Greece’s agony continues. This week, more pension cuts and tax increases were agreed by the Syriza-led government and international creditors, in return for €7.5bn emergency loans to enable Athens to feed its debt repayments. Under the new agreement, pensions will be cut by another 18% (pension payments have been cut 12 times since the start of the crisis, and cut by 40% in the past six years). Many families now depend on pension payments.
After years of drastic austerity measures, it’s little surprise that enormous anger is brewing in society, particularly amongst youth, as the article below indicates.
The results of a recent pan-European survey on youth, organized by the EBU (European Broadcasting Union), are telling.
One of the questions posed to young people aged 18-34 years old from 13 European countries was: “Would you join a large-scale uprising against the government?”Sixty seven per cent of the Greek youth taking part in the poll answered “yes”, thus placing the Greek youth on the top of the list, followed by the Italian, the Spanish and the French youth, with 65%, 63% and 61%, respectively.
These results reflect a reality that we have written about in a series of articles and comments on the Xekinima (CWI in Greece) site. This survey finding runs contrary to the voices coming from many sections of the Greek Left that complain about “the people who do not mobilize” or “the indifferent youth”. In reality, the two main reasons why in this period there are no mass movements shaking Greek society, is, on one hand, the complete disrepute of the leaderships of the trade union movement and the mass parties of the Left and, on the other, the “burden” of the accumulated defeats of the great struggles of the past period, including, above all, the betrayal by SYRIZA’s leadership of the hopes and aspirations of the Greek working people.
At the same time, however, as the results of the survey indicate, hundreds of thousands of workers and young people are reaching important conclusions about the real nature of the system we live under
Those thousands of workers and young people might feel helpless to resist and fight back, for the time being, but that will not last forever. On the contrary, the policies of continuous attacks on the living standard and social rights make certain that, sooner or later, the mass movement will look for ways to come back to the fore.
Of course it is not possible to make exact predictions about when there be the next upsurge of the mass movement will take place. But what is certain is that when it comes it will be accompanied by a deeper politicization, especially among young militants.
It is also very important to point out that this tendency of rejection of the establishment and the mood to rebel against it, is not confined to Greece or even solely to the European South. Although even countries like Switzerland or Luxembourg are included in the survey, in total almost 1 out of 2 participants responded positively to the question about his/hers participation in a mass-scale uprising against the government.
This finding has additional value in terms of showing the international repercussions of working class and youth revolts, once such processes begin to unfold. It shows that an explosion of the mass movement of youth and workers, in any European country, has every potential to be a catalyst for developments in the rest of Europe and internationally.
We live in the era of the deepest crisis of the capitalist system. Millions of workers and young people worldwide have come to the conclusion that this system needs to be overturned. The greatest task of our time is the building of a Left that will be able to give a perspective to the desires and dreams of this new generation. A Left worthy of its name: Mass, revolutionary and internationalist.