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Yet another bailout is no solution to Greek crisis

This article is over 8 years, 4 months old
Panos Garganas says that resistance and economic crisis are fuelling a crisis for Greece’s government—and bailouts can’t stop it
Issue 2369
Hospital workers march during last month’s strike
Hospital workers march during last month’s strike (Pic: Workers Solidarity)

Is Greece heading for a new bailout? It received the first instalment of its current bailout last December. The Greek government has insisted that the country is on course for a “success story” ever since.

Then suddenly, in the middle of the German election campaign, German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said that Greece would need more help. Other officials have estimated that Greece would need a new loan of between 11 and 16 billion euros in 2014 to 2016.

Greece’s current bailout is controlled by the Troika—the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank.

One German MP claimed that the Troika has forecast a need for an extra 77 billion euros for Greece by 2020. Whatever the figures, the Troika’s intervention has failed to end the eurozone crisis and to pull Greece out of the mess. 

Public debt relative to Gross Domestic Product now stands higher than when the Troika first came to Greece. The economy has been in recession for 20 consecutive quarters—that is five years in a row—and no end is in sight. 

The volume of loans provided by banks shrank again in the previous quarter. 

Yet the bankers received 50 billion euros for their “recapitalisation” needs at the beginning of the summer.The banks swallowed billions to compensate for their losses on Greek government bonds. They now face a crisis as private sector loans become “nonperforming”. 

So the terms imposed by the Troika for the bailouts—past, present and future—are getting worse. 

The government is under pressure to change the law on repossession of houses. 

But it is doubtful if it can muster a majority on this issue in parliament. 

Strikes and occupations have fought the government campaign to impose closures and mass sackings.

The occupation of the Greek broadcasting corporation, ERT, is ongoing. On 11 September it will be three months since the government announced its closure and the sacking of 2,650 media workers. 

The workers responded magnificently by keeping the TV and radio channels open under their control. 

Their struggle survived the difficult summer months and is now becoming part of a broader fightback. 

Hospital workers resisting the closure of eight hospitals organised national strikes on 23 and 29 August. 

They are heading for another on Wednesday of this week. 

Teachers will hold general assemblies in each local union on Wednesday and Thursday of this week with a proposal to start an all-out strike from 16 September. 

And the confederation of civil service unions, ADEDY, has announced a general strike on 18 to 19 September. 

The strike movement will get a boost from a national demonstration by all unions in Salonica on Saturday of this week. 

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the radical left group Syriza, has said that this government has no mandate to sign a new agreement with the Troika. 

That is absolutely true. But it will take a massive explosion of struggle to impose this simple truth on our rulers. 

And the struggle must continue to avoid a retreat to the same policies of making sacrifices to keep Greece in the eurozone and save the euro.

Panos Garganas is editor of Workers Solidarity, Socialist Worker’s sister paper in Greece


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