THE Greek ‘socialist’ Prime Minister George Papandreou has announced austerity measures to attack the country’s working class, youth, urban middle class and small farmers, to rescue the Greek capitalists from the enormous crisis that grips them.
Papandreou is to impose a public sector pay freeze, in reality a savage wage cut, with the cost of living soaring, and fuel duty increases, which will again push up food prices, and cripple Greece’s small farmers.
The prime minister said tough measures were needed to resolve the ‘unprecedented crisis’, including a 10 per cent cut in wages and spending in the public sector, and a higher retirement age.
He said that Greece, i.e. the Greek capitalist class was ‘hurtling towards a cliff’. The bill for saving them from destruction is to be paid by the working class and the small farmers.
Papandreou told the Greek people that the EU was piling on the pressure to take even severer measures to cut the Greek capitalist budget deficit which is four times greater than the EU’s permitted three per cent.
Already the German economist Otmar Issing, one of the main architects of the EU’s euro, has warned that any ‘rescue’ of Greece by the EU central banks is ‘out of the question’.
He said: ‘These reforms which are needed will bring blood and tears . . . but without that, Greece will never overcome the difficulties,’ Further, ‘Any sign that help might come, would undermine the efforts which are needed to reform the Greek economy.’
He added for good measure: ‘I am convinced Greece will not default, if it recognises the situation and takes the right decisions, but I would be rather cool against any threat of default. The option of leaving the monetary union, in reality, is not an option for Greece, because it would come close to committing economic suicide.’
There is going to be no rescue since Issing is terrified of ‘contagion’, because all of the major EU states are in breach of the three per cent budget deficit limit.
Papandreou has called on all political parties to support his measures.
The EU commission will give its support to the Greek austerity measures but only on condition that it becomes the auditor of the Greek government.
Greece’s budget deficit is to be shrunk from 12.7 per cent of GDP down to 9.1 per cent this year, before plunging to less than three per cent by 2012.
Indeed, the Greek ruling class and the EU Commission are planning blood, sweat and tears for the Greek workers, youth and small farmers.
There is no doubt that their reply will be revolutionary. Millions will take to the streets and state boldly, ‘We will not commit suicide, it is Greek capitalism that will have to go!’
The austerity measures face an immediate challenge when public sector workers take strike action next week.
Farmers are already blocking major roads across the country in a bid to get financial help from the government, and many sections of workers are already taking or discussing taking strike action.
Meanwhile the eyes of the working class of Europe are on Greece, and the explosion of the class struggle that will take place in the period immediately ahead.
This response of the Greek workers will constitute the beginning of the struggle for the European socialist revolution and will spread rapidly to Ireland, which has already been hit by savage cuts, and to France and Germany where workers are already taking action to defend their rights.
British workers, as well, should take notice of the medicine that the Greek bosses and the ‘socialist’ Papandreou are attempting to force down the throats of the Greek workers.
The UK is heading for a Greek style £178bn budget deficit, also around 12 per cent of GDP. Either the ‘socialist’ Brown, or the Tory Cameron, or a combination of both trends, will seek to administer the same medicine here.
Today, as the class struggle in Europe hurtles forward, the main issue is building sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International to lead the European socialist revolution to its victory.