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Massive Nov. 9 protests by Greek workers

By Ali Fuhrman

U.S. trade unionists participate

Mass march of Greek workers in Athens.

Athens, Greece – On Nov. 9, more than 170,000 workers in 64 cities across Greece took to the streets to fight government austerity measures, nuclear armament, and court rulings that make labor strikes in the country illegal. 18 U.S. trade unionists attending a week-long seminar with the World Federation of Trade Unions joined the demonstrations at Syntagma Square in the city center of Athens.

Talking to workers and protesters, the American delegates saw many parallels between their struggles at home and in those of their Greek brothers and sisters. Like U.S. workers, decent health care, safe working conditions, wages, pensions, stable work schedules and full time employment represented their top demands. These workers saw nothing in common between themselves and the bosses and politicians who sought to drive them into poverty and were ready to fight for their family and future. They urged us to do the same and to continue our struggles in workplaces across the U.S.

The demonstrations were called by PAME (All Workers Militant Front), the country's leading militant trade union organization and fierce opponent to the governing Party Syrizya's anti-worker platform. Syrzia rose to power under the guise of fighting austerity in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008 but quickly bowed to the demands of the banks, attacking workers through wage and pension cuts, and failing to tax wealthy Greek industrialists. PAME is vowing to fight the most recent attacks and calling on union federations across Greece to prepare for a general strike, legal or not.

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