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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 September 2013

Greek teachers show the way forward

Build for all-out general strike action to defeat new austerity attacks!

Public sector workers have, yet again, demonstrated their determination to resist the Greek government's austerity attacks, as demanded under the bailout conditions of the Troika (International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank). The bailout terms mean that 25,000 public sector workers will be put into a "mobility pool" - effectively laid off - by the end of this year, on massively reduced pay. If, after eight months, they cannot find alternative jobs (which is most likely given the depth of the recession in Greece) they will be sacked. In addition, 15,000 public sector workers' jobs will be axed next year.

In response, a five day teachers' strike commenced on Monday 16 September and civil servants held a two-day strike beginning on 18 September. These strikes represent a revival in the workers' movement after a pause in the class struggle, in part due to the devastating impact of capitalist austerity on people's living standards.

Xekinima members report on the start of the teachers' action.

Participation in the first day of a five-day teachers' strike was massive, with an average 90% participation nationally.

The teachers' marches were massive too, with 30,000 demonstrators on the march in Athens and 10,000 in Thessaloniki.

Although mainly made up of secondary and high school teachers, contingents of workers from the public sector (social security, pension funds, public insurance funds, social welfare and university administration) were very big, as well.

Four union federations coordinated their action with OLME (the secondary school teachers' union) and announced they would take repeated strike action.

Student union contingents were equally big on the demonstrations, as were those of primary and private school teachers. Together with teachers in Athens, hundreds of school students joined the march and created a very vibrant mood with their chants.

Unions representing social housing workers and the Department of Development were also present with banners.

However, there is a long way ahead and the only thing we know for certain is that the government, together with the help of the main TV channel owners and newspapers, and the forces of repression, will intensify their attacks against these workers.

The same strength and resilience must be shown by workers from other union federations that have entered the fight.

The most essential thing is that the movement of trade union federations which is proceeding to five-day repeated strikes becomes as wide as possible, as soon as possible, with the involvement of more sections of the working class.

An indefinite general strike is the strongest weapon that the workers' movement has against its capitalist tyrants.

If this weapon is used 'lightly', without a plan and adequate preparation in the workplaces, it can backfire. If it is used correctly, ie if it has massive participation, determination and expands into many sectors, it can not only overthrow the government's policies but also the government itself.

(Translations by Amalia Loizidou and Eleni Vetsika)

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 25 September 2013:

Socialist Party NHS feature

Mass Action Can save our NHS

Another crackpot scheme for the NHS

What we think

Labour conference - no socialist policies

Socialist Party feature

Rotten, wasteful capitalism has to go - the case for a socialist alternative

Socialism 2013

Socialism 2013

Socialist Party news and analysis

Labour to scrap bedroom tax in 2015 - we demand an amnesty now!

Them & Us

Socialist Students

University unions' ballot: Students and staff - unite and fight!

Socialist Students gains new members

'Success' for owners - zero for workers

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Neo-Nazis murder Pavlos Fyssas, a left activist and rapper

Greek teachers show the way forward

Socialist Party workplace news

Bakers rise against Hovis: Victory shows zero-hours can be beaten

Support Teachers' fight to defend education

Industrial and political battles at Hull city council

Stop privatisation of the Probation Service

Glasgow Unison strike wins important victory

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reviews and comments

Book review: Militant Liverpool - A City on the Edge

Obituary - Steve Draper


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