During the past few weeks, we’ve been constantly hearing about the state of the Greek economy. Just like in every capitalist country, their economy is in deep crisis. Greece is just one of the weakest links of the rusty old chain that is world capitalism.
Greece, however, is a country that has a great revolutionary tradition. There has been a civil war, revolutions, and, in the last five years, there have been 11 general strikes. Furthermore, some of you probably remember the insurrection of the youth in December 2008. These are only examples of the many occasions where Greek workers and youth have risen up against the barbaric system of capitalism.
The reality is that the current situation paves the way for another revolutionary movement. The government of the rich gave 20 billion euros to the banks. The very same banks which, until recently, were lending money to the government for 4% interest, with money that they had borrowed from the European Central Bank for 1% interest. What a blatant example of parasitism!
The crisis built into the capitalist system has created massive unemployment, while the workers who still hold their jobs can only expect wage cuts and cuts to social services. This will be done in order to “balance the deficit,” which is 12.7% of the GDP, that was created because of the bail-outs, tax evasion from the big companies and, in general, the inherent contradictions of capitalism.
The situation of the Greek youth is not any better. Since the universities are free, the youth is one of the most educated in Europe, though they can only expect jobs that pay, at most, 700 euros per month. Thus the generation in Greece is called the “700 euros generation.” That is only if they can get a job, given that unemployment is close to 30% for the youth. No wonder that in a recent poll, around 25% of youth said there is a need for a revolution, while another 60% said that there is a need for radical social changes.
The government of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASO), a party that has traditionally been the workers party, has given in to the pressure of the bourgeoisie and it is attacking the working class in a blatant manner. Despite the rhetoric of “Socialism or Barbarism” and “the poor won’t pay for this crisis” by its leader, the program of the party is clear. They announced the firing of 25,000 youths who were working for the government, they are attacking the social services, such as health insurance and the pensions, and they are privatizing everything the previous conservative government wasn’t able to privatize, because they were kicked out. It’s not that PASO is composed of “bad people,” but it’s because this is how capitalism works. The system works for the rich and not the overwhelming majority of society, i.e., the working class.
But the working class is determined not to pay for the crisis of the bosses. Ferocious class battles are on the horizon; a general strike is being prepared for the end of February. Of course, class battles of the same intensity are in the order of the day in the rest of Europe as well. “A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism.” Those words of Marx and Engels, in the Communist Manifesto, are truer today than when they were written.
As Canadian youths, we should be inspired and learn from the struggles of our brothers and sisters in Greece, as well as in the rest of Europe, as we face a similar situation. The Quebec government is trying to “balance the budget” on our backs by proposing tuition fees foe CEGEPs, among other things. Dawson students should get organized in the Dawson Socialist Club and fight back!