|The News Line: Editorial
Tuesday, 8 May 2012
French and Greek workers reject austerity
The elections in France and Greece on Sunday demonstrated conclusively that Europe stands on the brink of a seismic revolutionary upheaval that will sweep the Continent.
In France the anti-austerity socialist party candidate, Francois Hollande, inflicted a humiliating defeat on the incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy who became the first president in over thirty years not to win a second term.
In his victory speech Hollande claimed that his election ‘gave hope’ of an end to austerity and announced that he would be travelling to Germany to meet with chancellor Merkel in order to renegotiate the Eurozone agreement on slashing the sovereign debt of the 17 nation Eurozone countries.
Hollande pledged to demand of the European bourgeoisie measures for ‘growth, jobs and prosperity’, a demand that the world economic crisis makes impossible to implement.
Even more catastrophic for the European capitalist class is the result of the Greek elections.
Here, the two main bourgeois parties, the socialist Pasok and the right wing New Democracy both took an absolute hammering at the hands of the Greek working class.
These two parties have shared power between them for over 40 years ever since the Greek working class and youth rose up and threw out the military dictatorship of the Colonels in the early 1970s.
Ever since the socialist prime minister, Papandreau, was removed from office last November at the insistence of the Eurozone leaders and replaced with the unelected EU banker, Papademos, these two parties have operated a coalition government that has slavishly attempted to implement the diktats of the EU bourgeoisie to cut Greece’s massive sovereign debt through cuts to wages and pensions, huge unemployment and mass privatisation.
This coalition has now been completely smashed, with New Democracy only managing to get 18.9% of the vote (down from its 33.5% at 2009 election) and Pasok getting only a derisory 13.2% (down from 43.9% in 2009).
Pasok came third behind the left-wing Syriza party, a coalition of left groups and the Communist Party.
New Democracy will undoubtedly try to form yet another coalition with Pasok and a third pro-austerity party to carry on implementing the cuts demanded by the Eurozone as part of the bail-out of the bankrupt Greek economy.
This attempt will be doomed to failure as the Greek working class has made it clear that it will no longer stand for any more savage cuts as the price for bailing out the Greek and European bankers.
The scene is set for an inevitable revolutionary confrontation between the working class and the bourgeoisie in Greece in which the question of state power will be posed point-blank.
The effect of this political crisis for the bourgeoisie was not long in coming with the euro plummeting along with European stock markets.
With the British working class turning out last week to show their absolute hatred of the Tory-led coalition it is small wonder that even the normally sanguine bourgeois commentators are raising the spectre of a complete meltdown of the old bourgeois political parties under the impact of the economic crisis of capitalism, noting that since the onset of the crisis in 2008, eleven European governments have fallen.
These election results prove conclusively that the working class throughout Europe is on the move, that it will not sit back and passively accept the destruction of its living standards and very future in order to keep a bankrupt system staggering on.
The burning issue of the hour now is the building of revolutionary parties, sections of the Fourth International, throughout Europe to lead this mass movement of workers and youth forward to complete the historic task of ending capitalism for good through the victory of the European socialist revolution.
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