Greece

World music and the class struggle for democratic rights have both lost an important figure, Mikis Theodorakis, the much-loved composer of the Greek people. Mikis Theodorakis dedicated his life to the musical rebirth of post-war Greece. His musical compositions combined an incredible artistic prowess with a remarkable expression of the Greek working class’ mood, aspirations and struggles against poverty and oppression.

The immense destruction caused by the wildfires in Varybobi, Evia and dozens of other areas of Greece is not solely due to the winds, high temperatures and climate change, as the ND government and the bourgeois media claim. The real cause of this catastrophe is the reactionary policies and the criminal indifference of the Greek ruling class.

Throughout March, a mass struggle in Greece (led by the youth) has been waged against police violence and the reactionary, authoritarian New Democracy (ND) government. The main left organisations have scandalously distanced themselves from and refused to join forces in support of this militant movement. Nevertheless, the masses have emerged from a period of paralysis willing to fight. The movement against police repression has temporarily subsided for now, due to the emergency conditions imposed by the present spike of the pandemic. But what is clear is that a new chapter of the Greek class struggle has begun. Note: this article was initially drafted in March.

Mass protests involving thousands have broken out in Greece against the state persecution of a left-wing prisoner, who has gone on hunger strike to achieve basic rights. The mainly youth demonstrators have been met with vicious repression by the state. A united front of all left organisations is necessary to fight against the reactionary, authoritarian New Democracy government!

Yesterday, there was a series of rallies in Greece, mainly composed of students and teachers, against the reactionary measures that the New Democracy government is trying to pass in the universities and in the schools. More than 4,000 demonstrators came out in the streets of Athens. There were also demonstrations in Thessaloniki and other cities in Greece defying the ban imposed by the government.

The crisis that began in 2008 exposed capitalism. It started a process in which millions of young people and workers began to challenge, not just so-called ‘neoliberalism’, but capitalism itself. Yet this crisis of capitalism, rather than propelling the left to power, has pushed the left into crisis. Superficially, this is a contradiction, but if we look beyond the surface, we see it flows from the limitations of reformist politics in a period such as the one we are living through.

Not long after the beginning of the school year, a movement of school occupations was started by students in Greece. The immediate cause was the fact that the government, despite having six months to prepare for the school year, did not take any serious measure to protect students and teachers from the pandemic. Instead of hiring more teachers, in order to have smaller classrooms, and bringing on additional workers for cleaning and sanitation, the government simply forced the students into classrooms of more than 25-30. Instead of spending money on protecting the health of students, teachers and the public in general, the government is spending billions on expensive weapons, and on

...

With a presidential decree signed on 10 July, Erdogan’s regime decided to convert Hagia Sophia, a historical Byzantine church built in 534 AD, from a museum into a place of Muslim worship. The Byzantine monument was turned into a museum in 1934 with a decree from the founder of the modern bourgeois state, Kemal Ataturk, and marked the secular character of the Turkish state. The conversion is a symbolic act that seeks to emphasise the neo-Ottoman imperialist plans of the “Sultan” Erdogan and the reactionary Turkish bourgeoisie.

In the last few days, the government and the state of the Greek ruling class have embarked upon an open, brazen war against thousands of refugees, with the complicity of Erdogan’s cynical regime and the tolerance and encouragement of the European Union.

A sharpening of tensions between Greece and Turkey reflects both the ruling classes of these nations attempting to get a bigger share of the oil and gas under the Eastern Mediterranean and the changed balance of power between the two countries. The labour movement of Greece and Turkey need to stand firmly against any warmongering or nationalist division and engage in united struggle for a socialist transformation of society!

The following article was written forSocialist Appeal, the British website of the International Marxist Tendency. It discusses the betrayals of the Syriza government in Greece, and explains the lessons of that experience for the British working class and youth should a Corbyn-led Labour government ever come to power.

The results of the Greek general elections of 7 July highlighted two dominant elements: major class polarisation, and consolidation of the phenomenon of widespread voter abstention. The expression of class polarisation (despite acquiring a distorted character due to the SYRIZA leadership’s complete political submission to capitalism) was evident in the large increase of the votes for N.D. (New Democracy) and SYRIZA compared to the European elections of 26 May. The European elections were just 42 days ago, and saw the same level of participation by the electoral body.