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Greek farmers pour into Athens for massive protest

By Communist Party of Greece (KKE) |
February 15, 2016
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Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

Workers-Farmers, one voice and one fist

Thousands of farmers flooded the centre of Athens, outside the Parliament building, on the 12th and 13th of February. The farmers are waging a struggle of economic survival and for over 20 days and nights have set up roadblocks at around 100 points on the national highways. At the initiative of 68 roadblocks, a decision was taken to hold a national farmers' demonstration in Syntagma Square in Athens.

It was decided to hold a demonstration as the next step to escalate the struggle of the small and medium farmers, in a meeting held a week ago in Nikaia, Larisa, where it was also decided to maintain and reinforce the roadblocks, to intensify their local activity, to reject every attempt by the government to set up a dialogue in order to manipulate the farmers' struggle without taking back any of the measures that are driving the small and medium farmers off the land.

Tens of thousands of farmers reached Athens by coach and ferry to demonstrate, while those gathered enthusiastically welcomed a symbolic number of 18 tractors, which had set out a day earlier from the country's biggest roadblock on the national highway at Nikaia (Larisa).The tractors that arrived after a 14 hour journey were bedecked with flags depicting Marinos Antypas (1872-1907), the socialist revolutionary who was murdered by the big landowners.

Representatives of many farmers' roadblocks and workers' trade unions spoke at the rally.

The two-day farmers' mobilization gained the support and solidarity of workers and other popular strata. The class-oriented unions, rallied in the All-workers' Militant Front (PAME), highlighted the need to strengthen the common struggle together with the farmers, to reinforce the alliance with the poor urban and rural popular strata. The success of the farmers' demonstration, in combination with the successful general strike on the 4th of February, creates better conditions for the escalation of the workers'-people's struggle, with the central demand being the withdrawal of the law-guillotine for the social security system.

As the presidents of the farmers' associations in the prefectures of Karditsa and Larisa noted, the struggling farmers will return to the roadblocks after the rally in Athens, where they will decide on the suitable forms for the further continuation of their struggle.

Statements of the General Secretary (GS) of the Central Committee (CC) of the KKE

Dimitris Koutsoumpas, the GS of the CC of the KKE, attended the national farmers' demonstration on Friday evening, 12th of February, and made the following statement:

"The farmers' demands are just. The struggle of the Greek farmers is just. We are at their side. The government must at last stop slandering the farmers' movement, the Greek farmers. They are fighting and struggling for decent lives for them and their families, so that they can remain in their fields and villages. So that they can live decently and produce the food necessary for the Greek people. Primary production, the agricultural economy must be supported, here and now.

The government after today's popular mobilization must withdraw the monstrous draft law that will destroy the social-security system. This bill cannot be improved or amended. If in the end they bring it before Parliament, it must be defeated. It must not push forward with the draft tax laws, which once more attack Greek farmers and the working people as a whole. On the contrary, it must abolish the crushing tax laws, all the anti-social security laws, to continue to provide free fuel, as it does to the ship-owners, so that the Greek farmer has cheap energy and can produce and feed the Greek people, being able to cover the costs of production, so that their families can live decently and proudly in the Greek villages and countryside. We, the workers, unemployed, all the other farmers who could not travel here today, the self-employed tradesmen, the youth, the women from the popular families are with them. We will continue until the victory. We wish everyone strength."

The GS of the CC of the KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumpas, also attended the solidarity demonstration (Saturday the 13th of February) with the small and medium farmers organized by labour unions, federations and labour centres, rallied in PAME, and stated the following to the mass media:

“There is one message: Workers-farmers one voice, one fist. Workers, farmers, the urban self-employed, the pensioners, youth, women from the popular families, have common class interests against the class that exploits them, against the anti-people guillotine-laws, like the social security and tax bills, against the governments that vote for these laws, against the predatory alliances that suck our people dry. What we need now is a people's alliance and counterattack.”

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