Dear comrades, co-fighters and friends,
On behalf of the working class of Greece and it’s class oriented pole, ALL WORKERS MILITANT FRONT (PAME), which gathers hundreds of syndicates with thousands of workers, I bring to Brazilian workers and your organization militant and solidarity greetings.
It is an honour to participate to your congress and it’s an opportunity to strengthen our relationship.
Especially today that the capital, all it’s international institutions, the political parties that support it’s strategy one way or another, have launched a profound strategic attack against workers and other people strata like poor farmers, self employing, women and youth.
The attack proceeds savagely and it will escalate even more. In Greece, employers, coalition government (liberals, socialdemocrats, a part of centre – left) and Troika (formed by European Union, Central European Bank and International Monetary Fund) have imposed a memorandum of anti – popular barbaric policy.
Here are some of it’s consequences :
Launch of unemployment from 8% (2008) to 27% (2013). In women’s population is about 45%-50%. For young people is over 65%. One and a half million people unemployed in 4,5 million of active population according to official data that are hiding a big percentage of unemployment.
Thousands of dismissals in private and public sector of economy, factories, commerce, education, Health system, municipalities e.t.c.
Launch of flexible employment from 5% to 40%. Non insured work over 40%.
The majority of workers in private an public sector are unpaid for many months.
Release of dismissals and reduction (until abolition) of the compensation .
Abolition of collective agreements and replacement of them by individual agreements.
The state decides about minimum wage and it was reduced from 756 to less than 500 Euros.
Reduction of unemployment benefit from 450 to 350 Euros and is given to a little percentage of unemployed
General reduction of wages over 20% – 40% and there will be a new round of reduction. .
Expensiveness in market , launch of taxes for people even for unemployed. Most of people cannot pay taxes and are punished with power cut, water cut and loss of their house because of debts to state and banks.
Abolition of Sunday holiday and of stable working schedule.
Poor social security organizations (because of unemployment, reduction of wages and of the employers’ contribution that are not paid, haircut off of their money stocks).
Public hospitals and schools are debased and shut down. Many people have no access to these goods.
Immigration is growing enormously.
Thousands of minor and medium companies are shutting down, self – employing are unemployed and insecured.
Poor farmers are uprooted because of high production cost and low market prices, because of the common agricultural policy of E.U. Agricultural land passes to big capitalistic companies.
In the same time subsidies, tax exemption and benefits are increased for big capital.
All state’s property is privatized (energy, water supply, railway, ports, airports, state’s factories, parts of municipalities, health system, education, social welfare).
The state, with lending agreements with Troika, is lented in order only to pay the lenders and support banks which will lend to the capital. The loans are charged to people by the memorandum. Nothing goes for people’s needs.
Despite the haircut, public debt is growing. From 120% of the national product escalated to 174% of it.
Employers’ terror and state’s suppression is intensified because of the fear for social outbreak. Politics is not separate from economy. Real person of capitalistic system is revealed : dictatorship of monopolies.
In the past years, there were important class fights in Greece, organized by PAME, strikes, demonstrations, occupations of public buildings, with pressure to the governmental syndicalism to declare 30 general strikes.
Special place belongs to the 8 months strike in Greek Steel Mill against reduction of wages, with thecrucial contribution of PAME. It roused a global solidarity movement. It’s a heritage for trade union movement.
Big percentage of workers sees with confidence PAME and supports his initiatives. Bourgeois legality was disputed with the slogan “law is the right of worker”.
PAME had a critical attitude towards movements like “indignants” “against the trade unions” which were deflated after it strengthened the Nazists of GOLDEN DAWN. PAME fought against the equation od communism with fascism (the official policy of E.U.). Anti-communism prepares the ground for total attack against all workers. This struggle did not prevent barbaric policy but class struggle experience was acquired by many workers that entered in the battle for the first time, conscience of many workers is changing.
It is necessary that workers realize the character of crisis, come massively into trade unions, change of correlations, confront the logic of assigning peoples’ matters to “saviors’ from above, confront the reduction of peoples’ demands. PAME struggles for this re – orientation of trade union movement.
Great changes don’t come in successive order. Class preparation and gathering forces for the moment of crucial class conflict, is necessary
Working class is powerful when it is organized and determined for struggle against capitalism and it’ s political parties.
THE CHARACTER OF CRICIS
Same policy is also applied in countries that do not have big debt, in countries with memorandum (Ireland, Portugal) or without memorandum (Spain, Italy),in countries that crisis is escalated (France, Great Britain), in those that passed in recovery (Argentina, Brazil), in predominant countries (USA, Germany, Japan).
Friends or enemies of system, speak for longtime, extended and synchronised crisis of capitalism. . The working class movement should have clean opinion for the reasons and the character of crisis. Is not simply a theoretical but practical question of strategic importance. It determines about enemies and allies, the direction of the struggle of movement, the unity between strategic and tactical objectives. It protects the movement from delusions – traps that it paid for them. It determines about effectiveness and if it corresponds in the historical mission to liberate working class from the exploitation.
Some questions have to be answered such as :
WHY crises are repeated regularly while governments and mix of it’s management are changing?
WHY countries with different structural problems go into crisis?
WHY, the life of more and more people is getting worse while productive forces, technology and human knowledge are developed and the work of people have increased wealth enormously?
Can the system be saved from crises with other mix of management, in the frames of this system?
Is there a way for workers to be saved from the barbarism of crisis?
On these questions two policies are conflicting in the movement : The policy of incorporation and the management of crisis in the frame of this system and the class oriented policy of it’ s overthrow. In Greece, the first is expressed by trade-union forces of liberalism, socialdemocrats and opportunists of centre-left, that supported the policy of social submission and social dialogue of General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) . In international level it is expressed by the ETUC and the ITUC . The second, class oriented policy, is expressed in Greece by PAME and internationally by WFTU (World Federation of Trade Unions).
Please, allow us to do certain thoughts that are based on reality:
The “rival awe of” Socialist countries is absent but the capitalistic crises are getting deeper. The only matter that capitalists agree among them is the reduction of price of working force. However the wild competition between them, multiplies the wars for insuring new markets, energy sources, routs for transportation. Even popular uprisings are trapped in the service of interests foreign to the people, of one or another part of bourgeois class with international interventions (like Egypt etc).
The attack began with the capitalistic restructuring since ’70 decade. The crisis made restructuring more violent. The policies that are applied today were predetermined by European Union agreements of Maastricht and Lisbon in the’ 90 decade (reduction of wages, imposition of flexible work, demolition of social insurance, privatisations etc). In Greece these agreements were supported by neoliberals (ND), socialdemocrats (PASOK) and centre-left (SYRIZA).
Which is the opinion of PAME for the crisis that determines it’ s strategy and tactic?
It is a cyclical capitalistic crisis of over accumulation of merchandises and capital, as other that preceded. Dominating social contradiction bursts out violently : social production v. private appropriation. Products are produced by many people but its’ ownership is private, property of means of production is capitalistic
Here is the crisis mechanism :
Each capitalist produces as much as he can in order to displace competitors and dominate in competition. He reduces workers’ wages (that are also consumers of his products), he dismisses workers. The overexploitation of one part of workers becomes prerequisite of unemployment of the other part.
It is a social insanity.
Accumulation of wealth for the capitalists means obligatorily accumulation of poverty for the population. There is an anarchy, a lawlessness in production because it’ s only criterion is the profit, it cannot be scheduled, the proportions are overturned, the weakness of consumption of products cannot be forecasted. Merchandises remain unsold. Production stops because profit margin is lowered , capitals are not invested, they are accumulated until they find occasions of profitable investments. Needs of people are not satisfied.
For example, in Greece there are 200.000 unsold houses while many people are in danger of losing their house because of debts. Greeks capitalists removed in Switzerland 600 billions of Euros that is to say above double of the public debt, while material production is collapsing. And they are not only ones.
The markets exploded from profits during the period of growth. Destruction of productive forces is essential for restarting economy with terms of profitability. First force that is destroyed is the working force. All capitalists, all states, agree for this matter, are coordinated on this goal.
Parts of capital are being destroyed. Smaller companies close. Production is assembled in bigger monopolies. Monetary capital is undervalued (fall of stock markets, haircut of bonds and deposits). Competition between states and parts of bourgeois class about the matter which of them will pay more or less for the crisis, is intensified.
The economic growth that will follow crisis will be anaemic, for a short time, a preparation of new crisis. It will be based on impoverishment and unemployment. Private investments cannot absorb millions unemployed, they can only create very few, unstable and low – wage jobs.
Crises are in the DNA of capitalism, it cannot avoid them. They happen independently from the human will. They are not influenced by a good or bad governing, from different mixes of policy in the frames of system. The anti-popular attack is the only way for the system to overcome crises . Crises will exist as long as capitalism exists. This system cannot give anything else but unemployment, impoverishment and wars. It’s decay and barbarism, gives birth to social reactions, social powers and preconditions for overthrowing it.
For PAME, this analysis has fundamental importance . It determines general direction of struggle of working class movement with which, struggle for daily small or big problems of workers should be connected. It opens the way for overthrowing the generator of crises. As long as private property of the means of production is the main cause of crisis, the first who have interest from this overthrowing is working class that haw no private property of them. This class can lead a social alliance with other people strata that are affected from crisis (poor farmers that are uprooted, self-employing that close their shops, women, youth).
PAME took the initiative to unite radical class organizations of them, on a cohesive antimonopoly – anti- imperialistic, that is to say anti- capitalistic direction, connecting the question of exit out of crisis (in profit of people and not the monopolies) with the question of property of means of production and the question of state domination. That is to say, not only which political party is in government but which social class has in it’ s hands the property therefore the political power.
Certain aspects claim that crisis is “crisis of debt”, others that it’ s a crisis of casino – capitalism”, a pirate capitalism of banks”. They attribute the responsibility for crisis only to neo – liberal management and not to the nature of system itself. So, they acquit the system, the generator of crisis.
Public debt is the result, not the cause of crisis. The crisis of over – accumulation contributed to the expansion of debt. I.M.F reports that the debt of developed countries from 75% of GNP (Gross National Product) before crisis will reach the 120% of GNP in 2014. The debt is due to the economic supprort of states to capitalists not the fulfillment of popular needs. This support is essential for capitalistic growth.
Which state power can deny to pay this debt? A bourgeois government cannot. Only the working class state power, can.
Certain aspects support the recognition only of the “legal” part of debt. However, people owe nothing at all. On the other hand, a better, “fighting” negotiation for decreasing debt cannot exist. But even lenders do haircut of debt simultaneously with cut of wages and rights of people . These aspects recognize :
a) the lending agreements of Greece with the lenders (Troika) and its’ conditions that the loans will go entirely to support only the banks (that should be saved at any cost in order to finance the capitalistic recovery) and b) that the loans will be paid by people. That is to say imposition of new memorandum from another “progressive” government. This policy cannot confront unemployment and impoverishment, which are the springboard of capitalistic recovery.
The aspect that claims that a group of state owned banks can motivate controlled growth of healthy businesses, overlooks the fact that all banks work for profits, with terms imposed by the lenders, for the benefit of capitalists . Even “healthy” business is based on profitability and the theft of working class income.
Only PAME does not recognize any debt because it was not created by people. It fights for the unilateral deletion of entire debt. This will release productive possibilities of country, in the service of popular needs
Only PAME fights for exit of the country out of the European Union. It is factor of escalation of crisis, it is a wolf–nest – coordinator of monopolies against workers, either with neoliberals or socialdemocratic governments. The participation in E.U is not a national but class choice of capital in order to upgrade it’s international presence. The centre-left aspect that it can be changed is a delusion, led centre – left parties to support anti – popular policy, it incorporates working class in E.U. policy and make workers pay for it.
The unilateral deletion of debt and the exit from the European Union cannot itself ensure popular prosperity. Groups of capitalists may support these goals.
They express business interests (mainly exporting companies) that have interest from return to national currency, and the exit from the EU. or Eurozone, because they will benefit from the fluctuation of national currency. They consider that not paying debt to lenders, will turn national resources for their support.
This policy preexisted in Greece and a lot of countries. It cannot avoid crisis. It supports “growth” with state and bank loans that will be paid by workers. Low wages, unemployment are preconditions for this policy.
On political level, these aspects are expressed by the slogan for “patriotic unity” against lenders and “occupation” that they imposed on poorer countries saying that the main problem is “national independence”. On international level they speak about collaboration of countries of European South, (overlooking oppositions between them), new negotiation of debts, under the leadership of bourgeois governments that serve free economy that brought us in the current situation.
In Greece, various political forces of different origin, agree in this direction with common base, the acceptance of primacy of monopolies, the respect of their economic and political domination. These forces are the nazist – criminal gang of Golden Dawn (which despite anti systemic phraseology it acts as the Fifth phalanx of system in role of repression of the working class movement and support of employers), parts of neoliberal and socialdemocratic parties and the centre-left parties. They are supported by groups of capitalists and the bourgeois press that up to now supported the imposition of memoranda. An alliance between parts of the movement and parts of capital is being created for exclusive profit of the second.
That’s why analysis of the character of crisis determines the strategy and social alliances. It is not a national but a class crisis. Capital will benefit from it, workers will lose. If working class movement acts under the flags of parts of capitalists this will mean strategic retreat of workers, economic growth with unemployment and impoverishment, constant danger of new crises.
All these aspects express a reality: Capital and it’s political forces, under the destruction of productive forces and the impoverishment of people (even of their social allies in people strata up to now), with the knowledge that there will be no return to standard of living before crisis and that the situation will get worse, they fear popular outbreaks that can put in danger the core of their domination.
That’s why they are forced to reform the political system with unique aim to absorb and incorporate the popular reactions, so that the domination of monopolies will not be put in danger. This effort develops on the trade-union and political level.
In Greece, there is disdain of the trade union forces of liberals and socialdemocrats that were sovereign up to now. Before and after the crisis, they retreated from workers’ interests through “social dialogue” not for what workers will gain but for what they will lose. This was not a mistake but conscious collaboration with the employers and the state for the reduction of wage, the abolition of collective agreements. They contributed to the redistribution of income in harm of workers, they cultivated the logic of retreat, of “less harm”, and the logic of “national effort” for getting out of crisis, they incorporated victims in the logic of those who sacrifice them.
A big part of these forces moved in the trade-union forces of centre left, with all their ideological and political armaments of class compromise. The trade-union forces of centre left and their supporting political party (SYRIZA) contribute to the reformation of trade-union and political setting, with double expression:
They make unique slogan of trade unions the overthrow of today’s government and the election of their government. They cover up their retreat from peoples’ interests, they support E.U, lending agreement with lenders and (unavoidably) it’s consequence, the memorandum, they implement memorandum.
For example, they sign collective agreements with reductions of wage and rights. They accept cooperation between public and private sector that profits only the second one and is always a door for privatizations. They support “healthy” capitalists>. But there are no capitalists who earn profits without exploitation, that are willing to pay the debt. Even “healthy” capitalists ask for sacrifices from workers for national economy
They promote outdated Keynsian theories for regulation of markets. However market means profit, competition, anarchy. It cannot function for people. Business profits and popular prosperity cannot coexist.
This policy does not confront system’s logic, it recognizes it’s basic priorities. It calls only for overthrowing government, just to replace political personnel of the system without changes of the essence of policy.
This policy manipulates popular reactions with the theory that the problem is just a problem of bad negotiations and retreat of government to the lenders, a problem of occupation of the country from the lenders and especially from Germany. It acquits the capital that created and it is profited by the crisis. It opens the way for another mix of management of crisis in the frame of the system, that is mainly expressed by the government of USA and Obama. It expresses different parts of capital and international forces that prefer one pole of imperialism, USA, versus the German and E.U pole. It disorientates people, rescues the system, does not confront crises.
It is characteristic that this aspect began to be supported by conservative press in Greece but also in the USA that they supported the memoranda (article in NEW YORK TIMES that centre – left SYRIZA is the only solution for Greece). It is accepted by the Greek Industrialists’ Federation as alternative solution for absorption of popular reactions that should not put in question the dominance of monopolies . All these are combined with it’s retreat from pre-election engagements and it’s approach to the systemic policy.
This experience is not only Greek. It is European.
Social democracy lost it’ s power to manipulate people by approaching neo liberal policy. It is replaced by the centre-left in the role of rescue of system with the absorption of popular reactions without change of policy.
The experience of participation of centre-left forces in governments in the E.U. shows that they did not prevent from crisis, it became a part of it. It imposed anti-popular policy, it participated in imperialistic wars.
Finally, a question of strategic importance that concerns the political dialogue.
Is it for the profit of workers, that a radical, class – oriented political force, with direction to overthrow the system, to participate in governments of collaboration with other forces that declare just another mix of management of crisis, in the frame of system, supporting however it’s basic principles?
We believe that it would be a retreat and a defeat of strategic importance for the movement. With the compromises for the support of such a government that does not dispute the system, this political power not only would become itself a factor of crisis and of neutralization and incorporation of radical working masses and disorientation that crises can be prevented in the frame of the system. It would come in conflict with people, it would impose anti – popular policy. Working class would lose it’s self contained class oriented action for it’ s interests, it would lose it’ s class organization. It would work for the interests of her exploiters
There is no mix of policy in the frame of capitalism that would stop the crises, that would serve simultaneously the interests of capitalists and workers. Every similar effort in the past was proved for the profit of the first and for the harm of the second.
It’s characteristic that struggle of PAME, for the defence of vital rights of workers (against dismissals and reductions of wages, the results of the closure of companies, the anti popular taxes, the privatisations, the abolition of rights in health – education) stumble on the fact that capitalism cannot overcome crisis, without this policy. It is obligatory for it. Even the small victories of the movement become very difficult. These victories can only be achieved in conflict with the soul of policy of capital, only if they lead to overthrow, in antimonopoly – anti capitalistic direction. We do not wait until this overthrow but we want to open the way for it with every minor or major fight of the working class.
Finally the support of immediate tactical objectives requires radical conflict with the system.
For PAME, the refusal of participation of radical forces in governments which manage crisis in the frame of the system is a heritage of strategic importance for the movement.
PAME, instead of coalitions with forces of reformation – maintenance of system, it selects:
The class unity of workers, based on social characteristics and not on the vote of someone in last elections. In the direction of conflict with employers , with their dominance on economy and policy, and the base of their dominance, the private property of the means of production.
PAME selects social alliance, of all people strata that are harmed from crisis. With organisation of this alliance at every sector of production but also on local level, with people’s committees in the neighborhoods of cities and villages.
PAME does not require agreement with entire it’s political attitude but puts as criterion of participation in this alliance, three basic, immediate and combined objectives:
Unilateral deletion of debt. – Exit from the EU. – Socialization of basic means of production.
It is the only way to protect workers from the consequences of crisis, the traps of managing crisis to their harm. It is the only policy that opens the way for scheduled economy in the service of people, under workers’ control, with the state power in the hands of working class and people.