Greece on the brink of revolutionary explosion

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YESTERDAY, there were major clashes on the streets of Athens as 6,000 riot police clashed with tens of thousands of workers and youth who were marching on the first anniversary of the police shooting to death of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, on December 6, 2008.

On Saturday night, armed police raided a working class district of Piraeus seeking to arrest the youth who were preparing to lead Sunday’s march.

Their pretext was that they were looking for explosives!

The reality is the only kind of explosion that Greece is heading towards is a revolutionary explosion, the detonator being the collapse and indebtedness of the Greek economy.

Last week, masses of young workers were marching in Athens on a daily basis over the just-elected ‘socialist’ government’s plans to sack 100,000 ‘stage’, temporary contract workers.

The government is arbitrarily ripping up their contracts while the young workers are determined to win full-time, permanent status.

This is the essence of the Greek capitalist crisis. The ruling class is under orders from the EU to sack 100,000 young people, who are determined not just to keep their jobs but to win permanent employment status.

The conflict of opposite classes has reached the point where it must be resolved through a workers’ revolution.

Meanwhile, a court in Athens has rubbed salt into the wounds of the working class by declaring ‘illegal’ the current national strike by local government workers.

The fact that this counter-revolutionary policy is being carried out by the social democratic Papandreou government is making this situation all the more revolutionary.

The Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has acknowledged that the weekend is a ‘crucial moment’ for his new socialist government and for the nation.

At the centre of the Greek political crisis is the world crisis of capitalism and the way that it has destroyed the Greek economy.

Greece’s central bank chief, George Provopoulos, has volunteered to take a 20 per cent salary cut to try to stave off the settlement of accounts.

The wage cut also applies to the bank’s two deputy governors and the members of its monetary policy committee.

Greece is set to become the European Union’s most indebted country in relation to the size of its economy. Its budget deficit is approaching more than 12 per cent of GDP. National debt is 113 per cent of GDP now and is projected to reach 135 per cent of GDP by 2011. Its nearest rival in this respect is the UK!

By drastically reducing public expenditure, the ‘socialist’ government says it will trim the budget deficit by 3.6 percentage points to 9.1 per cent of GDP next year.

Eurogroup finance committee chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said on Sunday that the country must take ‘harsh’ measures to shore up its economy.

The Greek ‘socialist’ government has been given until January to present a viable Stability Pact to Brussels.

There is now an open debate taking place in the EU as to what will happen if Greece needs crisis help from other members of the eurozone.

‘Speculating about the scenario where Abu Dhabi has left Dubai to its own devices instinctively conjures images of Greece left hung out to dry by its fellow eurozone members,’ Marco Annunziata, chief economist at UniCredit Group in London said. A similar speculation is beginning about what to do if the UK economy disintegrates.

There is only one remedy for this deepening crisis of capitalism. This is the organisation of the socialist revolution by the Revolutionary Marxist League in Greece and the WRP in the UK, and the building of the Fourth International throughout Europe.