Greece

Greek capitalism is beginning to give at the seams. The days of relative calm are over. Now there is little room for manoeuvre and the system has no choice but to go on the offensive against the workers and youth. This became evident last week when the police attacked a 30,000-strong student demonstration with a brutality not seen since the days of the hated military junta in the 1970s.

The right-wing ND government is now pressing ahead once more with its plans to privatise university education. This has reawakened the student movement which has mobilised on a massive scale. Conveniently for the right-wing, last week there was a missile attack on the US embassy, which is now being used to justify greater state repression.

As we predicted, the coming to power of the right-wing ND government two years ago has had the effect of radicalising the workers and youth. A very militant primary school teachers' strike, massive student mobilisations and the recent local elections, all confirm this.

The strength of the Greek student movement has been truly amazing in these recent weeks. It forced even the conservative bureaucracy of the trade unions to organise a solidarity strike with the students. In the mass assemblies the students concluded that there should now be a pause and the movement should prepare to remobilise in September.

Greece is being rocked by the biggest student mobilisations for more than 20 years. Faculties have been occupied all over the country and the movement is instinctively turning to the workers for help, calling on the unions to organise a general strike.

On May 7, the Greek Hands Off Venezuela! committee, together with the German group Network Cuba and the Marxist journal Marxistiki Foni, organised an important seminar on the Bolivarian Revolution. Close to 300 people turned up making the event an important step in strengthening solidarity work in Greece.

Held shortly after the Greek trade union leaders have signed a disappointing agreement with the bosses, this year’s rallies were small but the workers and youth present expressed a militant mood.

We have just been informed that yesterday the Greek government has withdrawn from its plans to close the plant in Thessaloniki. They say it will reopen "partially". This is a big victory for the workers after two months of determined struggle. For now the solidarity appeal is suspended as we await the outcome.

Representatives of the Editorial Board of “Marxistiki Foni” met the workers of the fertilizer factory in Thessaloniki, who had once again come down to Athens (a 6-hour train journey), to protest in front of the Ministry of Labour against the closure of their factory. We publish the announcement of their union. We should all support their struggle!

Another massive general strike rocked Greek society on March 15. This came about in a situation of growing class conflict. The result has been a big fall in support for the present right wing New Democracy government. The Greek bosses are now openly discussing the possibility of French contagion in Greece.

The struggle of the Greek Coca-Cola workers is reaching a critical stage. On their own they risk defeat, especially with the passive attitude of the GSEE leaders. United and coordinated with workers across Greece, and internationally, facing the same situation they can win.

The response from the supporters and readers of Marxist.com to our recent solidarity appeal for the Coca-Cola workers in Athens (Greece) has been tremendous. The comrades of the Greek Marxist journal, Marxistiki Foni, sent us a message for all our readers. The Union in the factory has also sent us a letter of thanks for all our readers that we are also publishing here.

In December there was a massive general strike in Greece with huge participation both in the public and private sectors. This is less than two years into the right-wing New Democracy government. The strike was against a new bill affecting workers’ rights. A militant mood is once more growing among Greek workers and it is destined to get stronger in the coming period.

After playing for time before last year’s Olympic games, the Greek ruling class is preparing an all-out attack on the workers of Greece. The Greek economy is beginning to slow down and this is adding to the problems of the ruling class. A recent wave of strikes and general strikes indicates that Greece is clearly moving towards a period of renewed class conflict.

The Greek Orthodox Church and the Judiciary have been involved in major corruption scandals, involving embezzlement, drug running and bribing of judges to fix trials. Two “pillars” of the Greek state have thus been exposed in the eyes of the masses, something which will have profound consequences in the coming years of class struggle. We publish an introduction by Fred Weston and the Editorial statement of the new Greek Marxist journal, Marxistiki Phoni, on these developments.

This report from Athens shows how the Greek bosses tried to exploit to their advantage the victory of the Greek football team in the European Cup. The main speaker in the official celebrations was the head of the Greek Orthodox Church who gave a very nationalist speech. He was widely hissed and many people abandoned the stadium. It gives an idea of what is to come in Greece.

Last night Greece was one huge party after the victory in the European Cup. No doubt workers and youth feel the need to celebrate, for the social and economic situation gives them no reason to be cheerful. Fred Weston looks at the situation in Greece as it is developing after the defeat of the PASOK and the election of the right-wing New Democracy government