The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Why Greek youth and workers are angry

Dec 15, 2008

Those young people, whom the press call “against the power,” violently attacked cars, stores, banks and supermarkets. But obviously these protests aren’t limited to these groups, but involve a lot of the youth who have the sympathy of many in the population. Hatred for the police is easy to find in a country where the cops still have a lot of their habits from the time of the colonels’ dictatorship from 1967 to 1974, as well as under previous regimes. All this is occurring in a climate of general discontent with the government’s policies, which are worsening with the crisis.

Poverty and unemployment are increasing, while wages are stagnant and prices are rising. The rightwing government of Caramanlis claims to be carrying out a policy of economic “modernization.” This involves privatizing public services, budget cuts and attacks on pensions. Just as in other European countries, the same government that insists on austerity measures for the population decided to bail out the banks for 39 billion dollars.

The anger of the youth is understandable since they have no future except unemployment or temporary work in a society in crisis. They are right to take on the government and its representatives. Their anger is certainly shared by other working people. But actions of pointless destruction don’t answer the problems. And neither do timid criticisms of the government by union leaders.

It is necessary for the workers and the youth to put forward their own demands to impose their right to live, faced with the cynicism and greed of the leaders and financiers responsible for the crisis.