Europe against Austerity Action Conference Statement and Report

Europe is plunging deeper and deeper into crisis. Its governments are continuing with their failed austerity policies in spite of the ever-increasing struggles of the peoples of Europe in defence of the social and economic gains that they have made over many decades. The economic crisis has increasingly become a social and political crisis as people face poverty, hunger and even death, as a result of the catastrophic and government-imposed failure of health systems and social services. The far right is attempting to profit politically from the suffering inflicted on working people and vulnerable groups are being targeted together with those most militant in their opposition to the re-emergence of fascism.

Across Europe we are seeing escalating opposition and resistance to austerity: in Greece, in Spain and in Portugal, we have seen huge mobilisations, and in some areas an increase in the unity on the left so desperately needed. Yesterday in London, we saw a vast demonstration, led by the trade unions, and drawing together people from all walks of life in opposition to the savage and unnecessary cuts to public spending. There can be no mistaking that this class war against working people must be opposed even more strenuously.

At this conference today we commit ourselves to continuing to develop and consolidate the ongoing cooperation between organisations fighting austerity across Europe, to stand in solidarity with those on the front line of the struggle – most notably in Greece, and to work together to strengthen the economic, social and political alternatives to neo-liberal capitalism and the austerity policies it has adopted.

We will work together in the months ahead, cooperating for the ETUC Day of Action on 14 November, moving towards the Alter Summit in 2013, and increasing our work for left and movement unity, for common action, mutual solidarity, communication and coordination.

London, 21 October 2012

Over a hundred delegates packed into the Coalition of Resistance’s conference at the Unite the Union headquarters in London on Sunday afternoon, to strengthen anti-austerity coordination across Europe.

The event followed a massive anti-cuts demonstration on Saturday 20th October, called by the British TUC. Speakers included parliamentarians Marisa Matias MEP, from Bloco de Esquerda in Portugal, Stefanos Samoilis MP, from SYRIZA in Greece, and Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP from the UK. Other participants included trade unions from across the continent, as well as left and green parties and representatives from a wide range of social movements.

Sessions included Eurocrisis – Into the Abyss, a very informative debate on the economy including representatives from CADTM, NEF, SYRIZA and Elisabeth Gauthier from Transform and the PCF; The Shape of the Resistance, which included representatives from OLME in Greece and Front de Gauche in France, plus a lively contribution from Florian Wilde from Die Linke in Germany; No to neo-liberal education, which included representatives from teachers’ unions, the NUT, DOE and FSU; and Actions, co-operation and the timeline to Athens 2013 which addressed concrete steps in our joint work. Speakers included Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party in England and Wales and Vladimir Nieddu from SUD Sante in France. Frederic Leplat moved the conference statement on behalf of the Coalition of Resistance.

The conference expressed strong support for the ETUC Day of Action on 14thNovember and there was extensive discussion about the role of different types of action in taking the movement forward, including general strike action. Whilst Europe has seen a large number of one day general strike actions over the last year, it has not been sufficient to bring an end to austerity programmes. Britain itself has not seen a general strike since 1926 but it is now on the agenda at the highest trade union levels, including consideration by the TUC itself. Discussion also focused on the need for a clear and positive alternative to austerity and the vision of a different type of Europe, in the interests of ordinary people, which we can achieve if we work together. The importance of international solidarity was repeatedly stressed especially with regard to Greece. Delegates from Greece emphasized their urgent need for an increase in solidarity action, particularly from the trade union movement. The conference concluded by committing to working towards the Alter Summit in 2013.

An anti-fascist appeal from Greece

Dear Comrades,

A survey published yesterday (7/9/2012) confirms the continuous rise of the Golden Dawn neo-nazis. They are credited with 12% of vote intentions far ahead of the PASOK (7.5%) and other minor parties (the Democratic Left would obtain 4% and the Communist Party 6%). Syriza comes first with 30% ahead of New Democracy – credited with 28%. Nobody can pretend anymore that Golden Dawn is …

a “temporary phenomenon” and that there is no direct threat to workers movements and the left.

Indeed, a common misconception regarding the nature of Golden Dawn needs to be debunked. Golden Dawn has absolutely nothing in common with the French National Front of the Le Pen family, nor with Vlamms Belang in Belgium, nor even with any far right party of the post-1945 Europe. Golden Dawn is already publicly undertaking the physical liquidation of immigrants, gypsies, national minorities (notably the Turcs of Thrace), homosexuals and militants of the left. The constant aggressions are following one another and dead corpses are accumulating.

As for the ideology of Golden Dawn, here is a “testimony” which speaks for itself: the neonazi deputy (!) Artemios Matheopoulos, bassist of a band named “Pogrom” (!), has composed songs with “eloquent” lyrics. Here is a sample – a song called “Auschwitz”:

Fuck Wiesenthal
fuck Anna Frank
fuck Abraham’s race
David’s Star makes me puke
ah, Auschwitz how I love you!
You, shit Jews, I will not leave you
on the Wailing Wall, I will rather piss on you
Juden Raus! I am burning in Auschwitz…

So Comrades, will we remain spectators to the repetition of the 1920s and 1930s European tragedy? Will we -at last – mobilize in a unitary anti-fascist mass struggle on a continental scale? And do not forget: time is desperately pressing.

Antifascist salutations,

Yorgos Mitralias

 

Miners Enter Madrid After 18-Day ‘Black March’

 

Recibimiento histórico de la Marcha Negra en Madrid (with English subtitles)

Miners arrive in Madrid – 10th July  (click here to watch video)

Secuencia resumida de la llegada de la Marcha Negra a Madrid durante la noche del 10 de julio. Miles de personas abarrotaron las calles del centro de la capital de España durante más de 4 horas para mostrar su apoyo a los mineros y agradecerles su lucha contra los recortes públicos.

After marching for two weeks, the miners entered the Spanish capital. They are on an open-ended strike against the sacrifice of their coal industry. Along the roadside, thousands have cheered and encouraged them. At each stage of their odyssey, they have been welcomed as heroes. While Spain is sinking into depression, the miners have raised their heads, and with them, the victims of the economic crisis. Arriving from Asturias, León, Aragon, Castile-La Mancha, and Andalusia, over 500 miners were expected at the Puerta del Sol, the social epicenter of Madrid, on the evening of July 10, following an 18-day march.

Calling out to public opinion and the authorities

The miners were to march at nightfall in blue working clothes, with helmet and lantern, as they have done since May 23, when the conflict began. Several other miners have locked themselves in their mine shafts to call out to public opinion and the authorities. The right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy has dispatched thousands of riot police to the villages and the mining regions, where they are exercising violent repression against the miners, who are forcefully defending their means of production. “The government has transformed the mining conflict into a symbol. The people identify with the miners because the people have had to put up with many budget cuts without being able to react,” Candido Mendez, the general secretary of the UGT, said on Spanish national radio on July 9. He added: “There’s a combination of obscurantism and authoritarianism. Things are worsening and the executive branch lacks transparency.”

Using the economic crisis as a pretext, the People’s Party government announced in May a a 190-million-euro reduction in government subsidies to the mining sector, which amounts to a 63% reduction in subsidies and means the death of coal and anthracite mining. Since then, the miners have been on an open-ended strike, in the absence of negotiations between representatives of the sector and José Manuel Soria Lopez, the minister for industry, energy and tourism. Soria Lopez closed the door on dialogue and called into question the “Coal Plan” which stipulates that government subsidies are to be maintained until 2018.

Thousands of jobs threatened.

Over 8,000 direct jobs and 33,000 indirect jobs are now endangered. “This is nonsense,” insisted Candido Mendez. “The government is defending a jobs plan at the European level, but in our country it’s throwing the mine workers and their families out into the street. It says that there are unlimited funds to save Bankia (the fourth-largest banking firm) but that there isn’t any when it comes to respecting the signed agreement.”

The authorities are hiding behind the European Union to justify their decision. And yet Brussels, after having demanded the end of government subsidies two years ago, in the name of “competitiveness,” ultimately authorized their continuation until 2018. For its part, the mining sector is insisting on the economic aberration of closing mines whereas Spain is already being forced to import coal. For example, Asturias, which only yesterday was the flagship of coal mining, now imports 70% of the coal it consumes.

The miners were to demonstrate on July 11 outside the Ministry of Industry. They guarantee that there is no going back for their movement.

Eurogroup “aid” in exchange for more austerity.

In the face of the untenable rise of interest rates on Spanish treasury bonds to over 7%, the finance ministers of the Eurogroup decided to advance 30 billion euros to Madrid on an emergency basis by July 30, on the scheduled aid, so that it can recapitalize its ailing banks. The Spanish government also obtained an additional year’s time, until 2014, to bring the government deficit down to 3%. In exchange for these measures, Madrid has been “invited” to redouble its efforts and to tighten the current drastic austerity plan another notch. Mariano Rajoy, the right-wing head of the executive branch, was to announce this on July 11. Recurring rumors foresee a small rise in value added tax to increase tax revenues, but above all another turn of the screw in civil service expenses, with a wage cut for government personnel and job cuts in various government organizations and agencies.

Report from the English edition of l’Humanite

Translated Sunday 15 July 2012, by Gene Zbikowski

Poziv na prosvjed u Londonu!

Londonski prosvjedi – 20. i 21. listopad 2012. – Poziv za potporu

Demonstracija TUC-a (Kongres britanskih sindikata) i konferencija ”Europa protiv štednje”

U subotu 20. listopada Kongres britanskih sindikata održat će prosvjed protiv štednje ”Za budućnost koja funkcionira”. Stotine tisuća ljudi će izaći na ulice Londona kako bi se usprotivile rezovima koji su im nametnuti. Koalicija otpora će biti u središtu ovog prosvjeda s porukom ”Nema rezova”. Sudjelovanje delegacija iz čitave Europe će jako uvećati značaj ove masovne mobilizacije.

2011. godine naša organizacija je inicirala konferenciju ”Europa protiv štednje” koja je uputila poziv za zajedničku akciju protiv štednje širom Europe. Više od 600 ljudi prisustvovalo je konferenciji u listopadu 2011., od toga ih je 150 došlo iz drugih dijelova Europe.

Nakon te konferencije vidjeli smo velike borbe u Grčkoj gdje je bilo mnogo dana generalnog štrajka i u Španjolskoj gdje su asturijski rudari nadahnuli potporu milijuna ljudi diljem Europe. Priroda juriša na narode Europe pokazuje da će se takve akcije nastaviti i eskalirati. Daljnji solidarni rad i koordinacija sada su prijeko potrebni.

Apeliramo na organizacije koje se protive štednji diljem Europe da dođu u London 20. i 21. listopada kako bi sudjelovale u londonskim demonstracijama, a isto tako da bi se sljedećeg dana svi sastali radi dogovaranja zajedničke akcije za zaustavljanje štednje. Moramo formirati koordiniranu akciju kako bi ostvarili pobjedu nad zajedničkim neprijateljem.

Početkom rujna će se održati otvoreni pripremni sastanak uoči konferencije 21. listopada i svi koji se žele uključiti su dobrodošli, bez obzira jesu li sudjelovali u prošlogodišnjem događaju ili ne. Datum i mjesto sastanka objavit ćemo uskoro. Molimo da nas kontaktirate ako planirate prisustvovati.

Pozivamo organizacije iz cijele Europe da dođu u London u listopadu – da pokažu kako je snaga pokreta radničke klase u njenom jedinstvu i solidarnosti.

Učinimo 20. i 21. listopad sljedećim korakom u našoj zajedničkoj borbi protiv štednje.

Andrew Burgin

andrew@andrewburgin.com

Call for action in London! Appel – Actions Londres!

Last year's TUC demo in London

London Actions – 20/21 October 2012 – CALL FOR SUPPORT
TUC demonstration and Europe Against Austerity Action Conference

On Saturday October 20th the British Trades Union Congress is holding a march against austerity ‘For a future that works’. Hundreds of thousands of people will take to the streets of London to oppose the cuts being forced upon them. The Coalition of Resistance will be at the heart of this demonstration with its message of ‘No Cuts’. The participation of delegations from across Europe will hugely strengthen the significance of what will be a massive mobilisation.
In 2011 our organisation initiated the Europe Against Austerity conference which issued a call for joint action against austerity throughout Europe. More than 600 people attended the conference in October 2011, with 150 coming from other parts of Europe.
Since that conference we have seen big struggles in Greece where there have been many days of general strike action and in Spain where the Asturian miners have inspired the support of millions throughout Europe. The nature of the onslaught on the peoples of Europe means that such actions will continue and escalate. Further solidarity work and coordination is now urgently needed.
We appeal for anti-austerity organisations throughout Europe to come to London on 20th and 21st October to participate both in the London demonstration and to meet the following day to discuss common action to turn back the tide of austerity. We must build co-ordinated action to enable victories against a common enemy.
There will be an open preparatory meeting in early September to prepare for the October 21st conference and all those who wish to be involved are welcome, whether or not they attended last year’s event. The date and venue will be notified shortly. Please contact us if you plan to attend.
We urge organisations and organisations from across Europe to come to London in October – to show that the strength of the working class movement is in its unity and solidarity.
Let’s make October 20/21st the next step in our common struggle against austerity.

Andrew Burgin
Secretary, Coalition of Resistance
andrew@andrewburgin.com

Actions Londres – 20/21 octobre 2012 – APPEL 
Manifestation TUC et conférence “Europe contre l’austérité”
Le samedi 20 octobre 2012, le syndicat britannique TUC organise une marche contre l’austérité “Pour un avenir qui fonctionne”. Des centaines de milliers de personnes vont descendre dans les rues de Londres pour s’opposer aux coupes budgétaires forcées. La “Coalition of Résistance” sera au cœur de cette manifestation avec son message «No cuts». La participation de délégations de toute l’Europe devrait grandement renforcer l’importance de ce qui sera une mobilisation massive.
En 2011, notre organisation a lancé le processus de la conférence “Europe contre l’austérité” qui a abouti à un appel pour une action commune contre l’austérité dans toute l’Europe. Plus de 600 personnes ont assisté à la conférence en octobre 2011, dont 150 d’autres pays que la GB.
Depuis cette conférence, nous avons vu de grandes luttes en Grèce, où il y a eu de nombreux jours de grève générale et en Espagne, où les mineurs asturiens ont inspiré un élan de soutien dans toute l’Europe. La nature de l’attaque contre les peuples d’Europe entraînera la poursuite et l’intensification de telles actions. Le travail de solidarité et de coordination est nécessaire et urgent. Nous lançons un appel aux organisations anti-austérité de toute l’Europe. Nous les invitons à  venir à Londres les 20 et 21 octobre pour participer à la manifestation de Londres et pour une rencontre le lendemain sur l’action commune indispensable pour renverser la vapeur de l’austérité. Nous devons construire une action coordonnée pour permettre des victoires contre un ennemi commun.
Il y aura une réunion préparatoire ouverte début septembre pour préparer la conférence du 21 octobre. Tous ceux qui souhaitent s’y impliquer sont les bienvenus, qu’ils aient ou non assisté à l’événement l’an dernier. La date et le lieu seront arrêtés sous peu. Contactez-nous si vous avez l’intention d’y assister.
Nous lançons un appel aux organisations de toute l’Europe pour venir à Londres en octobre montrer que la force du mouvement de la classe ouvrière est dans son unité et sa solidarité. Faisons des 20 et 21 octobre la prochaine étape dans notre lutte commune contre l’austérité.
Andrew Burgin
Secretary, Coalition of Resistance

SYRIZA leader ALEXIS TSIPRAS meets solidarity delegation

The Greece Solidarity Campaign’s recent delegation to Athens met with ALEXIS TSIPRAS MP, Leader of SYRIZA and President of Synaspismos. The delegation meeting him included national representatives from UNITE, CWU, FBU and TSSA, together with Romayne Phoenix, Chair of the Coalition of Resistance, Rachel Newton, National Coordinator of the People’s Charter and Paul Mackney, Chair of the Greece Solidarity Campaign, pictured here with Alexis Tsipras and other comrades from SYRIZA.

The impact of austerity

Alexis Tsipras described as ‘catastrophic’ the impact of austerity on Greek society, describing public hospitals on the brink of collapse with a shortage of medical supplies, and there were no new books at the start of the school year, so parents were forced to photocopy old ones. He said ‘it’s only a matter of time before the next social explosion’.

Mr Tsipras told the delegation that if austerity is the prescription’ to cure the economic crisis, it is ‘the medicine of disaster’ and that the policies being imposed by the IMF/EU and World Bank are destroying social cohesion, destroying the political system and destroying the economy.

He described how the imposition of these policies, being implemented by a Government with no electoral mandate was a ‘violation of the democratic establishment’ and a ‘loss of national sovereignty’.

Background to austerity in Greece

The representatives from Synaspismos described some of the build up to the crisis. They outlined how national income through tax had diminished year on year, even in the ‘development years’ when there was economic growth.

They told the delegation that 110 billion euros were lost through avoidance and evasion of tax on profits by richest in Greece, with tax evasion by the rich on a grand scale in the last 10 years. Instead of collecting money owned by the wealthy a direct tax (VAT) of 23% has been levied, affecting the poorest most. An example of this was given: Greece has the biggest merchant fleet in the world, but the fleet owners pay less in tax that the entire immigrant population in Greece.

They described how for two and a half years the banks, bailed out in 2008, have not paid back the money that they owe the Greek people. Tsipras described the ESKRO off-shore account created outside of Greece by the Greek government, which will pay banks and other international creditors first, and whatever is left will go to meet the social needs of Greece. 40 billion Euros of capital has left Greece in the last year.

Not a Greek crisis

Representatives talked about their efforts to counter the incorrect arguments that single out Greece as the cause of the crisis – the ‘black sheep.’ They described their view of the causes of the crisis are because of the neo-liberal economic policies followed across Europe and beyond, making it a ‘European crisis, a capitalist crisis, not a Greek crisis….not a war between people and nations but between classes.

The problem is ‘not the cook making a bad meal but the recipe’. (Alexis Tsipras)

They described the austerity policies as ‘shock neo-liberal measures’ that were a socio-political experiment – using Greece to see how much a society can take, how far resources can be privatised and a new  supply of cheap labour be created, to export to neighbouring countries.

What needs to happen?

Alexis Tsipras talked about the need for the left to create a climate of social justice and campaign for alternative policies

He said that the Government had no mandate to sign the two memoranda, and questioned their legality. He said the first job of a new Government with a popular mandate should be to renegotiate the memos, on the agreed principal that Greek society cannot take the policies of the two memos. Furthermore they felt that the key question was not in or out of the eurozone, but rather exploiting being in it to support renegotiation.

They outlined how regardless of any renegotiations their view is that there needs to be a reorganisation of social and economic structures. Key features of this include socialisation (nationalisation) of the banking system and redistribution of wealth through a radical change in the taxation system – taxing big capital not poverty.

Mr Tsipras told the delegation that political figures on the left and ex-PASOK needed to create an electoral alliance. He said that this hasn’t been possible so far, because of different traditions and party interests. However he said that SYRIZA was an initiative trying to create this alliance, to include ex-PASOK members. He said that such an alliance could allow the left to come second in the forthcoming elections.

What can a solidarity movement in the UK do?

The delegation was told how important the initiative of setting up a solidarity campaign in the UK is in supporting those opposing austerity in Greece.

The Synaspismos representatives stressed the need for solidarity action that challenges the notion that this is a problem with Greece and the slurs about Greek people. They described how the situation was impacting on Greek people in two ways – making them feel isolated and under attack, but at the same time, some believing the politicians and the media that say the Greek people are to blame. The delegation was told how important solidarity support from the UK could be in overcoming both of these things.

‘It is very important to the Greek people that there is such an initiative as this in Britain. It is important to the Greek people to understand that they are not alone and there other people with them against the attack taking place’. (Alexis Tsipras)

The delegation was told about the importance of the international links made in the squares movement – with Occupy Wall St and the Arab social occupation movements – and the need to link up with movements such as these, and build on the connections already made.

Representatives stressed the importance in Greece of the trade unions being in the forefront of opposition to austerity, and that this meant it was vital for international solidarity to include union to union links and – ultimately – coordinated international action. An example of such action had recently taking place, with a day of action in Greece on 29th February supported by solidarity action organised by the trade unions in Portugal and Spain.

‘This is a European crisis and we must respond on a European basis. This needs to include Europe outside of the EU, a new internationalism.’  (Alexis Tsipras)

Greece: My No in Parliament is a Yes for resistance

This week the German federal government asked parliament to endorse a further Greek bailout package. German MP Christine Buchholz explains why she will vote No – together with all other members of Die Linke – the German Left Party.

I will vote against the federal government’s proposal which, according to them, is “financial assistance for the benefit of the Hellenic Republic”. They want to make us believe that their intention is to help the Greek people. But this is a lie. Not a single cent of the 130 billion euros is earmarked for the Greek people. The Greek state will be the beneficiary of the money in order to pay off debts to German, French, and Greek banks. The rescue package is not intended for the Greek people but for the European banks.

I will vote No today because those that are part of the cause of the crisis do not deserve this reward. I will vote No today because it is Greek wage earners and the poor who are paying for this when all is said and done, and every single euro has to be paid back at excessive interest rates. Greek wage earners, their wages cut to starvation levels, their jobs and livelihoods gone, their pension contributions pilfered, they are the ones to pay.

I will vote No because these measures can only be forced upon the Greek people by external pressure. In reality, this bailout package is a weapon against Greek sovereignty over its own budget. The Troika consisting of the European Central Bank, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund undermine democracy in order to wage war against the Greek working class.

But German wage earners also pay for these policies. It is their taxes which make up the bailout package to rescue the banks. Falsely, Greek workers are presented as the guilty party. No, Greek workers are not lazy, neither have they lived beyond their means. I will vote No because I am opposed to wage earners being played off against one another by the European ruling class. What we need instead is a European minimum wage. What we need instead is for the banks to be nationalised. The financial markets must be muzzled. This is the only way to stop speculators driving whole countries into bankruptcy.

My No in parliament is a Yes to resistance. I support the strikes by Greek trade unions against the Troika’s austerity measures. I also support the protests against the powerful financial markets planned for May. Only solidarity in resistance can break the ruling class austerity diktat.

Berlin, 27th February 2012

Spain 1936 – Greece 2012: Peoples of Europe Unite!

Sonia Mitralia, Member of the Greek Committee Against the Debt and the Women’s Initiative Against the Debt and Austerity, speaks at a meeting organised in Marseilles on 17 February 2012 by the French campaign “for a citizens’ audit of the public debt”.

The pace of history is picking up and the cataclysmic events of recent days in Greeceshould now eliminate any lingering doubts that Greece today is tending to become for Europe what Spain was in 1936. This apparently rather daring insight is not the work of a few romantics. No, it is those who rule us, for those who have beat it into us all day long for almost two years are those at the top, the Merkels and Sarkozys, the IMF and the bankers, neo-liberal reactionaries above and beyond national frontiers, those who have chosen to turn Greece into a laboratory for their inhuman policies and the Greeks into guinea pigs for their shock therapy.

It is high time for all of us at the bottom in Europeto take seriously what Merkozy and the Troika are telling us and act accordingly.  Let us accept the challenge and tell them that starting now Greece will become a test case for the workers’ movement too, for the social and women’s movements, for the peoples and the exploited all over Europe. Yes, let’s make it very clear to them that we are all Greeks because we totally understand that the the struggle of the Greek people is more than ever our struggle. That if they come and try to smash and defeat the Greek people, we and all the other peoples ofEurope will for it next, one by one …

You may remember the nonsense they told us in the very beginning, that “this is a unique and specifically Greek case due to the fact that these Greeks are lazy good-for-nothings inured to lying and corruption”, But since then , we have learned that the debt black hole isn’t confined to Greece, that it is not due to the alleged excesses of the Greek state, because it’s the same in America, France, Italy and Japan. In fact, it’s typical of capitalism and of a crisis which is quite simply systemic.

But be on your guard against cliches and ready-made phrases which simply do not capture the reality of what is happening inGreecetoday. Can you really still talk about – even draconian – austerity when wages and pensions in Greece are falling by 40%, 50% or even 60%? When purchasing power for the overwhelming majority of the population has already been slashed by 50%, 60% or even 70%? When the country’s middle class is ruined and on the way to pauperisation? When newly-employed people only get 417 euros and new pensioners only get 320 euros? Is it still only “fiscal prudence” when every other young Greek is unemployed and unemployment levels have now reached 25%? How can you talk of mere “temporary sacrifices” when malnutrition is ravaging little primary school-children and hunger stalks even the middle-class districts of Greek towns? How can you pretend that all this is “necessary to get the finances into order” in Greece when our executions themselves cynically admit that the policies they have forcibly imposed on Greece have failed and are only pushing the country deeper into a monstrous recession and that the Greek debt can never be repaid? So is this just sadism on the part of the infamous Troika or is it rather an open declaration of war by capital on the world of work? Daily reality forces us to admit: Yes, what we are seeing inGreeceis a veritable war by those on top against those at the bottom, the rich against all the others. At the same time, let us not forget, for it is important, that what we are seeing is the rebirth of the worst colonialism, when we see Greece humiliated and stripped of almost all her national sovereignty, treated by her supposed European partners as an actual colony, a protectorate in leading-strings, run on the spot by some Gauleiter sent by Mrs Merkel and Mr Schaueble …

And what are Greek people themselves doing? Be careful, don’t believe what they tell you about the Greeks. Your media are like ours: the reality they describe to us is completely unreal. Talking abour present-dayGreece, they insist that there is inAthensa government of National Union supported by four fifths of the representatives of the Greek people. So, to believe them, you would end up thinking the Greeks are a bit S/M and enjoy being knocked about …

Obviously the reality is very different. A dozen general strikes in less than two years, countless hard-fought struggles and strikes all over the country, a semi-insurrectionary climate over recent months, a movement of “Indignés” – the Aganaktismeni – which swept through Greece for three months, very violent confrontations with the unbridled forces of repression, ministers and MPs who have been too scared to go out for the last ten months because they are booed or even beaten by passers-by, a parliament beseiged more and more frequently by hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who sooner or later will take it by storm … this is a brief glance at the almost daily routine in Greece long months since.

But these are only the warning tremors of a great social earthquake which is under preparation. In fact you only need to look a little more closely to see that people’s anger is even now breaking all historical records, that the country is like a volcano ready to explode. Also the very many opinion polls tell a story. Popular support for the government of so-called National Unity is no more than 8%, while taken together the parties to the left of social-democratic PASOK now score over 50%! Everything is changing at breakneck speed and the political landscape inGreecein undergoing a truly unprecedented upheaval  because entire sections of Greek society are looking for radical solutions for the crisis and for their galloping impoverishment. Would you like an example which perfectly illustrates this quite exceptional situation, which more and more resembles what happened in a certain inter-war period on our continent? PASOK, which two years ago gained a triumphant and record-breaking victory with 45% ov the vote, only scores less than 10% in the opinion polls, while recently a tiny group of neo-nazi murderers has scored 3%! Yes, Greek society is experiencing its ownWeimarRepublic…

So, what is to be done? The first thing is to say loud and clear that Greeks should not pay this debt which is strangling them and which is not their responsibility, that payment should be suspended immediately. To do what? To do what we are obliged to do by international law, the UN, and a number of international conventions, signed by our governments, incidentally: to invest the astronomic sums currently devoted to servicing this debt to satisfying the basic needs of Greek society, infrastructure, public services, the unemployed, starving kids, single-parent families, the sick and the disabled, and women who are currently forced to take on for free within the family all the tasks which used to be performed by public services before they were dismantled and privatised.

For how long? For as long as it takes to carry out a citizens’ audit to identify which bits of it are invalid and which should be annulled and not paid, all the while obstinately refusing to fall into the trap of our executioners’ blackmail when they keep repeating all day long that any such radical policy automatically leads to leaving the euro and the European Union and a forced national withdrawal into ourselves…

No! No! No! We refuse to pay this debt and at the same time we will stay in the euro zone. And the main reason for this is very simple: because we want to fight side by side with you, all together, hand in hand with all the peoples and all the workers of this continent, to blow up this Europe of capital, of the Merkels and the Sarkozys. Because we want to create and build up what they call the “systemic crisis” of this anti-democratic and anti-social European Union of the rich. Yes, from now on there is only one realistic and feasible course, that of a joint struggle of all those at the bottom everywhere inEurope. Comrades, now more than every, unity makes us strong. Let us unite, because together we can still change this world which is in the process of rotting away. Before it is too late  … and remember: If not us, who? If not now, when?

Save the Greeks from their Saviours! says Alain Badiou

French intellectuals have launched a new statement today in support of the Greek people: Alain Badiou, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Étienne Balibar, Claire Denis, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Ranciere, Avital Ronell. Save the Greeks from their Saviors! February 22, 2012. Translation into English by Anastazia Golemi.

At this moment, that one out of two Greeks is unemployed, 25.000 homeless wander in the streets of Athens, 30% of the population is living below the poverty line, thousands of families have to put their children in institutions so they won’t die of hunger and cold, and refugees and newly poor citizens struggle for garbage bins in public places, the “saviors” of Greece, under the pretext of the Greeks “not putting lots of effort” impose a new plan of help that doubles the given lethal dose. A plan that eliminates the labor law, and condemns the already poor people to extreme poverty, while vanishing the middle classes.

There is no chance this idea is the “salvation” of Greece: all the -worthy of the name- economists agree on that. The goal is to win time in order to save the creditors while the country is driven to a prescribed bankruptcy. Primarily, the aim is to transform Greece into a laboratory of social transformation that will be generalized later across Europe. The model tested over the Greeks is a model of a society without public services, in which schools, hospitals and medical centers are demolished, health becomes a privilege of the rich, vulnerable populations are destined for a planned extermination, while those who still have a job will be working under extreme insecurity and economic misery.

But in order that the counterattack of neoliberalism to achieve its goal, needs a system to established, that abolishes the most basic democratic rights. Under orders of the rescuers, we see that in Europe are installed governments of technocrats who despise popular sovereignty. This is a turning point concerning the parliamentary systems in which we see the “representatives” of the people to empower professionals and bankers, “carte blanche”, denying the alleged authority to make decisions. A type of parliamentary coup, which refer, inter alia, in an expanded repressive arsenal against the protests of the people. Therefore, once the Members ratified the diametrically opposed to the mandate dictated by the Troika agreement (European Union, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund), a power lacking democratic legitimacy mortgaging the future of the country for the next thirty or forty years.

Furthermore, the European Union is ready to create a blocked bank account in which the aid to Greece will be deposited directly in order to be used exclusively for the benefit of the debt. The revenues of the country must be the “absolute priority” to repay creditors and, if need comes up should be directly deposited into this account that is managed by the European Union. The Convention explicitly requires that any new obligations that may arise will be governed by the English law, which requires material guarantees, and the disputes will be decided by the courts of Luxembourg and Greece will have been a priori lost every right of appeal against any seizure the creditors may decide. To complete the picture, privatization assigned to a fund managed by Troika which will hold the ownership titles of public goods. To complete the picture, privatization assigned to a fund managed by Troika which will hold the titles of ownership of public goods. In short, we are dealing with a generalized looting, a characteristic of the financial capitalism that in this case offers himself an institutional betrayal. To the extent that sellers and buyers will sit on the same side of the table, we have not the slightest doubt that the privatization project is a real symposium for the buyers.

All the measures taken so far had only result in deepening the Greek national debt which, with the help of the rescuers who lend to usurious interest rates, has literally skyrocketing approaching 170% of a gross national product in free fall, while in 2009 represented only 120%.

Everyone can bet that those many rescue plans that are presented each time as “final” – were intended to weaken more and more Greece’s position so that, lacking any opportunity to propose its own terms of a reconstruction, to be forced to sell everything to the creditors under the blackmail of “destruction or austerity.” The artificial and forced deterioration of the debt issue was used as a weapon of assault for the fall of a society as a whole.We are deliberately using here terms that belong to the military terminology: this is clearly a war conducted by the means of economy, politics and law, a class war against the entire society. And the spoils that the financial system expects to distract from “the enemy” are the social gains and democratic rights, but what is ultimately at stake is the ability for a human life. And the life of those who do not produce or consume enough compared with the profit-maximizing strategies should not be maintained.

So, the inability of a country caught in the vise of unlimited speculation and destructive plans of salvation, is the secret door from where a model -society violently invades in accordance with the requirements of the neo-liberal fundamentalism. A model for whole Europe and beyond. This is the real challenge, and therefore the defense of the Greek people is not limited to a gesture of solidarity or abstract humanity: the future of democracy and the fate of European nations are at stake. Everywhere the “urgent necessity” of a “painful but life-saving” austerity is presented as the means to avoid the fate of Greece, but this leads directly to it.

Against this organized attack against society, in front of the disaster of the last islands of democracy, we call our fellow citizens, the French and European friends to express themselves strongly. We must not allow the monopoly of speech to the “experts” and politicians. The fact that the request of mainly German and French leaders now is to ban elections in Greece can really leave us indifferent? The stigmatization and the systematic denigration of the people does not really deserve an answer? Is it possible for us not to raise our voice against this institutional murder of the Greek people? And can we stay silent in front of the forced establishment of a system that outlaws even the very idea of social solidarity?

We are at a no turning back point. It is urgent to fight the battle of numbers and the war of words to stop the extreme-liberal rhetoric of fear and misinformation. It is urgent to deconstruct the moral lessons that obscure the real process that takes place in society. It is more than urgent to demystify the racist Greek insistence on a “characteristic” that aims to elevate the supposed national character of a nation (laziness or intended guile) to the root cause of a crisis that is actually global. What counts today is not the differences, real or imaginary, but the commons: the fate of a nation who will influence others.

Many technical solutions have been proposed in order to get out of the dilemma “either destruction of society or bankruptcy” (meaning, as we see it today: “and destruction and bankruptcy”). All solutions should be examined as elements of thought in order to build an other Europe.But first we must denounce the crime, bring out the situation of the Greek people, because of “aid projects” which were conceived by and for the speculators and creditors. Once a support movement is woven around the world, where networks of the Internet are buzzing initiatives of solidarity, the French intellectuals would it be the last to speak up in support of Greece? Without waiting any longer, let’s multiply the articles, the media interventions, the conversations, the calls, the demonstrations. Because any initiative is welcome , any initiative is urgent. In what concerns us, here’s what we suggest: to move quickly to the creation of a European intellectuals and artists comittee in solidarity with the Greek people to resist.

If not us, who will?

If not now, when will it be?

Daniel ALVARO, Alain BADIOU, Jean-Christophe BAILLY, Étienne BALIBAR, Fernanda BERNARDO, Barbara CASSIN, Bruno CLÉMENT, Danièle COHEN-LEVINAS, Yannick COURTEL, Claire DENIS, Georges DIDI-HUBERMANN, Roberto ESPOSITO, Francesca ISIDORI, Pierre-Philippe JANDIN, Jérôme LÈBRE, Jean-Clet MARTIN, Jean-Luc NANCY, Jacques RANCIÈRE, Judith REVEL, Elisabeth RIGAL; Jacob ROGOZINSKI, Avital RONELLI, Ugo SANTIAGO, Beppe SEBASTE, Michèle SINAPI, Enzo TRAVERSO, Frieder Otto WOLF.

Translations:

Alain Badiou, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Étienne Balibar, Claire Denis, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Ranciere, Avital Ronell. Save the Greeks from their Saviors! February 22, 2012. Translation into English by Anastazia Golemi.
Alain Badiou, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Étienne Balibar, Claire Denis, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Ranciere, Avital Ronell. Salvemos el pueblo griego de sus salvadores! February 22, 2012. Translation into Spanish by Mauricio Rugeles Schoonewolff.
Alain Badiou, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Étienne Balibar, Claire Denis, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Ranciere, Avital Ronell. Sauvons le peuple grec de ses sauveurs! in: Liberation. February 22, 2012. (French).
Alain Badiou, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Étienne Balibar, Claire Denis, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Ranciere, Avital Ronell. Retten wir das griechische Volk vor seinen Rettern! February 21, 2012. Translation into German by Judith Dellheim.
Alain Badiou, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Étienne Balibar, Claire Denis, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Ranciere, Avital Ronell. Salviamo la Grecia dai suoi salvatori: Un appello agli intellettuali europe. laRepubblica.it. February 22, 2012. Translation into Italian by Vicky Skoumbi, Dimitris Vergetis, Michel Surya.
Alain Badiou, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Étienne Balibar, Claire Denis, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Ranciere, Avital Ronell. ΝΑ ΣΩΣΟΥΜΕ ΤΟΝ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟ ΛΑΟ ΑΠΟ ΤΟΥΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΕΣ ΤΟΥ. in: tometopo. February 21, 2012. (Greek).
Alain Badiou, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Étienne Balibar, Claire Denis, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Ranciere, Avital Ronell. Spasimo Grcki Narod Od Njegovih Spasitelja! February 21, 2012. Translation into Serbian by Vesna Madzoski.

Greek Solidarity Appeal – now in German!

As thousands now sign up to the Appeal – including leading cultural figures Ken Loach, John Pilger, Iain Banks and A.L.Kennedy – please add your name and circulate the call widely across Europe.

Solidarität mit Griechenland

Bitte unterschreibt den Aufruf zur Solidarität mit Griechenland. Die Unterschriftenaktion wird von Gewerkschaftern, Abgeordneten und Aktivisten unterstützt.

Griechenland ist von einer beispiellosen wirtschaftlichen und politischen Krise betroffen. Die Menschen sind durch die Forderungen der sogenannten Troika, bestehend aus der Europäischen Union, der Europäischen Zentralbank und dem Internationalen Währungsfonds, zu Armut und Massenarbeitslosigkeit verdammt. Die Troika hat Griechenland auch Lucas Papadermos, ehemals Vize-Präsident der Europäischen Zentralbank, als Premierminister aufgezwängt.

Krankhäusern in Griechenland mangelt es an gewöhnlichen Medikamenten, fast die Hälfte aller jungen Menschen sind arbeitslos, in einigen Industrie- und Dienstleistungszweigen werden schon seit Monaten keine Gehälter bezahlt; viele sind gezwungen, Suppenküchen in Anspruch zu nehmen oder im Müll nach Essbarem zu suchen.

Jetzt fordert die Troika zusätzlich eine Mindestlohnkürzung von 23%, Zehntausende Stellen im öffentlichen Dienst sollen gekürzt werden und die Renten, die schon um fast 50% gekürzt wurden, sollen noch mehr sinken. Das internationale Kapital zerstört im ganzen Land Vermögenswerte und demoliert das Sozialgefüge.

Griechenland befindet sich an der Schnittkante der Sparpolitik, die allerdings auch in anderen Ländern Europas eingeführt wird. Und während alles Beweismaterial darauf hindeutet, dass diese Maßnahmen im Interesse der besitzenden Klasse sind, ist auch klar, dass die Mehrheit der Menschen leidet. Und was heute Griechenland, ist morgen Portugal und übermorgen Irland. Auch die britische Koalitionsregierung verfolgt ähnliche Maßnahmen einschließlich Lohnkürzungen, längeres Arbeiten für niedrigere Renten sowie Abbau des nationalen Gesundheitswesens und anderen öffentlichen Leistungen.

Mikis Theodorakis, der berühmte griechische Komponist, der auch die Musik zu den Filmen „Alexis Sorbas“ und „Z“ schrieb, und Manolis Glezos, antifaschistischer Widerstandskämpfer, Politiker und Autor, veröffentlichten einen Aufruf, einen gemeinsamen Appell für die Rettung der Menschen Europas.

Die britische Coalition of Resistance und die, ebenfalls britische, People’s Charter unterstützen diesen Aufruf und arbeiten zusammen mit Gewerkschaften, Bürgerinitiativen und Parteien in ganz Europa, um eine Solidaritätsbewegung mit Griechenland aufzubauen. Wir organisieren Solidaritätsveranstaltungen und leisten den Menschen in Griechenland praktischen Beistand. Wir dürfen es nicht zulassen, dass Millionen Menschen für die Krise bezahlen, die sie nicht verursacht haben.

Bitte unterschreibt und sammelt Unterschriften.

Weiter unten ist eine erste Unterschriftenliste.

http://www.coalitionofresistance.org.uk/2012/02/sign-the-appeal-for-solidarity-with-the-people-of-greece/