‘Down with the junta of the bankers! Kick out the swindlers of Brussels.’ These were the slogans being shouted by Greek workers and youth last Wednesday as they marched against the ‘socialist’ Papandreou government’s Stability Plan.
The one-day general strike was against the plan to cut wages and pensions, enforce huge spending cuts on education, health and welfare, and impose high income tax on workers, as well as raising the tax on petrol – which will drive daily goods prices up – plus against raising the retirement age.
Another general strike is due on February 24, and there will be more after that.
While workers were demonstrating in Athens, the Greek Prime Minister Papandreou was meeting the French leader Sarkozy in Paris.
Also at the meeting was the European Central Bank chief President Jean-Claude Trichet, the European Commission President Jose Barroso, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, and EU President Herman Van Rompuy.
The problem is that Greece is one of four EU states – Portugal, Ireland and Spain are the others – that are on the brink of bankruptcy.
If one of them goes down, the German and French banks which bought their debt will go down with them, starting a chain reaction that will spread through the already bankrupt Eastern European states, sinking the euro single currency.
On Thursday morning the Brussels negotiators heard Papandreou warn the German and French leaders about the weakening position of the euro: ‘If the speculation continues, it is not the business of Greece, but of the euro zone and Europe. It becomes a question of collective will to regulate the speculation.’
By mid-day Van Rompuy declared: ‘There is an agreement on the Greek situation. We will communicate now the agreement to the other leaders.’
He added: ‘Greece needs to do whatever is necessary, including additional measures, to ensure that the deficit reduction targets for this year are met.
‘Secondly, in that case the euro zone members should be ready to safeguard financial stability in the euro zone area as a whole.’
The Franco-German capitalists at the centre of the EU have thought long and hard before rejecting the arguments that have been put to them against aiding the Greek bourgeoisie.
These amounted to, that at least a dozen EU states will demand the same treatment, making a mountain of debt that will sink the euro, the single currency and the EU.
The EU leaders have concluded that to do nothing is to invite further worldwide speculation against the euro, and its demise.
Therefore, the policy is to be that the amount of financial aid given to Greece will depend on the amount of blood that the Greek government draws from the Greek workers and the small farmers with its savage cuts.
Successful attacks on the working class and the poor are to be rewarded.
To make sure that they are not being hoaxed, the EU and the IMF are to demand that they have overview rights over the books of the Greek Treasury.
Greece is to become a protectorate of the EU Commission, with its government little more than a local committee of the commission.
The EU is to become an open dictatorship against the working class, the small farmers and the poor of Europe.
As it is in Greece so it will be throughout the EU. The euro is to be maintained through savage attacks on the working class.
The resistance of the Greek workers to the Papandreou ‘socialist’ government’s austerity programme is the beginning of the European socialist revolution against the bankers and capitalists of Brussels. It is a revolution that must replace the bankrupt EU with the Socialist United States of Europe.
To lead this struggle sections of the Fourth International must be built throughout Europe.