Greece

A sudden change took place in the Greek political scene on January 7, when PASOK president and Prime Minister Mr. Kostas Simitis announced that he would resign as president of the party at the party's emergency congress on February 6th. He also announced that he would resign as Prime Minister the day after the elections, which will be held on March 7th. The next day, January 8, the party's Central Committee (CC) met and accepted Simitis' resignation and decided the date of the congress and the procedure for the election of the new leader.

In the recent period Greece has been gripped by a wave of strikes involving ever wider layers.The PASOK government is facing more and more opposition as the effects of its austerity measures bite into the living standards of ordinary working people. This has opened up the prospect of the PASOK possibly losing the next general election.

The level of antiwar mobilisations of the Greek workers and youth over the past few weeks, including several general strikes, is an indication of a deeper and more wide-ranging process that is developing in Greece. As the PASOK government faces defeat in next year's elections, Fred Weston looks at what is happening in the Greek trade unions, the youth and the left parties in general.

On Thursday April 3, 2003, the two general trade union federations in Greece, the GSEE (private sector) and ΑDΕDI (public sector) called a general strike against the imperialist war in Iraq. The GSEE limited itself to calling a four hour general strike, while the ADEDI called one of 24 hours.

Another general strike against the war called in Greece for April 3

Antiwar feelings are running very high in Greece. There has already been a general strike against the war. This took place shortly after the war broke out. And if some people thought this would die down once the war had started they will have to think twice. The workers and youth of Greece are not going to give the imperialists any respite.

Thursday morning (March 20) once the general public heard that the imperialist war against Iraq had broken out, tens of thousands of school students left the schools spontaneously and marched from every district of Athens to Sindagma (Constitution) Square. At the same time thousands of university students left their faculties and together with thousands of other people they flooded to the square and then a huge demonstration marched to the American Embassy, which is about three kilometres to the North East of the town.

Towards the end of July the Greek media launched a campaign of slander about the ideology of the terrorist organisation 17N (November 17), claiming that it was a Trotskyist organisation. The Greek Marxists sent a letter of protest to all the newspapers and channels, which was published in two major newspapers. We are publishing this short article on the subject.

On Tuesday a general strike took place in Greece - following on from the two massive general strikes that shook the country in the spring of 2001, and forced the government to back down on its proposed attacks on social spending. As we said at the time, these strikes marked a watershed, a turning point. Now the new mood of militancy has been shown once again.

Under a blazing sun, at midday on Thursday, May 17, tens of thousands of Greek workers poured onto the streets of central Athens to protest the anti-working class policies of the right wing socialist government of Konstantinos Simitis. This was the second general strike in the space of one month. Although the final figures have not yet been published, it was clearly a very successful strike.

Under a blazing sun, at midday on Thursday, May 17, tens of thousands of Greek workers poured onto the streets of central Athens to protest the anti-working class policies of the right-wing socialist government of Konstantinos Simitis. This was the second general strike in the space of one month. Although the final figures have not yet been published, it was clearly a very successful strike.

On Wednesday 26th April 2001, the biggest general strike for fifteen years took place in Greece. Both public and private sectors came out on strike with very big percentages of success, with many factories striking 100%. The demonstration in Athens was huge: 150,000-200,000 workers participated in the rally and then marched through the centre of Athens to the Parliament. It was really an impressive demonstration - almost two miles long.

At the beginning of October one of the most successful general strikes of the last few years took place in Greece. More than 15,000 workers and youth gathered in front of the headquarters of the General Federation of Greek Workers in Athens with a very militant mood demanding the withdrawal of the government measures against the workers' conditions of work.

The political climate is hotting up along with the weather. The streets of Athens and Salonika are filled with noisy demonstrators waving flags and placards directed against the Pasok government of Costas Simitis (the Greek Tony Blair). But these are demonstrations with a difference. At the head march black-robed bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church, who claim to represent the big majority of the Greek people.

Konstatin Simitis--the Greek Tony Blair--is a worried man. Elected after the death of Andreas Papandreu less than two years ago as leader of the Greek socialist party (PASOK) under the banner of "modernisation" he had 70% of public opinion behind him. Now it has dropped to 18%. The streets of Athens (congested at the best of times) are regularly blocked with demonstrations of angry bankworkers, airline employees and teachers. The premises of the Ionian bank, which the government wants to privatise, are occupied by the workers and covered with black flags. Alan Woods reports from Greece.

Events in Greece are especially relevant to the British Labour Movement because right wing PASOK (Socialist Party) leader Simitis is pursuing similar policies to those of Tony Blair and so-called "New Labour." This has led to an explosion of anger, not only on the streets, but in the trade unions and in PASOK itself. The PASOK union leaders were pro-Simitis one year ago, but now they have been forced into semi-opposition. Under pressure from below, they called a one-day general strike on April the 8th. Alan Woods reports.