Solidarity with the strikers in Greece
As representatives of Die Linke, the German Left Party, dealing with European and Economic policy in the Bundestag and in the European Parliament, we declare our solidarity with those taking part in the general strike in Greece.We are appalled by this unprecedented campaign against Greece. The country's difficult situation is being used to reignite old prejudices. The citizens of Greece are scorned as "statistical liars" and accused of "reckless policies". They apparently have been living in a "paradise" to which it is now "time to bid farewell". But Greece is not only being targeted by neo-liberals in the media and politics. Together with Portugal, Italy and Spain, Greece is condemned as one of the "PIGS". This campaign is contrary to fundamental principles of European solidarity. Politicians and journalists who never fail to miss an opportunity to advance the concept of "ever closer Union" are now appealing to the lowest instincts and destroying the mutual trust that is required for decent cooperation between Europeans. In this crisis, capital is picking scapegoats to receive the anger from all those who are threatened with social welfare cuts. In this manner, anti-capitalist analysis is being distracted and neutralized.
We understand the difficult situation in Greece. The country's level of indebtedness is high (12.7% for 2009). But this is also true for other countries, such as the UK, (12%) and Spain (10%). Japan and the USA also had double-digit debt rates in 2009. Huge financing to bail out the banks, economic recovery programs, and declining tax revenues leave deeps dents in budgets everywhere. That those very banks and speculators, who were rescued by the state from certain bankruptcy, may now return to putting countries under pressure via interest rates and speculation represents a dangerous failure of policy. Solidarity with Greece and the other victims of these machinations is needed to finally put these 'crisis profiteers' out of business.
We observe with great concern how the complicated situation in Greece is being exploited by the financial markets, the European Commission and by neoliberal EU governments in order to push for welfare cuts. The goal is to significantly weaken the Greek labour movement to facilitate the imposition of wage cuts and to increase the retirement age. So-called "reforms" that we could not prevent in our own countries will now be forced upon the Greeks.
At the same time, wilful ignorance of the enormous economic imbalance in the EU prevails. Greece is not the only state in financial difficulty. Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Italy are facing against major deficits while other European countries, especially export-champion Germany, are piling up surpluses. This imbalance has to be addressed on a macro level. The states with surpluses must boost their domestic demand while the companies in these countries must abandon their aggressive export strategy. We denounce the refusal of the German Government to put the necessary measures in place. The risk is that the euro zone will break into pieces under the growing pressure.
Our support for the Greek workers movement is in the tradition of socialist solidarity.
We know that their fight for a decent life is our fight too. Only if European workers stop letting themselves being played off against one another will there be a chance for change - a different and better Europe.
Signed by the Members of European Parliament (GUE/NGL):
Members of the German Bundestag, DIELINKE:
Dr. Diether Dehm
Prof. Dr. Herbert Schui