|The News Line: Feature
Friday, 9 November 2012
OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT! –demand hundreds of thousands of Greek workers
HUNDREDS of thousands of Greek workers and youth congregated on Wednesday evening and late into the night outside the Vouli (parliament) in central Athens demanding the overthrow of the coalition government.
|RefInery workers, banner reads ‘We resist against the selling off of state property - Government, EC, IMF will not defeat us’
Inside the Vouli the new barbaric Austerity Measures Bill, dictated by the hated troika of EC-IMF-ECB, was narrowly carried.
The GSEE (Greek TUC) had called a 48-hour strike for Tuesday and Wednesday against the Bill.
The strike proved rock solid in transport (railways, buses, Metro, ports), refineries, shipyards, and construction.
Not a single ship sailed out of Greek ports and no newspapers were printed. High participation rates were reported in engineering, mines, power stations and electricity, post office and water authorities.
The strike was less successful in schools, banks and telecommunications.
Over 60,000 workers and students took part in the two demonstrations in Athens on Tuesday afternoon; 20,000 took part in the Greek Communist Party march, and 40,000 in the march organised by trades unions independently of the bureaucracy.
GSEE held a rally attended by just about 1,000 workers, mainly bank workers and state corporations.
Large demonstrations were held in every single Greek city and town.
While workers were marching to the Vouli last Tuesday, the Greek Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras stated that ‘the approval of the new austerity measures is a one way street, so that we avoid bankruptcy.’
Several parliamentary deputies of the Democratic Left and a few social-democrats stated that they will either abstain or vote against the Austerities Bill.
Once again both the trades unions’ leaders and the Communist Party’s leaders refused to organise a rally outside the Vouli on Tuesday and allowed the tens of thousands of marches to drift home leaderless.
The mood in the march was characterised by a determination to force the overthrow of the three-parties coalition government. And it was clear that on Wednesday evening far more workers will be joining the vigil outside the Vouli.
Several Peoples’ Assemblies banners from various Athens districts were in the march with sizeable delegations despite the total absence of public transport. Some said that they had come to the centre of Athens by foot walking over 6-7 miles.
The vast majority of banners carried the demands ‘For the overthrow of the government’ and ‘For an indefinite strike’.
There were large contingents of workers from hospitals, local government, state corporations, refineries, ministries and schools although it was reported that in the Athens area teachers’ participation to the strike reached only 30 per cent.
Some teachers on the march expressed disappointment – along with a number of trade union leaders – given the fact that only a few days ago in teachers elections left-wing candidates had won decisive and large scale victories.
But what was crystal clear was that sections of workers had decided that the main thing was the Wednesday evening rally in front of the Vouli as the vote of the Bill was to be taken.
The Coalition of the Radical Left’s (SYRIZA) contingents took up almost one third of the march.
It was the bigger demonstration of SYRIZA’s forces who carried banners stating ‘Get out’ and ‘overthrow the government’.
Grigoris Simos, a worker at the Elefsina Oil Refinery, said that a mass picket was set up at the refinery’s entrance and the strike was 100 per cent solid.
‘As there is no transport at all, we hired a coach to bring us to Athens for the march today (Tuesday),’ Simos said. ‘But the brothers here said they would not come if we were to march under the GSEE banner, because we think they are selling us out; we are against privatisations and we want the government out.’
Likewise the general secretary of the Piraeus Dockers Trades Union Yiorghos Yoyos said to the News Line that, ‘The strike was total at the port; we are here marching independently of the GSEE but the Greek Dockers’ Federation banner is at the GSEE rally.’
Hundreds of shop keepers, lawyers, doctors and other middle class professionals took part in the march with the banner of the Association of Small Business.
Over 1,000 taxi drivers also participated with their banner stating, ‘We are fighting along with the rest of society’.
The president of the Athens taxi drivers’ association, Thymios Lymberopoulos, said that ‘we are on an indefinite strike; the government want to transform us into low paid workers without any rights.’
Throughout the day and in the march the Revolutionary Marxist League, the Greek Section of the Fourth International, intervened with its newspaper calling for mass Peoples’ Assemblies, for an indefinite political general strike and for the overthrow of the troika government and of capitalism.
Following Tuesday’s march several trades unions called meetings to assess the situation.
Some of these meetings proved to be stormy. A heated discussion also took place at the Coordination of Trades Unions Branches, set up by trades unions who are against the bureaucracy.
There it was decided that a rally was to be called for this Sunday evening at the Vouli when next year’s Budget will be discussed.
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