Socialist Worker

Market chaos shows the crisis is far from over

by Panos Garganos in Athens
Issue No. 2279

There is huge uncertainty across Europe. Bank shares are plunging, France is facing a possible credit rating downgrade and the markets are falling sharply in France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Meanwhile Hungary has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for “precautionary” help.

Other world markets, including the US and Russia, have also taken a big hit. This shows the crisis is nowhere near being resolved.

In Greece the latest bailout is under threat—yet again.

The banks involved in the “haircut” negotiations that wrote off some of Greece’s debt now demand an 8 percent interest rate for new government bonds. This is becoming a huge obstacle for the Greek government.

The European Union (EU) has demanded that all political parties sign up to the austerity agreement drawn up by the IMF, EU and European Central Bank.

That includes the two leading parties—Pasok and New Democracy. We have elections in February.

This is a big problem for the right wing New Democracy. They say they’ll win the election and then renegotiate the terms. But the EU has said it will not renegotiate.

The EU is continuing its anti-democratic measures. It wants to control the government even before it is elected.

But this won’t be easy for it. The unions have called a general strike for Thursday 1 December—the day the ­government will present the latest cuts budget.

There were huge demonstrations in Athens and across the country on Thursday of last week. They marked the anniversary of the Polytechnic Uprising of 1973, against the military junta that used to rule Greece.

In Athens we had over 40,000 people on the protest. And demonstrations were big in every major city.

The most popular chant in Athens was a repeat of one from 1973—“Bread, education, freedom.” There were also slogans against fascists joining the government.

Greece’s new rulers claimed that people were happy to have serious people in government. But this didn’t even last a week.

Occupied

The power workers’ union has decided to go for repeated 48‑hour strikes because the government has threatened to sell off power stations.

Workers have also occupied, and plan to go all out if privatisation goes ahead.

There was a strike by transport workers on Tuesday against redundancies.

This is just a warning stoppage by workers. If the government presses on with redundancies, they will be met with an all-out strike by transport workers in Athens.

There is now a debate about what the alternative is to austerity. The far left has posed the question—is parliament the way forward, or do we need to increase our strength on the ground?

We’re arguing for workers’ resistance.


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News
Tue 22 Nov 2011, 18:25 GMT
Issue No. 2279
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