Forum for the Internationalist Communist Left
Let us refuse to pay for the crisis of capitalism everywhere !
The stakes of the struggles in Greece
In 2008 all the states have rushed to “the help” a capitalism on the verge of bankruptcy by lending it astronomical sums of money. But nothing has been resolved because the hole that has been left by the crisis has been filled up by public deficits. These have become so enormous that certain states are on the brink of bankruptcy. It’s no longer only the financial institutions and private companies who are threatened with shipwreck, but whole countries. Previously a phenomenon that had been reserved for Third World countries, now the very center of capitalism is directly threated by heart attack.
These astronomical loans will certainly have to be payed back. The stakes that impose themselves on the dominant class is to make the workers pay. This has been brutally demanded in Greece in the name of an unnatural solidarity between capital and labor, between exploiters and exploited. And this is also awaiting us all tomorrow. The austerity that has been unleashed in Greece constitutes a real testing ground for measures that are prepared in all countries : Will the bourgeoisie and its states succeed in making the workers pay the costs of the crisis ? What degree of resistance will the latter be able to develop ?
The attack that is being waged in Greece is particularly violent: a two year’s delay of the retirement; cuts of the salaries of public servants; amputation of the 14th month’s salary by 60% and of the 13th month’s salary by 30%; tax increase on consumer goods; non-replacement of jobs for every four retirements out of five; dismissal of a third of the contractors in the public sector, etc. Faced with this degradation of their living conditions, the resistance of the workers is indispensable: to accept it without reacting would give the green light to the bourgeoisie to strike still harder. The struggles in Greece are the forerunners of the struggles that we will all have to wage. The working class all over the world has no other alternative, while rejecting false solutions that delude it with a possible way out in the framework of capitalism.
The illusions and false solutions
As the Greek group TPTG explains very well, the socialist government of Papandreou constitutes the spearhead of the austerity politics against the working class. In this [basse besogne] it is supported by the two main trade union federations (GSEE for the private sector and ADEDY for the public sector) who “are totally controlled by the socialist government and do their best to avoid any real resistance against the recent offensive”. These two unions organize action days, work stops and demonstrations separately, in order have the workers let their steam off, to divide the riposte, and to detract the struggles from their real objectives. They declare being ready to accept ’austerity measures who really help the country overcoming the crisis’ and thus appeal to an ’equitable austerity’. This hardly veiled support from the unions of the austerity politics waged by the socialist government has met some vigorous protests during the demonstration of March 5th. : booing and ’taking apart’ of the GSEE leader – Panagopoulos – who only got away safely under protection of an anti-riot squad.
Greece has once more confirmed that the left and the unions don’t have to envy the right when it comes to imposing austerity measures and the unconditional defense of capitalism and its institutions : “The destructive and paralyzing influence of the socialist unionists and the control they still have of the unions is still the major obstacle” (TPTG). It’s the role of defender of the interests of capitalism against the workers that explains why, if “there is a real discontent for the shock policy that the PASOK government is promoting”, until today “there is a generalized feeling of impotence and paralysis but anger as well that cannot find a proper outlet” and therefor “the mobilizations have been rather lukewarm so far and certainly do not correspond to the critical situation and the ferocity of the measures” (TPTG).
Likewise, we do not have anything to expect from negotiations and “solutions” put forward by the bourgeois states. They all consist in finding the means to have us swallow the bitter pill of austerity. There exists no lasting solution within capitalism, the bourgeoisie has only one program left : to refill its coffins by making the working class pay the high price. As TPTG explains : “...a state of emergency has been called in Greece in an effort by international capital and the Greek state to turn the country into a laboratory of a new shock policy. The huge ”public debt” and the ”imminent bankruptcy of the country” are the mottos used as efficient tools to terrorize and discipline the proletariat and legitimize the decrease of the direct and indirect wage”.
Only by taking the struggles in its own hands and extending them towards all sectors, the working class could create a relation of force that is capable of driving the bourgeoisie back and open up a different perspective. The workers can only build up this solidarity by taking confidence in themselves, on the basis of the development of their own struggles and by means of their own organizational forms (general assemblies, elected and revocable delegates, etc.). This will not come about by leaving them in the hands of the unions and the traditional organizations of the left, neither by watching the bombs on television, that have been placed in order to present the workers as terrorists, to discredit the class struggle, and to make believe that it has no other perspective to offer than anarchy and violence.
In order to raise our struggles up to the height of the actual stakes, we have to draw the lessons from what is happening in Greece and to engage the resistance in all countries against the ever harder measures the bourgeoisies and their states impose upon us. The obstacles and illusions that the workers encounter in Greece we will all encounter, because our enemies are the same everywhere, whatever the country and regardless the political colors – right or left – they are dressing themselves in. Only a massive social mobilization can offer the perspective of a future, and this mobilization has to be at the height, in order to reply to the brutality of the rulers : It is the only “ethics” they are really sensible to.
The worker’s struggles in Greece inaugurate the resistance against the social ravages caused by the youngest crisis of world capitalism. The question has been posed in Greece, but the answer can only be given at the international level. Therefor a single watchword imposes itself: extension of the struggles everywhere in the world against austerity at all levels! Proletarians of the whole world, all united against the measures of international capitalism. In order to prevail, let us impose a relation of force beyond the national boundaries. In this way we can become conscious that capitalism is a system in bankruptcy, that it has nothing to offer humanity but still more misery and destructions. In short, that time has come to put it down and to construct another world that brings an end to millenniums of exploitation of man by man.
In this engaging combat, the revolutionary minorities have an important role to play, in spite of their feeble forces. It is up to them to be at the height of their tasks.