Konstatin Simitis--the Greek Tony Blair--is a worried man. Elected after the death of Andreas Papandreu less than two years ago as leader of the Greek socialist party (PASOK) under the banner of "modernisation" he had 70% of public opinion behind him. Now it has dropped to 18%. The streets of Athens (congested at the best of times) are regularly blocked with demonstrations of angry bankworkers, airline employees and teachers. The premises of the Ionian bank, which the government wants to privatise, are occupied by the workers and covered with black flags. Alan Woods reports from Greece.
At the beginning of October one of the most successful general strikes of the last few years took place in Greece. More than 15,000 workers and youth gathered in front of the headquarters of the General Federation of Greek Workers in Athens with a very militant mood demanding the withdrawal of the government measures against the workers' conditions of work.
On Wednesday 26th April 2001, the biggest general strike for fifteen years took place in Greece. Both public and private sectors came out on strike with very big percentages of success, with many factories striking 100%. The demonstration in Athens was huge: 150,000-200,000 workers participated in the rally and then marched through the centre of Athens to the Parliament. It was really an impressive demonstration - almost two miles long.
Under a blazing sun, at midday on Thursday, May 17, tens of thousands of Greek workers poured onto the streets of central Athens to protest the anti-working class policies of the right-wing socialist government of Konstantinos Simitis. This was the second general strike in the space of one month. Although the final figures have not yet been published, it was clearly a very successful strike.
On Tuesday a general strike took place in Greece - following on from the two massive general strikes
that shook the country in the spring of 2001, and forced the government to back down on
its proposed attacks on social spending. As we said at the time, these strikes marked a watershed, a turning point.
Now the new mood of militancy has been shown once again.
Towards the end of July the Greek media launched a campaign of
slander about the ideology of the terrorist organisation 17N (November
claiming that it was a Trotskyist organisation. The Greek Marxists sent
a letter of protest to all the newspapers and channels, which was
published in two major newspapers. We are publishing this short article