THE Greek working class has been pushed right to the brink of revolution this week with the passage of a bill in the Vouli (Greek Parliament) early on Thursday approving the sacking of 15,000 local government workers.
By a narrow vote of 153-140, the 300-strong parliament approved these new measures being imposed by the troika of the EC, the European Central Bank and the IMF, as a condition of the new bail-out of eight billion euros (£5.8bn) required to stop the Greek government from going bust and the entire country being declared officially bankrupt.
The response of the official leadership of the GSEE (Greek TUC) and ADEDY (public sector workers federation) was to call for a one-day general strike which saw 50,000 workers march through Athens on Tuesday led by local government workers, municipal police and secondary school teachers who are in the immediate firing line for instant dismissal under this savage new round of austerity.
It is now becoming crystal clear that Greek workers are being pushed into an all-out confrontation with the government and the capitalist state that cannot be resolved through just one-day strikes and protests but only through the revolutionary struggle to bring down the right-wing coalition government of Antonis Samaras and bring in a workers and small farmers government.
That confrontation is unavoidable is confirmed by news from Germany that on top of the eight billion euro bail-out there is still a shortfall of 10 billion required to stop Greek capitalism from immediately going bust.
The Greek ruling class are conscious that they have only a very limited amount of time to organise the state forces for an all-out class war.
This was demonstrated yesterday when a visit to Athens by the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, just hours after the Vouli vote, resulted in a security cordon being thrown around the Greek capital.
Using laws passed by the military junta in 1971, Athens was in a state of ‘lock-down’ all day from 9.am until 8pm with all marches and protests of more than three people being made illegal.
On a previous visit by Schaeuble, who is hated by Greek workers as the main architect of the austerity measures, this law was also invoked but demonstrations outside the Vouli were still permitted.
But not today, as it becomes clear that every vestige of the democratic right to protest has to be swept aside by a capitalist state that is increasingly turning towards violent dictatorship in its desperation to hold back the working class.
None of these measures, however, has intimidated the workers.
The news of the ‘lock-down’ was immediately met with a call from scores of trade unions for a rally in Athens last night and a march on parliament at 5.30pm in open defiance of the ban, setting the scene for an explosive confrontation between workers and the capitalist state.
Despite all attempts by the treacherous reformist and Stalinist leaders of the unions to restrict action to one-day general strikes, the Greek working class is being forced to move far beyond the bounds of protest into revolutionary confrontation with capitalism and its repressive state apparatus.
The demand for an all-out general strike to bring down the Samaras government has been taken up by the working class as the only way forward.
Such a general strike immediately poses in its sharpest form the whole question of power, of going forward from bringing down the government to replacing it with a workers and small farmers government that will advance to socialism.
The Greek revolution, as part of the European socialist revolution, is developing by the hour with the revolutionary struggles of Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Britain not far behind, as workers in every country are forced to fight for their very existence against bankrupt capitalism.
The urgent task of the hour is to build revolutionary parties, sections of the Fourth International, in every country to lead the developing European socialist revolution to its victory.