Right across the world, working-class families, the unemployed, the sick and the elderly are being made to pay the cost of the current crisis of capitalism. Jobs are being lost, wages are being cut, working conditions are being attacked, and social security spending is being savagely cut by governments who have mortgaged the futures of generations to rescue the banks, speculators and other institutions of finance capital.
The people of Ireland know this only too well, as the governments of Cowen and Cameron seek to bail out their friends at our expense. The social security system and public spending on education, housing and health are their number one targets. The same is true in Greece, where the social-democratic PASOK government, supported by the parties of the right, has implemented a new law devastating the social security system.
Resistance to the new law has been led by the All Workers Militant Front (PAME), a trade union organisation allied to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). PAME organised mass rallies on June 29th. In Athens, the demonstrators passed resolutions calling for international solidarity and cooperation among workers everywhere. They also recognised the reality of the class interests that lie behind government appeals for sacrifices from working people.
“Conquests and fundamental rights that had been achieved through hard struggles, blood and sacrifices, are now being abolished with the excuse of “exiting the crisis” … a deep crisis that indicates the historical limits of capitalism, a system which gives birth to mass unemployment, poverty, war, oppression”.
On July 8th, the day the social security bill was passed in the Greek parliament, the thirteenth mass strike in the last seven months took place in Athens and scores of other cities throughout Greece. Hundreds of thousands of workers took to the streets. As reported by the KKE, “factories, construction sites, offices, ports, airports, public transport, media were literally paralysed.” This was despite the fact that employers have been attempting to use blackmail and intimidation against the strikers, threatening those who take part with dismissal.
While employers seek to use their economic power against class-conscious workers defending their rights, their political allies have stepped up their campaign against the KKE. A new law targets the main fundraising method of the KKE, the use of party coupons so that political donations can be made by working people with cash instead of through bank transfers only. The KKE’s General Secretary, Aleka Papariga, told parliament that the KKE would preserve its political and economic independence as the voice of the Greek working class. The KKE will be “neither a party serving the system nor a state-dependant party.”
The workers gathered in June 29th made their goals clear in their address to their fellow workers elsewhere. The struggle of the Greek workers to defend their jobs, wages and social welfare system is the same struggle faced by workers in Ireland, north and south.
“The target of our struggles must be the counteraction of these anti-worker measures … We demand measures that will meet the modern needs of ordinary families.
We must help the working class of Europe to understand that capitalism is not our future.
We struggle to abolish the exploitation of man by man.”
Listen to the address of the representatives of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) to the Workers’ Party 2010 Ard Fheis at the 2010 Ard Fheis section of The Workers’ Party website