Thursday, 24 May 2012

Solidarity with workers across Europe

As the crisis in capitalism grows deeper and deeper and the ruling classes look increasingly desperate for ordinary working people they haven’t seen this drop in living standards for a very very long time possibly ever.

In Britain, as in every country of Europe, millions of working people are following events in Greece with baited breath. In part this is because of fear of what the deepening economic crisis in the euro zone could mean for workers in Britain. But it is not the only reason. It is also because workers are inspired by the defiance of the Greek population.
Seventeen general strikes have shaken Greece in the course of the last two years as Greek workers have refused to accept the mass impoverishment demanded of them. And now the Greek working and middle classes have shouted their defiance in the elections - shattering the electoral base of the previous establishment parties - Pasok and New Democracy - and voting for those who opposed austerity.
Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left) was the biggest beneficiary of the anti-austerity mood in the recent Greek general election, increasing its vote from 4.6% to 16.78%.
Since then Syriza's principled stand, refusing to join a coalition that accepted more austerity and instead demanding a left government, has led to increasing support in opinion polls - as high as 26% - mostly topping the polls. This also shows the potential for left, anti-cuts candidates to make breakthroughs outside of Greece, including the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in Britain.
The right-wing and fascist Golden Dawn won 21 MPs in the 6 May elections but has since seen its support plummet in the polls. This gives an indication of how support for the far right can be undermined when a credible left alternative emerges. But it is also a warning of what could emerge if Syriza does not lead a battle against austerity.

All across Europe workers are being forced to accept austerity in Ireland next week people will go to the polls to vote on the European austerity treaty as socialists we call for a strong NO vote rejecting permanent austerity and being locked into a straight jacket in terms of Ireland’s options from this point on.

The capitalist classes of Europe are now cranking up the pressure on the Greek working class, trying to blackmail it into voting 'the right way' at the recall general election in June.
Typically Cameron has led the charge, crudely sending "a very clear message to the people of Greece: there is a choice - you can vote to stay in the euro, with all the commitments you made, or if you vote another way you're effectively voting to leave."
Cameron is attempting to turn the general election into a referendum on the euro. He is gambling on the fact that a majority of the Greek population still want to remain in the euro, fearing the prospect of being a small, isolated and impoverished country.
It was not the Greek people that made a "commitment" to endure endless misery. This was done by the previous government parties and, as a result, the Greek population punished them at the polls.
The policies demanded by the troika of the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, and implemented by Greek governments, have left sections of the Greek population destitute and the vast majority in terrible poverty.
The Greek economy has shrunk by 20% in four years, a catastrophe not seen in Europe since the 1930s. Public sector wages have fallen by 40%. The church is now feeding an average of 250,000 people each day as sections of the population literally face starvation.

As the pressure of the axe-men and women mounts on the Greek people to submit, the working class of Britain, along with workers across Europe, needs to send a resounding message to the Greek people: 'We stand 100% with your rejection of austerity. We support your struggle and will step up the battle to stop cuts and defend living conditions in our own countries, as the best means of assisting your struggle. If, as is overwhelmingly likely, the capitalist classes of Europe force you out of the euro zone, you will not be isolated - the workers of Europe stand in solidarity with you.'
What better support could workers in Britain give to workers in Greece than by bringing down the hated Con-Dem government?
It is not only in Greece but across Europe that the working class has rejected austerity on the streets and at the ballot box. The defeat of Sarkozy in France and of Merkel's party in Germany's most populous state, the huge vote against the Con-Dem's in Britain's local elections, plus the local election results in Italy; are all electoral indications of a growing tidal wave of opposition to austerity.
The battle against austerity must be linked to struggle against capitalism - a system in a profound crisis. It is not the supposed past profligacy of the peoples of Greece, Spain, Ireland or Britain that has led to the current catastrophe but the economic crisis of capitalism, and the past and current profligacy of the financiers and speculators who dominate the economy.
The euro zone has become an austerity zone, where all the problems of the capitalist crisis are intensified. We as Socialists always warned that the euro, a single currency for very different economies, would not work on a capitalist basis.
When the world economy was growing it could appear a success, but in a crisis it would become a terrible trap for the working classes of Europe.
The leaders of the euro zone, headed by German capitalism, are trying to overcome the crisis by driving the working class into the dirt.
Cameron is applying the same policy in Britain. But this is exacerbating the economic crisis and is creating a gigantic revolt. It is fear of a deepening of the economic crisis and, above all, of the revolt that is coming, that is forcing the leading representatives of capitalism, including Obama, to put pressure on German capitalism to move towards some measures to stimulate the euro zone’s economies.
The economic crisis is not caused by a lack of profits for big business. The capitalists have huge piles of cash. The Wall Street Journal estimates that in the US, the euro zone, the UK and Japan, some $7.75 trillion in cash, is sitting in the vaults of big business.
Because the capitalists refuse to invest this money, we call for an immediate 50% levy on it, in order for it to be used for a massive programme of investment in public work and job creation. However, there is no prospect of capitalist governments carrying out this kind of serious stimulus, which would create howls of outrage, and opposition, from their big business backers.

So let’s join together across Europe and look across borders and see we are all fighting the same enemy and that if we unite across borders workers can finally feel their huge strength they do hold. Once workers in Europe break out of their chains the tide will turn very quickly. In Britain we can do our bit by helping to bring down this weak rotten con-dem government which is intent on making the poor pay for a crisis they did not create. This October on the TUC demonstration we also need to have placards and banners with messages of solidarity with Greek, Spanish, Irish and Portuguese workers on this will scare the ruling class’s with the ideas and solidarity that is spreading like wild fire across Europe as we speak.

Its time to fight back, its time to unite but most of all stand together.

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