of the Bailout Agreement, down with the illegal Papadimos’ government
. Overthrow the whole rotten political system
. Democracy, Independence, Productive Reconstruction, Emancipation

Communist Organisation of Greece (ΚΟΕ) statement, 13 February 2012

The Communist Organisation of Greece salutes the hundreds of thousands of people who swamped Athens yesterday and protested throughout Greece, resolutely opposing the new bonds that the IMF-EU-ECB troika is imposing.

The Greek people proved their advanced readiness for combat, and showed increased endurance and courage facing the ruthless attacks of the ’special police’ forces. Despite state terrorism and the blackmail of the establishment, the fighting spirit of the people against the new occupation and tyranny is raging.

The new bailout agreement is being imposed entirely as in a coup, by an illegal government, and ‘approved’ by a parliament that has lost any legitimacy. The Papademos puppet government, the three bourgeois pro-agreement parties, and the politicians who voted for and supported the new disastrous bailout agreement are continuously violating their own constitution and the country’s sovereignty.

Their whole political system is hence entirely illegitimate. They have definitively divorced themselves from the people, and must leave immediately.

Since the appointed ‘prime minister’-banker Papademos and his entourage didn’t manage to terrorise the people with the threat of default (besides, the bailout agreement leads to default with mathematical certainty), they took sole refuge in ruthless police violence and terror. They suffocated Athens with chemicals, not hesitating to use their ‘weapons’ in the most ferocious way even against two emblematic figures like our national resistance hero Manolis Glezos and the internationally famous composer Mikis Theodorakis.

The illegal and completely illegitimate government, with the full support of most mainstream media, resorted to violence and invested in terror. The ‘journalist’-parrots of the system and the apologists of the troika talked systematically only about the damage done to buildings. They ‘forgot’ to mention the hundreds of thousands of people who, despite the barbarous police attacks and the chemicals, remained in Syntagma square and the rest of Athens’ centre for five hours.

For what happened yesterday, as well as for what’s coming, the illegal government must take full responsibility. In full contrast to the will of the people, and with repeated coups, it is delivering the country, the life and the future of its people to its patrons.

The political system that robbed and destroyed Greece, that leads it to default and is now delivering it as a colony to foreign commissioners and foreign ‘courts of justice’, is crumbling in front of our eyes.

They cannot even convince themselves any longer: 45 MPs from the bourgeois parties, under popular pressure, voted against the bailout agreement and were immediately expelled from their respective parties. For the first time since the fall of the dictatorship in 1974, fewer than 200 MPs voted ‘yes’ at a decision that had the support of both the two big bourgeois parties.

The intensified crisis of the political system is an opportunity for the promotion of a social and political front that will put a stop to this illegal regime and set the country in a different course, bringing into being what the people want and demand. A social and political front that will pave the way for the salvation of the people and the country: real democracy. Independence. Productive reconstruction.

Stop the payments NOW! Not one more euro to the loan sharks. We can break the chains; the fight continues! Forward to a radical political change led by the people!

Revolutionary turmoil in Greece

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 5 November

A parliamentary vote in favour of further austerity measures (154 votes to 141) on 19 October led to massive anger amongst over 100,000 workers demonstrating outside parliament.

The vote fulfilled an EU condition on Greece drawing down the next €8bn tranche of its bailout loan, but it will mean another €7.1bn of spending cuts plus tax increases, as well as deep cuts in public-sector wages and the loss of a further 30,000 public-sector jobs by the end of next month, to add to the 250,000 private-sector jobs already cut over the past two years.

Popular anger and frustration at people’s helplessness in the face of these monstrous cuts led to youths throwing hundreds of petrol bombs, burning a sentry box outside parliament and pelting the police with chunks of paving stones. The police hit back with tear gas, which eventually drove the demonstrators away, but they also took advantage of the situation to send thugs posing as ultra-revolutionaries to attack PAME and KKE militants physically.

These provocateurs assaulted the PAME/KKE contingent with Molotov cocktails, among other things, and tried to undermine the KKE’s leadership and set demonstrators against each other with virulent verbal attacks on both PAME and the KKE. In the course of these attacks, a prominent PAME militant, 53-year-old Dimitris Kotzaridis, was killed, overcome by police tear gas.

The Greek government has split against itself, with prime minister George Papandreou desperately trying to defuse the popular revolt. On 4 December he proposed putting the austerity measures to a referendum, apparently confident that the Greek public would endorse them, but the referendum was virulently opposed by Greece’s finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, and Papandreou’s confidence was clearly not shared by most others.

The idea of the referendum panicked stock markets everywhere, while international lenders indicated an intention to withhold further loans. Not only is Greece now considered likely to be forced into a disorderly default on its debts, but France and Germany have served notice on the Greek government that Greece should get out of the eurozone if it can’t manage its economic affairs as demanded.

There was speculation that Papandreou would resign as prime minister and that the Greek government would be handed over to a coalition headed by Lucas Papademos, former vice president of the European Central Bank and Bank of Greece Governor between 1994 and 2002. MIT educated, Mr Papademos taught economics at Columbia University from 1975 to 1984 and served as a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 1980. In the end, Papandreou succumbed to pressure and withdrew the decision to hold a referendum. The pressure for him to resign, however, is still strong.