Socialist Worker

Banks loot Greece again with bailout that hands them £23bn

by Panos Garganas in Athens
Published Tue 4 Dec 2012
Issue No. 2332


The new bailout agreement with Greece amounts to looting.

It has been made conditional on a new “haircut” on government bonds that will mean further cuts to people’s pensions.

These were already cut back with the last agreement in March. One estimate says they could have dropped in value from £19 billion to just £5 billion in ten months.

And of the £36 billion that Greece has been promised, £23 billion goes to the banks. It is a straight exchange—bailing out bankers at the expense of pensioners.

This bailout is accompanied by attacks that were voted through the Greek parliament last month. There was a huge general strike on the day.

The first of the new measures was mass redundancies in local government and universities. Workers have been occupying personnel departments to make that impossible. They are demonstrating twice a week.

And an official convention of mayors from across Greece voted to oppose the government measures and plan to demonstrate next Wednesday.

Athens protest

Rank and file workers from other cities facing cuts came to Athens to protest on Friday of last week. The health union backed the protest at the last minute. Athens health workers joined protesters.

There’s big pressure on the unions to coordinate. Public sector unions are expected to call a coordinated strike soon—and approach private sector unions to join them in a general strike.

The government is also expected to have to reshuffle after the haircut is finalised, to resolve a new political crisis.

The government is struggling to hold itself together. The Labour-type Pasok party is splitting. One of its leading MPs has set up a new group. The coalition government is worried because Pasok is necessary to keep a government majority.

And the fascist Golden Dawn has been pushed onto the defensive in many areas. It is a small organisation that has been trying to build on the huge vote it won in elections this year.

But it has had spectacular failures in recent weeks. Counter-demonstration ruined a tour of Nazi MPs in Crete and a demonstration against immigrants in Athens.

Next Saturday well-known anti-racists from France and Italy are coming to join a silent march against Golden Dawn through Athens. That can be a step towards a much larger demonstration and concert on 19 January that will be anything but silent.

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


Article information

International
Tue 4 Dec 2012, 18:15 GMT
Issue No. 2332
Share this article



Tags



Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.