WITH the EU’s bankers and bosses spurring him on, Greece’s ‘socialist’ leader, Papandreou, has vowed to tackle the country’s economic crisis and impose the same kind of savage cuts that have just been adopted by the Irish government.
With the Greek stock market collapsing, the bosses of the EU are worried that Greece will default on its debt, and are demanding that Papandreou take drastic action.
On Thursday, the Greek government said that its debt stood at 300 billion euros (£272bn), the highest level in its modern history.
The public deficit is set to surge to 12.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year while its national debt already totals 113% of GDP.
Greek workers who brought down the regime of colonels in 1974 are determined that there will be no return to a military-police regime, and that they are going to go forward to socialism.
They are furious that the strike of short-contract workers was declared illegal and that the leaders of the unions involved were threatened with jail.
Greek youth are on the march demanding permanent jobs and fighting the riot police that murdered the 15 year old boy Alexis Grigoropoulos, one year ago.
Papandreou, meanwhile, has the EU leaders demanding an ‘Irish solution’ to the Greek crisis, that is the implementation of the most savage cuts on the working class and the poor while, on the other hand, the working class, with the youth in the vanguard, are already threatening to overthrow his ‘socialist government’.
In Ireland, the working class and the youth are up in arms and demanding a general strike to bring down the Cowen government after its savage budget attacks.
The Irish TUC is aghast at the spectre of revolution that Cowen and Lenihan have ushered in, with even the police preparing to strike.
The Irish bourgeois medicine for the working class is:
• Welfare payments cut by 4.1%
• Child benefit cut by 16 euros per month
• The Jobseekers’ Allowance cut by 50% for workers aged 20 and 21, and by 20% for new starters aged between 22 and 24, and in cases where job offers have been refused
• Public sector wage cuts are to be 5% on the first 30,000 euros of salary, 7.5% on the next 40,000 euros and 10% on the next 55,000 euros of salary
• Public sector pensions to be linked to average salary across career, rather than final salary
• Hospital consultants pay to be cut by up to 15%
• A new ‘universal social contribution’, which will replace employee PRSI, the Health Levy and the Income Levy
• The minimum pension age for new public servants will be increased from 65 to 66 – then linked to increases in the State pension age.
Finance Minister Lenihan made the point in his budget speech that these measures, cutting spending by 4bn euros, were not the last of the ‘adjustments’. He also admitted that the Pensions Levy introduced earlier had already cut public sector wages by seven per cent.
The same kind of attack on the working class and youth is about to be mounted in Greece, the UK, Spain, France and Germany.
In Britain, the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement is already running at 12% of GDP, while the government calculates that by the end of 2014-15 the national debt will have reached 78% of GDP.
Spain’s debt is expected to hit 67% of GDP next year, while in France and Germany the class struggle is sharpening.
All over Europe the class struggle is being driven by the crisis towards a revolutionary leap.
The issue of the hour is the building of sections of the Fourth International all over Europe to lead the developing European Socialist Revolution to its victory.