The Greek working class and youth have delivered a deadly blow against the conservative government of Kostas Karamanlis and his neo-liberal policies in Sunday’s general election by voting for the Social Democratic PASOK party of Yiorghos Papandreou, who is the new Prime Minister.
The US President Barak Obama was the first of the international leaders to congratulate him.
The Social Democrats won 44 per cent of the vote and would have a majority of ten parliamentary deputies in the new Vouli (Greek parliament).
The Greek conservatives received 33.5 per cent, their worst ever result, which forced Karamanlis to resign for the party’s leadership.
Both the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and the Coalition of the Radical Left lost votes receiving 7.5 and 4.5 per cent respectively.
The racist LAOS party’s vote rose to 5.6 per cent of the total votes cast.
Abstentions reached a high 30 per cent.
The election result has sharpened the political crisis of the Greek capitalist class.
The power of the Greek workers’ vote has frightened the bourgeoisie and the PASOK leaders – one of them stated in a television programme that he would have preferred if the conservatives had not suffered such a blow.
This significant election result must be understood in the context of recent European election outcomes where conservative or social democratic governments which carried out class war against the working class were heavily defeated.
Last Sunday, Greek workers and youth expressed their class hatred against the counter-revolutionary Karamanlis government which followed the diktats of the European Union and international bankers.
These are: make the workers pay for the crisis of capitalism by imposing high unemployment, ‘flexible’ working conditions, slashing wages and pensions and destroying welfare, health and education.
The Greek election result carries a historical significance and it is a clear vindication of the young workers’ and students’ Uprising last December which demanded the overthrow of the hated Karamanlis government.
Leading Ministers of the Karamanlis Cabinet lost their parliamentary seats; among them the all powerful Minister for Finance and both the Minister and Assistant Minister for Employment.
The general secretary of the Greek conservatives also lost his seat.
The election result will be setting off a crisis process within the Stalinist leadership of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) which lost more than one hundred thousands votes.
Significantly the KKE’s worst results came from the solid working class areas of the big cities.
Throughout the Karamanlis government, the Stalinists refused to mobilise workers and fought against occupations of factories and universities.
In last December’s Uprising the KKE leaders branded as ‘agents of intelligence services’, the workers and youth who demanded the overthrow of the Karamanlis ‘government of murderers’ following the killing of a school-boy by police.
The world crisis of capitalism and the resistance of the Greek workers and youth have sent the Karamanlis regime to the dustbin.
The social democratic leader Yiorghos Papandreou has stated that he would be forcing through the ‘necessary reforms’ in accordance with the demands made by Brussels and the international bankers.
Greek capitalism is bankrupt and the state has yet to secure next month’s pensions and wages.
Greece’s public debt is now over 110 of the GNP and this year’s Budget deficit will reach a record 10 per cent.
Papandreou will intensify the class war against Greece’s working class, youth and small farmers; but as the election result shows, Greek workers are in a militant fighting position and already the Piraeus port workers are carrying out the first of a series of 48-hours strikes against privatisation and the railway workers are mobilising against a management plan to sack about 3,000 of them.
Short-term, 700-euros-a-month, young workers are organising demonstrations and occupations demanding properly paid permanent jobs.
Students in universities and colleges have said that there was no way they would allow the government to implement a reactionary law – passed early this year – imposing huge cuts and taking away students’ rights.
Greek workers and youth will fight the new bourgeois regime of Yiorghos Papandreou in a more determined way than ever.
They will have to confront and defeat the treachery of the Stalinist party and of the trade union bureaucracy.
This means building a new leadership in the trade unions and in the working class.
As the world economic crisis forces Papandreou to attack workers with all means in his disposal, huge strikes and demonstrations will break out in the spirit of last December’s uprising.
In this period, the historic mission for workers and youth is the building a mass revolutionary socialist party which must fight for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a workers’ and small peasants’ government.
This is the task and the programme of the Revolutionary Marxist League, the Greek Section of the International Committee of the Fourth International.