Another anti- austerity general strike passed today in Greece. Second in last then a month. Reportedly it was attended by some 15,000 demonstrators.
The strike was organised because of new cuts in social security system (among others state – guaranteed pensions will be cut by half – to a minimum of 384 euros) and it was called by all the large unions supported by left parties primarily. The strike was not much different from everything what we could see for last three years, however the lack of enthusiasm for protest was notable.
The members of Pame (Union of Greek Communist party) started with rally one hour before others. Even if rallies that are organised by Pame are always very well attended they never seem to join other left groups but prefer to do their solo march towards parliament and then leave.
The meeting point of other worker unions (mainly members of Pasok or Syriza) that played rather unpopular role in recent Greek workers history – accused of nepotism and political affiliation, thereby losing all credibility.
One angry Greek lady screamed towards the stage: “Thieves!”..signifying the general mood of the public towards the leaders. There were almost no young faces.
The Syriza – a party which is leading Greece, with Greek prime minister being Aleksis Tsipras, played a strangely ironic and paranoid role, announcing on its page: “We call workers, pensioners, unemployed and youth to join the general strike.”
The members of Syriza however don’t appear anymore on the strikes with flags and banners. They prefer to stay hidden these days between mainly group of syndicate members and supporters.
On the other hand ex- members of Syriza now regularly attend protests. “This government has no future,” stated president of Popular Unity and ex- minister for environment Panagiotis Lafazanis. Popular Unity is trying to reach its moment gain back the trust of lost voters, which is being exceedingly difficult given all the lost promises.
As usual, no Greek strike would be complete without a few Molotov cocktails being thrown, by presumably anarchist members, at building of Ministry of Finances. Police answered with stun grenades. All normal.
And this is how just another general strike – just a glimpse of anti – austerity strikes from “golden time” of 2010 (when Georgios Papandreou signed a first memorandum) ended.
The real Greek tragedy stays hidden behind four walls: unemployment close to 25%, almost 50% of young people under 25 years are unemployed, 36% of people live under the poverty line. With new cuts in social security system there are legitimate doubts that politics of prime minister Tsipras aren’t bringing any hope.
The message outside of Greek parliament written on the white marble that’s why speaks for itself.