Greece goes on strike! Day 1.
The 48 hour general strike began on Tuesday 28/6, against the new raft of anti-people measures which are being discussed and are expected to be approved on Wednesday 29/6 by the parliamentary majority which the ruling social-democratic party PASOK possesses.
The Parliamentary group of the KKE demanded the the vote on the legislation be carried out by a name roll call, while the lead speaker of the Party on the matter, N. Karathanasopoulos, underlined that the measures being pushed forward by the government have as their real goal the reinforcement of the competitiveness and profitability of capital through attacks on the working class and its rights. The parliamentary group of the KKE withdrew from the discussion and will return for the vote.
At the same time, the Prime Minister, G. Papandreou speaking in Parliament, characterised a vote in favour of the new anti-people raft of measures as a “patriotic duty”.
Commenting on the speech of the Prime Minister in Parliament, the press office of the CC of the KKE noted: “ The Prime Minister proposed that in order to solve the debt, deficit and crisis investors must be encouraged to Greece, the other parties agree with this and this why they agree with and support the anti-people measures, which lay waste to the labour rights , salaries and gains of the people. But the workers, the youth must not accept for any reason these painful sacrifices that are being imposed on them for a development which will provide them with salaries and rights at Chinese levels.”
At the same time the Vice-president of the government Th. Pangalos in an interview with a foreign newspaper posed the following dilemma with the aim of blackmailing the Greek people “ a new raft of anti-people measures or tanks”. In its answer the press office of the CC of the KKE underlined that : “ The people itself, learning from its history, must answer that a subjugated people will be threatened by bankruptcy and the other veils of capitalist barbarity. Only if it is determined and organized to fight for its rights and for its power can it repel these measures. It must take into its hands the banks and monopoly businesses so that they serve its interests and do not rob it.”
Preparation of the strike
The forces of the All-workers Militant Front (PAME) waged the struggle to organise the strike in this political atmosphere.
On Monday morning they carried out a symbolic occupation of the Acropolis. This initiative which was saluted by the workers, provoked the furious reaction of the right -wing ND, the nationalist-racist LAOS and the bourgeois electronic mass media, which accused PAME of “desecrating the sacred monuments”.
In its answer the press office of the CC of the KKE stated that: “ ND wants to hide that it essentially agrees with memoranda and the medium-term programme , but their hatred of the struggles of the class-oriented labour movement against them does not allow it to do this successfully. PASOK, ND , LAOS and the others must learn that the monuments are not desecrated by the mobilizations of the people but by their commercialisation and that the country is not defamed by its people's struggles but by its people's destitution.”
On Mon afternoon 27/6, the forces of PAME carried out placard protests and rallies in dozens of Greek cities and popular neighbourhoods in order to propagandize the 48 hr strike.
28th June- 1st day of the strike
The daybreak of the 28th June found the class oriented forces of PAME struggling decisively to defend of the strike by picketing factories, stores, construction sites, hotels and offices where they have been in the previous period, while they had mounted pickets on the ramps of the ships from midnight onwards.
The defense of the strike of the seamen has been a particularly tough battle since the trade union federation of seamen played a strikebreaking role. The class-oriented trade unions PEMEN and STEFENSON that represent the engineers and the crew of the ship engines, who belong to PAME, decided to participate in the 48-hour strike and the unions of the chefs and ship's electricians joined them. The strike of these unions and the strong picket lines of PAME paralysed Piraeus, the biggest port in the country, which was “flooded” by the forces of the unions of PAME.
Early in the morning the forces of PAME in Thessaloniki, the second largest city of the country, blocked the 7 entrances to the industrial area of the city and paralysed industrial production.
The protesters met at 10:00 in the squares in order to take part in the strike demonstrations. In Athens they gathered in various meeting points. They marched through different central streets of the city and met outside the parliament, in Syntagma Square, blocking all the main streets around the Square.
“The controlled bankruptcy has been already decided on. What they want from the people is to bow their heads for the next fifty years so as to pass the worst measures. The struggle will be determined in the office, in the factory, in the workplace generally, in the fields and the small businesses, in the neighbourhoods. It is bound to lead to a victory.” stated Aleka Papariga, General Secretary of the CC of KKE at the strike demonstration of PAME.
Some of the slogans that were prevalent in the demonstrations of PAME:
“People rise up, do not compromise with the measures of the government.”
“Patriotism is what is just for the people and not the profits of capitalism.”
“No cog can turn without the workers. Worker you can do without the bosses.”
“No more deception! Capitalism cannot become human.”
PAME has scheduled a new mass rally in the centre of the city for Tuesday afternoon.