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Greece: Ready to Explode

May 4, 2010

The economic crisis continues to unfold in Greece.  The new Socialist government, elected only 7 months ago on promises to raise the wages of workers and strengthen social democracy, has now announced the adoption of a bailout package from the EU and the IMF which will see the country be forced to adopt the neo-liberal restructuring that has been the hallmark of the assault on labor around the world since the late 1970’s.  The Greek state, which is the largest employer in the country, is now scheduled to start cutting wages at a tune of 10% to public employees and civil servants, as well as initiating a vast reduction in social services.  The Greek public is understandably infuriated.  A general strike has been called for Wednesday and it is expected to completely shut down the country in a demonstration of the power of the workers.

Members of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) unfurl banners on Acropolis in front of the Parthenon temple. Photo: Getty Images

Al-Jazeera English reports:

Earlier on Tuesday, about 100 protesters from the Greek Communist Party cut through locks on the gates of the Acropolis and hung banners reading: “Peoples of Europe – Rise Up”.

“This is a message to the people of Europe,” Panagiotis Papageorgopoulos, a Communist party official, said.

“People have the same problems everywhere. We can take control of our fate with organised protests, so that our lives are not run by the EU and the IMF.”

Below are some links to further reading on the nature of the crisis and what to expect in the future.  One can be sure that Greek society, which has a long and rich history of protests and labor militancy, will not accept the governmental measures without a fight.  I can be expected that a protracted battle between the government and its capitalist allies with the workers of Greece will ensue.

A Baltic future for Greece? – Mark Weisbrot

Is Europe Imploding? – Immanuel Wallerstein

Greece: Driven into Crisis – Ingo Schmidt

EU agrees $146bn bailout for Greece – Al-Jazeera English

One Comment leave one →
  1. The Destructionist permalink
    May 5, 2010 09:36

    Protests are raging in Greece today; due to the government’s reform measures to drastically cut wages, retirement benefits and pensions, while raising taxes on goods and services; all in an effort to save the country from economic collapse. Government buildings, schools and hospitals were shut down as people flooded the streets in anger. Sadly, that anger turned violent today as three people died in a bank that was set ablaze by protestors.

    Stocks lost value in most of the major global indexes yesterday on fears that Greece’s economic instability could spread to other countries throughout Europe and around the world. If the Greek economy does happen to fail, the financial repercussions felt all across the globe could be catastrophic. Could this be the beginning of a worldwide chain reaction?

    What if your wages, benefits or pensions were cut in half? How would you react to the loss in income? How would it affect your life?

    If this problem is not dealt with swiftly, I portend a very dark road ahead…for all of us.

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