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Just after the Greek government announced the passage of more austerity measures, Athens said it needs another round of harsh cuts in its 2013 budget. Greek trade unions are calling for another demonstration on Sunday ahead of the lawmakers’ vote.

The recent austerity package, passed in a narrow vote, was apparently insufficient to appease Eurozone finance ministers into granting cash-strapped Greece another tranche of much-needed bailout money.

Without the rescue loan, Greece could effectively default on November 16, the date it must repay a three-month treasury bill worth 5 billion euro.

Greek trade unions are calling for another demonstration outside parliament on Sunday ahead of the lawmakers’ vote on the 2013 draft budget.

Earlier in the week, around 70,000 demonstrators rallied as parliament voted on the new austerity measures.

On Saturday, MPs began debating the 2013 budget on which they are due to vote late Sunday. The vote is the second budgetary test the Greek government has faced in less than a week

Athens is planning further spending cuts totaling 9.4 billion euro, mainly in state wages, pensions and benefits, all of which have already seen drastic reductions over the past two years.

Several hundred Greek civil servants staged a protest on Saturday in front of parliament, where initial discussions over the 2013 draft budget were held ahead of the vote. The protesters railed against the reduction of 125,000 civil servant jobs by 2016, part of the new austerity package that squeezed through parliament on Wednesday.

Cutting it close

Greece’s 2013 budget predicts that the economy will shrink by a worse-than-expected 4.5 percent next year, and that the country’s debt will swell to 346 billion euro ($434.3 billion), or 189 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Athens is hoping to securing a further 31.5 billion euro of desperately needed international aid. Even then, it would still need to borrow over 68 billion euro next year, the draft budget says

This is in addition to the new austerity package, which includes 18.5 billion euro ($23.6 billion) in cuts and labor law reforms.

Greece has so far avoided default by introducing a series of austerity measures needed to secure two huge bailout loans from a ‘Troika’ of creditors: The EU, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

The recent push for further austerity has sparked popular anger in a country facing its sixth year of recession, while unemployment rose above the 25 percent mark in July.

source.

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“The history of urban-based class struggles is stunning. The successive
revolutionary movements in Paris from 1789 through 1830 and 1848 to the Commune of 1871 constitute the most obvious nineteenth century example. Later events included the Petrograd Soviet, the Shanghai Communes of 1927 and 1967, the Seattle General Strike of 1919, the role of Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War, the uprising in Cordoba in 1969, and the more general urban uprisings in the United States in the 1960s, the urban based movements of 1968 (Paris, Chicago, Mexico City, Bangkok, and others including the so called “Prague Spring;’ and the rise of neighborhood associations in Madrid that fronted the anti-Franco movement in Spain around the same time). And in more recent times we have witnessed echoes of these older struggles in the Seattle antiglobalization protests of 1999 (followed by similar protests in Quebec City, Genoa, and many other cities as part of a widespread alternative
globalization movement) . Most recently we h ave seen m ass protests in
Tahrir Square in Cairo, in Madison, Wisconsin, in the Plazas del Sol in
Madrid and Catalunya in Barcelona, and in Syntagma Square in Athens,
as well as revolutionary movements and rebellions in Oaxaca in Mexico,
in Cochabamba (2000 and 2007) and El Alto (2003 and 2005) in Bolivia,
along with very different but equally important political eruptions in
Buenos Aires in 2001 -02, and in Santiago in Chile (2006 and 2011).

R
And it is not, this history demonstrates, only singular urban centers
that are involved. On several occasions the spirit of protest and revolt
has spread contagiously through urban networks in remarkable ways.
The revolutionary movement of 1848 may have started in Paris, but t he
spirit of revolt spread to Vienna, Berlin, Milan, Budapest, Frankfurt,
and many other European cities. Th e Bolshevik Revolution in Russia
was accompanied by the formation of worker’s councils and “soviets” in
Berlin, Vienna, Warsaw, Riga, Munich and Tur in, just as in 1968 it was
Paris, Berlin, London, Mexico City, Bangkok, Chicago, and innumerable
other cities that experienced “days of rage;’ and in some instances violent
repressions. The unfolding urban crisis of the 1960s in the United States
affected m any cities simultaneously. And in an astonishing but much underestimated moment in world history, on February 15, 2003 , several
million people simultaneously appeared on the streets of Rome (with
around 3 million, considered the largest anti-war rally ever in human
history) , Madrid, London, Barcelona, Berlin, and Athens, with lesser but
still substantial numbers (though impossible to count be cause of police
repression) in New York and Melbourne, and thousands more in nearly
200 cities in Asia (except China), Africa, and Latin America in a worldwide
demonstration against the threat of war with Iraq.  Described at
the time as perhaps one of the first expressions of global public opinion ,
the movement quickly faded, but leaves behind the sense that the global
urban network is replete with political possibilities that remain untapped
by progressive movements. Th e current wave of youth-led movements
throughout the world, from Cairo to Madrid to Santiago  to say nothing
of a street revolt in London, followed by an “Occupy Wall Street”
movement that began in New York City before spreading to innumerable
cities in the US and now around the world-suggests there is something
political in the city air struggling to be expressed.”

—  excerpted from REBEL CITIES by David Harvey order at our store and show vital and much-needed support for our projects!

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A truly massive and major strike was held in Greece on Wednesday 26th September. Thousands of workers overcame the intimidation and the threats of the employers, the difficulties that the barbaric measures have created for the lives of the workers’ and popular families, as well as the illusions and went on strike. Tens of thousands of workers participated in the demonstrations of PAME which were held in 70 cities throughout the country.

In Athens and Thessalonica the demonstrations of PAME were impressive due to their remarkable militancy and the enormous participation of the people, something that even the sworn enemies of PAME cannot deny. It took many hours for the march to pass through Syntagma Square. Tens of thousands of workers, unemployed, pensioners, immigrants, self-employed and small traders took part in the strike demonstrations of PAME throughout the country. The high-level of the participation of the youth was also characteristic.

The impressive demonstration of PAME in Athens was the result of the work of the trade unions, the struggle committees in various workplaces, of the people’s committees which in the previous period organized assemblies, meetings and discussions in the sectors, in several factories, in workplaces and neighbourhoods. This is a fact that shows the strengthening of the class-oriented current in the labour movement; it points to the path we should follow.

Before the demonstration, the pickets of PAME in many workplaces defeated the intimidation in workplaces-ghettoes and contributed decisively to the strike. The slogans which prevailed were: “no more sacrifices for the plutocracy- we can live without memoranda and outside of the EU”. This strike is a significant response given that in this period the coalition government of ND/PASOK/Democratic Left together with the Troika is finalizing the new massacre of the people in the name of the previous allegedly life-saving haircut.

At the same time, the EU and the IMF are quarrelling over who will benefit from the possible new hair-cut while they are unanimous regarding the breaking of the people. With the new package of measures, which aims at ensuring the capitalist recovery and their profitability in the future, the capitalists and the EU are demanding the complete abolition of the collective bargaining agreements. They demand that the wages and the salaries be decided upon unilaterally by the employers and the government. The abolition of the minimum wage and salary concerns the working people in the private and the public sector as a whole as it leads to a wholesale reduction of salaries and pensions.

The 33% increase of the number of social security stamps which are required for retirement means that retirement age will not be merely the age of 67, as they officially claim, but much higher i.e. 72 years so as to conform with the average life expectancy, as is provided for by the Treaty of Maastricht. Those who own a house or a shop will be taxed without mercy. Furthermore, they promote dramatic cuts in benefits and healthcare spending by means of closing down or merging hospitals. They impose new heavy taxes along with the old ones, they cut the electricity to those who cannot pay the bill, they impose fines, cut salaries, pensions, allowances and increase the prices of all goods.

 

“We have never said that we will turn things upside down with a single strike. The effective struggles require above all the conflict with the capitalist employers in the basic sectors. This is what they are afraid of” said amongst other things Giorgos Perros, member of the Executive Secretariat of PAME in his speech at the strike demonstration of PAME.

“Effective struggles mean conflict and rupture with the EU. They do not want this because it does not serve the interests of the monopolies. When these gentlemen are claiming that the memoranda are an ineffective policy they are being hypocritical and lying. Effective struggles mean condemning the racist-Nazi views of “Golden Dawn”.

Alongside the well-known trade union bureaucrats we now have a new generation of bureaucrats who come from the same breeding ground of compromise and retreat in the face of the big interests, but they wear a new mask and have new customs. We are talking about the trade unionists of “Independent Intervention” which belongs to SYRIZA. After they now belatedly saw the bankruptcy of the majority of GSEE and ADEDY they are raising the flag of struggles. Struggles without any cost. Struggles without sacrifices. They consider strikes as simply being one more day’s wage lost and claim that we have to find new forms of struggle outside of the factories, the services, the workplaces.”

A large delegation of the CC of the KKE headed by the GS of the CC of the KKE, Aleka Papariga, took part in PAME’s demonstration. The GS of the CC made the following statement:

“What is needed is a new beginning in the rallying of forces, heightened forms of struggle and radical demands for the struggles to be effective. The people must believe that a Greece which is disengaged from the EU, a Greece where the people are in charge can ensure social prosperity and prevent the worst. If the people do not believe this, then the parties of power will have the upper hand, as well as the plutocrats and the various managers of the system who shamelessly mock them.”

The limited incidents, which the media, especially the international media, exaggerated, were aimed at concealing the size and the demands of the strike mobilizations. The KKE made the following comment:

“The enormous mobilization of the police in order to deal with a few dozen hooded ones, the arrests even of school students a long distance away from the centre of Athens from early in the morning onwards, the chase and the game of “hit and run” up to Omonia square, demonstrates the desire of the government and the various mechanisms to intimidate the people. It also proves that they have prepared a plan for the repression of the people’s movement even though it was not fully implemented today at the general strike and the enormous demonstrations of PAME all over Greece”.

The next steps are being prepared from the day after the strike, in militant readiness for new mobilizations in all sectors, workplaces so as to prevent the measures that lead to the destitution of the people. The people must fearlessly strengthen their struggles even more; they must not accept the contemporary slavery.

source.

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The Massacre in Marikina, South Africa, of striking mine workers has caused dismay and disbelief the world over.

Thirty four miners were slaughtered, and 78 others wounded by a hail of police gunfire.

How could this be in today’s South Africa?

How could this happen in a post- apartheid South Africa?

How could this happen in a predominantly Black government, led by the African National Congress (ANC)?

The spectacle tells the tale: black police, clad in blue overall uniforms, were called by the Lonmin Mine Co. officials, to stand against Black miners holding a wildcat strike demanding better wages and improved working conditions.

Miners at Lonmin Platinum are paid on average R4, 000 (=$480 U.S.), and were demanding a raise to R12, 500 (=$1,500) per month.  These strikers, several thousand rock-drill operators, were trying to live and raise families on $120 –per week!

When they refused police orders to disperse from a nearby hill, the cops attacked them with automatic weapons fire.

Who do you think they worked for: their people – or the mine operators and owners?

Whom did they serve and protect?

In Marikana, in South Africa’s North West Province, lies a mine boasting one of the world’s richest veins of platinum.  Indeed, South Africa is home to some 80% of the world supply of platinum, one of the world’s most precious and strategic metals.

 

And striking miners are dying for a pittance, while owners and investors are making billions!

 

The cops of capitalism serve those who can afford their services.

 

Period.

 

Marikana, North West Province, South Africa joins Sharpville for police and state massacres of Africans.

Just as Sharpeville sparked resistance, let Marikana now do the same!

 

–  Mumia Abu Jamal

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Quebec Students Win Fight!

 

It’s official: Quebec tuition hikes are history. The new government repealed the fee hike, by decree, in its first cabinet meeting less than 24 hours after coming to power.  Student leaders cheered the news.

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From an interview with economic historian Michael Hudson:

Athens News: Why so much emphasis on austerity and internal devaluation?

Michael Hudson: This is because financialisation brings the class war back, in a new way. For the last 100 years the social divide was between employers and employees fighting for workplace rights, higher wages and so on, but once you bring in the financial sector, this adds a new dimension to their struggle. Once creditors take control of governments and unions, they push austerity and unemployment that drives down wages on a macroeconomic “financial” level to a degree that could not occur before. In the US, workers are in debt and afraid to go on strike, afraid even to complain about working conditions, because if they are fired and miss a payment in their electricity or mortgage bills, they are one paycheque away from homelessness. So what’s happening in Greece is happening in America too. We have government-sponsored wage cuts and abolition of labour rights in ways 19th-century industrialists never dreamed of.

Full interview here.

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Class solidarity must now be even more decisively strengthened.

 

In its statement the Press Office of the CC of the KKE stressed the following regarding the six new dismissals of steelworkers by the employer at “Greek Steelworks”:

“The KKE denounces to the people the six new intimidating and vengeful dismissals of leading militant steelworkers by the big capitalist Manesis, in order to strike against their defiant class convictions. It is not at all accidental that the big employers and their collaborators targeted the six workers who were arrested by the forces of repression during their violent assault on the factory gates ordered by the Public Prosecutor and the Prime Minister. A member of the union’s administration and 2 reserve members are among the 6 leading steelworkers who have been dismissed.

The unrestrained aggressiveness of Manesis, the display of hate by the managers and their thugs against the heroic steelworkers have the full support and backing of the ND-PASOK Democratic Left coalition government, the entire state apparatus, the TV channels and newspapers which serve the plutocracy. The Minister of Labour has been completely exposed and has been shown to be complicit regarding the six new dismissals, as he provided cover for and encouraged the lies and provocations against the steelworkers in the name of allegedly protecting jobs.

The Minister of Justice bears the political responsibility and cannot remain silent when the public prosecutors and other judges openly operate as the agents of Manesis, participating in the plan to intimidate and suppress the just struggle of the steelworkers.

This is the democracy of the big industrialists and their servants: threats, slanders, blatant intimidation, cruel exploitation of the workers, are what they want to prevail in the factories and the workplaces. In order to safeguard their profits and competitiveness, they are attempting with every means at their disposal to force the workers to accept destitution, subjugation and humiliation.

The savage coordinated assault against the heroic steelworkers must stir up the anger of the people and particularly of the working class and progressive people. Class solidarity, rallying and counterattack must be even more decisively strengthened. The steelworkers’ struggle concerns the entire working class, is an example and points to the road of uncompromising class struggle for the just cause, honour and victory of the working class.”

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