Intervention by Alekos Perrakis, member of PAME Executive Committee at the Euro-Mediterranean Meeting
Athens – July 2017
PAME actively participates in the international, trade union movement through WFTU lines and undertakes a series of initiatives for reorganising the European trade union movement. PAME hosted WFTU’s 16th Congress, actively participated in its 17th Congress in South Africa and has organized meetings for the workers in the multinational companies in sectors such as Commerce, Telecommunications etc.
In our 4th national conference last November, we decided to more actively support the creation of a class-based pole in Europe and strengthen WFTU’s membership. We believe that through these struggles, better circumstances have been created towards regrouping the international trade union movement.
We are going through a difficult and complex period in our country. After more than 7 years of crisis, we have more than 1.5 million unemployed people, whereas among young people, the unemployment rate rises above 50%. The “industry” of anti-labour laws has created a mass of cheap labour, and workers are being exploited and left without rights. We are under attack and we should end this by organizing, strengthening our unity and by having a plan to combat this anti-labour policy and its exploitative consequences. The thirst of the capitalists for profits is unquenchable. They admit that in order for their profits to recover, they need to exploit people more.
In the global capitalist market during the last 2-3 decades, new trends have been formed which adhere to a further reduction of wages. The competition among the most powerful monopolies and countries over exports and investments is getting worse. Therefore, in countries such as the USA, Japan and in the EU, the capital and its governments are intensifying the war against the working class, which is yet another sign that this system which relies on exploitation, has reached its historical limits.
The clouds of war thicken. Solidarity is the weapon of the people
There is no crime the capitalists will not commit if they believe that it will give them a competitive edge. The Greek bourgeois class, just like in other countries, has shown many times in the past its aggressiveness towards other peoples, by not hesitating to participate in bloody massacres, entrapping our people in adventures so as to get a share from the prey of the imperialist wolves and play a more active role in the geopolitical chessboard. Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Ivory Coast and Libya are just some of the NATO-led imperialist massacres in the last 20 years with Greek support and participation. We are in danger of more generalized conflicts and imperialist wars because this is the way of the bosses for more capitalist profits: deeper exploitation of their people and a bloody redrawing of borders, trade routes, energy, markets, zones of influence etc. These are what the capitalists and their parties call “national goals”. PAME was founded through the struggles against the imperialist massacre in Yugoslavia and the participation of Greece to the slaughter. We are witnessing something similar today. Our region is on fire, more than one million victims have crossed the Aegean Sea which is filled with dead bodies, while the drama of the refugees is still ongoing.
The presence of NATO in the Aegean Sea under the pretense of controlling the immigrant flows, sharpens the tension. In the last days, French company TOTAL is starting to drill in Cyprus’s EEZ. The talks for the Cyprus problem have collapsed. Even the preceding conversation had nothing to do with the worries of the Cypriot people, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots regarding a peaceful cohabitation and a viable solution, as well as regarding which interests of monopolies will be best served. Erdogan is directly threatening in order to safeguard the interests of the Turkish bourgeoisie, while the presence of the French Navy and US intervention, are more intense than ever.
PAME has conducted an information and mobilisation campaign of Greek workers in order to strengthen the friendship with the peoples, and to coordinate our moves against the imperialist wars and interventions in our region and the world.
On May Day, thousands of workers got together in Greece, Turkey and other countries, where the Trade Unions’ Declaration against the Imperialist War was read and voted by the participants:
“The all-out attack which condemns the working class in every country in poverty, unemployment and misery consists only one side of the coin of class-based politics. The other side is the unfair, imperialist war, waged for the interests of the big, financial groups. Facing the danger of a generalised war in our region, we will protect the working classes of our countries through common action and solidarity, with our trade unions at the forefront”.
This text was discussed in hundreds of unions’ meetings, while thousands of workers throughout Greece participated on May Day gatherings under the slogan: “With all the workers, for a world without exploitation, poverty and refugees”, with colleagues from Turkey addressing the gatherings in Mytilene, Samos, Kos, Alexandroupoli and Komotini, while PAME’s gathering in Athens was addressed by the Palestinian ambassador. In previous gatherings, we expressed our solidarity to the peoples of Syria and Palestine, while Turkish colleagues from the metallurgy sector also attended the Perama gathering. On the 26th of May, we organised a concert in Athens with the participation of Greek and Turkish artists. The participation of thousands of protestors from around Greece clearly conveyed the message: “NATO out – Stop Imperialism – Long live the peoples’ friendship”. The participation of dozens of foreign delegations from the Balkans and the wider region encourages us to move forward.
We will not stop here. We will continue towards this direction. Nothing is dividing us with the working classes of other countries and with other peoples. On the contrary, we are united by the common interest of fighting for a world without wealth and poverty, without bosses, living a life that we can call our own. Our struggle will be effective to the extent in which it connects the safeguarding of borders and sovereign rights, the struggle for peaceful living and the struggle to overthrow the barbaric, exploitative system which breeds and feeds poverty, unemployment, wars and refugees.
This is what we fight for:
- No participation in imperialist interventions and international wars. No implication in EU and NATO slaughterhouses.
- Closing down of all foreign military installations. NATO must leave the Aegean and the Balkans.
- No participation in any capitalist military or political alliance.
- Struggle against the changing of borders and respective treaties.
- Struggle against the restriction of trade union freedoms.
- No to military spending for action outside our borders, yes to spending for the needs of the working-class family.
- Fight against nationalism, racism and chauvinism.
- Solidarity to refugees, immigrants and all the peoples.
We shall not fall under the foreign and hostile to us plutocratic banner of our countries and their allies. We raise the flag of the working class interests, against the calls for class cooperation and national consensus. We fight against the unfair wars, in order to eradicate their causes. Solidarity is the weapon of the people. We salute today’s meeting and we wish every success to its decisions and the continuation of our common struggle