This article is part of a series of reports and interviews that Corriente Roja’s correspondent is performing for two weeks from Greece.
As in a laboratory, where dyes are used to mark a sample and observing it in the microscope, the vote for the “NO” in the last referendum served as a marker for the working class, the youth and the poor people in Greece. The ballot polarized the two main social classes, each aside. I ask you to watch out the following maps. To the right, the rich and poor neighborhoods of Athens are marked in dark blue and light blue, respectively. On the left, those who voted no are marked in red; who voted yes in green. We note that the poor neighborhoods voted massively for the no while the rich for yes. There is not a single example that would cross this boundary drawn between classes.
In the same way, political parties, the media, academics and “celebrities” linked to capitalism made a massive campaign of terror by announcing chaos if No vote won. To complete the picture, the European Union and European governments threatened with harsh reprisals and banks were partially closed.
Facing this campaign of the capitalist class and their servants, a humble campaign without big budgets, without media, but with a large militant effort was spread. And the certainty that if the previous two memoranda were a ruin for the Greek working people, the approval of the third would be the final step. It should be noted that Syriza was absent from this campaign, which was bore mostly by the left militants and activists of social, student and labor movements.
But that big NO was betrayed by Tsipras, who turned it into a big yes on a blink of an eye. What Tsipras can’t change is the experience of the Greek working class, beginning with the lesson that they can’t trust him if they really want to stop the “austericide” plans. The Greek workers are no longer the same as they were before the referendum. The learning they are beginning to draw is that they can’t outsource their own problems to be resolved; they must take their destiny into their hands and fix with their direct action.
Greece’s future is uncertain and will depend on a multitude of factors. Surely, disenchantment and the feeling that there is “no alternative” still weigh. At the moment, it is difficult to reckon precisely the extent of the split of the Greek workers with Tsipras and of their fighting spirit in the foreseeable future. It’s been just a few summer weeks after the signing of the new memorandum. But there are signs indicating that the coming months will be hectic and that the labor movement is preparing to battle.
There have been three general strikes under the new government: in health care against cuts, the port workers have also gone on strike against privatization, the ERT public television’s staff have continued to demonstrate. The same day I write this story, a strike unfolded in the very Acropolis under the astonished eyes of the surprised tourists. At the same time, at Antenna, a private television, the employees went on strike against 13 dismissals. In Thessaloniki, the cleaning sector strike against privatization, the railway workers stopped for three hours …
Everything suggests that this movement of the working class will continue and be deepened as from September, the month that will open with a large national demonstration in Thessaloniki coinciding with a traditional ceremony in which the president shows his term’s plans. Organizing and leading this movement is the great task of revolutionaries in Greece: they must move the OXY in the ballots to the active resistance to the implementation of the measures of the memorandum.
* Picture: Greek metalworkers on strike.