|The News Line: Feature
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
GREEK GOVERNMENT GIVES 50bn EUROS TO THE BANKS
The present unelected Greek coalition government, of social-democrats and conservatives headed by banker Lucas Papademos has decided to fund with some 50bn euros the completely bankrupt private banks.
|Riot police and demonstrations in front of the Vouli (Greek parliament)
The decision has been attacked by opposition parties who stated that such a critical decision should be taken after the declared general election of 6th May by the government elect.
Papademos was appointed six months ago on the insistence of the European Commission (EC) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Last Friday, Greek private banks declared a combined loss of over 28bn euros for the 2011-12 fiscal year following the imposition of the 54 per cent ‘haircut’ of Greek State Bonds. To survive the banks must now make a huge increase of their own capital; that’s the aim of the 50bn euros which comes from the agreed 150bn euros loan to Greece from the EC and the IMF.
In yet another dictatorial action, the Greek Prime Minister Papademos decided that the 50bn euros should be given to the banks without the Vouli’s (Greek parliament) approval. Papademos is now urgently seeking a way to keep banks private.
The leader of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras stated that the 50bn euros funding to the banks which is presented as a long term loan, requires that after decades banks should pay back only 16bn euros.
The total bankruptcy of Greek capitalism, despite two huge rescue loans from the EC, the IMF and the European Central Bank, is the result of the terminal world capitalist economic crisis which destroys whole states and threatens the Eurozone with collapse.
As the crisis is now hitting hard both Spain and Italy, Greek capitalism is driven to the ground, creating an unprecedented historical political crisis.
Papademos’ Bonapartist dictatorial regime is carrying out a barbaric counter-revolution against the workers, youth, small farmers and the self-employed in Greece. Youth unemployment is now officially at 51 per cent and the total unemployment figure is 24 per cent the highest ever.
The government is pushing through mass sackings of civil servants and the privatisation of the whole energy (oil, gas, coal mines, electricity) section.
Wages and pensions are now, on average, 60 per cent of what they were nearly four years ago in the autumn of 2008 while prices have risen by about five per cent each year. Workers’ families have been led to desperation by huge taxes and constant high rises in household bills.
A large percentage, as high as 30-40 per cent, of shops on main Athens avenues have been shut down while in working class and middle class neighbourhoods local shops have been decimated with newspaper and tobacco shops almost disappearing.
Small family businesses have been decimated; reports state that ‘tens of thousands’ throughout Greece have ceased to operate.
In the countryside small farmers face a catastrophe as they are hit by a combination of high industrial prices and petrol, low prices offered for their produce and the state Agricultural Bank’s demands for past loans.
The huge pressure of Greek families have resulted in yet another suicide following that of a 77-years old pensioner a month ago. Last Saturday Savas Metikides, a 45-years old primary school teacher with two children in Salonica, north Greece, committed suicide leaving behind him a long note blaming the government’s policies for his action.
This month the bosses, in close collaboration with the trade union bureaucracy, have unleashed an organised attack on workers’ rights and wages following the Greek government’s decision to scrap national collective agreements.
At the Bank of Greece, the trade union signed an agreement accepting 18 per cent wage cuts and three hours additional work per week claiming that the right of a national collective agreement has been protected!
Likewise the Greek Hotels Association and the Retailers Association are now ‘offering’ national collective agreements of more than 20 per cent wage cuts and more working hours. They also aim to sack as many workers as possible and replace them with young people at 400 euros a month.
Both the GSEE (Greek TUC) and the ADEDY (public sector trades unions federation) have refused to carry out any action. The anger and the determination of workers is being expressed by the continuing strike at the Hellenic Steel plant near Athens, which remains isolated thanks to the GSEE treacherous bureaucracy, by the solid rock two-day national strike of seafarers and by the countless local strikes and mobilisations organised by small trades unions.
A major victory was achieved in universities and colleges as the united front of lectures and students were able to prevent the implementation of a most reactionary Education Law voted by the two main bourgeois parties, and by the racist party LAOS last year.
The counter-revolution of the Papademos government is carried out on the direct orders of the EC-IMF who have made Greece a protectorate. Horst Reichenbach, a top EC bureaucrat, was appointed as head of an EC Task Force in Greece with absolute right to dictate economic policies.
The IMF’s Managing Director Christine Legard, the EC’s President Jose Manuel Barroso and the European Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn have all three recently made public statements calling on Greeks to vote for the two main bourgeois parties – the social-democrats of PASOK and the conservatives of the New Democracy party – who have committed themselves in carrying out the Agreements imposed by the EC-IMF of starving the Greek people to pay the high interests to the international banks.
But Greek workers and youth have abandoned the two main bourgeois parties in a major left-wing turn that sees, according to opinion polls, the almost doubling of the vote for the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party. Neither of these parties are calling for the overthrow of capitalism.
The EC-IMF Agreements have produced a colossal anti-Eurozone feeling in Greece and this is reflected in the latest general election opinion polls which show that a large percentage of the Greek middle class and farmers have abandoned the two main bourgeois parties who are now attracting a combined 35 per cent of the projected vote thus unable to form even a coalition government, the stated aim of the EC and of the IMF.
Bourgeois ‘patriotic’ and ‘anti-EC Agreement’ political formations have been created to attract those abandoning the social-democrats and the conservatives.
The main bourgeois parties are trying to politically terrorise the middle class and the small businessmen by declarations that life outside the Eurozone will be generalised poverty. But the fact is that the social-democrats and the conservatives have imposed, through the coalition government, the savage EC-IMF Agreements.
The Papademos government, supported by the two main parties, have unleashed a campaign of pogroms against so-called ‘illegal immigrants’ to split workers and the middle class and create a diversion. The Ministry for Public Order is preparing the setting up of a concentration camp for ‘illegal immigrants’ near Athens despite widespread protests and daily protests by the local residents.
The capitalist media have been providing wide coverage for the fascist party Golden Dawn which has organised violent attacks on immigrants, trade unionists and left-wingers. Polls show that Golden Dawn would be able to get over three per cent of the vote and thus enter the Vouli.
A mass demonstration has been called for today by the left-wing electoral formation ANTARSYA against the immigrants pogroms by police and against the Golden Dawn attacks. But ANTARSYA (which means ‘mutiny’), made up in the main by the centrists of the Greek Socialist Workers Party and the New Left Current, are refusing to identify the capitalist state as the instigator of the racial pogroms.
The Revolutionary Marxist League (RML), Greek sector of the International Committee of the Fourth International, have called for the mobilisation of workers and youth in an indefinite political general strike along with popular assemblies for the overthrow of capitalism and for the building of a mass revolutionary party in Greece.
The RML called for the rejection of all bourgeois parties and for a class vote to the Greek Communist Party.
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