The situation in Greece is critical both for the people and the working class. Because of the imperialist dependence of the country, its position in the EU and the Eurozone, its military-political dependence in NATO and its military-political role as a NATO-US springboard, the social and political developments in Greece cannot be seen apart from the developments in SE Mediterranean, the M. East., N. Africa, the Balkans and the quarrels inside the EU.
All contradictions and geo-political aims of the imperialist powers in the region, along with the special but critical issue of the future of the EU, are influencing all developments in our country, having in their background the world crisis. That is the reason that Greece is in the first page of the Media something that is proportionately greater than that of other countries similar to Greece (Portugal, Ireland).
The troika mechanism and its real targets
Starting after the October 2009 elections and the troika (IMF-EU-ECB) “salvation mechanism” of May 2010 there is in motion a rapidly escalating antipopular and antilabor policy that flattens all economic-labor-social rights of the people. The imperialist powers of the EU, mainly Germany and France, aided by the strong presence of the US through the IMF, and with the pretext of the great foreign debt imposed a deeper subjugation that takes the form of a protectorate.
This mechanism gives shark loans in 3-month installments in order to pay back a portion of the huge interests. This leads to greater debt. (In 2009 the debt was 120% of GDP and now approaches 160%). But the greatest imperialist profit is not the huge amounts of money that accumulate through this loan shark imposition. The main return that they take from the country is its total destruction of any productive base, the imposition of a medieval regime as far as the labor, social, economic and political rights of the people are concerned, and the sell-out and plunder of every resource and infrastructure this country has.
The country’s involvement in the greater imperialist contradictions
It is clear that the country is relegated rapidly and without a foreseeable end! It is destroyed and transformed to a fallow field by quarreling proprietors. Their common position in a crisis situation is the destruction of the productive forces, the intensification of the plundering of resources, the limitless exploitation of the working class and the crushing of all people’s rights. They, on the other hand, fight among themselves about which of them will plunder the most, which of them will create dominant and secure positions of military-political and economic power.
All options are open:
How Greece will be used? As a lever or will be considered useless weight in a total rearrangement in the EU. There is the question of “who is with whom” inside the EU in a world that rearranges alliances and forces. There are questions whether the Western forces will remain inside the EU or some of them (Germany) will seek a global role aligning themselves with the East (Russia).
Which side Greece will serve militarily-politically in the coming imperialist interventions in the greater region (Syria, Iran), in the bloody game of divide and conquer in the Balkans, in its relationships with Turkey, the Cyprus issue and the question of the energy supplies?
The imperialist contradictions over Greece are products of their own contradictions and their own strategic designs. There are the fears of France about the German intentions especially the latter’s aims for an “eastern” turn. There are contradictions inside the German ruling class about the orientation they will follow. There is the contradiction with England. There is the total and strict opposition of the US that want the subjection of the Europeans to their own global schemes. There are the fears of Italy (and Spain) about the “path” opened by Greece.
All the above are behind the scene of blackmails, “understandings”, “solidarity” that are expressed in regard to Greece by primary, secondary or third class powers. All the above want to transform the political system of the country, a system that is on the brink of collapse and disintegration.
All these can take a more concrete form in the coming great upheavals in the region. The central question is clear. Who, how and why will use Greece?
Elements of the socio-political situation in Greece
Because of the continuous austerity measures and laws the workers and all the popular strata are facing living and survival problems. The official unemployment is over 20% (more than a million people). Many of these are long-term unemployed while the unemployment benefit is for 6 months only. The real unemployment is much larger and in the ages under 25 it is officially 50%. Hundreds of thousands are part-time employed with wages and conditions of misery. Many thousands remain unpaid for months. This situation combined with the devastating and plummeting reduction in wages and pensions, both in the public and private sectors, along with the abolition of social benefits creates a picture of widespread misery. This misery was recently recorded in the official European statistics with the staggering 27, 7% of those under the poverty limit. This attack violently and in a mass scale sweeps away the middle class strata and creates armies of unemployed in a number of professionals (engineers, lawyers) and closes ten of thousands of small and middle businesses, while big firms leave the Greek market. As for factories this crisis was the coup de grace in the chronic process of de-industrialization. Farmers were forcibly “exterminated”. All these are the results of Greece entering the EU and were prerequisites for entering the Eurozone.
With all these and with the uncontrolled over taxation of popular masses there appeared thousands of hungry and homeless individuals in Athens and other major cities. There is also a virtual destruction of social networks (like schools, health centers, hospitals, day nurseries) and an imposition of strict conditions for University studies. Even the electricity supply is in danger for thousands of people. These recent developments prescribe a much more difficult situation in the near future as far as the majority of the people is concerned. A great number of families are faced with eviction or even confiscation of their home (the private home property in Greece is far larger in Greece than the other countries in the EU). This is due to unpaid loans or “debts” from the many state taxes.
Aside from the mass plunder on wages or pensions there is also a new set of measures, as was recently voted in the Memorandum of Understanding 2 (MOU 2), that concern the organization of the working class. There is a virtual ban on collective contracts and the imposition of “individual contracts”. The same is promoted in the public sector and the student bodies.
The issue of the so-called privatizations is still open. By that they mean the sell-out of public companies and services, ports, airports, roads and every resource of the country. The issue is open, although the law has been voted, because the candidate buyers are competing with each other and all of them wait (and impose) for a greater sinking of values.
These policies have led the bourgeois political parties that have always owed their existence and reproduction to the imperialist centers of US and Europe to crisis and disintegration. They create wide controversies that threaten their very foundations. They are proved to be reactionary political formations in the service of imperialism and local capital. Their only “answer” against the widespread popular rage is ideological terrorism and brutal suppression. By destroying the middle class strata they negate the social base on which they had relied upon the last four decades.
Under the pressure of these problems the imperialist centers took down the Papandreou government that had been elected just two years ago but could not continue this fierce attack. The Papademos government, a government that has been imposed by Americans and Europeans and was supported by the three basic parties (PASOK-New Democracy-LAOS), is already in crisis. The reactionary-nationalistic party of LAOS was “lost” on the way and the other two parties lost 43 deputies.
The political situation is in a critical point. On the one hand there is the need for new elections as a means of a (temporary) calming down of the popular masses although this will bring doubtful or even problematic results for the system. Anyway the new government will have to implement the over-reactionary measures of MOU 2. On the other hand due to these very problems there is talk about the continuation of this government with some minor changes. In any case they seek mechanisms that will ensure the implementation of the dozens of reactionary measures that are included in the MOU 2. Characteristically, after the mass protests of 12-2-12, the cabinet started to discuss measures of restriction or even total ban of demonstrations in the center of Athens.
Popular struggle and movement issues
From the very start of the recent imperialist and capitalist attack against the people, there was mass resistance and struggle. The great strike of May, 5th 2010, the demonstrations of June-July 2011, the popular uprising of October 2011 and the mass demonstrations of 12 February 2012 are the major steps of the ongoing struggle. Along with these there are dozens of strikes, hundreds of resistance focal points in workplaces, neighborhoods and towns, there are many student occupations and demonstrations. In all these struggles the people surpassed the limits that the obeisant trade unions have set. They also surpassed the political limits and machinations of the official Left and clashed with the state and its apparatus that have not hesitated to use any violent means to suppress the popular and workers’ struggle not stopping at even murderous provocations.
Even though these struggles could not stop the attack we are sure that only through struggle the people can defend their basic rights in life for justice and prosperity. The need for struggle and social uprising is fed by the social and political situation. The political issues of the struggle define the massiveness, the resolution and the durability against the political and ideological terrorism of the system, the ability to achieve small or greater victories.
The problems that these struggles face have their roots in the defeat of the communist movement, the capitalist restoration and the long ideological, political and organizational disarmament of the masses. Today our people –as in all over the world – is “pushed” by the imperialist-capitalist brutality to hasten the negation of these consequences and reorganize again and become a force of struggle and revolutionary perspective. This “negation”, that is the reorganization of the revolutionary movement and the socialist breakthrough can only be achieved in the path of mass struggle and movement.
We are opposed to these views and actions that try to find solutions for the system. Some of these forces inside the popular movement think that the capitalist system can be “regulated” and rational. These forces think that the force of the masses can be used in order to “blackmail” the system to accept the workers, the people and their rights as part of the system. Some others hope that the European socialdemocracy can change things through Eurobonds, Tobin taxes, opportunities for jobs, recourses and freedoms.
So we propose the grass-roots organization of the labor-popular independent struggle against the bourgeoisie and imperialism. We propose and fight for the formation of a Resistance Front that will unite politically and organizationally all focal points of struggle and will bring forward more and more working, popular, and youth forces into the field of class and political struggle. This struggle will have a anticapitalist-antiimperialist content, that will reject “alliances” in the Euro-parliament, in the big Media and the systemic parties. This struggle will form an antiwar-antiimperialist front along with the peoples of the Balkans, turkey, M. East, N. Africa, Europe, the whole World.
For Greece it is now clear that the revolutionary breakthrough of the working class and the people is irrevocably connected with the overthrow of imperialist dependence. Therefore we must exit the EU and NATO, oust the foreign bases, and break every military, political and economic bond with imperialism. The productive-economic problems of the country and foremost the debt issue cannot be seen or solved outside or before the revolutionary overthrow. It can only be seen as a whole. The proposals that seek solutions only on the debt issue are addressing the bourgeois camp and the imperialist contradictions. They present as realistic for the country the continuation of imperialist domination and the promise for a quick alleviation from its huge problems.
It is certain that the great class confrontation in Greece cannot be resolved quickly and easily in favor of the people. We stand at the beginning of a new historic cycle of struggles all over the world. The movement needs to organize itself in a revolutionary way, to recharge its weapons, and to organize all its forces in every way. The working class must organize as a class for itself and become the driving force that will liberate the country and society from the capitalist-imperialist yoke. All these cannot be surpassed so we can present a definite resolution today. The real nature of the system, the great threats to our people and the peoples of the region do not change and do not disappear if we refuse to see them. We fight for these exact needs today! We can only change the current balance of forces relying on the concrete conditions. The only real choice is to serve the popular struggle with common actions, with coordination of all forces that refer to the popular struggle, with the Resistance Front. We must therefore trust the power and the historical perspective that the people can map out and conquer.
Athens, February 2012
International Relations Bureau
Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist)