SOME 50,000 workers took part in two separated marches through the Athens city centre last Tuesday afternoon as part of the one-day general strike called by the GSEE (Greek TUC) and ADEDY (public sector workers’ federation) against a government Bill of mass sackings, closures, privatisations and tax hikes.
The strike was total in transport, ports and local government.
Very high percentages were reported in the civil service and the public sector. Journalists and printers staged just a four-hour stoppage.
Although banks, large stores and government officers were all shut in the Athens city centre, the strike was minimal throughout Greece in the banks, telecommunications and industrial sectors.
Marches took place in all Greek cities. In Athens one march was organised by trades unions the other, much smaller, by the Greek Communist Party.
The biggest contingents in the trades unions march where those of thousands of local government workers, municipal police and secondary school teachers; the government want to sack immediately some 15,000 of them.
Large section of the trades unions march were made up of health workers and civil servants.
There were dozens of delegations carrying their own banners but big unions, such as electricity and mines, railways and port workers, were represented by quite small delegations.
There was also a delegation from ERT, the state TV and radio network, which is still occupied, for the 35th day, by its workers.
The shouts for an indefinite general strike and the slogan for the bringing down of the government came from the Revolutionary Marxist League.
This was a march where a gigantic turn-out of workers was held back by the refusal of trades unions’ leaders critical of the GSEE-ADEDY treacherous bureaucrats, along with ‘lefts’ to challenge the current trade union leadership.
But despite the appearance of a giant protest march, the general strike mobilisation is part of the emerging revolution of the Greek working class.
At the end of the march, many thousands stood outside the Vouli (Greek parliament) shouting anti-government slogans and demanding an end to the government.
The Trotskyists of the Revolutionary Marxist League (RML) waged a campaign in the rallies and during the march calling for an indefinite political general strike, for the overthrow of the present troika imposed coalition government and capitalism, and for a workers and small farmers’ government.
The GSEE and ADEDY had organised night protest concerts outside the Vouli for Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Several trades unions have organised a march this Thursday against the visit to Athens of the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
The essence of the situation is that the old protest tactics are dead and they must be buried. The major issue is forward to the indefinite general strike to prepare the way for the Greek socialist revolution.
The building up rapidly of the Revolutionary Marxist League into a revolutionary party will be a central part of this development.