Greek General Strike Today

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University students  marching in Greece – the banner reads ‘Overthrow the government’
University students marching in Greece – the banner reads ‘Overthrow the government’

THE General Council of the ADEDY (public sector trades unions federation) has called another 48-hour national strike for today and tomorrow against the destruction of the public sector, hospitals, schools and services, and tens of thousands of mass sackings carried out by the Greek coalition government on the orders of the EC and IMF.

ADEDY said that, in collaboration with the GSEE (Greek TUC), a one-day general strike has been called for today, Tuesday 24 September.

Dozens of anti-fascist rallies and marches have been held in many Athens and Piraeus districts as well in all Greek cities.

At the Kokkinia district, where the rap artist Pavlos Fyssas was murdered by a member of the fascist Golden Dawn party in the early hours of last Wednesday, over 3,000 seafarers, industrial workers and youth marched again on Saturday morning demanding the closing down of the Golden Dawn offices and the smashing up of the fascists.

Riot police once again protected the Golden Dawn offices while in other marches riot police unleashed vicious tear-gas and truncheon attacks on demonstrators.

In the Athens area of Dafni an ‘off-duty’ policeman drew his pistol and, according to eye-witness reports, fired three-shots in the air against demonstrators.

Over 100 demonstrators were arrested by police on top of another hundred last Thursday. Police announced that 24 demonstrators were charged and will appear in court on Thursday, 26 September.

Yiorghos Roupakias, the 45-years-old fascist killer, has been charged with premeditated murder.

The Greek Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias last Friday said that his Ministry compiled a list of some 30 serious violent attacks by Golden Dawn in the last two years; this list has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), Alexis Tsipras, stated that he is against outlawing Golden Dawn.

For today and tomorrow, mass strike rallies and demonstrations have also been organised for Athens and for all Greek cities by the GSEE and ADEDY.

These mobilisations though have a protest character as the trades union bureaucracy and the Stalinist KKE are vehemently against an indefinite general strike and a fight to overthrow the government.

The state secondary school teachers’ union OLME held a national conference on Saturday where, following a marathon session, a 48-hour national strike was decided for yesterday and today by a majority of 82 per cent.

The proposal for another five-day national strike got 65.7 per cent just short of the 66.6 per cent majority required by the OLME rules. But 56 out of 85 OLME branches at general meetings last Thursday decided for a five-day strike.

Secondary school teachers, as shown by the record high strike participation figures of last week, are determined and fighting but the lefts in OLME, who supported the five-day strike, are neither willing nor capable of carrying out a political fight against the union’s right-wingers and Stalinists, who were united behind the 48-hour strike call.

At OLME meetings and conferences the right-wing of the union dared not call for a vote against the strike so they lined up behind the Stalinists of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) who said that they are not fighting for the overthrow of the government but against the government’s policies.

But at the OLME meetings the lefts of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and of the anti-capitalist ANTARSYA refused to fight against the Stalinists’ treacherous position and also refused to mobilise teachers in a struggle to force the ADEDY and GSEE bureaucrats to call an indefinite political general strike.

The timidness and hesitancy of the left OLME leadership was clearly exposed last week.

The decision for occupations was restricted to just a couple of hours occupation of the Education Directorates.

Not a single mobilisation was organised against the HQs of the District Authorities where the lists of sacked teachers were drawn up.

Not a single mobilisation at the offices of GSEE and ADEDY was organised to force an indefinite strike.

Not a single meeting was organised with the leaders of the major trades unions federations of the public and private sectors.

Instead of centralised decisive leadership, the OLME executive delegated its powers to local branches for local events of a few dozens as opposed to tens of thousands at the Athens demonstrations who were limited – and this is indicative – to central Athens when the GSEE and ADEDY offices were just half-mile away.

When speakers of the Revolutionary Marxist League (RML – Greek section of the Fourth International) called for such actions, the lefts simply ignored the calls while the KKE speakers attacked the proposals for a united front in the public sector, for an indefinite political strike, for the overthrow of the government, for a workers and small farmers socialist government.

Despite the 48-hour ADEDY national all-public sector workers’ strike last week, and last Thursday’s huge Athens demonstration – the biggest public workers’ march – the teachers’ strike was weakening day by day as teachers felt that this is all a protest and not an all-out fight.

The essence is that the left OLME leaders, along with the Stalinists of the KKE, do not want a struggle for an indefinite general strike, neither do they want a fight for the overthrow of the government.

In today’s conditions this is out-and-out treachery.

As pointed out by the RML in their leaflets, today’s revolutionary conditions demand a revolutionary leadership and the building of a mass revolutionary party for workers’ power.

Last Sunday evening OLME and Greek State TV and Radio ERT workers, who are in the fourth month of their occupation, organised a demonstration and a concert by hip-hop artists in the memory of Pavlos Fyssas.

In the city of Salonica last Friday riot police were stationed outside the ERT building.

Last week once again the Public Television Minister Kapsis called for an end to the ‘illegal’ occupations.