The stakes of the struggles in Greece
In 2008, all states came to the aid of a capitalism at the brink of bankruptcy, lending astronomical sums. But nothing was resolved because the gap left by the crisis was filled by public deficits. Those became so enormous that certain states are now on the brink of bankruptcy. It is, thus, no longer only the private financial institutions and firms that are threatened by shipwreck, but now whole countries. A phenomenon formerly limited to the Third World, has today reached the heart of capitalism, which is now directly threatened by cardiac arrest.
These astronomical sums will indeed have to be repaid. The task posed today for the ruling class is to make the workers pay. It is what is brutally required in Greece under the name of an anti-natural solidarity between capital and labor, between exploiters and exploited, but it is also what awaits us all, everywhere tomorrow. The austerity that batters Greece constitutes a true testing ground of measures that are being prepared in all countries: Will the bourgeoisie and its states succeed in making the workers pay the costs of the crisis? What degree of resistance will the working class succeed in developing?
The attack which is being carried out in Greece is particularly violent: two years added to the minimum age necessary for retirement, lower wages for civil servants, drastic cuts to traditional yearly bonuses, increases in the tax on consumer goods, no replacement of four out of five retirees, and the layoff of a third of those under contract to work in the public sector, etc. Confronted by this brutal degradation of their living conditions, the resistance of the workers is essential: to accept these cuts without reacting would be to give a green light to the bourgeoisie to strike even harder. The struggles in Greece are the harbinger of the battles that we all will have to fight. The world working class has no other alternative than to fight, while avoiding all the false solutions that promise a way out within the framework of capitalism.
Illusions and false solutions
As the Greek group TPTG explains very well, it is the Socialist government of Papandreou that is spearheading the austerity policy against the working class. It is supported in this dirty work by the two principal trade-union confederations (the GSEE for private sector and the ADEDY for the public) that “are completely controlled by the Socialist government and trying to prevent any real resistance to the recent austerity offensive.” Thus, these two trade unions have organized separate days of action, work stoppages and demonstrations, in order to calm the worker's anger, to divide and disperse their struggles, and to divert the struggle from its real objectives. They say they are ready to accept “austerity measures which would really permit the country to overcome the crisis,” and call for an “equitable austerity.” This thinly veiled support by the trade unions for the austerity policy proposed by the Socialist government led to vigorous protests at the time of the March 5 demonstrations: jeering and pelting the leader of the GSEE - Panagopoulos – with debris, so that his safety could only finally be assured by the anti-riot police.
Greece thus again confirms that the left and the trade unions are in no way less brutal than the right in the imposition of austerity measures and in the unconditional defense of capitalism and of its institutions.
In the same way, we have nothing to expect from the negotiations and “solutions” advanced by the bourgeois states. They are all trying to find the means to make us swallow the pill of austerity. There is no durable solution within capitalism. The bourgeoisie has only one program: to reduce its deficits and spending on the backs of the working class. Indeed, for capitalism, there is no choice outside of brutal austerity. In the same way, there is no longer any choice for the collective worker outside of brutal struggles against the attacks directed against its working and living conditions.
Only by the working class taking the struggles into its own hands, and an extension to all sectors, could a power relationship be created that is able to make the bourgeoisie retreat and open another perspective. The workers can build this solidarity only by having confidence in themselves, starting from the development of their own struggles and by means of their own forms of organization (general assemblies, delegates that are elected and revocable), and not by leaving the struggle in the hands of the trade unions and the traditional organizations of the left, or by watching on TV the bombs placed by elements who only seek to portray the workers as terrorists, to discredit the class struggle, and to make the population believe that the class struggle provides no other perspective than anarchy and violence.
To raise our struggles to the level demanded by the present situation, it is necessary for us to learn the lessons of what is happening in Greece and, in our turn, to engage in resistance in every country against the increasingly harsh measures that the bourgeoisie and its states are imposing on us. The obstacles and illusions met by Greek workers; will be met by all of us because our enemies are the same everywhere, whatever the country or the political color, right or left, in which they are clothed. Only a massive social mobilization can offer a perspective for the future, and this mobilization must be at the level required to answer the brutality exercised by the ruling class: it is the only “ethic” which the ruling class really understands.
The struggles of the Greek workers have inaugurated a resistance to the social devastations caused by the latest crisis of world capitalism. The question is posed in Greece, but the answer can be given only at the international level. Consequently, only one watchword is needed: extension of the struggles everywhere in the world against austerity. Workers of the whole world unite in struggle against the measures of international capitalism. To win, let us impose a power relationship beyond national borders. That is how we will be able to become aware that capitalism is a system in bankruptcy; that it has nothing else to offer humanity than ever more misery and destruction. In short, that it is time to destroy it, and to build another world putting an end to the exploitation of man by man.
In this struggle revolutionary minorities have and will have an important role to play in spite of their still weak forces. Their responsibilities are enormous and we call all and each to rise to the level that the situation demands. This common position taken by all the participants at the public meeting of “Internationalist Perspective” on 3/10/2010 is intended as a modest contribution to that end, open to all who wish to support it.
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