In Greece as well, workers’ combativity and solidarity

Printer-friendly version

On numerous occasions, when climate or industrial catastrophes have left many victims, the ICC has systematically denounced the crocodile tears of the governments, of political or economic high-ups who always invoke chance or human error, the “irresponsibility” of this or that technician, wage-earner or structure in charge of local maintenance, or the “unpredictability” of climatic episodes…

Each time, in the face of such disasters – floods, mudslides, gigantic forest fires, the collapse of bridges, as in Genoa, factory fires (and such events have accelerated in recent years), the cynicism and hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie knows no limits. It always seeks to point out a scapegoat, to find a convenient explanation to justify the unjustifiable, to make us forget who is really responsible: the representatives and defenders of a dying capitalist system, which seeps death and destruction from every pore, all over the world.

Today, in Greece, following the headlong collision between two trains, the government and railway companies have tried to put the blame on an inexperienced station master who made a fatal error, which he himself has admitted to.

But the difference with other equally dramatic accidents, including the huge fires in Greece in 2018 and 2021 which left dozens dead, the shock and pain of the population provoked by the death of the 57 victims of the rail crash have not stopped at solemn homages under the auspices of the bourgeois state, and they were not aimed at the station master judged “guilty” by the government and the prime minister Mitsotakis.

Rejecting the idea that this was something unavoidable, the immense anger and indignation of a major part of the population, above all the working class, exploded into the streets, in Athens, in Thessalonica, in the workplaces and in demonstrations held by tens of thousands of people, in spontaneous strikes by railway workers, with a call to stop work on 8 March in a large number of public and private sectors, from health to education, to sailors, metro workers, students…something not seen for over ten years.

As in Britain over the last 9 months, as in France today in reaction to the pensions “reform”, the working class in Greece is also crying “enough is enough!”.

Faced with decaying public services, with over ten years of austerity plans, the street has replied to the powers that be by a slogan heard at all the gatherings: “This was not human error, it was not an accident, it was a crime!” “Down with this government of murderers!” “Mitsotakis, minister of crime!”. The apologies issued by Mitsotakis after his first lamentable statements about the station master’s “human error” were just seen as a further provocation, following which over 12,000 people took to the streets.

The working class in Greece is expressing its solidarity with all the victims of capitalist exploitation, declaring its refusal to pay for the crisis, its rejection of repeated austerity plans and of the prolongation of years at work, as in France; its unwillingness to die in transport systems which have become death traps, owing to a lack of personnel, disrepair in the infrastructure, wrecked buses and trains, obsolete or non-existent safety systems, scarcity of material… “This train accident is just a drop in the ocean. Nothing works in Greece. Education, health, public transport, everything is in ruins. This government has done nothing to redress this intolerable situation in the public sector, but it has spent money on the police and the army!” (a Greek school teacher).

This is the daily reality of the capitalist system, of the worsening of our living and working conditions all over the world!

The massive combativity of the working class in Greece today can be added to that of the proletariat in France, in Britain, which has already been fighting for months, in struggles which express an enormous anger and determination.

Indignation at the hypocrisy of the state, faced with the frenzied search for profit in all enterprises, whether private or not, expresses the same anger, the same solidarity, the same refusal to bow down and pay with your life for the putrefaction of the capitalist system.

It’s the same class “reflex” we are seeing in Greece, in continuity with other massive expressions of anger in the face of the economic crisis and the ineptitude of the state. And here again, it’s years since we have seen this level of militancy.

This “reflex” of solidarity in the workers’ ranks is a break from years of apathy and retreat. A highly eloquent example: during the strike day on 8 March, the striking public transport workers decided to keep the bus and metro running for a few hours, so that people could take part in the demonstrations!  This is how the struggle can spread solidarity and increase the scale of mobilisations, unlike the “blockades” proposed by the unions in France.

The bourgeoisie in Greece, which was initially taken aback by the massive rection of the workers, has of course tried to put limits on the mobilisation and on the process of  reflection: it is shouting about corruption, cronyism, the retreat of a “law-based” state, about the austerity imposed by Europe, and it is calling for massive participation in the forthcoming legislative elections. Everything to mask the reality of the decomposition of the capitalist world and its responsibility for the disasters it engenders, in Greece as everywhere else.

But whatever the outcome of this massive movement of solidarity, it is already a victory, a further step in the renewal of class struggle on an international scale.

Stopio, 10.3.23



Rail disaster in Greece