Posts Tagged ‘General Strike’

Last night a massive demo took place in Edinburgh. Greeks, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians and Scottish people marched in solidarity with the European General Strike shouting against austerity, showing their will for changing the political system. We hope that this demo was only the beginning, and that the EU governments are going to find us united in this battle. Thank you all for coming!

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(Flyer distributed during the 14N European General Strike solidarity demo in Edinburgh)

Last Wednesday, the Greek parliament voted in favour of its 3rd “austerity package” by 153 to 147 votes.

A severe hit on people’s lives – suffering for the lower strata: Wages, pensions and social services are slashed; a dramatic increase in unemployment (25.4% as opposed to 11.3% at 2010 according to Eurostat) affecting more than 50% of the young population; Greece’s assets are being privatised to scandalous amounts; a decline in GDP of about 20% within 4 years.

A crisis of democracy: Freedom of speech and civil rights are being abolished; journalists are subjected to political censorship; the police are torturing demonstrators; minorities are exposed to discrimination, violence, and ‘public humiliation’ by the state.

Rise in popularity of a Neo-Nazi party: Golden Dawn has historically been a gang with long-time strong connections to unofficial state mechanisms for repressing political dissent. They take advantage of the Greek people’s disillusionment with the ruling parties to justify violent attacks on poor immigrants, gay and queer individuals and activists.

The Debt is NOT the root of the crisis – neoliberal globalization is: For the case of Greece and other countries of the European South, this crisis stems from their dependence on metropolitan capitalist centres intensified after entering the European Union (EU) and the Euro. This led to the gradual dismantling of their agricultural and industrial sectors. Within a system of free and liberalised markets, such as the EU, increasing competitiveness for the stronger countries means continuous loss of economic and political sovereignty for the weaker countries. The EU was created to serve the interests of the ruling economic and political elites.

The way out: Solutions to the crisis can be either for the benefit of the elites, or for the benefit of the people. The people of Greece will only benefit by a programmatic exit from neoliberal globalization: (1) Unilateral write-off of the total Debt (2) exit from the EU (3) socialisation of the banks and the key sectors of the economy towards a self-reliant economy (4) establish networks of cooperation with other countries based on solidarity and mutuality instead of competition and exploitation (5) move towards a liberatory society where the people have direct control on the economic, political and social realm.

Greece was just the beginning; Spain, Portugal and Italy are following… Who is next?

ORGANISE at work, neighbourhoods and places of education to build popular movements and take power.

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 political and economic 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.

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14 NOVEMBER – EUROPEAN GENERAL STRIKE

(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.

Meeting of solidarity to the striking Greek workers!

11+12/ 02 /2012

12:00

In front of the City Chambers, High Street,  EH1 1YJ, Edinburgh

The  leaflet that we will distribute is the following:

SOLIDARITY TO STRIKING GREEK WORKERS

On Sunday 12/2/12 the unelected coalition government of Greece will play the IMF and troika game once again and vote for a series of new, even harder austerity measures than the ones already exist leading the working class of Greece in absolute misery and poverty. For the past three years the Troika, the IMF and the fasco-governments of banking interests have led Greek workers into a new period of austerity. Consequently unemployment rates have reached a 40%, while funding for education and healthcare have reached record-lows. Homeless people have increased up to 20.000. Privatizations and selling of all the public wealth, more than 40% of wages total halve reaching 350(!!) euros per month for young people, emergency taxes have been levied on top of older ones only to make the survival of workers practically impossible. To add insult to injury governments and their hired mouthpieces in the media shamelessly accuse the people of laziness, corruption and tax-evasion. Greece was only the beginning. International capitalism will try increasingly to exact its toll from the people of Britain as well.

Our answer will be their worse nightmare. Greek working class including the vast majority of the public and private sector unions is on a strike for two days now, while the Greek steel workers are on the 3rd month of their heroic strike. Working class is not the one that created the crisis and of course not the one that is going to pay for it. A system that makes us live in misery, a system that makes us pay for its own crisis IS NOT OUR FUTURE! Things are going to be only worse if we don’t fight back. Confronted with privatization and cuts, unemployment and humiliation we consciously opt for decency: a worker’s internationalist movement guided by our social needs. From Scotland to Greece, From Spain to Ireland we are all workers. Our rights are the same, our enemy is the same. Our goal should be the same.

FIGHT! RESIST!

IF IT’S NOT FOR US THEN WHO?

IF NOT NOW WHEN?

 

H αλληλεγγύη το όπλο των λαών

Την Τετάρτη 30 Νοέμβρη εκατομμύρια εργαζομένων στον ιδιωτικό και δημόσιο τομέα της Βρετανίας πλημμύρισαν τους δρόμους σε μία απεργία άνευ προηγουμένων για τα δεδομένα της χώρας. Πάνω από 40 σωματεία αποφάσισαν με τεράστια πλειοψηφία να κηρύξουν πόλεμο στην κυβέρνηση Κάμερον η οποία ως άξιος ακόλουθος και εκφραστής της χούντας του κεφαλαίου έχει βυθίσει τη χώρα σε μία τεράστια ύφεση,με τα επίπεδα της ανεργίας να φτάνουν το 14% (εποχές Θάτσερ), τους μισθούς και τις συντάξεις να μειώνονται, ενώ οι περικοπές για την υγεία και την παιδεία να αυξάνονται. Στο πανεπιστήμιο του Εδιμβούργου ενδεικτικά , τα δίδακτρα πλέον φτάνουν τις 36.000 λίρες.

Μία εβδομάδα πριν τη μεγάλη απεργία οι φοιτητές του πανεπιστημίου του Εδιμβούργου κατέλαβαν κομμάτι του κεντρικoύ κτηρίου του πανεπιστημίου με στόχο να το μετατρέψουν σε κέντρο αγώνα, στηρίζοντας την απόφαση του σωματείου των εργαζομένων στο πανεπιστήμιο συμμετοχής στην απεργία. Νωρίς το πρωί της 30 Νοέμβρη, λεωφορεία με φοιτητές και εργαζόμενους κυκλοφορούσαν στην πόλη του Εδιμβούργου και της Γλασκώβης εμψυχώνοντας τους εργαζόμενους που περιφρουρούσαν τις εισόδους των εργασιακών χώρων και εμπόδιζαν τους απεργοσπάστες να μπουν.

Η προσυγκέντρωση και η πορεία στην πόλη του Εδιμβούργου ήταν η μεγαλύτερη που έχει καταγραφεί τα τελευταία χρόνια. 300.000 άνεργοι και εργαζόμενοι διαδήλωσαν σε ολόκληρη τη Σκωτία. Ως νεοσύστατη ομάδα ελλήνων φοιτητών και εργαζομένων στη Σκωτία και σε αλληλεγγύη προς στον αγώνα των εργαζομένων αποφασίσαμε πως η παρουσία μας και η συμμετοχή μας στην απεργία θα ήταν θεμελιώδους σημασίας. Έτσι, στην ιστορική αυτή διαδήλωση που έγινε στο Εδιμβούργο παρεμβήκαμε με πανό και μοιράστηκε το παρακάτω κείμενο:

«Σήμερα 30 Νοέμβρη οι εργαζόμενοι της Μεγάλης Βρετανίας ενώνουν τις φωνές τους και τις δυνάμεις τους σε έναν αγώνα ενάντια στις περικοπές, στη λιτότητα, στις ιδιωτικοποιήσεις στην ανεργία και τις απολύσεις.  Εκατοντάδες σωματεία σε όλη τη χώρα συμμετέχουν στην ιστορική απεργία, ενώ οι φοιτητές στέκονται αλληλέγγυοι δίπλα τους με μαζικές κινητοποιήσεις, καταλήψεις, διαδηλώσεις.

Ώς Έλληνες φοιτητές και εργαζόμενοι στο Εδιμβούργο εκφράζουμε την αλληλεγγύη μας και συμμετέχουμε ενεργά στην απεργία γνωρίζοντας οτι ο αγώνας ενάντια στη δικτατορία του κεφαλαίου είναι διεθνής. Εδώ και 3 χρόνια στην Ελλάδα, η τρόικα, το ΔΝΤ και οι φασιστοκυβερνήσεις των τραπεζών και τραπεζιτών έχουν οδηγήσει τους Έλληνες εργαζόμενους σε μια περίοδο λιτότητας άνευ προηγουμένου.  Η ανεργία έχει φτάσει το 18% και 40% στους νέους, τα κονδύλια για την υγεία και την παιδεία έχουν βυθιστεί ιστορικά χαμηλά, οι μισθοί έχουν μειωθεί σχεδόν στο μισό, ενώ τα χαράτσια και οι φόροι που καλούνται να πληρώσουν οι εργαζόμενοι έχουν κάνει αδύνατη την επιβίωση με πρακτικούς όρους.  Και σα να μην έφτανε αυτό οι εργαζόμενοι κατηγορούνται από κυβερνήσεις και ξεπουλημένα μιντια πως είναι τεμπέληδες και φοροφυγάδες!

Η μόνη απάντηση που μπορούμε να δώσουμε συνάδελφοι είναι αυτή που δίνει σήμερα ο Βρετανικός λαός, είναι αυτή που δίνει ο ελληνικός λαός εδώ και δύο χρόνια. Ο μόνος δρόμος είναι αντίσταση και πάλη. Τον προηγούμενο μήνα μια 48ωρη απεργία συγκλόνησε την ελληνική ηγεσία και έδωσε τελεσίγραφο στη δικτατορία της κυβέρνησης του κεφαλαίου πως απο δω και πέρα το λόγο τον έχει μόνο ο εργαζόμενος λαός. Σήμερα, οι εργαζόμενοι στην Ελληνική Χαλυβουργία βρίσκοντα ήδη στην τέταρτη εβδομάδα απεργίας τους ενάντια στο ελαστικό ωράριο, στις απολύσεις, στη φτηνή και ανασφάλιστη εργασία.

Συνάδελφοι από δω και πέρα από την Ελλάδα μέχρι τη Βρετανία και από την Ιρλανδία μέχρι την Ισπανία, θα μας βρίσκουν μπροστά τους. Η αλληλεγγύη είναι το όπλο των λαών. Σήμερα είμαστε εδώ για να φωνάξουμε και να αποδείξουμε έμπρακτα πως απέναντι στις ιδιωτικοποιήσεις και τις περικοπές, την ανεργία και την εξαθλίωση διαλέγουμε το δρόμο της αξιοπρέπειας με κίνημα εργατικό διεθνιστικό στη βάση των κοινωνικών αναγκών μας.

Imagine there’s a war and no one shows up
— then war will come to you.
Whoever stays home when the battle begins

and lets others fight for his cause
ought to watch out:
because whoever has not shared in the fight
will share in defeat.
He who wants to avoid fighting
will not once avoid

the fight:
because he will fight for the cause of the enemy
who hasn’t fought for his own.

Bertolt Brecht”