Greece: mass movement against police violence – which way forward?

Throughout March, a mass struggle in Greece (led by the youth) has been waged against police violence and the reactionary, authoritarian New Democracy (ND) government. The main left organisations have scandalously distanced themselves from and refused to join forces in support of this militant movement. Nevertheless, the masses have emerged from a period of paralysis willing to fight. The movement against police repression has temporarily subsided for now, due to the emergency conditions imposed by the present spike of the pandemic. But what is clear is that a new chapter of the Greek class struggle has begun. Note: this article was initially drafted in March.

On 9 March, a new mass movement began to unfold in Greece against police authoritarianism that has intensified under the right-wing New Democracy (ND) government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis. An unprecedented mass rally was organised in Nea Smyrni in response to police violence and terror that two days earlier had culminated in beatings and arrests of citizens in the neighbourhood square. This was followed, on 11 March, by a rally of thousands of young people in Thessaloniki after the violent invasion of the university by riot police. On the weekend of 13 and 14 March, mass gatherings took place in the squares of dozens of neighborhoods of Athens and other big cities.

A growth in repressive operations and authoritarian legislative changes have brought to the fore the true, rotten nature of the capitalist state. The explosion of anger and resentment in recent days also expresses a general dissatisfaction with scandalous, anti-worker, anti-people policies of the government, both as concerns the pandemic and the deep crisis that Greek capitalism is facing as part of the international crisis.

Why is the government intensifying police repression?

Almost 12 years since Greece entered into crisis, with the spectre of state bankruptcy looming, Greek capitalism remains in a deep quagmire. After a weak, three-year-long recovery (from 2016 to 2018), Greek GDP has, since the end of 2019, been falling, losing almost a third of its value since the beginning of the crisis. Meanwhile, government debt relative to GDP has increased by 70 percent, while the budget deficit is rapidly returning to the levels of the first ‘memorandum’ in 2010.

At the end of this year, the government’s ‘liquidity cushion’ of about €30 billion is expected to be exhausted thanks to the high costs of the continuing lockdown. Meanwhile, the international trend of increasing government interest rates, coupled with the high Greek debt, make it almost impossible to continue dealing with the fiscal problem through ever-increasing borrowing. All this will soon lead to new harsh austerity measures, which the government of the Greek ruling class hopes will be easier to pass if it begins by preemptively terrorising the movements of the working class and the youth.

The Greek ruling class remembers with horror the “chaos” of the mass demonstrations and strikes at the beginning of the last decade. They do not want to relive it. The government has therefore been taking advantage of the special conditions of the pandemic for months now. They are acting like a robber plundering a deserted city. They are restricting the basic democratic rights of the working class and the youth, including the right to strike, the right of assembly and to demonstrate, and the Mitsotakis government decision to reverse the 40-year-long exclusion of the police from university campuses, with the permanent installation of a police force in the universities – something that wasn’t even attempted under fascism. They are using riot police to attack university occupations, arresting students, and even attacking people in squares and parks, imposing a general climate of police terror. But their haste to preemptively crush the movement is actually driving it forward.

The nature of the movement

Greek protests 2 main Image Communist Tendency GreeceThis process of awakening, as it always does, has begun with the youngest and most unaffected by the defeats of the past / Image: Communist Tendency (Greece)

This movement didn’t fall from the sky. It was preceded by the university students’ movement of October 2019, the movement of secondary school occupations of October 2020, and the mass anti-fascist rally outside the Court of Appeals that occurred earlier that same October, after the conviction of the leadership of the fascist Golden Dawn for the assassination of musician Pavlos Fyssas and other murderous attacks. There is a new mood among the youth who are militantly returning to the forefront of the social and political struggle. It reflects a general process of militant reawakening of the working masses, following about five years of ‘paralysis’ after the great defeat suffered in the summer of 2015 when the SYRIZA government led by Tsipras betrayed the mass movement over the memoranda of draconian austerity measures imposed by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF – the infamous Troika.

The climate in society is once more beginning to resemble that of May 2011, when the workers mobilised in the city squares. But the masses today carry with them the political experience of all the important events that have taken place since that date.

This process of awakening, as it always does, has begun with the youngest and most unaffected by the defeats of the past. The young people participating in the demonstrations these days belong to the working class and the poor masses. They are pupils and students, mainly younger ones, many of whom have not even attended any live classes due to the pandemic. They are precarious workers, workers who are in a state of ‘suspension’ due to the pandemic, as well as the unemployed.

From a political point of view, these young people are not attracted to the mass organisations, trade unions and workers’ parties, because they don’t see in them a means to effectively fight for a solution to their problems. The main common attitude of these young people is anger and hatred towards the police. Some among them – in the case of Nea Smyrni several hundred – showed that they are not afraid of responding to police violence with mass violence.

The events of Nea Smyrni: violent mass self-defence or “hooliganism"?

We must look at the issue of violence objectively, from a class perspective. Only fools or hypocritical apologists of the status quo condemn violence “no matter where it comes from.” Only they can equate - for example - the violence of the army of the rebellious slaves of Spartacus with that of the army of the Roman slave owners, the revolutionary violence of the oppressed with that of the oppressors aimed at preserving their power and privileges. Massive plebeian violence against the prevailing violence of the exploiters is both inevitable and necessary to change society. Whoever condemns it, ultimately condemns social progress itself.

What kind of violence did we see on 9 March in Nea Smyrni? A few hundred young people reacted against the violence of the state with a comparatively small amount of mass violence. These were ordinary young people of the working class and poor masses who have been beaten and tear-gassed in demonstrations, and who are suffocating under the police and the authoritarianism of the government and the bourgeois regime. In order to slander the genuinely progressive, popular gathering of Nea Smyrni, and the rebellious spirit that characterised the youth who participated in it, the ruling class and its government tried to slander them as “hooligans”. The fact that soccer fans associations were, among others, also invited to this gathering was used as evidence supporting this slander. But even if a neighborhood cultural club had invited them to the event, the level of participation and the mood of the youth would have been the same.

The violent clash of hundreds of young people with the police after the rally was by no means hooliganism, it wasn’t anti-social “violence for violence’s sake”. The massive, spontaneous outbreak of defensive violence against a provocative, brutal, repressive state force that is armed to the teeth and equipped with special weapons to terrorise and disperse progressive mass rallies, even if football fans participated, has nothing in common with hooliganism. Rather, it is militant opposition to state oppression.

What kind of self-defence?

Any violence within a mass movement must go hand in hand with, and submit to the aims of the movement. The violence seen in Nea Smyrni is not dissimilar to clashes with the police at the massive strike rally in February 2012. Then, likewise, it was a case of mass self-defence, in full agreement with the aims of the movement.

This massive and spontaneous self-defence is completely different from the conflicts systematically sought by small anarchist groups. These untimely, adventurous, unprovoked attacks on the sidelines of mass demonstrations against the police, systematically carried out by anarchist groups, serve no purpose for the mass movement. They are harmful and have reactionary effects. We have seen time after time how they become an excuse for the police to disperse mass mobilisations. Such attacks are often initiated by police provocateurs themselves.

But just because spontaneous, violent self-defence is justified, does not mean that the question of self-defence should be left to the spontaneity of hundreds of protesters. Instead, it must be seriously prepared and organised, and subject to the democratic control of the organs of the mass movement. Instead of disorganised self-defence of mass rallies and marches, vulnerable to infiltration by provocateurs, self-defence groups of selected militants from mass labour and youth organisations should be formed and appropriately trained and equipped.

Revolutionary processes

The willingness of hundreds of young people to violently confront the terrorist violence of the police reflects deep processes developing in general among the youth. These sentiments have, at the very least, the tolerance and understanding of the majority of society. A poll conducted on 11 and 12 March 2021 - after the events in Nea Smyrni - indicated that 61 percent of respondents believe the police have recently exerted excessive violence. 67 percent stated that they don’t trust the internal control procedures of the police. 44 percent answered that they believe that the Greek police are worse at doing their job than their counterparts in most EU countries, while 14 percent said they do it “just as badly”. Regarding the events of 9 March in Nea Smyrni in particular, 53 percent stated that “exclusive or main responsibility” lies with the Greek police. For respondents between the ages of 17-34, all of the above percentages were even less favourable toward the police!

A large number of ordinary working-class and poor people, and an even larger number of young people, saw the violent response to police terror as justified. This generalised popular anger against the police, which in the ranks of the youth has taken the form of an irreconcilable hatred, is not directed against individual parts of the capitalist state machine that “isn’t doing its job well”. It reveals a deeper revolutionary process going on in the consciousness of the masses. It is aimed against an institution, which together with the bourgeois media, today forms the main pillar for the entire bourgeois regime. This sentiment is accompanied by an unprecedented outrage towards the right-wing government and the Prime Minister.

Gulf dividing government from the youth

Greek protests 3 main Image Communist Tendency GreeceMitsotakis’s appeal to the youth, with his patronising, moralising style, provided a glimpse of the fear of the ruling class towards the evolving youth uprising / Image: Communist Tendency (Greece)

Following the events in Nea Smyrni, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis gave an unprecedented televised speech. In past decades, even when we’ve seen much larger mobilisations, not once has a prime minister given a televised address in response to protesters even before the demonstration is over. This showed how disturbed the ruling class were by the rally and its militant character. Mitsotakis’s appeal to the youth, with his patronising, moralising style, provided a glimpse of the fear of the ruling class towards the evolving youth uprising.

Mitsotakis’s speech got a remarkably negative reception. Instead of uniting the social base of the right wing, it made things worse for the government. The video of the speech received only 10,000 ‘likes’ compared to 56,000 ‘angry’ reactions on social media. Afterwards, thousands of people filled the prime minister's social media accounts with messages of disapproval and hatred.

Three days later, this negative reaction led the Prime Minister to lose his composure. In the debate on the events in Nea Smyrni in parliament, Mitsotakis was clearly frustrated, among other things uttering:

“It is important to explain to young people that the way social media works today and the algorithms of the major platforms they use actually reproduce and reward any views they may already have. They compartmentalise them. They create anger, not dialogue. The stereotypes they have on both sides are fed back and this is bad for our democracy, it is bad for the level of our dialogue. Because in this way young people are trapped in their views, without developing their critical thinking.”

The social media reaction shows the ND’s declining influence on the youth, which was already apparent in the low vote for ND among the under-35s in the 2019 election. In an interview on Sunday, 21 March on the iEidiseis website, professor and writer, N. Marantzidis, a well-known apologist of the Greek ruling class, was asked what characterises the Greek youth today, and replied:

“I feel that for the first time in many years, the youth is forming a collective identity experience that will define it. By analogy with, say, the generation defined by the dictatorship and uprising of 1973, and then by the fall of the junta, this generation of young people was defined by the 10-year economic crisis and pandemic policies…”

Asked what he thought about how the radicalisation of the new generation will be expressed politically, the professor replied “it is clearly left-wing”. At the end of the interview, referring to the gulf separating the government from the youth, he asked: “Have they [ND] completely forgotten their youth or are they just pretending to remember nothing?”

The leadership of SYRIZA and the mass movement

The conflict developing between the mass movement of the youth and the regime of police authoritarianism has not yet found a political expression. The attitude of the SYRIZA leadership towards the events of Nea Smyrni, once again, was aimed at demonstrating to the ruling class the party’s “responsible” credentials. SYRIZA's official statement on the events of 9 March read:

“We unequivocally condemn those who chose by force to stigmatise a peaceful protest of thousands of residents, students, workers and shopkeepers of Nea Smyrni. We unequivocally condemn the attack on a man of the Greek police. Violence is not to be dealt with violence. Violence only justifies violence.”

More than simply drawing an equivalence between state terror and spontaneous self-defence, the SYRIZA leadership reserved a special “unequivocal condemnation” for the latter. According to the president of SYRIZA, when the youth receive a slap from the police, they should turn the other cheek.

This attitude was carried over into the speech of Alexis Tsipras in Parliament on 12 March, in which the president of SYRIZA accused the government of building up a “strategy of tension”. This reflects a theory, circulating on the Left, that the intensity of state authoritarianism is part of a deliberate political plan with an immediate objective, and not an expression of the reactionary nature of the Greek state and ruling class. It implies that the Greek ruling class and state power could, even in conditions of deep crisis and growing popular discontent, take a gentler, kinder approach.

Alexis Tsipras even went as far as to indirectly but clearly characterise the defensive violence of hundreds of young people against the onslaught of the police “action” as hooliganism. Addressing the Prime Minister, he said:

“While last Tuesday you had the information from the authorities, information that only you could have, that hooligans from all the football teams of Attica would gather in Nea Smyrni to tarnish the peaceful protest of the citizens. Instead of trying to isolate them, instead of trying to ensure the safety of the protesters, all you did was blame your political opponents.”

There is no need to return to the baseless accusations of hooliganism during the events of Nea Smyrni.

Behind this rhetoric lies a very conservative, but also myopic, political motive: to sacrifice the ‘extreme’ radical youth so as not to lose the votes of the ‘peaceful housewives’. What the president, and the leadership of SYRIZA, do not understand is that the deep capitalist crisis and its scandalous management by the government will lead even to the ‘housewives’ taking a more radical path. They seem to forget that they themselves rose to power because they once tapped into and expressed the ‘extreme’ mood of the masses.

This SYRIZA leadership has never endorsed open struggle against the ND government. It merely asks to be elected. With this policy, however, it is isolating itself not only from the radicalised youth, but also from the very base of its party, which has shown itself willing to take an active part in the mobilisations against police violence.

The leadership of the KKE: mistakes and evasions

The reaction by SYRIZA’s leadership was expected: they have shown time and again they have no intention of breaking with the bourgeois system, nor of backing a militant mass movement against the government. But what should the response of the leadership of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) have been to this movement?

First of all – after the gathering at Nea Smyrni and the mass rallies that followed – it should have explained to its rank and file the importance of these events. It should have emphasised the possibilities that exist for the emergence of a revolutionary situation. It should have then mobilised the party by launching a campaign aimed mainly at the masses of young people who participated in or supported the mobilisations, in order to win them over with slogans that respond to the current situation, but also with proposals for effective methods of struggle.

In addition, the KKE leadership should have recognised and underlined the revolutionary political kernel contained in this mass movement. The party should have highlighted the superiority of workers’ power over the current authoritarian bourgeois state. It should also have recognised the potential of this movement to advance the consciousness of the masses, and challenge the bureaucratic leaderships of the traditional mass organisations.

Unfortunately, we do not see any of this in the political stance and tactics of the KKE leadership. Not a single comprehensive and clear political demand has been issued on the question of the police. The party didn’t propose any next steps at the mass rallies. The only official party stance highlighted the need for an “organised struggle”. What the KKE leadership means by this is that the struggle needs to be channelled through the unions. This position, however, has serious political weaknesses.

First of all, this spontaneous outbreak is by itself proof that the mass trade unions have already – due to the tactics of the leaderships – failed to pull the working masses and the youth into an “organised struggle”.

With a spontaneous mass movement such as we have seen, it would be entirely possible, with the proper intervention of the communists, to shake the bureaucratised trade unions out of their stupor, and nurture new forms of organisation, capable of embracing even wider layers of the working class. But this will never happen if the communists simply call on young people gathered in the squares to join the unions en masse for an “organised struggle” at a time when everyone knows that these organisations are not waging any such struggle.

This position is an evasion. Those participating in the mobilisations today aren’t learning anything about what the KKE thinks should be done now, nor how this vague strategy of “organised struggle” would actually advance the movement.

The question of the ‘United Front’

On the evening of 7 March, the secretary of the small leftist party MERA25, Yanis Varoufakis, addressed a written appeal to the KKE and SYRIZA for joint action in order “to protect the Republic and the citizens from the Mitsotakis-Chrysochoidis government”:

“In the face of mounting state repression that is now posing a threat to Democracy and leaves citizens unprotected against the praetorians of Mitsotakis-Chrysochoidis, MERA25 calls on the KKE and SYRIZA to take common action for the protection of Democracy and the citizenry. I can not imagine that, at such a critical juncture, we are unable to coordinate our actions in favour of democratic legitimacy.”

Despite Varoufakis expressing his illusions in the “democratic legitimacy” of the capitalist state – precisely at the moment when tens of thousands of young people are casting off their illusions in its “democratic legitimacy”! – his call for a united front of left organisations in the face of an assault against the democratic rights and growing police terror is essentially correct. Of course, just two days later we saw unity in practice as left-wing youth united in action in Nea Smyrni.

The leaderships of SYRIZA and the KKE did not accept this elementary appeal by the Secretary of MERA25. The leadership of SYRIZA didn’t even bother to comment on it, while the leadership of the KKE rejected it, even attempting to justify its stance politically. In an interview with ‘Kyriakatiki Kontra News’ on 13 March, the Secretary of the KKE’s Central Committee, D. Koutsoumba, stated:

“Mr. Varoufakis calls the KKE again to mass mobilisations! We remind him, then, that for a year now the KKE has been leading mobilisations [... He] invites us to something we are already doing and he is not doing it! Most importantly, though, is how repression can really be dealt with. [Will it be] with a coordination [at the top of the left-wing] political parties? Or through a mass movement, mass struggles that will focus on the very cause of the problem: the strategy against the people that requires a corresponding repressive apparatus? We answer the second. Every political force will be judged there, without acquitting forces that either tolerated or co-formed the institutional repressive framework from government positions. SYRIZA and Varoufakis, who was once a SYRIZA minister, have their share of responsibility.”

Surely, if the KKE has indeed been leading mass mobilisations up until now, then it should have been the first to issue the call for a unified mobilisation of all forces of the left against police violence and the ND government, rather than simply calling on young people to join the unions. This sectarian response to an elementary appeal represents a missed opportunity for joint action. This would have been the easiest and safest way to spread the mass movement throughout the working class and the youth, and develop a genuine mass united front.

In essence, every single serious, united struggle of the working class has the logic of a ‘United Front’, from a strike that gathers the active support of the vast majority of workers, to a common agreement for action by mass workers’ organisations against fascists.

The tactic was most comprehensively worked out by the congresses and elected leadership of the Communist International during its revolutionary and genuinely Leninist, initial period. These tactics were specifically discussed at the 3rd, and especially at the 4th Congress of the International. Its decisions were not formulating a new tactic. They generalised the experience of the workers’ struggles, and the role of the Marxists historically. As Trotsky explained in March 1922 at a meeting of the Communist International Executive:

“In these conflicts ... with the industrialists, with the bourgeoisie, with state power, embracing the vital interests of the whole working class or the majority of it, the working masses feel the need for unity in action, unity to resist the onslaught of capitalism, unity to take the attack against it. Any party that mechanically opposes this need of the working class for unity in action will inevitably be condemned in the conscience of the workers. If we could simply unite the masses of the workers around our flag or our main slogans, and bypass the reformist organisations, that would of course be the best thing in the world. But then there would be no question of the united front itself in its current form. The question arises from the fact that very important sections of the working class belong to or support the reformist organizations.” (Leon Trotsky, “The First Five Years of the Communist International”, Volume Two).

Greece protests 2021Rejecting the Communist International’s tactics of the United Workers’ Front, the KKE leadership denies the very experience of the party that led the first victorious socialist revolution in history, the Bolshevik Party / Image: Communist Tendency (Greece)

Unfortunately, in rejecting the call for united action, the leadership of the KKE is doing exactly what the Leninist Communist International criticised, that is, “it opposes this need of the working class for unity in action”. Every comrade of the KKE should think very seriously about the clear warning made in the above text by the leadership of the Communist International, stating that the party that does such a thing “will inevitably be condemned in the conscience of the workers.”

In justifying why the KKE rejects a united front, D. Koutsoumbas points to who it is they are proposed to unite with, and who it is that has issued this call: SYRIZA, which has betrayed the working class, and a former SYRIZA minister - Varoufakis. But in this matter he receives a clear answer from the same decision of the leadership of the Communist International: “The question [of the United Front] arises from the fact that very important sections of the working class belong to or support the reformist organisations. We are interested in getting the reformists out of their holes and expose them before the eyes of the masses beside us.” In other words, the need to expose these people is precisely why the tactic of a united front should be accepted.

Rejecting the Communist International’s tactics of the United Workers’ Front, the KKE leadership denies the very experience of the party that led the first victorious socialist revolution in history, the Bolshevik Party. In “Left-Wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder, Lenin explained that between 1903 and 1917, when the Bolsheviks repeatedly concluded united front agreements with the Mensheviks, especially under the pressure of the aroused working masses, who wanted to see with their own eyes, and not in words, whether the Mensheviks were willing to fight in practice for the reforms they advocated for. This tactic allowed Bolshevism to win the vast majority of the revolutionary workers.

After Lenin's death and the rise of Stalinist-bureaucratic degeneration of the Communist Party and the Soviet Union, the tactics of the United Front were abandoned by the Communist International. This had disastrous results, with the worst and most painful of these for the world proletariat being the victory of fascism in Germany. The persistent, anti-Leninist stance of the KKE leadership is the political echo of this Stalinist abandonment of the united front condemned by history itself. This policy has nothing to do with revolutionary purity and ‘Marxism-Leninism’. A leadership that rejects the United Front, rejects the struggle for power, that is, the revolution itself. But what form should the United Front take in Greece today? This issue is determined by two objective factors. The first is the need, understood by all workers, for the widest possible mass of the working class and youth to take an active part in the struggle against this government of police authoritarianism. The second is the current political correlation of forces within the working class. From these two objective factors arises the need for unity in action of all mass workers’ unions, all mass youth organisations (student associations, student councils, etc.), as well as the political organisations of the working class, i.e. SYRIZA, the KKE, MERA25, and their youth organisations.

The obstacles to the formation of such a necessary front are the scandalous reluctance of the SYRIZA leadership and the trade union bureaucracy to call for mass struggles against the government, and the stubborn refusal of the KKE leadership to participate in any kind of front. But what should ordinary activists do? Can they wait for the leaders to be persuaded to form the United Front? Certainly not!

What way forward?

Every class fighter must actively promote the cause of the united front in his or her workplace, neighborhood, trade union or political organisation. Resolutions in favor of the united front should be circulated and discussed at all levels. Joint Action Committees should be formed to coordinate the masses’ action, alongside self-defence groups to guard against police violence. Such committees should be coordinated at the sector, municipal, city and national levels.

It is important to understand that police violence and the attack on democratic rights are class issues. The capitalist government is trying to terrorise the working class and youth in order to weaken their resolve. They are preparing the ground for our class to pay for the deep crisis of capitalism. The mass struggle against police authoritarianism is intertwined with the struggle to defend public health, end unemployment and resist attacks on the working class in general. For this reason, the struggle must be waged with the methods of the class struggle: strikes, demonstrations, occupations, etc., that would unite the whole working class against the regime of the ruling class.

The popular rallies that sprang up in dozens of squares across the country on 13 and 14 March should be repeated, this time on the initiative of Joint Action Committees, which could give them the character of open, popular assemblies. This should take place in coordination with the relevant workplace committees, trade unions, student associations, student councils and other collective bodies of the struggle.

The trade unions must resolutely enter the struggle with strike action. Left-wing activists in the unions must support, as a first step, a well-prepared 24-hour general strike, organised by strike committees in the workplaces which should give impulse and generalise Joint Action Committees. A programme of demands should be drawn up, linking the fight against police violence with demands for public health; against mass unemployment and impoverishment; and for raising wages, pensions and benefits.

The experience of decades of bourgeois democracy in Greece, after the revolutionary overthrow of the military Junta in 1974, proves that the police and the armed forces, the backbone of the bourgeois state, cannot be democratised into something friendly toward working people. They are, by nature, instruments for the violent repression of the working class by the bourgeoisie.

The increased brutality of state repression, particularly aimed towards the youth, shows that the ruling class is scared of the looming prospect of a new wave of revolutionary struggle. It is trying to prevent it by scaring the most-radical layers, particularly the youth, into submission. This attempt is doomed to fail. In fact, it is already backfiring.

The question of how to counter, disband and remove such organised violence by the state is being posed sharply by the movement of the youth. This also poses the question of which class interests this repressive power defends when it is mobilised. The police and the army represent the repressive force of the bourgeois state: the core defence for the interests and privileges of the capitalist class. The dismantling of such repressive apparatus is not a simple task that can be achieved within the limits of the status quo, or by reform. When confronted with mass protests, such as the ones we saw last summer in the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA, the ruling class will invariably attempt to carry out cosmetic changes or sacrifice this or that police officer responsible for particularly violent actions, in order to keep the repressive machine intact.

What is required is precisely a struggle to break the ruling class' grip over state power and the laws designed to provide the legal framework for the existence of class society.

Only the revolutionary mass struggle of the youth and the working class can achieve the disbandment of such a repressive apparatus, and replace it with a democratically controlled body for the protection of the rights and safety of the vast majority of society. The conditions for such a revolutionary movement are developing.

The revolutionary energy displayed by the youth must be connected to the interests of the broad workers’ movement. We demand an end to cuts and austerity, the abolition of all laws limiting the right to strike, to organise in trade unions, to freely protest. This must be connected to the restoration of the decades-long conquest of banning police presence from universities!

The police must be expelled from all political, trade union or other collective activities of the workers and youth, which must be defended by self-organised stewarding under the control of the trade unions and the Joint Action Committees. No police presence in strikes, rallies or demonstrations!

We demand the dissolution of special police forces, such as the anti-riot police, and the expulsion of all fascist elements and police officers involved in incidents of abusive violence.

These vital demands cannot be fulfilled by the current, reactionary government of the Greek ruling class. That is why the main slogan unifying the mass struggle has to be “Down with the authoritarian ND government!”

The youth will be playing a leading role in the further radicalisation of the whole Greek working class. The most-advanced layers of the youth and the trade union and workers’ movement must converge around the demand for the trade union leadership to call a 24-hour general strike, as a first step in the struggle to bring down the right-wing government. This strike should be prepared by setting up strike committees in all workplaces, and joint action committees in the neighbourhoods to support them.

The main obstacle preventing the emergence of a revolutionary alternative, as we have explained, is represented by the inertia and the positions defended by the leaderships of the main political parties of the working class (SYRIZA, the KKE, and the smaller MERA25) and the trade union leadership. This inertia can be overcome by the conscious intervention of the most advanced layers, combined with the development of a strong mass movement.

For this obstacle to be removed, it is necessary that those among the youth and the working class, who have reached these conclusions, get organised. If you agree with us, that we need to move resolutely towards the united struggle of the working class, the necessary conclusion must be to strengthen the organised presence and the voice of the Marxist Tendency within the youth and workers’ movement, by joining us in this new chapter of the class struggle in Greece that is opening up!

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