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(en) Greece, ESE Athens: DANGER SIGN: TO END WITH GSEE BEFORE WE END - George S. [machine translation]
Wed, 9 Jun 2021 07:37:51 +0300
For a new self-organized and class labor movement: A discussion that must take
place! ---- The emptying of the June 3 strike by the GSEE is simply the last
episode in a history of hostile decisions and moves against workers. After all,
the memories from the establishment of an alliance with the bosses for the good
of the national economy and the reduction of business taxes 1 and the call for
participation in the 2015 referendum in favor of YES in the memorandum 2 are
fresh.. Despite what most people think, all this is completely consistent with
the attitude of GSEE for a century. There is a sense that the GSEE has a militant
past and that in recent years it has fallen into the hands of sold-out leaders
and lost its historic role (of defending the interests of the working class).
This myth is due to the ideological obsessions of a large section of the left who
believe that the GSEE monopoly held at the level of a higher education
organization in the private sector is magically related to the class unity of the
workers at the base.
It is impressive that if one studies the history of GSEE from its foundation
until today, the conclusion that emerges is the exact opposite! The
organizational unit at the tertiary level not only has never ensured from 1918
until today the militant unity of the class but also whenever in the history of
Greece there was a strong labor movement this was done at the organizational
level outside and against the GSEE. It is now clear to any employee that the
organizational split of the GSEE and the formation of a separate tertiary labor
confederation is a necessary (though not capable) condition for even the
slightest improvement of our position as workers.
Firstly, the GSEE has been organizationally divided many times until today,
secondly, for a century the GSEE leadership has always been against the working
class and supported all the extreme right and fascist regimes (dictatorship of
Metaxa, junta, etc.) and thirdly in all the great moments. of the labor movement
in Greece the GSEE was organizationally divided without this hindering in any way
the class and trade union expression of the organized proletariat.
Specifically, in all the congresses of the GSEE from 1918 until today, the first
force always came the trade unionists close to the current government (and from
1983 onwards to PASOK) , usually of purely extreme right-wing views. In addition
to the issue of the famous organizational unity of the workers at the level of
the higher confederation we can observe the following: If we try to distinguish
the top moments of intensification of the class struggle in Greece from the
founding of the GSEE until todaythese were: a) The period 1934-1936 with many
strikes, conflicts, etc. where at the organizational level we had three separate
tertiary organizations: the GSEE, the EGSEE and the Independent Trade Unions. Of
course, the organizational split did not hinder in any way the joint class and
anti-fascist action of the workers, but it did not even hinder the joint action
at the leadership level where under the pressure of events they signed the
anti-fascist pact and proceeded to joint actions without eventually unifying .
b) In 1941, in the midst of Nazi occupation, the Workers' National Liberation
Front was founded, which managed to rally a large part of the workers and
organized the first mass strike in occupied Europe, which thwarted the
mobilization policy. All the trade unions of the time participated in EEAM, ie
GSEE, EGSEE and the Socialist Trade Union Party equally and with an equal number
of representatives in its central committee. Once again, the divided
organizational expression of the unions did not in any way hinder the joint
action of the class both at the leadership level and at the grassroots level.
c) In 1964-1965 when Greece comes first in strike activity in the world and the
working class achieves significant victories. This is largely due to the action
of the "SEO-115" (Collaborating Labor Organizations) which of course constitute a
separate organizational structure from the, once again, controlled by the far
d) In the first years of the change of government, the factory trade union
movement was created, which has a direct democratic organization through general
assemblies, radical forms of struggle and important victories against employers.
And this time this movement is formed outside and against the GSEE through
operational unions that at that time are not even provided as a form of trade
union organization by labor law! (legitimized only afterwards by PASOK in 1982).
From the above we can rightly argue that the sacred cow of organizational unity
through the GSEE offers nothing either to the real unity of the working class or
to the level of the class struggle. On the contrary, in the vast majority of
cases it was an organizationally fragmented, but united in practice, proletariat
that wrote history outside and against the GSEE.
But let us come to the day when the hostile role of the GSEE mafia mechanism is
obvious even to the last worker. Since 2008, the onslaught of governments and
employers on the working class has been constant and relentless. And it is known
that the Hatzidaki bill will not be the end of this attack but the beginning of a
new round of anti-labor measures since as soon as the pandemic subsides we will
have a new international economic crisis. The existing trade union movement that
in real percentages does not include more than 6% of employees in the private
sector is either openly employer like the GSEE or weak and disorganized.
If we want to have a chance even for a defensive victory against the new measures
that are being voted but also for the next ones that are just around the corner,
we need to build a new labor movement from scratch. A movement where all
decisions will be made by the workers in the unions and not by the trade union
and party mafias and bureaucracies. And we do not have infinite time to do that.
The debate on the formation of a separate GSEE tertiary confederation of workers
that will operate class and direct democratically must be opened immediately. And
it must open up neighborhoods and universities in the workplace as well as in the
libertarian and anti-capitalist movement in general.
At the moment, the declarations for organization in a basic union are not enough.
We need an overall strategy that will make the formation of labor committees,
assemblies, libertarian unions, neighborhood movements and student groups with a
clear class and anti-GSEE orientation as the first priority in the immediate
future. To organize in a single revolutionary labor confederation all the wealth
of the movements of the base that remains to this day unorganized and scattered.
We all need to overcome ourselves in the next period for this goal. We do not
have much time. The next five years will judge a lot for the working class and
social movements in Greece and internationally. Let us rise to the occasion.
1 In April 2018, GSEE-ADEDY together with a number of employers form a front that
they call "social alliance". In the text of their self-presentation, among other
things, they state: "Populism and polarization, which dominate the public sphere,
deprive any perspective for healthy and productive social forces. For this
reason, the most representative bodies of civil society are taking joint action
and forming a new, broad social alliance. All together, we put our country at the
forefront with the aim of "restoring" Greek society and the economy. We
practically oppose polarization. We join forces, we act collectively, we
accumulate experience and know-how. In order to move forward, we need a realistic
and fair national plan for productive formation ".
The following bodies participate in the Social Alliance: GSEE, ADEDY, General
Confederation of Professional Craftsmen of Greece, National Confederation of
Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Plenary Session of Bar Associations of the
country, Technical Chamber, Greek Chamber of Commerce Of Pensioners of Greece and
the National Confederation of Persons with Disabilities. Among their demands are
the reduction of corporate taxation and the " Development of entrepreneurship and
innovation based on a National Strategic Plan for the transformation of the
productive model of the country." (Social Alliance, 2018)
On May 30, 2018, the "Social Alliance" proceeded to a National Day of Action to
claim its demands in the context of which the GSEE declared a 24-hour general strike.
2 On June 26, 2015, the Syriza-Anel government announces a referendum held on
July 5 on whether or not the draft agreement of the three institutions, the
European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB), should be accepted. .)
and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), proposed in Greece on June 25. On
Wednesday, July 1, 2015, GSEE, with an announcement of its plenary session,
requests the withdrawal of the referendum and concludes: "As a Higher Trade Union
Organization of Private Sector Workers, we send a clear message in every direction:
THE EUROPEAN COURSE OF OUR COUNTRY IS NON-NEGOTIABLE!
WE SAY YES TO PEOPLE'S EUROPE & SOLIDARITY!!
WE SAY YES TO OUR COMMON CURRENCY & TO THE FEDERAL EUROPE!!! " (GSEE 2015)
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