ON Thursday the heads of the Eurozone met in emergency session in a desperate attempt to head off Greek state bankruptcy leading to the collapse of the EU banks, the euro and the European Union.
In the end, what was produced amounted to imposing an organised default onto Greece. It is to have more debt piled onto it, in the form of a 109 billion euro ‘bailout’ from Europe and the International Monetary Fund, plus a further 49.6 billion euros from the private sector.
At the same time, the Eurozone leaders told the private sector that it will have to agree to taking 50bn euros less from Greece in the next three years, while Greece is to have 30 years to repay the total loan plus interest.
Its national debt has risen by a further 160 billion euros, on top of the 109 billion euro ‘bailout’ organised last year that was supposed to complete its rescue and the rescue of the banks that hold this debt.
What is being attempted is to solve the Greek debt crisis by giving the Greek bourgeoisie more time to break the back of the Greek working class, so that the EU governments can continue to get into debt, borrowing the money that they cannot govern without, in the hope that they will be able to repay it as the ‘economy revives’.
It is crystal clear that only a very limited amount of time has been bought, and that any economic or political ‘hiccup’ will cause panic and bring the whole mass of paper, masquerading as money, crashing down.
The austerity measures that the Greek government have been forced to adopt by the banks and international financiers – including the sacking of hundreds of thousands of civil servants, slashing pay and welfare expenditure and a mass programme of privatisation – have been decisively rejected by the Greek working class and youth who have fought back through strikes and occupations and in pitched battles with the police.
These measures will now pale into insignificance compared to the austerity plans that the capitalist bankers will now seek to impose, in order to get back this new and even larger debt.
This can only be clawed back by the smashing up of the powerful trade union movement and the imposition of a dictatorial rule over workers and youth.
This can only be achieved through the installation of a police/military dictatorship that will far exceed in brutality anything seen under the regime of the Greek colonels. In the face of this, the only option for Greek workers is revolution.
The prospects for the working class throughout the rest of the EU are no different from those that face the Greek workers.
The French and German governments also agreed on the creation of a permanent ‘European Stability Mechanism’, which has been likened to a European IMF. The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was more direct when he said the aim was an EU ‘economic government’.
Sarkozy and the German leader, Angela Merkel, see the role of this new organisation as dictating their terms to the other members of the Eurozone.
Hitler’s old dream of a united European capitalism has been resurrected with a vengeance under the impact of the world crisis. Such a plan will inevitably lead to huge conflict between labour and capital in the EU, and between the German and French bourgeoisie as to who will be the economic and political master of a capitalist Europe.
For the working class of Europe there is only one way out of this nightmare, produced by the death agony of capitalism.
That is through the building of the Fourth International all over Europe, to lead the revolutionary struggle to overthrow the EU and to go forward to the United Socialist States of Europe.