Greece turns eyes to communism
Protests and strikes have swept through Greece, after workers were sacked and left without pay or benefits.
This contributes to a feeling that capitalism has left people short-changed, with some even calling for another try at Communism.
Every day from eight AM till eight PM, hundreds of workers are at the protest, demanding their salaries be paid. They block the road, and use the speakers to be heard.
The factory where Vladimir Moroz used to work was a part of what was formerly one of Greece’s biggest companies, until being closed in June. Since then, all of United Textile Industries’ 14 factories have ground to a halt.
“They threw people out onto the streets, closed the factory, and we all have families to feed so we just don’t know what to do,” Moroz says adding that, for the past four months, he has received neither his wages nor any state welfare benefits.
This is the sixth time the factory workers have come here to protest in front of the Greek Ministry of Finance. They have travelled across Greece to Athens, are staying in tents, and say they won’t leave until their demands are met.
Dissatisfaction with the Greek government and its policies is growing nationwide. Last week, over 20-thousand workers from across the country marched in Athens, and in the northern town of Thessaloniki. Universities, public transport, airports, banks, and most public services were closed across the country as Greece went on general strike against frozen wages for state employees and raised taxes. These demonstrations were peaceful – unlike the December riots which followed the police shooting of a teenage student. But some think this current action is merely a rehearsal for a much bigger revolt.
Greece, like many countries, is experiencing an economic backlash from its people – who’re caught between living in a capitalist system they see failing, compared to the political alternative many remain anxious about.
Capitalism, according to one of Greece’s Trotskyist leaders Sofronis Papadopulos, should be replaced by Communism and Socialism. But he says, it should not be confused with what happened in Russia under Stalin. In fact, he believes Trotsky and Marx’s ideas have never been properly realised – and it’s time that Greece tried them out.
“The working class is learning how to organise its struggle better. This experience accumulates until a crucial point, such as a big social or financial crisis, which can turn revolution into a success, and create a new government totally based on new foundations,” said Sofronis Papadopoulos from the Organisation of Communist Internationalists.
But Michalis Spourdalakis, a professor of political sociology at the University of Athens, thinks the radical leftist parties are still not strong enough to make a difference. But he accepts that change IS on the way.
“Capitalism has done some tremendous things for us, but it’s done with and is over-reaching its limits. We are running out, we can not afford anymore to put profits above people,” Spourdalakis believes.
And, for some people, patience is running out.
“Of course! What do you think? Are there more rich or poor people now? You remember Russia, 1917? I think that unless people wake up, they will not find a place to hide from us!” factory worker Sofia Loisigu says.