Eighth General Strike Shuts Down Half Greek Economy

Demonstrators resisted the usual police violence

On Wednesday, Greek workers took part in their eighth one day general strike since ‘centre-left’ Prime Minister Prime Minister George Papandreou started imposing drastic cuts and attacks on working class conditions. The strike was called by the GSEE private sector union confederation, and ADEDY, its equivalent organisation in the public sector. It was the first such strike of 2011, and in line with the union bosses’ token policy of calling workers out once every few months, while their colleagues in government get on with their work of destroying people’s lives.

Public transport was severely hit, and Athens airport had to cancel more than one hundred fights. Utility workers struck, alongside health professionals, tax collectors and lawyers. Many small businesses also closed for the day, with an estimated 120,0000 facing bankruptcy this year.

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement government is imposing gargantuan cuts, as part of its deal with the International Monetary Fund and European Union, which bailed-out the Greek state last year. Just this week, EU and IMF officials dictated that the Greek government must raise €50 billion from privatisations over the next four years – equal to 22% of the Greek economy.

Not accidentally, the date of the strike allowed workers to let off steam the day after the government passed a bill deregulating the so-called ‘closed professions’. Last summer, the ‘opening up’ of just one profession – that of truck driving – resulted in wildcat strikes, which the army were eventually brought in to crush.

Nonetheless, rank-and-file workers demonstrated in sixty cities and towns across Greece this week. In Athens, thirty thousand marched to the Greek parliament, where they chanted “Don’t obey the rich, fight back”, and faced the usual police violence, which was met by resistance from many demonstrators.

Workers are sabotaging ticket machines

With inflation at 5.9%, and the wages needed to cover living costs rapidly falling, there is a developing movement of people refusing to pay the spiralling costs of hospital fees, public transport and road tolls. Hundreds have taken part in the occupation of toll roads, while last Friday, a hundred transport workers taped up the ticket machines in Athens metro stations.

If the protest movement is to be successful in overturning the government’s ‘reforms’ – dictated from afar by international financial elite – they must completely break from the reformist unions, who aim to disarm any real challenge to the profit system. Like some groups of workers in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, they must start to build their own organisations from the bottom up, and ultimately they need to put forward their own programme for a reconstruction of society in the interest of their own class.


7 thoughts on “Eighth General Strike Shuts Down Half Greek Economy

  1. Mr_Kite

    2 quick corrections, i'll come back later to comment in detail..

    a)GSEE is the public sector union conf. and ADEDY the private sector one

    b)The demo had at least 100000. That number(30000)was the one that cops used in their next-day announcement to the press..lying misinforming as always


  2. Adam Ford

    For the benefit of Mr Kite: I've just checked the union confederation names, and I'm pretty sure I'm right. As for police 'underestimating' demo numbers, it wouldn't surprise me in the least!


  3. Anonymous

    The actual political system of Greece is not democracy, it is basically a sociocommunistic state regulated dictatorship.
    The people who vote in political elections and reelect the same political parties over and over again composed mainly by 1 million public servants and the 1,2-1,5 million people who work in closed services in private sector highly regulated by the state.
    Now by taking under concern also the families of those highly privileged working classes, the number of voters can easily reach 4-5 million people out of 10 million people of the total population of Greece, excluding the wealthy Greek classes (privileged with monopolistic markets), the older people (due to health issues they cannot vote) and young generations (under aged to vote) .
    So the democracy in Greece is highly regulated by the state and politically the system in Greece comes very close to political systems like in Libya, Egypt, Korea etc.
    In Greece there are only approximately 2-3 million people, Greeks and foreigners, who basically have no rights and they straggle to make a living in private sector and these people must also produce enough wealth in order to compensate the economic losses from the public sector and the highly regulated private sector. Of course this is impossible and for that reason Greece is in dept of 150% of GDP and this not by taking the actual Greek GDP which can make the dept more than 200%.
    Greece historically can be analyzed as another political example that when governments have the tendency of ruling and not managing the economy of the county in the name of ‘‘common good’’ and another sociocommunistic ideas, the form of government from democratic becomes dictatorial.


  4. Anonymous

    A fed Bear is a dead bear.
    Feeding Greece with grant aids, the West is creating another beast. Greece has created a virtual reality, with a very strong, enormous military, (330 Leopard tanks, F 16 jet fighters, a very powerful Navy, included up to date submarines, and more.)
    The Greek people never learned to pay their taxes …. Because no one is ever punished.
    To make things more interesting Greece has FREE HEALTH CARE, LUCRATIVE PENSIONS, and HIGH PAID JOBS, which they cannot afford either.
    So the WEST is feeding another Bear that soon or later will end in a DEAD BEAR.
    For each ALBANIAN who changes HIS NAME and HIS NATIONALITY from ALBANIAN to GREEK, the Greek Government pays a monthly pension of 400 Euro for life. Most of South East Albanians are getting Greeks pensions. The total is 2 Billion Euros per year and is increasing. Now most of old couples are divorcing, because if they stay together one won’t get the monthly payment.
    There is where Germany Grant GOES …Shame on GREECE, shame on GERMANY.


  5. Anonymous

    If you want Greece to be paid of, for it’s Enormous Army, Universal Free Health Care, Lucrative Pensions, and Taxes that they never Pay, then you pay by yourself, PAY OUT OF YOUR OWN POCKET.


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