Articles  •  Britain  •  International

Another general strike hits Greece – but is it enough to win?

15 June 2011

Mass anger has again hit the streets of Athens in a general strike against the austerity measures killing the country. John Bowman reports for

To comply with IMF and EU bailouts, the Greek parliament is voting on whether to accept yet another cuts package – this time equivalent to $40.5 billion.
But as in Ireland, it seems that cuts are having no impact on the country’s credit rating. Credit agency Standard & Poor have just graded it at CCC – the worst credit rating on their books. Worse even than Pakistan or Jamaica.
Today’s strike – bringing out hundreds of thousands of trade unionists, youth, families and communities out on to the demonstrations – is the tenth general strike in Greece since the crisis began.
Perhaps that is not surprising. The Greek economy is in utter chaos, with workers and the youth and poor paying the heaviest price. Unemployment is over 15 per cent, public sector wages have been cut by a quarter, and the working week has been extended.
Anger is growing at every section of capitalist society. Reporting from the protests today, Newsnight editor Paul Mason said the corporate media were coming under particular fire for their sea of propaganda aimed at portraying more cuts and more hardship as the only way out.
Greek society is furious at the ‘Socialist’ Papandreou government that have reneged on a promise not raise taxes, and their plans to privatise vast swathes of the country’s remaining public services.
They are angry too at countries such as Britain, and Germany in particular, whose governments are leading the charge for more Greek cuts in exchange for the EU bailouts. But protesters are showing solidarity with anti-cuts movements across Europe too. Young protesters have adopted the slogans taken up by the recent Spanish youth protests in which they occupied city centres in tents to demand jobs.
Today’s general strike shows the continuing determination of Greek youth and workers to fight the cuts. And they know that the EU and IMF alternative would make life hell for everyone. One MP has resigned stating that to vote for the cuts would be “as cruel as a tiger.”
However, some facts are becoming abundantly clear, the most obvious being that one- day general strikes, even ten one-day general strikes(!) are not sufficient to slow or halt the attacks in Greece.
That is because the crisis in Greece is so severe that capitalist solutions, be they the monetarist or Keynesian simply cannot resolve the situation without inflicting absolute misery on millions of Greeks.
The Greek prime minister has now offered to resign because of the strike and the violent clashes, in favour of a national unity government.
There is now a need of absolute urgency for an indefinite general strike: not to force negotiations, or even just to bring down the cutters in parliament, which has been achieved. But to defeat the entire offensive by the capitalists, overthrow them and nationalise the economy under workers’ control and bring an end to the very system of capitalism its self.

Tags:  •   • 

Class struggle bulletin

Stay up to date with our weekly newsletter