A Statement on General Strike in Greece (OKDE- Spartakos)
General strike against austerity has stopped the life in Greece once again.We publish the statement of OKDE Spartakos (Greece) on the general strike:
The time has come for the massive workers’ movement
to emerge again in the forefront!
The Syriza-Anel government has long ago forgotten every promise that has been made before the elections about relieving austerity. Since the beginning the government got busy in the capitalist system’s service, continuing the work of the previous governments, the right-wing Samaras government, the “technocratic” Papadimos government and Papandreou social democratic government. Tsipras government had flashily ignored the result of July’s 2015 referendum in favor of NO. It was a referendum announced by the government itself, only to be used as a bargaining tool with the loaners. This government signed and sealed the 3rd memorandum in the summer of 2015 and the new medium term program in the spring of 2017. Just like the previous ones, this government extends its life from evaluation to evaluation, taking constantly new measures against the workers, the unemployed, and the youth.
Tsipras perhaps had aspirations of a settlement between the working class and the capitalists through his policy. But the interests of the working class and the capitalists are irreconcilable and they become even more irreconcilable in the face of this ongoing deep economic crisis: the capitalists only win what the working class loses and vice versa. There’s absolutely no doubt that Tsipras and his government had immediately crossed the rubicon. They must suffer, and they will, the fate of previous governments: they will fall into oblivion.
On the other hand, the solution does not lie with the return of the much hated right-wing, under the leadership of the neoliberal Kyriakos Mitsotakis. As a minister of administrative reform, Mitsotakis was a key factor for the implementation of Samaras policy. His “promise” include layoffs in the public section, flexible working relations and easy layoffs everywhere, more police oppression for the militants, more rights to the capitalists. New Democracy was the first party that applauded Tsipras government’s decision to drastically reduce the right to strike and this does not come by chance.
The resurrected “centre” of the ex-parties of PASOK and Potami (The River) is nothing different. The party members of the Movement for Change, are deeply entrenched within the state and they are waiting to play their role in any government, either with ND or Syriza. If by any case, another reserve is in need, there are always the “useful idiots” of Centre Union.
The Golden Dawn Nazis serve as the most repulsive expression of the system. Their MPs and party members were acting like thugs while receiving vast amounts of money from the state and while they were enjoying protection from ship-owners and daily advertising from newspapers and TV stations. Now, things are getting harder for them, with the antifascist movement and the trials, their members are spying on each other and they are abandoning the ship one by one, in an effort to save their skin. This has always been the case with the fascists: cowardice and loathsomeness.
In the face of the current crisis, the employers have completely broken loose. The wages are lower even from the ridiculously minimum wage of 586 euros. Working schedules and flexible working relations are exhausting. The demands from the workers are outrageous. Pregnant women are getting sacked. People work without insurance. Working conditions are terrible. Individual contracts for the workers and intimidation. Details are redundant, for this is a reality that everyone experiences first hand.
But we need to say this: This is not an unavoidable fate, the situation can change. The workers have been fighting back and they still do, even under difficult circumstances. The evaluation in the public section, an effort to lay the path for layoffs, has been cancelled for the second time. The Pakistani workers from the Georgiou plastics factory responded with 19 days of strikes, assemblies and mobilizations, to the sacking and beating of their co-worker Asif and they achieved major improvements in their working conditions. Militant unions like SMT (Union of Salaried Technicians) have stopped layoffs. The workers in Intralot were organized in assemblies and they achieved a major wage rise, in a period were everywhere wages are shrinking. Mobilizations by the workers have stopped the opening of stores on Sunday in many cases. BIOME is still operating under self-management, by the workers themselves, providing an actual example that a world without bosses is possible. These are just some examples that show to us that no struggle is given in vain, even in the darkest of times we can achieve victories.
That is why we need solidarity of all workers, in both public and private sector, permanent or temporary workers, men and women, locals and immigrants. The big demonstration in Aspropyrgos in solidarity with the Pakistani field workers who are daily facing racist attacks in Gorytsa, was an actual example of this solidarity. This years’ demonstrations in Keratsini and in front of the central headquarters of Golden Dawn, on the 4th anniversary of Pavlos Fyssas’ murder, showed that the Nazis have no place on the street. Initiatives from workers unions, like PENEN (sailors) and others, in Piraeus and Perama play an important role in the struggle against the racist and fascist poison that turns workers against each other and disorientates from the actual enemy of all: ship-owners, industrialists and all kind of capitalists.
The problem will not be solved with partial struggles, no matter how heroic these might be. The first numbness that followed the election of the Syriza-Anel government and the 3rd memorandum, when all false hopes that we can end austerity simply by voting a government were disproved, is gone. Workers are back on the street, although not in that massive scale yet, as was in the period of big strikes in between 2010-2012. In order for us to return with new big demonstrations and if we want these mobilizations to win, we need a complete answer, better organization and determination. The capitalists give up nothing with parlays and talks: they will fall back only when they are afraid of losing everything. And they must lose everything.
We need coordination of all workers, unemployed and the youth in order to win. But a conscious and organized movement is needed. The bureaucrats of GSEE and ADEDY will never give a proper fight. Neither the leaderships of the “official” left are determined for a real clash with the capitalists and their system. LAE has yet to decide whether it wants to be with SYRIZA in the unions or not. In Athens Labor Centre the president is theirs, in accordance with the members of SYRIZA, PASOK and ND. KKE and PAME say big leftist words in order to impress, but they don’t follow the line of giving dynamic struggles. They ended the peasants’ movement in April 2016, deciding to drink tsipoura with Tsipras instead. They did nothing against the new social security law that is cutting down pensions and rises the taxes for thousands of workers.
The anti-capitalist left is the only one that makes clear that the problem lies within capitalism itself and that we have to combine our struggle for small victories today, with organizing the big battle for the workers to take power by and for themselves. ANTARSYA is the point of reference of this anti-capitalist left. It is still very small and not experienced and clear enough, but it is still the best hope.
We need a massive anti-capitalist left, with a program which is both understandable and revolutionary. It is not enough to go back a few years, to simply raise minimum salaries up to 751 euros, which is still too little for someone to live, or boosting our “national economy”, in order for other peoples to pay more for the crisis . We need to fight for rises in wages, a decrease in working hours without decreasing the wages in order to combat unemployment. Collective bargaining, because everyone alone is helpless against their employer. Prohibition of layoffs. We need to organize in unions and in assemblies. In the end all that matters is the power and wealth passing to the hands of those who produce them: the working class.