During the Greek EU summit thousands will join the protests in the city of Thessaloniki. Nikei De Pooter (a member of Linkse Socialistiche Partij [LSP]/ Mouvement pour une Alternative Socialiste [MAS], Belgian affiliate of the Committee for a Workers’ International) is in Thessaloniki and reports.
On the demonstrations people will also protest against the anti-social policies of the Greek government. In the past years the government privatised the electricity company, the oil companies and other public services. Two years ago the Greek government wanted to raise the pension age from 60 to 67. After two general strikes the government had to cancel the plan and made a less radical proposal. This however still was a serious attack on the right to have a decent pension. Against this background there is a militant mood in Thessaloniki and it is clear that the protests are supported by broad sections of the working class of Greece.
The anti-capitalist movement and the left in general is very divided in Greece. There are 5 different mobilisation committees for the protests against the EU summit. First of all there’s the Greek Social Forum, a coordination of different leftwing forces and trade unions which is organising most demonstrators. Besides the Social Forum there also are: ‘Action Thessaloniki’ (a group dominated by the Stalinist KKE), ‘Struggle Initiative’ (dominated by a Maoist split of the youth organisation of the KKE), ‘Genua 2001’ (dominated by the Greek SWP) and ‘Thessaloniki 2003’ (the anarchist mobilisation committee).
The Greek CWI section, Xekinima, is organised inside the Greek Social Forum (GSF). The GSF is a broad coalition of organisations and the most democratic initiative which is not dominated by one organisation. The program of the GSF is mainly built around opposition to the neo-liberal project of the EU, against the racist ‘Fort Europe’ and against European imperialism. During the anti-war movement the GSF organised more than half of the demonstrators in its contingents.
On Thursday there was an anti-racist demo with some 5,000 participants. Xekinima had a lively contingent with about 100 members and supporters, including many immigrants.
On Friday there is a demonstration of the direct action groups in Chaladiki. While the EU summit was normally going to take place in Thessaloniki itself, the Greek government were scared that the demonstration would take on mass proportions and as a result decided to move to a small village at 150 kilometres from Thessaloniki. The summit is protected by 12,000 policemen and 5,000 troops. The GSF will participate in the demonstration in Chaladiki, but will not try to break through the police lines. This wouldn’t be understood by broad layers of the workers and would weaken the mobilisation towards the mass demonstration on Saturday.
On Saturday over a 100,000 are expected to participate in the demo. We will organise an international contingent of Xekinima and the CWI and hope to have 500 on this demonstration.
Thessaloniki. Anti-racsist protest
Thessaloniki. Social Forum
More pictures at Linkse Socialistische Partij