As the hated politicians of Greece gather in their Parliament today to vote through yet more cuts to meet the demands of the EU and the robber-bankers, it is ever clearer that trade union struggle and socialist change is a necessity to stop the complete impoverishment of future generations.
In the countries at the 'periphery' of the EU – Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland – the prospect of a future of mass unemployment, especially for young people, prolonged recession and growing impoverishment, is all that the capitalist politicians can offer.
But the policies of austerity, born out of the determination to make workers pay for the crisis, are serving only to further depress the economy.
Sister organisations of the Socialist Party in the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) in Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain have produced a joint declaration - "International struggle can end dictatorship of the markets" - calling for European-wide action to stop the attacks on workers' living standards: http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/5573
In Greece, the Troika (IMF, ECB and EU) are trying to impose a new round of severe cuts, with the Parliament voting on a package that includes huge cuts in the minimum wage, plus the immediate axing of of 15,000 public sector jobs as part of the destruction of 150,000 jobs in total by 2015. Yet the Troika are saying that this still isn't enough!
The minimum wage will be cut by 22% to just 480 euros net per month. For under 25 year olds, it's a 32% cut, which means living on 430 euros a month. But the worst affected are the young so-called ‘apprentices’. They will see their monthly wage cut to a mere 350 euros.
The Greek section of the CWI has issued an "u rgent call to all the Greek Left", saying that:
The vast majority of the Left all agree that this government must go and that the Troika must be forced out. We also agree that the only way to do this is through a mass movement. Calls such as "rebellion everywhere” are commonplace. But we believe that such general demands now have to be urgently translated into concrete proposals for action.
It would be a grave mistake if the Left puts all its hopes in a mass mobilisation tomorrow, hoping that this could cause the fall of the government. We propose the following measures:
•To start a permanent occupation of Sindagma Square (or another alternative).
• Unite behind the slogan: "Down with the government, kick out the Troika."
• Above all we must broaden the movement: increasing the duration of our strikes, our most important weapon. We must also organise the youth, with occupations across schools and colleges.
• Call an assembly of all the forces of the Left to organise a united struggle.
UPDATE: For a report from the demonstrations - with up to half a million marching in Athens alone - go to: http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/5582