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Issue #1447      17 March 2010

Greece: 4th strike in a month

On March 11 the streets in 68 cities and towns were rivers swollen with anger as employees, youth, women and pensioners demonstrated with PAME (All Workers Militant Front).

It had been the 4th strike in a period of a month which, part of the people’s mass participation against the government’s austerity measures. Tens of thousands of people protested against the severe cuts and tax measures which were initiated by big capital and voted for by the social democrat government of PASOK along with the nationalist LAOS while they are also supported by the liberals of New Democracy and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises.

The class oriented forces fought one more hard battle against intimidation launched by the employers and their parties that enriched the militant experience of the working people. Many people managed to overcome their hesitations and went on strike for the first time.

Once again, the strike demonstration of PAME has been much bigger than that organised by the leaderships of the yellow trade unions confederations of GSEE and ADEDY. Once again the strikers turned their back on the yellow trade unionists.

Both with the preparation of the strike as well as the planning for the next period consolidated the need for the organisation of the working class. In addition, they made clear to broad segments of the popular strata that the repulsion of the attack will not be accomplished through one demonstration or in one day. Besides, this is the fear of plutocracy: the fact that the thousands of employees, battle-hardened through the multiform mobilisations of PAME, constitute an important basis not only for the resistance of the working class but also for its counterattack.

And the reason is that they join a struggle that does not turn against a government or a mere law but against the very capitalist development that serves the multinational companies, namely against the heart of the problem and not merely against some aspects of the problem.

Once again, PAME fought for the picketing of the strike in big factories and plants whose production they paralysed beginning at dawn. In addition, ports, airports, and metro stations froze while in Athens the city railway operated for a few hours so as workers could take part in the demonstration.

Vasilis Petropoulos, member of the Executive Secretariat of PAME who was the main speaker of the strike and rally, said: “There is no national risk; no national duty calls the workers to sacrifice their rights; there is only the greed of the capitalists for profit”

Aleka Papariga, General Secretary of the CC of KKE (Communist Party) said in the mass media: “Do not trust the declarations of the government. Do not trust the employer-led forces. They lie; they intimidate workers, they expect them to stop struggling so as to promote worse measures. The worst is to come. Thus it is necessary to continue and escalate the struggle.”

The demonstrations were very powerful. When the mass blocks passed in front of the offices of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises workers threw red paint which symbolised that their profits are dripping with workers’ blood. Earlier in the week the chairman of the Federation had made provocative statements that in Greece “industrialists are the only ones who have made sacrifices”.

The mobilisation of striking workers met with the block of the redundant employees of the privatised airline Olympic Air who have not received any compensation for their dismissal and have been blocking Panepistimiou Street, the most central road in Athens, for the last eight days demanding the right to work.

PAME has been by their side supporting them since the very first moment. The government and capital demanded that they end the sit in and even mobilised procurators.

The various forms of mobilisations of workers will continue over the next period highlighting that the workers will make no sacrifices for the profits of the plutocracy; that was the clear message sent by the March 11 strike.   

Next article – Piñera declares state of disaster in central Chile

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