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Huge general strike rocks Greece

By staff |
May 18, 2017
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One of the many marches during general strike in Greece.
One of the many marches during general strike in Greece.

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

Mass combative strike response of the workers to the anti-people political line of the government-EU-IMF

A 24hr general strike was held in Greece on 17 May 2017, as well as the strike rallies and demonstrations of the All-worker’s Militant Front (PAME) in dozens of cities, against the measures which the coalition government of the “Left” party of SYRIZA and the nationalist party of ANEL brought for discussion on that day in Parliament. Protest demonstrations will be organized by PAME all over the country on 18th of May, the day the measures will be voted on.

Thousands of workers through their mass participation in the strike on the 17th of May all over the country declared: ““We will not become the slaves of the 21st century.”

In Athens, the strike rally of PAME ended with a large march to Parliament.

It is worth noting that the measures the SYRIZA-ANEL government brought after the negotiations with the imperialist unions of the EU and IMF for the 2nd evaluation of the 3rdMemorandum. It is clear from the results that the government negotiated with the lenders on behalf of the interests of the domestic monopoly groups and not the people, with the aim of accelerating the process of an exit from the capitalist crisis that favors capital.

The new raft of anti-people measures further escalates the assault, thrusts new burdens onto the already struggling popular households, at the same time when better conditions are being formed for the activity of the business groups (such as the new measures to liberalize the market and accelerate privatizations).

In brief, the measures provide for:

  • New reductions in salaries and pensions, so for example, with the result that the pensioners will lose a sum equivalent to two months’ pensions a year
  • Increase of direct taxation even for those who have a low income, through the reduction of the tax threshold. So, for example, a salaried employee who earns 615 euros a month and who does not pay any direct taxes today, will be called onto to pay up to 300 euros of tax a year, i.e. almost half a month’s salary.
  • New reductions in public funds for healthcare spending.
  • New cuts to various benefits (unemployment, heating).
  • There are other measures to support capital in the new agreement, such as the increase of privatizations, the complete liberalization of mass dismissals for big capitalist businesses, the legislation of new obstacles to the calling of strikes, the consolidation of all the anti-workers laws on collective labour agreements passed since 2011, the creation of new obstacles for the signing of collective labor agreements, the legalization of “lock outs” organized by the employers, the abolition of the Sunday holiday with painful consequences for retail workers and small shopkeepers, with aim of accelerating the concentration of the retail sector into department stores and supermarket chains etc.

These new measures will have a cumulative impact in a period when the situation of most employees and self-employed has already deteriorated dramatically due to the policies both of the previous ND-PASOK governments and the current SYRIZA-ANEL government.

In 2016, 45% of the population had an income under the fixed poverty line.

The General Secretary (GS) of the CC of the KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumpas, attended the strike rally of PAME in the Ethnikis Antistasis sq. in Athens and made the following statement to the mass media: "The class war is now in progress, it is a marathon, not a rifle shot in the air. The class war must be a daily and continuous one. The harsh anti-people measures, the 4th memorandum along with the previous memorandums must be thrown in the dustbin of History and the only ones who have the authority to do this are the Greek people, the labor-people’s movement.

For that reason, our call is: Popular uprising everywhere, not a day or hour must be wasted; the struggle doesn't end today or tomorrow but continues.

The KKE, the class-oriented forces, the militant movement, PAME, the Social Alliance will be present, every day, everywhere, in the streets and in the Parliament, in the factories, in the cities and the villages. This is a constant struggle, which must lead to the overthrow of this rotten and corrupt system, of its governments, for disengagement from the EU, with a social and economic plan which will have at its epicenter the working people, the ever-expanding needs of our people."