PSC-CUNY Faculty and Professionals Union Supports Greek Teachers’ Strike

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF STRIKING TEACHERS
AND OTHER PUBLIC WORKERS IN GREECE

PSC-CUNY, the Professional Service Congress representing faculty and professionals at the City University of New York, adopted the following resolution October 4, 2013.

Whereas, public employees in the U.S. and abroad continue to be pressured by local and national governments to bear the brunt of a world-wide economic crisis that was not of their making and accept layoffs and reductions in pay, job security, pensions and health care; and

Whereas, corporate interests have used the economic crisis as a pretext to push an agenda of austerity and privatization that enriches their shareholders by sapping resources intended for the public good, scapegoats public employees, threatens social safety net programs depended on by millions and diminishes the quality of public services such as education; and

Whereas, public workers in Greece who have already been subjected to several rounds of austerity-driven layoffs, salary reductions and other cuts are striking to resist a new round of cuts affecting 25,000 workers and layoffs affecting 15,000 workers planned by the Greek government under pressure from “bailout” lenders at the European Union and International Monetary Fund; and

Whereas, the class dimension of the layoffs that affect the Greek education system is revealed by the fact that they disproportionately affect specialties in technical high schools often pursued by lower-income students; and

Whereas, this development encourages the privatization of education, as many of the students who can no longer pursue these specialties in the public high school will have to turn to the private sector if they and their families can afford it; and

Whereas, the brutal austerity policies in Greece have undermined schools, leading to inadequate fuel and school heating in the winter, an insufficient number of teachers, and many students going to school hungry; and

Whereas, part and parcel of the austerity policies in Greece is a liquidation of labor and collective bargaining rights and draconian civil mobilization orders that have allowed the government to break strikes by teachers as well as by workers in other sectors of the economy; and

Whereas, public high school teachers represented by their labor union, OLME, are fully engaged in the fight against austerity and last week voted to launch a rolling strike against public sector layoffs starting on September 16, and

Whereas, ADEDY, a confederation of public sector unions, called a strike and organized mass demonstrations this week, and

Whereas, public workers in the U.S. face a similar assault, with budget deficits closed through layoffs and reductions in benefits, social safety net programs under attack and unions undermined and demonized; and

Whereas, educators in the U.S. are targeted as scapegoats and particularly subjected to the privatization and austerity agenda through charter schools, school closings, relentless testing and other so called “accountability measures,”

Whereas, PSC members are in the midst of our own fight against the forces of austerity by resisting public disinvestment in CUNY and the diminishment of our curriculum through Pathways;

Resolved, that the PSC stands in solidarity with the striking teachers and other public workers of Greece, we thank them for their sacrifices and for the brave stand they are taking against austerity, a misguided policy that worsens economic inequality and deprives working people of necessary public services.

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Costas Panayotakis in the NYTimes Examiner

GREECE AND WEIMAR

Originally Published in NYTimes eXaminer
By Costas Panayotakis
Above: Anti-Fascist demonstration in Athens, Greece. Photo by NYT eXaminer.

Above: Anti-Fascist demonstration in Athens, Greece. Photo by NYT eXaminer.

The economic crisis, political and economic polarization, and the meteoric rise of the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party/criminal gang has given rise to a lot of comparisons between today’s Greece and the Weimar Republic, the period of German history in the 1920s that led to the rise of Hitler. Roger Cohen’s rehearsal of this theme(i) in The New York Times this week does not really add any insights to this conversation but simply advances a number of contradictory and misleading claims.

For example, while the column is entitled “Why Greece Isn’t Weimar,” Cohen begins by suggesting that the Greece/Weimar analogy is a valid one, attributing the rise of “violent extremism” in today’s Greece to the same ingredients of “national humiliation, economic disaster, high immigration, political division and international tutelage” that, in Cohen’s mind, can best be understood by “[l]ook[ing] no further than Weimar Germany.” By the end of his column, however, Cohen completely reverses himself by claiming that “[t]hrough Europe, Greece has been saved from the fate of Weimar.” In this respect, Cohen thinks, Greece today is more comparable to Germany after the war, when Europe, allowed Germany to “c[o]me back” by “help[ing] usher [it] from its cataclysmic ‘zero hour’ of 1945”.

Anyone even vaguely familiar with the history of post-war Germany knows that this was a period of rapid economic reconstruction that led to Germany’s current status of an economic superpower within Europe. Only someone who naively accepts the Greek government’s narrative about Greece’s supposed economic recovery would seriously think that today’s Greece is closer to post-war Germany than to the Weimar Republic. As Cohen himself is aware, unemployment rates in Greece have skyrocketed to record levels, indeed levels surpassing the unemployment rate the United States experienced at the peak of the 1930s Depression. And yet Cohen assures us that Greece’s “economy is turning slowly” and that “the most acute phase of Greece’s economic crisis has passed.” The fact that Greece’s economy is still shrinking, but only by 4% a year, and that it will take decades for unemployment rates to return to normal levels of course explains why, as Cohen recognizes, “the most acute phase of [Greece’s] political trial is upon it.” In other words, it is easier to buy into the Greek government’s economic boosterism if you are a New York Times reporter than if you are an average person in Greece who, as Cohen himself admits, has yet to feel any improvement in their lives.
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AKNY STATEMENT ON GREECE UNDER AUTHORITARIAN RULE

Democracy Under Attack – The People Resist

By AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement

As the austerity program imposed on Greece by the EU-led Troika continues to devastate the economy, tear the social fabric into shreds, and ruin the lives of workers and ordinary citizens, the Greek government increasingly resorts to patently undemocratic practices that attack basic human rights. We note three recent examples that demonstrate the tendency of brutal austerity to transform itself into an anti-democratic, state authoritarianism:

1 – This week the Samaras government issued an executive decree to immediately shut down ERT, Greece’s public television and radio, on less than 24 hours notice, without prior warning. The riot police disabled transmitters so that the programs produced by ERT journalists and workers who occupied the studios could not be disseminated. Both the popular mobilization against this outrageous decision and the ERT employees’ decision to assume control of production against the wishes of the Samaras government are heartening developments and deserve our support.


We are holding a New York action in solidarity with #OccupyERT tomorrow!
Saturday June 15, at Zuccotti Park, from Noon until 4 pm.
See here or download flyer or join the FB event:
OccupyERTBanner
#OccupyERT, June 13

#OccupyERT in Athens, ERT Headquarters, June 13th:
More than 100,000 people rallied on the second day of protests to
save public broadcasting, as ERT workers occupy the studios and refuse to move.

2 – The preemptive use of civil mobilization to prevent a strike by secondary school teachers in May was the third time in a few months that the Greek government has resorted to this extreme measure, making it clear that it will no longer tolerate the basic right of Greek workers to go on strike when their livelihoods as well as their basic rights and working conditions are frontally attacked.

3 – Contrast the Greek government’s zero tolerance for strikes to its equanimity with respect to the fascist thugs of Golden Dawn. The government’s tolerance of neo-Nazi violence has most recently been confirmed by its decision to shelve the anti-racist legislation prepared by the government’s own Minister of Justice. This development makes clear that the current government will do anything to cling to power, including sacrificing the basic human rights daily attacked by neo-Nazi thugs in order to ingratiate itself to the xenophobic segment of the Greek public that is either already supporting Golden Dawn or might conceivably do so if the current government does not prove racist enough against immigrants.

As these examples demonstrate, resistance against the criminal austerity policies imposed by the Greek government is essential – not only because a stop to the continued immiseration of workers and ordinary people in Greece is long overdue comma but also because a continuation of these policies is impossible without an accelerated erosion of basic democratic rights.

For all these reasons, we declare our solidarity and unflinching support to all the political forces and social movements in Greece, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa that are fighting against the barbarism of solving capitalism’s crisis on the backs of those least responsible for it.

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AKNY Invites: Friday to Sunday, June 7-9, Pace University, NYC

Greece Solidarity at the Left Forum 2013

During the big conference next weekend in New York, AKNY is holding three panels and taking part in the Turkish-Greek solidarity protest. Get your tickets at the Left Forum site, discounts available for all in need.


SATURDAY

“Responding to Neo-Fascism: Greece, Golden Dawn and Diaspora”
Session 2, Saturday June 8, NOON-1:30pm, Room: E305

Nikos Levis (author, Astorian, Occupy activist, member “Stop Golden Dawn” NY)
Alan Akrivos (union activist, Justice newspaper, Queens Socialist Alternative)
Emmanuelle Mimieux (anarchist and anti-fascist)
Neni Panourgia (anthropologist, New School for Social Research)
[Facebook Invite] [Official Link]

IMMEDIATELY AFTER: In Solidarity With The Turkish People–
Occupy Gezi NYC & AKNY-Greece at OWS Zuccotti


SUNDAY

“Environmental & Social Struggles in Greece: Skourgies – Halkidiki”
Session 5, Sunday June 9, 10:00am-11:50pm, Room: W606

Alan Akrivos (union activist, Justice newspaper, Queens Socialist Alternative)
Costas Panayotakis (NYC College of Technology)
Panayota Gounari (University of Massachusetts – Boston)
[Official Link]

“Crisis and the Left in Europe: Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain”
Session 6, Sunday June 9, NOON-1:50pm, Room: W626

Peter Bratsis (City University of New York)
Marcus Grätsch (Interventionist Left, Germany, FelS Berlin, Left Forum NY)
Despina Lalaki (New York University)
Bruno Gullì (City University of New York)
Carlos Frade (University of Salford, Manchester, UK)
[Official Link]

Cosponsored by the Campaign for Peace and Democracy (cpdweb.org).

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HISTORICAL MATERIALISM NY 2013 – AKNY PANEL

Syriza and the Strategic Challenges of the Greek Left

AKNY panel with Costas Panayotakis, Despina Lalaki, Iannis Delatolas and Peter Bratsis, moderated by Aaron Amaral. At Historical Materialism 2013 Conference, New York, April 27, 2013.

Audio with Q&A

PAPERS

Costas Panayotakis
“Syriza’s Dilemmas: The Challenges of Political Realignment at a Time of Economic Crisis”

Despina Lalaki
“The Crisis in Greece and the Left Response. Successes, Failures and High Expectations”

Iannis Delatolas
“Anti-Capitalist Answers to the Crisis: The Antarsya Perspective”

Peter Bratsis
“The Impossibility of Reform: Revolution or Servitude?”
(Paper unavailable)

Chair
Aaron Amaral

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COSTAS PANAYOTAKIS ON “SYRIZA’S DILEMMAS”

The Challenges of Political Realignment
at a Time of Economic Crisis

By Costas Panayotakis, delivered at AKNY panel on “Syriza and the Strategic Challenges of the Greek Left,” Historical Materialism 2013 Conference, April 27, 2013, New York. See also the papers by Despina Lalaki and Iannis Delatolas.


Syriza’s meteoric rise from a small party with less than 5% of the vote to Greece’s largest opposition party with 27% of voters supporting it last June bears witness to the dramatic effects of Greece’s ongoing austerity program. This program has torn in the most brutal fashion the social contract that had emerged after the end of the military dictatorship in 1974. After three years of austerity the official unemployment rate has risen to over 27% and for young workers to 60%. The economy has shrunk by about 20% and counting, people’s incomes have gone down by up to 50%, labor rights have been liquidated and Greek governments increasingly rely on police violence and repression to quell popular protests.

This situation has predictably led to a realignment of social forces. The working class and popular strata that had for three decades cemented the political hegemony of the Greek socialist party (PASOK) abandoned that party in droves after it inaugurated the austerity program in 2010. Having won the 2009 election with 43% of the popular vote, the Greek socialists fell by the June 2012 election to third place with about 12% of the vote. Since then, the socialists have shrunk further and, according to recent polls, have fallen to fourth place, receiving support from about 8% of the electorate. Their collapse is so complete that they are now behind even the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party which until recently was an electoral non-entity receiving less than 0.5% of the vote.

Many of the supporters of the socialist party have shifted their support to other political parties, while others have dropped out of the political system altogether. It is safe to say, however, that the main beneficiary of the Greek socialists’ near disappearance has been Syriza, which has at this point become the main voice for the Greek workers and popular strata that until recently formed the electoral base of the Greek socialist party.

This realignment was confirmed by the social polarization that became evident in last June’s election. Syriza performed especially well among the groups that have suffered the most by the ongoing crisis, namely waged and salaried workers, the unemployed and even small business owners. In many working-class neighborhoods of Athens Syriza received close to 40% of the vote, with the conservatives winning overwhelmingly in affluent neighborhoods as well as in many rural areas. The June 2012 elections also confirmed a social polarization by age, with Syriza winning overwhelmingly among the younger voters and also coming first in every age group up to the age of 55-60, while the conservatives were strongest among older voters.

Syriza was able to benefit from the ongoing Greek crisis for a number of reasons that went beyond the alienating effect of the brutal austerity program on the socialist party’s traditional base. Syriza was present and active within the manifold protest movements that emerged once austerity was imposed. The other party of the left that could have functioned as the main representative of the anti-austerity sentiment was the Greek communist party (KKE), which, having in the past been the third largest party in Greece, had consistently been larger than Syriza. Unlike Syriza, however, the Greek communist party has often kept its distance from other streams of the left as well as from any protest movements that it does not control.

Secondly, after providing an analysis of the likely effects of the austerity program that proved much more accurate and prescient than the promises of the Greek socialists as well as of the Troika made up of the European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank, Syriza was able to establish itself as the most plausible alternative to the austerity bloc which, by late 2011, had come to encompass the conservatives as well. Syriza was able to do so by calling for a government that would rally all the political forces of the left around an anti-austerity platform. At a time when the ongoing social and economic catastrophe in Greece was leading to a decimation of the socialist and conservative parties that had long dominated the Greek political system, this seemed like a plausible and, indeed, compelling proposal to the growing segments of Greek society that wanted to reverse the austerity program and its disastrous effects. By contrast, other political forces within the Greek left were not as receptive to the idea of a government of the left. One party of the Greek left that had split from Syriza in the late 2000s decided after the 2012 election to join the austerity camp, while the communist party and another stream of the extra-parliamentary left were more inclined to dismiss Syriza as the latest incarnation of Greek social democracy.

In any case, the parties that critiqued Syriza from the left found their electoral basis deserting them in droves, with the Greek communists, for example, losing half of their electoral strength between May and June 2012 and scoring one of their worst electoral results in decades. This result has created some turmoil within the communist party, with many of its prominent members coming out against the party leadership line. And although the communist party’s leader has just stepped down, the party’s line still holds that Syriza is simply creating popular illusions regarding the possibility of managing capitalism in line with the needs of the devastated majority of Greek society. Thus, against what it describes as Syriza’s reformism, the communist party rejects the idea of a government of the left within capitalism, presenting itself as the only political force that truly fights for socialism. Other streams of the extra-parliamentary left in Greece, meanwhile, have differentiated themselves from Syriza by calling for Greece to default on its debt and exit the eurozone. In fact, a former leader of Syriza has recently founded a new political formation with the self-explanatory name ‘Plan B.’

While the rejection of a government of the left by the communists and the forces of the extra-parliamentary left has allowed Syriza to emerge as the main voice against austerity, this rejection also creates a problem for Syriza, insofar as it raises the question of whether Syriza could, whenever the next election is held, muster the necessary parliamentary and popular support to form an anti-austerity government. Although polls consistently show that Syriza has a very good chance of garnering more votes than any other party in any future election, its support is still not enough to give it a majority in parliament, let alone the kind of overwhelming popular support that would be necessary in the violent clash with European elites that a break with the current austerity policies would trigger.

This reality has given rise to debates within Syriza as to the kind of majority coalitions that the party should seek to build. In view of Syriza’s inability so far to rally other forces of the traditional left around the call for a left government, the majority within Syriza is trying to build a coalition that would also encompass left social democratic elements that have left the socialist party and even elements of the non-fascist anti-austerity right that gained parliamentary representation in the 2012 elections. A left minority within Syriza, by contrast, has argued against any attempt to win power through a turn towards the right. In this view, Syriza should redouble its effort to overcome the objections to an anti-austerity coalition of other political forces on the left, thus ensuring that the ideological profile of a future Syriza government will not be watered down through association with less radical elements.

Another debate between these two blocs within Syriza has to do with Greece’s continued participation in the Eurozone. The position of the majority within Syriza, and the party’s official position, is that a Syriza government should end austerity while staying within the Eurozone. This presupposes the formation of a broad anti-austerity front in the European South and beyond, which could force both a break with austerity and a comprehensive solution to the European crisis. Such a comprehensive solution would have to include both the renegotiation of debt throughout Europe and the transfer to the countries of the European periphery of the funds they need to revive investment and their economies.

Although the majority bloc within Syriza recognizes that this change in the European response to the crisis has risks and will not be easy to attain, it argues that such a change is feasible because European elites cannot afford to let the eurozone dissolve. In this view, a strategy similar to the one Syriza is proposing is the only way to ensure that the economic crisis in Europe will not continue to deepen, thus placing the very future of the eurozone and the European project into question.
The left opposition within Syriza, by contrast, is more willing to consider a Greek exit from the eurozone. While it goes along with the party’s official line of ending austerity within the eurozone, the left opposition also warns that, in the clash with European and global economic elites that repudiation of austerity might trigger, there is a possibility that Greece will have to exit the eurozone and that a plan for that eventuality has to be in place before Syriza assumes power.

This debate is taking place against the background of a Greek public that is largely supportive of Greece’s participation in the eurozone. At the same time, however, this support has started to soften in recent months, as the governing bloc continues to justify its devastating austerity policies as the necessary price that has to be paid, if Greece is to stay in the eurozone. Placing its bets on fear rather than hope, the governing bloc claims that an exit from the eurozone would lead to an economic catastrophe even worse than what is currently taking place and argues that this exit would be in the cards if Syriza were to be elected and attempt to fulfill its promises.

In this respect, the majority position within Syriza could be seen as partly aimed at overcoming the Greek public’s fears. At the same time, however, the real challenge for Syriza is not to win the next election but to be effective once it does so. This requires both an economic and political plan for all eventualities but also an honest communication with Greek citizens over the challenges and risks that a clash with European elites over austerity would entail.

One of the hopeful developments is that anti-austerity sentiment and movements are spreading and growing stronger throughout the European periphery. The recent Italian election has confirmed once again, for example, how quickly the social and political landscape can change in times of deep economic crisis. In this respect, Syriza’s premise that a victory of the left in Greece could catalyze similar developments elsewhere sounds less implausible today than it did as recently as a year ago.

All in all, the situation in Greece is bound to continue to deteriorate economically and socially, while also remaining politically volatile and unpredictable. There is universal expectation that the continued failures of the Greek austerity program will make it necessary for the current government to adopt a new round of harsh austerity measures in June. At the same time, it is not clear that a new round of austerity could actually pass parliament, since even many of the conservative deputies have said that they are not willing to vote for any additional austerity measures. If that’s true, the governing coalition may not last for much longer, thus leading to new elections in coming months.

Last June’s elections showed that the austerity bloc’s appeal to fear can be quite powerful. By the same token, however, the more the current policies are allowed to devastate even the segments of the population that were solidly middle class until recently, the less effective the claim becomes that, if Syriza won, people would lose even the little that they do have. Nonetheless, Syriza’s success will ultimately depend on its ability to forge a message that allays people’s fears to some extent without, however, sounding as a laundry list of too good to be true promises. This message, moreover, has to be clear and compelling enough to generate not just electoral support but also the kind of popular movements necessary to turn Syriza’s program into a reality. How successful Syriza is in forging and delivering this message will be one of the factors that will help determine how the current capitalist crisis in Greece, Europe and the world becomes resolved.


Continued: Despina Lalaki

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Costas Panayiotakis on Coverage of Greece in Mainstream Media

ARCHIVE. Original from the NYTimes Examiner: An Antidote to the Paper of Record.


‘Resolving’ the Greek Crisis

Greek-Crisis
By Costas Panayotakis
February 7, 2013 Source: NYTX

Some people never learn (or at least they pretend not to). Edward P. Joseph and Anna Triandafyllidou’s ‘Resolve the Real Greek Crisis’ is the latest attempt to attribute Greece’s ongoing economic and social catastrophe to the supposedly pervasive corruption of Greek society. (i) This was the narrative that was used in the early stages of the Greek crisis to justify the brutal austerity program that has been destroying the country for the last three years. This narrative has been pervasive, not just among the European political and economic elites that imposed the program on Greece or among mainstream media outlets, such as The New York Times. It was also used by the political elites in Greece that became willing accomplices to a crime that they themselves helped to bring about through the wrong-headed economic and social policies that made Greece especially vulnerable to the global capitalist crisis that erupted about 5 years ago.

That this is a convenient argument to the political (and economic) elites misruling Greece for the last few decades is obvious. When everybody is to blame, the people most responsible for Greece’s current state are left off the hook. That Joseph and Triandafyllidou contribute to such an outcome is illustrated by their diagnosis that

Greece has been plagued by the paralysis of collective responsibility: “So maybe I didn’t pay my taxes, but who did?”

Playing into the false notion that nobody pays taxes in Greece, this line of reasoning conceals the class dimension of tax evasion and legally sanctioned tax exceptions. Greeks are not paralyzed because they realize that none of them paid their taxes. Instead, Greece is increasingly divided between the less affluent majority that has paid all their taxes for decades and the affluent minority that has never done so in the past and that uses all its wealth and influence to ensure that it will never have to do so in the future either. And, by contrast to Joseph and Triandafyllidou’s critique of the leader of Greece’s anti-austerity Syriza party for a narrow message that supposedly does not embrace the reforms that Greece needs, Greece’s economic oligarchy is using the Greek media it controls to discredit Syriza, precisely because it fears that a Syriza government’s reforms might endanger the continuation of their privileges.

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CounterSpin Interview with Costas Panayotakis On the European Crisis

‘The People Who Supported Austerity
Have Been Disproven By Facts’

By CounterSpin [Archived on AKNY.org]

When there are austerity protests in Europe, New York Times headlines like “Markets Falter in Europe Amid Protests on Austerity” (9/27/12) and “Markets Tumble on Unrest in Greece and Spain” (9/27/12) accurately capture the reports’ primary concerns: how the protests might affect financial markets. Of lesser concern to the Times, it seems, is how austerity affects people. CounterSpin’s Steve Rendall spoke on September 28 with Costas Panayotakis, a professor of social science at the New York City College of Technology, who has been following U.S. media coverage of the economic crisis in Greece.

Costas Panayiotakis on Democracy Now!

Costas Panayiotakis on Democracy Now! (from YouTube).

CS: I wonder if you could briefly tell us exactly what the protests in Greece are about.

CP: Greece has been under a very brutal austerity program for the last three years. It has had to adopt policies that cut people’s salaries, destroy their labor rights, cut social services—in exchange for a bailout that has allowed Greece to keep servicing its debts. And people are increasingly realizing that these measures are not helping solve the crisis but making the crisis much worse.
The economic increase has shrunk by 20 percent in the last three years or so, and unemployment is skyrocketing to 25 percent, with more than 50 percent unemployment for young workers. So people are basically saying that enough is enough, and they are trying to fight back against the measures, and against the government, which was recently elected on a platform that was quite different from the measures they are currently pushing through.

CS: Last time we spoke, there was a lot of media commentary about how lazy Greek workers were threatening everything, even people in the United States. How has coverage changed since about a year ago?

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14 Νοεμβρίου 2012 – Συγκέντρωση Αλληλεγγύης

ENGLISH / PHOTOS

Επιτυχημένη Συγκέντρωση Αλληλεγγύης στους Λαούς
της Ελλάδας και της Ευρώπης ενάντια στην Λιτότητα
και την Κοινωνική Εξαθλίωση

Αριστερή Κίνηση Νέας Υόρκης

Την Τετάρτη έξω απο τον Οργανισμό Ηνωμένων Εθνών περισσότεροι απο εκατό διαδηλωτές εξέφρασαν την αλληλεγγύη τους με την ιστορική γενική απεργία η οποία είχε κηρυχθεί για την ίδια μέρα, 14 Νοεμβρίου, σχεδόν σε ολόκληρη την Νότια Ευρώπη. Nov14rally_04Ενατοντάδες χιλιάδες εργαζομένων, συνταξιούχων και νέων ανθρώπων βγήκαν στους δρόμους σε δεκάδες μεγάλες Ευρωπαϊκές πόλεις για να διαδηλώσουν ενάντια στην λιτότητα. Στην Νέα Υόρκη η συγκέντρωση ξεκίνησε στις 2μμ με συνέντευξη τύπου σε Ευρωπαϊκά και Αμερικανικά ΜΜΕ.

Πέρα των προγραμματισμένων ομιλητών ο Gregor Gysi, ένα απο τα ηγετικά στελέχη της Die Linke (The Left) στο Γερμανικό κοινοβούλιο, βρέθηκε στην Νέα Υόρκη και έδωσε ένα σύντομο λόγο. Αντιπροσωπεία με αρχηγό τον εκπρόσωπο τύπου της συγκέντρωσης, Νίκο Λεβή και τους Κώστα Παναγιωτάκη και Φραγκώ Ακριβού παρέδωσαν το δελτίο τύπου στην Ελληνική Αποστολή στον ΟΗΕ ζητώντας σεβασμό προς τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα και τους δημοκρατικούς θεσμούς και το τέλος της ανοχής εκ μέρους της κυβέρνησης της νεο-Ναζιστικής οργάνωσης “Χρυσή Αυγή.”

Την συνέντευξη τύπου ακολούθησε διαμαρτυρία με συνθήματα όπως “The workers united will never be defeated,” “Money for Jobs and Education!” και “Hey Hey Ho Ho – Austerity has got to go!” και με ομιλητές οι οποίοι ο ένας μετά τον άλλο εξέφρασαν την αλληλεγγύη τους προς τους εργαζόμενους, τους συνταξιούχους και τους νέους οι οποίοι υπόκεινται τις άμεσες συνέπειες των βάναυσων μέτρων λιτότητας που επιβάλει η Τρόικα και οι κυβερνήσεις της Ιρλανδίας, της Ισπανίας, της Ιταλίας, της Πορτογαλίας, της Κύπρου και της Ελλάδας. Στην συγκέντρωση πήραν μέρος μέλη του κινήματος Occupy Wall Street OWS, μέλη του Queens College Socialist Club όπως και του Greek Club, μέλη σωματείων όπως αυτά των εργαζομένων στα Πλυντήρια ή στην εταιρεία Hot and Crusty, καθώς και αντιπρόσωποι διαφόρων εκστρατειών και οργανώσεων για την προστασία των δικαιωμάτων των μεταναστών και των εργαζομένων.

Συνεχίζεται…
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Rally in Solidarity with Greece and European Workers’ General Strike

RALLY AT UNITED NATIONS IN SOLIDARITY WITH GREECE & EUROPEAN WORKERS’ GENERAL STRIKE WED NOV 14, 2012… AGAINST AUSTERITY IN GREECE & EU; AGAINST GREEK GOVERNMENT’S HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS & PROTECTION OF NEO-NAZI ‘GOLDEN DAWN’…
SEE EVENT PAGE AND PHOTO ALBUM BY MICKEY Z.


Report on the November 14, 2012
Solidarity Rally Against Austerity

Nov14rally_03
By Aristeri Kinisi NY (Greek-American Left Movement)
[Archive. Originally published by Campaign for Peace and Democracy.]

Nov 14 RallyMore than 100 demonstrators showed their solidarity with the historic general strike across Southern Europe on Wednesday night in Manhattan near the United Nations. In Europe, hundreds of thousands of workers, pensioners and young people took to the streets in dozens of major cities to protest against EU-backed austerity measures. The event in New York started at 2 pm in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza with a press conference attended by mainstream and alternative, European, and Greek-American media. The protest was specifically aimed at the nearby Greek Mission to the United Nations.

A surprise appearance was made by Gregor Gysi, speaker of the left-wing party Die Linke in the German parliament, who was leading a delegation for the opening of the New York branch of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. Gysi delivered an impassioned defense of social justice against the human devastation caused by austerity.

Gregor Gysi speaking at Nov 14th rally in New York

Gregor Gysi speaking at Nov 14th rally in New York

A delegation headed by the event’s press liaison Nikos Levis, Costas Panayotakis and Frango Akrivos delivered the group’s statement to the deputy chief of the Greek Mission, meeting with him for almost an hour inside the Mission. The statement demanded respect for democratic rights and an end to the government’s tolerance for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, and read in part:

From New York City – where the global financial crisis originated on Wall Street – we have watched with dismay as the austerity measures demanded by the European Union have created a social disaster in Greece and in many other nations hit by the global crisis. The recent award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the political authorities in the European Union makes a mockery of the conditions the EU has imposed on those hardest-hit by the crisis.

We have heard terrible stories of hardship and even hunger from friends and families in Greece, where unemployment for young workers now stands at 50 percent, and where often meager pensions are being cut to the level of starvation and social degradation.

An increasingly organized resistance to such EU-driven measures is being waged in all of the hardest-hit countries by workers, students and pensioners. On November 14, we shall show our solidarity with their struggles.

People from across the globe, as well as the Greek diaspora, have also watched with concern the neo-Nazi “Golden Dawn” profit from the huge social crisis by posing as an “anti-austerity” party – even as they scapegoat the most helpless, the immigrants and refugees in Greece-many of them victims of the US wars and economic crises in Asia. We have seen the Greek government fail to prosecute public and even fatal acts of violence by “Golden Dawn” members against immigrants and Greeks alike and attack basic democratic freedoms.

We have seen the Greek government itself employ brutal state violence and even torture against protesters and activists and the massive use of tear gas, and violence to attack peaceful demonstrations.

We call upon the Greek government to end immediately and to investigate and prosecute all acts of torture committed by Greek authorities; to end police protection of “Golden Dawn” and to prosecute all known acts of violence by “Golden Dawn” members; and to stop implementing the austerity package that is literally starving our people;

We call upon the European Union to suspend the forced austerity regime that has brought such hardship; to allow a full audit of the Greek (and Portuguese and Spanish) debt, and to cancel all debt payments. We call for a Europe that serves the interests of working people not the banks and the stock exchanges;
We call for an international committee of investigation of torture of protesters by the Greek police as well as its tolerance and protection of “Golden Dawn”;

We call upon the people of Europe to work toward a comprehensive immigration policy for Europe and to stop making Greece responsible for the hundreds of thousands of refugees coming from countries plunged into misery by war and by the same kind of neoliberal austerity policies that are ruining Greece today. The Dublin Regulation needs to be changed; the Regulation decrees that the European country that a person first arrived in is responsible for dealing with their application for asylum. This puts excessive pressure on border areas, where states are often least able to offer asylum seekers support and protection.

Europe as a whole, including its wealthier countries, needs to provide refuge for people fleeing oppression and economic catastrophe. Moreover, Europe as a whole, along with the U.S. needs to end its failed neoliberal policies at home and abroad.

Finally, we call upon the Greek, American and international media to investigate and report on the true origins of the debt and of the crisis in Greece and internationally; and to widely expose allegations of state-sponsored torture of prisoners and Greek government protection of “Golden Dawn.”

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