THE Greek working class remains undefeated as the clashes between teachers and students with the riot police in Salonica on Thursday have proven.
The source of the fury amongst these undefeated workers is the attempt to betray them by the Social Democratic and Stalinist trade union leaders who called their strike off on Wednesday, while school students were occupying 1,000 schools and students over 50 university departments in support of the teachers.
The teachers may well decide to continue with their strike action and to rebuke or remove their treacherous leaders.
But whether they do or they don’t, the working class and the youth have demonstrated their revolutionary temper and their desire to put an end to crisis-ridden Greek capitalism, one of the weakest links of the European union of capitalist states.
The EU and the IMF have been constantly pressing the Greek bourgeoisie to cut wages, cut jobs, to privatise state-owned industries and the universities, and to bring in tuition fees for students.
The Karamanlis government is pursuing a war against the working class and the youth, who have given it back blow for blow, and also fought off the capitalist state’s riot police.
However, the revolutionary situation in Greece has illuminated a law of the class struggle. This is, the more revolutionary the situation, the more politically cowardly become the Stalinists and the PASOK Social Democrats, and the more necessary becomes the development of a revolutionary leadership for the working class.
The Stalinists and Social Democrats who dominate the Greek TUC have worked might and main over the last six weeks of the teachers’ struggle to prevent an indefinite general strike of the whole of the Greek working class in the teachers’ support, because it would bring down the Karamanlis government and open up the way for workers’ power in Greece.
Their refusal to fight gave the opportunity to the PASOK leader of the teachers’ union Bratis to try to call off the struggle.
He was forced to make this attempt however when the struggle was at its highest point, producing the massive frustrations that led to the clashes with the riot police in Salonica.
The teachers may well refuse to return to work. Why should they when they have not been beaten, and the opportunity is there for their alliance with the students and the youth to advance to win the support of the whole of the working class to win the struggle by bringing down the Karamanlis government.
If they stay out, the fight must be directed to and into every factory, building site and office to bring the whole of the working class out and bring the working class to the brink of taking power in Greece.
If the teachers return to work the fight must be directed at removing the treacherous trade union leadership and building a new revolutionary leadership for the working class to take it forward to workers’ power.
The Greek bourgeoisie has for some time been considering its options, one of which is to dispense with what passes for parliamentary democracy in favour of trying to bring back a regime of colonels.
More than anything else at this point in the struggle, the Greek working class needs a revolutionary leadership.
This means that from the sections of workers and youth who are determined to take the struggle forward a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International must be built.
The Greek working class could not be more militant.
What it needs is a conscious revolutionary leadership, schooled and trained in the method of Marxism and armed with Trotsky’s analysis of the counter revolutionary role of social democracy and Stalinism.
The class struggle in Greece is driving the working class forward in a socialist revolution. There is not a moment to lose in the building of a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International.