Today (Tuesday) the Greek trade unions embarked on a 48-hour general strike against the austerity measures which are being debated today and are to be voted on tomorrow. Papandreou says the cuts and privatisations are the only way of rebalancing Greece’s finances, but the workers and youth on the streets have other ideas.
The Greek parliament is being called on to vote the new austerity package as a condition for receiving another bail-out of €12bn. If it doesn’t then Greece would default, setting in motion a European-wide financial crisis.
In spite of all the appeals from the PASOK leaders, the people on the streets are determined to make their voice heard and up to 75% of the population is of the opinion that it is not the workers who should pay for this crisis, which is not of their making.
We will publish tomorrow reports on the events that have started today. In the meantime we publish a statement issued today by the Greek Marxists of Marxistsiki Foni, which calls for the 48-hour general strike to be extended into an all out strike to bring down the government, stop the austerity measures and cancel the debt.
The 48-hour general strike that begins today is a turning point for the class struggle in Greek society. It marks the culmination of the mass movement that has shaken the country to its foundations for the past month, a movement that is firmly being led by the working class.
The battle is a decisive one. On one side is the working people that realizes every effort must be made to win, otherwise there is everything to lose. On the other hand, there is the government backed by all the powerful forces, not only the Greek ruling class, not just the millionaires who have invested in Greek debt – that is, in the poverty and misery afflicting the Greek people – but all the forces of world imperialism.
In spite of whether the austerity measures will be approved in parliament and by how many votes, the struggle must continue. The government and its backers have shown that they are ruthless and determined to destroy our elementary rights to save this decadent, parasitic and corrupt system. That is why the 48-hour general strike on its own is not enough to win this battle. We must transform it into an all out general strike until the government falls and all the laws and austerity measures imposed by the usurers and moneylenders are repealed and a new government is elected, one that is accountable to the popular assemblies, one that will cancel the predatory debt and place the banks and commanding heights of the economy under social ownership and workers’ control.
“Marxist Foni” is of the opinion that it is necessary to transform this 48-hour general strike into an all out extended political general strike and for the movement to adopt the following measures:
To elect strike committees through assemblies in the workplaces that will coordinate the strike locally in coordination with committees of struggle elected by the popular assemblies, then coming together at national-level as a Centralised National Action Committee.
- The strike committees should conduct an organized campaign for mass participation in the strike in the workplaces where private sector unions do not exist. If any company dares to sack workers who participate in the strike these workplaces should be occupied.
- In a joint effort, labour and popular assemblies have to discuss and organize the setting up of strike funds to support the strikers and organise soup kitchens for those working class families that would have difficulty in surviving.
- Picket lines must be organised at each workplace. With the cooperation of the pickets and the People's Assembly of Syntagma Square, defence squads of the most decisive and strongest sections of the movement must be immediately set up, adequately equipped to protect the mass demonstrations and rallies against the violent actions of disguised police agents provocateurs.
- The all out political general strike raises the question of power and the movement must therefore have a clear and unambiguous answer to this question. The Centralised National Action Committee, elected through the labour and popular assemblies, should be ready to replace the power of the “troika” and the banks and place the concentrated wealth of the country under the control of the masses.