Greece faces the alternative ‘Socialism or barbarism’

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Workers’ and peasant’ government! Cancel the bourgeoisie’s debt! Socialist United States of Europe!

On February 12th in Athens, the riot police attacked the hundreds of thousands demonstrators who were trying to prevent the bourgeois Parliament to adopt a new austerity plan. It resulted in the eruption of riots all night long. What is at stake with the Greek working class portends what is to expect for the other workers in Europe. If the Greece’s working class gets the power for putting an end to its never-ended suffering, in leading all the exploited and the oppressed in the country, it can start a world socialist revolution and pave the way to the planned and rational reconstruction of the economy of the Balkans, of Europe and of the Mediterranean Basin.

A never-ending spiral of regression and reaction

The national economies were not equally struck by the world capitalist crisis. The weakest the countries’ capital accumulation was (a small real extraction of social surplus value) and the most they resort to Keynesian artifacts (stimulation of the economy through), the most they suffer, like Greece. The “Great recession” put the light on the flimsiness of the bourgeoisies’ claims for peacefully and democratically unifying the 53-States divided Europe.

It appeared that Greece, which bourgeoisie thought it could assert itself on a regional scale, on the basis of the European Union, turned out to be its weakest link. It even threatens to drag the euro and the whole European
Union (EU) in its collapse. The Greek State has been reduced for two years to beg the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EU (which member States are also in deficit) to help it pay its creditors. Such vampires include, in the forefront, the banking and insurance capitalist groups from France and from Germany. The Greek State has been put under the humiliating supervision of the troika: IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank (basically the German, French and American imperialisms).

The austerity and privatization plans follow one another: May 2010, December 2010, June 2011, October 2011, December 2011, February 2012. The former were implemented by the Papandreou government of the Socialist Panhellenic Movement (PASOK). In November 2011, the EU imposes a Papademos coalition government between the PASOK, the New Democracy (ND), the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS). Papademos was the governor of the Bank of Greece when the books were cooked thanks to the American bank Goldman Sachs, which director for Europe at that time was Draghi, currently the chairman of the ECB. The LAOS, a fascistic party, left the government on February 10th, due to a small cut on the army budget.

The economy sinks into depression: the GDP lost 1.9% in 2009, 4.5% in 2010, about 6% in 2011. It should fall again by 3% in 2012. According to the most optimistic forecasts, the Greek GDP will have lost 16% in four years, one sixth of the country’s wealth.

The bankruptcy of the capitalist class gets paid by the impoverishment of the working class.

The capitalists, the top bureaucrats and the clergy are exempted from such sacrifices

More than a million workers are unemployed, i.e. an official figure of 20.9% of the working population, higher than ever. Prices increased by 2.9% in 2011, while wages, unemployment benefits and retirement pensions fell. As a matter of fact, the minimum wage just lost 22% (and even 32% for workers under 25), the State salaries lost more than 30% in two years, most of the pensions lost 20% in two years (besides, 40 years of contribution became necessary, and the retirement age turned to 65), wages are frozen until 2015…

The austerity budgets cut 82 000 public jobs in 2010, 50 000 in 2011. The new project plans 15 000 more cuts in 2012. The core of the bourgeois Statenamely army and police, are not really struck by the budgetary cuts, since their expenditures increase. In the new plan, the health budget will lose one billion euros, while the “defense” budget reaches 4 billion. There are more tanks in Greece than in France, and 2.8% of the working population are soldiers, the highest in the NATO.

Banks, post office, infrastructures, energy, water and games are subject to privatizations. In such an economic conjuncture, public firms are sold at a very low price. The Chinese imperialism, which became the third supplier for Greece before its French competitor, takes advantage of the situation: the COSCO group bought the Piraeus harbor. The Chinese State vivaciously encourages the Greeks to endorse the sacrifices asked by the IMF and the EU.

The VAT increased by 20%, while the employers’ social contributions will decrease. The personal income tax increased, but the fraud of the 10% richest corresponds to 25% loss in the expected tax revenue. TheGreek fleet is the first in the world (its activity provides 6.7% of GDP, more than tourism), but the capitalist groups in the merchant navy do not pay corporate tax (art. 107 of the Constitution) and the ship-owners massively evade employers’ contributions. The orthodox church, which is the second landowner after the State, is land tax-exempt and it only pays a small income tax, while it owns beaches, restaurants, hotels, car parks. Besides, the clergy is paid by the State.

The Greek crisis is so severe that it raises the issue of choosing between fascism and revolution. But up to now the leaderships of the workers’ movement block the latter.

The union bureaucracies disperse the masses’ anger through days of action.

The Socialist Panhellenic Movement (PASOK) is not born from the working class, but it was founded in 1974 by an old bourgeois political dynasty, the Papandreaou, with “Greece to the Greeks!” as a catchword. The PASOK is a
“progressive” expression of bourgeois nationalism in a ruled country (like Mubaraks’s and like Ben Ali’s RCD, which are also members of the “Socialist” International). This bourgeois party controls the main unions, the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), the Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions (ADEDY). The union bureaucracies refrain from calling for the general strike until the withdrawal of the austerity measures and they refuse to chase the government away, in which the PASOK stands, alone or with the
fascists. With a view to diverting the discontent, they call for 24-hour (or 48-hour) “days of action”, which declared goal is to press the government: 10th February 2010, 24th February 2010, 5th March 2010, 11th March 2010, 22nd April 2010, 5th May 2010, 20th May 2010, 8th July 2010, 11th May 2011, 15th June 2011, 19th and 20th October 2011, 17th January 2012, 12th February 2012…

Two bourgeois workers’ parties support this days of action’s farce: the Coalition of Left Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), flanked with a few semi-reformist centrist organizations stemming from the dead 4th International.

The two social-patriot parties protect the bourgeois government

Synapsismos and the KKE wear the same origin, the Greek « Communist » Party (PCG) that rescued the Greek bourgeoisie in 1944, on order of Stalin. He feared above all that the inter-imperialist 2nd war would come out into
the socialist revolution in Europe and in the world, which would have led to the overthrow of the privileged bureaucracy ruling in USSR. In November 1973, when the students faced the military dictatorship, the PCG was as
hostile to them as the PCF was to the students who defied De Gaulle in May 1968. The PCG entered the bourgeois government led by the ND in 1989. It always shared its bourgeoisie’s nationalism, especially against Turkey and Macedonia.

Now, its two descendants defend the Greek sovereignty, they postpone socialism until a far future, and none of them dismisses the possibility to enter a government with the bourgeois parties.

The time has come for a social-popular front. (KKE, Proposals for getting over the crisis, 14th May 2010)

Synaspismos created the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) with smaller organizations (splits from the PASOK, split from the KKE, Maoists, so called Trotskyites). In Europe, Syriza is related with RC and with the PCF, two
parties which entered austerity and privatization governments in Italy and in France.

Synapsismos does not question capitalism but “neoliberalism”. This is why it warned enthusiastically the Indignants movement, who was forbidding the expression of workers’ parties but was wearing the Greek flag (struck with the orthodox cross). In order to restore the “national dignity”, Syriza would admit a change in the composition of the Parliament through elections, and the implementation of another coalition government.

We call upon the Greek people, all citizens, regardless of their previous political and partisan choice, not to lose their morale. Not to bend their heads… Elections must be organized immediately, under a fully
proportional electoral system. This is the solution of normality and the only prospect for the restoration of social cohesion. Just like the people forced Papandreou’s government to fall, sooner or later they will manage
to bring out a new coalition of power, which will terminate the unconstitutional loan agreements and restore popular sovereignty, social justice and national dignity.
(Syriza, Public Statement, 7th November 2011).

Synaspismos and Syriza refuse to reject the debt of the Greek bourgeoisie. Instead, they propose, with the support of the Pabloist “4th International”, as a diversion, a “campaign for an audit of the public debt”.

The KKE keeps a crucial influence in the working class and in the schooled youth. The neo-Stalinist divides the
workers and splits the unions with the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME). The PAME systematically calls for
demonstrations that are separated from ADEDY and GSEE’s.

The KKE absurdly pretends that the choice for the autarky will bring the prosperity back. We maintain with facts and with proof that Greece, despite the serious and destructive damage that it has experienced in certain sectors due to the dominance of capital and of monopoly competition, has the prerequisites to create and develop a self-reliant people’s economy. (KKE, Propositions pour sortir de la crise, 14 mai 2010)

While denouncing the capitalist system, the KKE keeps refusing to postulate for the power while the situation is unbearable for the working class and for the petit-bourgeois classes.

People have something to win if a weak government gets from the elections… Overthrowing the system will neither be done in one night, nor in one attack… We cannot exclude the possibility of a radical break in the coming years… (Aleka Papariga, General Secretary of the KKE, ANT1, 6th January 2012)

For the neo-Stalinist party, there is no emergency. It is advisable to wait some years, in channeling anger with limited strikes and demonstrations during the “days of action”. Meanwhile, the KKE stewards occasionally protects the Parliament against the demonstrators. The bourgeoisie must keep the power, but it is not important: “Our view is that the worst must be avoided” (KKE, 13th February 2012).

No question for preparing the overthrow of the bourgeois government by the masses and its replacement by a workers’ government. The KKE offloads any responsibility: “If people do not decide, there will be no change” (Papariga, 6th January 2012).
Against the powerlessness in which the masses are maintained by the policy of the union leaderships and of the workers’ bourgeois parties, anarchy is flourishing without being able to draw a positive outcome to the economic and political crisis.

For workers’ power: KKE-Synapsismos government, building of Soviets!

For its own emancipation, the working class must have its own party, a party like the Bolshevik Party which allowed the Soviets to take the power in October 1917. The vanguard must rally on the basis of demands that lead to the socialist revolution, to the dictatorship of the proletariat.

• In firms, in universities, in districts, in towns, wages workers’, students’, peasants’ federated and centralized committees! Self-defense of strikes, demonstrations against the police and the fascists! Dismantling of the army, of the riot police, of the secret services!

• Leaders of the GSEE and of the ADEDY, break with the ND-PASOK government, stop negotiating the austerity plans, demand the withdrawal of all the austerity plans!

• United front with the GSEE, the ADEDY, the PAME, the KKE and Synapsismos for cancelling the bourgeoisie’s
debt, all its reactionary measures, for decreasing the labour time, for indexing wages and pensions on prices,
for expropriating the ship-owners and all the capitalist groups, for a complete separation of the orthodox
church and the State, for an emergency plan worked out by the committees and implemented under their control.

• KKE and Synapsismos, apply for the power and form a government with no representative of the ourgeoisie, under the control of the committees.

• Close of all the American military bases! Get out of NATO! Same rights for foreign workers! Right to self-
determination for the national minorities (Turkishs, Pomaks, Tziganes, Slavs)! Greek army out of Cyprus! Unity with Turkey’s working class! Socialist Federation of the Balkans! Socialist United States of Europe!