The crisis in Greece.
Greece has been at the front line of austerity measures being introduced across Europe. The European Union, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund insisted on extreme austerity measures in exchange for loans to bail out the Greek banks and then to pay back the loans with interest, leaving the Greeks with debts of billions.This has driven the people into poverty and mass unemployment. Between 2009 and the end of 2014 unemployment rose to 27%. Youth unemployment rose to 60%. 30% of businesses and 45% of hospitals closed. Wages were cut by 38%. Pensions were cut by 45%, with 100% increase in poverty and 250% increase in homes without electricity. Infant mortality increased by 14% between 2009 and 2012, the highest increase since World War Two.
The Greek people have built a mass movement of resistance to these outrages, through occupations, demonstrations and general strikes.On GSC delegations representatives of trade unions, the labour movement, health and anti-cuts campaigns from Britain have met radical Greek MPs, local mayors, trade unionists, hospital workers, teachers,students, social solidarity organisers and volunteers, the sacked women cleaners, and anti-fascist campaigners. They have witnessed the devastating impact of austerity and the impressive resistance and social solidarity networks built to sustain the Greek people. Solidarity links have been established to strengthen our mutual fight to defeat the politics of austerity.
The Crisis Continues
The Greek people are now also sharing what little they have with the over 60,000 refugees stranded in Greece after the borders into the northern Balkans were closed in 2016. They also continue to face the consequences of harsh austerity measures and to resist even more planned austerity and the danger of fascism. European-wide solidarity with the Greek people and defence of their democracy is an urgent responsibility.
The Greece Solidarity Campaign (GSC) is an independent campaign and non-party political organisation established to organise solidarity with the people resisting austerity in Greece. The GSC is committed to building and sustaining a movement of solidarity with the people of Greece and to demand a just settlement of the debt crisis. The humanitarian disaster created by austerity has led to GSC establishing a solidarity fund, Medical Aid for Greece (MAfG) for medical supplies and equipment for the social solidarity clinics across Greece. The GSC is endorsed by the TUC.
- To develop practical acts in solidarity with Greek working people and with migrants and refugees resident in Greece
- To support and celebrate the resistance by all those opposing austerity measures in Greece, with the exception of the so-called ‘anti-austerity’ neo-nazi elements
- To provide information on the situation in Greece including debunking the myths about the causes of the crisis.
- To defend Greece’s democracy, sovereignty and independence and support the right of the Greek people to determine their own future free from oppressive external intervention
- To circulate Updates, maintain a website and Facebook page, and encourage conferences, meetings, discussions, lobbies, pickets, publications, media work, musical and cultural events.
- To encourage mutual contacts with Greece through delegations and solidarity links
- To oppose attempts to weaken Greek trade unions and destroy collective bargaining
- To work with solidarity organisations of Greeks resident in the UK and to link with similar anti-austerity campaigns across Europe.
- To oppose the growth and spread of neo-nazi violence, racism and fascism in Greece.
- To support and build activity around these objectives throughout Britain, with national and local government and elected representatives, with the TUC, trade unions, pensioners, students, faith groups, equality campaigns, cultural and political organisations, and social movement bodies.
- The Greece Solidarity Campaign (GSC) adopts the Purpose and Aims as set out.
- The Greece Solidarity Campaign has three categories of involvement: supporter (free, receives Updates etc); member (paying an affiliation fee, with voting rights); and institutional affiliate (paying local or national fees, with voting rights).
- The GSC has an Annual General Meeting (AGM) open to all members, affiliates and supporters which is the ultimate GSC policy-making body.
- The GSC has an Executive Committee (EC) of 15 members, elected at the AGM. In addition, each national affiliate is entitled to one representative on the EC.
- The EC shall be responsible for organising the work of GSC. It shall have the power to co-opt further EC members, to set and, in exceptional cases, to waive affiliation fees. Wherever possible, decisions will be taken by consensus.
- The GSC AGM shall elect a chair, secretary, treasurer and such other officers as may be determined by the Executive Committee and ratified by the AGM.
- All posts may be job-shared, e.g. with co-chairs or joint secretaries. In addition various functions will be allocated by the Executive to specific members – e.g. Minutes, Membership and affiliations, Updates, Website, Fundraising, Delegation co-ordination, anti-fascist co-ordination, trade union links.
- The GSC has an honorary President, and patrons as determined by the Executive Committee and ratified by the AGM. Our Honorary President is Manuel Cortes of TSSA who took on the role from the late Tony Benn and the Patrons are Jeremy Corbyn MP and Katy Clarke MP.
- The registered address for the Greece Solidarity Campaign is Housmans Bookshop.
- Executive Committee meetings, which any member may attend, are generally held on the third Wednesday of each month, usually at UNITE central office, Holborn.
- GSC has a Unity Trust Bank account with Treasurer and other signatories fromthe EC.
- The GSC has also established Medical Aid for Greece with a separate Unity Trust bank account and works with organisations in Greece such as Solidarity for All.
Current Affiliation Fees are £12 for Members (£6 unwaged); £24 for local organisations; £100 for national organisations.
Here you can download the full Constitution of the Greece Solidarity Campaign.
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The GSC has endorsed:
The European Antifascist Manifesto
Sixty eight years after the end of World War Two and the defeat of Fascism and Nazism we are witnessing almost everywhere in Europe the rise of extreme right. But, and this is an even more distressing phenomenon, we see the emergence and growth to the right of this extreme right, plainly neo-Nazi forces which, in some cases (Greece, Hungary,…) are putting down roots in society building popular, radical, racist, ultra-violent, and pogromist mass movements. Their declared objective is to destroy all working class trade-union, political and cultural organizations, to crush any citizens’ resistance, to deny the right to difference and to exterminate –even physically- those who are “different” and those who are most vulnerable.
Like in the 20’s and 30’s, the ultimate cause of this extreme right and neo-fascist threat is the deep economic, social, political and even moral and ecological crisis of capitalism which, giving the debt crisis as a pretext, is leading to an unprecedented attack on the standard of living, the freedoms and rights of workers, of all those from below! By exploiting the fears of the well to do of the risks of a social explosion, the radicalization of middle classes destroyed by the crisis and sweeping austerity measures as well as the despair of marginalized and impoverished unemployed people, extreme right and most of all neo-Nazi and neo-fascist forces are growing everywhere in Europe. They are gaining mass influence in the poorer layers of society turning this influence systematically against traditional and newer scapegoats (immigrants, Muslims, Jews, LGBT, disabled people,…) as well as against left wing organizations and trade unions.
The influence and radicalism of this extreme right is not the same throughout Europe. However, the general implementation of sweeping austerity measures is already making the rise of the extreme right an almost general phenomenon. The conclusion is clear: The fact that the spontaneous rise of the extreme right and the emergence of an ultra-violent mass neofascism are no longer an exception to the European rule now impels the antifascists of this continent to confront this problem in its real dimensions, that is as problem of European dimensions!
However, saying all that is not enough if we do not add that the fight against extreme right and neo-Nazism is extremely urgent. In fact, the neo-fascist threat in many European countries is already so direct and immediate it has transformed the antifascist struggle into the first priority, a battle of life and death, in which the left and the workers’ organizations, freedom and democratic rights, solidarity and tolerance and the right to difference are all at stake. Saying that we are engaged in a race against racist barbarism and neo-fascism corresponds to a reality verified every day in the streets of our European cities…
Considering the depth of the crisis and the enormity of the social damage it produces, the intensity of political polarization, the determination and aggressiveness of dominant classes, the historic importance of what is at stake in the current confrontation and the extent of the rise of the extreme right it is clear that the antifascist struggle constitutes a strategic choice requiring an organizational plan and a long term political and militant investment. Therefore, antifascist struggle has to be closely linked to everyday struggle against the austerity measures and the system which generate them.
In order to be efficient and meet the expectations of the population, antifascist struggle has to be unitary, democratic and be conducted by the popular masses themselves. To this end, citizens have to organize their antifascist struggle and their self-defense themselves. At the same time, and in order to be effective, this struggle must be global, confronting the extreme right and neofascism everywhere, the poison of racism and xenophobia, chauvinism and militarism, of the cult of blind violence and the denial of gas chambers and Auschwitz itself. In short, in order to be effective in the long run, the antifascist fight has to propose in actions an alternative vision of society, diametrically opposite to the one proposed by the extreme right. That is a society founded on solidarity, tolerance and fraternity, rejection of machismo, rejection of women’s oppression and respect for the right to difference, internationalism and scrupulous protection of Nature, defense of democratic and humanistic values.
This European antifascist movement has to be the heir of the great antifascist traditions of our continent! To that end it should lay the foundations of a social movement with stable structures and everyday activities, penetrating the whole society, organizing antifascist citizens in networks according to their profession, residence and sensibility, carrying out the fight in all fields of human activities and assuming completely the task of the –even physical- protection of the most vulnerable citizens, the immigrants, the Roma, the national, black and ethnic minorities, the Muslims, the Jews and LGBT people, of all those who are systematically victims of State racism and the fascist mob.
It is therefore because the need for antifascist mobilization on a European scale is becoming day after day more pressing that we who sign this manifesto, are calling for the establishment of a mass unitary, democratic European Antifascist Movement, able to confront and defeat the brown plague which is raising its head on our continent.
This time, history must not be repeated! NO PASARAN!