The REinFORM.nl would like to thank everyone who participated in the solidarity action on the 18th of February in Amsterdam. We hope that the solidarity message which was sent yesterday to the Greek people from all over Europe will help them to keep on struggling. Even though we live thousands of kilometres away from Greece, our spirit is with them. And is the spirit of resistance…
Greece is Just the Beginning – Resistance All Across Europe
The second memorandum with its austerity measures persists on the onslaught on the working class, turning salaries and pensions into charity and demolishing the remaining labor rights (minimum monthly salary to 480 euros, 435 for young people). The unelected Papademos' Government, without any democratic legitimacy, presents the measures as a necessity and calls on people to keep making sacrifices. The result being a defaulted Greek society with its future undermined.
The unelected government insists on rejecting elections even though it is collapsing under the pressure of the protests. While the measures already enforced fail to show results, debt and deficit keep rising, the government keeps on using both to implement never-ending neoliberal memoranda. There is a merciless attack against people's rights, a fight for neoliberal reform of society at the expense of democracy and people's lives. They promote the interests of capital and banks while pretending to rescue Greece. Their rescue includes cutting salaries and pensions while giving money to the banks. It drives the youth to unemployment (47% for people under 25 years old) and migration while not even attempting to redistribute wealth of the privileged. It drives families to starvation while leaving private enterprises and wealthy people free to continue increasing their profits. Their "national rescue" plan condemns the majority of the Greeks to cruel poverty and destitution in favor of the ones that created and profited from the crisis.
The Greek people's response to the violation of democracy and to the destruction of society is turning into an uprising. Through demonstrations flooding the squares, through occupations of public buildings across the country, through massive general strikes, Greek society is struggling against the neoliberal policies and the Troika (EU-ECB-IMF), which has been muffed from the majority of the mass media.
The dilemmas of the ruling class, whether it is austerity or chaos, subjugation to the euro or bringing in a new drachma, austerity measures or default, have long ceased to trouble us. The people have already defaulted. Our only dilemma: It is either them or us.
The austerity measures are already starting in the Netherlands. The same unsuccessful policy that failed to solve the problem, is now enforced in the Netherlands. The cutbacks in public transportation, education, health, arts are examples of the direction of austerity imposed on Greece.
We want austerity to stop all over Europe and the rights of the people to prevail against the profits of the bankers.
Take the square Delft
Solidarity Message From Amsterdam
Last Sunday 199 votes ignored the angry voices of the protesters who gathered outside the Parliament to express their anger and disapproval of the tactics of the European Union backed regime.
Of course, this new 'rescue-plan' could not have come without a high cost; the northern European tax payers are also called to furnish another 130 billion euros, none of which will end up to the people. The money you are now asked to pay, will go no further than the banks you see behind you. And if that's not enough, we should take a look to the budget cuts in the rest countries of the Eurozone.
In one simple statement: this rescue plan is not a rescue plan at all.
Last Sunday the media was talking about 80.000 people in Athens and an empty square.
This is not true. I was there. More than half a million citizens took the streets, with a goal to protest against the cruel handling of the Greek government, which is acting under direction of the Troika.
The members of the parliament were pressed to race through the meeting to the vote count in fear of the stock markets on the other side of the world opening for business the next day.
The Greek MPs decided to override the collective labour agreements bringing down the minimum wage to 480 euros and even less for the youth. Further cuts applied to pensions and unemployment benefits. With this new Memorandum, the official goal of the state, shifts from providing the minimum necessary commodities towards its citizens, in a score of international treaties to accommodate the country's debt.
The brutal and unprovoked attack of the repression forces against the protestors to break them up shows one thing: just how little control we, as sovereign people, have on our government when the European Union is forcing their stay.
We cannot overthrow this government because the Troika supports it. Now, according to European Union officials, we can't even have elections to appoint another in their place. At best, the government itself can decide to sack some of the ministers and replace them with technocrats.
The people's voice once again wasn't heard, the government agreed to take up another loan under the strain of the European Union. Therefore Greece continues to get monetary assistance and the tax payers of the European Union continue to pay tax after tax, all in an effort to avoid the risk of a default.
Meanwhile, greek citizens are being terrorized with presentations of what such a default would signify for the country and why they must accept a restriction of democracy. They are also alerted that such a default might have a domino effect on the rest of the Eurozone.
Should democracy then be suspended for the good of the Eurozone?
The Greek people do NOT want another rescue plan. They don't want any money. This tactic is now known world-wide to be inefficient: in 2020, Greece's sovereign debt will be at 120% of GDP – that's exactly the same amount of debt when the country first applied to the IFSF back in 2009. During this useless circle, they will have dismantled education and health care system.
What people need is worldwide solidarity. I can not stretch how important this is. Our economies, our societies are connected. Back in 2009, when across Europe a turn to neo-liberalism was observed, we could not have foreseen the implications this external factor would have on our society.
Much has been said these past two and a half years for Greeks and Europeans. The Greek media blames the European Union for its harshness and intolerance and the European media paint the Greek people as tax-avoiding sluggards who want to con their way out of any deal made to them.
This is one of the oldest tricks in the political book, known as «divide & conquer» :
South Europe against North Europe; Greeks against Germans; Germans against Greeks; even Greeks against Greeks.
This conflict also takes place within the greek society, often prompted by the media. Many social classes have been targeted as «more» or «less» responsible for the crisis.
Instead of continuing this dead end we should start by simply sitting down and talking. We should finally face the problems ahead, focusing on what unites us, not to those which divides us.
Our politicians, puppets in the hands of bankers, propose nothing but austerity.
So, lets open our minds, our eyes, our ears and our mouth and start working.
Do not save the banks! Save the people!
On Sunday, 12th February, the Greek Parliament approved the new austerity package that forces the people in to the misery in order to save the European banks and to increase again the profit rate. Under the pressure of the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB), the IMF and the Greek Government the Parliament decided to reduce the minimum monthly salary to 480 euro (435 for young people), the unemployment benefit to 370 euro, cut down pensions, and 150.000 dismissals until 2015. The priority of the state will no longer be to ensure a decent living to the citizens of the country but to serve the debt towards the domestic and international creditors. The agreement was monstrous.
These measures come in return for the agreement of the 50% 'hair-cut of Greek 'sovereign debt on the basis of the EU agreement on October 26th. According to this agreement, the Greek sovereign debt will not be reduced further than the levels of 2009, as Greece will receive a new huge debt of 130 billion Euro. The new 'rescue'-plan for Greece is actually a rescue plan for all the European banks. This money will end up directly to them and will be never returned to the people.
The huge sovereign debts and budget deficits emerged as a result of the neoliberal policies that are based on two pillars on states borrowing from international markets in order to finance projects that are profitable for large enterprises, to refinance older state debt and to enhance the arm equipment. Moreover, the tax evasion of Greek rich people in the last 10 years is estimated in around 100 billion euro.
During the period the Greek population is witnessing the harshest austerity measures since the introduction of the Euro. Greece became the 'black sheep'-EU-member state and had to be punished hard. In 2010, the first austerity package was imposed by the Greek government under the supervision of the Troika (the IMF, the EU and the ECB). In such a way sovereign debt is becoming a mechanism of reproduction of harder and harder austerity measures against the society. As a result:
- In the end of 2011, unemployment reached 21% and 50% among the youths. That means more than 1.000.000 unemployed people in Greece.
- Moreover, 30% of the population (almost 3.000.000 people) lives under the poverty line.
- The number of homeless increased rapidly and became part of everyday reality in the big cities.
- The number of suicides has increased 40% in the last year.
- Parents do not have enough money to raise their children and they hand over them in child institutions.
In the last period, hundreds of thousands of workers, unemployed and youth gathered at the Syntagma Square and other squares around the country to demonstrate their opposition to the new bail-out that was imposed by the Troika and Greek government, a coalition of the two biggest political parties PASOK-ND together with the extreme-right wing party LAOS. Loukas Papademos, ex-director of Bank of Greece and ex-vise president of the ECB was named Prime Minister to serve the interests of bankers. As it seems, he manages quite well…
No matter the efforts of the Greek government the EU, the Greek workers keep on resisting. On 12th February more than 500.000 people demonstrated in front of the national parliament. The response of Greek state was massive police repression and state violence. However, demonstrators insisted and protested outside the parliament instead of the thousands of tear gas bombs.
Because every day we see Greek families to be driven to poverty and to be forced to immigrate.
Because we see more than 1.000.000 unemployed persons in Greece.
Because we see more than 3.000.000 people living in the poverty line in Greece.
Because the homeless people in Greece have been an everyday phenomenon.
Because people in Greece select to commit suicides in front of this life that they prepare and apply for them.
Because workers all over the world have started to rise up.
We stand on the same side with the workers and students of Greece. We demand the Troika (EU-ECB-IMF) to leave the country. We demand the Greek government to step down immediately!
We want austerity to stop all over Europe and the rights of the people to prevail against the profits of the elites.
As members of Real Democracy Groningen Group we express our solidarity to the workers and students in Greece who struggle against the hurt of their lives. We respond in an internationalist way since the austerity is global. But we are everywhere. Solidarity to the workers in all over the world!
Real Democracy Groningen