Political statement, 21 June 2015
At its recent meeting the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland expressed its solidarity with the Greek people, in particular the Greek working class, at this time of renewed pressure and bullying by the troika of the European Union, EU Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund.
The Greek working class and working people have endured more than five years of vicious austerity, resulting in wages being reduced by 37 per cent, pensions cut by up to 48 per cent, a reduction in the number of state employees by 30 per cent, and people’s spending power cut by 33 per cent. Unemployment officially stands at 27 per cent, more than 50 per cent of young people are unemployed, precarious employment has grown by 34 per cent, there has been a 28 per cent drop in food consumption, and public debt has risen by 180 per cent. While an estimated €240 billion has been pumped into supporting the Greek economy since 2010, an estimated 90 per cent of that total has gone to international banks as interest payments. Tens of thousands of young Greeks have left the country to try to find work and make a living for themselves and for their families at home in Greece.
At the same time, Greece’s expenditure on its military is second only to that of the United States within the NATO military alliance. While the Greek people go hungry, the sick rely on informal medical centres for treatment, the number of the homeless grows, and millions of children go to bed hungry, the present Greek government continues, like its predecessors, to waste billions on buying German submarines and French fighter planes and to maintain its position within NATO. There is little commitment to the people but full-spectrum support for the aggressive military alliance of NATO.
The Greek people, like the Irish people, are tired of the imposition of austerity and the banking crisis being the excuse for the savage attack on workers’ living standards and terms and conditions.
What the current round of negotiations between the Greek government and the troika has exposed is the real nature of the European Union itself. Even Michael Noonan, the tame poodle of the European Union, has had to acknowledge that even EU finance ministers have been kept in the dark and outside the negotiations. It is the institutions and the political and controlling structures established by the EU that are conducting them. The fraudulent “negotiations” since January are little more than a charade, laying bare the real power structures and the real economic interests that the European Union was established to protect, advance, and secure, that of the big European monopoly corporations and finance houses.
There is a growing awareness among millions of people throughout Europe of the EU’s real nature and of whose interests it serves. This can only lead, in the eyes of working people, to a deepening crisis of legitimacy for the European Union.
While the Irish government appears to be playing its part in enthusiastically imposing a regime of destitution on the people of Greece, it is the duty of the Irish labour movement to demand less EU and more democracy here in Ireland, for more economic, political and social decisions to be decided and implemented in accordance with the needs of the Irish people and not those imposed by the European Union.
Only those who see the world through the rose-tinted glasses carefully polished by the EU Commission and the corporate lobbyists continue to accept the illusion of some great democratic peace project under construction.
The CPI once again expresses its solidarity with the Greek working class and encourages the building of support for the forthcoming battles of the Greek people to defend themselves, their families, and their communities.
This is a struggle in which working people throughout Europe need to stand together. An injury to one is the concern of all. If they defeat the Greek workers it will have an impact here in Ireland and on workers everywhere.