AT the end of August the EU-imposed Greek prime minister, Antonis Sameras, announced to a disbelieving populace that the £9.3 billion cuts imposed on the country as the price demanded by the international banks and EU for the latest bail-out, ‘will be the last’.
On Tuesday of this week the Greek finance minister revealed that the entire Greek economy is set to shrink by one third in the next two years.
The very next day Sameras announced what has been described as the biggest firesale in history, as the Greek government prepares to put literally everything up for sale with a privatisation programme the scale of which has never been seen before.
Included in the sale are Greek islands – 40 of which have been identified by the government as uninhabited – which they hope will be snapped up as retreats for multi-billionaires seeking a sanctuary from the economic collapse.
Diplomatic residencies abroad will also be up for sale, or rented out – presumably there will be no need for Greece to retain a foreign embassy given that the government now just acts as a functionary of the EU.
The list does not end there, as everything is up for grabs including Royal Palaces, marinas, airports, roads, the Post Office – in short the entire country is up for sale in a desperate attempt to pay off the bankers whose debt-fuelled collapse caused the crisis in the first place.
Even the Acropolis, which in the past has been considered the most important part of the huge cultural heritage of Greece, will not be spared as plans have been unveiled to open it up for commercial exploitation.
Last year a prominent German banker first floated the idea that Greece should be forced to sell off its cultural artefacts and even some of its sovereign territory to pay off the bankers – at the time this was dismissed as fanciful and extreme but now it is a reality – the entire country is for sale at knock-down prices.
These moves to sell off and privatise everything in sight come on top of the savage austerity measures that have already been imposed on Greek workers and youth; measures that have led to wage cuts between 30 to 40%, pensions slashed and the highest unemployment figures in Europe of 25%, with youth unemployment at 55%.
Alongside this has come the virtual collapse of education and the health system as the state struggles to find money to pay for essentials like medicine and schools, and in some cases has even been unable to pay its employees.
Greece is not some unique case in Europe. Indeed, it represents the future that capitalism holds for the entire working class, if it is allowed to do it.
Already we have seen similar austere measures imposed in Spain, Portugal and Italy not to mention Britain, where the coalition government is hell-bent on the privatisation of all the nationalised industries along with education and the health service.
Already they have made it clear that the working class is to be made to pay for the crisis through cuts to unemployment and all other benefits, as they determine that capitalism can no longer afford a welfare state where a proper education and medical care are part of life for all.
In Greece, one government minister defended the programme of mass privatisation and sale of every asset of the country saying: ‘We are in a war situation and we are all soldiers in civilian clothes.’
He is absolutely right in one respect, the working class in Greece and every other country is in a war – a war with the capitalist system that can no longer provide any future for workers or youth other than destitution, starvation and homelessness. It is out to destroy the productive forces, including the working class, and pitch society backwards into some new ‘dark age’.
It is a war that can only be won by the working class taking power through the socialist revolution. A vital part of this is the building of the revolutionary leadership of the WRP to organise the struggle for workers power. There is not a moment to lose.