Greek students defeat privatisation attack


THE Greek right-wing government has been forced to withdraw its plans to push through the Greek parliament, an Education Bill, and a revision of the Greek Constitution to allow it to privatise the education system.

University and technical colleges students and lecturers yesterday claimed a great victory, while the EU Commission which has been ordering the Greek government to slash government expenditure is furious over the defeat.

The Greek government was defeated by an explosive and revolutionary movement of students and lecturers which occupied the universities, and refused to be intimidated when the state mobilised its special squads of armed riot police.

However, the key point of victory was reached when the mass student movement began to mobilise the working class against the Greek TUC leaders, the PASOK social democratic party and the PKK Communist Party, which all opposed the mass movement that occupied the universities, and had tried to prevent the working class from joining it.

The government gave way when the workers in the trade unions turned their backs on their mis-leaders and began to join the action. At that point the Karamanlis government withdrew the bill.

This victory for the Greek workers follows on from the mass actions in France of last April and May when the masses of the students, the working class youth and the trade unions forced the government to scrap legislation that had already been passed in the French National Assembly, allowing employers to super-exploit youth and sack all young workers under 26 without any notice.

This movement was a continuation of the revolt of the urban youth against the state in France in November 2005, and also of the historic vote by the French working class to reject the EU constitution because its essential social policy was mass privatisation and complete deregulation.

This deeply rooted movement then spread to Italy and forced the removal of the Berlusconi regime, responsible for Italy’s entry into the Iraq war, and for massive attacks on the Italian Welfare State.

Greece was meanwhile simmering under a series of EU organised attacks on the working class and the poor, that provoked a number of stormy strike actions such as the recent seafarers strike.

The movement then exploded on the issue of the privatisation of the universities, with the necessary volcanic force to blow the treacherous social democratic and Stalinist union and political leaders out of the way, to win a big victory for the Greek and European working class.

This explosive movement of the European working class, a real tidal wave, is fast approaching Britain, where tensions over the attacks on the NHS, the privatisation of state education, the ending of final salary pensions, the shoot-to-kill assaults on basic rights, and the selling off of council housing have reached breaking point.

Here the trade union leaders are welded to the capitalist state which relies on them to police the working class and betray it as and when required. When faced with a struggle to defend jobs or basic rights these leaders whine that they can do nothing because of bad laws.

However, there is no doubt that the class explosion here will be, if anything, greater than continental Europe. It will overwhelm the union leaders and threaten the existence of the state itself.

The crucial question will be the development of the revolutionary leadership and its preparedness to lead the working class to take the power and smash capitalism.

It is very clear that the socialist revolution has come to Europe. It is also very clear that the working class has the force to do the job, but what it lacks is the revolutionary leadership to direct the struggle and see it through to the taking of power and the establishment of socialism.

The question of the hour is the building up of the revolutionary leadership of the WRP and sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International all over Europe.