Greece: We are not sacrificing our lives to pay interest to the lenders!

We provide here the text of a leaflet published for the build up to yesterday’s 24-hour general strike in Greece and distributed on the rallies.

The capitalist crisis still haunts the planet and Greece, as the weakest link of the EU, is on the brink of defaulting. The Greek government has unleashed the biggest attack on the workers’ standard of living since the fall of the Colonels’ junta back in 1974, calling on them to pay the price of Greece’s debt through cuts in their wages, pensions and increases in the minimum age of retirement. But this debt was created not by the working class, but by the generous subsidies the capitalists have enjoyed, the ever lowering tax rate and the huge tax evasion of the big companies, the long-lasting protection the public sector offers to big private companies, the huge public spending on defence, the sweeping waves of privatizations in the public sector which have deprived the state of revenue, the mismanagement and, last but not least, the scandals of the high-paid high-ranking civil servants.

Instead of serving the interests of the working class that voted them in office, the Greek government have become the trusted yes-men of the speculators who constantly ask for “new measures” to guarantee that the big banks will not lose their interest payments. At the moment, the government want to abolish holiday pay and the extra wage the workers get every Easter, known as the 14th wage [13th being the extra wage they get around Christmas]. We can rest absolutely assured that unless they get a massive and strong reply, their appetite for more profits will bring the standard of living of the working class down to the levels of the 1930s.

The General Strike of 24th February must become a strong slap in the face by the working class of the government, big capital and its international agents (EU, ECB, IMF), who are asking us to sacrifice our lives to guarantee the interest payments to the capitalists. It is essential that we participate in our trade unions and work towards the success of this strike and put pressure on the leadership of the GSSE (General Confederation of Greek Workers) and ADEDY (the public sector union) in order to draw up a programme of struggle which should aim at a well organised 48 hour general strike in March under the slogan: “The capitalists must pay for their crisis!” We must demand that the loop of this crisis be tightened around the necks of the capitalists and not of the workers.

We demand:

  • A pause in settlements on all the blood-sucking loans
  • Heavy taxation on profits and wealth
  • Nationalisation of the Church’ property
  • Drastic cuts and freeze on the defence budget
  • The wages of the managers in the civil service to be in line with the wages of ordinary civil servants with the same number of years of service
  • Nationalisation of the banks; one national central bank to acting as a shield against speculation and to play a vital role in financing the economy in favour of the workers
  • Workers’ control in all companies in order to uncover the tax evasion and scandals of big capital
  • «35 hours-5 days-7 hours» without wage cuts
  • Mass recruitment of the unemployed into a state programme of public works and upgraded public services (housing, education, health, pensions, etc)
  • Nationalisation under workers’ control and management of any big company which closes down or fires workers
  • Unemployment benefit at 80% of the minimum wage for the whole duration of unemployment
  • Big rises and automatic sliding scale of wages and pensions in order to reach socially acceptable levels
  • Abolition of all casualisation of employment
  • Full citizenship and social rights for all the immigrants
  • One unified and public health and pensions system for all workers
  • Nationalisation under workers’ control and management of the commanding heights of the economy in order to achieve development in favour of the general public
  • Unity of the labour movement, for united strikes and actions
  • Unification of the Left with a common struggle between SYRIZA and KKE in favour of workers’ rights and the formation of a socialist government in order to carry out a socialist programme
  • United struggle with the European workers aiming at a United Socialist Europe which will take the place of today’s capitalist EU.

The leaflet in Greek language can be found here.