Greece at the brink of bankruptcy
The struggle of the proletariat against an increasingly harsh Greek austerity anticipates the future struggle of the proletarians of the other European countries
(«Proletarian»;Nr. 8; Spring 2012)
The effects of the global capitalist crisis which since 2009, brought the weaker european economies to their knees have pushed Greece towards bankruptcy. The Greek economy, as with that of countries like Ireland, Portugal or Eastern Europe, is subject to a growing tension due to an ever higher debt load and an increasingly greater exploitation of native and immigrant workers: the primary aim was remain in the so-called “virtuous circle” of the Euro zone, which provides access to loans from the European Central Bank. The capitalist economy as a whole is based on debt, that is to say on loans: when the loans cannot be repaid, the economy enters into crisis.
The same as with profits, under capitalism the consequences of the crisis are not distributed equally among the population. Profits are accumulated by the capitalists, who are a small minority of the population, while the majority can expect to receive only crumbs.
The ravages of the crisis, in terms of wages and living and working conditions, are imposed on the majority of the population and especially on the proletariat. Under the rule of capital the proletariat is always hit hard: when the economy is growing (to use a term dear to all bourgeois), the exploitation of labor power does not decrease, but extends and deepens itself, although some concessions are granted, when the economy is in crisis, exploitation obviously does not disappear but becomes even more intense for those who work, whilst unemployment increases and in general so does the impoverishment and insecurity affecting ever wider layers.
The economic crisis demonstrates that the capitalist system is unable to provide a solution to the problems of the proletariat because for the bourgeoisie there is no other way out of the crisis than by attacking the proletarians: intensification of exploitation, increased competition between workers, increasing economic and social despotism, repression of all force of resistance against the widespread degradation of their situation.
In the spring of last year, workers in Greece came into struggle with strikes and demonstrations against the austerity plan decided on by the Papandreou government in order to obtain from the IMF and the ECB a loan of 110 billion Euros deemed necessary to “save” the Greek economy and the stability of the euro.
A new loan of a hundred billion is being discussed because this plan has proved insufficient for the Greek economy to be able to prevent the bankruptcy of its State in 2012, the big banks, the big corporations, like the other European states, want to avoid a default by the Greek state which would cause an even deeper crisis.
Faced with this prospect, the European leaders and capitalists can conceive of no other alternative than to increase the pressure on the Greek masses, causing an even greater deterioration of their living conditions. Whatever remains of the Socialist government in power, whether it sets up a national unity government or decides on early elections, bourgeois power has no other alternative for the proletariat than tears and blood and the iron claw against their rebellion!
Can the workers escape the fate which the capitalists have reserved for them?
If they continue to remain prisoners of the illusions in parliamentary democracy, which offers an eternal debate between the political forces of the left and the right, all interested in “saving” the Greek economy – which means saving the profits of Greek capitalism – and force them to accept the sacrifices, the workers are condemned to be unable to defend themselves.
For their part, the reformist “left” forces, whether trade unions like PAME or political parties like the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), cry against the monopolies and capital, but this is to better bind the workers to bourgeois objectives such as the defense of the country against bankruptcy and to drown them out in the mass of the people! They direct the proletarian anger towards “struggles” and general strikes unable to defend their class interests because those interests are put aside in order to establish a confused, indistinct and helpless “popular” interclassist movement.
The workers experience in the flesh, day after day, not only the disastrous consequences of capitalist exploitation strengthened by the crisis, but also the crippling consequences of these supposedly democratic, progressive or socialist policies which tag on their most fundamental demands behind the “national interest” – which is nothing but the interest of the national capitalism – and who drown them in popular assemblies, while the simple perspective of open class confrontation is incomparably more effective than the most massive peaceful demonstrations in front of Parliament.
Those who speak only of the people, of the people power, of the popular alliance of popular government, actually want to stay within the framework of bourgeois political institutions and the capitalist mode of production when they denounce only the private monopolies, as if the state monopoly was not the highest form of concentration of capital and reinforcement of its domination over society!
The proletarians, in Greece as elsewhere, must rediscover the path of open class struggle against the bourgeoisie, its State and the layers defending its dominance (such as the petty and middle bourgeoisie, the Church, the layers of the ‘labor aristocracy’...), the path of real struggle for the emancipation from wage labor, therefore from capitalism: as long as wage labor exists, capitalism exists and bourgeois political and economic power.
To fight against capitalism, the proletariat must first be organized into a distinct class, therefore outside of any class collaboration on behalf of the unity of the “people” and must establish class organizations for the struggle for immediate defense, independent not only of the bourgeoisie and its state, but also from reformist collaborationist forces. In this field of struggle, the proletarians can recognize themselves as class brothers, overcoming competition between them, and build a strong and durable international class solidarity (and not a so-called national and popular solidarity).
Coming after decades of collaboration between classes, the capitalist crisis has weakened the proletariat in all countries. But it can rebuild its class strength if it revives the tradition of class struggle it once waged, not just making a simple government tremble and shake, but bourgeois society and the bourgeois classes around the world.
To resume the path of class struggle, is to reconstitute the only social force capable of ending the society of Capital, with its poverty, its unemployment, its war, a perspective in which the proletariat in struggle will organize itself around its political organ, the communist and international class party, to be finally victorious.
June 18th, 2011
International Communist Party