Aris Velouchiotis Last Great Speech=KKE's Guerilla Leader WW2


Who was Velouhiotis?

Why I fought

On 19th October Lamia is liberated. The forces of ELAS, representatives of PEEA and EAM arrive in the city. On 29th October after the celebration of the NO (Greek repulsion of Italian invasion of 1940 into Albania) a meeting is held in the main square, Freedom, for EAM to celebrate the victory in WW2 with a presence from the whole district of Pamfthiotida.
Aris gives his most famous speech ever from the balcony of a hotel.

Brothers - Greek men and women of Lamia and the region – I bring warmest greetings from the General Headquarters of ELAS.
As you will have observed, I am about to make a speech. But this speech will not be like the speeches you have heard before from the old party chiefs; I will not promise, as they promised, to build bridges or make rivers flow. I cannot promise you the world, and I do not wish to ply you with rhetoric; I wish only that you hear what I have to say. I will begin with a fairytale.
The immortal Greek race
Once the part of this land called Greece in which we stand was glorious and happy. It produced a culture which for two-and-a-half- thousand years has been admired all over the world. Never has a word been written by the wise or the unwise that is not first attested in the works left by the creators of this ancient Greek civilization.
Once, therefore, our country was glorious; but it was later enslaved and its former glory lost. After many years, our country found its feet again. After a hard struggle against slavery, it was liberated once more.
With the era of slavery came hardness and darkness. For many years ‘intellectuals’, among them a certain, Fallmeyer claimed that the Greek race had been extinguished and that its place had been usurped by other peoples who held nothing in common with the ancient Greek race. But this claim was proved false. The proof was Hellenism, and with this proof our country rose again victorious and free.
Neither foreign kings nor local landowners wanted a free and victorious Greece . Afraid of the French Revolution and its consequences, foreign kings created among themselves the Holy Alliance to suppress insurrection. The local landowners were in alliance with the Turks, and together they robbed the Greek people.
Reaction screeches
The Greek people would not be Greeks - the people of these lands of freedom and civilization - but a people of the jungle if they failed to produce leaders who would lead them to freedom. Knowing this, oppressors foreign and local fought against the Greeks to prevent them from rebelling and so gaining their freedom.
During the years of slavery the struggle – on a scale great or small, under arms or without - was waged unceasingly.

From the Greek people emerged a sweeping revolutionary movement lent impetus by its songs, by the idea of the insurrection of the nation and by Rigas Feraios, precursor of the Friendly Society. Slain by the forces of reaction before he could bring his principles into action, the seed Rigas Feraios sowed grew rapidly; before long the Friendly Society became a fact. It had thousands of Greek followers.
And the forces of reaction screeched! They signed deceitful treaties such as that which emerged from the Congress of Vienna in 1815; Ioannis Kapodistrias was one of these signatories. Under this treaty, the forces of reaction would first support the national liberation struggle if it broke out in Greece , only to strangle it later.
Kapodistrias, who is presented in schools as a great and important man through the display of his portraits and speeches, was the first destroyer of Greece . However, he did what he did not as Kapodistrias but as a representative of Greek reaction. It was in this role that he screeched alongside international and local reaction; it was in this role that he signed deceitful treaties.
The people advance
Nothing was able to contain the fire of freedom that burned in the hearts of our people. In 1821, after many trials and tribulations, they followed the flame of Papaflessas - who used all means, even lies – in declaring an insurrection. So it was that the revolution began in the area of Morea in 1821.
At the declaration of this insurrection the powerful of the earth, foreign and local alike, became frightened. The local traitors, seeing the impossibility of containing the people and frightened by their rage, were forced to end their collaboration with the occupiers and to take part in the popular national liberation movement with the aim of corrupting it.
The movement against the revolution took on an international character. The powerful of the earth were frightened. They used all their trickery to try to crush the revolution. But they failed. For seven whole years our forebears fought, despite the fact that twice - in 1823 and 1825 - the forces of reaction in Greece organised a civil war in an attempt to break the struggle. Thus it was that our forebears forced all our enemies to suck where once they had spat; to recognise our struggle and our independence.
Previously no one had believed that this miracle could be achieved by our own forces and our own people. Some waited for freedom to come from Russia ; others put their hope in the benevolence of the kings of Europe . But the revolution proved that it and it alone was capable of providing freedom for our country. The myth of Philhellenism, through which we are alleged to have achieved our freedom, was invented so it would appear that our country was freed not by dint of its own native strength but by that of foreigners. There were, of course, those friendly to the Greeks – Philhellenes - who fought and spilt blood for the freedom of our country. Honour and glory are due them for their aid to our nation. But they were isolated individuals acting on their own; the theory of organised Philhellenism is a myth.

The popular character

In the midst of the victory of the revolution, traitors still dominated our country. The forces of reaction, domestic and foreign, used all available means in their attempts to corrupt the popular character of the revolutionary movement and impose a new regime of slavery. In the end they achieved this. The initiator was Ioannis Kapodistrias, the man I spoke of earlier; but later, another Ioannis – Ioannis Metaxas – would attempt to finish the work that Kapodistrias had begun.

The people believed that once they had achieved the revolution years of brilliance would follow; the whole of humanity would be on their side and our country would again guide humanity down new paths of civilisation and progress. Instead, local and foreign forces of reaction imposed themselves, bringing with them Kapodistrias and the Bavarian Dynasty in place of the Ottomans.

Many years of deceit and corruption held us back from progress and civilisation and threw us instead into desperation, hunger, immiseration and distihia. Thus Greece , which was once the source of light and civilisation, sunk to the lowest level of economic and social and cultural development not merely in the Balkans but in the whole of Europe .

The betrayal of the Albanian epic

The essence of this backwardness is to be found in the fact that the forces of reaction directed their energies towards the torture and exploitation of those who organised popular movements, the cultivation of conflict within those movements and the propagation among the people of the idea that it was their lot to live in poverty.
Taking their cue from Kolokotronis, who said that that our country is an ‘impoverished beggar’, the reactionaries managed to convince the Greek people that they could not stand on their own two feet; that they must be governed by foreigners. So the reactionaries called upon the Powers – the Russians, the English and the French. It was to this that our rulers had brought us. Later, we were to achieve democracy, but only because of the struggles of the people.

The snake may shed its skin, but it remains a snake.

The forces of reaction found democracy at fault for the misery of the people and turned once again to the monarchy. They brought back the king and commenced more brazenly to exploit the people. To silence the people’s screams they imposed upon us Metaxas, who had been an agent of the German High Command ever since he studied at the German military academy.

Thus it was that after 120 years we fell into slavery again, so badly had we been governed during those years.
It was in this situation that we found ourselves when a war against the two colossi began to threaten. But no one thought about how our country could escape the destruction that war would bring; instead, knowing that this country was headed for destruction, we entered the war.

We have documents proving that our rulers intended to make merely a token effort in the Albanian epic and then hand Greece over to the fascists. We have documents which prove that during November and December 1940 we Greeks could have driven the Italians into the sea; but our rulers instead kept the army restrained until they could use Germany ’s victories in Europe to justify the argument that Greece was unable to fight both the colossi. They didn't trust in the magnificence of our army; neither in its courage, its fearlessness, its self-denial nor its heroism, even though, hungry and shoeless in the mountains of Albania, it had fought against fascism with great ferocity and the aid of the Greek people.

That is how they bound us once more to slavery.
Our people were no longer in a position to continue their resistance, however fervent their feelings. Even with their ardour, our people were unable to hold back the assault by the metallic giant of fascism after they had been sold out and betrayed by their leaders. Although the people were obliged to submit, they were not defeated, since the capitulation was signed before the army had even fought. Thus the defeat was suffered not by our people but by the regimes which had ruled them between 1821 and 1941. Our people are today are in the process of turning this defeat into victory--a victory that becomes ever more complete with the progress of time.

In such a way did the Germans arrive in our land and turn us into slaves. But our people would not abandon their country, and the blemish of defeat disappeared when we rebelled. And what did we get from those who wore the XXclak and bakaliarikaXX? The only thing they could find to tell us was:
‘Keep calm and silent. Maintain order. We have established a government; calm down.’
In this, they reflected the will of the Germans. Such words were spoken by those who have no right to be called Greek; but they could not compromise the honour of our nation, of which our people are the guardians.

And yet two and a half months later the noise of the guns began. What words were spoken then? As in 1821 the forces of reaction conspired against us. In the beginning, they said nothing about the guerrilla war; they ignored it. They did as the ostrich does when it buries its head in the sand while the rest of its body remains visible. They thought that if they said nothing about the guerrilla war and ignored it the commotion of war would cease. But it did not cease, and every day the mountains were stained red with blood.

As the guerrilla war escalated and their silence proved incapable of stopping it, the reactionaries changed tack; they set themselves to fight us. They labelled us crooks, animal thieves, gangsters and so on. They even found people to condemn us because we killed the traitor and blackmailer Marathea. These people were totally stupid; they couldn't even recognise that which was in their own interests. They assumed that, if they attacked and disassociated themselves from us, our struggle would cease and we would never be capable of tightening the noose round their necks.

So be it; they were stupid then and they spoke their stupidities aloud. Let them now eat their words.

The countryside is breathing.

How did this happen? The villagers saw for the first time that they could safely leave their possessions outside in the open without their being tampered with. Animal thieving had been eradicated in the countryside and security of life and property was as it had never been before. Was this a miracle? No. But for the first time the people of the villages were in a position of power from which they could fight back against betrayal, animal theft and other crimes and replace them with security.

When we mounted our assault on these crimes and on betrayal, the reactionaries, like women of the aristocracy who refuse to see the human misery and impoverishment around them and instead concern themselves with the illness of a stray cat, raised their voices and condemned us on the grounds that we kill. Under Metaxas, women were raped; thousands of people were martyred; many were killed and thrown from balconies by the security services. So many crimes were committed, even against the old. Yet none among the reactionaries spoke up. And now they screech, ‘Aris kills!’

Yes, we have killed before and are ready to kill again if need be. Who did we kill? We have bigger hearts than they. The proof of this is that we were the ones who were beaten up and hunted down over the years. We slaughtered those who betrayed the Greeks to the occupiers--those who stole from the people and committed crimes.

Those who believe that they suffered pain when we justifiably attacked them are ridiculously stupid, so as to side with them or they are wholeheartedly partners in crime. Neither did this trick work either

The guerrilla war saves the people

And then the forces of reaction developed a perfect formulation:
‘We have no objection to the guerrillas’ carrying out a national struggle, but the question is to be resolved by the big powers. What, then, is the purpose of struggling and dying? The matter will be resolved by outsiders!

The reactionaries found success with this formulation. Was it correct? Of course not! And this is why:

In 1941-42 EAM was not yet very strong. That is why the struggle had not yet taken on a mass character; neither was EAM conducting guerrilla activity. In 1941-42 approximately 300,000 people died from hunger and disease in Athens , Piraeus and the surrounding villages alone, and even more would have died had EAM not mobilized the people through demonstrations, meetings and strikes. Through these, the people were given the courage to stop the looting of our production by a section of the occupiers, to leave the feeding of the people to the International Red Cross and to observe the situation of Greece internationally

If the guerrilla war had not prevented the Germans from stealing our production by ending the concentration on production of goods that the occupiers favoured the number of victims of hunger and disease would have been much higher.


When have we ever heard in the history of humanity that liberation can be achieved using backhanded methods? Never. Freedom isn’t achieved with prayers but with struggle and suffering!
But even had we wanted, we didn’t have the blacken the history of our country. That would be disrespect to the memory of our heroic ancestors.
Neither did we have the right to implant the stamp on the forehead of the forthcoming generations, our children and our grandchildren, that they originate from a land of eunuchs who agreed to die on the streets from the most vile of deaths - from hunger - instead of dying with gun in hand fighting for freedom.
What should we prefer? The first or the second? We answer a thousand times with no shadow of doubt: TO FIGHT!
Better for everything to burn down instead of us capitulating to the occupiers.
This our people realised, turning their backs on the quislings and thus gave the heroes of ELAS their victories.

Reaction conspires.

This forced EKKA to change tune and take their own guerrilla forces into the mountains.
But why did they do this?
EAM had declared that it doesn’t have a monopoly on guerrilla struggle. That’s why it called on EKKA to create common guerrilla groups. If they had the desire to fight against the occupiers they would have done it spontaneously. But then they used to argue that the geography of Greece and the lack of space due to the occupation did not allow the existence of guerrilla groups.
But when they saw us liberate the country they then decided to create a guerrilla army.

What would anyone accept from them as being the guiding principle? What slogan would come out of their mouths? Naturally ‘Down with the Occupiers’. But they clarified their position from the beginning. Their first scream was:
“Down with EAM”!
But we still called on them to unite. They refused, as they didn’t want to get their hands dirty and to struggle to fight the occupier. They weren’t implementing the will of the Greek people, but of reaction frightened by peoples’ democracy and they set out to fight it.
In the end they declared war on us, with arms, collaborating with the occupiers.
We would not be consistent in our struggle and betrayers of the people if we hated blood. That is why, as followers of the will of the people, we crushed these collaborators of the occupiers, those who fought against our national struggle.
ELAS on the side of the Allies
Then they used another trick: they condemned us as not supporting the Allied struggle and that we were the tools of the Russians. They threatened us that when the Allies came here they would sort us out: they who collaborated with the Germans had the gall to threaten us that the Allies would attack us!
They who in 1941 betrayed the Allied struggle!
They who allowed the Three Hundred to be left alone in Thermopylae by leaving the Allied English to fight alone whilst they had surrendered the country with the quisling role of Tsolagoglou condemned for not aiding the allied struggle and they placed in the minds of the Allies that they would attack us on coming here.
But very soon the first slap arrived for them! The first group of English parachutists came not to them but to Aris in the Giona area. Alongside them we blew up the Gorgopotamos bridge. The leader of the Allied armies in the Middle East, General Wilson declared that 80% of the success of the Allies in Africa was due to the blowing up of the Gorgopotamos bridge as this stopped the sending of German war supplies and support. And one more thing: in the Peloponnese we proposed to the tsoliades (rightists) that they lay down their arms and we would let them go free. But the English refused this and arrested all the tsoliades, locked them up in concentration camps and advised they should be tried in military courts (as quislings - translators note)
In the end we have the English with us. They are going down the streets of Lamia and they are going to attack the Germans with us. We will fight alongside them and not against them until the total defeat of fascism.
But we are being attacked now by a new argument. We are being condemned as being all communists and they are stating that EAM and ELAS are Communist Front organisations. But can this category constitute shame or glory?

We are Fighting for Democracy.

The Communist Party isn’t now fighting for communism. In its programme the KKE has Communism as its final aim. But not for now. Communism will be imposed by the people, not the KKE. I am sure that many of those educated fellows who don’t want it today, will in future vote so as to ensure that communism dominates.
But today the KKE does not aim at that but at a democratic solution to the Greek problem.
But let us say that the KKE were to implement Communism. They say that Communism destroys the churches and skins alive the priests. Are Communists so stupid that they will destroy the churches, which do not disturb us in any way.
Who attacks the Church?
We will skin alive the priests? But why? We see that thousands of priests are now found in the vanguard of the movement and the contribution of the clergy which stood on our side, was invaluable.
Is the opposite occurring? Why have those who claim to be defenders of the church killed, along with the Germans, so many priests and skinned some alive?
Communism will destroy religion. But religion is an issue of consciousness. How will it be destroyed? The destruction of religious consciousness is impossible even if the communists wanted to destroy it. Religious consciousness does not get destroyed by simple orders. If something like that occurred it would resemble the police officer in Anafi who disallowed the class struggle!
What will happen in the distant future: how will humans think is another problem. No politician can declare a law as to what should occur after 200 or 500 years. We won’t produce such a law. We are interested in how the people will develop today and not what philosophical desires it has after 500 years.
Consequently do you understand that those who circulate such slander are aiming to achieve different ends, attempting with the method of slander to deceive the people and to maintain their dominance over them. If we analyse more deeply the issue we will see that they are non-religious as they have no religious consciousness. They only love God Mammon, the God of Money...
We will make the Family Stronger
They also condemn the Communists, saying that they will dissolve families. As if we came down from the heavens and we weren’t born in families but sprung up like mushrooms. The family was created by certain economic conditions. At a certain level of development of society the necessity of the family arose as because the demands of life were better served.
Everyone was required to work, the father and children on the farms the women stayed at home as that is the only way society could manage their biological needs.
The forms of economic activities which dominated then made the bonds of its members even stronger. Today what is happening? Today’s economic conditions do not lead to the closest working of the family but its exact opposite.
Here is one example. A man marries but the day after he leaves for the USA to be able to confront the needs of life and his family. Who dissolves the family in this case? The Communists or the economic conditions which Capitalism created?
Here we see clearly that they who condemn us as wanting to dissolve the family are none other than those who dissolve it in reality whilst we aim to solidify it. We will give to the people the economic measures so the family isn’t dissolved to the four corners of the Earth.
They condemn us that we want to abolish borders and dissolve the State. But the State we build today no longer exists as they dissolved it. Who therefore is a patriot? They or us? Capital doesn’t have a country and it runs to find profit in whatever country it is able to. That is why it isn’t concerned for the existence of borders and the state. But all we own are our hats and the small kerb in front of us, unlike capital that runs wherever it finds profit.


Who can be interested more in their country? They who remove the capital from this country or us who are stuck on our doorsteps here?

When suddenly in 1929-31 the state asked due to the economic crisis which affected our country the foreign bond holders to lower the interest rates which we pay for the bonds, the English agreed to reduce it by 35% but the Greek bondholders refused. There is their patriotism! They reach to the point when their economic interests aren't affected. They themselves condemn us that we seek to abolish borders and the dissolution of the state, they sell everything out at every available opportunity.

When dishonorable people speak of honour.

They condemn us that we are the ones who oversee honour. They are all the moral persons who when they walk get their heads woven into the barbed wire, they speak of honour!

They who sold their women and sisters to the occupier, so as to do business with them and turned us into double slaves, they now go to convince us that they are the vanguard of honour and morality. With such means they are trying to deceive the people so as to continue the exploitation and torture. Many times they convince us and achieve what they say really is.

Take one example of what is going on the villages. The village smokes tobacco which he himself produces. But they convinced him that this is illegal. The villager himself then tells you that he is smoking illegal tobacco. As if he didn't grow it himself on his land but brought it from America. The villager himself ended up believing that his smoke was 'illegal'.

Reaction doesn't stop at anything so as to deceive the people, using all the means, all the sycophancy and lies. But these sycophancies in the country where they saw us and felt us became dust. The same will happen in the cities.

In a few days you will see reality yourselves alone. As our aim is only one: How our people will live better!

When the occupier was here they wanted order. We wanted disorder to make the life of the occupier unbearable. Now they disorder. We want order. They are the organisers of the civil war and they exploit our people. They are the wolves that try to eat the sheep you me us in other words the people.

We maintained our promises

EAM and ELAS promised to the people the struggle against the occupier and the liberation of the country. We maintain these promises. We didn't create a government press. It was created on its own by the people. From October 1942 the people on its own went for elections and their own self-government.

This institution of self-government which for the first time appeared in Euritania constituted its beginnings from creation in the village till the P E E A (govt of the mountains) later...

We are for unity

We are for the unity and due to our attempts 95% of the creation of our national government under which we are fighting today. Until Larissa our country is now free. We will liberate the rest of the country soon.

Thus our second promise will be realised fully.

Our struggle for popular rule.

We also promised the people something else: that we wont leave our hands if we dont achieve our double freedom. That is what we will fight to achieve this promise of ours as well dedicating our lives and sacrificing it for a popular rule solution to the problems of the Greek problem.

ELAS in the first years of the CC of EAM and PEEA later constituted the strong weapon of maintaining the people in life. The vehicle of our faster liberation. Now in the hands of our national liberation which is composed by all the parties and organisations that support popular rule dominated solutions it will constitute a guarantee that we will continue the war until the full and complete victory of fascism and that they will guarantee the up till now gains of our people and more will be won.

You shouted a lot about the death penalty regarding the traitors and the collaborationists and exploiters of the people in the years of the occupation. When we didn't have the capacity of judging them we killed them. Later on we judged them in military tribunals. Now all those we have arrested we will hand over to justice. There exists now the legal government and this will decide for all. Don’t shout therefore. They will be judged and condemned. It won’t have a big importance.

It will have great importance if you judge and condemn to death, the dominant people, the regime which creates such scumbags.

Tomorrow we will go for elections. The first attack in the plebiscite must be the irrevocable condemnation of friendly royalism and the establishment of democracy.

Why have we turned with so much hatred against the King?

1. As first of all he isn't Greek.
2. They brought him here with the fake plebiscite of 1935.
3. As he is a person who disavowed his word. He squashed the constitution of 1911 and imposed the fifth-columnist Giannis Metaxas as dictator.
4. As he left all the incapable and fifth-columnist generals and ministers to betray us in the war in Albania and to subjugate the country.
5. Finally during our national disaster instead of staying here in 1941 to sacrifice himself as another Kodros of Athens he abandoned us.

If he was good he should have stayed here and instead of Aris Velouhiotis and I dont know who else going to the mountains he should have organised the struggle and to be by deed a King and our leader. With his stance he abandoned essentially and typically his right to be on the throne in Greece.

That for sure for him personally and independently from our desires and that we don’t need any throne, but democracy for Greece to go forward.

We respect the popular will.
The second attack should be given to the elections which will clear the establishment of our country. As for us our only desire is that we become servants of the people. That is why we will respect your wishes whatever that may be.

But we have these demands: For the people to vote without influence and for them to respect the will of the people.

If these demands aren't carried out, then we promise you that we will go the mountains again. But I am sure these things won’t happen. As our people have now got back their self-control. He was tried and woke up. He will follow the path which we show and which only interest him.

With this desire I ask you to shout:

Long live our dominant people!

Greece: A Tsunami of Strikes amidst continued Disunity on the Left

Despite the recent electoral wipeout of PASOK the government is insistent in implementing every IMF measure turning the country back to the 19th century in terms of labour relations. The new laws have provoked a massive reacton.
Having therefore announced they are going to implement the changes to the labour law abolishing collective bargaining, the privatisation of all state owned corporations and continuing indefinitely the IMF payments to foreign bond holders, a tsunami of strikes are occurring this week with a General Strike on 15th December and continued transport strikes as this is being written.

7th General Strike-Union Parades

Following the well worn pattern of meeting in different squares the Greek TUC with ADEDY (UNITE in Greece) and PAME (KKE’s) Union Federation marched towards Parliament and Sindagma Square and the usual union parades didn’t take the same course of events as expected. For the last week there have been strikes on different days in the railways, the buses, the banks, air traffic control Aegean Airways etc. A general strike was called, the last of the year, 7th in total, of the by now monthly on average response since the IMF arrived in Greece.

Police Provocation?

The size of the demo once more was impressive. Probably the largest since the large demo on 5th May (which led to the death of 3 bank workers at Marfin Bank) probably between 150-200k and the social composition of the crowd wasn’t the usual ‘suspects’ of the Left, but many working class people with many students and university youth this time, influenced immensely by the struggles that have erupted in Britain, Italy, Portugal and Spain in the last period, showed a persistence of not wanting to leave the streets. The government had thousands of police and riot police present. They even brought the infamous Dias (motorcycle cops). The police sensing the crowd had ‘evil’ intentions, wanting their salaries and pension cuts reversed and the IMF out of the country, out of nowhere from the ranks of the demonstrators a couple of black clad characters threw Molotov cocktails, smoke and sound bombs to a group of riot police in the front of the Grande Bretagne Hotel on the corner of Sindagma Sq opposite Parliament. Was this another police provocation to disperse the demo?

What then followed was a violent police reaction with the aim of dispersing the thousands of demonstrators who were on a circular route back towards Omonia and the offices of GSEE passing Parliament on the way. The demo was attacked by teargas and police charges in many different places splitting it into three. The KKE rushed away from the scene of the conflict going towards the other direction of everybody else. Due to the mayhem attacks started to occur to various government buildings such as the Ministry of Economics and the National PostOffice as well as the Greek TUC building which was attacked. The police dropped volumes of tear gas making demonstrating near enough impossible.

Ex-Greek Minister of Transport=Early Xmas Present

During the last week a near insurrection has occurred in the area on the outskirts of Athens called Keratea after hundreds of riot police are enforcing an EU directive to introduce a new dump site after the previous ones have been labelled full. Daily fines have been imposed on Greece by Brussels numbering in the tens of thousands of Euros. Without asking the local population they have imposed a dump site. Over a period of a year protests have occurred and resistance. On Sunday a real insurrection occurred with the local population arming itself with sticks, stones, even weapons and charging against the hundreds of riot police. Battles occurred overnight with many injured on both sides.
On Monday over 2,000 police, firefighters and navy port workers demonstrated in Athens against the IMF cuts in their wages and benefits which they alleged to be in the region of 20%. Under this background of increased restiveness in many sections of the population when the General Strike came under attack people reacted. They came across an MP and attacked him.
The media which was also on strike didn’t report initially anything. It was widely reported on the internet. But the press bureaus of the Left (KKE, Sinaspismos, Democratic Left) condemned the attack. Not a word about what happened in Keratea where many more heads were cracked open. All the parliamentary parties are sensing a social storm is coming. Privatising everything and abolishing collective bargaining will destroy the labour movement in its entirety. This is a battle that cannot be lost.
The divisions in the Left have to be overcome and the unions should start to coordinate their strikes indefinitely. Without a political orientation to fight for power, get the IMF out, a social explosion without leadership Argentinian style will provide the alternative, due to the vaccum of the Left. Either which way more incidents against MP’s will be on the cards.

Euro, Ireland and Usurious Debts


Whilst power is being transferred slowly out of the national terrain
into the hands of the unelected EU-IMF vultures, with only a quisling
role assigned to the governments of Greece and Ireland (and soon
Portugal and Spain), it is becoming clear that the project for a
European Union with a single currency but 16 different governments is
unravelling right before our eyes. No serious commentator believes it
will survive in its present form.

The stage will arrive in the not too distant future, if it isn't
actually here already, that the blood required by the vultures of the
EU-IMF will no longer be able to be given. Bankruptcy and default of
all foreign debts will occur. What does the Weekly Worker assume is
going to happen next? That the euro will continue and that the nations
of Europe will not fight against their erasure - as announced by
Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, in a speech to
the EU, when he stated that the nation-states are dead?

Where national sovereignty is threatened, economic decisions are
passed to the control of unelected bureaucrats - historically Ireland
voted 'no' in the Lisbon treaty referendum, but then had to vote 'yes'
in a rerun. A rebellion starting on national terrain will be the next
stage of political developments - the City of London has allegedly
made loans to the tune of £150 billion and a default on these debts
will mean it takes a hit. This will be a progressive outcome, shifting
the balance away from the bloodsucking banksters back to the people.

In attacking the future nationalist response of the Irish people, the
Weekly Worker appears to want these monstrous, usurious debts to be

VN Gelis

If only

VN Gelis decries the statement by European Council president Herman Van Rompuy that the “nation-states are dead” (Letters, December 2). As a Marxist, I could only rejoice if such a statement were actually true!

Surely, a basic requirement of internationalism is a view that the nation-state is historically dead, and the progressive solutions we need and fight for can only be achieved over its grave, and on the basis of the development of much wider associations. Previous crises in the European Union have provided the fuel to drive towards much greater integration within it, and it is almost certain that, however much nationalists like VN Gelis dislike the idea, such will be the case this time too.

S/he says that no serious commentator believes that the euro can survive in its current state. That is quite clearly false. Although it’s possible that the euro may cease to exist in its present form, and I have explored the possibility of that myself, the reality is that it most likely will continue to exist in its present form, and there are plenty of serious commentators who hold that view. The reality is that the euro is a political project. At the end of the day, the political forces behind that project will do whatever is needed to ensure it continues. In a recent TV interview, Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapaterro was only the latest leader to spell out what that means: constructing a fiscal union to go along with the monetary union. Already, it has been agreed that next year the EU will issue its own bonds to raise capital in the markets, and that is just another step down the road of constructing a federal European state.

As Marxists, we should welcome such a development, whilst fighting to try to ensure that the basis upon which this new state is constructed is as favourable to workers as we can possibly achieve. But, as a nationalist, VN Gelis cannot think in terms of such an international struggle by workers, because her/his mind is imprisoned within national borders, and as such s/he ends up advocating the preservation of the existing reactionary capitalist states as though that were in some way preferable.

S/he says: “Where national sovereignty is threatened, economic decisions are passed to the control of unelected bureaucrats.” But, within the confines of a global capitalist system, the question of national political sovereignty is irrelevant in such matters, especially for tiny economies such as Ireland. The reality is that both Greece and Ireland were already threatened by decisions made by people who were unelected, other than by their shareholders - not people in the International Monetary Fund or in the EU, but by the managers of the huge global bond funds, who refused to buy Irish debt other than at increasingly exorbitant interest rates!

Moreover, while s/he is right to point out that the officials at the European Central Bank and in the EU commission are unelected (although of, course, the finance ministers who ultimately brokered this deal are elected), s/he fails to recognise that the state officials within any capitalist state, including those who run the national central banks, are likewise unelected. Why does s/he think that an unelected Irish bureaucrat determining Irish economic policy is any better than an unelected EU bureaucrat?

The answer here is not to present national capitals or national state bureaucracies as somehow preferable, but to fight for a consistent democracy within the EU itself. In fact, even a consistently bourgeois democratic EU would be better able to withstand the pressure from specific sections of capital than would an Irish workers’ state. If we really want to talk about exercising democratic control over economic decision-making, then it is inconceivable that this could be achieved on any basis less than something of the size of the current EU. That is one reason we should welcome its development.

Arthur Bough

Greece:Local Elections Show Massive Abstention Against the EU-IMF

Greece:Local Elections Show Massive Abstention Against the EU-IMF

“You ask me why sent to prison so many cadres of ours who robbed us? Why did they steal? We didn’t punish them but the institutions of state power did. You ask us ‘why didn’t you cover the Minister of Defence who was your personal friend’? But why did he steal! He sold out our trust, the faith in the people and the government.

They sold out the People, Democracy, the Army, the Country, the Nation. They are being tried by the Judicial system! If you allow them free reign they will corrupt others. That is why they were imprisoned.

By penalising corruption we hold our coffers open and the World Bank, the IMF and the mafias of the banks away from out feet. We will not become Greece!’”

Hugo Chavez (July 2010)

Without a single shot being fired Greece has fallen under the EU-IMF tutelage and become a new protectorate. An inevitability, once the EU created a single currency without a single government. Greece one year now has become a social laboratory where the international bankers offload the crisis onto the working classes, pensioners and unemployed. The biggest abstention against the elections which were fought under the Kallikratis Plan (EU inspired regionalism plan for Greece) were a massive attack against all the establishment parties.

When Papandreou announced to all the Opposition parties either the IMF or I go for elections, none of the political parties demanded elections. Papariga the GS of the KKE said the country can’t afford new elections. PASOK gaining 8 out of the 13 regional Governorships on a voter turnout of 11-12% is a Pyrrhic victory whose outcome will be decided on the streets as 7 out of 10 Greeks voted for no political party. This abstention can be explained as a warning shot, the last, before the political storm returns to the streets, without being corralled by sellouts of the Greek TUC-ADEDY and PAME-KKE union misleaders.

No end in sight for IMF measures

“Everything is up for grabs. If the Euro fails, then Europe will fail” was Merkels comments recently regarding the pressure on the Irish economy. She continued to try and gain political capital from the Greek crisis:

“In 2000 Schroeder and Aichel rushed to allow Greece to enter the Euro and they ignored all the danger signs. It was a political decision, the political decisions are important but those who ignore the events are irresponsible” she underlined.

Austria as well via its Finance Minister Joseph Prel has stated Greece shouldn’t get its 2nd ‘loan’ from the EU’s bailout plan as Papandreou essentially has only cut wages, not sacked half of the public sector as well…

Unemployment has now officially gone up to 12.2% from 9% (in August of 2009) ie an increase of 30%. The month long hauliers strike led to a massive collapse of exports in the region of 10%. One in ten are now in soup kitchens as around 4,000 middle sized have closed. The budget deficit which was 13.6% when PASOK assumed power (November 2009) now stands at 15.4%. All the austerity measures are increasing the government deficits as people have no money to pay for the crisis.

Having imposed the hard Euro policy on Greece it has been bankrupted. No amount of cost cutting, shutting down, hospitals, old peoples centres, savage cuts to pensions and a reduction of 30% for the public sector are going to resolve this crisis, measures which were announced the day after the massive abstention when the so-called Troika (EU-IMF-Central Bank) arrived to analyse the latest economic data.

Why didn’t the Left Abstain from these Sham Elections?

A whole series of sectional struggles continue with the old leaderships keeping each group of workers separate and divided (unemployed shipyard workers Piraeus, Akropolis part-timers, OSE railway workers, Defence workers etc). For the crisis on the left has now led to three organisations standing on behalf of the ex-Euro stalinists each getting a few percentage points. Coupled with the KKE’s standing the vote of the Left as a percentage has increased (25%) but not overall as numbers due to the massive high abstention vote.

In the first round of these elections under the Kallikratis model of Governorship, the Left stood positions for Governor of each Prefecture but unable to garner votes as they are split, to get into 2nd position so they could into the 2nd round. As a result the KKE asked its members to not vote in the 2nd round but to vote of course for local councillors as there were two electoral lists (Governor and Local Councillors). The various factions of the ex-Euros called for a vote for ‘conscience’ implying indirectly a vote for PASOK candidates as one of them, used to be a member of theirs, the candidate that one the Athens basin Governorship.

So the question is why did the Left not get a feel for the mood of the people and use the abstention call as a political weapon against the IMF and the establishment parties PASOK and ND? When the President of the Greek Republic openly stated that he is ‘against those who believe their anger can be expressed by staying on their couch, staying at home’ in other words refusing to vote. When Papariga-General Secretary of the KKE criticised the nation for not voting as well, it is clear that all the parties of the establishment are trying to maintain the façade that they are independent of and that voting will dictate a different policy to the IMF-EU dictates, when in reality all they are interested in is the state subsidy and the positions of power accrued to them in the state infrastructure ie councillors, local mayors and public sector contracts (a source of income for the KKE). Historically the KKE did abstain from the 1946 elections so it is a tactic employed by the KKE of old, which had a different calibre of cadres, not the ones of today who have been schooled within the norms of post-1974 bourgeois legality.

Despite the fact that the IMF imposed measures haven’t even gone past 3 months, the electoral debacle for the ruling party is such that it led to over 60% abstention rates (plus a 10% in spoiled/blanc votes) in many areas and the actual vote for the ruling party was around 1 in 10 of the country’s voting citizens. Coupled with widespread allegations of electoral fraud (used to be big in Greece in the 1950’s and 1960’s when deceased persons, unknown persons appeared on electoral rolls, now the same is occurring with swathes of EU citizens from neighbouring countries who appear on electoral rolls en masse!

The KKE is the party with the biggest influence on the Left. After so many strikes and demonstrations over a 6 month period since the announcement of the arrival of the IMF it hasn’t been able to increase its electoral influence to a significant level this is because the Greek people have shown their disdain not only to the two main establishment parties, but also to the Left as a whole. One of the main reasons which provoked this dissatisfaction is the insistence of the leadership of the KKE into tactics which divide the movement instead of uniting it.

Attacking the militancy of the masses instead of encouraging it, by labelling it as ‘fascist’ when attempts were made to storm Parliament initially in May and again in September by the hauliers, is despicable. Corrupting the popular movement to a movement of protest alone, protest which is limited solely within the limits of bourgeois legality. When at the same time the Constitution and Laws have been trampled on by the employee of the big international banksters, G Papandreou. Another reason is the total lack of programmatic proposals, a requirement for every party which aims to not operate as a component of power, but seeks to gain power.

The real abstention though isn’t from the voters but from the parties of the Left. They have basically stated to all there is no hope for a defeat of the IMF or a single measure imposed. History though has shown that in conditions of severe economic crisis small organised minorities may become a spark which lights a more general fire. The insurrection of the Polytechnic (17th November 1973) was such a spark, against the will of the parties of the time, who hypocritically lay wreaths in their memory. The same occurred during the resistance against the fascist Occupation. Small isolated groups of dedicated militants started the struggle and thousands in the end joined the struggle with millions supporting it.

The problems now facing Greece cannot be solved by elections. They will be resolved in the streets. A return to the drachma on its own cannot solve the economic problems either or a different version of the Euro, as is being discussed widely.

We have to campaign for a broad united movement, not separatist, isolated, defeatist, KKE style.

1) Cancel all debts to foreign bond holders

2) Exit from the Eurozone and the European Union

3) Work for all with a proper living wage.

None of the above can occur if there is no control of capital flows, imports of an agricultural and industrial nature, if the ports are all sold off and everything that is now state owned is privatised.

Video Footage of Fall Of Military 1973

Greece has told Papandreou he has no mandate

Greece has told Papandreou he has no mandate

Greek voters have resisted the neoliberal austerity measures by
abstaining and spoiling their ballot papers

Costas Douzinas and Petros Papaconstantinou, Monday 8 November 2010 19.00 GMT

Sunday's local elections in Greece were an unusual affair. Important
as they are for the running of local authorities, council elections
have never been seen as critical to the survival of a government. But
on this occasion, the Greek prime minister issued a rather strange
ultimatum to the electorate: vote for Pasok regional and mayoral
candidates or I will resign, call general elections and as a result
people will lose their hard-earned faith in Greece with dire
consequences for ordinary people.

Was this extraordinary gambit a genuine request for a renewed
democratic mandate or the desperate bluff of a gambler down on his
chips? George Papandreou's gesture indicates the febrile nature of
Greek politics in the wake of the austerity and restructuring measures
imposed upon the country by the IMF and the EU in return for a €110bn
(£95bn) loan. Reductions in civil service salaries and pensions of up
to 30%, and the increase of direct taxes and VAT, have led the fragile
economy to a deep depression. Youth unemployment at around 30% will
only increase as the private sector uses the measures as a model to
shed jobs and further undermine long-standing labour protections.

Papandreou's gambit can be explained by the country's unprecedented
economic and political volatility. The Greeks have been bombarded over
the past two months with optimistic messages that the measures are
succeeding in reducing the deficit, increasing tax revenues, changing
decades of civil service under-performance and releasing private
initiative. The support offered by the print and electronic media has
been so unstinting as to make Silvio Berlusconi envious. Papandreou
has taken his penitent message to major capitals while a bunch of IMF-
EU emissaries have been installed in Athens, behaving in every respect
as administrators of a mandated territory.

But the reality is very different from the projected rosy image. Over
the past month the spreads between German and Greek sovereign bonds
have increased to levels not seen since before the IMF-EU loan was
approved. The hike in the price of insuring Greek bonds means that the
markets expect the country to default. The idea of defaulting,
restructuring the debt, even leaving the eurozone was until recently
denounced as extremist and catastrophic. But after Angela Merkel's
amendments to the support mechanism, debt restructuring seems more
likely, and senior government ministers have started preparing the
public for the eventuality.

The intense demonstrations and strikes of this spring subsided over
the summer holidays. But the climate has been hotting up again since
September as people start feeling the effect of the measures on their
pay packets. Opinion polls consistently show large majorities opposed
to the measures and wide disenchantment with the alternating centre-
left and centre-right parties that have ruled the country since 1974
and have led to the spiralling deficits and debt. While the decimation
of the public sector has reduced the deficit, tax revenues are lagging
behind IMF demands and the expected upwards recalculation of the 2009
deficit means that even more stringent austerity measures will have to
be imposed next year. Behind the trumpeted "success", the economy is
faltering, social problems mushrooming and the political elite unable
to manage the crisis. The postwar social contract has been declared
dead and the country's sovereignty is not doing much better.

Against this background, Papandreou's ultimatum can be understood. His
government was elected in October 2009 on a social democratic platform
and had no mandate to impose the most extensive neoliberal measures
seen in Europe. Whether Greece defaults and asks for a severe
"haircut" of the debt or whether it imposes new and more severe
measures, Papandreou's soothing statements will be seen again as not
worth the paper they are written on. This is why the government turned
the local elections into a referendum, blackmailing the electorate and
seeking a carte blanche for further cuts and privatisation of the
country's silver (energy, communications and transport) as the IMF
demands. But yesterday's elections decidedly failed to give such a

In a country where the turnout is usually up to 80%, some 45% of the
electorate abstained and another 10% spoilt their ballots. Pasok
received approximately 34% of the vote, the opposition New Democracy
32% and the Communists 11%. The three radical left parties that had
not managed to field common candidates polled about 12%. If the wider
left had created a united front against the measures, it would have
emerged as the hegemonic bloc confronting the neoliberal logic of the
ruling elites. In view of these results, Papandreou, looking gaunt and
exhausted, announced that he will not call an election but continue
with the implementation of these measures.

How can we explain the unprecedented low turnout and the spoilt
ballots? They bring to mind Nobel winner José Saramago's wonderful
political parable Seeing. Citizens of an unnamed capital city cast
massively blank ballots in two consecutive national elections. The
rightwing government considers this an act of high treason and
declares a state of emergency. Eventually the government leaves the
capital expecting that the resulting disorder will make voters see
sense. Life, however, continues peacefully.

In Greece, too, ordinary citizens resisted the measures by staying
away. Abstaining or spoiling the ballot in a highly politicised
country is a political act of great consequence which leaves the
government with no mandate to continue with its measures. It is the
Greek equivalent to the Argentinian chant "que sa vayan todos" ("you
should all go") addressed to the elites that had led the country to
bankruptcy in December 2001.

The IMF-EU authored chronicle of an economic death foretold will move
to its end game with the banks' plenipotentiaries signing the death
certificate of the welfare state, but popular resistance is now likely
to move up a gear. Strikes, demonstrations and social unrest will
decide the future of the country in the coming months. The Greeks have
a proud record of resistance against foreign and local dominations.
They now need new ideas, people and convergences, if a new politics is
to rise from the current debacle. In this direction the wider left,
the only political group not involved in the debt and corruption
crises, has a major role to play.

Abstain from Greek Elections!

Dont Participate in these forthcoming elections and give a democratic
legalization to the double Papandreic coup

1) In the abolition of the Constitution and the monstrous subjugation
of the country to the dictats of the IMF

2) On the servile plan called Kallikratis and the division of the
country into 13 self-governing cantons to be easily privatised and
added to neighbouring states.

3) Send a message that we no longer expect anything from the
collaboration of the parties. They created a storm expect a hurricane
in return

Greece: Local Elections to Become IMF Plebiscite?

Greece: Local Elections to Become IMF Plebiscite?

On 7th November Greece goes to the polls under the infamous Kallikratis plan which creates 13 federated regions for the whole country, with one region Attiki (Athens basin) having 50% of the overall population of the country. The Kallikratis plan creates Super-Mayors with powers reminiscent of governors of ancient Rome. In essence they herald the break-up of central government as they aim to merge thousands of local councils and give Presidential powers to each Mayor in each of the 13 regions. Under this background Papandreou announced last night (25th October) if he doesn’t win a single region he will resign and go towards new national elections.

Having attacked on behalf of the IMF-EU creditors vast swathes of the population, pensioners, farmers, small shopowners, workers, unemployed whilst not having imprisoned or even attempted to prosecute a single higher ranking government official or MP involved in bribery scandals for public contracts with foreign multinationals (Siemens being one of them). Already according to media reports one in ten are in food kitchens organised around the churches and the constant increases in VAT rates (food to go from 11% to 13% under EU pressure) are constantly eroding the buying power of those in work. Youth of working age from 18-25% who aren’t in education or training are more than 80% unemployed supported by families or relatives. The attacks on millions of pensioners with the lowering of pensions has the effect of undermining the social safety net which operates in place of the government. Papandreou realising an electoral wipeout is on the cards and that he might become the one use Primeminister, attempted to bribe the electorate offering E100 to each pensioner after having cut hundreds already. In addition to this in order to confuse the electorate we have 2 or 3 PASOK prospective candidates in each region with the majority of them declaring they are independent from PASOK without actually having broken from PASOK or even having a single vote in their past which went against the government. Allmost all are calling these elections therefore a plebiscite on the IMF.

IMF-Will not avoid social explosion

With daily strikes and struggles all isolated and separate from each other (school students, national railways, part-time museum workers, newsagents etc) the Left is going from one crisis to the next. Remembering the poor districts of Athens which happen to be in the centre, a leader of the Eurostalinists (who have now split into three factions) Alavanos attempted to speak to an angry public and got yoghurt on his face. The same happened a week before to the KKE’s candidate. As for the PASOK and New Democracy candidate they dare not even show their face. Crime, prostitution, unemployment and ghettoisation with the constant arrival (100,000 in the first six months of 2010) of destitute illegal immigrants has led to conflict in the central Athenian districts which are starting to resemble ‘war zones’. Add to it the daily rise in unemployment there are no jobs, houses, even food so many sleep in abandoned buildings or in town squares. Under the guise of Greece being unable to control its borders the EU is to send an army (NATO) to Evros (region bordering with Turkey) thus complementing the twin role of the IMF-EU occupation. A NATO presence on Greek soil will obviously have one aim and one aim only, to be used against the Greek population in a period of economic and political instability.

So the issues that arise in the current period is that the Left continues to disintegrate and with its influence where one would have assumed they would have proven to be a beacon to the population, it continues its policy of supporting separatist struggles without campaigning for them to unite. It might assume that standing candidates in these sham elections (as all economic and political decisions are now taken jointly by the IMF-EU) and that an increase in their votes, due to the fall of the two main parties may allow them a breathing space, cannot be seen on the ground, as no significant IMF imposed measure has been defeated. Without a single defeat of any IMF-EU measure, the issue that will dominate after the public plebiscite of the IMF in the forthcoming elections, will be whether new elections can forestall the coming social explosion or the expulsion of the IMF occurs as a consequence of these new elections...

Wed 27, October 2010 @ 21:54
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discussion of this article
VN Gelis said…

There is discussion that if during the first round of local elections this Sunday the ruling party PASOK doesn't achieve a reasonable result they will cancel the 2nd round and go for national elections thus forcing the population to vote for govt thus artificially increasing their capability. A condition for this may be the deaparture of the PM either after the elections or before.

The suddent appearance of alleged anarchist terrorists once more as in May (though never have any been seen or shown in any media outlet) may serve the purpose of creating more police presence on the streets by creating a climate of fear as bankruptcy is hanging like the sword of Damocles on the Greek electorate if they dont vote as ...advised.

Thu 04, November 2010 @ 22:55
VN Gelis said…

The abstention rate seems to be massive with over half or around just under half voting depending on the 13 Prefecture districts under which these elections are being held. 10% of those that did vote voted white/blank vote (allowed in all Greek elections). So far 5 of the 13 areas are with New Democracy (Right) which implies Papandreou may go for national elections so as to avoid going to a 2nd round of local elections (under the Kallikratis changes) and not gain any large Prefecture.

This abstentions rate is similar to so far to the Euro-election abstention rate.


The KKE has increased its electoral showing so far on a smaller voter turnout but if they dont come 2nd in any Prefecture they dont get through to the 2nd round if it is held.

The Syn/Syriza (ex-Euros) who have had 3 representatives in the Athens area have sufferred big defeats.

So far there is a big anti-IMF swing taking into account Greeks generally vote so abstention here appears to be taking the form of an anti-IMF plebiscite and the two main parties have lost significantly from the lack of voter turnout and the swing away from them is big.

So until the elections are finally over (Monday morning) and the main parties make their positions felt we have to wait and see if Papandreou departs as all the media is stating that he does not want to be known as the Prime-Minister who bankrupted Greece (as discussion is occurring constantly about a 'controlled bankruptcy' of Greece) and all the entails:

i) controlled bankruptcy leading to a possible departure from the Euro,

ii) expulsion of the IMF,

iii) possible coalition governments

not of course in that order or all of them at the same time but these are being discussed possible future scenarios.

Sun 07, November 2010 @ 19:47
VN Gelis said…

A 40-50% abstention rate added with 10% blanc/spoiled vote means that both of the two main parties have lost around 50% of their own electoral base. This has been translated by the FT in an article as a vote for the IMF austerity measures, ie the banksters interest paying bondholdins.

The Right hasn't increased its vote so much as to gain from the electoral fallout of PASOK. If they therefore go for a 2nd round and not for national elections, the Right may gain and PASOK may lose more than 50% of the 13 Prefectures, with a possible increase in abstention as the Left wont vote for the two main parties candidates in any shape or form.

Sun 07, November 2010 @ 21:37
VN Gelis said…

Papandreou announces he wont go for national elections in the end.

PASOK won 8 out of 13 Prefectures now they have to try to keep them

when they go for the 2nd round. In areas where they gained more than

50% of the votes there will be no 2nd round, which so far are 3.

Near enough final results

Abstention, blanc and spoiled ballots 45,47%

PASOK: 19,07%


Abstention rate in 2006 last local elections was 37%

The KKE has increased its votes to 14% in the Athens basin

and will get in total around 200,000 votes.

So on the basis of the figures presented

1 in 10 of the official electorate (from which thousands have been added

fraudulently in the last years on the electoral rolls) voted for PASOK.

This is the lowest share of the vote for any party in power since 1975 and it

is only two months since the IMF measures have hit the pay packets of workers and pensioners.

Will the Left campaign now for abstention from the elections

where they cant stand candidates or will they indirectly call for a vote for

the Right to defeat PASOK over the next week? Or will they call for a vote for PASOK to not bring back the Right (section of the Euros may go for this)

Mon 08, November 2010 @ 09:04
VN Gelis said…

On the same day reports are posted about the 'low turnout' in the Burmese elections:

the extremely low turnout in the Greek elections isn't necessarily headline news.

One wonders why? The day after the next round of elections the IMF arrives again for a new batch of measures. The message being, you voted, you shall pay.

Mon 08, November 2010 @ 17:44
VN Gelis said…

For those who missed it today or didn't catch it an interesting piece on Greece in todays Guardian

Some of the comments are also worth reading and they are many....

Tue 09, November 2010 @ 22:36
VN Gelis said…

Athens Region Final Results

Electors 465.888

Voted: 200.282 / 42,99 %

Valid: 184.241 / 91,99 %

Spoiled: 9.841 / 4,91 %

Blanc: 6.200 / 3,10 %

Abstention, Spoiled, Blanc: 60,5%

Just below 4 out of 10 voted in these local elections.

The KKE has called for abstention in the next round.

Wed 10, November 2010 @ 00:03
VN Gelis said…

Abstention as expected reached around 68% in the Athens basin for the Mayors position. Add to it the blanc/spoiled ballots and another 12% didn't vote.

PASOK achieved a majority with 11.5% of the voting electorate winning 8 out 13 Prefectures.

This they stated is popular recognition that more IMF measures are required as today they arrive once more in Athens. More will follow once all the results are analysed

Mon 15, November 2010 @ 10:06

Greece: truck drivers blockade centre of Athens to halt liberalisation measures

Greece: truck drivers blockade centre of Athens to halt liberalisation measures

After their union leaders tried to bury the resistance of the truckers in July a new wave of strikes erupted in defiance of the threat of emergency decress being issued to truckers. Some 19 points around Athens have been blockaded by trucks. Waves of militant rank and file truckers have demobilised scab trucks by blowing their tyres or cutting their electrical connections, so demobilising the engines. The government has tried everything via the mass media to condemn the militant truckers; they even tried to impede the road blocks but it became pretty impossible to stop truckers with 20-plus tonne trucks with engines revving and threatening to squash puny police cars. In the end the police escorted the truckers into various points around Athens – that is, opened the roads for them.

Ta NEA (daily organ of the Lambrakis press - the biggest establishment paper) condemned the actions of the police and demanded to know why the government not confronting the truckers? "Are they allowing them to get away with everything until they get tired and go home?" In the meantime 6,000 containers are stranded in the ports and and their perishable contens rot. More stuff arrives daily and has nowhere to be parked.

3,000marched in the afternoon to parliament and the police for the first time in the last 10 years refused to teargas them - which has been standard policy. The reason is clear. They are frightened to attack tsince they fear provoking more generalised conflict. All train workers of the national railways OSE have also walked out early for a week's strike against ta court decision which tried to deny them the right to strike. So having camped outside parliament on Tuesday night the truckers are waiting for their numbers to swell prior to Wednesday's vote which aims to ratify the IMF's agenda of the full liberalisation of middle class professions, hauliers, taxi drivers, solicitors etc.

If the truckers manage to bring trucks to the centre of Athens and confront the parliamentarian IMF quislings then they may bring about the defeat of the government. The big disaster is the role of the Left once more. Not a single big organisation – the KKE or the Euros Stalinists – have sent as many supporters as they can to support the truckers. 50 members of PAME marched along the pavements in 'solidarity' with the truckers and then dispersed. They have called for rallies against IMF imposed price rises (VAT rates, electricity, water etc) AFTER the vote in parliament takes place. Divide and rule is the only strategy of the union misleaders. Unifying struggles and supporting the middle class hauliers now they are under total attack isn't for them.

If the truckers are defeated, then the door will be open for many other professions to suffer the same fate. Either which way the government is relying on the politics of the union misleaders to remain in power and appear strong. In reality they are weak and in hiding. The ball for the moment is not in their court.

Wed 22, September 2010 @ 13:55

You would think Truckers would be the first people socialists would want to win over to the struggle as they can literally bring the system to a grinding halt.

Wed 22, September 2010 @ 14:11

The KKE condemned the politically backward ...truckers for using slogans which essentially bring Greeks into disrepute. The media asked the union misleaders of the truckers to condemn the slogans. The slogans were allegedly used by the hooded 'anarchists' no one saw who burnt the workers alive in the Marfin Bank provocation according to the tv station Mega...

The slogans were: 'Repa (Minister of Transport) Go fxxx Yourself', 'Down with the PASOK Junta', 'Air Air get rid of the Cholera', 'Repa you Cxxx we will Enter Parliament'

The Democratic Left a split off from Synaspismos/Euros supported the IMF liberalisation measures during the Parliamentary debate. Synaspismos gave a verbal speech in support of the truckers but like the KKE refused to call out its members in solidarity demos in support of the truckers.

After allnight blockade of Parliament and three attempts at breaking through riot police lines, the truckers lost the vote in Parliament. They will now lose the value of the licences of their trucks and many will lose their trucks to banks as the multinational companies that set up new truck companies will bypass them.

Throughout the whole of today they have continued the blockades around Athens.

Their Coordinating Strike Committee has vowed to continue the road blockades until Friday 24th September when they said they will have a mass meeting to work out whether they will continue the struggle. Whilst the railwayworkers of the national railnetwork OSE are in their 2nd day of their 5 day strike their union misleaders ensured that they did not march to the centre and meet the Truckers.

Now the liberalisation of transport is law by definition the riot police have to break the blockades. The power of the truckers is in the blockades. If they hold out they can continue to cripple the Greek economy. If they dont, it may imply that each section of Greek society may have to go through the Argentinian path which allowed the IMF to run riot for a full 4 years prior to a social explosion by all the dissafected sections of society led to 9 different governments, the cancellation of foreign debt payments and a return to the peso.

Wed 22, September 2010 @ 20:21

Agree with AA. I think this is a very positive development.

It shows that despite the frequent betrayal of union leaders the truckers have th epower to organise their own action and it is a power that through paralysing the economy has the power to bring down the capitalists if the truckers open their mass meetings to the wider working class and take on the questions of the wider working class transforming the legitiamte sectional (and important) demands of the truckers' livelihood to the wider issues of the working class- who rules? the bankers, IMF and EU with their austerity? Or the workers who can plan a society and economy based on democratically planning human need, against the need for any cuts, for a workers' revolution to seize the land, the factories and the wealth currently in the grip of a small elite and have a society run by working class people ourselves.

If anything remotely like this is going to happen the left and the wider working class movement needs to rally to the truckers' side, opening up the wider questions of class politics and full heartedly supporting the truckers' strike, instigating solidarityy action connected to wider class demands- for workers' control, for an emergency workers' budget to respond to the crisis, the immediate cancellation of all foreign debt, emergency taxes to pay for the crisis- full employment for workers at union rates- including massive wealth taxes and expropriations to take through the workers' demands.

Thu 23, September 2010 @ 05:34

VN Gelis said…

The problem is that not all sections of society have the power to bring the capitalists to their knees. If nurses for instance went on an indefinite strike patients would die and the state would save some money in terms of operations, pensions, dole money etc. The rich go private so they wouldn't care. The issue is also political.

The KKE alleges it is a working class party but has become pettybourgeoisified over the decades. Truckers historically have been on the political 'right' ie petty owners, with bank debts and the false consciousness that they will at some point own ten trucks and just collect money from managing them. One of the positives of this struggle is that they have no connection to the dead weight of stalinism and have shown originality in their approach and their sloganeering. They called for an open mass meeting at their union headquarters inviting pensioners groups and other transport workers. But because the union tops are stalinists and they see unity of the workers and the middle class which they cant control like Dracula does with the cross, it was too little too late this time, but it shows the intentions and the possibilities for the future.

The absence of the official Left and the far left is indicative of the extent of the political crisis now the real first wave of struggle against the IMF occurred. It also shows their political direction. Historic leaders of Sinaspismos who left to form Democratic Left have openly sided with the IMF. The next wave of struggle will force the KKE to do the same, as more and more sections of workers and middle class are forced to the streets due to the cuts and privatisations that are continuing unabated.

Thu 23, September 2010 @ 10:26

Jason said…

"One of the positives of this struggle is that they have no connection to the dead weight of stalinism and have shown originality in their approach and their sloganeering. They called for an open mass meeting at their union headquarters inviting pensioners groups and other transport workers. But because the union tops are stalinists and they see unity of the workers and the middle class which they cant control like Dracula does with the cross, it was too little too late this time, but it shows the intentions and the possibilities for the future. "

I think that's key as also is the idea of workers' action committees to unite different sections of the working class (and indeed impoverished or under attack petit-bourgeois, small business owners, traders, owner-drivers etc who the workers need to win to their ranks).

"If nurses for instance went on an indefinite strike patients would die and the state would save some money in terms of operations, pensions, dole money etc."

Yes but that's why it's essential to have other methods of action to supplement strike action, mass blockades, occupations, different section of workers coming out in solidarity action and can include emergency cover under democratic workers' control during the dispute. It can include workers, students, service users and wider community occupying the factories, offices, schools and hospitals and carrying out production for social need.

Thu 23, September 2010 @ 19:35

VN Gelis said…

Truckers have voted to continue their strike against the IMF

Battles occurred in Piraeus (main port next to Athens) where they blockaded it and the riot police got involved.

The strike committee was flooded with enraged truckers who demanded in opposition to the proposal of the union misleaders to have a secret ballot to have an open air one. The slogan which emerged to the news people was 'we will not give in' Molon Lave (which is what the Spartans said to the Persian Army) in reference to the governments 'emergency orders'.

The official Left continues to be spectators of an unfolding drama. They chose to have rallies about the price rises and the liberalisation of energy prices instead of supporting the truckers blockades

Fri 24, September 2010 @ 20:56

VN Gelis said…

Where are the leftist organisations? Who during their ‘insurrection’ regarding the murder of the young student Grigoropoulos a couple of winters ago marched up and down streets blockaded police stations, burning down shops?

Why don’t they now go to support the Truckers blockades to encourage them?

To help them blockade the roads once and for all indefinitely? When the truckers were outside Parliament all night and tried 3 times to storm it why didn’t they turn up?

Why don’t they go even outside the headquarters of the GREEK TUC-ADEDY-PAME (union federations) and pressurise them to call an indefinite general strike of all the nation on the side of the truckers for the overthrow of the IMF imposed junta?

Groups and organisations and people are judged in times of crisis when battles hang by a thread. The persistence of the truckers without a single media outlet supporting their cause, without a single political party proposing a solidarity demo, without political representation in Parliament is indicative of a whole generation of politicians both from the ‘left’ and right.

Fri 24, September 2010 @ 21:16

Fri 24, September 2010 @ 21:16
Jason said…

I think you're right to sharply cirticise the left on this. Obviously the Stalinists' leaders are fearful of real workers' action anyway but what about the Trotskyist and anarchist left? What about rank and file workers? I know little I am afraid about the Greek left.

What is it do you think that lies behind the lack of support? Is it because of prejudice against petit-bourgeois truckers? Is there a bad relationship e.g. have sections of truckers not supported workers?

Whatever the past or the explanation it seems to me that this is a crucial dispute. Truckers like railway workers have the ability to paralyse the movement of goods. The working class should pile in behind the struggle, support the truckers' demands, oppose the austerity measures, demand democratic workers' to set prices and get ready to paralyse the whole economy by demanding an emergecny workers' budget and plan, nationalise the banks, expropriuate the capitalists, appeal to rank and file soldier and police to refuse to break up demos and follow the orders of emergency workers' action committtees not the orders of the bourgeois government.

Sun 26, September 2010 @ 22:20

VN Gelis said…

The anarchists have been absent for around a year. Their last great showing was over the death of the bankers son Grigoropoulos whom the media labelled as an ...anarchist. Since the IMF arrived they have been absent from all social struggles. Most of the far left, maoists, trotskyists have become part of the ex-euros around Siriza/Sinaspismos in order to get government subsidies which are paid when a party gets more than 5% of the parliamentary vote.

Truckers haven't generally gone on big strikes as far as I know, I only ever remember a big one in the 1980's but agreement was agreed quite quickly. This one now has gone on for a month and previously two weeks at the end of July. There are still 6,500 containers in the ports and many areas haven't had sewage emptied as trucks empty it due to the antiquated system. Many islands have many shortages and much of the fresh produce has gone to waste.

The truckers are voting again today and they are being manoeuvred into having a closed ballot by their union misleaders, instead of a show of hands, so the ballot boxes can be manipulated. Every trick in the arsenal of government unionism is being used to end the strike with the latest arguement being that the market needs two weeks to recover, so why not stop now and start again before things get really serious.

The three other groups (SWP, WRP, Mandelites) who never joined the Euros have refused to support the truckers. At the same time all week strikes have occurred in the trains and now the buses have started as well. So taking into account the KKE has influence in both unions, coordination again is zero, the purpose being to dissipate the anger across different sections of transport workers to prepare them for ...privatisation.

Tue 28, September 2010 @ 20:28

VN Gelis said…

The vote just came through from the Strike Committee, 74 to 6 to continue the strike. Their leader refused to say which way he would vote prior to the vote, but made a statement that whichever way the vote goes he wants all sides to support it.

Tue 28, September 2010 @ 20:55

VN Gelis said…

A 41 year old trucker died after being tear gassed at the blockades of the port of Piraeus a couple of days ago. He was buried today. He is the first victim of the IMF imposed liberalisation of truckers licences. The union leadership have produced no statement regarding his death.

Greece has been threatened by the EU if it does not issue new truckers licences and the government is processing a new sub-law which states that all truckers who refuse to move their trucks from the blockades will be imprisoned immediately for 3 years, removal of licences and taking over their trucks if they have deliveries for the public sector eg hospitals or schools. One trucker on a road blockade on the Athens-Corinth motorway has been imprisoned allready.

The Greek TUC refused to have a general strike today, in case workers rallied to the truckers cause and instead called for an evening rally in the centre of Athens. Despite that railwayworkers were out and so were bus workers during the day.

Wed 29, September 2010 @ 19:04

VN Gelis said…

Despite the death of the trucker, no left protest march occured as after all he was a worker who has just been made bankrupt and the purpose of the left is to maintain disunity, division and ensuring with all its organised forces that the 'workers disunited will always be defeated'.

All night union meeting occurred in the truckers headquarters with many rank and file truckers locked out of the headquarters. As there are different sections of the union, and different sub-sections, public service truckers (delivery vehicles) ie to hospitals, schools, sewage clearance etc there are also private sector truckers for supermarket deliveries, retail etc. who controls each section and who takes decisions without informing the base is what the conflict has boiled down to at the moment as the government is threatening to lock them all up and they aint backing down.

The old leaderships are now in conflict with the Strike Committee who are organised around the various blockades and they want a say if any decision is taken against them. The Minister for Economic (non)Development said he would meet the leaders of the various unions and cut a deal to end the strikes. They voted to end the strikes to restore 'peace in the market' which is collapsing due to the non-delivery of goods from the ports and the evident shortages in a whole range of shops. The leaders of the Strike Committees claimed they weren't consulted again. The anger boiled over when truckers outside the union lit a firecracker against the union sellout leaders.

The leader of the Strike Committee declares here that they will meet on Friday (today) to vote against the sellout.

A note: some of the union leaders of the 9 Federations which voted to end the strike are members of the Left KKE and Syriza (public sector truckers)

Fri 01, October 2010 @ 09:39

Fri 01, October 2010 @ 09:39
Jason said…

Thanks for these updates. Keep them coming.

Sun 03, October 2010 @ 09:31
VN Gelis said…

Ok, Jason.

The 2nd strike appears to have ended, one of the reasons being that the Strike Committee didn't choose to take control of the situation and expel the old leaderships proposing itself as the way forward. The media made a big hue and cry about the costs to the economy being so far E1.5billion and tonnes of goods trapped in containers in the ports. Immediately after the ending of the strike the Chinese Premier was in Athens giving a speech about how they will buy up Greek bonds and not allow the country to default.

Taking into account Greece is run by the shipowners this brings to mind a little known deal that was attempted in the late 1960's by the then shipowners Onassis and Niarhos who wanted to own and control all public facilities, ports, oil refineries, transport under the title Omega Project. If the Chinese want a foothold in Europe and they are using bankrupt Greece as its base this will intensify competition with Germany, who is Europe's biggest export earner?

Next on target are the railways, the solicitors, the chemists as well as the national Electricity company which has just massively increased its rates for all low income earners where liberalisation processes will be rammed through. The Minister of Health Loverdos stated that if we fail in our IMF course, Greeks may resort to a 2nd Goudi, which was the onset of Greek nationalism at the turn of 20th century which started the movement for the re-unification of Greek lands against the decaying Ottoman Empire and the weakening of the European (German) imposed monarchy on Greek political life.

Mon 04, October 2010 @ 09:39
VN Gelis said…

Greek police storm Acropolis protesters today due to protest by unpaid part-time museum workers.

Bus drivers are now under attack facing a 20% wage cut and privatisation.

Train drivers of the national railways as well.

Local elections are scheduled in November where PASOK are expected to get a drubbing with a mass boycott by the electorate. From IMF headquarters in Washington stories are circulating that Papandreou knew the extent of the budget deficit prior to taking power and kept it hidden - a byword to drop him if there is an electoral collapse...

Thu 14, October 2010 @ 23:51
VN Gelis said…

Firefighters have occupied Parliament Square with tents protesting against cuts.

Eyewitness Account Greek Hauliers on Indefinite Strike Against IMF Decrees

Eyewitness Account Greek Hauliers on Indefinite Strike Against IMF Decrees

On 8 September Greek hauliers held a truckers’ march into the centre of Athens with their horns blowing. They were reacting to the decision of the Minister of Transport two days earlier that he has reneged on an agreement made to end the August strike that outlined a transitional period of reforms of the Hauliers terms and conditions of employment. He now insists on the immediate implementation of all the changes without negotiation. As the scene is set for a resurgence of the strike in August we publish here an eye-witness account by V N Gelis of last month’s strike and the role of the union leaders in ending it.

“You are taking our livelihoods not simply our licenses” became the battle cry of 35,000 Greek road hauliers who launched an indefinite strike which lasted a whole week before its sell out by its leaders.

When the hauliers met for their mass meeting in the Peroke Theatre in central Athens their despondent voices were heard from one wall of the theatre to the other. They characteristically wore a black armband and came to hear the President of the Federation of Georgiatos who wanted to tell the crowd the proposal of the Minister Reppas that “dialogue will continue only after the cessation of the strike”. They forced the leaders to continue the strike...

They rejected the government’s plans to open their service up to multinational competition. It was common knowledge that the multinational COSCO which bought the Greek ports on behalf of China asked for 30,000 new licences for transporting goods with Chinese personnel who will be paid a maximum of €300 for their work.

They tried to find a “compromise solution” but their proposals were ignored by the IMF who now essentially run the Ministry of Transport.

The leaders of the union asked for the pensions of hauliers to reach the amazing amount of €680 a month, to allow for three years for the law to be implemented and not backdated to last June, and the implementation of it for all hauliers to be over a five-year period not a three year period as 5,000 hauliers bought their licences recently and the 35% drop in their value will affect them disproportionally.

New licences were bought for around €300,000 a 35% drop will mean they are now currently worth €200,000 but the debt will remain at the amount for which they were bought.

The Minister of Transport Reppas replied with so-called development tax rebates and allowing each driver to take another licence which will not be worth anything anyway. Even if the majority of the Federation wanted to announce the ending of the strike under these circumstances of a mass meeting with all present, it was impossible as there was nothing on the table.

The KKE’s representative at the Peroke theatre greeted the leadership of the hauliers without raising a single point of difference with the government plan despite being self-labelled as the “class struggle union”

So how did the union leaders get around selling out the strike? Four or five days into the strike after two mass meetings and two large demos to the Parliament – and with trucks also parked on many motorways up and down Greece – the government brought forward an “emergency order” which basically allows the military to act as strikebreakers.

This has only been used once or twice before since 1974 against port workers in order to break their strikes. This was the perfect excuse the union misleaders needed to sell out the strike. Why?

Supermarkets had mass shortages of goods. In two supermarkets I visited they had run out of the basics seven days into the strike. There were many fuel shortages in petrol stations. Hospitals couldn’t get supplies. More importantly the tourist industry was going to get crippled which is Greece’s main earner in the summer months.

Whilst the hauliers appeared on TV stating no one can force them to go to work and they won’t accept the provisions of the “emergency order”. Army conscripts were also heard to voice reservations that they didn't want to act as strikebreakers. This could pose bigger problems for the government in the future as without the army on your side you lose the ability to threaten people.

So sensing this situation could get out of control, where people in other occupations joined this strike against the IMF and its PASOK quislings, the union leaders met behind closed doors one fine Sunday morning and then the media announced the ending of the strike.

A strike was sold out without being actually defeated and it showed it was a spark that could have lit a more general fire, but the union leaders and the parties of the Left were found wanting once more.

Thu 09, September 2010 @ 13:50

Greek Hauliers have started an indefinite strike again. They are alleged to have attacked the president of northern Greece's CBI during the Thessaloniki trade fair. Their sellout president condemned the violence of the Hauliers but not the violence of the riot police who teargassed them.

A video of the event has appeared in this paper.

Sun 12, September 2010 @ 18:48

Hauliers Strike Update...

Blockades have occurred on national motorways and many demos in various cities over the last week.

Lamia was cut totally off in the centre. Different things are occurring in different parts of the country.

Truckdrivers act against the line of the union sellouts.

Much will be decided as to whether people will rally to the autonomous movements of hauliers blockades and whether this will take some organised form or will provisionally go backwards.

Hauliers have started blocking the motorways without a general plan of action. In every blockade autonomous groups are being created under which they decide to go against the official union policy of Tzortatos & Co.

In the Metamorphosis blockade an area on the outskirts of Athens they decided to block both sides of the motorway and at the same time allowed cars to go through the pay tolls by occupying them and allowing them to go through for free.

Truckers have also called for open mass meetings with all the layers of workers and pensioners affected by the IMF measures in the Haidari blockaded which was voted for unanimously. They announced their decision using mobile phones to other truckers around the country, and they want them held at their union offices on Tuesday 12th September 2010

They have also forced scabs to stop working and the one of the union leaders has condemned this via the mass media. Kiousis who owns 35 trucks (and with the ‘liberation’ of the profession will want to acquire more) attacked the strike breakers under the guise of the ‘right to work’. Alongside him was the Hauliers Leader-Tzortatos owner of 17trucks who under pressure of the deranged and corrupted journalists of the IMF mass media, pressurised him to support the strikebreakers.

This evening on SKAI tv it was reported that in 3 blockades they are also proposing in the open mass meeting to be held on Tuesday to have allnight camps outside of Parliament and to call all the people with them and to not leave until victory.

Sun 19, September 2010 @ 17:28

Strikebreakers on this video showing their demobilised trucks after strikers cut off their electrics.

The vote for the 'opening of the professions' one of the IMF imposed measures is going to occur on Wednesday. The KKE hasn't called for any direct support to the Truckers or any of their mobilisations although they are holding a demo outside Parliament on 23rd September when the vote is to go through.

If the truckers march into the centre of Athens with 2,000 trucks as some have stated they will then the situation may go out of control of the union misleaders.

At the same time the President of the Greek CBI has stated that 5,000 containers are blocked at ports all over Greece and much produce may go rotten.

Sun 19, September 2010 @ 19:08

Video of strikers trying to block scabs plus map of all the road blockades around Athens.

Also how the strike is affecting the market with tonnes of stock remaining in the ports

Sun 19, September 2010 @ 19:28


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