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Monday, 10 January 2011

Greece: The 'Wall' and Illegal Immigration



















GREEK CITIZENS OF ATHENS

NO TO THE ECONOMIC IMMISERISATION OF GREEKS
NO TO THE EXPULSION OF GREEKS FROM THE CENTRE OF ATHENS
NO TO THE ILLEGAL TRADING OF SHOPS BY IMMIGRANTS


THE WEALTH OF THE COUNTRY BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE
THROW THE TRAITORS OUT AND THE IMF

REACTION-RESISTANCE-INSURRECTION





Battles ensued for hours up to and including riot police throwing tear gas into the main church on the square.
What preceded it was a march by the Soros funded NGO's who were attempting to hold a rally in the main square but were dissalowed by the local population. Unable to get through the police tear gassed and tried to disperse the Greeks from the square. They failed abysmally as they refused to leave the square and fought back valliantly against superior forces...























An old but important article analysing the roots of the problem... written in 1999 regarding illegal immigration which in our days has reached astronomic proportions.
Illegal immigration and multiculturalism

Greece Under the path of the New World Order

"Left-wingers", liberals and neo-liberals of every shade, are proposing a "humanist"-moralist approach to the issue of illegal immigration. This would perhaps be an interesting proposition, if the goal of socialism were to offer consolation to the dwellers of the valley of tears, promising heaven as a reward for their stoic patience. But this is the purpose of the Christian religion. The purpose of socialism is obviously to teach the poor, not to endure the miseries of life, but to change it. For this, they need to know the causes and the nature of social problems, like that of illegal immigration. Moralist approaches lead to contradictions and dead ends, and, as everybody knows, are often used as an alibi for the greatest crimes. It is in the name of moral principles and humanitarianism that the peoples of Iraq and Yugoslavia are being slaughtered, while NATO has turned these principles into an official alibi for its new strategy. For those reasons, we must be wary of moralists. In dealing with them, we should - to say the least - hold on tightly to our wallet.

Illegal immigration is not an exclusively Greek phenomenon. Yet Greece has received an enormous number of illegal immigrants, out of any proportion with its size and resources. This fact is not unrelated to the infamous Schengen agreement, which defines Greece as a country responsible for the initial reception of refugees - a door open for the whole of Europe. As a result, we have a dramatic rise of unemployment, and the modification of its nature. It is no longer conjunctural. It has become synonymous with the social marginalisation of the Greek worker. The destruction of his social conquests and rights. Of course the government and some of its fervent "enemies" are denying all this. But working people know very well what is happening, as they are the ones called upon to pay the bill.

Our fathers of the nation, first of all, maintain that illegal immigration has no significant impact on employment. Foreigners are employed in menial and dirty jobs that the well-nourished Greek worker would not deign to do. We read in the press recently that Spanish workers have equally aristocratic inclinations. That's why "their" government decided to bring within the next few years one million Romanians and Moroccans, to do the jobs that the locals ostensibly snub. It is to be noted that Spain has now officially more than 20% unemployment.

Here is what a father of the nation, a member of the great "anti-racist" family, has to say:

"All these conditions have created, as you have seen in the poll, in a great section of the population, the impression that foreigners are the cause of all the tribulations and disasters. This is perhaps the easy solution. We, who are always the same, are never at fault. It is always the others who are responsible. The others - who ? The foreigners: dark-skinned, black-skinned, yellow-skinned, sometimes even fair-skinned - because of Germany. But the truth is usually different. The truth is that foreigners don't steal the jobs of our kids, instead they do the jobs that we don't deign to do, because we consider them to be below our social standing. Painters, garbage-collectors, housemaids, road construction workers, gardeners, agricultural workers."

Thus spake Yakoumatos, an MP of the New Democracy party, speaking in a meeting under the subject "racism and xenophobia - initiatives for the legalisation of foreign workers", organized by the PASOK-controlled Athens Labour Council. A representative case of a political con-man - "anti-racist". He impulsively admits his class racism - the only racism that really exists. The honest jobs, that allow the drones of his clan the means to live in luxury, he considers below human dignity!

Following close, the groups of extra-parliamentary "left" - this substitute of western social-democracy, adapted to Greek conditions. They do nothing more than to serve the official sophistries, reheated. In one of the journals of this political milieu, we read:

"Most of the jobs occupied nowadays by foreigners, have been abandoned by Greek workers for years. Housemaids, gardeners, scrubwomen, nurses for the elderly ... land workers and shepherds, the rest in hard menial jobs, construction, quarries, and sweatshops"

All these unrewarding and heavy jobs have been abandoned by Greek workers "for years"! It seems we didn't even produce stones. We used to import them!...

Further down, the columnist adds in petulant tone:

"Let all those ridiculous racists tell us ... the thousands of Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Russian women that are in the hands of ruthless procurers, whose job are they taking? (newspaper "Ergatiki Exousia" ["workers' power"]).

Is it true that the indigenous worker is snobby, that he considers some jobs to be below his dignity, or is there some other (well-known) secret? The chairman of the parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis, spoke at least with more squareness to the journalist Yiannis Diakogiannis: "Cheap labour, not only for farm work, but also for the industry and the construction sector, has often been the ulterior unavowed aim".

A former cadre and minister of New Democracy, industrialist well known for his cynicism, Stefanos Manos is even more precise: "immigrants are god's blessing, we need them because they work with one third of a Greek worker's wages, because they cannot go on strike, they cannot form unions, they can do nothing".

So the foreigner is not for some "undignified" jobs, he is for every job, as long as he does it with one third of the wage, with no other rights, with the head bowed.

A natural law?

Another fairy tale widely circulated, presents the mass influx of illegal immigrants as a physical law: Wars and famines create inevitable waves of "economic refugees", that the state is unable to contain. It does its best. It organizes bodies of border guards, it buys speedboats, trains "Rambos" - all without result. Thus, since we can't prevent the phenomenon, we have to live with it.

It is of course a fact that there is misery in the world and that wars take place. But humanity has seen much worse, without these results. If capitalism didn't use the disasters it produces as an alibi for its policies, if the state did indeed want to stop illegal immigration, there are more simple, economic, civilized and effective ways to do it. Even the gentlemen of the extraparliamentary "left" can realize that the problem could easily be solved if the government prohibited employers to employ persons who are not legally in the country. A few heavy fines would discourage potential violators. There is no need for police dogs, live fences or machine guns. But the government doesn't want. It too is animated by "humanitarian" feelings...

Many are those who feign ignorance, but in fact everyone knows that foreigners are here not in spite of the authorities, but with their will, as cheap labour. As far as citizens of countries of the former "socialist" camp are concerned, there are also other expediences, purely political ones. Especially for Albanians. This doesn't mean that economic reasons lose their importance.

T. Krikellis, former MP of the New Democracy party, in a TV show hosted by a well-known journalist revealed that "In a meeting at the ministry of public order that took place in 1994-95 in the presence of three experts from the ministry of foreign affairs, the issue was raised of supporting Albania by showing tolerance in the issue of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, because the neighboring country had made a definitive turn to the west and should be supported in this course."

Mr. Krikellis pointed out that there had been a related "message" originating from the U.S., addressed primarily to the New Democracy Party as the PASOK government had already accepted the propositions. In other words the U.S. want to pay their agents, in their efforts to resurrect capitalism in Albania (and elsewhere), not at their own expense, but with the wages of the Greek worker.

Who doesn't know that the Greek consulate in Korytsa hands out heaps of visas? One of those suspect characters who have proclaimed themselves "representatives" of Albanian workers, speaks of 300 visas daily, in parallel with illegal entry.

Foreigners not only enter with the indirect approval of the authorities, but are also subject to a selection process. No other country in the Balkans has suffered as many tribulations as Serbia. Besides the war, its people are tormented by an inhuman and long-lasting embargo. Still, there are no Serb illegal immigrants in Greece! You see, in Serbia they don't have their own people, Berisha or Maiko, to support. Instead there is the "last communist dictator", Milosevic, whom they want to overturn.

There are also many Kurds - but what kind of Kurds? Not the kind that are being persecuted by Turkish generals in South-East Turkey. These are few and, when they aren't being delivered to Ankara, they are getting shut in the camp at Lavrio. But we have many from the other kind, those who are under U.N. protection in the unofficially occupied Northern Iraq. Because there, there are also lackeys of the west, whom they want to support. Messrs Barzani and Talabani, who are being used against the other enemy of freedom, the "nationalist dictator Saddam Hussein"!

Of course all this doesn't look like a "law of nature", with which we 'll have to live, as we are being assured. But then, whatever serves the interests of capitalism is nature, whereas what protects the interests of workingmen is against nature.

Some will say: "but aren't immigrants workingmen"?

They are indeed, and the Greek working class has nothing to divide with them. But it has with the governments that are using the misery and pain of other peoples against it, embellishing at the same time their dirty policy with "humanitarian" pretexts.

This is a permanent tactic of imperialism. After WW II the U.S. took advantage of the persecutions and torments to which Jews had been submitted in Europe to gain the acceptance or the tolerance of public opinion to the uprooting of Arabs from Palestine and the creation of a "Jewish" state. They rounded up the more miserable Jews with the promise of giving them a motherland and used them in fact as cops of the region in order to continue stealing Arab oil.

Globalisation and illegal immigration

The phenomenon of illegal immigration has not occurred at a random moment. We live in the days of so-called neo-liberalism and of economic globalisation. In Europe, as far as tariffs are concerned, borders have been abolished years ago. Similar free trade zones have been established in North America and East Asia, while via the GATT (now the WTO) tariffs are gradually being abolished worldwide. At the same time, protectionist currency controls are being abolished and the movement of capitals is becoming totally deregulated. Under these conditions, it would be not only logically but also practically inconsistent not to release controls on the movement of the most important economic factor, namely of labour. So let them leave aside the sophistries about natural laws and snobby Greek workers.

The inconsistency of restrictions in the labour market has often been pointed out in the press of the extraparliamentary "left". In one of them, the columnist Th. Koutsoumbos writes on this issue:

"Contrary to what was the case in the 30s, today "globalisation" knocks down the economic borders. Commodities move freely, and in unconceivable quantities due to the use of modern technology. (Only for the movement of people are "walls of shame" being erected (Germany), with electric fences and police controls...)" ("Nea prooptiki" ["new perspective"])

We don't know what happens with other categories of people, whether some countries welcome tourists and businessmen with "electric fences", but illegal immigrants are certainly passing borders (those remaining "walls of shame"!) in unconceivable quantities, and without the need to use modern technology!.. The fact that this is not being done in a legal way is simply a mater of political expediency. Governments don't want to take upon their shoulders the responsibility and the resulting political cost. They prefer to shovel them to the immigrants themselves and to natural laws. On the other hand, it is also a matter of price: Just as illegally imported cigarettes are cheap for smokers, illegal workers are cheap for the employers. Being illegal they are literally at their mercy.

The gentlemen of the extraparliamentary "left", although most of them deny the very existence of globalisation and brand it a myth (Th. Koutsoumbos is still using quotation marks for it), at the same time become its proponents and apologists. Their slogan "borders open for the working class" is nothing but a formulation embellished with left-wing verbalism for the liberation of labour market. Not only do they recognize as progress the fall of the "walls of shame", but they outbid for the completion of the process. And how could one be for the liberation of the labour market without also being for the liberation of the market in general and thus for the globalisation - and the converse?

Yet gentlemen, you cannot be for economic globalisation, under capitalism, without at the same time supporting political globalisation, that is the abolition of political borders (the "walls of shame") and consequently of the national state. Without in essence pleading for a global imperialist power, that is for the new world order. In short without being, in practice, pitiful western-style social democrats, totally aligned in all important issues with imperialism and the Simitis government. The fact is not accidental that the extraparliamentary "left" had a despicable position on the question of Yugoslavia. That some groups openly supported the NATO bombings, while others did the same implicitly, by regurgitating the cadaveric literature of the CNN in order to persuade us that the "nationalist" and "genocidal" Serbs got what they deserved!

The liberalization of markets is a necessary adaptation of world capitalist economy to the phenomenon of the multinational companies, which initially appeared after the WWII and have seen a tremendous growth in the last two decades. The merger of capitals across borders and irrespective of their national origin is objectively in contradiction with the economic and political existence of the national state. In this sense, abolishing the national restrictions to world trade becomes an inescapable necessity for capitalism. Still this has nothing to do with the much-advertised restoration of conditions of healthy competition. Quite the opposite is true, as protectionism used to dampen competitive inequalities. Now the law of the jungle is being imposed everywhere. In the market of commodities, as well as in the labour market. The globalisation of markets is the means for the conquest of the world economy and the abolition of labour rights by the big beasts, the multinational monopolies.

In the past, and even more so today, under conditions of a deregulated economy, competition forces multinationals to transfer more and more of their economic activities to regions that can ensure them competitive advantages. Wherever there are limitless supplies of "black labour", tax exemption and unaccountability. Particularly to South-East Asia, where wages are up to 45 times lower than the equivalent western-European ones. Also to countries of the former eastern bloc, and wherever else attractive opportunities for cost-squeezing present themselves.

This is a totally new phenomenon, even if the eyeless of the extra-parliamentary "left" fail to see it. They have their reasons for this.

In the past, a North-American company would invest in Brazil in order to conquer more easily the Brazilian market. Nowadays, the target is the North-American and the world market. This leads to loss of jobs for the North-American working class. The same happens to each and every country where the hunt for profit drives capital to migrate.

But what happens to capital that, for various reasons, remains invested in the traditional industrial centers and their immediate satellites? It is obvious that in order to survive, in order to avoid massive bankruptcies in Europe and North America, this capital must make use in the metropolitan centers of exactly the same advantages that are available in the periphery. If Muhammad can't go to the mountain, the mountain must go to Muhammad. Governments take it upon themselves to import in camouflaged ways "black labour" into Europe and North America, which means at the same time importing third-world standards of living for local workingmen. This is the real reason and the aims of the deluge of immigration that causes a stir in the working class, in Greece and elsewhere.

The well-paid strata of labour aristocracy, inside which most of the so-called anti-racists find their supporters, believe they are safe. But the unemployment and poverty of masses causes the European and North-American markets, the two largest in the world, to shrink. It is not enough to produce cheap, one must also have customers to sell the products to. What seemed to be a way out for capitalism reproduces the old problems in a more acute form, worsening the commercial crisis. Competition becomes more acute and squeezing costs even further becomes a matter of life and death. The capital seeks even cheaper labour while at the same time putting in the crosswire of austerity new strata of society.

Computers and communications nowadays, among other things, are unifying the labour market. Since the borders are open everyone can, via the Internet, knock a door in any other place, especially when he is being prompted to do so. This has started happening in Greece too.

"Imagine - tells us an MIT professor (with the belief that this does not concern him personally) in a Scientific American article - a doctor in Sri Lanka who makes $20 a day, administering health care to homeless people in Boston via a kiosk, equipped with a remote video and medical instrument connection and staffed by a nurse. The service might cost $5 a visit, and although not perfect, it would be superior to no health care at all."

Computer-related jobs are daily gaining larger percentages in the labour market, especially among younger people. Here too, in order to offer his services, one doesn't have to go to Boston. He can do it from home! "imagine - says the same professor - 1,000 accountants from Beijing doing accounting services for General Motors at $1 per hour."

Why "imagine" it? It is already happenning. Swissair, for example, has already transported a large part of its accounting services to India.

All this, seen from the point of view of progress and technology, seems seductive. But on the basis of capitalism, it means the globalisation of Sri Lanka living standards.

Immigration during the 50s and illegal immigration.

Many are those who like to compare the current illegal immigration with the immigration of Greek and other South-European workers to the North of Europe, especially W. Germany, in the 50s. In this way, they want to silence the working class.

Why does it complain? And with what right? Didn't it immigrate en masse to Germany? But, what connection is there between that immigration and the one of today? Is really the difference that hard to see?

Then the capitalist world was passing a phase of great expansion, which created increased needs in working hands. Without these hands, what was called "the German miracle" would not have existed, nor would the equally impressive economic and cultural flourishing of the other industrial centers. Conditions of full employment and increased demand for workforce, dictated the establishment of bilateral state agreements under which specified numbers of workers were dispatched to specific industries. This was a legal and coordinated immigration. Immigrants were filling real and great needs in the labour market. They had the same wages and enjoyed the same rights with their local coworkers. The same labour legislation applied to all.

What is happening now? Capitalism is deep in the worst crisis of its history. Workforce requirements are continuously shrinking. Millions of workers are officially unemployed in Europe, and even more are unofficially so. In Greece, out of one and a half industrial workers, before the big immigration wave started, hundreds of thousands were already unemployed, "employed", "semi-employed", "employable". Illegal immigrants, who are another one and a half million, didn't come in order to fill some big or small needs for labour hands. The well-oiled door was opened for them in the middle of the night in order for them to elongate to an unbelievable degree the columns of the unemployed. In order for the battles for jobs to become even tougher, with full conscience that for the local labourer they would be lost in advance.

What should we say and what should the position of the left be, if Greek workers had gone to Germany, not under the conditions that they did, but in order to work with one fourth the wage of the German worker, without social security and working hours, because they could afford it and this was the only way they could find work, taking in this way the position of the German worker? Would the left approve of this? And would the German worker be a racist if he denounced "his" government for this under-the-belt hit? Or would those who blamed him be imbeciles, if not agents of the German capital?

In such a situation, the Greek immigrant would be no different than a scab that, forced by unemployment and misery, and because of his backward class consciousness, accepts work with a lower wage in order to take the place of his brother.

Foreigners, due to currency differences in their countries of origin, due to their way of life, due to the fact that they accept to live without modern amenities, to be packed 4 or 5 to a room, to live in a sweatshop attic, in a shed of a peasant, eating the food prepared by the wife of the peasant, in short due to their limited needs, can settle for a fraction of the average wage, on which the Greek worker couldn't possibly subsist and which he therefore couldn't possibly accept. Thus the modern immigrant, the illegal immigrant, doesn't take his place alongside the local worker. He replaces him. The indigenous worker doesn't just become unemployed. He loses all prospects of ever being reintegrated into the production process, especially when he isn't young and specialized.

Even if the Greek worker can settle, even temporarily, for the employment conditions of the foreigner, even if he gives up his habits and his way of life, with the hope of better days in the future, the employer will prefer the "illegal" immigrant, to the Greek who may in the future take him to a court to ask for his legal rights.

No wonder we are reading in the press news like this one:

Miracles don't happen nowadays in the Duomo. Executions do, however, even if they are symbolic, like the execution of the "Napolitan unemployed". The cathedral was occupied last week by hundreds of unemployed people. The Italian unemployed then marched to the embassy of Gabon. "We want an African citizenship", they said, "because those from outside the [European] community find work easier than the locals. We are not racists. We are just demanding equal opportunities with the Africans"...In the troubled archipelago of the unemployed of Southern Italy, a war is looming among the poor. ("Ta Nea", 2/24/1999)

The modern world has never known a similar situation. The governmental staffs of the new world order have managed, acting under the sign of "humanitarianism" and with the good services of the "left", to return society to an era lost in the depths of history. The position of an indigenous worker nowadays can only be compared to that of the free Italian worker under the Roman Empire in the epoch of its decline. Then the massive use of slave labor made a pariah of him - permanently unemployed, a parasite of society, who eked a meager living thanks to the municipal mess and the state wheat allowances.

But the foreign competitor of the indigenous worker also resembles a slave more than a free immigrant worker. Is it by chance that his transportation to Europe has been called slave trade? From the point of view of his compensation and rights, his employment is nothing but a modernized form of slavery. Moreover, this archaic employment regime is not restricted to himself, who after all has chosen it. Its scope is inevitably being extended to the entire working class. That's exactly the point: using immigrants as a battering-ram in order to eliminate labor rights that have been gained with struggles over the course of an entire century.

Those who are now speaking of the equalization of wages between foreigners and Greek workers, in order to eliminate unfair competition for jobs, are mocking the Greek workers and the foreigners alike. The equalization has already been accomplished. Not because foreigners are now being treated as Greeks, but because Greek workers, in their overwhelming majority, are being treated as immigrants, and this only if they are lucky enough. How could things be different? When there is this inconceivable super-supply of workforce, wages are necessarily equalized at the lowest limit.

If some "leftists" don't have ulterior motives, and are just contemplating the Greek workers as a salvage vessel, they should at least remember the coast guard regulations: a boat designed to carry fifty persons, can take a couple more. But when another fifty climb in, and others are constantly being coming, the result is not that a hundred will be saved - they will all go to the bottom!

The union issue nowadays

"No", replies the "left" almost without exception, "calm down - Things can be fixed with united trade union struggle!"

Workers who hear this will smile indulgently. They know first of all how temporary and fragile are the gains of any trade union struggle. That in the end, the law of supply and demand is imposed on wages too.

Of course, for the union bureaucracy, trade union struggles are everything. But if things were indeed thus, if trade union struggle was not in the end, in spite of its tremendous importance, ineffective, the working class would not be drawn into politics, it would have no reasons to build its own party, aiming at the abolition of wage slavery itself.

But why not organize common struggles that could for a while (who knows how long?) improve the situation? For the aforementioned Th. Koutsoumbos, this is a panacea. In the journal "nea prooptiki", under the heading "racism in the epoch of globalisation", exposing a position almost the entire left shares, he lays on the shoulders of the Greek working class the duty to liberate every immigrant from the bosses' super exploitation!

"But", he writes, "the working class can't liberate itself without liberating every exploited section of society, without first liberating the Albanian workers and other immigrant 'foreigners' from the wild super exploitation of the bosses"

Koutsoumbos has read somewhere that Marx and Engels were saying something similar about English workers, and he believes he can apply the same formula to the Greek workers, banking on their prestige. Marx was speaking about the word-ruler England. Almost the entire world was its colony. It had the world industrial monopoly. From this position, its bourgeoisie was realizing enormous profits. Thanks to them, it could buy out important layers of workers who, according to Engels, "were enjoying in a state of bliss along with them (the bourgeois) the colonial monopoly of England and its monopoly of the world market". Only when England would lose its colonies, the monopoly of the world market, and the English workers their privileges, could they start to think and act in a revolutionary way.

As far as we know, Albania, Pakistan, the Ukraine etc are not colonies of Greece. The Greek working class is not "enjoying in a state of bliss" the crumbs falling from the exploitation of foreigners. Other layers are enjoying them, and, by a devilish coincidence, they are all "anti-racists" and "anti-nationalists". The only thing the working class collects is misery. And, of course, it can't liberate foreigners for the simple reason that their exploitation goes on against its will, and their liberation goes contrary to theirs.

In reality, every working class can only be liberated in its own country, against its own ruling class. Fighting behind the "walls of shame", which can only truly fall in this way, and in any case not upon the heads of working people.

Beyond this, the integration of foreigners in the union movement presupposes their social integration. This last is not a technical issue. Foreigners must first acquire common experiences and the feeling of a common nation, which replaces the solidarity of ghettos. They must become indigenous, native. And this is not simple, not easy, and often not possible at all. But even when it is possible, it takes a long time, which doesn't pass easily and agreeably for everyone.

First of all, a precondition for a common union organization is a common program of demands. The wage of the worker has an upper and a lower limit. The upper limit is determined by competition between capitalists. The lower, by the vital needs of workers. Nobody accepts a wage lower than what he needs in order to survive. One prefers to die slumbering than working. Competition is not absent within the working class. But at this point it gets surpassed, and the common organization of workers becomes possible, in order to demand a common minimum wage which will assure them a decent life.

Certainly the equality of needs is only relative. Needs differ from worker to worker. That's why there are some relative measures in the minimum wage, which bridge the differences. But how can differences of the nature and size that separate the wage that the native worker can accept on one side, and the categories of immigrant workers on the other, be bridged? What will the unions demand?

It is the impossibility of fielding commonly accepted demands that explains the total failure of unions to organize immigrants, not the "racism" of labour bureaucracy, as the "sole consistent", ostensibly, "anti-racists" of the extra-parliamentary "left" conveniently assert. As a result, instead of organizing foreigners, the unions see even the Greek workers desert them, being unemployed or, at best, a small minority at the workplace. The only possible form of organization for foreigners is the solidarity of the ghetto. Of the many ghettoes, in fact. And this has worked in certain instances, for example in the brief strike of Albanians in Almyros. Thus the union movement has been all but extinguished in the private sector and, to the extent that the public sector becomes privatized and subcontracting becomes more common, the dissolution is spreading there too. And if we take into account the fact that unions are the antechamber for the political organization of the proletariat, it is no wonder that the "left" becomes depilated from working-class elements and becomes a current of petty-bourgeois intelligentsia. Unless this state is overturned, the spectre of a dismal future is visible in the horizon. The proletariat risks being reduced, from an organized class and a springboard for the development of society as a whole, to an amorphous, tame, wretched mass, with no present and no hope for the future.

The exploitation of "black labour" in the periphery, the creation in Europe and America of a workingman of "new type", with a humiliating wage, without working hours, who is not protected by any law and is at the mercy of the master, lacking any potential for resistance, have permitted the multinational monopolies to realize surplus profits, and for capitalism to restabilise the world monetary system.

A decade ago it would seem unbelievable that inflation in Greece would reach 1.8% annually, with a tendency to go even lower. Based on the new slavery and the barbaric regime the Simitis government has brought to the labour market, it can now brag that it has ascertained the ticket for entry into the EMU (if this land is finally discovered). Bourgeois and petty-bourgeois have found free labourers, free servants, gardeners, nannies, nurses. Pimps have found plenty of whores. Real estate owners found hefty, untaxed rents, for stables at which even oxen would look down with contempt a few years ago. Gangs of slavers found the new El Dorado. And, in this happy conjuncture, the stock exchange of course rises. While the working masses suffer, new parasitic sectors and new privileged strata are being created.

So how could those who rule us not care for those "human rights", how could they not protect this "internationalism" those who collect the crumbs falling from the overflowing table of the rich?

Only the working class is being directly injured and overpowered, that's why it is the only one that grudges and reacts to the insistence of the ruling class and its foreign patrons, to defeat it, transforming into their "multicultural" manor the country, and the whole of Europe. We have never before seen such "internationalist" fervor from the imperialists. Reproaches for "racism" are being addressed to the working class only, and only from those who have nothing to fear, or at least who think so. Even though extraparliamentarians are thundering against the insignificant "Hrisi Avgi" group and the "Greek patriots". Who dares not beat the donkey, beats the packsaddle!

Marx on the competition between English and Irish workers

The English workers who, as Engels said, were "enjoying in bliss" their share from the profits of theirs bourgeoisie's monopoly, were a privileged minority. The great mass was living in poverty. Marx, as a member of the General Council of the international, concerned himself especially with the antagonism that existed between the poor layers of English workers and the Irish workers, whom the bourgeoisie forced to migrate to England as cheap labour.

Marx in a letter to Meyer and Vogt (April 9, 1870) informs them of his related propositions to the General Council. The paper "Ergatiki Exousia" ["workers' power"], using the method of the guillotine, by pasting together two sentences from two different paragraphs, transforms the revolutionary materialist Marx into a mainstream liberal petty-bourgeois. We believe that the reader stands to gain by reading the entire excerpt that refers to the Irish question, which we cite here, underlining the sentences used by the "Ergatiki Exousia".

I had intended to submit further RESOLUTIONS on the necessary transformation of the present Union (i.e., enslavement of Ireland) IN A FREE AND EQUAL FEDERATION WITH GREAT BRITAIN. Further progress on this matter has been temporarily suspended AS FAR AS PUBLIC RESOLUTIONS GO because of my enforced absence from the General Council. No other member of it has enough knowledge of Irish affairs or sufficient prestige with the English members of the General Council to be able to replace me on this matter.

Time has not passed uselessly, however, and I would ask you to pay particular attention to the following:

After studying the Irish question for years I have come to the conclusion that the decisive blow against the ruling classes In England (and this is decisive for the workers' movement ALL OVER THE WORLD) cannot be struck in England, but only in Ireland.

On 1 January 1870 the General Council issued a secret circular, written by me in French - {for repercussions in England, only the French papers are important, not the German} - on the relationship of the Irish national struggle to the emancipation of the working class, and thus on the attitude the International Association must take towards the Irish question.

Here I give you, quite shortly, the salient points. Ireland is the BULWARK of the English landed aristocracy. The exploitation of this country is not simply one of the main sources of their material wealth; it is their greatest moral power. They represent, IN FACT, the domination of England over Ireland. Ireland is, thus, the grand moyen by which the English aristocracy maintains its domination in England itself.

On the other hand: if the English army and police were withdrawn from Ireland tomorrow, you would immediately have AN AGRARIAN REVOLUTION IN IRELAND. But the overthrow of the English aristocracy in Ireland would entail, and would lead immediately to, its overthrow in England. This would bring about the prerequisites for the proletarian revolution in England. In Ireland, the land question has, so far, been the exclusive form of the social question; it is a question of existence, a question of life or death for the immense majority of the Irish people; at the same time, it is inseparable from the national question: because of this, destruction of the English landed aristocracy is an infinitely easier operation In Ireland than in England itself - quite apart from the more passionate and more revolutionary character of the Irish than the English.

As for the English bourgeoisie, it has, d' abord, a common interest with the English aristocracy in turning Ireland into simple pastureland to provide meat and wool at the cheapest possible price FOR THE ENGLISH MARKET. It has the same interest in reducing the Irish population to such a low level, through EVICTION and forced emigration, that English capital (leasehold capital) can function with SECURITY in that country. It has the same interest IN CLEARING THE ESTATE OF IRELAND as it had IN THE CLEARING OP THE AGRICULTURAL DISTRICTS OP ENGLAND and SCOTLAND. The £6,000-10,000 ABSENTEE and other Irish revenues that at present flow annually to London must also be taken into account.

But the English bourgeoisie also has much more important interests in the present Irish economy. As a result of the steadily - increasing concentration of leaseholding, Ireland is steadily supplying its SURPLUS for the English LABOUR MARKET, and thus forcing down the WAGES and material and moral position of the ENGLISH WORKING CLASS.

And most important of all! All industrial and commercial centres in England now have a working class divided into two hostile camps, English PROLETARIANS and Irish PROLETARIANS. The ordinary English worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who forces down the STANDARD OF LIFE. In relation to the Irish worker, he feels himself to be a member of the ruling nation and, therefore, makes himself a tool of his aristocrats and capitalists against Ireland, thus strengthening their domination over himself. He harbours religious, social and national prejudices against him. His attitude towards him is roughly that of the POOR WHITES to the NIGGERS in the former slave states of the American Union. The Irishman PAYS HIM BACK WITH INTEREST IN HIS OWN MONEY. He sees in the English worker both the accomplice and the stupid tool of English rule in Ireland.

This antagonism is kept artificially alive and intensified by the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short by all the means at the disposal of the ruling class. This antagonism is the secret of the English working class's impotence, despite its organisation. It is the secret of the maintenance of power by the capitalist class. And the latter is fully aware of this.

But the evil does not end here. It rolls across the ocean. The antagonism between English and Irish is the secret basis of the conflict between the UNITED STATES and England. It renders any serious and honest cooperation impossible between the working classes of the two countries. It enables the governments of the two countries, whenever they think fit, to blunt the edge of social conflict by MUTUAL BULLYING and, IN CASE OF NEED, by war between the two countries.

England, as the metropolis of capital, as the power that has hitherto ruled the world market, is for the present the most important country for the workers' revolution and, in addition, the only country where the material conditions for this revolution have developed to a certain state of maturity. Thus, to hasten the social revolution in England is the most important object of the International Working Men's Association. The sole means of doing so is to make Ireland independent. It is, therefore, the task of the 'INTERNATIONAL' to bring the conflict between England and Ireland to the forefront everywhere, and to side with Ireland publicly everywhere. The special task of the Central Council in London is to awaken the consciousness of the English working class that, for them, the national emancipation of Ireland is not a QUESTION OF ABSTRACT JUSTICE OR HUMANITARIAN SENTIMENT, but THE FIRST CONDITION OF THEIR OWN SOCIAL EMANCIPATION.

As we see, Marx doesn't have recourse to the pseudo-theory of "racism" in order to explain the existence of two hostile camps inside the working class. He looks for the cause, not in the ideas of people, but in the social conditions that determine them in order to finally point out, as the only solution, the revolutionary change of these conditions. The priestly idea that the problem could be resolved with admonitions about the fraternity of all races doesn't even cross his mind. He sets off the material root of the division that was none other than the English occupation of Ireland. This is the ABC of his materialist method, of which many declare themselves to be supporters and experts - but this is not enough to transform into Marxism their various subjective conclusions.

Marx doesn't try to persuade English workers to accept certain faits accomplits, he doesn't attempt to surpass the division by throwing bridges of morality. Contrarily, he draws attention to the causes of the problem and calls on them to support the revolutionary struggle for the independence of Ireland. Thus would open the road for the economic and cultural development of Ireland, its workers wouldn't be forcibly uprooted in order to be used as cheap labour by the English bourgeoisie. The last would lose its ability to sustain a labour aristocracy and to control by this means the movement of the proletariat. Contrarily to Marx, our anti-racists do nothing else than to muddle the waters and to cover the real causes of the current divisions in the camp of workers. For them, responsible is "racism". There is no other issue toward which they would have to take position and fight!..

Of course Marx is dealing with different questions of a different era. It is impossible to mechanically transplant all his propositions to the present, and especially to Greece. To say the least, the countries of origin of the nations that live and work here are in no way Greek colonies or subordinate partners in a federation, as Ireland was. No part of the Greek working class is gaining from their colonial exploitation. What is timeless in Marx is his materialist historic method. And according to it, there is no possibility of a serious, stable and frank cooperation of the Greek working class with immigrant workers as long as they are being used to degrade the wages, the living standards and to destroy the social rights it had gained with struggles. And, whether we like it or not, immigrant workers, as long as they are in Greece in this massive and limitless scale, can only fulfill this role, willingly or not.

As a result, the Greek capitalists, thanks to the cheap wage of the foreigners, are able to stabilize their economy, to demoralize the Greek working class, dissolve its political and union movement, extending in this way the life of capitalism itself. At the same time, extending the life of restorationist mafias in the countries of the former "eastern bloc", financing their counterrevolutionary regimes with the wage of the Greek worker. Of course, the same is being done by the ensemble of the ruling classes in the countries that compose NATO.

Thus illegal immigration, this modern-day slave trade, of which the "left" leaderships are becoming, openly or in a veiled way, apologists and defenders, is nowadays the greatest obstacle to the social revolution, in the East and the West alike.

The scarecrow of racism

The state with its plans creates the conditions of the nationalist antagonisms and at the same time propagates the myth of 'racism' so as to strangle under the shadow of this scarecrow every thought and attempt of the working class to fight against its social alienation, to fight against the absolutism of the new world order. We should not be amazed if tomorrow any protest against illegal immigration and the multi-cultural mutation of the country provokes the intervention of the courts with the accusation of stirring up racist and nationalist passions.

The myth of racism is used to obscure the true nature of the problem, presenting it as a psychological and cultural phenomenon. The immigrants are swindled and their relations with the Greek people are undermined as a completely perverted image of the real reasons of the resentment of the Greek working people is presented to them.

When the myth of racism is also underwritten by the "left", great political confusion is created and the path to right-wing adventurism is laid. Every increase in right-wing bigotry is due to the result the sell-out by the "left".

Everyone isolates the problem to racism. Grigoris Felonis doesn't pretend to be a 'leftist'. He is an "honorable" member of the central committee of PASKE (the pro-government union bloc) and, as president of the Athens Labour Council, the main speaker in the meeting on racism. This heavy-duty labour bureaucrat is in full agreement with the demoralised 'left'. He too believes that there are no other reasons for the reaction against the mass use of immigrants by the bosses, besides racism, which according to his descriptions is:

"The philosophy of the intellectually lazy. They believe they are unique on earth. That the other, the one different from them, is essentially non-existent, a humanoid. They believe they belong to a race privileged with higher spiritual and bodily forces, which are being bequeathed to the clear descendants of the race."

This is then the problem of the Greek workers. They are frightened lest their "Aryan" race be diluted!

In Dafni, a suburb in Athens with mainly labour population, we had one of the government organised 'brush operations'. There we had certain extra parliamentary leftists who demonstrated as 'multi-cultural' Greece was in danger. The local residents of the area deprecated them. Koutsoumbos, ostensibly shocked, comments in "Nea Prooptiki":

"Our cdes were provoked from people they didn't expect. Frightened housewives and pensioners, whose hide been tanned by the state and capitalists with poverty and super-exploitation, the silent 'populace', usually silent when facing smacks from those "higher up", suddenly raised their voices against those few who had the sensitivity to react to the barbarity of the police".

Concluding:

"we aren't dealing with the traditional phenomenon of racism. Something deeper but equally bestial is developing and embracing popular masses".

These people overflowing with intolerance and contempt for the 'bestial populace", who is only worth receiving 'smacks from those higher up', dare to pose as anti-racists! They pretend to defend, like Hercules, the true interests of the working class. The ones only they, not the "empty-headed" workers, know!

There, outside the public sports hall of Dafni, an anti-racist employer arrived with the same 'sensibility and courage' as the "far left". He was complaining because the police had (provisionally) deprived him of his immigrant employee. If anyone proposed to this gentleman to hire a Greek worker in his place, they would have had the opportunity to witness with their own eyes that the first victims of racist discrimination in Greece is the one against Greek workers. All others follow, however... the Polish worker is being replaced by the Romanian, the Romanian by the Albanian, the Albanian by the Pakistani and the Pakistani by the next cheap hands that will be discovered. Fortunately for capital, 'multi-culturalism' has still many reserves left...

Koutsoumbos believes, along with the rest of the so-called 'left', that the "Brush Operations" are a right-wing turn of Simitis under the pressure of the masses, which sent their message, with the results of the European elections! Thus for them Simitis stands to the left of the popular masses. They criticise the Greek population which, according to their claims, has pro-fascist tendencies, those self-styled endangered remains of democratic citizens!

It's not only in the electoral result that they recognised the stigma of fascism. Fascistic they had characterised the massive mobilisations on the issue of Macedonia, with which the Greek people declared its decision to resist the chicanery of the new world order in the Balkans.

Whatever is the political consciousness of the masses, one thing is certain: among them and the extra parliamentary "left" lies an abyss. On the question of the side of the abyss on which fascism lies, we ask the right to believe that, if nothing else, it isn't on the side of the masses.

The extra-parliamentary left characterises the working class as being inclined toward fascism, attempting to base their calumnies on skin-deep aspects of its spontaneous resistance. On its supposed racism and nationalism. But fascism doesn't simply consist of some external traits. It consists of its fundamental objectives. And these were not the transformation of Jews into soap, or the triumph of the Aryans, but the imperialist union of Europe under one centre of power. In this consisted the 'new order', which the Nazis also proclaimed.

Today American imperialism has exactly the same aims: To unite the whole world under its own hegemony. The cadre of American imperialism don't hide their affinity with German fascism, borrowing from it the term 'new order', even the codename 'Desert Fox', of one of their great operations against Iraq. But conditions are totally different and the past could not reappear, as many imagine, in the exact same form.

The Americans aren't obliged to repeat the doomed in advance attempt of Hitler to militarily occupy Europe. They attempt to base themselves on the consent and collusion of their big and small allies, taking advantage of the common interests created by the multinational forms of composition of capital, from the end of the war until today. That is why their 'new order' cannot be based on nationalism and racism, but on fraud of 'human rights', multiculturalism' and the levelling of national resistance by the steamroller of globalisation. (From one point of view this constitutes an advantage for current imperialism, but at the same time its Achilles' heel. Every time it is forced to use violence, it cannot count on the patriotic enthusiasm of its armies, but only on the doubtful successfulness of a new technological fascism.)

We could suppose that the extra parliamentary 'left', is a victim of naivete and of its hereditary inability to distinguish internationalism from globalisation and the modernised form of the fascist new order. In a few cases this obviously holds true. But we cannot say the same when we judge it as a political current. Because these gentlemen are the exact same ones who cheered the desert storm against the 'Islamist dictator Saddam' and the storm in the Balkans against the 'Stalinist dictator Milosevic'. Someone who can't distinguish between the imperialist new world order and its victims, even at the time when they are bleeding, is not just confused but an accomplice. It is the person who supports imperialist violence and robbery of the people as the foundation of his own privileges and good life.

New World Order and Multi-Culturalism
Imperialism, while dissolving with fire and brimstone the multinational entities created by the course of history, attempts to artificially create, even with the use of violence, new multicultural communities. In Bosnia it holds the Bosnian Serbs in a 'federation', whilst in Kosovo it's trying to maintain the Serbian minority against the Kosovo Albanians. At the same time, the monopolies' Europe advertises its multicultural future.

Are these changes a step forward, a step towards internationalism? Our 'leftist' friends say yes. Some with a subnote, some without. The working class says no and is right. It a step backward. It doesn't lead us into the post nation-state era, but to eras when the nation state was the issue. To the feudal and slave-owning empires. The Ottoman, the Byzantine, the Roman. It isn't the actualisation of the socialist perspective but the political adaptation and servility of the planet to the needs of the transnationals.

Multi-culturalism under the iron cross of NATO is the tool for the dissolution of the nation state for the sake of the new order and globalisation. It not only doesn't bring closer the peoples, but it constitutes an attempt to sink them to the depths of national antagonisms and conflicts. To mutual neutralisation. It is an attempt at generalising the American multicultural model. The plutocracy of the USA is convinced of its functionality. For two and a half centuries now it exploits a whole array of racial and national antagonisms in order to guarantee the stability of its power. It is these antagonisms that have prevented the working class, despite its great strength, from acquiring its own political physiognomy and its own political party.

From this perspective the Greek people are right to be wary. In particular with the Albanian element. It has both an infallible instinct, and long historic experience. Of course the Albanian nation doesn't just consist of Mafiosi eager to get rich. It also consists of people of labour, of wages. But the collapse of the hated Hoxha dictatorship, which called itself communist, has propelled the political pendulum to the other extreme. The pro-capitalist and agent elements are at the top. For the moment Albania is the feared bulwark of American imperialism in the Balkans.

The mercenary coalition with NATO against Yugoslavia, the demonstrations in Athens with the Star-Spangled Banner and the burning of the Greek flag, don't foretell anything good. The stance of the government and the political establishment make the situation even worse. Of course, Andreas Andrianopoulos and the other 'internationalists' are reassuring! Unfortunately they are not trustworthy. Especially those promising to tame the conflicting interests with internationalist admonitions.

"Prin" ["before"], the well-known product of stalinist abortion, makes fun of the worries of the theatrical writer Dialegmenos regarding the demographic change which illegal immigration is causing. They obviously consider without importance the history and traditions of peoples. So does the new world order, which wants to restart history from scratch. But the Greek people will never accept to have decisions on its future taken by national groups that don't have its history and experience and are still proudly marching behind the American flag. All of this belongs to the past for it and no amount of wretched invocations of internationalism can force it to go back to stages of its history, which it has long surpassed. That may be the objective of the new world order but it is in no way to its own interests.

Nationalism - not with the warped definition which cold war anti-communism gave it, but as a right of the peoples to support their national sovereignty, as a demand for the respect to national traditions and cultures - isn't opposed to internationalism, but its pre-condition. It is the irreplaceable vehicle of history, which leads towards internationalism.

Multiculturalism and internationalism are the vision of socialism, the vision of the workers. But this cannot be translated into the right of the capitalist in using 'black labour' so as to crush the domestic worker in every country, nor into the means for imposing the hegemony of the American superpower on an endless array of national minorities and civilisations with no ability of resistance.

The abolition of states under imperialism is a totally reactionary perspective. It is equivalent with a return to barbarity. It promises working people nothing but the generalisation of misery. This can't be, and isn't, the aim of socialism. Its programme is the surpassing of the nation state by moving forward. It aims to generalise prosperity.

Workers' solidarity cannot be understood as, nor can it be, the Christian cue of sharing one dish of lentils into fourteen portions, so the poor can survive and the rich get richer. It is the solidarity of the workers who fight first of all in their own country, for the overthrow of their own ruling class. The common and planned effort to overcome the uneven development bequeathed by history to different nations, as a necessary precondition for the abolition of national states, with the free will of the people and in their interests.

November 1999

Communist Internationalist League - KDE (trotskyists)

Father of the nation: A term used, often ironically, to describe the MPs in Greece.

New Democracy: The right-wing bourgeois party in Greece, equivalent to the Tories in GB or the Republicans in the USA.

PASOK: The "left-wing" Greek bourgeois party, more or less equivalent to the Democrats in the USA.

Extra parliamentary left: The collective name used in Greece to denote the groups that claim to stand to the left of the "official" left (represented by the CP and its various splits).

The expression "the wall of shame" was used in Greece to denote the Berlin wall.

Black labour: The word "black" is used in the Greek language to denote unofficial, shady, illegal or semi-illegal dealings: "black market" has the same meaning as in English, "black money" is money received under the table, not declared to the IRS, etc. Black labour specifically, refers to illegal employment, in which the employed person is being paid in cash, without social security and retirement benefits, and without the safeguards provided by Greek labour legislation.

Hrisi Avgi: a totally unimportant extreme-right grouplet, which nobody would be aware of, if it wasn't for the "leftists" advertising it and using it as a fig leaf for their bankrupt policies.

Andreas Andrianopoulos: A former minister of the right-wing New Democracy party, one of the foremost proponents of "neo-liberalism" and deregulation in Greece. He is best remembered for abolishing state control on the price of gasoline, reassuring everyone that this would result in a fall of gasoline prices. Within a week, the price jumped from 80 to 200 Drs a litre, and remained there since. He too is an anti-racist, of course.

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