To the bourgeoisie that promises the workers “blood and tears” the answer is class war throughout Europe

A tiny earthenware vase

In terms of world reality, what does the enterprise-Greece representeconomically?  A small thing indeed.  And in the European Union?  Only 2.5% of total GNP: a small earthenware vase in the midst of massive iron containers.What real difference is there in “her” crisis compared to that of America, Europe, Japan?  None: it is the daughter of the same global crisis of capitalism. And it is her very economic insignificance that is leading Greece to bankruptcy, and not the scandal of faking the accounts with the help of Goldman Sachs, the bank that is today under investigation for having caused (so they say) the crash of home mortgages in the USA: Greece is too small not to go bankrupt. To this we should add the concern of petit bourgeois pro-Europe feeling: the entire framework, so to speak, of the monetary Union is said to be unravelling, alas, under the blows of the crisis... Whether Greece leaves the monetary Union, or whether Germany leaves to re-establish a new and more solid monetary agreement, as is being whispered on many sides, meaning that everything ends up by being temporarily patched up before its final annulment, by restructuring of the debt or some other expedient, as in Argentina, the dynamics of the economic crisis will run on through their transit stations towards an inevitable political crisis between countries.

There are those who call up the memory of events in Sarajevo in 1914, which opened up the way for the first world war, and there are those who think that the time has come for Germany’s living space (Lebensraum) to be filled with quite different power politics. Nonetheless, the jungle of Europe’s national sub-species is already ready to sell out, as always, dragged in the wake of the great powers and constituting the bases for the different alliances.  It is the domino effect of the economic crisis that is worrying: that it may strike one country or another quite chaotically, one after the other, without any consistency.  This is why we shall follow events in Greece as if her debts were the main issue, but keep the global scenario of the crisis of overproduction well in view, raging as it is like the perfect storm in the collision between the Asian cyclone of the emerging countries with amazing growth rates (youthful exuberance!) and the anticyclone of the old western countries with negligible rates (senile arteriosclerosis!).  The statistics here and there and the estimates on Greece merely allow us to understand the secondary aspects of the matter, since it is the global context to which the little enterprise-Greece is bound that permits us to explain the local effects, and not vice-versa.

Some figures on the real situation [1]

The population of Greece amounts to 11.2 million, half of whom are concentrated in the main cities (Athens and Thessaloniki). The mountainous nature of the terrain, a characteristic of the Balkans (with only 20% of arable land), allows for only typically Mediterranean crops (mainly olives) and low density population (84.9 inhabitants per sq. km); employment [2], with 12% in agriculture, 22% in industry and 66% in the service industries, places the country in a capitalistic trend of development, which it shares more with the Balkan area than with Central Europe and the areas immediately surrounding it.  The pro-capita GNP amounts to 28,000 dollars (Germany: 40,320 dollars): 3.8% derives from agriculture, 20.3% from industry (from the puniest to the most important) and 75.9% from services. The employment figures (12%) and those on the source of GNP (3.8%), so high in agriculture, are no longer recordable in Central Europe (Germany: 2% and 0.9%; France: 4% and 2.2%; Austria: 6% and 1.9%). The average annual unemployment rate (10% from 1995 to 2007), despite being so high, says little about the origins of the unemployment (and employment), just as the average growth rate of real GNP says very little (4.8%, from 2002 to 2007). GNP amounts to 313 billion dollars; imports to 76.2 billion dollars and exports to 23.6 billion - in both cases, Germany and Italy are in the top places - resulting in a negative trade balance of 52.6 billion dollars. Average annual inflation (2003-2008) stands at 3.4%. Tourism is the only real service industry, with ship-building propping up the balance. Spending on health comes to 9.5% of the GNP (Germany: 10.6%) and spending on education 3.5% (Germany: 4.4%). The defence budget is decisive: 5% of GNP, higher in percentage terms than that of Germany and France – 14 billion euros yearly from 2007 to 2009 [3], with a considerable army of 177,600. Proof of the fact that Greece is trapped in her strategic-military fault line with Turkey and a long-standing quarrel over Cyprus and other Aegean islands, making this a critical area [4].

We shall not pause to factor in the percentages of corruption, tax evasion, hidden economy, through which an attempt is made to shift the significance and nature of the crisis, which is a world crisis of overproduction.  The “moral cleansing” operation that is being demanded is artfully and politically designed to show the failure of the Greek economy both to the unseeing eyes of the Greek workers and to the carefully blindfolded ones of the German workers and is an operation that will soon prove convenient to all the States in trouble.

The real situation and social control

The independent political existence of Hellades & Co. is by no means characterized by an underdeveloped form of economy, as described by socialists and national-communists in order to continue presenting themselves as the best reformists of the economy and the bourgeois State: its mercantile and maritime past and the delay in the emergence of industrial capitalism certainly do not make it backward (it is a case of what Lenin called “the unequal development of capitalism”). Greece’s economic level in the post-war period was on a par with the average in other European countries.  The fact that the gap with other countries has grown is due to many historical factors and not only in this area.  And the fact that the bourgeoisie in all its various manifestations has always tried to inebriate the proletariat with the grandeur of their rich cultural heritage, trotting out again (and not by chance!) the original bases of wealth, liberty and beauty for a minority in ancient Greek democracy, passing it off as a treasure-house for everyone and branding every factotum, wealthy or impoverished, with the bourgeois mark ofnational identity – this is also a time-worn and universal practice.  It is therefore not by chance that the outrageous proposal to sell a few islands or the Parthenon or the fleet in order to pay off the debts should cause scandal!...

Certainly the economic situation has become hard after the “amazing” economic growth of past years: tourism is in difficulty, the real estate sector has crashed and shipping business has vanished, because of the dip in international trade which has led to a halt in orders for new commissions and to the crash of rental fees.  On the financial side, the banking system is in great difficulty and the already considerable public debt is destined to increase (this is proven by the exodus of capital and the tax shield for recuperating capital from abroad with a 5% discount proposed by the financial bill in the last few days [late April 2010]): the reduction of income from taxes due to the crisis and the increase in tax evasion make the picture even gloomier. Amongst other things, since it is amongst the European countries most dependent on emergency support from the European Bank, with the end of the old self-financing programmes at a limited rate of interest, the ongoing growth of the debt is guaranteed.  For months it has been the auction of state obligations on the financial markets that has been used as a possible remedy for the public debt, in view of the urgency with which repayments are due, postponing until an uncertain future not repayment of the debt but that of the interests, which are becoming a growing burden.  In these few days [28 April – 5 May] the downgrading of the obligations to junk has been the first step towards bankruptcy. The Piigs (the quintet of countries constituted by Italy, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, the latter also downgraded by the rating agencies) suffer from the same ill: what they need is considerable devaluation (at least 30%) of the exchange rate with the rest of the world to recover (?) their lost chance at competition, so the “experts” keep saying – and they believe that a mere nominal change would be sufficient to put the economy back on its feet, causing exports to increase and shifting the flow of international tourism to Greece… Nonetheless, to do this, these countries would have to leave the monetary Union and attack the working class directly and without any form of safety net.  

In this situation, the 11.3% unemployment rate (false, like all the other indices; youth unemployment, for its own part, touches on 30%) (5) and the “flexibility” of salaries are destined to grow.  If there were an industry deserving of the name, restructuring, mergers, outsourcing would offer some certainty of accumulating profits: but it does not exist.  Even by laying off a considerable mass of workers in the public sector (or using various social buffers, which require not financial bluff but hard cash) or ceasing unproductive activities, only limited effects would be obtained: where a real industrial structure is lacking, it is impossible to raise either the rate of exploitation or the organic composition of capital.  To a great extent, it is the unproductive work that supports the unsteady social scaffolding - of which the middle classes are the real toxic substance. On their own side, proletarians lacking any reserves now belong to the mass of statistically “non-existent” workers.  The five strikes since the beginning of the year (the most recent ones on 22 April and 1 May) against the restructuring plans imposed by the diktats of Europe, are mere pinpricks in the absence of a class organization (the revolutionary party) and of organisms of battle independent of the bosses and of the government.  The match that is being played in Greece is none other than an episode in the class war which has as its theatre the whole of Europe and revolves around illusions of “social peace” that have been absorbed over the decades.  The various “left-wing” organizations, union and political, have not been and continue not to be, anything other than associations for nationalistic recruitment in times of peace and they will be even more so in times of war.  According to them, the deficit in the 2010 balance could be remedied without any need of foreign loans, by putting the public accounts in order, fighting wastage, increasing taxes on company profits, fighting tax evasion and restructuring the pension system, so that it stretches out a hand to the weakest: the old recipes for “structural reforms” are still on the agenda!  Moreover, the path of democratic legality is simultaneously the means and the end and from this point of view there is no doubt that any fight that presses beyond this boundary will have to be suffocated.And with this is associated, as its inevitable accompaniment, the inconclusive rebellion by wide sectors of young people.

This is third-rate reformism, the objective of which is to fuel more illusions and in the meantime guarantee social and democratic pacification: in the face of this, financial reformism (shifting repayment dates), carried – and this could not be otherwise – on the shoulders of the proletariat, would only guarantee a little more breathing space. In capitalism there is no discount for proletarians; reformism, whatever its nature, promises and demands in no uncertain manner blood and tears, otherwise no more loans: the Greek Government should therefore go ahead and openly declare salary freezes in the private sector, a ban on new jobs, reduction in the thirteenth- and fourteenth months’ salary, even for pensioners, raising of the average retirement age from the present 53 to 67, the ban on renewing closed-end contracts for public employees, the introduction of greater contractual flexibility, the abolition of the right to appeal for those laid off in the private sector… In practice, it is the biggest operation of (democratic!) dictatorship over workers ever witnessed in Europe in times of peace, thanks to the mediation of the institutions.  The class instinct makes the bourgeoisie open up its eyes, forcing it to make its intentions clear:  when the going gets hard, the tired old recipe, ever since an oppressed class has existed, has merely been to tighten the leash.

Even if they should manage to grasp the fact that this is a world crisis of overproduction, in which speculation is only a symptom of the contradictions of the system, the bourgeoisie would not know what to do or how to do it, in order to find an economic solution to the situation: the fetish of money seems to be the only means, the only positive parameter capable of help and this is how it keeps them blindfolded.  The bourgeois State, so vehemently reviled in front of the market in times of prosperity, becomes an anchor and a printer of Treasury bonds. More important, the political awareness that no economic recipes exist is growing: there is only one realistic course of action – the proclamation of dictatorship over the living and working conditions of the proletariat.

All that remains to the Greek bourgeoisie, then, is the plea to Europe and the IMF for financial rescue.  Its various sectors know very well that a part of the recovery foreseen for 2010 may only arrive by unloading part of the responsibility onto the middle classes, the same middle class that has grown rich over the past few years at the cost of the working class.  Yet the bourgeoisie does not wish to make an enemy of its chosen “sub-class”, the one that allows it to produce as much waste as it wants and on which the whole parasitical structure is built up, that has bought and sold stocks and shares, played the stock market, invested in real estate mortgages, and has never worked.  And nonetheless this will inevitably have to be reckoned with, at least to a minimum degree, if for no other reason than to demonstrate some impartiality in the measures taken.  Brussels is demanding that they proceed with cuts in spending on labour to the extent of 10% of GNP in two years, to recover the deficit on GNP which has risen to 14%: and so out with slashes to salaries, employment, healthcare, pensions, the thirteenth month’s salary!  They promise blood and tears and blood and tears it shall be: a reduction of this sort is impossible, no national economic structure could manage it.  And so it will be the workers to pay Greece’s debts, no doubt about it; and the “left” will not flinch from its… patriotic duty:  it will haul out the old slogan of the “popular front”, inveighing against the “Germans who starve the people”.

Blood and tears: the noose round the neck from so-called aid

Today, in the crisis involving the whole of the fictitious, economic and political scaffolding of the so-called European Union, the general problems have all risen to the surface. The banks having been bailed out by the United States, the financial bubble has swelled the other bubble – that of public debt – onto which financial speculation has flung itself and which has been joined by the inevitable increase in the prices of raw materials and food products, under the pressure of Asian steam.The inextricable knot lies in the excess credit previously granted to Greece by the European banks (55 billion from France, 47 from Switzerland, 30 from Germany);today Greek bonds are responsible for 10% of the Eurozone States’ overall debt, whilst the entire public and private debt has leapt to 373.4 billion euros. After the last three budgets (a total of 16 billion euros) and the added 20 billion of 30 April, a reduction of the GNP deficit to 3% according to the criteria of Maastricht is an undertaking that is nowhere near being achieved in the present climate.

Fine times they were when the European banks, to the great satisfaction of debtors and creditors, untied their purse strings and any minor or major petit bourgeois, Greeks or Germans (followed by a large portion of the working-class aristocracy), would go and slake their thirst by buying stocks and renting out their “savings” or their “income” to their managers!  Today those “miserable money-wasters” of Greeks, as they are called in Germany, who have filled the European banks’ portfolios with uncollectible credit titles (or junk), cannot pay off their own debts and flee abroad with their capital (there is always the right of asylum for capital!).  These complaints clash with the fact that over all these years capital, mostly German capital, has found consumers in Greece for its exportations and growing cash flow: such a loyal, amenable client as the Greek petit bourgeoisie (apart from the Olympics and military spending) was not to be completely discarded after all!

The “magnificent agreement” reached in Brussels on 11 April foresees bilateral financing of 30 billion euros by the countries in the Eurozone, joined by 15 billion from the IMF: to be returned at an interest rate of 5% (the European funds) and 3% (those from the IMF).  Using the European package for a total of 45+10 billion dollars, Greece would certainly obtain the money to pay off a part of the 55 billion-euro debt due this year: however, the real situation, on the brink of collapse, would not change much.  In addition, here we are only talking about the 55 billion due in 2010 (or the 8.9 billion due on 19 May) and not about the rest, due over the coming years (figures in the realm of 130 billion dollars).  If we add the fact that growth over the past few years came about thanks prevalently to the public debt and that it is presumed that GNP in the next few years may fall to -4%, default is assured.

Whilst everyone accuses Germany for having decided to maintain such a harsh attitude towards Greece, with her frequent reminders to all of respect for the stability statutes and permission granted to the IMF to make its appearance as one of the “rescuers”, everyone is looking anxiously at the situation of their own public debts: Italy (120%); Greece (115%); USA (93%); France (85.4%); Germany (84.4%); United Kingdom (81.7); Spain (69.6%)... In this situation, to cover the financial aid, Germany should contribute 8.376 billion, France 6.288, Italy 5.526, Spain 3.693, Holland 1.761, Belgium 1.071. Yet, what nobody finds bewildering is that, with a 5% interest rate, these European partners would cream off 2% each to the value of millions of dollars (some aid!).

If Greece should declare bankruptcy, she would be obliged to restructure her debt: this might mean paying back only a part of what she owes, with creditors losing at least 30%, or else postponing the deadlines, thus relieving the pressure for the moment.  Nonetheless, not much time would go by before the debtor would again be food for worms on the financial market and to a greater extent than is happening at present. In fact, if there were no economic growth, the result would be to incur debts with even more punitive interest rates than the present ones.Indirectly, today the creditors have played the hand of raising returns on Greek obligations at “free auctions”, also betting on possible bankruptcy and setting up the rating agencies, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch.  Not being able to devalue the currency by forcing up exports (which would mean leaving the monetary union and returning to the dracma), the situation has become even more explosive.  It is obviously not in the interests of Athens to leave Europe, since by staying she has better negotiating power.

Bankruptcy would have a boomerang effect on the creditor banks (first and foremost German and French ones), which would be obliged to register heavy losses with obvious repercussions on the European financial system, since disruption in Greece would set off a contagious effect on the weaker links in the chain and this would, in turn, add to the systemic effect: German banks possessing Greek obligations would become weaker and infect other banks.  To sum up, there would be the risk of ending up with a crack on the European banking system, with devastating effects on the real economy, caused by the inevitable credit crunch deriving from this event: and this would be the most disastrous effect of the crisis.  Talk of the subprime mortgage crisis!

Is there a way out? This episode is forewarning of the definitive crisis of the so-called monetary Union.  “European politics” are quite unable to undo a knot like this in the long term – these politics, in fact, do not exist because a supranational bourgeoisie does not exist.  At this stage Germany could shift to her historical power policy in Europe, if she were not caught up in the financial dimension of capital (“imperialism”), from which no-one can escape: in this dilemma the political signals have been sent out to her most direct competitors but escape implies a process in which the extreme principle mors tua, vita mea is affirmed.

What appears scandalous is that the markets, which continue to be blamed for the crisis, seem in this event, with the approval and recommendation of Germany, to have resumed their function as “severe but just” arbitrators on the issue of financial excesses.  In this context, whilst the rating agencies are again accused of being the ones that, entirely guilty of conflicting interests, played down figures on the verge of financial collapse, it is again admissible to bear down on the Greeks, hitting out randomly at the proletariat and imposing their capitulation by means of an ultimatum.  The CDS (Credit default swaps), insurance policies that quote the debtors’ probability of becoming bankrupt, in other words the degree of difficulty in meeting their commitments, have acquired a halo of objectivity in the moral attitude to excesses:  if they had not existed, so they say, who would have warned us about the disastrous crisis of the American mortgages?

In this circus of marvels, good old opportunism pulls out the old adage: “capitalism must be reformed”.  The capitalist mode of production “must be saved”, the “transgressors against the real social purpose” must be got rid of.  Even public employees are the object of economic moralising: teachers, nurses, office workers, dockers who wanted to keep their salaries ahead of inflation by putting the savings they had scraped together into pension and insurance funds in the hope of accumulating miserable added interests. And so, as a punishment, salaries in the public sector will be frozen, the turnover blocked, overtime heavily cut.  “And if the vampires of the Monetary Fund arrive on the scene, we shall have to spit more blood!  We have already paid out, now let the rich pay!” shouts a union member of the PAME (the “leftist” trade union), on the same day that the head of the Government, Papandreou, having summoned the unions, announces a further attack on salaries, the thirteenth-month’s salary, pensions.  And he is echoed by the secretary of the other trade union, the GSEE, leaving the meeting only a few days before the general strike: “The country’s production forces must unite to face up to the crisis” (!?) (6).  German egoism is a scandal, adds another.  If the USA had acted like this, “when they had accumulated a debt of over 120% of GNP, the post-war boom would never have happened.” (7)

Only a few days away from the repayment deadline for one instalment of the Greek debt, the crisis of the world’s stock exchanges (27 and 28 April), accompanied by the downgrading of Portugal and Spain, reveals without a shadow of doubt the crash that is being prepared.




All lined up in front of the German capitalist machinery

According to Marxism, it is the growth rates, the creation of plus value in industrial production, productivity, that allow money to represent a certain degree of competitive success in international trade.  It is the law of value that imposes its conditions: trade is merely the manifestation of all this, whilst the widely varying functions of money (monetary and financial) are the expression of it, becausewithout the generation of plus value there is no accumulation. Germany, who in the present crisis is laying off workers, reducing salaries, regulating the numbers of workers in factories, imposing drastic conditions with the help of the State unions, has increased productivity and imposed her exports (she is the country that exports most, together with China): her financial and democratic corporations, which include diversified social buffers and control savings, insurance and pensions, still allow her to hold up well. Whether under Bismarck, the Nazis, social-democracy or liberal-democracy,  Germany represents the reactionary heart of Europe: with a proletariat that has been in chains for a good while, it is her industrial structure which, whilst taking shape in a context of the financialisationthat – as Lenin wrote – now dominates the real economy, holds together the internal and centrifugal forces in Europe. In the midst of the crisis this control has become the only glue strong enough to endure the buffetings from finance: her political strength cannot fail to impose her political diktat, starting out from the weaker backwaters of Europe – otherwise the machinery of unity would break down and the whole background of exports, the trade balance and balance of payments would disintegrate.

In her banks and through the ECB, Germany possesses the balances of the small national entities aggregated to her.  With reunification, she suffered a decade of crisis, has been obliged to integrate an entire economy, has had to provide social buffers and guarantees against unemployment and pensions.  However, it is one thing to integrate a territory that belongs to you historically in a politically centralized (albeit federal) form, bringing it under the same diktat, and it is quite another to attempt to integrate bourgeoisies that do not share the same history, the same union structure of control – that exalt productivity, keep salaries down, guarantee profits and income.  Nevertheless, with this experience behind them, the German bourgeoisie did not understand (because it was unable to understand) that their smaller partners were entering a phase of real bankruptcy and presenting false accounts.  Would they ever have been able to understand that this crisis, which appears as a crisis of finance and real estate, was to turn into a crisis of sovereign funds, at the mercy of the savage and anarchical dynamics of the financial institutions, managers and directors and investment banks? Would they ever have been capable of grasping the political significance of front-line capitalism, ready to destroy any obstacle in its path?  No, they would never have been able to do this.  The fear of now having to suffer a rush on the bank desks, as though they were cash points, the bovine tranquillity of their European partners, the assault of the next requests for help made it necessary to put on the agenda the crude frankness of those who are in a political and economic position to shake themselves free of petulant demands.

In the Capital Marx wrote: “Overproduction of capital never means anything other than overproduction of the means of production – the means of labour and means of subsistence able to function as capital, i.e. to be used in order to exploit labour to a given rate of exploitation, since the fall of this rate of exploitation below a certain point causes perturbations and slacks in the process of capitalist production, crises, and the destruction of capital” . (8)

This rate of exploitation always guarantees continuity and can determine the decisions of a bourgeoisie that preserves its memory of past history and whose capitalist machinery has never been left to rust.  On the contrary, according to the bourgeois economists who manage financial trash, the responsibility is to be sought in the low cost of money launched by the President of the FED, Greenspan, which facilitated the issue of low-interest mortgages.  For a bourgeoisie that received its baptism from German social-democracy (the likes of Kautsky, Hilferding, Böhm-Bawerk), the financial crisis is only a secondary manifestation of the real economic crisis, which accompanies the tendential fall of the average profit rate.  Instead, according to the lords of finance, by means of securitization, the banks granted loans without evaluating the borrowers’ solvency. From 2000 to 2004, the interest rates go on a downward-pointing “roller coaster” ending up at 1%: the loans guaranteed by the credit giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reach the staggering sum of 5.3 thousand billion dollars and then the rates suddenly peak again to almost 6% until 2007.  House mortgages explode, insolvencies make the struts and ties quiver, house prices crash, repayments become too high, property seizures increase.  No-one manages to recover the sums lent.  The crisis of subprime mortgages, those high-risk loans that spread to all corners of the world due to securitization, transforms them into valueless wastepaper, deposited in a large number of banks.  The crisis spreads throughout the world’s financial and monetary system. According to the bourgeoisie, the events are monetary and financial, and only by means of  financial adjustments and regulation of the rules is it possible for the capitalist monster to rise again.

Germany is affected, her banks have been shaken, but the supporting structure of capital, the industrial machinery, is holding out: 30% of her GNP depends on industry. Exports worth 1,327 billion dollars as against imports worth 1,058 billion yield a positive balance of almost 269 billion dollars, as against the negative balance of 800 billion dollars in the USA, a 92-billion positive balance in Japan and a positive 262 billion in China. And following the initial bubble, a second one, more wide-reaching than that of the mortgages, is hitting state insolvencies.

As Marx explained in an article published in May-October 1850 in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung: “Speculation generally appears in periods when overproduction is in full swing.  It provides temporary outlets for overproduction and for this very reason accelerates the outburst of the crisis and increases its virulence.  The crisis itself flares up first in the field of speculation and only afterwards does it filter into production.  It is thus not overproduction but an excess of speculation, which is in fact only a symptom of overproduction, that appears in the eyes of the superficial observer as the cause of the crisis. The subsequent disruption of production does not appear as a necessary consequence of its own previous exuberance but as a simple whiplash effect of the crash of speculation.” (9)

The global effects of the real crisis of overproduction are right before our very eyes: the drop in industrial production and in GNP, closure of companies, factories, commercial bodies, sold cut-price on the world market, the increase in working-class unemployment, a negative turn in the rate of inflation, drastic reduction of credit, particularly to companies, lay-offs and the increase in social buffers, rapid growth in the public debt, both in absolute terms and in relation to GNP, first in the pre-crisis process and then to save the banks from crashing, an increase in the deficit on GNP, the crisis of world trade, the exodus of capital towards Asian regions with a high rate of accumulation and low salaries, the relocation of companies attracted by Asia’s high profit margins, a new and increasing trend towards industrial (car industry) and bank mergers, fuelled by the low purchasing prices…

Latest news: the strike of 5 May

As we were hoping, spontaneously overstepping any attempt to curb the fight, the Greek proletariat went beyond legal, democratic protest.  Thousands and thousands of workers in the public and private sectors took to the streets both in Athens and Thessaloniki, whilst the whole of Greece was invested by the same wave of anger.  Syntagma Square, under the massive control of police defending Parliament and equipped with anti-riot gear, was the scene of violent clashes. The huge deployment of the forces of law and order was unable to halt the impulse, which reached right to the Parliament buildings where the blood and tears plan for the proletariat will be deliberated.  Against the so-called “representatives of the people”, in other words against democracy, the masses of workers launched the slogan: “Thieves! Thieves! Burn down the Parliament-whorehouse!” (10).  Both governments, right- and left-wing, the banks, the international financial institutions and Germany are all under accusation.  The violence with which the Greek workers engaged with the forces of law and order (stones, bottles, sticks against tear-gas and stun bombs) is the sign that the situation has taken an unexpected direction which will change the face of Greek society in the next few years: thus, not only the unions and the grassroots economic representatives, but above all the parliamentary opposition parties and extra-parliamentary groups will have to come to terms with this new reality that has surfaced after so many years of social reclusion. Despite high tension being expected in the demonstration, the Greek bourgeoisie was shaken by such spontaneous determination: they were expecting the umpteenth chapter in the history of opportunism in its immediate or democratic variations – and the same orchestration was partly to be seen, sincethe unchangeable heart of the problem, capital reality, was never laid bare.  Yet something failed to take the expected turn: the fear of physical engagement did not tame the anger and, the level of attack being too high, the strike veered off the tracks of economic struggle to defend living and working conditions and assumed a political character that no institutional political party is capable of managing, since there are no reformist alternatives or possible and credible compromises in such a situation.

The national-“communists” of the KKE, obviously wishing to jump on the bandwagon of this interesting situation, have only slight representation in Parliament, as does the SYRIZA.  The union organizations in the public and private sectors, respectively ADIDY and GSEE, very close to the positions of the PASOK, are excluded precisely by a diktat that goes beyond their scope of action, since it does not allow them, as in the past, to obtain big or small favours of a clientele nature to maintain the organization.  “A strike for whom and for what, since it is not a national Government that decides but the IMF?”, anxiously wonders the Italian “left-wing” daily Manifesto, artfully shaking up and mixing all the existing filth and decay to demonstrate that there is no way out, raising shields to defend the bourgeois State “under a socialist Government”, taking objection to corruption in general… which must end.  The death of three bank workers obliged to work in such a moment of social tension reveals the illusion of social peace and counter-revolution that still weigh upon the scenario of history.  But what is slow to die is the immediate protest, the spontaneous fight without a plan of action, chaos for the sake of chaos – all winning cards for opportunism in all its different forms, and thus the bourgeoisie, to regain social control. Urban guerrilla warfare and the destruction of power symbols – banks, cash points, shop windows, cars – on the edges and never at the real centre of the fight, served as the accompaniment (an old performance that shifts nothing politically) to the show of strength put on by the workers.

At war, as in war

In order to get out of the social trap it has fallen into there is no alternative for the Greek proletariat but to declare class war. However, to do this, the proletarian front needs to be brought together on as wide a scale as possible, to face the bourgeoisie unmasked.  Above all, it must understand that without the guidance of its General Staff, of the revolutionary communist party, there is no solution to be had.  This is the start of the most widespread belligerence ever against the proletariat: with its crisis, Athens represents the start of an attack that will extend throughout Europe. From the facts the proletariat will understand that the whole financial lottery of stock exchange, credit, stocks and shares, is pure fiction (junk remains junk!): what has always been demanded of the oppressed class is that it should continue to remain oppressed, that it should go back to work, harder than before, so that the exploitation of the labour force may continue to churn out, amidst blood and tears, more and more interest, income, profits, real wealth. This is a programme of war, to reduce millions of workers to hunger.  Blood and tears the bourgeoisie promises and blood and tears it shall be.  It is a question of real dictatorship over the workers, not of placing the Greek nation (dog does not eat dog), its ruling class, the speculators (rubbish!), on trial: it is an example for the future, decimation as a preventive measure.

In these proportions, the reduction of the Greek deficit over time is impossible: no national economic structure could manage it. It will be the workers who pay the Greek bourgeoisie’s debts, no doubt about it.  Attention: after this police action the old propaganda material will again be dusted down and waved about, that of opportunism, the “popular front”, “all in the same boat”, which will not fail to make its appeal to patriotic duty in order to save the country from the crisis, launching slogans “against the Germans who starve the people”, fuelling nationalism and aggravating the conditions of the proletarians: who have nothing to lose except their chains, who have nothing in common with the “Greek nation”, to which they owe nothing.

If the Greek proletariat does not take up the arms of its own class independence and if the proletariat in the rest of Europe does not join it, order, the peace of the cemeteries, will reign in Athens as an example and it will not be merely the Greek colonels in the military parades but also the democratic troops of the ECB, the IMF and the international Banks (the bourgeoisie’s) that lead it over the precipice.

FOOTNOTES

1 The following figures are taken from Il mondo in cifre 2010, published in the series “I libri di Internazionale”.

2 We shall not discuss the figures, some of which are authentic masks of reality.Only a relative comparison between the various countries under the same empirical-statistical conditions would allow us to arrive at an evaluation and “at times” to use these figures, but to relate them to reality, not to mention to Marx’s parameters, would be a waste of time. Bourgeois economy has nothing to do with the profundity of the natural, mathematical and physical sciences, the bourgeoisie’s boast in the golden days: it is incapable of reading present-day society and therefore it is by its very nature counter-revolutionary. Some critical considerations on the methods of calculating Gross National Product, for example, are useful for understanding many of those despicable assumptions known as “figures” (see Luciano Gallino, Con i soldi degli altri,  Einaudi).

3 See: Il Sole-24 ore, 1/5/2010.

4 Turkey, a direct competitor, is a new economic force, also in a crisis situation and with a vast population: it is the southern limit of NATO before the Middle East, a trade and military transit route towards the East European countries and Russia herself through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, the traditional warpaths in all world wars.

5 “We note that only those in search of work can be considered unemployed, on the other hand, those who do not work but are not looking for a job are considered to be outside the workforce. When unemployment is high, some jobless people stop looking for one and are thus no longer considered unemployed.  These people are known as disillusioned workers.  If all workers without a job stopped looking for one, the unemployment rate would be equal to zero.” Macroeconomia, Il Mulino, page 46.

6 See: Il sole- 24 ore, 30/4.

7 See: J. Halevi in Il Manifesto, 24/4.

8 K. Marx, Capital, Book III, Chap. XV.

9 In Italian, see: Marx-Engels, Opere complete, Vol.10, page 501.

10 From Il Manifesto of 6 May.

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