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No to Anti-People Politics

by Kosta Harlan |
January 26, 2006
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Rally in Greece
A rally, featuring speeches by All Workers’ Militant Front (PAME) and Communist Party of Greece leaders, was held by PAME in front of City Hall.
March in Greece past Hotel Grande Bretagne
Workers, youth and students march past the Hotel Grande Bretagne, home to foreign diplomats and high-ranking officials, on their way to Parliament.

Athens, Greece - Demanding “No to anti-people politics,” tens of thousands of workers, students and youth rallied across Greece in mid-December to open a 24-hour general strike that virtually shut down the country’s businesses and industry. The strike was called by the All Workers’ Militant Front (PAME) and the General Trade Body of Greece (GSEE) in response to proposals in the 2006 budget that would cut public services including health care and education, abolish the eight-hour work day, decrease pensions and benefits and open up at least eight Sundays a year for work.

The general secretariat of All Workers’ Militant Front said, “With the massive, fighting participation of workers and public sector employees in today’s 24-hour strike, the government and the industrialists received a powerful message. The element of class power was decisive for the success of the all-Greece strike, which, with its demands, encouraged a participatory mood across all strata of the people. Equally important was the role of the picketers, who this morning gave a decisive battle in front of the gates of factories and businesses.”

Workers in the public services and utilities (DEKO) went on strike for an additional 24 hours against the planned privatization of public services that would result in greater job insecurity, lower wages and massive layoffs.

Aleka Paparigha, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece emphasized, “The question of DEKO and the fight against privatization should not be disconnected from the Lisbon Agreement, which is essentially being implemented in Europe and Greece with various laws.” The Lisbon Agreement is the plan adopted at the European Union summit of 2000, which emphasizes the need to implement ‘greater liberalization,’ in particular through the wholesale privatization of public services, in order to make the E.U. a ‘more competitive business environment.’

From last year’s massive rejection of the European Union constitution, to the recent strikes from Brussels to Athens, to the latest revelations of E.U. collaboration in American ‘rendition ‘ programs and secret CIA prisons, the reactionary character of the European Union has become increasingly exposed.

The strikes that are shaking Europe are the signs of a powerful working class movement ready to fight the E.U. and its imperialist agenda. Vassilis Petropoulos, member of the General Secretariat of PAME, said, “The support of the class struggle is a survival requirement in today’s conditions. We will fight, we will win.”

[Editor's note: All quotes from the Greek newspaper Rizospastis, Dec. 15, 2005]