The following article was originally written by the Greek Marxist paper Marxistiki Foni, on Thursday 18 October, as yet another general strike had taken place in Greece.
One more 24-hour general strike – the 20th since the beginning of 2010 – took place today (Thursday 18 October 2012) . The most important event was the undisguised murderous terrorism of the police that led to the death of an unemployed seaman, Xenofontas Lougharis, and to the grievous bodily harm of a 15-year-old boy from the beatings of the special police forces (MAT). The escalation of state violence reveals the fear of the coalition in light of the increasing outrage of the working masses.
Mass participation in the general strike was notable. However, gatherings were evidently smaller than those during the strike on 26th of September. This suggests that sporadic 24-hour general strikes are doomed in the minds of workers as futile.
It is clear that the bureaucracy of GSEE (the Greek equivalent of the TUC) uses the 24-hour general strike tactic in order to defuse workers’ anger. Workers have realised its function as one of being supportive of the Samaras coalition. The present picture of these mass gatherings is a sad one: we witness a loose gathering of bureaucracies under the GSEE podium in contradiction to the image of a more mass gathering of the rank-and-file at the location where Syriza had called the masses to gather. This is illustrative of the disdain with which workers view the leadership of Panagopoulos at GSEE.
At all workplaces, the idea of carrying out an open ended general strike until the coalition government collapses is increasingly gaining more ground in that it appears in daily discussions between workers. However, who possesses the kudos to assume the initiative to realize this idea? The only mass force with the ability to do this is Syriza! Its leadership, therefore, instead of maintaining a passive attitude towards the trade union bureaucracy and instead of limiting itself to abstract calls (e.g., ‘all take to the streets’ etc), ought to take concrete combative initiatives.
Over the following critical period, during which the application of the austerity measures will undoubtedly further debase the welfare and rights of the workers, we Marxists of Syriza who publish the newsletter ‘Epanastasi’ and the magazine ‘Marxistiki Foni’ propose that our party does the following:
That it assumes the initiative alongside KKE (Communist Party of Greece), the trade unions, and the confederations and call for an extraordinary workers-wide conference in early November with elected representatives from general conferences from all workplaces to set up a unified workers confederation that would unite workers from the private and ‘public’ sectors and thus overcome the current anachronistic division of the working population in two groupings (viz., GSEE and ADEDY, the latter being for the public sector).
This conference ought to discuss the outcomes of the strikes and of other tactics of the workers struggle over recent years, and to organise an ongoing general strike for the overthrow of the coalition, and to elect a central trade union leadership.
At the same time, it should proceed along with KKE and the trade unions to set up committees in every neighbourhood, workplace, school, and educational institution that would assume responsibility for mobilizing support for the idea of an ongoing general strike and which would prepare financial support as well as defence from the terror of the police and of the fascist gangs.
Syriza ought to assume initiatives for the substantive, not symbolic, coordination of the struggle of the workers at a pan-European level with the adoption of a concrete long-term programme of common mobilisations and strikes which ought to aim at the overthrow of governments that apply policies that harm workers’ interests.
Above all, it must give to the struggling masses the political solution of a Left government that shall eradicate capitalism; not just the reactionary memoranda and the lending agreements. On the basis of retaining capitalism, all sort of abstractions contained in notions about ‘productive reconstitution’ and all sort of ‘plan B’ re reverting to the drachma, and so on, amount to catastrophic delusions incapable of offering any long-term solution to the troubles of the millions of the destitute and the unemployed. The tendency of large Greek enterprises to migrate elsewhere indicates that even our capitalists have no faith in their own system.
The only meaningful and effective solution lies in the establishment of a socialist – that’s to say, socialised and democratically planned – economy as a step towards the victory of socialism across Europe!