7/5/15

Report from Athens - Overwhelming majority spirit against the "YES" option for the Hellenic referendum

We spent a large portion of this week for campaigning against the “YES” option for the barbarous Troika diktat at Sunday's announced referendum, as well as for direct workers' action and agitation. Notably, on Thursday we blockaded the General Management's offices of the Athens Rapid Transit Operating Company in a demonstration of dissidence against the highly unpopular reactionary management, still formally in office 5 months after the electoral collapse of their political counterparts & patrons. This Balkan version of workplace Neo-fascism, as opposed to workplace democracy, had heavily aggravated during the last austerity years. A mixture of ultraconservative political cronies and corporate tyrants intentionally built-up an atmosphere of slavery to the urban rail scene, conducting ruthless psychological warfare against the staff, boasting to be “the Troika of urban transit”. Notably, they bullied a high number of employees by moving them around the organization, filling most positions with people that didn't want them! This way, they maximized workplace discontent and created an essence of “forced labor. In parallel, they imposed a “disciplinary” terror throughout the corporation, especially against employees defending their health & safety protection. Railway safety and functionality were heavily affected by the bosses' work intensification amok. And all this during a period of net annual salary cutbacks of 60%!

The January elections brought no change at all to the overall labor scene yet. Labor mishandling and boss impunity are sky-high as always, labor and safety inspectors continue to be suspiciously absent just as they were under the overthrown reactionary government

During the whole week, company managers around the system were terrorizing the workforce to vote “YES” at the referendum, threatening with non-payment of wages in case the E.U. diktat loses! Similar threats of direct retaliation against dissident personnel are carried-out by golden-boy managers at most big corporations, banks etc. The whole ambiance is strongly reminiscent of the Chilean oligarchy reaction against the Allende regime immediately prior to the Pinochet coup of 1973.

So, it is no wonder that class-conscious workers took some situations into their own hands with the aforementioned blockade. The high management was locked out of their offices and a shareholder assembly was prevented. Among workers' demands are the replacement of the whole high management, annulment of all their actions and reinstatement of the company status as it was before they took over. Furthermore, deletion of all abusive disciplinary prosecutions and regulations, reinstatement of democratic regulations and workplace democracy.

Transit services were unaffected by the action, as our choice was not to disrupt them under the present circumstances. During the blockade, revolutionary marches of the Red Army were played at the headquarters' entrance to the enthusiasm of entering colleagues. The police was assured that no vandalism took place and they turned away discretely.

The working class rejects the “YES” option

Turning our attention back to the referendum, we were most delighted to have first-hand experience of the perspectives.

We had the opportunity to circulate an enormous amount of Marxist press and pamphlets among the general population, as well as within selected workplaces. The general poverty imposed has now swept away anti-socialist reflects of the past petty-bourgeois climate, painstakingly cultivated throughout the cold war by the reactionary regimes. We were able to estimate unexpected percentages against the “YES”. In our urban transit sector it was about 19/20, in telecommunications and the health sector (including pharmacists) about 4/5, among the harbor workers we didn't find any “YES” supporters! During our open air grocery market campaign, we estimated around 9/10 of small business owners and farmers against the “YES”, while the general public was around 7/10 ! There was a lot of optimism and high-spirit about the outcome of the referendum.

The “YES”-men are conducting their campaign exclusively from the safety of their media studios and offices, they don't dare to go down to the populace to promote their views. The outcome will justify our struggle!