Stop the banks strangling Greece!

Submitted by Matthew on 22 February, 2012 - 11:07

On 21 February a European Union summit in Brussels agreed a second “bail-out” for Greece, or rather for the banks which hold Greek government debt.

As part of the deal, EU leaders will impose on Greece even more severe cuts, and external controls similar to those imposed by the great powers of Europe on countries like Egypt and the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century.

At the same time, drunk on neo-liberal superstition, they are pushing through a treaty to make “balanced budgets” mandatory for all eurozone countries.

Even conservative and mainstream economists warn that the deal means years of economic decline in Greece and is likely only to postpone Greece defaulting on its debt payments, not prevent it. The EU leaders' measures are economically ruinous, and will throw petrol on the fire of nationalist and chauvinist reactions all across the continent.

Solidarity and Workers' Liberty have drafted the following appeal to the left and the labour movement across Europe to rally, continent-wide, to stop the strangling of Greece.

For working-class solidarity across Europe: sign this statement!

The leaders of the European Union, acting on behalf of Europe's bankers, are strangling Greece. We call on workers, trade unions, and political parties of the labour movement, all across Europe, to mobilise to stop them.

The Troika of the European Union, European Central Bank, and IMF wants to impose on Greece:

• devastating cuts;

• changes in law to attack workers' collective-bargaining rights and conditions;

• commitments not only from the Greek government but also from the major political parties to continue those cuts after new elections;

• a large chunk of Greece's public revenues to be put aside into an externally-controlled bank account, to be available for debt repayments.

Other demands on Greece include:

• appointment of external officials to monitor Greek public spending;

• postponement of elections, and installation of a government of unelected "technocrats".

Such measures:

• are socially and economically ruinous;

• flout the democratic and national rights of the Greek people;

• threaten to disrupt progress made over the decades toward reducing barriers between the countries of Europe, by using the financial crisis to demand centralised control of a scope beyond what is proper to any democratic federation of nations. In doing this they are provoking a nationalist counter-reaction.

Unless and until the workers, the trade unions, and the political parties of the labour movement mobilise to insist that these impositions are abandoned, we are complicit in these acts of destruction. In place of these destructive measures, we call for:

• cancellation of the debts of Greece and other crisis-hit countries;

• public ownership of the banks and high finance, and their reorganisation into a democratically-controlled public service;

• replacement of the governments, in the leading countries of Europe, which have set about strangling Greece, and the creation of a democratic Europe, unifying the continent but respecting national rights, and democratically answerable to its working-class majority.

• To sign the statement, email

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