Category: Greece
Tsipras’ government dismisses 10,000 workers, promotes privatization in garbage collection

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tsipras’ government dismisses 10,000 workers, promotes privatization in garbage collection

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/06/tsipras-government-dismisses-10000.html
Sanitary workers protesting near the Acropolis
in Athens.

Why there are tones of garbage in the streets of Athens and other Greek major cities these days? The answer is because the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government- within the framework of its anti-people, anti-workers policy and following the demands of the EU strategy- moves towards the dismissal of 10,000 sanitary workers, while it promotes the privatization of the garbage collection sector in municipalities. 

Greece’s local authority staff union federation POE-OTA launched a protest last week, after a court ruled against the new extension to late 2017 of the short- term contracts of more than 10,000 people working in trash collection in municipalities throughout Greece.
POE-OTA responded with work stoppages, strikes, and sit-in protests at landfills, rightfully demanding permanent employment of workers to replace the fixed-term contracts, which put workers in risk of being fired in a country suffering chronic unemployment of about 25% of the working force.
In a communication trick, Interior Minister Panos Skourletis submitted to the parliament on Monday a proposal for hiring 2,500 permanent municipal sanitation workers. The proposal was immediately rejected by POE-OTA as insufficient. The government’s mockery towards the sanitary workers is more than clear: It proposes the hiring of 2,500 municipal sanitation workers, while it prepares the dismissal of more than 6,500 of them! 
“Given that sanitation services are a daily operation in urban centers, we request permanent personnel earning salaries allowing them to make a living with dignity. There is no need for short-term workers which are recycled by governments and mayors under the formula ‘You leave, you are hired’. As a result, each time people are offered fewer workers’ rights and smaller wages,” Christos Panagiotopoulos, a protesting worker was quoted by the Chinese news network Xinhua on Monday.
In this anti-workers strategy, the SYRIZA-ANEL government is actually supported by the opposition party of New Democracy and all the bourgeois political forces, including many of the municipal authorities. In Thessaloniki, mayor Yannis Boutaris– known for his animosity towards the labor movement- unleashed a fierce attack against the striking workers and threatened them by signing an emergency tender awaiting a relevant short-term contract to the private sector. Such a move by Boutaris would cost to the city’s taxpayers approximately 192,000 euros for three days! The All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) slammed the anti-worker delirium of mayor Boutaris thus accusing him of promoting the governmental strategy and the interests of private contractors.

“Fraud- hostage- dismissal- unemployment… This is the course of the government’s policy in the case of the municipal sanitation workers, the policy followed by the SYRIZA-ANEL government during the last 2.5 years” writes the Sunday edition of “Rizospastis” on 25th June. 

“In particular, the sector of sanitation and waste management consists a very promising “investment” sector for monopoly groups” points out the article of “Rizospastis” and continues: “Many are those who are lurking to strench their hands, since in this case “garbage is treasure”. What nowadays appears to be a “gordian knot” in the labor relation of the contract workers, consists a first-class opportunity to promote privatization projects. It is also no coincidence that many media, according to their favorite method, rushed to zoom at the “piles of garbage” in Athens, in order to connect the issue with the tourist season and pass the “message” about the need for privatization. After all, specific mayors are already moving towards this direction openly”.

KKE: “The people must support the struggle of the sanitation workers – The waste collection and management is state’s responsibility.”

In a statement, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) expressed its support to the struggle of the workers and denounced the policy of the SYRIZA-ANEL government, as well as the role of New Democracy and part of the mayors who promote the privatization plans. The KKE states that the waste collection and management is state’s responsibility and must be financed from the government’s budget. “Today”, the KKE statement points out, “the SYRIZA-ANEL government dismisses thousands of contract workers, hiding behild the constitution’s provisions. Instead of ensuring the right to stable and permanent labor of all these workers, (the government) is mocking them, promising supposed solutions which perpetuate labor insecurity and lead to dismissals”.

Full support to the struggle of the sanitation workers was expressed by the five communist mayors – of the cities of Patras, Chaidari, Petroupolis, Kesariani and Ikaria – who denounced the governmental mockery. The five mayors asked from the government to transform the temporary contracts of the municipal sanitation workers into permanent ones.  

And a 24-hour strike and a new rally in Athens was called for Thursday.

Patras’ communist mayor Peletidis in the forefront of the popular struggle against unemployment

Monday, June 26, 2017

Patras’ communist mayor Peletidis in the forefront of the popular struggle against unemployment

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/06/patras-communist-mayor-peletidis-in.html

Back in March 2016, the communist (KKE-backed) mayor of the city of Patras Kostas Peletidis had initiated the Patras to Athens 220km march against unemployment.

This year, the mayor who is always by the side of the working class and the people of his city, undertook a similar initiative by organizing an anti-unemployment demonstration in order to raise the public awareness on the issue. 

On June 25 2017, a major demonstration was carried out in Patras at the initiative of the municipal authorities with the slogan “Work for all, Work with rights.” The demonstrators began from Patras’ city center and reached the Rio-Antirio bridge covering a distance of approximately 9km.

Thousands of protesters sent a clear message for work, for measures to protect the unemployed and their families, for projects that the people need, for an increase of spending on social policy, for the satisfaction of the needs of the people today.

As the communist mayor of Patras, Kostas Peletidis, stressed: “We do not believe that with such actions we will overturn the wave of unemployment and poverty that are surrounding us, but we want our people to raise the level of their demands, to advance their just cause and project their needs that are just and realistic, to decisively target the real enemy, bourgeois politics and its power.” 

The mobilization was supported by dozens of trade unions from the region.
 
With info from 902.gr & inter.kke.gr
ΤΟ ΣΦΑΓΕΙΟ – ΜΙΚΗΣ ΘΕΟΡΩΡΑΚΗΣ – ΠΟΛΥΤΕΧΝΕΙΟ
| June 25, 2017 | 8:17 pm | Greece | No comments

ΠΛΑΝΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΗΝ ΑΝΤΙΙΜΠΕΡΙΑΛΙΣΤΙΚΗ ΔΙΑΔΗΛΩΣΗ ΣΤΗ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗ

ΠΛΑΝΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΗΝ ΑΝΤΙΙΜΠΕΡΙΑΛΙΣΤΙΚΗ ΔΙΑΔΗΛΩΣΗ ΣΤΗ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗ
| June 24, 2017 | 2:36 pm | Greece, Imperialism, PAME, political struggle, WFTU | No comments

“Neither soil, nor water to the murderers of the people”: Huge rally against NATO in Thessaloniki

Saturday, June 24, 2017

“Neither soil, nor water to the murderers of the people”: Huge rally against NATO in Thessaloniki

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/06/neither-soil-nor-water-to-murderers-of.html
“Neither soil, nor water to the murderers of the people” and “with the workers of all countries, for a world without exploitation, wars and refugees” were the major slogan of the massive anti-imperialist demonstration organised by the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) in Thessaloniki. Thousands of protesters of all ages, from all over Greece but also from abroad, joined their voices against imperialism, its wars and interventions. 

The demonstration began at Aristotelous Square, with a greeting message by Zeljko Veselinovic, president of the Serbian Trade Union SLOGA, on behalf of all the attending foreign Trade Unions. Veselinovic recalled the solidarity that PAME and Greece’s working class had offered to the people of Yugoslavia during the 1999 NATO bombings: “We, the workers, are brothers regardless race, religion or skin colour and that will be forever. Nobody is going to subdue us. We are stronger and they will never beat us”, he said among other things.
 
Greeting messages were also delivered by the General Secretary of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) Giorgos Mavrikos and Nikos Papanastasis, Lieutenant-Colonel (retired). General Secretary Mavrikos pointed out that the WFTU, which represents 92 million members in 126 countries, takes action in every corner of the world towards the support of workers’ rights. Within the framework, Mavrikos refered to a series of initiatives that the WFTU will take in the near future, as well as to the task of strengthening the class-based perception in international trade-union movement. 

 From his side, Lieutenant-Colonel Papanastasis, member of the “Movement for National Defense”, underlined among other things: “We, the military officers, have passed the largest part of our life in the camps and have a first-hand knowledge of what ‘NATO’ means. We know the dimension of the dramatic consequences for the people, resulted by our country’s participation on that. We know what blood-stained operational plans it has. Everyone knows the slaughtering of the people of Yugoslavia, as well as of other people” […] Wherever they go”, Papanastasis said, “NATO, the EU and the imperialists seed wars and misfortunes for the people”.
 
The major speech, on behalf of PAME’s Executive Committee, was delivered by its member Giorgos Perros. Among other things, cde Perros pointed out: “Today’s correspondence to the initiative of the hundreds of Trade Unions, Labour Centers, Workers Federations which rallied in PAME against imperialist war, interventions and incidents which are developing in our neighbourhood and throughout the world, is the road of hope, of perspective, of peaceful co-existence of the people. Our enemies are not the neighboring people, but NATO and the bases”.

A huge “river” of protesters marched through Thessaloniki’s seafront avenue and gathered outside the NATO “Rapid Deployable Corps” headquarters. In front of riot police forces, which had blocked the main entrance, thousands of demonstrators shouted anti-imperialist slogans and denounced the murderous policy of the USA, EU and NATO. “Murderers, thiefs and hypocrites are the European imperialists” and “Crisis, wars, uprooting, this is Capitalism” were some of the slogans shouted by the protesters.
 
The Two-Day Anti-imperialist activities of PAME in Thessaloniki ends tomorrow, Sunday 25/6, with an international meeting of Trade Unions. Yesterday, the representatives of foreign Trade Unions- among others from Syria, Turkey, Italy, Palestine, Egypt, Serbia– had the opportunity to visit and learn the historical background of two significant places of the city; the Yedi Kule prison where numerous communists were incarcerated as political prisoners during the 20th century and the memorial of the victims of the 1944 Chortiatis massacre, one of the most heinous atrocities committed by the Nazis in Greece during WWII occupation. 
 
Nikos Mottas, with info from 902.gr. 
24/6/2017.
SYRIZA: The “left” servants of NATO

Thursday, June 22, 2017

SYRIZA: The “left” servants of NATO

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/06/syriza-left-servants-of-nato.html

By Nikos Mottas*.

 
In the name of the so-called “geostrategic enhancement” doctrine of the country and following the path of the previous governments of New Democracy and PASOK, the SYRIZA-ANEL government has been proved NATO’s “best student”. Since its formation on January 2015, the governmental alliance between the social democratic SYRIZA and the nationalist ANEL party has aligned itself with the dangerous plans and goals of the imperialists.
The criminal decisions made in the recent NATO Summits in Brussels, as well as in the one in Warsaw a year ago, bear the signature of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. In an effort to serve the interests of the Greek capital, the SYRIZA-ANEL government works towards a more intense involvement of Greece in the interventions and imperialist wars in the Middle East and North Africa. That includes the expansion of the activities of the NATO-US forces in the Souda naval base (with the Greek side covering the enormous NATO’s expenditures) and the more planned utilization of other military bases and command centres in order to promote the euro-atlantic plans, within the framework of the US-EU competition with Russia over natural gas and oil, energy pipelines, the control of markets and strategically significant regions.
 
It is characteristic that just a few months after it rise to power, the government of Mr.Tsipras signed a 500 million dollar deal with the US company Lockheed for the maintenance of old airplanes for the needs of NATO. While it crushes the people, the working class with more and more austerity measures, the government of SYRIZA finds both money and time in order to correspond to the demands of the NATO imperialists.
 
We must remind that, among other things, the SYRIZA-ANEL government under Prime Minister Tsipras:
  • Has provided- and provides- military bases (Souda, Aktion) for the facilitation of the USA and NATO forces in the wars in Syria, Libya and Iraq. 
  • Maintains Greek military forces in imperialist missions abroad (from Afghanistan to Bosnia and from Libya to Mali), thus engaging Greece deeper into the dangerous inter-imperialist plans in the broader region.
  • Under the pretext of the refugee issue, the government agreed to the enhancement of NATO’s naval presence in the Aegean Sea. Such an action is connected to the sharpening competition in the wider region of the Middle East. The SYRIZA-ANEL government, like the previous bourgeois Greek governments, argue that NATO consists a force of “peace” and “stability” in the Aegean Sea and the Greek-Turkish relations. However, it is the opposite that happens: NATO not only does not recognize any borders between its member-states but, furthermore, it reinforces the aggressive plans of the Turkish bourgeoisie for the “greying” of the Aegean and the promotion of “disputes” over islands, sea borders etc. What does NATO, or the EU, say about the systematic violations of Greece’s airspace by Turkish fighters?
  • Actively participates in joined military exercises of NATO, as well as other bilateral and trilateral exercises with the USA and Israel, while it provides any facilitation (ports, airports, camps, military and other infrastructure) for multiple NATO military training in the Balkans (e.g. the recent “Noble Jump” military exercise in Romania). Within this framework, the government uses Greek soldiers as “assistant staff” to NATO’s forces.
  • Following the policy of its predecessors (New Democracy, PASOK), the government spends 2.4% of the GDP in military expenditures. At the same time, their policy has increased youth unemployment up to 50%! The “left” government of Mr. Tsipras cuts wages and pensions but when it comes to military expenditures, demanded by NATO, it shows remarkable obedience.   
Defense Minister P. Kammenos- the nationalist
governmental partner of Tsipras- with NATO’s Gen.
Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.

For its policy, the SYRIZA-ANEL government has received multiple “congratulations” and praises from the NATO, the USA and the EU. The intention of the Greek government to support and facilitate the imperialist plans of NATO in the region of Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans was confirmed, once again, during a meeting between Greek and US officials in Athens on June 8th. Praising the government for its willingness to serve the aims of the imperialists, the deputy commander of the EUCOM (US European Command) Lt. General Timothy Ray said: “Souda (base) served us during the Cold War and today continues to support our missions in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, in Northern Africa. Greece is a factor of stability in times of insecurity and instability […] today, more than ever, we ask from Greece to continue playing her leading role in ensuring security in Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans”.

 
The U.S. ambassador in Athens Geoff Pyatt also expressed his pleasure for the policy of the SYRIZA-ANEL government and underlined: “With her unique geostrategic position and her Armed Forces, Greece supports our missions, especially throught Souda, which gives us a strategic advantage and the capability to confront challenges with flexibility and efficiency in the broader region”.
 
Lies, deception and illusions.
 
For those who have followed the rapid political transformation of SYRIZA, from a small opportunist leftist coalition into Greece’s major social democratic party, the above stance consists no surprise. After all, during the last seven years, SYRIZA has been proved an extraordinary case of political deception and ideological manipulation. Foreign policy is another field where SYRIZA and its leadership has turned black into white.
 
The supposed “radical anti-imperialism” of SYRIZA as an opposition party has been fully transformed, thus proving the real illusionary political character of social democracy. More specifically:
 
On May 2012, in its electoral program, the party of Alexis Tripras was stating among other things:
 
Our policy includes…The closure of all the foreign military bases in Greece. Immediate abolition of the bases of Souda and Aktio. We want neither Greece is NATO, nor NATO in Greece and we are fighting for its (NATO’s) dissolution”.
 
After its electoral victory on January 2015, SYRIZA did exactly the opposite from what it had promised: Not only the US and NATO military bases remained, but the SYRIZA-ANEL government (through Defence Minister P.Kammenos) proposed the opening of a new NATO military airbase in the island of Karpathos (21/5/2015)!
 
On July 2013, the “Political Declaration” of SYRIZA’s congress was stating: “the disengagement from NATO, the abolition of the foreign military bases, the prevention of the military collaboration with Israel and the application of the doctrine “no Greek soldier in war-zones abroad” consist the axes of our Foreign Policy”.
 
The convenience and rapidity with which SYRIZA changed its positions would be a a ridiculously entertaining issue, if it wasn’t so seriously dangerous for the country’s people. After its electoral victory SYRIZA “forgot” all the above statements and became an obedient ally of the imperialists. Under Alexis Tsipras, Greece becomes more and more involved in NATO’s dangerous imperialist plans, the Greek-Israeli military co-operation has been strengthened and the government is determined to participate actively in future NATO missions.

The supposed “radical leftist” Mr.Tsipras – the one who has signed NATO Summit’s decisions in Warsaw and Brussels and who emerges as the “best student” of the murderous alliance – is the same person who, during a nationwide televised press conference in Thessaloniki on September 2014, was stating: “Our assessment was and still remains that in the new international balances of a multipolar world, this military formation (NATO) which reflects the Cold War era has no reason of existence”. 
 
The KKE had exposed the “multidimensional foreign policy” of SYRIZA as an instrument of serving the bourgeois interests a long time ago, when Tsipras’ party was rising as Greece’s “radical” opposition. Here is a characteristic part of an article published in ‘Rizospastis’ daily on December 18th, 2012 under the title “What SYRIZA says about foreign policy”:
 
When SYRIZA talks about a “multidimensional foreign policy” it means friendships with imperialist powers, according to their contradictions and what interests the domestic bourgeoisie or some powerful portions of her. SYRIZA also says that the aim of its foreign policy is to “politically enchance both Greece’s participation in the european institutions as well as her geopolitical value”. Even if we skip the unevenness in capitalist development, which makes impossible the equal participation of capitalist states in inter-state Unions, who is benefited by Greece’s strengthening in european institutions? And on behalf of whom (the government) will be negotiating a supposedly “more powerful” Greece in the bodies of the imperialist Union? Apparently, not on behalf of the people […] Therefore, SYRIZA’s agony is for the interests of the domestic bourgeois class and on behalf of her it promises a stronger Greece, like the previous governments did, either “liberal” or social democratic ones”.
 
What has been demonstrated in practice is that the SYRIZA-ANEL government is another anti-people government, which under “left” slogans served in an equally faithful way the bourgeoisie, the imperialist unions of EU and NATO as the previous governments had done. Foreign policy consists another field where SYRIZA has been totally and irreversibly exposed as the “left” servant of the bourgeois interests.
 
The working class, the popular strata of Greece, shall not forget nor tolerate the policy of the SYRIZA-ANEL government. Together with the workers of all countries, Greece’s workers-people’s movement must organise its counterattack and intensify the common struggle against the wolf-pack alliances of NATO and EU, the imperialist wars, the bourgeois classes and their warmongering policies for their own profits.

* Nikos Mottas is the Editor-in-Chief of ‘In Defense of Communism’, a PhD candidate in Political Science, International Relations and Political History.