Contributed by Communist Organization of Greece (KOE)
[Unofficial report about the general strike and the popular demonstrations of this week; the official statement of KOE will be translated and published soon here]
The 48 hours general strike on 6 and 7 November 2012 was concluded with mass demonstrations all over Greece. Hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets and squares of big and smaller cities, chanting slogans against the IMF-EU-ECB troika and the “Memorandum 3”, and demanding the resignation of the tripartite illegitimate government.
In Athens alone, over 100.000 people gathered from 5:00 PM of 7 November in Syntagma Square, surrounding the Parliament for more than five hours, despite the heavy rain and the repetitive attempts of the “anti-riot” police to disperse them using scores of tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons (it is the first time after the fall of the dictatorship, back in 1974, that water cannons are used against a central demonstration in Greece).
During the demonstration, the 71 MPs of SYRIZA temporarily left the Parliament, provoking mass enthusiasm when they appeared outside the building behind a huge banner with the slogan “You are destroying the country! Leave now!” Then they marched as a bloc towards the people, chanting slogans; they crossed the police lines and joined the demonstrators on the Square in a pandemonium of applauses, slogans and acclamations.
Later in the evening, the “anti-riot” police did everything possible to “clean up” the Square before the time of the final vote. In total there were more than 100 arrests and at least 5 injured demonstrators. Inside the Parliament, after a completely anti-constitutional “fast-track process” that lasted for less than 24 hours, the pro-government MPs ratified Memorandum 3 as prescribed in 800 pages (!) without even having the “luxury” to read what exactly they were voting for (among other measures: additional cuts of 13,5 billion Euro in pensions, salaries and social services, plus a complete sell-out of the country’s infrastructure and natural ressources).
It is worth mentioning that the illegitimate government ignored the decisions of the Authorities responsible to declare whether a Law (in this case the Law that ratifies Memorandum 3) conforms or not to the Constitution. Indeed, this week ALL these Authorities (the Supreme Court of Audit, the Supreme Court of Civil and Penal Law and the Scientific Service of the Parliament) have declared a big part of Memorandum 3 as anti-constitutional! Moreover, in order to limit the danger even of partial dissent among the pro-government MPs, the ratification concerned the whole Memorandum 3 “en bloc”, with a Law composed by a unique article.
However, despite these tricks, the pro-government parliamentary bloc further shrinked: an additional score of 6 MPs of PASOK and 1 MP of the right wing “Nea Dimokratia” did not vote in favor of the ratification of Memorandum 3. From the MPs of the third government party (“Democratic Left”), who were under heavy pressure and felt the popular anger targeting them, 15 voted “Present”, and 2 of them voted “NO”. Thus, the initial pro-government majority (179 MPs out of a total of 300, thanks to the “bonus” of 40 seats offered to “Nea Dimokratia” by the antidemocratic electoral law) was reduced to only 153 “YES” during this crucial vote. This is another expression of the deep crisis that shreds apart the pro-troika bloc, and confirms the estimation that this government is trembling.
The leader of SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, declared in the Parliament: “We are witnessing the agony of a parliamentarian majority that falls apart. Very soon they will be a minority in the Parliament, as they already are a small minority among the people.” And, addressing the Prime Minister Samaras, he added: “What we heard from you today was the eulogy speech in front of the approaching funeral of a government which, for 4 months now, is doing exactly the opposite from what you promised to the people before the elections, and from what you announced on your programmatic statements when you became Prime Minister.” He concluded his speech saying: “Today, ladies and gentlemen, we live a parody of democracy in this House. But, outside the Parliament, we have thousands of people who, despite the tons of chemicals thrown against them, are once again here in order to defend democracy. We welcome this stand of our People. We are proud of our People’s courage. We know that the fighting spirit of our People has panicked you. But this fighting spirit is at the same time shaking us, and obliges us to remain adamant to the end. Until the Greek People impose their will and save the country!”