Today’s economic news again focuses upon poor besieged Greece, under attack from the capitalist vulture’s scavenging on what they consider the dead carcase they think is Greece.
Euro zone finance ministers gave Greece two weeks from Monday to approve stricter, sinister austerity measures in return for another 12 billion euros in emergency loans, piling pressure on Athens to get its ragged finances in order. The philosophy of let the week die and go to the wall was very evident yesterday, when our own Chancellor, George Osborne, who said he felt inclined to let Greece sink in the sea of her own debt.
So after two days of crisis meetings, ministers effectively issued Athens with an ultimatum, they had until July 3 to approve a new package of spending cuts, tax hikes and privatisation measures in order to receive more EU/IMF aid. Talk about holding a shotgun to the head, these ministers demanded without reservation the approval of these measures by that said date, necessitating the acceptance by the Greek parliament and insisting that it was absolutely essential that it arrive with these demands in a timely fashion.
This whole situation reminds me of the campaign in the 70s here in Britain, of which I got involved with, that was not to support in anyway entry into what was referred to then, as the common market. If memory recalls during that campaign ( the referendum of 5 June 1975), I did indeed work for a ‘No Vote’ in that subsequent referendum; and Tony Benn, then Secretary of State for Industry, was the most senior figure in the No Campaign. My own thinking put quite simply, was that this was only going to ever be a capitalist trading and banking club, and I remember talking to the late great Joan Maynard, who was dubbed by the press very unkindly as " Stalin's Granny" due to her left wing views, then the Labour NEC member and MP for Sheffield Brightside; she by the way was succeeded by David Blunkett. Anyhow, she told me that The "Yes" campaign enjoyed much more funding, thanks to the support of many British businesses and the Confederation of British Industry. Many Banks and industrial companies slung in large amounts of money led by the likes of Alastair McAlpine; and so this may give some idea of what we were up against and in whos real interests was entry ever meant to be, and still as ever remains the case.
The announcement of yet another round of cuts and savings, has led to a sea change in the mood of the Greek public. Many who accepted the cuts as an inevitable and temporary evil, now begin to realise that they face a bottomless pit of continuous social decline. This must account for the broad and growing widespread opposition to the second round of austerity.
Many have taken to the streets to vent anger, and thousands gather every night at Syntagma Square in front of parliament to protest against the imposition of austerity. On June 5, hundreds of thousands participated in a demonstration that took placed largely independently of the unions.
The EU has urged the Greek government not to yield to the pressure from the streets, and since Sunday a three-day parliamentary debate on austerity has taken place. It is due to end today with a vote of confidence, highly unlikely that the deputies will vote against the head of government and force new elections, having then survived, the government will then have to seek the approval of parliament for the second austerity package the following week.
There really is no national solution to the crisis in Greece or elsewhere in Europe or even internationally, the real problem is not between nationalities or countries, but as always between classes.
Workers throughout Europe must reject the propaganda defaming Greeks as being “lazy and living beyond their means.” As workers around the world are being pushed with likewise and the most devastating attacks on their living standards. The only response must be the development of a common political struggle by the European and International working class.