Greece a month later, continuing reactions to the measures

A month after the huge general strike march of the 5th of May and the tragic event that accompanied it, Greek workers' reactions to the austerity measures continue.

A full month has passed since what many believe to have been the biggest and most powerful protest march in Greece in the 36 years since the founding of the Republic: the May 5th general strike march in Athens which ended in the tragic death of 3 bank workers as a result of an arson attack against Marfin Bank's central branch on Stadiou street. The arson has been blamed on the anarchists, leading to a chain reaction of public criticism, self-criticism and counter-criticism/self-criticism announcements by dozens of anarchist, anti-authoritarian and libertarian groups across the country.

The month which has passed has not been without struggles, consisting of a general strike, PAME (Communist Party umbrella union) impressive 100,000 strong march in Athens, and several smaller sector strikes, the most vocal of which has been the Piraeus dockworkers one last week. Organised mostly under PAME control the dockworkers strike imposed a 24h blockade on the main port of the country last Monday, the day during which the Italian cruise-boat Zenith was supposed to sail in filled with tourists. As a previous dockworkers strike had prevented the offloading of tourists from Zenith some weeks ago, tourist agents with the thinly veiled backing of the government announced they would man a counter-blockade so as to allow Zenith passengers to disembark, a move that would have certainly caused clashes between workers and strike-breaking thugs at the pay of the tourism cartel. Avoiding the confrontation, Zenith opted not to sail into Piraeus at all, a move that was seen as a victory for the strike.

Other than that in the last week industrial action against the austerity measures has included a 24h strike by journalists which saw all TV Radio and internet news blacked-out for a day and a 24h public transport strike in Athens. The private and public sector umbrella unions GSEE and ADEDY have called for a demo against the measures in Athens tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the government has announced a first package of privitisations of state companies, including the Railways and the Post-Office. Railway workers announced today that they are ready to withdraw their labour in response. However hints by the government of an intention to curtail social security schemes has caused a back-bencher rebellion with as many as 14 out of 160 government MPs (enough to cause a collapse of legislating procedure, or a direct dependence of the Socialists on the fascist party) have declared they will oppose any further measures. Even before the announcement today, the bourgeois media have been rife with stories of a split government where only three Cabinet Ministers are actually supporting the PM's aggressive IMF-EU love affair. Mr Papandreou has been trying to offer scapegoats for public consumption in the form of accusing so-called "burned-out" ex-Ministers of previous Socialist administrations for corruption. The trick seems to have backfired however as on the one hand it has opened the floodgates of inner-party accusations, while on the other hand failing to convince the Greek public, which is fully aware of the extent and degree of corruption, of the sincerity of the act.

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Jun 4 2010 15:53


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