Month: June, 2011
Spontaneous “Indignation,” or Organized Struggle?
| June 23, 2011 | 9:08 pm | Action | No comments

Written by Editorial Board, Rizospastis, KKE (Communist Party of Greece)

On Friday the blogs which are guiding the movement of the “indignant” citizens published a statement of the “indignant” citizens in Syntagma Square [main square of Athens, Greece] that called on the left forces to leave the squares.

Thus, the “anonymous” leaders of the “movement of the squares”, the “non-party aligned”, “spontaneous”, “non-politicised” citizens appear to be politicised and declaring themselves “anti-left”.

Perhaps that’s the reason why they are hiding behind their anonymity. Up until this point they declared as their enemy the policy that brings poverty and unemployment while their slogan was to get rid of the memorandum and the politicians that implement it. This element along with the fact that they organise mobilisations expresses a political position.

Now they are showing one more aspect of their political stance and practice attributing the barbaric policy that leads the people and the youth to destitution generally to all the parties -including the KKE. Of course, they do not demonstrate who benefits from this policy; they do not show the real enemies which are the monopolies, the capitalists.

They are against the organised class-oriented trade union movement arguing that the trade unions must leave the squares. But the trade union movement is not homogenous. Is there any relation between the government and employer-led trade unionism that assisted the adoption of the barbaric measures and PAME that organised strikes and mass rallies against them along with PASEVE, PASY, OGE and MAS?

The self-definition of “non-party aligned” that they have used so far, which was extolled by the media groups of the capitalists, as well as their logic concerning the issue of democracy, proves to be nothing less than hypocrisy. Likewise, their intention to allegedly unite the people even on the basis of the vague anti-memorandum content of “the movement of the squares” since positions like “out with the left”, “parties out”, “trade unions out” are divisive while they are not that democratic , or, to be more accurate, they are undemocratic.

At the same time, and while they oppose the memorandum and the horrible measures they do not say a word against the government, the EU, the political forces that agree with this policy. They are merely talking in general about the politicians who implement it with vague arguments while they equate the KKE with these parties.

The prevention of the political and ideological expression of the working people, who have the right to have their own point of view and express it openly and publicly in general and in particular within the movement, where the ideological political struggle unfolds, is not only at odds with democracy, especially within the movement, but it also muzzles it.

Furthermore, each movement, even the spontaneous ones but even more so the movement in the squares has an objective, no matter if one agrees with it or not. But this action reveals that the leaders of the movements of the squares have a point of view: either you come to the square with our ideological-political positions leaving yours out of the movement or don’t come at all, stay away from the squares.

It seems that it is a well elaborated tactic in order to draw dividing lines between popular forces which are organised in trade unions, parties, which do not conceal their ideology, their policy even their party identity and those who go to the squares, who are also ordinary people most of whom have believed in the bourgeois parties that betrayed their hopes for a better life, are disgusted with the bourgeois policy and are looking for a way out.

After all whom does the logic “parties and trade unions out” serve ? At this point, we will not repeat that those from the blogs are preparing a party with the name “Immediate Democracy” as stated on TV . But there is also one truth that they do not want to come to the fore, that they try to conceal as the bourgeois media do at times; namely that not all parties are the same, that the so called non-party movement of the squares is a political entity, which, although it calls itself non-party aligned, is a political entity and has a political position against the other parties irrespective of what it claims for itself.

From the first time that this form of mobilisations appeared we posed a question: Who is hiding behind the blogs and the internet? Why they do not appear? What does their anonymity mean? Shouldn’t this fact concern those who gather in the squares? Because they should know which forces invite them and organize these activities. Because the blogs are not enough, nor does everything begin spontaneously from a blog, even if they contribute to the mobilizations as does their huge promotion by the media.

But it seems that anonymity helps those who are behind the blogs and not only them. After all the experience of the people’s movement shows that there are also organised forces that appear as forces of the “movement” and oppose – no matter if they do it intentionally or not- the organised people’s movement while when they are in action they hide their faces with hoods.

Now the movement of those with no name has emerged. The people who are concealing themselves have a specific purpose, which they are also trying to hide. They present themselves as pro-people leaders but they do not point to the real opponent of the people.

The people who cover their faces with hoods oppose the state’s repressive mechanisms, the windows of shops and banks-they consider these to be their opponents and not the monopolies. Their activity fosters tendencies for the movement to lose its organized character, impede the participation of the people and does not cultivate a rebellious consciousness.

The procedures of direct democracy allegedly express participation from below in anti-memorandum activity. But which political force will impose its will so that the memorandum is abandoned? For them they are against politicians and political parties. So who will do it? Other politicians, and perhaps other organized forces with the political line which is being expressed in the squares, which are not against the monopolies and the capitalists. So we are talking about another reformed bourgeois system. Maybe this is their aim?

Of course, the specific view “parties out” makes some people from specific parties appear as defenders of their party line in the morning, they flatter those who express the “non-party position” despite the fact that these very people are leading party cadre, and in the evening they go to the squares as “non-party people”. This is hypocrisy on a massive scale, if not outright fraud. Ordinary people, young people participate in the squares to express their indignation, discontent, anger at the government, the EU, the Troika. But they do understand or do not accept the political line for the overthrow of the system.

These working people must not be ensnared in the net which the system is preparing through the so-called “non-party” and spontaneous. The conflict with the monopolies is not colourless. There needs to be a plan, a strategy, ideals, contribution and sacrifices. It means allying with the KKE, the class-oriented radical forces, new forces, which are starting to mobilise overcoming their inertia and tolerance, must make this step forwards.

“Parties out” is a conservative point of view. The political parties are organizations which with their political line and ideology express specific interests. Our society is divided into social classes and strata. The bourgeois class, on the one side, the dominant one, has the power, which some of its parties manage in the government and on the other side the working class. There exist intermediate strata which are differentiated economically, as well as socially. The intermediate strata, which are in a lower economic position, are objectively allies of the workers and opponents of the monopolies. The “parties out” view equates the KKE with the bourgeois parties. It conceals the real opponent of the people, the monopolies, which have the power.

The worker is deluding himself if he believes that the mobilizations in the squares are enough to liberate him from the old and new problems which have been foisted on him, without a movement which begins from and is rooted in the factories and industries, in every workplace, against the capitalist class. When the movement is not strong in the factories, whatever mobilisations take place do not have solid foundations. The real arena of class struggle is the workplace, the industry.

It is there where the workers come into daily uncompromising struggle with the big businessmen – which flows from their relative class relations, the relations of exploitation, because the wealth and profits of the capitalists are produced by the labour of the workers. Some say in the squares as well, and this is also necessary, but primarily in the place where the class opponents come into conflict. Here is the real core of the class-oriented political struggle.

The worker is deluding himself if he believes that people’s mobilizations must be far from all the parties or against all of them. Such a movement is condemned to be subjugated to the political line of the capitalists, to contribute to the perpetuation of exploitation.

The worker is deluding himself if he believes that the bourgeois political system can function in the people’s interests.

The bourgeois political system cannot be corrected, only overthrown.

The worker is deluding himself if he promotes the demand to get rid of the memorandum, without accompanying this with the demand for withdrawal from the EU and the overthrow of the state of the monopolies in Greece.

The people needs the movement which gives it a clear prospect. This means an organized struggle allied to the KKE, a struggle through the class-oriented movements of PAME, PASY, PASEVE, OGE and MAS. Only these forces can oppose the strategy of the monopolies and their servants with the strategy for the people’s interests.

Without such a strategy, the people will not find a way out.

Editorial board, Rizospastis, via 21st Century Manifesto
June 5, 2011

Reflections on the Cuban 5 art exhibit
| June 19, 2011 | 9:14 pm | Action | No comments

By James Thompson

HOUSTON and SAN ANTONIO – Today I had the privilege of transporting the art of Antonio Guerrero from Houston to San Antonio. Antonio Guerrero is one of the Cuban 5 who are unjustly imprisoned in federal penitentiaries across the U.S. The Cuban 5 are five men who fought against terrorism perpetrated against their homeland, Cuba, and were unjustly incarcerated in this country.

I drove the art to San Antonio during the incredible drought which has plagued Texas for the past couple months. It was hot, to say the least, dry and windy. Some might say this mirrors the demeanor of Texans.

What might also be said of Texans is that we are a tough bunch who fight for our rights and don’t back down in the face of intimidation. There is an incredible fight back going on to oppose the budget cuts proposed by the right wingers, both Democrats and Republicans. Working people are united in their fight against the forces of the ultra-wealthy. We are opposed to the assaults on health care, education and public services in this state.

I drove the art to San Antonio on Father’s day and Juneteenth and there is some significance to both.

I know what it is to lose a father. My father died in 2003 at the time of the start of the unjust invasion of Iraq by the U.S. As my father was dying in a hospice room, I listened to reports from CNN of the Bush inspired invasion of Iraq which has resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent working people both in Iraq and from the U.S. My father was a man of peace and was opposed to this unlawful military invasion of a sovereign nation from the beginning. He would have been opposed to the subsequent invasions of sovereign nations under Bush and Obama to include Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan and many others.

Progressives elected President Obama to be the Peace President and we have been sorely disappointed. Some hypocrites back Obama and his worldwide invasion, but opposed Bush for his invasions. It doesn’t matter the party or color of skin of the President, all working people should unite to oppose imperialism.
Today was also Juneteenth. Juneteenth is a Texas holiday which commemorates the emancipation of slaves in Texas. I am proud to have celebrated Juneteenth by transporting the art of one of the Cuban 5 to San Antonio. It is the least I could do to express my solidarity with the people of Cuba who fought against the wage slavery imposed on them by U.S. corporations.

Most people in the U.S. don’t understand that the Cuban Revolution was about booting out the predatory U.S. corporations and their Cuban puppets and replacing them with a government truly of the people, by the people and for the people. The Cuban 5 fought a valiant struggle against the forces of the U.S. right wing who sought to overturn the Cuban revolution and reinstate the wealthy to the position of the ruling class in Cuba. For their remarkable struggle against the wealthy, they are now incarcerated in prisons under despicable conditions in the U.S.

Three out of the five incarcerated terrorist fighters from Cuba are fathers. I was proud to honor them on father’s day. The other two have been denied the right to be fathers because of their long, unjust imprisonment. I was proud to honor them as well.

It is very sad to think of the children of the Cuban 5 who have been denied the right to contact with their fathers. I was proud to honor these children on father’s day as well.

As was mentioned, it was a long, hot drive and I had time to reflect on the current situation. I wondered what it must be like to be a person from a country who has never invaded another sovereign nation. I wondered what it must be like to be from a country that in spite of meager resources and an outrageous U.S. embargo has managed to build one of the best health care systems in the world. I wondered what it must be like to be from a country that puts a priority on educating its people, rather than cutting back the education system. I wondered what it must be like to be from a country that has put a priority on job creation and has eliminated hunger, illiteracy and homelessness.

Perhaps one day our great nation will lead the struggle for working people’s interests throughout the world. This can only be accomplished by promoting health, education and welfare for all peoples in the world, starting with this country. Starting new destructive wars only diminishes the interests of working people throughout the world.

Returning the five Cuban heroes to their native land would be an excellent step in the right direction of promoting world peace.

PHill1917@comcast.net

SOLIDARITY MESSAGE WITH STRUGGLES OF WORKERS IN GENERAL ELECTRIC IN THE USA
| June 18, 2011 | 9:02 pm | Action | No comments

WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS

Athens, May 20, 2011

The greed and power grab of corporations around the world caused the Capitalist financial and economic crisis; and, these same corporate leaders want workers and their unions to pay for it.
While these barbaric actions have a global and continental scope, their immediate impact is on the everyday efforts by corporations to cut back on the hard won wages, health benefits and pensions of working class people.

General Electric Corporation has had a long history are trying to extract every morsel from workers and their unions who represent workers at GE.

The current round of contract negotiations is no different.

THE WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS VOICES SOLIDARITY WITH THE MILITANCY AND SPIRIT OF THE UNITED ELECTRICAL WORKERS UNION AND THE OTHER TRADE UNIONS WHO ARE CURRENT LOCKED IN BITTER STRUGGLE AGAINST GE.

PLEASE KEEP US INFORMED ON THE PROGRESS OF NEGOTIATIONS AND IF THERE ARE SOLIDARITY PICKETS AND BOYCOTTS PLANNED THAT WE AND OUR AFFILIATES CAN PROMOTE AND PARTICIPATE IN.
THE SECRETARIAT

40, Zan Moreas street, Athens 11745 GREECE

Tel. +302109214417, +302109236700, Fax +30210 9214517

www.wftucentral.org E-mails : info@wftucentral.org, international@wftucentral.org

Cuban art exhibit opens in Houston
| June 12, 2011 | 8:38 pm | Action | 1 Comment

By James Thompson

HOUSTON – “From my altitude”, a touring art exhibit opened in Houston on June 4, 2011. It was enthusiastically received by an amazed group of about 50 Houstonians at the East End Studio Gallery/Houston Institute for Culture located at 708c Telephone Road. The art was stunning and was very well presented.

The art was by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5, who is currently imprisoned in a federal facility in Colorado. The Cuban 5 are a group of five heroes who put their lives on the line to fight terrorism. They were sent to the U.S. to infiltrate the right wing terrorists in Miami who are responsible for many acts of terrorism including the bombing of a Cuban airliner which resulted in the death of the entire Cuban fencing team as well as terrorist acts against tourists in Havana. The information these patriots provided to the Cuban government enabled the Cubans to thwart some of the vicious attacks on their homeland.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government chose to apprehend these five heroes and they are now placed in federal prisons around the U.S. They have been subjected to cruel and harsh treatment throughout their imprisonment including long periods of solitary confinement.

Antonio Guerrero, who never produced any art prior to his imprisonment, was taught art by his cellmate, an African American. As a result, he completed the thirty paintings which make up the exhibition.
The paintings portray Che Guevara and Fidel Castro as well as portraits of the mothers of the Cuban 5. There are two smaller paintings of the Colorado mountains that symbolize the restricted view of the artist from his prison cell, but nevertheless reflect his perception of the beauty of the mountains in spite of the ugliness of the prison.

Portraits of the mothers of the Cuban 5, by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5

The program included beautiful Cuban music, speakers about the Cuban 5 and the Cuba Caravan which will be coming to Houston on July 16. Participants were also treated to a mime performance which dramatized the plight of the Cuban 5.

The exhibit will proceed to San Antonio and Dallas after it closes in Houston.

Portrait of Fidel Castro by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5

Six Theses on the Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government
| June 10, 2011 | 8:46 pm | Action | No comments

by V. I. Lenin

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Written:Between April 30 and May 3, 1918
First Published: 1918 in the pamphlet: N. Lenin The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government, All-Russia C.E.C. Publishers; Published according to the text of the second edition of the pamphlet, 1918, collated with the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 27, pages 314-317
Translated: Clemens Dutt; Edited by Robert Daglish
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive March, 2002

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1. The international position of the Soviet Republic is extremely difficult and critical, because the deepest and fundamental interests of international capital and imperialism induce it to strive not only for a military onslaught on Russia, but also for an agreement on the partition of Russia and the strangulation of the Soviet power.

Only the intensification of the imperialist slaughter of the peoples in Western Europe and the imperialist rivalry between Japan and America in the Far East paralyse, or restrain, these aspirations, and then only partially, and only for a certain, probably short, time.

Therefore, the tactics of the Soviet Republic must be, on the one hand, to exert every effort to ensure the country’s speediest economic recovery, to increase its defence capacity, to build up a powerful socialist army; on the other hand, in international policy, the tactics must be those of manoeuvring, retreat, waiting for the moment when the international proletarian revolution—which is now maturing more quickly than before in a number of advanced countries—fully matures.

2. In the sphere of domestic policy, the task that comes to the forefront at the present time in conformity with tho resolution adopted by the All-Russia Congress of Soviets on March 15, 1918, is the task of organisation. It is this task, in connection with the new and higher organisation of production and distribution on the basis of socialised large-scale machine (labour) production, that constitutes the chief content—and chief condition of complete victory —of the socialist revolution that was begun in Russia on October 25, 1917.

3. From the purely political point of view, the essence of the present situation is that the task of convincing the working people of Russia that the programme of the socialist revolution is correct and the task of winning Russia from the exploiters for the working people have, in main and fundamental outline, been carried out, and the chief problem that comes to the forefront now is—how to administer Russia. The organisation of proper administration, the undeviating fulfilment of the decisions of the Soviet government—this is the urgent task of the Soviets, this is the condition for the complete victory of the Soviet type of state, which it is not enough to proclaim in formal decrees, which it is not enough to establish and introduce in all parts of the country, but which must also be practically organised and tested in the course of the regular, everyday work of administration.

4. In the sphere of the economic building of socialism, the essence of the present situation is that our work of organising the country-wide and all-embracing accounting and control of production and distribution, and of introducing proletarian control of production, lags far behind the direct expropriation of the expropriators—the land owners and capitalists. This is the fundamental fact determining our tasks.

From this it follows, on the one hand, that the struggle against the bourgeoisie is entering a new phase, namely: the centre of gravity is shifting to the organisation of accounting and control. Only in this way is it possible to consolidate all the economic achievements directed against capital, all the measures in nationalising individual branches of the national economy that we have carried out since October; and only in this way is it possible to prepare for the successful consummation of the struggle against the bourgeoisie, i.e., the complete consolidation of socialism.

From this basic fact follows, on the other hand, the explanation as to why the Soviet government was obliged in certain cases to take a step backward, or to agree to compromise with bourgeois tendencies. Such a step backward and departure from the principles of the Paris Commune was, for example, the introduction of high salaries for a number of bourgeois experts. Such a compromise was the agreement with the bourgeois co-operatives concerning steps and measures for gradually bringing the entire population into the co-operatives. Compromises of this kind will be necessary until the proletarian government has put country-wide control and accounting firmly on its feet; and our task is, while not in the least concealing their unfavourable features from the people, to exert efforts to improve accounting and control as the only means and method of completely eliminating all compromises of this kind. Compromises of this kind are needed at the present time as the sole (because we are late with accounting and control) guarantee of slower, but surer progress. When the accounting and control of production and distribution is fully introduced the need for such compromises will disappear.

5. Particular significance now attaches to measures for raising labour discipline and the productivity of labour. Every effort must be exerted for the steps already undertaken in this direction, especially by the trade unions, to be sustained, consolidated and increased. This includes, for example, the introduction of piece-work, the adoption of much that is scientific and progressive in the Taylor system, the payment of wages commensurate with the general results of the work of a factory, the exploitation of rail and water transport, etc. This also includes the organisation of competition between individual producers’ and consumers’ communes, selection of organisers, etc.

6. The proletarian dictatorship is absolutely indispensable during the transition from capitalism to socialism, and in our revolution this truth has been fully confirmed in practice. Dictatorship, however, presupposes a revolutionary government that is really firm and ruthless in crushing both exploiters and hooligans, and our government is too mild. Obedience, and unquestioning obedience at that, during work to the one-man decisions of Soviet directors, of the dictators elected or appointed by Soviet institutions, vested with dictatorial powers (as is demanded, for example, by the railway decree), is far, very far from being guaranteed as yet. This is the effect of the influence of petty-bourgeois anarchy, the anarchy of small-proprietor habits, aspirations and sentiments, which fundamentally contradict proletarian discipline and socialism. The proletariat must concentrate all its class-consciousness on the task of combating this petty-bourgeois anarchy, which is not only directly apparent (in the support given by the bourgeoisie and their hangers-on, the Mensheviks, Right Socialist-Revolutionaries, etc., to every kind of resistance to the proletarian government), but also indirectly apparent (in the historical vacillation displayed on the major questions of policy by both the petty-bourgeois Left Socialist-Revolutionaries and the trend in our Party called “Left Communist”, which descends to the methods of petty-bourgeois revolutionariness and copies the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries).

Iron discipline and the thorough exercise of proletarian dictatorship against petty-bourgeois vacillation—this is the general and summarising slogan of the moment.

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Endnotes
[1] Six Theses on the Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government were written by Lenin on instructions of the All-Russia C.E.C. after his report on the immediate tasks of the Soviet government had been discussed at a meeting of the All-Russia C.E.C. on April 29, 1918. Lenin’s theses were unanimously approved by the Party Central Committee on May 3, and on May 4 the Presidium of the All-Russia C.E.C. sent them out to the local Soviets with a circular letter stating that Lenin’s theses “should form the basis of the work of all Soviets”.

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Captive Nations
| June 1, 2011 | 9:36 pm | Action | No comments

By Zoltan Zigedy

http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/2011/06/captive-nations.html#links

Nearly thirty-five years ago, in a rare moment of truth-speak, President Gerald Ford, participating in a televised pre-election debate with future President Jimmy Carter, denied that the socialist countries of Eastern Europe were “captive nations” under Soviet domination. Ford, not known for his political acumen, violated one of the cardinal rules of national political campaigns: thou shall not deviate from “truths” held closely by the US ruling class. The media came down on Ford like a ton of bricks; some say his indelicate comment cost him the election.

It is likely that the bumbling Ford misread his cues or suffered a brain lock since he had earlier signed a proclamation designating the week beginning July 13, 1975 as “Captive Nations Week.” Breaking with the unity of thought that ruling elites fight so hard to establish is not easily forgiven, even if it is inadvertent.

Despite the end of the Cold War, sacred and unassailable truths still are a fixture of US political discourse: politicians are not allowed to mention that the Cuban people overwhelmingly support their government; the plight of the Palestinian people – their suffering and hardships – must remain unspoken at all costs; the charge of terrorism must include and be confined to acts against imperialism; and private ownership of assets is always to be preferred over public ownership. These are theological commandments in a country that trumpets its commitment to freedom of thought.

The Real Captive Nations

Though the notion of “captive nations” was one of those ridiculous ideas born from the malignant minds of Cold Warriors, there is no better time than today to find it a precise and appropriate application. Its aptness is one of those sublime ironies that would make the old master, Karl Marx, smile.

In the wake of the most destructive waves of the economic crisis, most nations were left with extraordinary public debt. Bailouts, stimulative spending, and substantially reduced revenues pushed public debt loads dramatically higher, excepting those few countries with sufficient reserves. In a real sense, the assumption of debt was the prescription – the only prescription – for surviving an accelerating mortal spiral of the capitalist system.

But in a capitalist country in the web of a global capitalist system, debt is shorthand for an intimate relationship between borrowers and lenders, a relationship that is easy prey for international banks, hedge funds, and the global enforcers of capitalism, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The group of weaker, less developed countries of the European Union was one of the most vulnerable targets of financial predation. When the Union was formed in 1993 from the European Economic Community, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Greece were late comers and poor sisters to the more highly developed countries of the EU like West Germany, France, Italy and the other northern neighbors that founded the EEC. There was enormous pressure for these countries to achieve a “European” level of development and living standards. By membership, they gained open markets and access to capital. Their relatively low wages gave them somewhat of a competitive advantage within the Union. Despite this “advantage,” they remained the underachievers of Europe – more the quaint vacation destinations for the rich than economic titans.

With the creation of a single currency, the euro, in 1999, and the establishment of the European Central Bank, economic relations between members were reordered. The common currency forced the surrender of individual sovereignty over monetary policy, eliminating an individual state’s ability to adjust exchange rates against other currencies. Further, euro-zone participation was predicated on a strict set of economic (neo-liberal) parameters established by the Treaty of Maastricht. Regulatory constraints were imposed as well. In effect, countries surrendered a great measure of their sovereignty to be a part of the super-state, the EU, the weaker economies surrendering their fate to the economic super-powers of Northern Europe.

For the less developed, membership in the euro-zone was an opportunity for conservative governments to impose neo-liberal changes, justified by the promised prosperity enjoyed by the wealthier member states.

Ireland granted subsidies, lowered corporate taxes and taxes on the wealthy to draw multi-nationals to exploit an educated, but low wage working class. Greece sold off public assets to the tune of 11.1% of GDP between 1998 and 2003. Both were hailed as exemplary team players.

Only Communists and the anti-capitalist left foresaw danger in surrendering sovereignty to the dominant powers in the EU.

With the full blast of economic crisis in 2008, all of the EU-based hopes were dashed. Catching up was off the table and survival was the business at hand. Ireland’s unregulated banks had piled up huge debts, necessitating massive government-funded bailing. The Iberian construction boom fizzled, leaving mountains of debt and massive unemployment.

But Greece was the special case. When the newly elected PASOK government revealed in 2009 that the budget deficit was twice what the previous government had claimed – no doubt for political reasons – the financial predators descended upon the country. Like a pack of wolves attacking the weakest, most vulnerable of the herd, international bankers, equity firms and hedge funds began to bet against Greek debt management, driving the cost of borrowing sky high. They speculated with credit default swaps and against credit default swaps, establishing an upward swing in the costs of financing and re-financing debt and a downward swing in credit ratings. These swings invited further speculation and a further worsening of Greece’s debt position.

Financial writers purposefully overlook these waves of aggression, lest they reveal the continued existence of rampant speculative capital, the very element that brought the global economy down. Instead, they write of Greek corruption, profligacy and financial irresponsibility.

In truth, Greece was the victim of international banks, equity firms and hedge funds – a financial mugging that brought the country to the brink of debt default in May of 2010. And under the guidance of a social democratic government, a government wedded to neo-liberal policies, Greece surrendered unconditionally to the rule of the EU, the ECB and the IMF, accepting a bailout of €110 billion. Greece became a captive nation.

As a condition of EU and IMF servitude, Greece was forced to accept an austerity program that, apart from incalculable human misery, brought the economy down, sinking into depression. Greece is, indeed, a captive nation.

The New York Times reported on May 16 that unemployment in Greece is approaching 15%, cement production is down 60% since 2006, steel production is down in the last two years, Athens has experienced a 25% increase in homelessness, and food kitchens are flourishing. Public sector jobs, wages and benefits have been slashed deeply. The human costs of this austerity program are only beginning to set in, while the cuts promise to retard Greece’s ability to raise tax revenue for both human services and debt repayment. The Greek government announced in April that it will seek an additional €3 billion in cuts. Currently, 6.7% of the declining Greek GDP goes to debt service, a figure inevitably growing as the economy shrinks and the cost of debt increases. These are the consequences facing a nation captured in the web of the EU, ECB and the IMF.

This is not merely extortion, but a wholesale commandeering of the Greek economy, and consequently, its political and social life. Recently, EU leaders demanded that the two predominant bourgeois parties of Greece meet and agree to continuing EU policy after the October, 2013 end of the PASOK government’s term. Dutifully, they met, though they could reach no agreement. Nonetheless, PASOK offered another €22 billion in cuts and tax increases to appease the EU lords of the manor.

But the EU game plan is not merely to bring Greece to its knees, but to steal its physical assets. The EU is demanding a fire sale of public assets, a massive privatization of the shared wealth of Greek society. So far, the appeasing PASOK government has entertained a €71 billion sell-off, with ports, airports, transport, power, water, motorways, gambling companies and telecommunications under consideration for heavily discounted sale to foreign investors. While this might momentarily appease the financial vultures, the massive loss of future revenue to the Greek government will only further cripple the Greek economy.

With glee, the IMF has noted that there is additionally a potential €200-300 billion of Greek property available for pillage, including the Olympic facilities and military properties. Will the Parthenon be next?

Greece has not known such domination by foreign powers since the Nazi occupation. As then, the only option is resistance.

Like a Nazi “Reichsbevollmächtigter,” the plenipotentiary of the EU is currently debating Greece’s fate. Understanding that Greece will be unable to pay or refinance the €66 billion in loans that will come due in 2012 (foreign bank lending to Greece declined 19% in 2010), the leaders are debating the best way to pick over the bones of the Greek economy. On one hand, the ECB threatens to cut off Greek banks (they borrowed €88 billion from the ECB in March) if the government attempts to modify its debt in any way. On the other hand, the euro-powerhouses, Germany and France, endorse loan restructuring in lieu of an additional bailout as requested by the Greek government. Neither option treats Greece as other than a satrapy.

The Other Captive Nations?

For the mainstream media, the enslavement of Greece is simply an aberration, a condition invited by Greek irresponsibility or a tragedy loosed by the gods of mythology. In reality, Greece’s plight is clearly the model for the other weak sisters in the EU. Ireland accepted a bailout that came with austerity provisos that mirrored Greece’s package and resulted in a dramatic decline in Irish living standards. With over a hundred billion euros in non-performing loans, a total that grew substantially from 2009, Irish banks continue to hang by a thread, inviting further extortionate intervention by the EU. They borrow even more than Greek banks from the ECB. And the yield on Irish bonds is 7.5% – a record level – above comparable German bonds. More austerity looms.

Portugal’s economy is reeling with at least a 2% annual decline in GDP projected for this and next year thanks to a severe austerity program. A €78 billion EU bailout is forthcoming, assuredly with further austerity and privatization demands from the EU lords. At the same time, Portugal is in the midst of a severe political crisis.

Spain, the next country in the sights of international financial predators, is also politically shaky with recent municipal elections rocking the ruling party. Spain’s 21% unemployment and stagnant economy thwart the country’s ability to contain and reduce its debt. While Spanish national debt trails the other three countries as a percentage of GDP, it is widely known that much Spanish regional and municipal debt has been hidden, unreported in official figures. The ruling “Socialist” Party has embarked on a severe preemptive program of budget cuts, layoffs, flexible work rules and other austerity measures that will only hasten the EU wolves to Spain’s door.

Even Italy, one of the old-guard members of the EU, may prove to be a candidate for captive-nation status. On May 20, Standard and Poor’s lowered the Italian public debt – $1.9 trillion – to negative status.

Resistance, not Collaboration

Facing captive nation or neo-colonial status imposed by their northern neighbors and the EU administration, the southern European countries have no option but to resist. Social democratic and conservative parties offer no road but collaboration. Like their Nazi-era predecessors, these Vichy-like leaders attempt to appease their masters while quelling the rising of the people. Trapped in the neo-liberal bubble and with no alternative vision, they enable the developed European powers to achieve the domination that the fascists of the last century sought through military means.

Resistance, however, means refusing the terms and conditions imposed by great powers. It means ignoring the debt – placing it aside, isolated from national accounts, as the “too big to fail” international banks did at the height of the crisis. It means threatening default if national sovereignty is not respected.

Resistance means rejecting the undemocratic nature of the EU and its institutions. If this means leaving the euro-zone and the imperious rule of the ECB, then captive nations should well entertain this option.

Resistance means formulating a new vision of a democratic, peoples’ Europe free from the domination of capital and elite rule. Of course this is a vision that projects socialism as the ultimate goal of rational, humane social relationships.

In Greece, this project is borne by the peoples’ movement of PAME and the militants of the Greek Communist Party. They, like their counterparts in the resistance to Nazi occupation, stand resolutely against the EU political and economic “occupiers,” rallying the masses to fight collaboration.

In Portugal and Spain, mass movements of workers and youth have taken to the streets in defiance of the bankruptcy of social democracy and the pain of EU-imposed austerity bringing joblessness and poverty. Hopefully, class-based organizations and Communists will continue to struggle to provide a visionary focus to their anger.

Those of us who stand in solidarity with the emerging European resistance should heed their experience. The wolves of financial predation are at our doors, too. The debt scam – the principal weapon of ruling class warfare today – threatens all of us.

Zoltan Zigedy
zoltanzigedy@gmail.com