Saturday, May 17, 2008

Workers in Greece march against privatizations

After months of labor unrest over pension reforms, thousands of workers in Greece walked off the job yesterday and marched through the streets of Athens in protest of current conservative government's plans to privatize more industries.

According to the report:

Dock workers, hospital and civil aviation authority staff and workers at Greece's biggest phone company OTE walked out a day after the government agreed to sell a stake in OTE to Deutsche Telekom and share management with the German firm.

In other industrial sectors there were slowdowns or stoppages, including the grounding of dozens of flights and the closing of public offices. OTE labor unions have pledged to conduct more strikes in protest of the government's deal with a Germen firm, which is awaiting parliamentary approval.

"Workers have agreed to escalate the fight because they believe the government was elected on a platform to strengthen the economy and not to sell it off," said Stathis Anestis, spokesman for the GSEE private sector umbrella union.

The conflicts within capitalist society take many forms, but the most fundamental conflict is between labor and capital. This aspect does not change whether industry is privatized or nationalized. Under any form of capitalism, the primary function of the working class is to produce wealth for the owners of capital, in return for which workers are paid the lowest possible price for their labor power (wages).

As workers, we need to reorganize our priorities. Our interests lie not in parliamentary reforms or the nationalization of companies, but our emancipation from the system of wage labor. Our interests lie in production for use rather than for profit, and common ownership rather than private property and markets

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