Socialist Worker

International round up: Protests against Syriza’s new austerity measures in Greece

Issue No. 2505

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras (Pic: European Parliament/flickr)

Greek MPs narrowly voted for a new round of austerity measures last Sunday to satisfy European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) blackmail.

The vote came days before a Eurogroup summit of finance ministers decided whether to withhold the latest tranche of Greece’s bailout.

Over 10,000 people protested outside parliament and transport workers struck as MPs debated the “multi-bill” of cuts put forward by left party Syriza.

It includes a VAT hike, massive privatisation and other attacks agreed last year.

There are also “contingency” cuts to be activated in 2017 if Greece misses its budget targets.

Only Syriza and its right wing coalition partner Independent Greeks backed the new attacks.

One Syriza MP, Vasiliki Katrivanou, voted against the privatisation and contingency cuts then resigned from parliament.

The IMF uses debt as a weapon to force vicious neoliberal reforms onto elected governments.

But even it thinks Greece’s programme goes too far without debt relief.

It is the EU side, led by the German government, that insists Greek workers suffer to pay off all the bankers’ debt.

General strike hits Nigeria and defies state repression

A general strike in Nigeria, west Africa, ended after five days last Sunday.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called the action to protest against a 67 percent increase in the price of petrol and soaring electricity prices.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s government declared the strike illegal because of the “threat of civil disorder”. Cops attacked some rallies and pickets.

The NLC claims around four million members and 40 affiliates in several key parts of the economy.

In some areas there was real enthusiasm for the action, and the capital Abuja saw many businesses closed. But splits in the NLC meant that most oil workers did not strike, limiting the action’s impact.

The government has promised talks over the price rises.

Venezuelan left under attack

US imperialists and right wing politicians are trying to exploit growing economic turmoil in Venezuela.

A global drop in oil prices has badly hit the state’s revenues.

Inflation and speculation on food prices have led to shortages.

Public sector workers have been put on a two-day week, and many factories have suspended operations due to rising costs.

Right wing opposition politicians have begun collecting signatures to trigger a referendum to oust centre left president Nicolas Maduro.

They include figures linked to violent protests and roadblocks in 2014.

The US has declared Venezuela a threat.

Leading politicians in Colombia rallied in support of the Venezuelan opposition last week.

Maduro has declared a state of “economic emergency”. He held Venezuela’s largest ever military exercise last weekend.

The US-allied right once ruled Venezuela using poverty and repression. Their return would be a nightmare.

But Maduro’s rule of bureaucracy, oil exports and deals with bosses has failed to defend ordinary people’s interests.

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