EUROPE IN CRISIS! Build the 4th International!


IT was no accident that last Thursday’s storming of the Greek state broadcasting (ERT) building by riot police and the brutal eviction of the occupying workers coincided with the arrival in Athens of representatives of the EC-IMF-ECB troika.

The troika had come to dictate to the right-wing coalition government of Antonis Samaras Greece’s budget for next year, a budget that will exceed in savagery all the cuts that have gone before.

The troika will be demanding even more mass sackings in the private and public sector, along with increased taxes for the working class and small farmers and the middle class.

The occupation, which started on June 11 in response to the sacking of 2,800 technicians and journalists, has been a focal point of the hatred and opposition of Greek workers to the puppet government of Samaras.

The closure of ERT had been ordered by the troika as part of their drive to destroy the public sector and place the full burden of the Greek national debt firmly on the shoulders of the working class.

The troika was clearly demanding that all resistance from workers be smashed by the state, hence Thursday’s violent action to put an end to the five-month occupation.

This assault drew an immediate response with over ten thousand workers and youth descending upon the ERT building to demand the withdrawal of the riot police.

The reaction of the opposition SYRIZA (coalition of the radical left) party was restricted to putting a motion of no-confidence in the Samaras government, a motion that was only narrowly defeated after a three-day debate, while the leadership of the official trade union organisations were noticeable by their absence from the demonstrations and confined themselves to merely condemning the brutal assault.

They steadfastly refused to call for bringing down the government.

What is clear is that in Greece the only thing that is holding back the working class and middle class, who are being driven into the gutter by the demands of the bankers, is the treachery of the leadership of SYRIZA and the trade unions.

This is a vital lesson not just for the Greek workers but for the working class throughout Europe.

The crisis that has devastated Greece is not confined to this one country but is driving through the whole continent and beyond.

The crumbling French economy has had its credit worthiness rating downgraded from AA plus to AA by the ratings agency Standard and Poor on the grounds that the ‘socialist’ government of Francois Hollande had failed to force through enough cuts in wages and pensions, and failed to increase the working week for the working class in order to pay off the national debt run up by the banks.

The depth of the crisis in the entire eurozone was revealed last week by the shock decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) to cut borrowing costs throughout the eurozone to the historically low level of 0.25%.

By cutting the interest rate to such a low level Mario Draghi, the ECB boss, hopes to bring down the sovereign debts of eurozone countries at a stroke.

But the main thrust of the ECB’s policy was his attack on the ‘slow or insufficient implementation of structural reforms in euro area countries’.

While promising ‘low-cost loans’ to the banks in order to keep them from going under, Draghi, on behalf of the European bourgeoisie, is demanding even higher levels of exploitation through austerity measures that will dwarf anything that has gone before.

For the working class and youth of Europe there can be only one answer – every attack must be met by the full mobilisation of the strength of the working class in indefinite general strikes to bring down the bourgeois governments and for the working class to take power through the socialist revolution.

This means building a new revolutionary leadership of the Fourth International in every country.