Posts Tagged ‘solidarity’

Yesterday, we gathered in front of the City Chambers in Edinburgh as an act of solidarity to the ERT workers demanding the re-opening of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation. We are against a state ‘public’ broadcaster whose job is to secure the ideological and political domination of the political and economic elites within Greece and the EU. We are fighting for a public media outlet that truly belongs to and speaks for the people and their needs. The thousands outside the ERT premises all around Greece must multiply and form a radical movement against the government, for a society of peoples’ needs.

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On the 11th of June, the Greek government, once again expressing its totalitarian identity, took the decision to pull the plug on the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) with its three channels and numerous radio stations. In this way Greece became the first EU country without a public broadcaster and 2,700 workers were forced to unemployment. This decision was taken without parliamentary approval (apart from New Democracy the only political party openly supporting it is Golden Dawn), against the Greek constitution. From 5pm when the Samaras’ government suddenly announced the shutdown, it took only 6 hours for the riot police to pull down the antennas while the program was still on air.

According to Samaras, ERT suffers from a “unique lack of transparency and incredible waste” and needs to be shutdown in order to give space to a new ERT built in the future. Nevertheless, his party (New Democracy) and Pasok, which have been in power in Greece for the last 40 years, are the ones that have been imposing their own people in management positions in order to pursue their political agenda. These are the people with large salaries causing the waste and not the everyday employees. For that reason, it is naïve to believe that the new ERT is going to be objective and efficient – it will be an even more corrupt mouthpiece of the government and the ruling class.

From the moment of the official announcement, the employees (journalists, technicians and administrative staff) decided to occupy the premises and continue to broadcast showing their opposition to the completely anti-democratic policies of the government. Thousands of people have gathered to all the ERT premises around Greece. They are expressing their solidarity to the fired workers and demonstrating against the closure of the last broadcasting body which has been instrumental in promoting culture and connecting Greek emigrants with their home country. Moreover, the Greek National Union of Journalists has voted for a continuous strike and on Thursday the 13th of June there was a call for a general strike of the private and public sector.  Foreign media, as an act of solidarity, have been transmitting in Greek (ARTE JOURNAL) and reproducing the signal around the world. In addition to this, Journalists’ Unions from the EU and the UK have announced their solidarity messages to their colleagues in Greece, while the government in a fascist way is threatening all those who are reproducing the ERT signal with legal sanctions.

Apart from thousands of jobs, a massive archive of cultural wealth, managed by ERT, is also now in danger. This is the creation of the people and it needs to stay in their hands. In addition, there is also a significant amount of material wealth in terms of important broadcasting infrastructure and technology which has been paid for by the people. This simply cannot be left to private hands, in the same way as other parts of our social wealth (the telecommunications and energy infrastructure, the ports and the airlines), the subjection of which to market forces has already begun.

We are against a state ‘public’ broadcaster whose job is to secure the ideological and political domination of the political and economic elites within Greece and the EU. We are fighting for a public media outlet that truly belongs to and speaks for the people and their needs. The thousands outside the ERT premises all around Greece must multiply and form a radical movement against the government, for a society of peoples’ needs.

Edinburgh,

14.06.13

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.

The symbolic 7-hour trip of Angela Merkel to Athens, this Tuesday the 9th of October, shows the clarification of the austerity plan which forces Greek people into misery in order to save the European banks. Cuts on the national minimum wage, reduction on pensions, privatization of the public sector are only the indicative measures that have led to 50% of youth unemployment, increase of poverty rate and suicides and the general suffering of the Greek society. The majority of the Greek parties have terrorised the electorate about the supposedly disastrous consequences of a possible Euro/EU exit, in order to adopt now even more strict measures, following the “orders” of the neo-liberal European governments and the so-called Troika.

People are fighting through massive demos and takeovers, giving a heroic battle against the violent and fascist repression of the police forces. During the last days, citizens who just participated in peaceful demos have been illegally arrested and tormented by the Greek Police. A huge movement has been created for Tuesday in organising protests against Merkel all over the centre of Athens, which have been illegally prohibited by the fascist Greek government taking us back to the military junta times. “By decision of the General Police Director of Attica any public congregation is prohibited for reasons of public safety and non-disruption of socio-economic life of the capital, in the period from 09.00 hours Tuesday 09 October 2012 up to 22.00 hours of the same, in the City of Athens … “.

We act in solidarity with the fighting Greek people. We are not intimidated by State violence and restrictions. The entire world must be in the streets of Greece these days. The ONLY answer is fighting for the cancellation of all the memoranda and loan agreements, exit from the Euro/EU, socialisation of the banks, expropriation of all the privatised key sectors of the economy and against every fascist policy.

See you all, on Tuesday the 9th of October outside the CITY CHAMBERS at Royal Mile, at 5pm.

Who struggles can fail. Who doesn’t struggle has already failed!
B. Brecht

On Friday the 18th of May, the Pan European Solidarity Network is going to hold a meeting at Glasgow ( Halt Bar 160 Woodlands Rd, G3 6LF Glasgow) at 19.00. Discussion on the first text that is going to represent the group and further topics such as: “Which should be our next goals? How will we put the forestepts for the structure of an international resistance front? Elections in Greece revealed a different perspective for greek and in general european working class, or maybe not?” are going to take place at this meeting tomorrow. Let’s participate, discuss and organise.

This is a first idea of the text that’s going to represent what the Pan European Solidarity Network is and fights for.

“The economic crisis, an unavoidable feature of capitalism, serves the interests of capital and maximises the exploitation of the working class. Extreme expansion of credit and bailouts given to commercial banks have left many European states struggling with unmanageable debts leading to austerity imposition on their citizens.

Greece is one of the first victims of this extreme austerity. Over the past three years, the Troika, IMF and the political powers have placed banking interests above those of the people, leading to poverty, hopelessness and misery. Unemployment rate in Greece is running at 25% with youth unemployment reaching 50%. Public spending for education and healthcare has reached record-lows. The homeless population enumerates more than 20,000 individuals. Privatizations have stripped the Greek state of its public assets. Emergency taxes, on top of existing ones, have made survival practically impossible.

The austerity measures have been justified as a means to pay back the debt to the banks. However, over the last two years this debt has increased from 140% to 160% of the GDP, while banks have announced increasing profits.

Moreover, the government, seeking to offload the blame for the situation, uses the media to scapegoat the unemployed and the immigrants. .

While the situation is at its most brutal in Greece, it is being replicated throughout the Eurozone.
• In Spain, unemployment is running at 24%, with over half of young people out of work. The economy is shrinking, while the debts is growing larger. Health and education will bear the brunt of the 35bn spending cuts being implemented
• In Portugal unemployment is running at 15%, with wide-ranging privatisation being pushed through, while public sector workers face pay-cuts up to 5%
• In Ireland, the government has sought to repay IMF loans by imposing a deeply regressive household tax and by cutting public sector wages.
• In Italy, the government is increasing the costs of healthcare, while family benefits, pensions and employment protection for workers are being reduced.

All over Europe, popular media target immigrants promoting this way extreme right wing ideologies and practices. This has increased the popularity of the far right, given the recent example of the France elections where the National Front’s Marine Le Pen came third with 18.1% What is more, the predictions for the upcoming Greek elections, on Sunday the 6th of May, show the Greek neonazi party, Golden Dwan (Chryssi Avgi), entering the parliament. Whether this is a vote of social anger or a determinant one of the rise of fascist ideologies in Europe the results are more than obvious in the social and political context. Police systemic and brutal repression during demonstrations and strikes, the stripping of citizen’s rights, constitute strong examples of the mandatory use of violence serving the protection of any kind of authority and not the one of the people. The recent example of the severe injuries of three demonstrators by the use of rubber bullets from the police, during the general strike in Spain the 29th of March, represents only one of the many incidents of police brutality shown all over Europe. What is obvious here is that the role of the police, imposed by each government, is only limited within the frame of power preservation.

Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland are not being hammered solely by their own governments but mainly by the international capitalist system which values the profits of the rich over the needs of ordinary people. It should be clear, that this is a snowball effect. In Britain, the youth unemployment rates are already running at 15% and the NHS is being privatised. In Germany, a hidden world of poverty, hunger and misery has been expanding. Greece is the beginning of an inhumane experiment: how much lower can the living conditions drop.

Capitalism is unable to provide a fair and just society covering the needs of all. We, the working class, the students, the unemployed will form a society based on our needs. We require an international movement that will cooperate and coordinate towards this direction. Existing links with antisystemic organisations, as well as independent activists and solidarity groups which have been newly formed all around Europe, not only are they showing their solidarity to the struggling Greek people but also fight for a fairer future for Europe. We fight for a society based on the needs of the people and not of the elite, where inter-state relations are not founded on competition and exploitation, but cooperation and mutuality.

We are building a european co-ordination network among the groups and individuals that resist austerity and seek an alternative to capitalism and the system of representative democracy – regardless of tradition. We are building a movement based on the politics of the streets, not the politics of the parliament, because we choose the directly democratic way we organise in our working place and our communities that meets our social and economic needs, over the sham democracy presented to us at the ballot box.

It’s time for us all to co-ordinate our efforts and fight.

Purposes and Aims
The purpose of this network is to enable solidarity between activists across Europe. We seek to:

1. Raise awareness for the underlying causes and effects of austerity on the countries involved by:
o Developing class consciousness
o Promoting trade union organisation, and neighbourhood assemblies and places of study.
o Respecting diversity and the need for the autonomous organisation of marginalised groups.
2. Create better communication networks among individual activists and groups across Europe by:
o Promoting alternative media
o Developing social media presence
o Building a pan-european radical calendar
o Creating cross-border delegations, including cultural exchange

3. Enable pan-european resistance and provide cross-border solidarity by:
o Identifying cross-border/pan-european capitalist links.
o Identifying targets for co-ordinated action
o Enabling cross-border, pan EU action calls.
o Sharing information, knowledge and expertise on tactics of resistance.

4. Oppose police repression and uphold the right of people to defend themselves and to protest by:
o Providing cross-border political prisoner solidarity
o Providing refuge for those targeted by state repression in their home country”