Mass 24-hour Walkout Strike in Greece over IMF and ECB Austerity

‘Our rage will be relentless’: Syriza faces mass strike in Greece ; Prime minister Alexis Tsipras under pressure as services including schools, hospitals, and banks are hit by 24-hour walkout’ from the Guardian

To show their massive objection to the immiseration brought by the creditors, furious union workers in both the public and private sectors aim to #ShutShitDown in Greece.  The strike may be limited to Athens; it’s hard to tell so far.  [Updated]

“Schools, hospitals, banks, museums, archaeological sites, pharmacies and public services will all be hit by the 24-hour walkout. Flights will also be disrupted, ferries stuck in ports and news broadcasts stopped as staff walk off the job.

“We are expecting a huge turnout,” Petros Constantinou, a prominent member of the anti-capitalist left group Antarsya told the Guardian. “This is a government under dual pressure from creditors above and the people below and our rage will be relentless. It will know no bounds.”

The general strike – the 41st claim unionists since the debt-stricken nation was plunged into crisis and near economic collapse in 2010 – will increase pressure on prime minister Alexis Tsipras, the firebrand who first navigated his Syriza party into power vowing to eradicate austerity.

On Monday eurozone creditors propping up Greece’s moribund economy refused to dispense a €2bn rescue loan citing failure to enforce reforms.”

Wages have fallen by 30%, pensions are disappearing, and the Social Security system is in freefall as taxes and home foreclosures rise; the next demands by creditors to recapitalize the banks to the tune of €10bn will impoverish citizens even further.  They are mad as hell, and aim to demonstrate it clearly.

The Guardian is live-blogging the general strike here.  Recent update stories:

Protesters have thrown molotov cocktails in Athens, as thousands protest against the ‘vicious cycle’ of austerity in Greece

RT is reporting:

“The general strike has seriously disrupted public transport in the country. Dozens of domestic flights have been canceled. Athens’ metro is not running, bus and trolley routes have been considerably reduced and connections between Greece’s multiple islands and mainland has been nearly brought to a halt as public ferries remain tied up in ports.

The strike has left many museums closed, thus damaging the tourist industry. Pupils stayed home today as schools did not open in the absence of teachers.

Some printed media is expected to hit the streets, although online news outlets are not being updated. Pharmacies are closed, too, while in hospitals only emergency teams remain on duty.

Demonstrators protesting further spending cuts and tax hikes have gathered on Athens’ central Syntagma Square. The left-wing labor policy division of the ruling Syriza Party is backing the strike.”

This is perfect:

It’s wrong to blame the European Central Bank for the austerity misery suffered by bailed-out eurozone members, Mario Draghi claims.

The ECB chief is defending the way events unfolded in Ireland, Greece, Cyprus and beyond, arguing that things would have been even worse without the ‘adjustment programmes’ demanded by creditor.

During his testimony to the European Parliament, Draghi says:

Since 2010, three countries have now successfully completed their programmes, and Ireland is a particularly good example of how such programmes can deliver the necessary adjustment and restore financial stability, economic competitiveness and fiscal sustainability. It has shown that a country which takes strong ownership of its programme can come out of it with robust growth and a more stable financial system, and that eventually employment will also rebound.

There is no doubt that the adjustment process was painful. But we should keep in mind that the adjustment would have caused significantly more hardship in the absence of financial assistance. The programmes had to address excessive macroeconomic imbalances which had accumulated over several years in the run-up to the crisis, often reflecting misguided national economic policies.

As we have said before: don’t blame the fire damage on the fire brigade.”

 Mike Bird on Twitter: “Irish MEP flips back Draghi’s phrasing – ‘The ECB wasn’t a firefighter in our crisis. It was one of the arsonists'”  4h4 hours ago

22 responses to “Mass 24-hour Walkout Strike in Greece over IMF and ECB Austerity

  1. I try to remain supportive of these government workers but the shopkeeper made some good points about the effect of this strike on private workers and their families, they don’t have paid leave days to cover their loses.

    The Greek government has shown that it has no power or will to stop austerity so the strike might have been more effective if it shut down Brussels not Athens.

    • i suppose i should have repeated that strikers were both in the public and private sectors, wayoutwest, although smith did mention GSEE, (the brief wiki here), and i dunno enough about the various groups weighing in or pictured to sort them out.

      your mention of private workers not having paid leave days, etc., is a bit baffling, though. are you simply saying that the mercantile class won’t pay for one strike day, but the public sector union members will get one? it’s not computing to me.

      is the eventual goal to cause another confidence vote, as people wander away from syria? or a way to increase the strength of labor, in effect working toward a true labor party, as this nation needs(though not under any extant union banners)?

      Nantina Vgontzas tosses some possibilities around in her essay on reform v. rupture, as in: without grexit, i think it boils down to. but some of what she notes as fact..is interesting. not nearly as bold and clear as the wsws piece comrade x has brought. ;-) somehow, the software kicked that essay out, and some non-news about ‘erratic marxist varoufakis’ not commenting on the strike. sir change europe, ha.

      now getting to brussels my have been a tall order, given walking of the job meant no transportation, eh? at least another day of no work even if they had other means, but how would they #shutShitDown there? they don’t work there, so withholding their labor…no…i am very confused where you’re heading with this, really.

  2. The only way forward is through a genuinely revolutionary policy, mobilizing the working class in Greece and internationally in struggle. It requires a direct assault on the capitalist class, the confiscation of their wealth, the seizure of the major banks and productive forces, in order to place them under the democratic control of working people, and the creation of workers states across Europe and the world. Such struggles require the building of Marxist parties to offer political leadership to the working class, in ruthless struggle against parties like Syriza.

  3. Despite its left-wing façade, Syriza is a bourgeois party that rests on affluent layers of the middle class. Its policies are determined by union bureaucrats, academics, professionals and parliamentary functionaries, who seek to defend their privileges by preserving the social order. While its leader, Alexis Tsipras, promises the voters a (very small) lessening of the terrible austerity in Greece, he never tires of promising the representatives of the banks and governments abroad that they have ‘nothing to fear’ from a Syriza government.”
    […]
    [Syriza] allowed Greece’s financial elite unrestricted ability to loot the economy, sending tens of billions of euros out of the country in the months following Syriza’s election. No attempt was made to impose controls stemming capital flight, much less any move to nationalize the banks or to infringe on the wealth, power and privilege of the Greek ruling class.

    Crapitalism is fraud.

  4. “It is no secret that the Greek public sector not only represents a terrible burden on taxpayers (various tax and social security withholdings represent approximately 50% of payroll cost), but in addition is profoundly corrupt,” wrote one prominent Athenian business lawyer, in an email today.

    He claims that, by not reforming, the Greek public sector is causing “economic regression and social decay”.

    “The Greek public sector serves not the interests of our society but the interests of public sector employees, both by the extraction of favourable employment terms and the absolute lack of effective management (including any form of evaluation.”

    As a result, Greece’ mammoth fiscal adjustment had moved predominantly to the private sector which had also borne the brunt of record unemployment.

    Waaaaaah!

    The poorest households in the debt-ridden country lost nearly 86% of their income, while the richest lost only 17-20%. The tax burden on the poor increased by 337% while the burden on upper-income classes increased by only 9% !!! This is the result of a study that has analyzed 260.000 tax and income data from the years 2008 – 2012.

    […]

    – The total number of employees in the private sector suffered significantly greater loss of income, and they were more likely to be unemployed than those employed in the public sector.
    -From 2009 to 2013 wages and salaries in the private sector declined in several stages at around 19 percent. Among other things, because the minimum wage was lowered and collective bargaining structures were weakened. Employees in the public sector lost around a quarter of their income.

    Whining compradors and their wayout sympathizers exploit the crisis.

  5. OT, it appears the French are seeing the costs of their playing with fire in the MENA, 26 dead and hostages taken in Paris. Hollande had a ring side seat for viewing one bombing at a football game.

    • MICHAEL WEISS is a widely published journalist with a focus on developments in Syria, Turkey and Russia. He has a weekly column at NOW Lebanon and is the editor-in-chief of the forthcoming online journal, The Interpreter. Like a true Upper West Sider, his intellectual hobbyhorse is the anti-totalitarian left and its many discontents.

      • explain ‘why michael weiss’ please? kinda/sorta due diligence, w/ no time to slog (apparently he also wrote for ‘foreign policy’ ?):

        http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/users/michael-weiss

        https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/Author/Michael.Weiss

        hard to leave the intersection among the US, hollande. and the need for a western GWOT alone, but i must .

        • Evidence of a cabal attacking anti-war left. A sophistic department of the neo-con-neo-liberal promoters of international conflict which conducts interlecturer war against domestic “isolationists” and “pacifists”. In the name of the Fourth Reich of hegemonsters.

          Jah, Paris attack a provocation to overturn the Russian threat in ME. Cf. all the hegemongers on CNN, including the comprador bullshitter Weiss who’s been selected to expertise us on Islamic State “objectives”.

          • The Egypt attack was the warning to Russia and reprisal for bombing the IS, the French attack was a sword thrust deeply into the heart of Europe for their attacks on the IS. The rest of the conflict and Assad are secondary footnotes to this emerging history although they could stumble into a Nuke conflict that would end both US/NATO and Russian interference in the ME.

            No one in Europe or Russia will approach an airliner, club or sports stadium without some level of fear or anger ever again so long as their leaders continue bombing Muslim people in the ME.

            • HA HA. You know ISIS too well! “sword deep into Europe” Really “comrade” “anarchist”! Why not Germany, were many more Syrians have gone too?

              And what’s this: “they could stumble into a Nuke conflict”? Yah gotta be kidding me. What about the contest between NATO and Russia for the ME?

              Too much disinformation and too little information in your analysis, “comrade” “anarchist”. Say, do Israeli’s fly without fear? Hmmm. Maybe NATO should send the Greek air force to do all the bombing!!!

              HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

              Do you know Herr Weiss, “comrade”?

              • I don’t know if you realize the Krauts are not allowed to bomb anyone and this might save them from reprisals at least for now.

                The contest btw NATO and Russia on opposite sides in Syria is where the stumble could happen especially now that war hysteria is flaming in France and the US.

                I don’t recall ever reading Weiss but I’ll read the link above.

                • Still incoherent, “comrade” “anarchist”. What does “their attacks” refer to then?

                  Few informed are worrying about “stumbles, “comrade” “anarchist”. Are you just playing dumb?

                • O My Gawdness, “comrade” “anarchist”, are you venomous too?

                  • I should try to better appreciate your situation living now under fear and vulnerability facing what appears will be a Long War with the front line stretching to the heart of Europe.

                    My mocking of the Moonies for their venomous attitudes about Syrians in particular and Muslims in general may be too sharp for the overeducated reactionary to understand. Their feeble reactions trying to conflate the IS attack with the Nationalist Islamist rebels and tinfoil hat denials of reality shows how unhinged many people have become as we move towards all-out war in the ME and the inevitable counter attacks around the globe.

  6. thanks for keeping up on this. w/this paris, it’ll be all terror all the time for the next 6 weeks.

    • i’d had to go to the guardian to see what y’all were talking about, and found this hilarity from obama:

      ““The bonds of liberté, égalité and fraternité are not only values that French people care so deeply about but they are values that we all share,” added a sombre Obama. “And they are going to endure far beyond any act of terrorism or the hateful vision of those who carried out the attacks this evening.”

  7. and from nov. 9’s socialist worker: ‘Quebec’s strike wave rolls toward a showdown
    Ashley Smith reports from Montreal as a new round of public-sector strikes begins’.

    “WORKERS IN the Canadian province of Quebec are mobilizing the largest struggle against austerity in North America.
    Public-sector workers across Quebec have hit the picket lines for a wave of strikes to defend jobs, wages, working conditions and public services. In the first round of rotating regional strikes from October 26-29, more than 400,000 unionists organized in the Common Front shut down schools, hospitals and government offices in and around Montreal.

    Independently, the Fédération autonome de l’eseignement (FAE) led its 34,000 French language teachers in three days of rotating strikes on October 26-28. A third union, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), which represents 65,000 nurses and health-care workers, has also staged a series of protests.

    The Common Front called out its supporters for a second round of strikes this week, to be followed by a third round on November 16-17. If no settlement is reached, it plans to call for a general strike of public-sector workers on December 1-3 across Quebec. If the FAE and FIQ join in, that would mean more than half a million workers would be on strike.
    The struggle led by the three union federations has found increasing support from the broader working class–despite polls that show as many as 50 percent of people in Quebec think unions have too much power.” [long, long, long snip]

    “Clearly Quebec’s movement against austerity has not dissipated since the 2012 Maple Spring. It has spread through the length and breadth of the working class, creating new organizations, new politics and a new willingness to resist–and to fight for a new political and economic order in Quebec.”

    oh, those pesky Québécoise!

    Gadzukes, this place is a mess; the wordpress ‘hug team’ must be foolin’ around with it. disappearing links and content replaced by thirty lines of gobbledy-gook code, the comments eight feet below the banner… if needs must, i’ll contact them tomorrow. better than havin’ a tooth pulled, i reckon. :(

  8. Our “comrade” “anarchist” denigrates and slanders the Moons of Alabama for underestimating IS in Paris. He reminds of the contemptuous, Vulcanic, reality-creators who celebrate their advantage, the making of facts-on-the-ground.

    Is the “anarchist” concerned primarily with European society, already painfully warped by crapitalism, being hammered and forged by militarism? No, he savors his reality-checking, reminding the sympathizers of those peoples that they cannot resist the deigned smiths.

    And look, his sympathies lie with the slighted Muslims and Syrians because they are unappreciated as fellow architects of a New World Order!

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

    Hold our lame “comrade” down on the couch, comrades, for in him you will find a wealth of sadistic pathologies.

  9. it is clear that far right and conservative forces will use the situation to stir up racism against Muslim people and against refugees. Like the jihadists themselves, such forces see the terrorist attacks as part of a “war between civilisations”. The social-democratic leaders like Hollande, as well as mainstream conservatives like Merkel and Cameron, present their response as a “defence of democracy” and “our values”. […] a misguided defence of “republican values” can only injure the solidarity which is so important between racially oppressed communities and the French labour movement.

    IOW, the compradors and lackeys are reliable force-multipliers in the descent to terror-war. It amuses the masters’ contempt of “society” to watch their human dominoes fall.

    What is actually under attack, what are they actually defending? It is the domination of France and other imperialist powers over the wealth of the countries of the Middle East and Africa, which they have plundered over centuries. They are not defenders of “democracy”, that is, rule by the people, as they claim, but of rule by imperialist finance capital.

    Whether “democratic” or racist, all the French parliamentary parties, from the FN to the PCF, have declared that “national unity” must now be in the forefront, putting “the country”, that is, French imperialism, first.

    But of course, war-mongers and hegemonsters sentence France and other imperialist powers themselves to their domination for their original sins.

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