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(en) Greece, ESE Athens: DANGER SIGN: TO END WITH GSEE BEFORE WE END - George S. [machine translation]

Date Wed, 9 Jun 2021 07:37:51 +0300

For a new self-organized and class labor movement: A discussion that must take place! ---- The emptying of the June 3 strike by the GSEE is simply the last episode in a history of hostile decisions and moves against workers. After all, the memories from the establishment of an alliance with the bosses for the good of the national economy and the reduction of business taxes 1 and the call for participation in the 2015 referendum in favor of YES in the memorandum 2 are fresh.. Despite what most people think, all this is completely consistent with the attitude of GSEE for a century. There is a sense that the GSEE has a militant past and that in recent years it has fallen into the hands of sold-out leaders and lost its historic role (of defending the interests of the working class). This myth is due to the ideological obsessions of a large section of the left who believe that the GSEE monopoly held at the level of a higher education organization in the private sector is magically related to the class unity of the workers at the base.
It is impressive that if one studies the history of GSEE from its foundation until today, the conclusion that emerges is the exact opposite! The organizational unit at the tertiary level not only has never ensured from 1918 until today the militant unity of the class but also whenever in the history of Greece there was a strong labor movement this was done at the organizational level outside and against the GSEE. It is now clear to any employee that the organizational split of the GSEE and the formation of a separate tertiary labor confederation is a necessary (though not capable) condition for even the slightest improvement of our position as workers.
Firstly, the GSEE has been organizationally divided many times until today, secondly, for a century the GSEE leadership has always been against the working class and supported all the extreme right and fascist regimes (dictatorship of Metaxa, junta, etc.) and thirdly in all the great moments. of the labor movement in Greece the GSEE was organizationally divided without this hindering in any way the class and trade union expression of the organized proletariat.
Specifically, in all the congresses of the GSEE from 1918 until today, the first force always came the trade unionists close to the current government (and from 1983 onwards to PASOK) , usually of purely extreme right-wing views. In addition to the issue of the famous organizational unity of the workers at the level of the higher confederation we can observe the following: If we try to distinguish the top moments of intensification of the class struggle in Greece from the founding of the GSEE until todaythese were: a) The period 1934-1936 with many strikes, conflicts, etc. where at the organizational level we had three separate tertiary organizations: the GSEE, the EGSEE and the Independent Trade Unions. Of course, the organizational split did not hinder in any way the joint class and anti-fascist action of the workers, but it did not even hinder the joint action at the leadership level where under the pressure of events they signed the anti-fascist pact and proceeded to joint actions without eventually unifying .
b) In 1941, in the midst of Nazi occupation, the Workers' National Liberation Front was founded, which managed to rally a large part of the workers and organized the first mass strike in occupied Europe, which thwarted the mobilization policy. All the trade unions of the time participated in EEAM, ie GSEE, EGSEE and the Socialist Trade Union Party equally and with an equal number of representatives in its central committee. Once again, the divided organizational expression of the unions did not in any way hinder the joint action of the class both at the leadership level and at the grassroots level.
c) In 1964-1965 when Greece comes first in strike activity in the world and the working class achieves significant victories. This is largely due to the action of the "SEO-115" (Collaborating Labor Organizations) which of course constitute a separate organizational structure from the, once again, controlled by the far right, GSEE.
d) In the first years of the change of government, the factory trade union movement was created, which has a direct democratic organization through general assemblies, radical forms of struggle and important victories against employers. And this time this movement is formed outside and against the GSEE through operational unions that at that time are not even provided as a form of trade union organization by labor law! (legitimized only afterwards by PASOK in 1982).
From the above we can rightly argue that the sacred cow of organizational unity through the GSEE offers nothing either to the real unity of the working class or to the level of the class struggle. On the contrary, in the vast majority of cases it was an organizationally fragmented, but united in practice, proletariat that wrote history outside and against the GSEE.
But let us come to the day when the hostile role of the GSEE mafia mechanism is obvious even to the last worker. Since 2008, the onslaught of governments and employers on the working class has been constant and relentless. And it is known that the Hatzidaki bill will not be the end of this attack but the beginning of a new round of anti-labor measures since as soon as the pandemic subsides we will have a new international economic crisis. The existing trade union movement that in real percentages does not include more than 6% of employees in the private sector is either openly employer like the GSEE or weak and disorganized.
If we want to have a chance even for a defensive victory against the new measures that are being voted but also for the next ones that are just around the corner, we need to build a new labor movement from scratch. A movement where all decisions will be made by the workers in the unions and not by the trade union and party mafias and bureaucracies. And we do not have infinite time to do that. The debate on the formation of a separate GSEE tertiary confederation of workers that will operate class and direct democratically must be opened immediately. And it must open up neighborhoods and universities in the workplace as well as in the libertarian and anti-capitalist movement in general.
At the moment, the declarations for organization in a basic union are not enough. We need an overall strategy that will make the formation of labor committees, assemblies, libertarian unions, neighborhood movements and student groups with a clear class and anti-GSEE orientation as the first priority in the immediate future. To organize in a single revolutionary labor confederation all the wealth of the movements of the base that remains to this day unorganized and scattered. We all need to overcome ourselves in the next period for this goal. We do not have much time. The next five years will judge a lot for the working class and social movements in Greece and internationally. Let us rise to the occasion.
1 In April 2018, GSEE-ADEDY together with a number of employers form a front that they call "social alliance". In the text of their self-presentation, among other things, they state: "Populism and polarization, which dominate the public sphere, deprive any perspective for healthy and productive social forces. For this reason, the most representative bodies of civil society are taking joint action and forming a new, broad social alliance. All together, we put our country at the forefront with the aim of "restoring" Greek society and the economy. We practically oppose polarization. We join forces, we act collectively, we accumulate experience and know-how. In order to move forward, we need a realistic and fair national plan for productive formation ".

The following bodies participate in the Social Alliance: GSEE, ADEDY, General Confederation of Professional Craftsmen of Greece, National Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Plenary Session of Bar Associations of the country, Technical Chamber, Greek Chamber of Commerce Of Pensioners of Greece and the National Confederation of Persons with Disabilities. Among their demands are the reduction of corporate taxation and the " Development of entrepreneurship and innovation based on a National Strategic Plan for the transformation of the productive model of the country." (Social Alliance, 2018)

On May 30, 2018, the "Social Alliance" proceeded to a National Day of Action to claim its demands in the context of which the GSEE declared a 24-hour general strike.

2 On June 26, 2015, the Syriza-Anel government announces a referendum held on July 5 on whether or not the draft agreement of the three institutions, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB), should be accepted. .) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), proposed in Greece on June 25. On Wednesday, July 1, 2015, GSEE, with an announcement of its plenary session, requests the withdrawal of the referendum and concludes: "As a Higher Trade Union Organization of Private Sector Workers, we send a clear message in every direction:




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