THE situation for Greek capitalism has become so serious that Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos has demanded that Germany returns the Greek gold that was looted by the Nazis during their occupation of the country in World War Two.
Pangalos made his call as Greek workers staged another general strike on Monday, against the poverty conditions and drastic cuts now being imposed on them by the Greek government on behalf of the IMF and the European Union.
Once again there was fighting on the streets between Greek workers and youth and the hated Greek riot police.
Prime Minister George Papandreou assembled his cabinet yesterday for a meeting to decide on more cuts. In return, his government hopes to get some leeway from Germany and the other EU states, who say the cuts must go further if the euro is to be saved.
The EU’s monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn told the Greek government that it must put Greece on a ‘sustainable path’.
Greece is ‘breaking all the rules’ about the level of budget deficit, which is running at 12.7 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The PASOK government, elected on a wave of working-class anger against the outgoing right-wing New Democracy regime, has pledged to slash the deficit to less than three per cent of GDP within two years, starting with a four per cent cut this year, to 8.7 per cent.
A team of EU inspectors visited Athens and concluded that the present budget-cutting measures would not be enough. They have set Greece a March 16 deadline to show they can make the four per cent cuts this year.
Greece’s total state debt is over 300 billion euros – 120 per cent of GDP – which means the country is already bankrupt.
The EU’s demands have been described as ‘truly shocking’ on Greek television.
Yet Prime Minister Papandreou claimed ‘the overwhelming majority of our citizens are willing’ to accept the EU’s medicine for the sake of Greek capitalism and the future of the euro.
So far this year Greek workers have already been hit with job cuts, tax rises, wage freezes and a fuel levy.
Papandreou has been given an ‘invitation’ to visit Berlin this Friday and then to go to Washington next week to meet Obama.
He knows that Greek workers have already taken more than they can stomach.
Greece is headed for revolution and the rest of the European Union will follow it!
The Greek government is holding out the faint hope that it can secure some emergency loans, but the world’s bankers want Greece to give them money!
The real problem for the capitalists of Europe – and the rest of the world – is that their collective debts are so interwoven that if Greece were to default on its loan repayments, then it would trigger the collapse of the euro and another crash of the world banking system.
The future of capitalism is already on a knife-edge. The crisis is already spreading across Europe and with it is coming the European socialist revolution to bury capitalism, as part of the world socialist revolution.
Greek workers will form their own workers’ councils to defend their jobs and services and their example will be followed by workers in other countries, including Britain.
Here in Britain, a crisis election is set to take place. Britain has a state debt of £870 billion – dwarfing Greece – and a budget deficit of £178 billion. Brown’s Chancellor Darling is pledging to cut the budget deficit in half in the next four years, if re-elected, while the Tories have pledged to hold an emergency budget, to make even bigger cuts, straight away.
Local councils and Strategic Health Authorities have already received their orders to decimate essential public services.
The capitalist governments of Europe are trembling. But the success of the Greek workers’ uprising and the coming uprising that will take place in Britain will depend upon the building of revolutionary parties all over Europe.
We urge all our readers here to join the Workers Revolutionary Party to fight for the establishment of a workers government and socialism, the only way out of the capitalist crisis for the working class and poor of Britain, Europe and the whole world.
Workers of all lands unite – you have nothing to lose but your chains. You have a world to win!