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Greece

Greece: 20 popular fallacies concerning the debt crisis

By the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Germany)

July 9, 2011 -- It’s that time again! Greece needs more loans and governments in Europe are arguing about whether it’s really necessary and who should foot the bill. There is widespread opinion in Germany that Greece itself is to blame for the problems it now finds itself in. It is claimed that first of all cheated its way into the eurozone, then the government spent too much and the governed worked too little, many believe.

Latently nationalistic interpretations of this kind have been nourished by German politicians and the media, who have no end of proposals for how to "solve" the crisis. For example, the Greeks should save more, work more and sell their public property – and if all of these measures do not help, then Greece will just have to leave the eurozone or declare itself bankrupt.

The stupid thing is, neither are the causes of the crisis that have been named are correct, nor will the proposed ways out of the crisis achieve their goal.

The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation has produced Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! to explain the truth about the fallacies being spread about the causes of the Greek crisis, and who is responsible.

The European workers' movement: dangers and challenges

In Portugal, November 2010 general strike called by the Communist Party-led CGTP and the Socialist Party-led UGT was massively supported, with 3 million strikers out of a workforce of 4.7 million.

By Murray Smith

March 6, 2011 -- New Socialist -- With the onset of the world economic crisis, the European workers' movement finds itself in a new phase, one that is replete with dangers and challenges. It is important to underline that we are in fact in a new situation and not just a continuation of the previous period.

Greece: PASOK, right wing in deep crisis; support for anti-capitalist left grows

By Tassos Anastassiadis and Andreas Sartzekis

December 2010 -- International Viewpoint -- Not so long ago the defeat of the right-wing candidates in the municipal elections in the two major cities in Greece, Athens and Thessaloniki, would have been followed by scenes of popular enthusiasm in the streets throughout the night. There was nothing like that this time, when the right was defeated in cities where it had ruled for decades!

«Ο Οκτώβρης και η Εποχή μας»

«Ο Οκτώβρης και η Εποχή μας», πρόλογος-εισαγωγή-επιμέλεια: Χρήστος Κεφαλής, εκδ. Τόπος, Αθήνα 2010, σελ. 599, 25 .

Η Οκτωβριανή Επανάσταση υπήρξε ένα ορόσημο του 20ού αιώνα. Οι συζητήσεις και οι διαμάχες που υποκίνησε ήταν οξείες και καθολικές, μη αφήνοντας ανεπηρέαστη καμιά σφαίρα. Όχι λιγότερο σημαντικές ήταν οι μετέπειτα εξελίξεις, από την άνοδο του Στάλιν στη δεκαετία του 1920 ως τη διάλυση της ΕΣΣΔ.

Greece: At the forefront of Europe's class struggle

Athens demonstrators' banner, with photos of Greek PM George Papandreou and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, reads "Us or them -- Struggle for our lives". May 20, 2010, national 24-hour general strike. Photo: EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU.

By Dimitris Fasfalis

June 7, 2010 -- Socialist Voice -- Workers in Greece today stand in the forefront of the converging European class struggles against big capital’s attempt to make working people pay the costs of its crisis.

Krise i Hellas – reaksjonær understrøm i Europa

Av Paul Kellogg

Den voksende massebevegelsen og åpningen mot venstre i Hellas er oppmuntrende.
Det er i den bevegelsen det ligger håp om at det en gang kan vokse fram et virkelig progressivt Europa.

Olivier Besancenot: `We are all Greek workers!'


General strike, Athens, May 20, 2010. Photos by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

By Olivier Besancenot and Pierre-François Grond, translated by Richard Fidler and Nathan Rao

May 14, 2010 -- Le Monde via The Bullet -- The events in Greece concern us all. The Greek people are paying for a crisis and a debt not of their making. Today it is the Greeks, tomorrow it will be others, for the same causes will produce the same effects if we allow it.

Asian left parties: `In solidarity with the Greek people's resistance against austerity'

The following joint statement of solidarity -- initiated by Socialist Alliance, Australia -- has been signed by a number of left and progressive organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. If your organisation would like to sign on, please email international@socialist-alliance.org.

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Joint statement from Asia-Pacific left and progressive organisations

May 13, 2010

We, left and progressive organisations from the Asia-Pacific region, express our solidarity with the resistance of the Greek people against the harsh austerity being imposed upon them by the governments of the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The proposed “rescue package” for the Greek economy by the IMF-EU has triggered a huge struggle that will have worldwide ramifications for working people.

Greek crisis reveals ‘progressive’ Europe’s reactionary stew

By Paul Kellogg

May 3, 2010 -- The bailout of the debt-ridden Greek government seems finally to be complete. The European Union (EU) – most centrally the French and German treasuries – along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will provide €110 billion ($150 billion) in emergency loans. The price for these loans will be high. Along with steep tax increases and cuts in spending, the loans are conditional on a public sector wage freeze being extended through to 2014.[1] This is in reality a wage cut, as there will be drastic changes to the so-called “bonuses” – holiday pay that has become an essential part of the income package of low-paid public sector workers.

The anger at these cuts is everywhere in Greek society. Giorgos Papadapoulos is a 28-year-old policeman who normally confronts demonstrators. But in March he put aside his riot shield and joined the mass protests which have become a regular part of life in Greece. “It’s a different feeling for me”, he told journalists while he was on the demonstration. “But this is important. It hurts me and my family.”[2] However, the crisis in Greece has revealed not just a shift to the left in Europe. It has also brought to the surface a seamy reactionary underside to politics in the EU portion of the Eurasian landmass.

Europe: Solidarity with the resistance of the Greek workers (updated May 9)

Greek workers stage general strike, March 2010.

April 30, 2010

1. The global economic crisis continues. Massive amounts of money have been injected into the financial system – US$14 trillion in bailouts in the United States, Britain and the eurozone, $1.4 trillion in new bank loans in China last year – in an effort to restabilise the world economy. But it remains an open question whether or not these efforts will be enough to produce a sustainable recovery. Growth remains very sluggish in the advanced economies, while unemployment continues to rise. There are fears that a new financial bubble centred this time on China is developing. The protracted character of the crisis – which is the most severe since the Great Depression – reflects its roots in the very nature of capitalism as a system.

Greece: Driven into crisis

Workers in Greece protest government attacks on wages and benefits.

By Ingo Schmidt

April 27, 2010 -- The Bullet -- Neoliberal order reigns in the world. Stock markets are recovering from the crash in the fall of 2008. Private banks are no longer weighed down by bad loans that were added to public deficits. The latter were rising anyway because the economic crisis had sent tax revenues on a downward slide. Add further bailout money for financial companies and fiscal stimulus and you get a veritable fiscal crisis of the state.

Meanwhile, rating agencies like Moody's and Standard and Poor's cast judgement on the viability of fiscal deficits and public sector cuts, as if their assessments of the financial sector had nothing to do with the "manias, panics and crashes" that pushed a cyclical recession near depression in the first place. Public deficits between 12% and 13% of GDP in Britain and the US are bad, they say, but not so bad that the austerity measures they consider appropriate can't be left to Number 10 Downing Street and the White House.

Left Party Sweden: Combating `Fortress Europe'

Kalle Larsson addresses the Socialist Party (USA) meeting. Photo by David McReynolds.

By Billy Wharton

February 16, 2010 -- To US immigrant rights activists faced with the harsh repression of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids or the outright racism of public officials such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Europe may seem like a kinder, gentler place. Yet, as Kalle Larsson, representative of the Left Party of Sweden, argued during a recent speech organised by the Socialist Party USA (NYC local), Europe is developing its own forms of exclusion and repression for migrants.

Larsson described the changes underway in the European Union (EU) in the treatment of asylum-seeking refugees and people without papers. As the EU moves to “harmonise” various policies employed by member nation-states, what once seemed like a minimum policy to insure a base level of rights has become a ceiling designed to prevent the implementation of more humane policies. This process, Larsson argued, is one part of the larger neoliberal approach being implemented in Brussels.

Greece: Right-wing government defeated, deeper radical left unity needed

SYRIZA logo.

By Antonis Davenellos

October 14, 2009 -- Socialist Worker -- The results of the October 4 elections in Greece were a political earthquake that have created a new situation in the country.  Certainly, the top news is the electoral and political defeat of New Democracy (ND), the traditional party of the right wing, which has been in power since 2004. With only 33.4 per cent of the vote and 91 seats in parliament (down from 151 in the 2007 elections), ND had the worst showing for the right in Greece since the civil war of 1946-49. The same evening of the elections, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned from the leadership of ND.

The crushing defeat of the party has opened up a period of deep political crisis for the right, a crisis that by all indicators will be long lasting. There are a least four candidates to be the new leader of the party -- and they can't even agree on the manner in which a new leader should be elected.

Greece: Left prospects in the post-PASOK era

By Michalis Spourdalakis

In the last few years, the political alignments in the European Union (EU) countries have changed drastically. In the 1990s, social-democratic parties and centre-left political forces were dominant. Under the banners of “progressive governance” or “modernisation” these parties ruled numerous countries and dominated the political scene on the continent.

Today, it is no secret that after long years in government, these political forces, what some like to call the “governmental left” are, to say the least, in retreat. It is indeed no secret that social democracy is in deep crisis: the recent congress of the French Socialists proved that this party is going through a period of self-questioning over the issue of its leadership, but also that it had nothing new to offer or, as a conservative daily commented, it appears as if “it does not think any more”.

Down with the government of murderers! Greek left on the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos (+ video, audio; updated Dec. 23)

December 10-23, 2008 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is publishing a number of declarations, statements, calls and articles from Greek left organisations in response to the assassination by Greek police of Alexis Grigoropoulos. Please keep in mind that the translations may be less than perfect, but due to the urgency of the situation they have been posted as is.

We’ll add more as we receive them. Thanks to ESSF and Rustbelt Radical for the initial compilation.

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Greek socialists: A just solution in Kosovo requires multinational co-existence

Statement by OKDE-Spartakos, Greek section of the Fourth International

Today, a real just solution for Kosovo comes through the restoration of multinational co-existence (an aspiration that unfortunately has been lost in most part) and the full respect of the rights of all ethnic groups and minorities, including their right to define the level of their autonomy and self-defense.

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