Socialist Worker

Greece: Creditors hold Tsipras to ransom as general strike looms

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2479

Workers across Greece were set to walk out in a general strike on Thursday of this week against deep cuts to their pensions.

It follows a wave of strikes that continued to grow last week.

Shipping workers extended a solid two-day strike to four days. Local government workers occupied town halls.

Students marched in central Athens and a mass university occupation in Crete entered its fourth week.

Thousands of disabled people protested against the effects of a crisis that has hit them hardest.

And the first worker-run strike edition of Thessalonica newspaper The Messenger came out on Wednesday of last week, after bosses tried to close it.

Meanwhile Greece’s creditors forced a new stand-off with its left wing government.

They aren’t satisfied with prime minister and Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras’ near total surrender.

Tsipras is implementing a “memorandum” of austerity and privatisation in return for Greece’s third bailout from European institutions and the International Monetary Fund.

But creditors withheld £1.4 billion due to be paid to Greece on Monday of this week, as well as new support for its banks.

Tsipras sought to renegotiate their demands—which included a tax on private schools and making generic medicines more expensive.

The biggest sticking point was making it easier for banks to repossess homes.

Eurogroup meetings and other summits were set to take place through the week.

Tsipras was re-elected in September. He has argued that a third memorandum was inevitable but claimed a left government could soften the blow.

The institutions refuse to let him do even this. A fightback from below is the way to beat austerity.


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