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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 May 2010

Greece: 2,500 hear Socialist MEP Joe Higgins declare week of action

Joe Higgins, the Irish Socialist Party's MEP, speaking at central SYRIZA rally in Athens, Greece

Joe Higgins, the Irish Socialist Party's MEP, speaking at central SYRIZA rally in Athens, Greece

THE SOCIALIST Party (CWI Ireland) MEP Joe Higgins spoke at a recent meeting in Athens, which was attended by up to 2,500 members and friends of the left coalition group Syriza. The meeting was in support of Greek workers who are fighting against the austerity plans of Greece's government, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Harris Sideris, Xekinima (CWI Greece)

Joe was joined on the speaking platform by Alexis Tsipras, chair of Syriza's parliamentary group, Manolis Glezos, member of Syriza's secretariat, Marisa Matias from Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc), Portugal, and Jean Pierre Brar from the French Communist Party.

Joe gave a powerful message of class solidarity to the Greek workers and raised the need for Europe-wide struggle to counteract the attacks of the bosses and their governments.

In saluting the struggles of the Greek working class and Syriza, Joe said: "They are asking you to follow the example of Ireland. My advice to the workers in Greece is: do not accept the policy of cuts and attacks imposed by the Irish government against the Irish workers. And my advice to the Irish workers in Dublin, who voted me into the European parliament, is: follow the example of struggle and resistance provided by the Greek workers!"

We won't pay

Joe Higgins, the Irish Socialist Party's MEP, speaking at central SYRIZA rally in Athens, Greece

Joe Higgins, the Irish Socialist Party's MEP, speaking at central SYRIZA rally in Athens, Greece

In relation to the debt crisis, he said: "We must refuse to pay for the crisis caused by the bosses. We fight alongside workers in Greece. We say no to the dictatorship of the IMF and the markets."

Joe then announced the call of the left members of the European Parliament for a Europe-wide week of action against the new austerity packages. This is an initiative undertaken by Joe himself, now involving MEPs from left parties in Greece, Cyprus, France, Portugal, Denmark and Sweden.

Joe explained that: "We call for a week of solidarity action, from 21 to 26 June, and we call for the left parties, social organisations and trade unions to mobilise during this week, in solidarity with the working class in Greece and all European workers who face similar problems.

"The present crisis in Europe has not been provoked by the Greek debt, but is the result of the crisis that the global capitalist system faces."

Challenge the markets

Regarding the tasks of the Left parties countering the capitalist crisis, Joe said: "We need to break the domination of markets, to renationalise the banking system under the control of workers and society, so that we can steer investment towards the needs of society, ensure pensions, create social services and bring thousands of workers back into work."

The gathering broke into loud applause when Joe commented on the role of markets with regard to the debt: "It's neither the Irish workers, nor the Greek workers that borrowed billions. Let the markets go to hell, erase the debts! They are speculators anyway, they've played and they've lost."

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