(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India
Ire in Greece
R Arun Kumar
IT was supposed to be 'shock and awe'. It was termed
as the biggest 'rescue' package to stabilise the Euro zone economy.
the Greeks were 'shocked' and 'angered' instead of feeling 'rescued' by
package announced. Massive demonstrations continue to rock the country.
class led by the PAME, a confederation of various trade unions and the
Communist Party are participating in ever increasing numbers. While the
have come out on the streets expressing their opposition to the
bailout package, the stock markets world over were buoyed by the news.
Sensex witnessed a rise.
On 9 May, a Sunday,
the European Union announced a €750 billion ($955 billion) bailout
money would be available to rescue Euro-zone economies that get into
troubles. The plan would consist of €440 billion of loans from
governments, €60 billion from an EU emergency fund, and €250 billion
International Monetary Fund. Germany
would have the largest share of guarantees, committing to back €123
the debt in case of further loans to Greece;
billion, and even tiny Cyprus
nearly €1 billion.
termed the EU's decision as a “systemic response” to a “systemic
response is an attempt to solve the problems arising out of the
of capitalism within the capitalist system. It took the involvement of
who's who of the leaders of the capitalist world for this 'rescue'
come out – Obama (President of the US), Merkel (Chancellor of Germany),
(President of France), Alistair Darling (Chancellor of the exchequer of
Bernanke (Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the US) and Dominique
(Director of the IMF). The announcement was timed to 'perfection',
opening up of the Asian markets that lead the markets that open on the
day of the week. And the markets did not disappoint, they opened with a
But markets do not reflect popular sentiment.
AID COMES WITH
The anger of the
Greeks can be understood from the statement made by German Chancellor
Merkel coming out of the marathon session that finalised the bailout
She said Euro-zone nations need to “intensify efforts to cut budget
She stressed that “aid for Euro-zone governments would come with
attached, including austerity programs designed together with the IMF”.
already announced a series of austerity measures that burden the common
Spain and Portugal
now decided to make additional spending cuts to bring down towering
deficits more quickly. Spain
plans to cut its budget deficit to 9.3 per cent of gross domestic
year, from 11.2 per cent in 2009, and to 6.5 per cent in 2011. Portugal
to cut its budget deficit to 7.3 per cent of GDP this year. Last year's
deficit was 9.4 per cent of GDP. All this come at a tremendous cost to
people, as the people of Greece
are already witnessing.
Under the pretext
of bringing the country out from the crisis, the Greece
government led by the Social
Democrats, the PASOK, has launched an open war against the workers’ and
people’s gains. Mass dismissals of workers and privatisation became the
philosophy. Salaries, pensions and many allowances to the working
employees were drastically cut. Retirement age was increased and many
collective agreements of the working class, which were won after
protracted struggle were sought to be abolished. It increased the
threshold and extended permission for increasing the number of contract
employees. Indirect taxes, especially on essential commodities were
to 23 per cent. These measures significantly affect the living standard
working people and pensioners. The prospects of the unemployed whose
almost reached 800,000, too were drastically affected as recruitment
stopped and money given as unemployment benefit was reduced. The Social
Democrat government that had come to power only a few months back,
the promises it had made to the people. Above that, it started
despised policies of the earlier Conservative government and started
to the dictates of the EU.
Greece rose in protest against these measures with large
number of people voluntarily participating in the strike calls given by
PAME. Many sections of workers who hitherto did not take part in any
class action responded to these calls. Many workers broke ranks with
reactionary trade unions and joined the PAME. The country was virtually
boil from the month of March, wherein the first of the series of
organised. The working class matured and tempered with every action
undertaken, had withstood various attacks from the ruling classes – the
of court orders banning strikes, strike breaking tactics and even
The Communist Party
of Greece, KKE, organised intensive and extensive campaigns against the
policies of the government both in the workplaces and in the
localities. They were enthusiastically received by the people. The
demonstration held on the May Day and the banner that they had tied on
Acropolis rock urging the people of Europe
rise, caught the attention of the people world over.
The PAME had
brought together various other class and mass organisations in these
demonstrations. The All Farmers Militant Rally (PASY), which had
blockades throughout Greece
during the first week of March joined the workers together with the
Pan-Hellenic Anti-monopoly Rally of Self-employed and small tradesmen
and the Students' Militant Front (MAS). They were joined by various
women's and youth organisations. Protest demonstrations soon spread to
75 cities in the country. It is this broad coalition of various class
organisations and the tremendous people's response that is sending
the ruling classes.
This unity of the
toiling sections in Greece
has also made the various parties of the ruling classes come together.
opposition party, Conservative ND, though had voted against the
measures of the government in the parliament, joined hands with the
party in condemning the PAME and KKE. They are calling for the
isolation of the
KKE and are blaming it for various anarchist acts for which the party
responsible. Inside the parliament, they had accused the KKE from
tourism' to planning to 'burn the parliament'. They alleged that it was
PAME who were responsible for the death of three people who were burnt
the demonstration on May 6.
The KKE and PAME
strongly denied these accusations and brought forth facts that not only
them of responsibility but also prove some deep rooted conspiracy of
classes in this incident. In a statement issued immediately denouncing
incident they said, “A group of provocateurs tried to involve
riots by snatching flags of PAME and using different slogans and
intention was clearly to slander KKE and PAME. Volunteers, on noticing
immediately intervened and disarmed the provocateurs and isolated them.
were also condemned through the loudspeakers at the demonstration”.
pointed to the fact that this act was carried out after almost the
organised by them had reached the parliament building. In spite of
the entire media repeatedly spread canards against the KKE. In fact, it
incident that was prominently broadcast rather than the massive protest
demonstrations that took place in the entire country.
The ruling class of
are desperately trying to malign and isolate KKE which is spearheading
struggle. Of course, they were unable to succeed in their designs till
Aleka Papariga, the general secretary of the KKE has stated, “to drive
the wall, to hinder our actions,do not
even think about it...because after 92 years, we very well know whom we
package announced further necessitates Greece to follow stringent
that are going to hit the common people even more harder. The KKE and
announced that they would be met with even more massive popular
It is this organised working class actions that have kept the
anarchists at bay
till now. The discipline and resolute unity displayed by the people is
tremors among the ruling classes. It is these actions that have pushed
to intervene little earlier and announce the bailout package. They have
pushed Germany to shed its earlier inhibitions and put in its money in
While the working
people of Greece are united in their struggle against the efforts of
capitalists to shift the burdens of crisis onto their shoulders, the
classes too are gearing up to protect their hegemony. It is this
of class struggle that we are witnessing today in Greece.