by Anarchist Federation (Greece)
The covid-19 pandemic is the first drop of the new most severe storm that is about to hit workers and the entire social base (in fact its consequences are perceived by now, they will only gradually become more and more noticeable for all of us). It is, however, an external factor that has acted in an accelerating way in the direction of further deregulation of the functioning of the capitalist system, thus demonstrating its anti-social class nature, which consists of reproducing the capital for the enrichment and well-being of the parasitic class of capitalists, that is, the class that misappropriates the entire socially generated wealth by violence and coercion. The current health crisis seems to be acting defiantly in terms of the resurgence of the structural crisis that is vibrating the foundations of capitalism, which is once again confronted with its own internal contradictions, the contrast of overproduction with underconsumption, the limits for investing in accumulated capital and the ever-fragile bubbles of the financial system.
Unsurprisingly, the new phase of the capitalist crisis will be loaded entirely on its backs once again by the working class, with the aim of regrouping and redrawing the urban camp. While economic indicators in stock markets are plummeting internationally, economists estimate that in 2020 the recession in Greece will reach 10%, a development that automatically implies an increase in public debt. Every month in quarantine for the major capitalist economies is equivalent to a 2% reduction in global GDP. Calculations by the UN’s International Labour Organisation refer to an increase in unemployment on a global scale of 25 million, while at the same time an additional 20 million people will be at the poverty line (in Greece this year recorded unemployment is estimated to reach 22.5%). This economic surge is at historic lows, cultivating the ground for impending fierce conflicts that are most likely to blood the global proletariat.
In the midst of this explosive situation in all respects, capitalists are in principle seeking to keep their balance sheets stable, while at the same time doing everything in their power to turn the crisis into an opportunity for profitability. On the other hand, the social base is going through the turmoil of its passions, as evidenced by the complete deregulation of industrial relations, the circumvention of labour rights and the employer’s arbitrariness, with what they entail: flexible, intensive uninsured and rotating work, unpaid overtime, non-payment of gifts and refusal to grant licences, suspensions of employment contracts, introduction of tele-work, redundancies and unemployment, crumb-crumb allowances for those on the beneficiaries’ lists, the imposition of a single minimum wage of EUR 533, the lack of health protection measures in the workplace, and 50% reductions in workers’ salaries accompanying the reduction of their working hours. At the same time, financial support for people with disabilities is suspended and the support allowance for refugees in concentration camps on the islands is being denied. The slightest measure has not been taken to de-congest prisons, migrant camps and psychiatric clinics where conditions are appalling in every respect (and by health obviously). In fact, two prisoners died because they were not moved to hospital units. Under the current emergency regime, the government has taken the opportunity to bring a bill to the restructure of all levels of education to the vote, which, among other things, transforms the Lyceum into a conservative and intensive examination centre of unbridled pressure and competition, increases the intensification and class barriers to higher education, evaluates teachers by opening new avenues of security and officially introduces tuition fees to the foreign-language departments of HEIs in the direction of the gradual but systematic privatisation of education. Now in the near future, if not 30/4, then from September or even the end of 2020, protection measures for the first residence are to be lifted, paving the way for massive auctions and foreclosures of thousands of popular homes. In addition, a government environmental bill that will be put to the vote immediately provides for a number of facilities for more direct and more flexible licensing for investments related to green development, energy and hence the leveling of nature, with what this may entail for the local biodiversity, the local community, and the ecological footprint that this type of business and construction activities will leave behind. Moreover, the same bill explicitly lists the further privatisation of ADMEE, Finally, there is also a specific reference to the extension of the Greece-Italy interconnection project with the IGI Poseidon gas pipeline, to include interconnection with the East Med pipeline. When health becomes a commodity, human lives are accounted for on the financial basis for the crows of private clinics and their political bosses.
If one side of the coin shows the class exploitation of those at the base of the social and productive pyramid, then the other side shows the economic and political strengthening of the ruling class. At this juncture, capitalists have found themselves obviously favoured, judging by the facilities, financing and tax exemptions that have been obtained from the state’s political strategy. Let’s see what the numbers say again. Thirty million euros went to the private clinics for diagnostic tests for Coronavirus, although three university laboratories have already certified for the detection of Coronavirus and offered to assist in this. Twenty million euros have been given so far to the television channels for advertising spots of the EODY, which are provided by law to be free of charge. Each of the major private television stations was exempted from the EUR 3.5 million corresponding to the costs of obtaining a television licence (i.e. an exemption of EUR 21 million in total). The big toll contractors pocketed 11 million euros. A total of EUR 54 million was allocated to KEK and EUR 30 million to platforms and certification bodies. The remaining money out of the projected total of EUR 193 million was not given to the beneficiary workers, but was exchanged for training cheques. Moreover, the shipowners, this notorious caste that avoids paying taxation, received targeted money from the state to “get back on its feet.” If you have not been filled with numbers, see how the European Union is acting at this juncture, this transnational capitalist integration organisation which is in the service of civil interests, in particular the financial capital, multinational companies and monopoly groups. The European Commission has proposed, on the basis of a European Union budget, that EUR 2 trillion be allocated to boost entrepreneurship, i.e. for the treasure of capitalists.
Bourgeois politicians, technocrats and representatives of multinationals are debating within the European Union the creation of a “Recovery Fund,” proclaiming that this will be the lever to overcome the economic dimensions of the Coronavirus crisis. This is how the land is being built for new loans, the usury of which are once again going to crush the wages, pensions and labour rights of the social base, to burden their tax from the bottom up, but also to promote sell-offs and privatisations under the pressure of over-indebtedness of state funds.
And while wealth continues to be constantly redistributed from the bottom to the top of social stratification, the government’s criminal policies, which are in the same strategic direction as those of its predecessors, are disguised by the methodical propaganda campaign of its paid and well-fed parrots, that is, the status quo, which diligently, systematically and senselessly reproduces the notorious narrative of “individual responsibility,” thereby flushing out all the state policies of plundering the social majority. For all this we do not get surprised. After all, the state as a mechanism of oppression ensures that it serves by all means the interests of the ruling class, that is, the capitalists. It also ensures that it shields the suppression mechanisms, especially when it carries out fierce attacks on the grassroots, which inflate the material incompetence of the latter. This is how we can explain the government’s choice to proceed with reinforcement with personnel and equipment of the security forces of ELAS. and the Port Authority in this regard.
At a time when the state and its bosses are trying to quarantine class resistance, labor claims and workers’ union action, the government has announced the transfer of May Day from 1/5 to 9/5, Saturday Day! Using health conditions, the government attempts to defame the political and class content of Labor Day, making it a reason to restrict the movements of would-be tour operators, making May Day a common festive day, thus removing its class and strike. Labor Day is neither a holiday nor a festive day of spiritual or post-pagan nature. Such a perception suits the order of the sovereigns, which is why it is promoted by it in such a systematic way that it is written with this meaning in the alienated consciousness of a large part of society. But for us, Labor Day is a strike. It is a landmark day that connects the thread of the struggles of the past with the current class resistances of the working class. It is a day for the fighters and the dead of the working class, as well as a day that clearly serves as a reminder of the anarchist rebels hanged by the state authorities in Chicago, because they were adamantly engaged in the fight for the liberation of the working class and the satisfaction of its immediate material needs, the eight-hour day work in particular. This class memory is called upon to defend today, now that the state and the capital are attacking in concert, to sweep with iron fists the resistance and achievements of the labour movement.
Under the pressure of the attack on us on the behalf of the state and the capitalists, it is imperative to organise the labour and social self-defense and to create those conditions that will allow our order to fight back against this system that reproduces injustice, social and economic inequalities, the oppression and exploitation of man and nature by the capitalist machine. The establishment and strengthening of a class front with the participation of the productively active working class, the reserves of the unemployed, the future workers (see students and students descending from the poor people) and pensioners on the basis of the ungovernable, direct democratic organization and in the direction of the anti-capitalist and anti-state revolutionary struggle is a prerequisite for the reevaluation of our class position in the ever-raging capital-labour conflict that governs the existing social formation. Grassroots class unions and independent labour initiatives must be supported, so that our class raises its head and clash against the order of capitalists, which demystifies the labour force, to accumulate wealth and privilege.
Class solidarity, collectivization and organization are the only forces that can keep our order upright, while making claims for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. In the extremely unfavorable circumstances of the present, we consider it necessary to strengthen mutual assistance within the working class. We trust the self-energy and self-organization of our class. In this direction, therefore, we consider that it is necessary to move towards the creation of mutual assistance structures, solidarity funds, to move in a coordinated and massive way to refusals of payments, to exert pressure to demand the necessary financial support for the working and poor people, but also to meet the absolutely necessary popular needs (food, housing, water, electricity, internet) by all means.
Through the swamp of state and capitalist barbarism, the flower of freedom, equality, solidarity and community will grow, a emancipated society of complete self-direction will be born, a new collective individuality that can be self-realized and freely developed. This is the historic task of those on the basis of the social and productive pyramid. So we’ll make sure we win!
WE ORGANIZE AND STRUGGLE COLLECTIVELY IN THE WORKPLACES
WE ARE THICKENING THE LINES OF THE UNREGISTERED CLASS OF BASE TRADE UNION
NO ECONOMIC STRANGLEHOLD OF THE SOCIAL BASE
ON THE CRISIS OF COVID-19 AND CAPITALISM TO PAY THE STATES AND THE CAPITALISTS
THE LIBERATION OF WORKERS CAN ONLY BE A TASK OF THE WORKERS THEMSELVES
We’re participating in Labor Day strikes
We support the blocks of unions and grassroots labor initiatives
Anarchist Federation (Gr)
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