Greek strikes build to 26 September

Submitted by Matthew on 19 September, 2012 - 11:47

On 26 September the Greek government, led by the right-wing New Democracy party with the support of Pasok (similar to Labour) and the Democratic Left (soft-left), will take its latest round of cuts to parliament.

Some Democratic Left MPs, such as former Pasok rebel Odysseas Voudouris, have denounced the cuts.

On 14 September, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said that giving Greece two more years to do its cuts “needs to be considered as an option”.

Austria’s finance minister Maria Fekter concurred: “We will give Greece the time they need for that. There will probably be no more money though”.

Lagarde and Fekter say, in effect, that if the Greek government pushes through these huge cuts now, then in the coming years the EU may demand only what is devastating and pauperising, not what is impossible.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, whose government has previously suggested that Greece should either step up its cuts or get out of the eurozone, told a press conference on 17 September that Greece could surely stay in the eurozone. She claimed that her “heart bleeds” for the people of Greece. All that was soft soap for a basic message that the cuts must go through.

The €12.5 billion of new cuts first have to confront the resistance of the Greek working class and the Greek people. On 17 September, criminal and civil judges, prosecutors and court officials started a two-week strike.

Workers on the Athens metro, trams and city trains will strike for 24 hours on 20 September, in protest against both wage cuts and fare increases.

More than 22,000 doctors at state-run hospitals started an “indefinite” strike over unpaid overtime pay. State clinics across Greece will only treat emergency cases.

University professors began a strike until the end of the month against wage cuts.

On 26 September others will join them in yet another general strike.

Over the summer the fascist Golden Dawn party has gained support, and racist attacks have increased.

A lot depends on the outcome of the attempts by Syriza, the left-wing coalition which came close to winning the 17 June election, to transform itself through district-by-district “people’s assemblies” into a single party with rights for minority views and a mass working-class membership.

DEA, one of the revolutionary socialist groups within Syriza, has called for Syriza to “confirm its commitment to the project of setting up the necessary Radical Left rather than going for a ‘big’ — but ideologically and politically vague — camp of democracy”.

It criticises a recent speech by Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras in which he called on “any Greek, every Greek” to ally with Syriza, but failed even to mention the word “socialism”.

Syriza, says DEA, must make it clear that it “seeks the overthrow of the memoranda [imposed by the EU, ECB, and IMF], but from the standpoint of the interests of workers and from the perspective of socialism”.

Syriza’s slogan of “no sacrifice for the euro”, it says, should be based on building resistance at national and European level

The task is to “build a mass radical Left, rejecting all pressure to shift toward the political centre”.