Wednesday, October 22, 2025

From The Pages Of Workers Vanguard-A Dissenting View- “Occupy Wall Street”: Rebels for Liberal Reform-For Workers Revolution to Expropriate the Capitalist Class!

Click on the headline to link to the International Communist League (ICL) website.

Workers Vanguard No. 988
14 October 2011

“Occupy Wall Street”: Rebels for Liberal Reform

For Workers Revolution to Expropriate the Capitalist Class!

Below we print excerpts from an October 8 forum by Spartacist League spokesman Irene Gardner in Oakland.

This past Wednesday my comrades and I were at the mass demonstration in downtown Manhattan with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, roughly 700 of whom were arrested by the NYPD at a march over the Brooklyn Bridge a few days earlier. I think the scale and popularity of these protests have surprised the New York City ruling class somewhat. It’s another indication of how much anger is out there.

Each day we open up the paper and discover another set of horrible statistics about the effects of the capitalist crisis on poor and working people. The reality is a lot worse than the numbers. Back in 2008, the con men on Wall Street, whose financial swindles were central to the economic collapse, were bailed out to the tune of trillions of dollars. But the working class, black people, Latinos and the growing mass of the poor have been made to foot the bill, losing jobs, homes, pensions and just about anything else that makes life livable.

Today, one in six people of working age in the U.S. are unemployed, with long-term unemployment the highest since the Great Depression. The Census Bureau now reports that 46.2 million in the U.S. live under the poverty line, and of those, 2.6 million fell into poverty just in the last year alone. Those who still have a job are being squeezed to work harder, faster and longer for lower pay. And there are plenty of people who have given up even looking for a job altogether. A new census report also shows that one in five New Yorkers now live in poverty, the highest level in a decade. Another astounding figure: in New York City the number of homeless students in public schools has quadrupled since 2008, to almost 43,000 as of last October.

Meanwhile, during the past two years, corporate profits have broken all historic records. The government’s “welfare for the rich” schemes have boosted financial speculation, artificially driving up the price of stocks, while the manufacturing and productive capacity of the U.S. has dropped significantly. And now we’re in a global financial crisis with Europe ready to implode.

Even billionaire New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg mentioned that riots could happen if job prospects don’t improve. It is the fear that the masses might revolt that concerns union-hating Bloomberg and other multibillionaires like Warren Buffett. President Obama has now been pushing a new tax rate for millionaires (the so-called “Buffett Rule”) in exchange for Democrats’ support to more cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. In reality, this token “tax the rich” scheme is meant to be sugarcoating on another round of anti-working-class austerity.

Obama and the Democrats want to appear as if they care about “the little guy,” but in reality Obama championed the same austerity agenda as the Republicans all summer long, pushing for massive budget cuts. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are a political party of the capitalist class. As one Verizon striker put it, “The Democrats are doing the job of the Republicans, only with a smile.”

Economic crises, booms and busts, are nothing new—they are endemic to the capitalist mode of production. A key contradiction that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels identified is that under capitalism production is socialized. But the means of production remain the private property of a few, who appropriate the wealth that is produced by workers’ collective labor. Those who own the means of production—the factories, mines, railroads, banks—constitute the capitalist class, also known as the bourgeoisie. Those who subsist only on their labor power—their mental and physical ability to work—constitute the working class, the proletarians. Between these two classes lies a variety of merchants, independent professionals and others known as the petty bourgeoisie. But the main, decisive classes are the capitalist class and the working class.

Consciously or not, labor seeks to resist exploitation. It comes into constant conflict with the uncontrollable drive of capitalist production, which is the drive for the accumulation of more and more capital, and the production of more and more profit. This is the basis for class struggle—the irreconcilable class conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

The Imperialist Epoch

V.I. Lenin, leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution, described how capitalism in the late 19th century reached its highest stage—imperialism. He described how the means of production came to be monopolized by fewer and bigger conglomerates with ever-growing needs for investment funds and other financing, leading to the dominance of finance capital, centrally the giant banks. As the capitalists in the advanced industrial countries strove for newer markets to exploit, they carried out wars to redivide the world and secure spheres of exploitation in less-developed countries. In their competition for world domination, the imperialist powers engulfed people around the world in the barbarism of World Wars I and II and waged countless bloody wars in colonial and semicolonial countries.

The way out of the endless cycle of capitalist economic crises and imperialist wars was shown by the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, when workers took power in their own hands, expropriating the bourgeoisie and establishing the Soviet workers state. It is high time that working people, who create the wealth in this society, run this society! We need an all new ruling class—the workers! Fight, don’t starve! Labor must rule!

In a climate conditioned by the imperialists’ proclamations that the destruction of the Soviet Union proved Marxism to be a “failed experiment,” the prospect of proletarian socialist revolution might appear implausible. But the collectivized economy in the Soviet Union worked! Despite its isolation in a world dominated by imperialism, the Soviet Union, arising from deep backwardness and the destruction of world war, civil war and imperialist intervention, became an industrial and military powerhouse, even under Stalinist bureaucratic misrule.

When the capitalist world was in the midst of the Great Depression, the Soviet Union actually increased its industrial output. As Leon Trotsky pointed out in The Revolution Betrayed in 1936:

“Even if the Soviet Union, as a result of internal difficulties, external blows and the mistakes of its leadership, were to collapse—which we firmly hope will not happen—there would remain as an earnest of the future this indestructible fact, that thanks solely to a proletarian revolution a backward country has achieved in less than ten years successes unexampled in history.”

Now, two decades after counterrevolution destroyed the Soviet degenerated workers state, many in Russia long for the days when they were guaranteed a job, education, housing, health care and vacations, regretting that they were taken in by the myth of capitalist “democracy.” What undermined the collectivized economy, and ultimately laid the basis for the destruction of the Soviet Union itself, was the parasitic Stalinist bureaucracy, which robbed the workers of their political power and vainly sought to appease the imperialists by selling out workers struggles in other countries.

Today, the deep economic crisis in the capitalist countries contrasts sharply with the situation in China, where the industries central to production are collectivized. Beijing has massively channeled investment into developing infrastructure and productive capacity. However, China’s Stalinist regime also undermines the social gains of the 1949 Revolution by conciliating imperialism and promoting “market reforms” that strengthen internal counterrevolutionary forces. In its “partnership” with world capital, the Beijing bureaucracy is subsidizing American imperialism through its huge investment in U.S. treasury bonds, which, among other things, are used to finance the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. As Trotskyists, we stand for the unconditional military defense of the Chinese deformed workers state against imperialism and internal counterrevolution. At the same time, we call for proletarian political revolution to replace the Stalinist bureaucrats with a revolutionary internationalist leadership and a regime of workers democracy.

From Spain’s Indignados...

I want to talk a bit about Europe and in particular Spain, where I visited this past summer. Along with the wild roller-coaster ride of the stock market, Europe has been in the news just about every day with the imperialist rulers desperately trying to keep the economies afloat. In Europe, the financial crisis has sharply accentuated the contradictions inherent in the European Union (EU), an unstable consortium of rival capitalist states, some richer, some poorer. At the heart of the EU’s contradictions is the fact that the maintenance of a common currency requires a common state power. That is simply not possible under capitalism. As proletarian internationalists, we have always opposed the EU as an imperialist trade bloc. We say that only the conquest of state power by the working class can lay the basis for a socialist United States of Europe and a rationally planned economy.

In Spain, youth unemployment is around 45 percent. Factories are closing, hospitals are cutting back, and evictions during just three months of this year numbered over 15,000, more than 150 a day. When I was in Spain I got to discuss with some of the “Indignados” (“the indignant”) at their encampment in Puerta del Sol, the central square in Madrid. The Spanish Indignados are essentially a petty-bourgeois movement that arose in response to the austerity measures being enforced by the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) before its huge defeat in the municipal and regional elections in May. The PSOE in power has carried out a relentless capitalist austerity drive.

Those who started the Indignados movement were inspired by the best-selling book Indignez-vous! (Be Indignant!) by Stéphane Hessel, a French anti-communist bourgeois ideologue. They were also inspired by the protests in Egypt and Iceland. They occupied squares in major cities throughout Spain, numbering in the tens of thousands, mostly youth, calling on people to “stand up against indifference in a peaceful uprising.”

Their main organizers, around a group called Real Democracy Now, put out a manifesto calling for an end to corruption and an end to the dictatorship of the markets, “real democracy.” But what is democracy in a class-divided society? Under capitalism, it is democracy for the ruling class, those wealthy few who own the means of production and carry out laws to defend their private property. There are no laws that will establish equality between the capitalists and the working class. The capitalists have a state apparatus, armed bodies of men (cops, courts, prisons) to keep the bourgeoisie in power and repress any challenge to their rule.

So how do the Indignados propose to change society? By endless protests and encampments? You can be indignant all you want, but to really make a change you have to ally with the social power of the working class, the only class that has the power to stop production and has the historic interest to overthrow capitalism. But the leadership of the Indignados movement is anti-union and therefore anti-working-class, because unions are the basic defense organizations of the working class. In Spain early on, the Indignados assemblies would not allow any union or political organization to join with them, “in order to guarantee the political neutrality of this citizens’ movement”! Their so-called “non-political” stance is actually very political—in the direction of anti-communism. This is shown by their exclusion of left groups from speaking at assemblies and attempts to censor left groups from distributing their literature.

Even their anti-leadership emphasis on “consensus” decision-making is undemocratic. Instead of using majority votes to make decisions, people are supposed to debate endlessly until they all agree. Then, of course, a non-elected clique usually makes the decisions in the background.

While the Indignados leadership pushes anti-union politics, it seems that many of the youth don’t necessarily buy into it. One example is that there have been large teachers strikes in Madrid recently, and some Indignados have put out a statement in support.

Many of these youth hate the effects of capitalism but do not see socialism as an alternative. The whole “death of communism” ideology pushed by the bourgeoisie following the fall of the Soviet Union is reflected in such low-level protest movements. This is also a reflection of the betrayals of the Social Democracy and the Communist parties, which have engaged in decades of class-collaboration—the Spanish labor union bureaucrats work hand in hand with the Socialist Party government! We fight to win youth over to the side of the working class, to the program of international socialist revolution, and to the understanding that you need a Bolshevik vanguard party to accomplish this.

...To “Occupy Wall Street”

The new Occupy Wall Street encampment, which has been gaining steam around the country, is in solidarity with the Spanish Indignados, raising similar demands against corporate greed and for a “leaderless resistance movement.” As one columnist put it, it’s like a “festival of frustrations” and people are plenty mad. They also look for inspiration from the “Egyptian Spring.” But look at what has happened in Egypt—the workers continue to get screwed under a renewed military dictatorship. What’s needed is not endless protests and occupations of squares but workers to power!

For many of the youth in the encampment, this is their first protest. Many are pro-union, but they view the working class as just another base of support for their all-inclusive “movement.” We’ve been intervening into the Occupy Wall Street protests, distributing lots of Workers Vanguard, looking to win over those who are open to a Marxist perspective of international socialist revolution.

Many of you have seen the video of the Wall Street protesters getting viciously attacked by the NYPD during a march to Union Square, where 80 people got arrested. The videos show several young women being corralled inside a movable police pen and pepper-sprayed by cops. Others were kicked, bruised and thrown over barricades by the police. And then last weekend 700 were arrested when the police trapped them on a march over the Brooklyn Bridge. According to a recent New York Times article, the NYPD is geared up to deal with “unrest.”

Many of the protesters are saying that the problem with the cops is that they were “unprofessional.” But these cops are as “professional” as they come! They are precisely carrying out their “profession” as the capitalist state’s armed bodies of men. There are massive illusions that “the cops are workers, too,” with slogans like “NYPD is a layoff away from joining us” and “The 99 percent includes cops.” No, the cops are not a part of the working class—they have a special role to play as part of the capitalist state apparatus. We say cops, prison guards and security guards out of the unions!

What we are seeing in the Occupy Wall Street protest is lowest-common-denominator politics, which does not at all challenge the rule of the bourgeoisie. An example of this was seen in the attempt to create a General Assembly declaration: Somebody objected to using the phrase “redistribution of wealth” because it sounded “dangerously similar to theft”! So it was decided, via consensus, to remove this phrase altogether. If you look at their final declaration posted on the Web, it does not even oppose capitalism, it just raises the same appeals for classless “democracy.” This is not new. A lot of these same themes were put forward during the anti-globalization protests of the late 1990s, here and in Europe, which did not go anywhere.

Many of the slogans raised, like “We are the 99 percent,” are totally compatible with the Democratic Party’s line. In fact, the Democrats are working to get on top of these protests as a way of invigorating Obama’s campaign for the next election and to counter the Tea Party. Not only has Obama empathized with the protests, but yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported that even Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke have expressed sympathy! You also have celebrities like Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon there—one of the first things she asked was if people were registered to vote. And there are the left-talking Democrats like Charles Barron, all looking to corral youth toward the Democratic Party.

As I mentioned at the start, several unions have called for joining the Occupy Wall Street protests. A recent article noted, “The decision by organized labor to join the demonstrations has given them an extra jolt of numbers and credibility, since unions have historically played an important, but waning, role in mobilizing voters on the left” (New York Times, 6 October). The labor bureaucrats’ program is not about class struggle. It’s about pressuring the Democratic Party to go a little easier on their membership during a period of union-busting austerity.

One of the more vocal unions in support of the protests has been the New York City Transport Workers Union (TWU). Like other unions, the TWU is under heavy attack by the bosses. TWU members showed real social power when they went on strike in December 2005, defying the state Taylor Law banning public workers strikes. But the workers were stabbed in the back by the leaders of other NYC unions and the TWU International, and in the end were sold out by their own local union misleaders.

TWU bureaucrats and the rest of the AFL-CIO officialdom are pushing impotent “tax the rich” schemes along with reformist left groups like the International Socialist Organization, the Workers World Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. These “tax the rich” demands are tailor-made to fit in with the current Obama administration and Democratic Party platform. The corporations and banks are sitting on mountains of cash, but you aren’t going to get your hands on it by appealing to the tax authority of the capitalist state, whose purpose is to guarantee and defend the interests of the bourgeoisie.

This past spring, tens of thousands of unionists and their supporters (including students) came out to occupy the Wisconsin State Capitol to protest Republican governor Scott Walker’s union-busting law tearing up collective bargaining for public workers unions. But the bureaucratic misleaders of the AFL-CIO worked overtime to squelch any move toward actually using labor’s strike weapon. Instead they channeled the anger of the ranks into support for the Democratic Party with a petition to recall Walker and a number of Republican state legislators, which failed miserably. Wisconsin public employee unions have been dealt a real defeat.

Within the labor movement, the proletariat is saddled with a pro-capitalist union bureaucracy that promotes the lie that the interests of labor and capital are compatible. They tie working people and the oppressed to the capitalist system, especially through support to the Democratic Party. The trade-union misleaders poured a whopping $450 million into the 2008 elections, backing capitalist politicians like Obama as “friends of labor.”

It is absolutely necessary to forge a new leadership of the unions to mobilize labor in struggle for its class interests, to fight against all forms of discrimination and for full citizenship rights for immigrants. A strategic question for the American workers revolution is the fight against black oppression, which is rooted in the very foundation of capitalism in the U.S. If the unions are to fight for their very existence, they must take up the defense of the ghetto and barrio poor by fighting for jobs, quality housing, education, health care and more.

The decades of betrayals by the labor bureaucracy have encouraged the U.S. rulers in the arrogant belief that they can get away with doing anything to the working class, the poor and most everyone else without provoking any social struggle. But the rulers and their labor lieutenants cannot eliminate the class struggle. The same conditions that grind down the workers can and will propel them into battle against the capitalist class enemy. Right now International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 in Longview, Washington, is in a battle for its life, fighting against the union-busting of the EGT multinational conglomerate. They have been facing court injunctions, arrests and police assaults, including pepper spray and cops in full riot gear, in a fight to defend their union.

Renewed labor battles will lay the basis for reviving and extending the unions, with a new, class-struggle leadership coming to the fore. It is crucial that we build a revolutionary vanguard party that will bring the critical element of consciousness to the proletariat, to transform it from a class in itself to a class for itself, fighting to do away with this entire system of wage slavery. Join us in the fight for a socialist future for humanity!

The General Strike In Greece- Make The Bosses Pay-Victory To The Greek Workers!

Click on the headline to link to a BBC online report of the events surrounding the two-day General Strike in Greece.

Markin comment:

The international working class movement and its allies, including in the Occupy movement, needs to support the Greek workers in their General Strike. The line is drawn in the sand. Make the bosses (in Greece, and internationally) pay. The bosses created the mess, let them pay. If not, move aside and let the workers rule. As for the Greek workers, who today stand as the vanguard of the international working class offensive against the bosses austerity drive-Build workers councils in order to prepare to take power and create a workers government. The time is now. Labor must rule

Sunday, October 19, 2025

The General Strike In Greece- Make The Bosses Pay-Victory To The Greek Workers!

Click on the headline to link to a BBC online report of the events surrounding the two-day General Strike in Greece.

Markin comment:

The international working class movement and its allies, including in the Occupy movement, needs to support the Greek workers in their General Strike. The line is drawn in the sand. Make the bosses (in Greece, and internationally) pay. The bosses created the mess, let them pay. If not, move aside and let the workers rule. As for the Greek workers, who today stand as the vanguard of the international working class offensive against the bosses austerity drive-Build workers councils in order to prepare to take power and create a workers government. The time is now. Labor must rule

Friday, July 18, 2025

From The Pages Of "Workers Vanguard"- Greece: Mass Anger Over Savage Austerity-Workers Must Rule!-For a Socialist United States of Europe!

Markin comment:

As always in such general strike and possiblly pre-revolutitonary situations a call by communist propagandists for independent working class organizations to take power is in order. For A Greek Communist Party-Greek Trade Union Federations (and whoever else of the up-against-the-wall middle class and student elements they can bring in) government!
Workers Vanguard No. 983
8 July 2011

European Crisis and the Bankruptcy of Capitalism

Greece: Mass Anger Over Savage Austerity-Workers Must Rule!-
For a Socialist United States of Europe!

On June 29, as a two-day general strike virtually shut down the country and tens of thousands protested outside, the Greek parliament approved a new round of brutal austerity measures demanded by the Greek bourgeoisie and its imperialist overlords. The demonstrators—who included, in addition to workers, a broad range of the population from students and other youth to professionals and retirees—were viciously attacked by club-wielding riot police. More than a year of unrelenting attacks on the living standards of the Greek population has resulted in seething unrest across broad layers of society. In the last year alone, there have been at least a dozen one-day general strikes and massive protests. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, homelessness has skyrocketed and many people, especially pensioners, are reliant on soup kitchens for their survival.

Video footage of the wanton violence meted out by the cops has provoked widespread indignation, as has another video documenting collusion between the police and hooded provocateurs who infiltrated the protesters. Police fired endless volleys of tear gas and stun grenades and pummeled protesters with chunks of masonry. At least 38 were reportedly arrested in what was blatantly a cop riot. We demand that all charges be dropped against the anarchists and other anti-austerity protesters, including those arrested during the earlier general strikes!

It is clear for all to see that working people are being fleeced to pay for a crisis they are not responsible for. The economic crisis gripping Greece—a particularly severe expression of the world capitalist crisis—was triggered in the spring of last year as global financial capitalists, fearing that the heavily indebted Greek government would default on its loan obligations, began spurning Greek government bonds. The plummeting price of those bonds threatened European banks, especially in France and Germany—foreign financial institutions are exposed to some 340 billion euros in Greek public and private debt.

To try to head off the crisis, at least temporarily, the European Union (EU) and the IMF agreed last year to a 110 billion euro “rescue package” on condition that Athens impose draconian austerity measures on Greece’s working people. The October 2009 elections replaced the right-wing New Democracy (ND) regime with the bourgeois-populist Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) of George Papandreou, with the bourgeoisie calculating that the masses would more readily accept “sacrifice” if demanded by PASOK. The PASOK government answered the EU and IMF’s ultimatum with a year-long campaign of slashing public sector workers’ wages, gutting pensions and ramping up taxes. These attacks hit hardest at the poorest in society, including immigrant workers. In addition, Greek officials, in response to EU/IMF demands that they raise cash by privatizing a host of state-owned enterprises, have launched what the bourgeois press describes as a “fire sale,” auctioning off airports, ports and prime land.

European capitalists fear that a default by Greece could immediately pose a similar collapse by other heavily indebted countries such as Ireland and Portugal, which have already received bailouts from the EU and IMF, and Spain, whose economy is larger than that of Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined. Fearing the potentially catastrophic effects of such contagion, the EU/IMF hastily agreed last month on a second “rescue package” for Greece, amounting to a further 120 billion euros. Yet hardly anyone believes that these bailouts will do more than delay the inevitable default.

Everyone can see that the fate of the Greek working class, and much of the petty bourgeoisie, will be ever more dire without a radical solution. The working masses have demonstrated their combativity time and again. But the workers’ leaders, whether the despised PASOK-loyal tops of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Confederation of Public Servants (ADEDY) or the far more militant-sounding Greek Communist Party (KKE) and its PAME labor front, have thus far succeeded in channeling workers’ anger into what amounts to militant parliamentary lobbying. In effect, they appeal to the Greek capitalists to stand up to their senior partners in Germany and France. This nationalist class collaboration is a recipe for demoralization and defeat.

The allies of the Greek proletariat are to be found not among its “own” exploiters but among the workers elsewhere in Europe and beyond. A proletarian upheaval in Greece could trigger a wave of class struggle throughout Europe against the ever more brutal and incessant attacks of the capitalists against the jobs, benefits and living standards of all workers on the continent. A workers government in Greece would immediately repudiate the imperialist debt. Such an act would require a direct appeal to the proletariat, from Germany and France to Spain and Portugal, to come to the defense of their Greek class brothers and sisters against the combined forces of the European bourgeoisies.

As long as Greek workers are mobilized primarily against the foreign diktats of the IMF and EU, they will be unable to see that opposing the imperialists is intertwined with overthrowing the Greek bourgeoisie. The Greek government is not simply a tool of the European and other imperialist powers, as some signs in the Athens demonstrations suggest, but of the Greek bourgeoisie that has always exploited, suppressed and bled the working class in the pursuit of profit.

The question that is objectively posed is the need for the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist order and the establishment of working-class rule. Yet there is a huge disparity between the objective needs of the Greek working class and oppressed on one side and the political program of their leadership on the other. The repeated strikes and protests are designed to dissipate the anger of workers, whose militancy is clearly not the issue. The problem is that the working class is hamstrung by a leadership that accepts the need for the working class to bear some degree of austerity to “bail out” capitalism, while objecting that the terms and conditions dictated by the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB) are too severe.

The program of the labor bureaucracy—defined by what is “practical” under capitalism—has led to disaster for the working class. To overcome the gulf between the workers’ present consciousness and the necessity for a workers government based on organs of proletarian power, a Leninist-Trotskyist vanguard party would put forward a series of transitional demands, starting from the felt needs of the masses and pointing the way toward the seizure of state power by the working class and the expropriation of the rapacious capitalist class.

To combat mass unemployment, it is necessary to demand the sharing of available work, with no loss of pay, and a massive program of public works. To protect even their current living standards—already among the lowest in Europe—workers must demand that wages be indexed to inflation. To unmask the exploitation, robbery and fraud of the industrialists and bankers, workers should demand that the capitalists open their (real) books. With the imperialists demanding the dismantling of state enterprises, the proletariat must fight for the expropriation of the productive property of the capitalist class as a whole and the establishment of a planned economy under workers rule, where production would be based on social need, not profit.

Combat National Chauvinism!

Throughout Europe, the capitalist press and politicians have been whipping up a chauvinist frenzy against Greeks, who are portrayed as lazy, ungrateful scroungers. Last year the right-wing German Bild (27 October 2010) screamed: “Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks…and the Acropolis too!” A recent London Financial Times (9 May) editorial demanded: “Athens must be put under the gun.” For all the talk of bailing out Greece, the only “bailout” that is taking place is that of Europe’s banks. Columnist Martin Wolf noted in the Financial Times (21 June): “It is far less embarrassing to state that one is helping Greece when one is in fact helping one’s own banks.”

With chauvinist arrogance, the European imperialists, led by Germany, are seeking to impose on Greece, an EU member state, the kind of diktat they are accustomed to issuing to neocolonial countries in the Third World. The Financial Times (17 June) reports that officials of the “troika”—the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission—are demanding that “outsiders” be brought in “to make Greece’s privatization program happen,” adding that “because Greece seemed incapable of collecting taxes, international experts would come in to do that, too.” The article further reports that Finnish officials were insisting that “Athens assets should be securitised so they could be used as collateral. If Greece defaulted, lenders would gain an airport or some other utility.”

The imperialists’ dismissive attitude to Greece’s sovereignty has in turn fueled national chauvinism in Greece. Right-wing opponents of the EU/IMF’s bailout include New Democracy, Greece’s main opposition party. ND represents Greek business interests that have no intention of paying the imperialists’ extortion themselves and fear, as BBC economics editor Paul Mason put it, “a tax bill the like of which they have never dreamed, nor indeed paid.” However, ND and PASOK are united in the determination that Greek working people pay for the country’s economic crisis.

Recent months have seen the explosive growth of a new movement, the so-called “indignant citizens” movement. The “Indignados” placed themselves at the head of the mass mobilizations outside parliament, where Greek flags proliferated, the Greek national anthem was sung and anti-American and anti-German sentiment was rife. Protesters have waved EU flags with a swastika at the center—equating “German” with “Nazi” and invoking the spectre of World War II, when Greece was occupied by German imperialism (followed by rampaging British troops).

In Spain, the Indignados movement arose in response to the austerity measures that were being enforced by the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Party government before its huge defeat in the last elections. In Greece, the petty-bourgeois Indignados emerged in the context of the abject failure of the trade-union bureaucracy to present any way forward for the struggles of the working masses. The two main trade-union federations, the GSEE and ADEDY, representing the private and public sectors respectively, are controlled by PASOK, which is imposing the austerity measures. Despite the “socialist” reference in its name, and the credentials given to it by opportunist left groups, PASOK is a capitalist party.

Broad layers of the middle class that could be rallied behind an insurgent proletariat struggling for power are instead being drawn into virulently chauvinist, anti-immigrant and anti-working-class movements. Displaying overt hostility to the organizations of the working class and the left, the Indignados present themselves as a “pro-democracy” movement of all classes. As in Spain, all leftist political parties and trade unions, as well as red flags and banners, were banned from the Greek protests at first. Not surprisingly, given the nationalist fervor whipped up by the Indignados, Golden Dawn and other fascist outfits have been seen at the protests.

There has been an ominous rise in racist attacks, as desperately impoverished immigrants are used as scapegoats for the economic devastation. Earlier this year, fascist thugs rampaged through a heavily immigrant area of Athens, killing one person and wounding many more. Golden Dawn got over 5 percent of the vote in municipal elections in Athens late last year. According to the London-based Institute of Race Relations, Golden Dawn’s Nikos Michaloliakos, accompanied by eight apparently armed bodyguards, gave a Nazi salute at a council meeting in Athens in January.

The fascists are emboldened by the racist policies of the government. Greece’s border with Turkey is one of the front lines of “Fortress Europe,” with EU border patrols employed to keep immigrants out. The Greek government has announced plans to build a razor-wire fence, equipped with sonar systems and thermal sensors, along the border. The workers movement must fight for full citizenship rights for all immigrants and to unionize foreign workers. For union/minority mobilizations to stop fascist provocations! For integrated workers defense guards to protect immigrant neighborhoods!

Communist Party: Left Face of Greek Nationalism

The Stalinist KKE adopts a posture of militant opposition to the PASOK government and promotes PAME as a class-struggle alternative to what it calls the “government- and employer-led” trade unions. But the Greek Stalinists present no fundamental alternative to the betrayals of the GSEE/ADEDY union misleaders. Despite its occasional verbal radicalism, the KKE is hostile to the program of workers revolution to overthrow Greek capitalism.

The KKE’s political bankruptcy is evident in regard to the Indignados. In an article in Rizospastis (5 June), the KKE correctly noted that “the ‘anonymous’ leaders of the ‘movement of the squares,’ the ‘non-partisan,’ ‘spontaneous,’ ‘non-politicized’ citizens, appear to be politicized, declaring themselves ‘anti-left’.” The article adds that with their slogans “Out with the left,” “Parties out” and “Trade unions out,” the Indignados are “not that democratic, or, to be more accurate, they are undemocratic.” What the KKE cannot challenge, though, is the virulent nationalism of the Indignados, which the KKE itself shares.

Indeed, the KKE has made defense of “national sovereignty” its own calling card, and is particularly virulent in espousing Greek nationalism in relation to Turkey, the traditional enemy of its “own” bourgeoisie. For example, in a speech last year, KKE general secretary Aleka Papariga complained that the EU was not taking account of “our national sovereignty rights” when considering Turkey’s bid for membership. She went on to chastise Papandreou for “trying to cover up the issue by dividing the Aegean, something that will have an adverse effect on the islands’ defense.” Nationalism within the workers movement is the chief obstacle to constructing a genuine revolutionary workers party in Greece.

It is a travesty that the KKE retains a reputation as militant fighters against capitalism based on the Resistance against the Nazi occupation and the subsequent Greek Civil War of 1946-49. In pursuit of its program of class collaboration with the Greek bourgeoisie, the KKE handed power back to the bourgeoisie following World War II. The working class, backed by the peasantry, was the decisive force in the anti-Nazi Resistance, mounting massive strikes and demonstrations from late 1942 until the withdrawal of German troops in 1944. The working class, arms in hand, had state power in its grasp. But its leaders, the treacherous KKE, actually welcomed the arrival of British troops into Greece, enabling the imperialists to stabilize the situation, bring back the hated monarchy and massacre the workers.

The Greek Stalinists lived up to the terms of the secret Tehran agreement, whereby Stalin granted the imperialists the “right” to preserve capitalist rule in West Europe and Greece. Politically disarming the proletariat, the Stalinists went so far as to join a “national” government of the bourgeoisie. In February 1945, they signed the Varkiza agreement, which physically disarmed the KKE-led Resistance forces as British troops and the Greek National Guard were preparing to unleash a full-scale wave of terror against the masses. Only in February 1946 did the KKE finally abandon its suicidal policy and take up the “armed struggle” again. In October 1949, after ferocious repression, the Civil War was ended. The KKE ranks had fought heroically. But needless to say, the KKE learned nothing from the tragic consequences of its treachery and continues to pursue its bankrupt program of subordination to the Greek bourgeoisie.

What the Trotskyists wrote at the end of World War II holds true for the role of the Stalinists throughout the Civil War:

“The Greek masses were burning with revolutionary determination and wished to prepare the overthrow of all their oppressors—Nazi and Greek. Instead of providing the mass movement with a revolutionary program, similar to the Bolshevik program of 1917, and preparing the masses for the seizure of power, the Stalinists steered the movement into the blind alley of People’s Frontism. The Stalinists, who enjoyed virtual hegemony of the mass movement, joined with a lot of petty bourgeois politicians, lawyers, professors, who had neither mass following nor influence, and artificially worked to limit the struggle to the fight for capitalist democracy.”

—“Civil War in Greece,” Fourth International, February 1945

The social-democratic reformists in Greece—such as the Socialist Workers Party (SEK), which is affiliated to the British group of the same name, and Xekinima, the Greek affiliate of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI)—stand to the right of the KKE in their enthusiasm for the anti-Communist, anti-working-class Indignados. For example, Xekinima calls to “Extend the movement to all work places, workers’ neighbourhoods, and the youth” (, 27 June). The notion of classless “democracy” that these groups promote has long been an anti-Communist code word that actually means support to bourgeois class rule. Thus, both the SEK and Xekinima supported capitalist restoration in the former Soviet Union in 1991-92 and hailed counterrevolutionary forces such as Polish Solidarność and Boris Yeltsin’s Russian “democrats.”

For Workers Revolution!

The Trotskyist Group of Greece fights to forge a Leninist-Trotskyist party capable of leading the working class to power. Above all, this means breaking the workers from nationalism and winning them to a revolutionary internationalist perspective. During Round One of the present crisis, the TGG issued a 28 April 2010 leaflet that opposed the widespread Greek nationalism as “poisonous to class consciousness.” Any effective struggle against the bosses’ attacks must begin with the understanding that the workers have no country, until they seize the one they’re in. Our comrades insisted: “What is needed is international workers solidarity across the EU against capital” (see “Down With PASOK Government’s ‘Stability Program’!” WV No. 959, 21 May 2010).

The Greek financial crisis has increased the seething national antagonisms in Europe, as seen in the diplomatic spats between France and Germany. German chancellor Angela Merkel, unpopular at home and with a shrinking majority in the Bundestag (parliament), has clashed with French officials and with the ECB over whether the bankers have to accept some losses. Following pressure from the IMF, Merkel agreed to a new bailout package while the French banks have offered to roll over Greek debts for 30 years. Whatever divisions there may be within bourgeois circles over how to deal with the catastrophic financial situation, in Germany, France, Britain and Europe as a whole, each government is determined to make the working masses pay for a crisis that is caused by the capitalist system itself.

The EU is an imperialist trade bloc, centered on a pact between the French and German capitalist rulers to ratchet up the exploitation of the working classes at home while trying to gain advantage over their imperialist rivals as well as the smaller European states. At the same time, the EU is an unstable formation that intensifies national antagonisms and fuels chauvinism.

We Marxists oppose the EU from the perspective of proletarian internationalism. The comrades of our German section, the Spartakist Workers Party, last year published an article titled “Solidarity with the Greek Workers! For Class Struggle Against the German Capitalists!” (Spartakist No. 183, May 2010), which noted:

“The chauvinist campaign against Greece is being set in motion so as to prevent the German working class from hitting on the idea of placing blame for the crisis at the feet of the capitalist system and its own rulers. The workers movement in Germany must mobilize in solidarity with Greek workers and all the other victims of the EU imperialists—after all, they’ll be confronted with similar attacks in the immediate future. The witchhunt against Greece also serves to split and weaken the multiethnic working class in Germany.”

Today, despite the relentless bleeding of the Greek working people, the country remains mired in deep recession. The bankrupt capitalist class manifestly does not have any crumbs that it is willing to throw to dampen workers’ anger. Short of a struggle for working-class power, the workers’ struggles will continue to be frustrated. The perspective for Greek workers must be that of common class struggle with their class brothers and sisters—from Turkey to Germany and elsewhere around the world.

As the TGG wrote in its leaflet: “What’s needed is a socialist revolution to overthrow the capitalist state and replace it with a workers state that will lay the basis for building a socialist society. For that, you need to build a revolutionary workers party—a party like Lenin and Trotsky’s Bolsheviks—which will fight for a workers government. The TGG, Greek sympathizing section of the ICL, seeks to build such a party” (our emphasis).

Thursday, June 26, 2025

* From The Voice Of NPR's Legal Reporter- The 2008-09 United States Supreme Court Session- 3 Key Decisions

Click on title to link to National Public Radio(NPR) Legal Reporter Nina Totenberg's take on some important legal decisions from the 2008-09 sessions. Let's make it easy-get rid of their capitalist 'injustice' legal system by getting of their whole system. Right?

Friday, February 28, 2025

*From The "SteveLendmanBlog"- Global Sweatshop Wage Slavery

Click on the headline to link to a "SteveLendmanBlog" entry, a report on the world wage scale, aptly termed sweatshop.

Markin comment:

Karl Marx said it long, too long ago- not a fair day's wage but abolish wages. He spent his life also saying, and more to the point for us- don't just analyze the world, do something about it. And you know what that means.