News From Greece

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Ten days before the 1st Congress of SYRIZA, KOE has announced its decision to suspend its autonomous public presence as a necessary step for the strengthening of SYRIZA and of its unified expression.

 

Statement of KOE, 5 July 2013

 

The Communist Organization of Greece, one of the main forces of SYRIZA since its first steps, has supported and keeps supporting in a substantial way the project of SYRIZA and its effort to change the situation in the Left and in the Greek society. The changes that occurred in the Greek society and in the political correlation of forces because of the IMF-EU-ECB Troika’s aggression since 2010, but also thanks to the development of a broad mass popular movement, raised (especially after the 2012 elections) new tasks and requirements for SYRIZA itself.

The Communist Organization of Greece, with a series of concrete proposals and positions, declared been in favor of the transformation of SYRIZA into a party-movement able to unite with the people and to contribute in the building of a big political current that shall sweep away the old political system and the regime imposed by Troika’s Memoranda. The last Panhellenic Conference of SYRIZA (December 2012) decided to advance towards the building of a unified party. This resolution has been already approved by the big majority of SYRIZA’s rank and file, and is expected to be ratified in the coming 1st Founding Congress. Consequently, the Communist Organization of Greece has decided, as a necessary step for the strengthening of SYRIZA and of its unified expression, to suspend its autonomous public presence.

Thousands of people have participated, for the sixth consecutive year, in the Resistance Festival and its political and cultural events under the general moto "Many Peoples, One Struggle!". Dozens of foreign guests assured the internationalist aspect of the festival, while many of them animated the public meetings and the debates.

The main event of the opening day, Friday 21 June, undoubtedly was the central meeting under the title “Spark of hope for a way out: A new Mediterranean Peoples’ Spring” (see photo). Comrade Hamma Hammami, leader of the Popular Front of Tunisia, conversed with Alexis Tsipras, president of SYRIZA, about the necessity to build the cooperation of the peoples and movements from both sides of the Mediterranean against our common enemies. They were both preceded by an inspirational intervention by Ali Sait Çetinoğlu, progressive intellectual and academic from Turkey, who transmitted to the large audience the spirit of the rebellion in his country. Before the central meeting, however, the festival kicked-off in a most symbolic way, by comrade Rasem Obeidat from the PFLP, who talked about the situation and the struggles of the Palestinian People.

Resistance Festival

6th International Meeting of Movements

21-22-23 June 2013

 

Agricultural University of Athens

(Iera Odos Street)

 

Nearest Metro (blue line) Station: “Kerameikos”

Bus lines: A16, 812, 836, 856]

 

www.resistancefestival.gr

 

Political and Cultural PROGRAM:

FRIDAY 21/6

19:30 Palestine in the geopolitical storm

  • Rasem Obeidat, journalist of the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds and representative of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine)

20:00 Spark of hope for a way out: A new Mediterranean Peoples’ Spring

  • Alexis Tsipras, head of the Parliamentary Group of SYRIZA-EKM
  • Hamma Hammami, head of the Popular Front of Tunisia
  • Short intervention by Anneta Kavadia, sacked journalist of the public TV, and Ali Sait Çetinoğlu, progressive intellectual and academic from Turkey

Concert Scene: The Last Drive, Nightstalker, dj set Polly B

Tavern Area: Cretan Feast (Fragkiadakis, Katsouna, Kontonias, Hatzimakris)

Statement of KOE

The treacherous stance of the Samaras-Venizelos-Kouvelis “local troika” (*) against the proud Cypriot ΝΟ shall remain as another indelible stain in the infamous history of the Greek ruling class. The Greek government ought to have widened the rift that the Cypriot NO has opened against the policy of the Memoranda, thus grabbing the opportunity to challenge the “Greek program” of the IMF-EU-ECB troika. This option, the only one in solidarity with Cyprus and the only one that would save Greece, could change the turn of events in the European South. But it was not adopted. It was not adopted because we have a “government” that in reality is nothing more than an obedient minion of Merkel. So this date, 25th March 2013, the anniversary of the 1821 Independence Revolution, will remain in history as a day of punishment for the Cypriot people and of shame for the Greek “government”.

The cynical and extortionate decision of the Eurocrats, together with their accomplices, the governments of Samaras and Anastassiadis, opens the door to a new “Attila”, albeit more embellished and more Europeanized than the 1974 foreign invasion and occupation of the martyred island. It’s a new “Attila” armed with the state-of-the-art “guns” of debt and of “liquidity interruption”, with the clear objective to destroy the Cypriot economy and transform the Republic of Cyprus into a euro-protectorate.

Apart from the colonization of the European South, special importance should be given to another dimension: Cyprus has become the guinea pig of a new Merkel tool. As the leader of Eurogroup J. Daiselbloom confessed, the Cypriot “model” is ready to be “exported”. A generalized haircut of deposits, following the example of Cyprus, will soon be a choice for other countries “bailout programs”. All European bank deposits are at stake. For Greece this is extremely important, as recapitalization of the banks is at the forefront. Shall the people be called to pay the expenses once again?

Press Statement of KOE

[Translator’s Note: Yesterday the Cypriot parliament, surrounded by a huge demonstration, rejected, with 36 NO and 19 abstentions, the decision of the Eurogroup - which had been adopted last Friday following Germany’s demands. This unprecedented decision, to “bailout” the banks through a direct “haircut” of the citizens’ bank deposits, had initially been accepted by both the right-wing Cypriot government and the docile Greek tripartite government.]

 

The Communist Organization of Greece salutes the Cypriot NO and congratulates the Cypriot people, who are facing the catastrophic policy and the cynical threats of the Eurogroup’s and IMF’s loan sharks, for their Dignity. The new Cypriot NO, following the massive rejection of the imperialist “Annan Plan” back in 2004, is a proud response against the plans aiming at Cyprus’ economic devastation and pushing forward the transformation of the Republic of Cyprus into a protectorate.

The martyred Cypriot people, who have shed their blood in order to gain their Independence and are very well aware of what invasion and foreign occupation means, once again stand up and send a message of Resistance, Dignity and Hope to all the European peoples. It is in Cyprus that, for the first time, the blackmailing dilemma “Memorandum or Bankruptcy” is rejected. It is in Cyprus that, for the first time, the supposedly “almighty” Merkelist policy and the supposedly “omnipotent markets” receive a heavy blow.

Press Statement of KOE

1. The Communist Organization of Greece denounces the cynical blackmail of the Germany-dominated EU against the Republic of Cyprus and the Cypriot people. The Merkelists are testing in Cyprus an upgrade of the “tools” they have used so far, with a double aim: a) to fully dismantle the economic status of Cyprus, b) to achieve total political control on this exceptionally important, geopolitically and economically, island.

2. The Communist Organization of Greece denounces the Un-Holly Alliance of European usurers, also known as "Eurogroup", which attempts to strangle the independence of Cyprus using the Memorandum’s noose. Moreover, KOE condemns the slavish and complicit tripartite Greek government of Samaras, who had the impudence to declare that “stands by our Cypriot brothers” while obediently voted in favor of the disastrous decisions of the Eurogroup. As for the newly elect Cypriot president, mister Anastassiadis, there are no words to describe his criminal policy – especially as, just a month ago, he was reassuring the people that he will never accept any haircut on the citizens’ bank deposits, only to follow very fast his friend Samaras, who was the first to make a complete U-turn and submit to Merkel’s dictates.

The Communist Organization of Greece (ΚΟΕ) was founded 10 years ago, in the 1st Congress that took place in January 2003, after a long period of multiform preparation since the ’80s.

During this decade major social and political movements, national and international, but also popular revolts, have taken place all over the world. Huge political, economic and social changes occurred not only in the international matrix but also in our country itself. These changes altered the international balance of power and the political map of our country. The main focus of these changes has been the degree to which the Greek people have become a major factor of political change through a complex process of social struggle and political self-awareness.

All these years KOE’s approach has been to rationalize the political undergoing and the underlying causes that shape the people’s movement, and at the same time to articulate a course of political action that unifies the people’s struggle under a common perspective.

  • For our organization, this has been a decade of ideological and social fermentation through participating in all new forms of struggle and the major political mobilizations of our people:
  • KOE became active in the Greek and European Social Forum, the anti-globalization movement and a multitude of international meetings.
  • At the same time, our organization has forged strong relations with major international movements and parties in an effort, on the one hand to make known their original characteristics in our country, and on the other to advance internationalist solidarity.
  • KOE has also taken part in many solidarity missions in Palestine and elsewhere. Its members were on the first ship that defied the Israeli blockade of Gaza in 2008.
  • Since 2008 KOE organizes annually the internationalist Resistance Festival, a meeting place for the ideas and the struggles represented by movements, collectives and militants.
  • Recently it has strengthened its ties with various movements of the Arab Spring and has worked to enhance its position within the European Left.

Note: This is a “non paper” for the information of our international friends. Despite been all but exhaustive, it aspires to offer an updated view on the actual social conditions in Greece.

The humanitarian crisis in Greece is worsening day by day as a result of the policies decided by the IMF-EU-ECB Troika and implemented by the puppet tripartite government (composed by the right-wing Nea Dimokratia, the “social democratic” PASOK and the so called “Democratic Left”). The official data that have been published last week by the Hellenic Statistical Authority under the auspices of EUROSTAT, despite been “embellished”, are quite revealing:

UNEMPLOYMENT ALMOST TRIPLED SINCE 2009

The unemployment, which was 9,5% in 2009, before the transformation of Greece into a guinea pig by the Troika and its local lackeys, has jumped to 12,5% in 2010, then to 17,7% in 2011, and now (official data for October 2012) amounts to 26,8%. What makes things even worse is that actually, out of the 1.300.000 unemployed, less than 200.000 receive any form of “unemployment benefit” (the term is rather an euphemism: the “benefit” for the few lucky ones ranges from € 180 to € 468 per month, and is paid for a period of 5 to 12 months, depending on the wage, the length of employment, and the number of dependent members of the family).

EXPLOSION OF POVERTY

The percentage of the population living in conditions of poverty, from 12,1% in 2009 passed to 16,3% in 2010, and in 2011 jumped to 22,9%. Considering that in 2011 a series of social services and benefits (which now have been eliminated) still existed, the report of the Statistical Authority expresses “serious concern” for further explosive increase of the poverty in 2012 and 2013.

(On the left, poster for the central public meeting of KOE that took place in Athens on 26 November 2012)

As we are approaching SYRIZA’s Pan-Hellenic Conference, which will take place in Athens from Friday 30 November to Sunday 2 December 2012, hundreds of local and sectorial popular assemblies are taking place these days all over Greece in order to debate and elect their delegates. Since this process started, after the June 17 elections, SYRIZA has almost tripled its membership – despite the hesitation of certain forces within SYRIZA to adopt the orientation towards its necessary transformation into a broad, popular, democratic force of the Left. Below we reproduce large excerpts of the contribution to the pre-Conference debate, submitted by the representatives of KOE in the outgoing Executive Secretariat of SYRIZA.

*****

[Non translated: “Introduction”]

At a time of great unrest

Greece and, in fact, the whole region of Southeastern Mediterranean find themselves amidst an economic, political and geopolitical storm. The contradictions between the IMF and the EU (but also between the most powerful EU countries) for the management of the crisis in the South European countries, and their implications for the European banking and financial system, are in full motion. The essence of the confrontation is not whether the burden of the crisis will be loaded on the back of the peoples or not. This, to force the peoples into an unforeseen misery and catastrophe, is the only point of agreement among the powerful of the imperialist directorate. The crucial issue of the inter-imperialist contradiction is how they will make one another bear a part of the damage. In this respect, the greater damage of one side can be considered as a profit for the other.

Motivated by the economic antagonisms, politics return to the forefront. It is not simply the “markets” and the banking giants that impose solutions. The political control over the countries, in a background of geopolitical antagonisms and rearrangements, gains special importance in the planning of the enemy camp. Next to the imposition of economic restructuring, next to the experiments (for global use) carried out in order to test a people’s limits of endurance to “therapies” based on the neoliberal shock doctrine, what is also imposed are the neocolonial policies of modern type. By this, we mean the process of completely “handing over the keys” of a country (in our case, Greece) to foreign forces, which obtain the full control of this country’s productive and natural wealth and of its very geopolitical position.

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