Latest News & Updates

Festival of Greek Resistance

28/07/11

Resistance FestivalAgainst the backdrop of the struggle that is rapidly developing throughout the cities and towns of Greece in reaction to the imposition by the Greek bourgeoisie of the EU/IMF’s charter of plunder, éirígí’s Daithí Mac an Mháistir attended the 4th Greek Resistance Festival which was held in the Agricultural University of Athens from July 1-3.

The organisers estimate that about 7,000 people took part in the various political and musical events held over the three days of the festival. This high level of attendance is very much reflective of a growing interest in radical political ideas on the part of the youth and workers of Greece. Many debates were held on all manner of issues related to the current crisis of the global system, such as unemployment, methods of organising resistance, immigration, the experience the Greek ‘Squares’ movement, and that of the development of the mass movements in the Arab countries etc.

éirígí was invited by the festival’s organisers, the Communist Organisation of Greece (KOE), to participate in the main debate of the festival which was held on Sunday July 3.

Also there to debate the theme of whether or not ‘the IMF invading Europe represents the end of the EU?’ were Jorge Costa of the Political Commission of the “Bloco de Esquerda” (Portugal), Christos Katsoulas of the Communist Organization of Greece (KOE), Annette Groth, MP, of Die Linke (Germany), Thorvaldur Thorvaldsson of the Red Forum (Iceland), and Gerard Coca, from the Plaça de Catalunya, (Barcelona).

Speaking about his experience of the Resistance Festival and on the Greek situation generally, Mac an Mháistir said:

“I would very much like to take this opportunity to thank the organisers of the Festival of Resistance for inviting éirígí to attend and contribute to proceedings. It was a very valuable experience to be able to meet and debate many of today’s most pressing issues with comrades from countries such as Greece, Argentina, Germany, Egypt, Tunisia, Spain, Catalonia, Yemen, Italy and the USA. While of course it is the case that no two countries are exactly alike, as internationalists we recognise that all of our problems at a fundamental level are problems common and endemic to the globalised capitalist system of production and finance. It therefore follows that if these problems are global then so too must the solutions.

“It was very inspiring to have been able to meet and spend time with demonstrators in Athens’ Syntagma Square who for two days during the general strike of June 28-29th resisted the ferocious onslaught on their peaceful assembly by state forces who deployed tear gas and batons in a most vicious and indiscriminate manner. The protestors are still there however. The working class of that country is increasingly being left with no option other than to take to the streets and become part of the struggle.

“It is estimated that over two million Greeks have already participated in the anti-EU/IMF demonstrations that have taken place in Greece throughout the last year. This represents the reality of the heightened class struggle that is raging right across Greece at present. It can really only be a matter of time before the situation there comes to a head.

“The contradiction that exists between the increasing immiseration of the majority in the interest of protecting the ill-gotten gains of a small, super-wealthy and powerful minority cannot be maintained indefinitely. We are with the people of Greece in their struggle. We are with them because we face a common enemy. Again, events like the Resistance festival are a great opportunity for those committed to the objective of revolution to debate and discuss issues related to the defeat of this common enemy that is capitalism.”

Below is an edited version of Daithí’s contribution to the debate on the EU/IMF:

SessionComrades,

It is no exaggeration to state that we are at a critical juncture in world history.

Far from having reached the ‘end of history’, the world’s political and economic tectonic plates are once again shifting decisively. The crisis of capitalism is as heightened as it has ever been. The whole global economic and political edifice is poised very precariously, and is in fact teetering on the brink of collapse, as the situation here in Greece so starkly demonstrates.

This is the context within which we are having tonight’s debate.

In addressing myself directly to the substantive question as to whether or not the arrival of the IMF in Europe heralds the end of the EU, this much I will say definitively–

The European Union will never be the same again.

What is clear is that the pretence that the peoples of Europe are sovereign and that the EU is a democratic system has been exposed for all to see.

It is glaringly obvious, given all that has transpired economically in Greece and Ireland and in other countries, that it is of course the ‘markets’ and financial institutions, and not people, that are really sovereign.

This was always the intention.

The EU as we know it today is the culmination of a long process of economic and political integration that has its roots in the Schuman Declaration, of May 9th 1950. This Declaration on the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community, declared that:

“The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development, as a first step in the federation of Europe.”

This federation was of course always intended to be a capitalist federation of Europe. This project has been advanced over the last 60 years. And of course, the interests behind this federal project made sure that these common foundations of economic development would be to the benefit of the few at the expense of the many.

Just as in the capitalist nation-state, the EU too has always had its hierarchy. The German and French governments have had a controlling influence from the start. Since the beginning we have had core and peripheral countries, with some of the latter, to add insult to injury, now being referred to as being the ‘PIGS’.

The core has benefitted from their superior political strength and influence and more advanced economic position In particular they have benefitted from the favourable balance of trade situation brought about by the common euro currency. And of course, they have benefitted from the enormous concentration of capital in their banking systems which they loaned over decades to the peripheral countries.

The unstable and anarchic financial forces that were allowed and encouraged to develop are just like the spells that the sorcerer has conjured up and can no longer control, to use this metaphor of Marx from the Communist Manifesto.

The real problem for the ruling European elite now however is that these peripheral countries include amongst them the fifth largest economy in the EU zone. Spain, according to some analysts, has around €50billion worth of debt hidden in its banking system – it had a housing boom very similar to that in Ireland and as such, whatever about what banking ‘stress tests’ might say, Spain’s banks will be exposed just as they were in Ireland.

This is what so-threatens the very future of the EU. The survival of the core now depends upon the repayment of the debts of the periphery – or to be more precise, on the debts of the capitalist class of the peripheral countries.

The EU elite are terrified that Greece will default on its debt and become the ‘domino’ that brings the whole system down – either because of the inability of the system to restore itself given its own debt-related limits and contradictions, or alternatively, because of the growing possibility that the Greek people will rise up and knock over the domino to set in motion an uprising of the working peoples of Europe.

And this is why the IMF has entered the picture.

It has of course been argued that the intervention of the IMF heralds the beginning of the end for the EU. This may or may not be the case. I believe that ultimately this will be the case. It is our party position that this would be a good thing.

What the arrival of the IMF certainly heralds is the profound nature of the crisis of the European capitalist project. The arrival of the IMF and the imposition of its structural adjustment programmes (SAPs), austerity programmes and diktats clearly demonstrate this fact.

It certainly is the case that the EU/ECB elite and the IMF are ideological bedfellows – hence the joint approach that the troika has adopted, the relatively small differences of emphasis between its constituent parts notwithstanding. There is no doubt but that they serve the same agenda.

Just as the so-called developed or ‘first’ world has exploited and kept the people of the south and ‘third world’ in a state of underdevelopment through its financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank, so too now are more and more entire countries of the EU being made subservient to the dictatorship of international capital and markets, to be kept in a state of economic underdevelopment. This is being done in an effort to maintain the conditions for exploitation and profiteering, which are after all the fundamental and guiding principles of capitalism.

This is a huge change. It has always been a somewhat easier proposition for the ruling class to destroy the societies and lives of poor, non-white peoples in faraway places such as Malawi or Trinidad and Tobago for instance. It is a far different proposition however to have to do this in the heart of Europe. But as we speak the IMF/EU are trying to impose the types of measures that they have usually reserved for the people do the so-called ‘third world’.

Whether or not the EU actually collapses will ultimately depend on the outcome of this phase of the class struggle. Again, there is a strong possibility that the EU will come apart either because of its own contradictions, which in turn will facilitate and heighten the further development of the class struggle, and the possibility of a socialist alternative to replace the EU.

Either that or we will see the furtherance of the United Capitalist States of Europe agenda that was at the heart of the Lisbon treaty. This treaty was of course imposed upon the vast majority of the peoples of Europe who had no say in the matter, and twice on the people of Ireland. It is certainly no surprise therefore to hear Jean-Claude Trichet state the need for a single European Finance Ministry. This is the logic of where the European project was always heading – the Schumann Declaration outlined this, and the ‘self-amending’ aspect of the Lisbon Treaty paved the final few steps of the way to facilitate this type of measure.

In the final analysis, the future form that the future of Europe takes will be very much determined by the outcome of this phase of the class struggle that is currently raging in this Greece.

The fate of the working class of all of the countries that make up the EU, and indeed it could be argued, the fate of the working classes of countries right across the world will be determined by the outcome of what happens in Greece.

I recall seeing a demonstration here in Greece last year where one of the protestors was carrying a poster with the slogan saying that ‘Greece is not Ireland’. It is very unfortunate for me to have to say this but, thankfully, Greece is not Ireland.

Although we have a proud history of revolt and struggle against tyranny that has been an inspiration to people right across the globe in similar situations throughout the ages, the struggle in Ireland is lamentably at a low point at this time.

The success or failure of the Greek movement will have a determining effect on the form and extent of the resistance offered in Ireland and in other countries. The situation is that critical. Now is a defining time for us all.

The ‘pigs’ of the EU-IMF-ECB must be thrown out of Greece, Ireland and everywhere else they come to plunder.

There is no other choice. There is no other way.

Go raibh maith agaibh.

 

Print-friendly version.