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From: The Socialist issue 881, 2 December 2015: Don't bomb Syria

Search site for keywords: Greece - Strike - General strike - Austerity - Syriza - Xekinima - Protest - CWI - Pay

Greece - general strike against austerity sees mass protests

By reporters from Xekinima (the Socialist Party's sister party in Greece)

On 12 November, the first 24-hour general strike in a long time took place - this time the strike was called against the policies of the ex-left Syriza government.

Syriza has transformed itself into a pro-bailout party and introduced a new austerity package.

After the new memorandum was signed by the Syriza government, which previously had given hope for real political change, the mood among workers was inevitably low.

In this climate, it is an extremely positive indication that the general strike on 12 November was relatively big. In Athens, around 30,000 people participated in the protests (the PAME union federation held the biggest), in Thessaloniki over 6,000 took part, and the protest in Volos was one of the most successful ones of the last few years.

The marches, despite being well-attended, were not vibrant. This is because, on the one hand, the working class understands the need to mobilise, but, on the other hand, people's appetite is limited without a plan on how to overturn the austerity policies.

There was also great paradox around the demonstration, as Syriza was calling on people to participate. In other words, the government party that is responsible politically for all the policies implemented is calling on people to participate in protests against them!

Xekinima (CWI Greece) campaigns for a break with austerity and for a socialist programme to meet the needs of the people and not the profits of the capitalists. This includes refusal to pay the debt; controls on capital flows; for the state monopoly of foreign trade; the nationalisation of the banks and the commanding heights of the economy under democratic workers' control and management.

Video of Andros Payiatsos from Xekinima addressing the Sunday rally at Socialism 2015 - see http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/21705

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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