Greece

In this third and last part of our analysis of the Greek elections we look at the fate of the PASOK, the new situation on the right with the Independent Greeks and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn - a warning of how things can develop in the future if the Left fails to offer a way out of the impasse - and finally we indicate the programme and tactics that should be adopted in order to unite the left under a revolutionary socialist programme.

The electoral results of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) reveal objectively a serious political failure. Its result of 8.48% (26 MPs) is an increase of its electoral strength by a mere 0.94%, in a situation where hundreds of thousands of workers and youth were moving to the left. While SYRIZA won 800,000 votes, the Communist Party won only 18,823 votes.

(We publish here the first of a two part article written by the Editorial Board of Marxistiki Foni) The results of yesterday's parliamentary elections in Greece – a political earthquake –are a clear indication of the growing radicalisation of society on the basis of the historic deadlock of capitalism and the movement towards an openly revolutionary situation. 

Millions of workers and youth around the world have been observing carefully the current events in Greece. 24- and 48-hour general strikes, mass demonstrations, the sieges of parliament during the austerity votes are all looked upon with enormous sympathy and the role of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) in these events is evident to everybody.

Here is the remarkable story of Eleftherotypia, a Greek left-wing newspaper whose workforce has defied the odds and responded to the threat of bankruptcy with workers’ control as the answer. This is taking place in the second largest newspaper in Greece and is happening despite the sabotage of the owners!

The result of the vote on the latest austerity measures in the Greek parliament on Sunday, February 12, was a "Pyrrhic" victory for the Papademos government. It had earlier set itself the goal of winning the support of more than 200 MPs. Eventually 199 MPs voted in favour of the measures “in principle”, while 190 actually voted for the overall package.

Conditions in Greece are becoming desperate as unemployment continues to rise, wages and pensions are slashed, many small businesses close and the country slides towards a likely disorderly default. The pressure on ordinary working people is relentless.

The Greek crisis has now reached the point of a pre-revolutionary situation. On Sunday we saw the biggest demonstration in the history of Greece. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered to protest the reactionary deal before the Athens parliament. Here was the real face of the Greek people: workers and students, pensioners and shopkeepers, young and old, came onto the streets to express their rage.

Hundreds of thousands of workers, unemployed, pensioners and youth tried to gather On Sunday [February 12] in Syntagma Square and in the main squares of dozens of other cities across Greece, to protest against the government and the Troika. Sunday’s massive mobilisation was unprecedented, reflecting both widespread anger at the reduction in the annual income of workers by an equivalent of three months’ wages, the reduction of the "net" minimum wage to 410 euros (and to 320 euros for youth up to the age of 24) and the new reductions in pensions.

Tuesday's 24-hour general strike in Greece – the 16th day of general strike in the last two years – highlighted on the one hand the willingness to fight which exists within the working class and on the other, once again, the ineffectiveness of such strikes that are not part of a more general and coordinated and long-term struggle.

Greece's "technocratic" prime minister Papademos is desperately trying to make the three parties supporting his government (PASOK, ND and LAOS) agree to yet another round of brutal austerity cuts. The enormous pressure created by the relentless attacks on the working people of Greece is reaching breaking point. Health workers at a hospital in Kilkis have decide to take over their hospital and put it under workers' management. There is a new epidemic of homeslesness affecting people whose lives have been shattered by the crisis and the austerity measures. 

Yesterday, the former vice-president of the European Central Bank, Lucas Papademos was named as Greece's new prime minister. He is to lead a national unity government whose task is to implement sever austerity measures and then take the country to elections in February. We are publishing here an analysis by Greek Marxists as to what this means for Greek and European workers.

October 28 is a National holiday in Greece marking ΟΧΙ (No) Day – the refusal of Greece in 1940 to accept the Italian ultimatum advanced by Mussolini, to allow the Italian fascist troops to enter the country. Not only did Greek forces stop the Italian invasion, but actually forced Mussolini's troops back into Albania. Every year it is celebrated as a day of “national pride”. Not so this year! The masses took over the celebrations and used them to express their anger at the Greek ruling class. Here we publish a report from Athens written on the day of the “celebrations”.

On Thursday in Athens during the mass workers' protests we saw the state collaborating with hooligans and provocateurs against the labour movement. What is now required is a political general strike! Here we publish a statement by the Greek Marxists of Marxistiki Foni.

Today (October 19), the first day of the 48-hour general strike in Greece was sensational. Apart from the government and public utilities workers that participated in the strike massively, hundreds of thousands of workers from the private sector came out on strike for the first time, and also joining the millions of striking workers were tens of thousands of small businesspeople and shopkeepers who closed the shutters to their shops in solidarity.

The situation in Greece is becoming more and more revolutionary as each day passes. The country has been paralysed by a wave of strikes centred on the public sector and state owned enterprises, which is the workers’ response as they attempt to ward off the terrible attacks of the government. This wave of strikes was anticipated by the mass occupation movement in the universities and schools in September, which proved once again that the youth is a sensitive barometer of the class struggle.