Call for solidarity to the European General Strike (14N)

Posted: November 11, 2012 in event, opinion
Tags: , , , ,


(Flyer distributed in Edinburgh, calling for a march in solidarity to the European General Strike.)

Last Wednesday, the Greek parliament voted in favour of its new “austerity package” by 153 to 147 votes. The measures were described as “cruel and unfair, but necessary if the next bailout package is to be received and the total catastrophe of being kicked out of the Euro and bankruptcy avoided” by the Greek coalition government. The fact that most of the bailout package will never actually reach Greece, but will be used to directly pay off creditors was, unsurprisingly, kept quiet. So was the fact that a large percentage of Greeks are already living in poverty. The measures were also described as “the last set of austerity measures that will be imposed”. Since the spring of 2010, one last austerity package has followed another and not one of them has resulted in Greece achieving its financial targets (the IMF itself, now admits that they grossly miscalculated the impact austerity measures have on growth). On the other hand the effect of the packages has caused a decline in GDP of about 20% within 4 years, a dramatic increase in unemployment (25.4% as opposed to 11.3% at the start of 2010 according to Eurostat) and an abrupt rise of the suicide rate. At the same time, Greece’s assets are being privatized to scandalous amounts. The plunging cost of acquiring public wealth and the decline in wages means that the domestic and global super rich ruling classes responsible for the crisis are now actually profiting from it!

As is often the case, the financial crisis has triggered a crisis of democracy…

Greek people, especially the working class, the unemployed and youth are rigorously reacting and resisting Memorandum III that dictates the “new austerity package”, exactly as they did in the past with the previous two austerity packages. Moreover, the public opposition to the austerity package has increased since rather than experiencing any benefits from it, the Greek people are subjected to deeper cuts in their wages, pensions and to their public services. For nearly 3 years now the demonstrators in the streets of Athens and other big cities of Greece have been facing huge, violent repression with cruelty from the riot police, which is omnipresent in Athens. Furthermore, there have been more and more cases where people have claimed violations to their democratic rights. Journalists are subjected to political censorship, demonstrators are tortured at Police Headquarters and, according to reports by Amnesty International, immigrants, ethnic minorities and HIV-positive sex workers are exposed not only to discrimination but also physical state violence.

Unfortunately, a common phenomenon during periods of economic recession is the rise in conservatism. Especially when the current social-political and economic system glorifies individualism, it is expected that many people’s actions and behaviours will tend toward the conservative rather the radical side. One of the main expressions of this tendency in Greece is the increased popularity of Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi gang. Although the rise of fascism within party politics is probably a European phenomenon (e.g. France, former-USSR and Mediterranean countries) the situation in Greece is a little different. The neo-Nazi party is not only supporting unofficial state mechanisms for repressing political dissent, but in some cases it manages to replace the state mechanisms with the help of the riot police. Neo-Nazis in Greece have an extremely nationalistic profile and play upon people’s negative feelings, which have been triggered by the recession – basically relying on social cannibalism. Their parliamentary representatives are carrying guns, are accused of taking part in robberies and, along with their party members, are responsible for violent attacks on immigrants, gay and queer individuals and activists.

However, this is not only a Greek problem: it is a matter affecting mainly the peripheral countries within the European Union….

Greece may be in the eye of the storm, but it is not the only country where severe austerity has been imposed. Unemployment in Spain has also reached 25% while British people have seen their income dwindle as a result of the cuts imposed by the coalition. All around the world, people are plunged into despair while large corporations continue to enjoy huge profits. The global nature of the crisis is yet more proof that this is not the result of the corruption and laziness of everyday people in Southern Europe as has often shamelessly been reported, but the result of the economic and political system: the system of neoliberal internationalised market economy and representative democracy, which the affected countries are integrated in via the EU. It also indicates that the answer to it must be global as well. An internationalist network of the exploited and oppressed must stand up against the well-organized international collaboration of the ruling classes and their political institutions. One step in this direction is to be taken on the 14th of November, a day of pan-European action and solidarity. Trade union federations in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus and Italy have called general strikes and there will be demonstrations in a number of cities including Edinburgh.

Believing that the world can change is not an illusion. Believing that it can stay the same is!

Come to the solidarity demo at 18:00, outside St. Giles Cathedral, Royal Mile.

  1. […] ← Call for solidarity to the European General Strike (14-N) 14N General Strike Solidarity demo in Edinburgh → […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s