At its recent meeting in January the International Executive Committee of the IMT discussed the situation in Europe, highlighting the growing level of class struggle on the continent as the effects of the austerity measures being applied everywhere begin to be felt by the workers and youth. We are publishing a slightly edited version of the points raised in the discussion.

The European Trade Union Confederation has called a European Day of Action and Solidarity against austerity on November 14. The initiative was taken by the Portuguese CGTP-IN trade union confederation which decided to call a 24h general strike against the latest package of austerity measures proposed by the right wing government of Passos de Coelho in the 2013 budgets. It was the enormous explosion of anger on September 15, when the largest demonstrations since the Portuguese revolution of 1974 took place, which pushed the union to take this action.

The prospect of a Syriza government caused a wave of panic in the bourgeoisie of Greece and internationally. They organized a massive campaign to drive people away from Syriza, warning of economic catastrophe if they came to power. That was sufficient to panic wide sections of the middle class, older people and backward layers into voting for the New Democracy. [part 1]

The crisis of the euro resembles a long drawn-out death agony. There is one “decisive” summit after another, each proclaiming a definitive end to the euro crisis. The markets rally for a few hours or days and then fall once more. The index of the European stock markets resembles a thermometer that tracks the process of a terminally sick patient.

A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of capitalist crisis. Events are moving at lightning speed. This slow-motion train wreck has suddenly speeded up.  Each day we come closer to a Greek default and its exit from the euro. Squeezed by foreign bankers, demanding their pound of flesh, ordinary Greek people are being pushed to the limit. They are being reduced to a state of wretchedness and indignity.

The elections in France and Greece represent a fundamental change in the situation. The crisis of European capitalism has entered a new and turbulent stage. A mood of anger is sweeping across Europe. Of course, we understand that election results do not reflect the psychology of the masses with complete accuracy. They are like a snapshot of the mood at a given moment. But it is necessary to analyse election results carefully, since they do show certain trends in society.

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