Greece: Statement by the anarchist collective Rouvikonas about the intervention at the Ministry of Interior.
Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.
Anarchist Collective Rouvikonas: Intervention at the Ministry of Interior
A slogan we have printed repeatedly on banners and flyers and chanted during marches and direct actions is one that says “we won’t live like slaves, we won’t grow old as beggars”. This slogan has proved prophetic every day that has gone by slowly and painfully like a drop about to fall. The list of measures turning us into slaves and beggars, the requirements set by memoranda, have now inevitably targeted hazardous occupations. In January a new bill came into force, which nunbers an extra 70 requirements that must be materialized in order to complete Greece’s third assessment. Contrary to the Members of Parliament, who can’t be bothered to read what they actually vote for since none of these reforms would affect them, we actually do read them. Because these reforms concern us.
Article 396 of the bill describes in detail a new reform and abolition of essential labour rights which concern thousands of people. The people who not only produce suprlus value and have it stolen by their bosses just to get paid next to nothing, but also put their health and lives at risk in an unsfafe work environment. This article describes, if not the end, then a generous cut of the amount received by workers in hazardous occupations. A committee constituted by mandarins from the Ministries of Labour, Health, Finance and Managerial Restructuring, as well as various organizations (how original!), will examine the whole system of criteria that define hazardous occupations and the benefits related to those, from ground zero. That means that a large number of occupations will no longer be included in this category. It also means that many workers will lose benefits related to the risk they face at work. Of course, it also means bigger profits for the bosses and harsh conditions for the slaves, since a slave, since always, is destined to do anything he/she is asked, regardless of the level of risk. The committee was given February 2019 as a deadline to complete this task and redefine a new landscape of workers’ rights.
We know the counter-arguments: rationalization is needed, the current list was bargained by syndicalists, we must wait and see what the outcome of the committee will be and reassess it later, etc..We have heard these counter-arguments countless times on debates about rights…And we are well aware of their honesty and value: zero. Just as the “gift in return” in the Article 396 is also worth nothing. The Greek state and its guardians still feel the need to camouflage their intentions, even in the context of the bill. After the first 5 lines which introduce the ground-zero approach for hazardous occupations, many more lines are dedicated for the improvement of safety in the workplace. The narrative is simple: we will cut your benefits but also improve workplace conditions, so there is nothing to lose and nothing to worry about. But, we think that you need to worry because benefits will be cut but safety will most certainly not improve.
The government does not even want to tackle illegal employment which unfortunately affects approximately half of the working population. Delivery bikers ride bikes that are about to fall apart, without a helmet nor a jacket but with the company logo on the boxes they carry (a sector which by the way is not even considered a hazardous occupation). And while accidents in the workplace take the lives of many workers, the state says that a committee will not only cut benefits but will also improve safety in the workplace.
The working class remains paralyzed in a fetal position, perpetuating an ostrich mentality in hope that the suffering will somehow end on its own, that one of these drops will be the last one. Instead of witnessing an erruption of new forms of syndicalism and militant struggles, there is only silence and fatalism. We must realize that the state proceeds with salary cuts, pension cuts, abolition of rights and now the reconfiguration of hazardous occupations, only because we allow them to do so. Syriza was a medicine that did not bring a cure but definitely acted as a sedative. However, this excuse cannot be used after three whole years.
Sooner or later, people will start wondering how we got here. And if they don’t, then the younger generations or their children will make them reflect on their (in)action by asking “how did you allow this to happen?”. Sooner or later, there will be social unrest and this estimation can be safely made by anyone, anarchist or not. This prediction, however, is meaningless because, in order for this explosion to happen on time to allow us a chance for victory, the wick must be lit now. People must organize, on a class, political and local level. Struggles must errupt in the present. The forces of the great social majority must begin to form bonds and strengthen today not tomorrow.
We are aware that we turn into clichés when we repeat the same things all over again. But we will continue to do so. We will say the same things over and over again before any reform that intensifies the class denigration we have experienced for the past seven years. We do everything we can so that our side on the class war will be able to throw off slavery, so we won’t end up beggars in the dystopia imposed by state and capital.
WE WON’T LIVE LIKE SLAVES WE WON’T GROW OLD AS BEGGARS
GET YOUR HANDS OFF HAZARDOUS OCCUPATIONS.
Anarchist Collective Rouvikonas, Member of the Anarchist Federation, March 13, 2018.
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