Greece’s creditors were in Athens this week negotiating more austerity.
The European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) demand the Greek budget reaches a surplus of 3.5 percent by 2018.
This will mean huge cuts. The Greek Syriza government has agreed.
But it is still negotiating over the extent of pension cuts, income tax and VAT hikes, and measures to protect debtors from vulture funds.
The government has used the negotiations as an excuse to delay putting its bill of pension cuts to parliament—and to defuse workers’ opposition.
Union leaders have seized on this to delay strikes against the bill. They have called for a 48-hour general strike when it reaches parliament, but only want token action until then.
But their blockade broke down on Thursday of last week with a nationwide strike of public sector and media workers. The strike was effective and the rallies were big.
Importantly, refugees walked out of the camps near the northern cities of Thessalonica and Ioannina to join the demonstrations there.
The struggles against austerity and for refugees are linked.
The EU is imposing Greece’s bailout and the border closures and deportations.
People are saying, “The same bastards who forced austerity on us are now selling out the refugees.”
The left is also making this connection. To support refugees we need more staff for schools, hospitals and local authorities.
These demands directly confront the demands of the EU and IMF.