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‘But rights alone are not enough. We have to learn to make use of them’ Alexandra Kollantai

Number 2

March 2013


manifesto magazine is a digest of postings from the 21centurymanifesto blog.The aim is to capture the best commentary, reportage and analysis drawn from a wide range of progressive sources throughout the world.

http://21centurymanifesto.wordpress.com

Number 2

March 2013


2 a militant celebration Akexandra Kollantai on the origins of International Women’s Day

8 on the Pinochet dictatorship Chilean student leader Camila Vallejo on accepting the 2012 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award

10 understanding the crisis On the annivesary of the founding of her party Aleka Papriga analyses the capitalist crisis

16 the euro crisis and our future Sahra Wagenknecht speaks on economics for Die Linke in the Bundestag

20 privatisation threatens education Education is not just about economic competitiveness argues Frances O'Grady

The Russian revolutionary Alexandra Kollantai headed the Bolshevik’s work among women and became a Soviet diplomat

Camila Vallejo is a member of the central committee of the Chilean Communist Party and has been nominated to the Chilean national assembly

Aleka Papriga is general secreray of the Greek Communist Party and a member of the Greek parliament

Sahra Wagenknecht is deputy chair of Die Linke and a member of the Communist Platform

Frances O’Grady is the first woman to be elected as general secretary of the Trades Union Congress

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Cover You are now a free woman, Help build socialism! Adolf Strakhov


International Women’s Day

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Alexandra Kollantai

a militant celebration

W

omen’s Day or Working Women’s Day is a day of international solidarity, and a day for reviewing the strength and organization of proletarian women. But this is not a special day for women alone. The 8th of March is a historic and memorable day for the workers and peasants, for all the Russian workers and for the workers of the whole world. In 1917, on this day, the great February revolution broke out.[2] It was the working women of Petersburg who began this revolution; it was they who first decided to raise the banner of opposition to the Tsar and his associates. And so, working women’s day is a double celebration for us. But if this is a general holiday for all the proletariat, why do we call it “Women’s Day”? Why then do we hold special celebrations and meetings aimed above all at the women workers and the peasant women? Doesn’t this jeopardize the unity and solidarity of the working class? To answer these questions, we have to look back and see how Women’s Day came about and for what purpose it was organized. How and why was Women’s Day organised? Not very long ago, in fact about ten years ago, the question of women’s equality, and the question of whether women could take part in government alongside men was being hotly debated. The working class in all capitalist countries struggled

for the rights of working women: the bourgeoisie did not want to accept these rights. It was not in the interest of the bourgeoisie to strengthen the vote of the working class in parliament; and in every country they hindered the passing of laws that gave the right to working women. Socialists in North America insisted upon their demands for the vote with particular persistence. On the 28th of February, 1909, the women socialists of the U.S.A. organized huge demonstrations and meetings all over the country demanding political rights for working women. This was the first “Woman’s Day". The initiative on organizing a woman’s day thus belongs to the working women of America. In 1910, at the Second International Conference of Working Women, Clara Zetkin [3] brought forward the question of organizing an International Working Women’s Day. The conference decided that every year, in every country, they should celebrate on the same day a “Women’s Day” under the slogan “The vote for women will unite our strength in the struggle for socialism". During these years, the question of making parliament more democratic, i.e., of widening the franchise and extending the vote to women, was a vital issue. Even before the first world war, the workers had the right to vote in all bourgeois countries except Russia. [4] Only women, along with the insane, remained without these rights. Yet, at the same time, the harsh reality of capitalism demanded the participation of women in the country’s economy. Every

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year there was an increase in the number of women who had to work in the factories and workshops, or as servants and charwomen. Women worked alongside men and the wealth of the country was created by their hands. But women remained without the vote. But in the last years before the war the rise in prices forced even the most peaceful housewife to take an interest in questions of politics and to protest loudly against the bourgeoisie’s economy of plunder. “Housewives uprisings” became increasingly frequent, flaring up at different times in Austria, England, France and Germany. The working women understood that it wasn’t enough to break up the stalls at the market or threaten the odd merchant: They understood that such action doesn’t bring down the cost of living. You have to change the politics of the government. And to achieve this, the working class has to see that the franchise is widened. It was decided to have a Woman’s Day in every country as a form of struggle in getting working women to vote. This day was to be a day of international solidarity in the fight for common objectives and a day for reviewing the organized strength of working women under the banner of socialism. The First International Women’s Day The decision taken at the Second International Congress of Socialist Women was not left on paper. It was decided to hold the first International Women's Day on the 19th of March, 1911.

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This date was not chosen at random. Our German comrades picked the day because of its historic importance for the German proletariat. On the 19th of March in the year of 1848 revolution, the Prussian king recognized for the first time the strength of the armed people and gave way before the threat of a proletarian uprising. Among the many promise he made, which he later failed to keep, was the introduction of votes for women. After January 11, efforts were made in Germany and Austria to prepare for Women's Day. They made known the plans for a demonstration both by word of mouth and in the press. During the week before Women's Day two journals appeared: The Vote for Women in Germany and Women's Day in Austria. The various articles devoted to Women's Day – “Women and Parliament,” “The Working Women and Municipal Affairs,” “What Has the Housewife got to do with Politics?", etc. – analyzed thoroughly the question of the equality of women in the government and in society. All the articles emphasized the same point: that it was absolutely necessary to make parliament more democratic by extending the franchise to women. The first International Women's Day took place in 1911. Its success succeeded all expectation. Germany and Austria on Working Women's Day was one seething, trembling sea of women. Meetings were organized everywhere – in the small towns and even in the villages halls were packed so full that they had to ask male workers to give up their places for the women. This was certainly the first show of militancy by the

working woman. Men stayed at home with their children for a change, and their wives, the captive housewives, went to meetings. During the largest street demonstrations, in which 30,000 were taking part, the police decided to remove the demonstrators' banners: the women workers made a stand. In the scuffle that followed, bloodshed was averted only with the help of the socialist deputies in Parliament. In 1913 International Women's Day was transferred to the 8th of March. This day has remained the working women's day of militancy. Is Women's Day necessary? Women's Day in America and Europe had amazing results. It's true that not a single bourgeois parliament thought of making concessions to the workers or of responding to the women's demands. For at that time, the bourgeoisie was not threatened by a socialist revolution. But Women's Day did achieve something. It turned out above all to be an excellent method of agitation among the less political of our proletarian sisters. They could not help but turn their attention to the meetings, demonstrations, posters, pamphlets and newspapers that were devoted to Women's Day. Even the politically backward working woman thought to herself: “This is our day, the festival for working women,” and she hurried to the meetings and demonstrations. After each Working Women's Day, more women joined the socialist parties and the trade unions grew. Organizations improved and political consciousness developed.

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Women's Day served yet another function; it strengthened the international solidarity of the workers. The parties in different countries usually exchange speakers for this occasion: German comrades go to England, English comrades go to Holland, etc. The international cohesion of the working class has become strong and firm and this means that the fighting strength of the proletariat as a whole has grown. These are the results of working women's day of militancy. The day of working women's militancy helps increase the consciousness and organization of proletarian women. And this means that its contribution is essential to the success of those fighting for a better future for the working class. Women Workers Day in Russia The Russia working woman first took part in “Working Women's Day" in 1913. This was a time of reaction when Tsarism held the workers and peasants in its vise like a grip. There could be no thought of celebrating “Working Women's Day” by open demonstrations. But the organized working women were able to mark their international day. Both the legal newspapers of the working class – the Bolshevik Pravda and the Menshevik Looch – carried articles about the International Women's Day: [5] they carried special articles, portraits of some of those taking part in the working women's movement and greetings from comrades such as Bebel and Zetkin.[6] In those bleak years meetings were forbidden. But in Petrograd, at the Kalashaikovsky Exchange, those


The day of working women's militancy helps increase the consciousness and organization of proletarian women.

women workers who belonged to the Party organized a public forum on “The Woman Question.” Entrance was five kopecks. This was an illegal meeting but the hall was absolutely packed. Members of the Party spoke. But this animated “closed” meeting had hardly finished when the police, alarmed at such proceedings, intervened and arrested many of the speakers. It was of great significance for the workers of the world that the women of Russia, who lived under Tsarist repression, should join in and somehow manage to acknowledge with actions International Women's Day. This was a welcome sign that Russia was waking up and the Tsarist prisons and gallows were powerless to kill the workers' spirit of struggle and protest. In 1914, “Women Workers Day” in Russia was better organized. Both the workers' newspapers concerned themselves with the celebration. Our comrades put a lot of effort into the preparation of “Women Workers Day.” Because of police intervention, they didn't manage to organize a demonstration. Those involved in the planning of “Women Workers Day” found themselves in the Tsarist prisons, and many were later sent to the cold north. For the slogan “for the working women's vote” had naturally become in Russia an open call for the overthrow of Tsarist autocracy. Women Workers Day during the imperialist war The first world war broke out. The working class in every country was covered with the blood of war. [7] In 1915 and 1916 “Working Women's Day” abroad was a feeble affair – left wing socialist women

who shared the views of the Russian Bolshevik Party tried to turn March 8th into a demonstration of working women against the war. But those socialist party traitors in Germany and other countries would not allow the socialist women to organize gatherings; and the socialist women were refused passports to go to neutral countries where the working women wanted to hold International meetings and show that in spite of the desire of the bourgeoisie, the spirit of International solidarity lived on. In 1915, it was only in Norway that they managed to organize an international demonstration on Women's Day; representatives from Russia and neutral countries attended. There could be no thought of organizing a Women's Day in Russia, for here the power of Tsarism and the military machine was unbridled. Then came the great, great year of 1917. Hunger, cold and trials of war broke the patience of the women workers and the peasant women of Russia. In 1917, on the 8th of March (23rd of February), on Working Women's Day, they came out boldly in the streets of Petrograd. The women – some were workers, some were wives of soldiers – demanded “Bread for our children” and “The return of our husbands from the trenches.” At this decisive time the protests of the working women posed such a threat that even the Tsarist security forces did not dare take the usual measures against the rebels but looked on in confusion at the stormy sea of the people's anger. The 1917 Working Women's Day has become

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memorable in history. On this day the Russian women raised the torch of proletarian revolution and set the world on fire. The February revolution marks its beginning from this day. Our call to battle "Working Women's Day” was first organized ten years ago in the campaign for the political equality of women and the struggle for socialism. This aim has been achieved by the working class women in Russia. In the soviet republic the working women and peasants don't need to fight for the franchise and for civil rights. They have already won these rights. The Russian workers and the peasant women are equal citizens – in their hands is a powerful weapon to make the struggle for a better life easier – the right to vote, to take part in the Soviets and in all collective organizations. [8] But rights alone are not enough. We have to learn to make use of them. The right to vote is a weapon which we have to learn to master for our own benefit, and for the good of the workers' republic. In the two years of Soviet Power, life itself has not been absolutely changed. We are only in the process of struggling for communism and we are surrounded by the world we have inherited from the dark and repressive past. The shackles of the family, of housework, of prostitution still weigh heavily on the working woman. Working women and peasant women can only rid themselves of this situation and achieve equality in life itself, and not just in law, if they put all their energies into making Russia a truly communist society.

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‘While the power is in the hands of the capitalists and property owners, no political rights will save the working woman from the traditional position of slavery in the home and society’

And to quicken this coming, we have first to put right Russia's shattered economy. We must consider the solving of our two most immediate tasks – the creation of a well organized and politically conscious labor force and the re-establishment of transport. If our army of labor works well we shall soon have steam engines once more; the railways will begin to function. This means that the working men and women will get the bread and firewood they desperately need. Getting transport back to normal will speed up the victory of communism. And with the victory of communism will come the complete and fundamental equality of women. This is why the message of “Working Women's Day” must this year be: “Working women, peasant women, mothers, wives and sisters, all efforts to helping the workers and comrades in overcoming the chaos of the railways and reestablishing transport. Everyone in the struggle for bread and firewood and raw materials." Last year the slogan of the Day of Women Workers was: “All to the victory of the Red Front.” [9] Now we call working women to rally their strength on a new bloodless front – the labor front! The Red Army defeated the external enemy because it was organized, disciplined and ready for self sacrifice. With organization, hard work, self-discipline and self sacrifice, the workers' republic will overcome the internal foe – the dislocation (of) transport and the economy, hunger, cold and disease. “Everyone to the victory on the bloodless labor front! Everyone to this victory!"

The new tasks of Working Women's Day The October revolution gave women equality with men as far as civil rights are concerned. The women of the Russian proletariat, who were not so long ago the most unfortunate and oppressed, are now in the Soviet Republic able to show with pride to comrades in other countries the path to political equality through the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and soviet power. The situation is very different in the capitalist countries where women are still overworked and underprivileged. In these countries the voice of the working woman is weak and lifeless. It is true that in various countries – in Norway, Australia, Finland and in some of the States of North America – women had won civil rights even before the war. [10] In Germany, after the Kaiser had been thrown out and a bourgeois republic established, headed by the “compromisers,” [11] thirty-six women entered parliament – but not a single communist! In 1919, in England, a woman was for the first time elected a Member of Parliament. But who was she? A “lady.” That means a landowner, an aristocrat. [12] In France, too, the question has been coming up lately of extending the franchise to women. But what use are these rights to working women in the framework of bourgeois parliaments? While the power is in the hands of the capitalists and property owners, no political rights will save the working woman from the traditional position of slavery in the home and

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society. The French bourgeoisie are ready to throw another sop to the working class, in the face of growing Bolshevik ideas amongst the proletariat: they are prepared to give women the vote.[13] Mr. Bourgeois, sir –itis too late! After the experience of the Russian October revolution, it is clear to every working woman in France, in England and in other countries that only the dictatorship of the working class, only the power of the soviets can guarantee complete and absolute equality, the ultimate victory of communism will tear down the century-old chains of repression and lack of rights. If the task of “International Working Women's Day” was earlier in the face of the supremacy of the bourgeois parliaments to fight for the right of women to vote, the working class now has a new task: to organize working women around the fighting slogans of the Third International. Instead of taking part in the working of the bourgeois parliament, listen to the call from Russia – “Working women of all countries! Organize a united proletarian front in the struggle against those who are plundering the world! Down with the parliamentarism of the bourgeoisie! We welcome soviet power! Away with inequalities suffer by the working men and women! We will fight with the workers for the triumph of world communism!” This call was first heard amidst the trials of a new order, in the battles of civil war it will be heard by and it will strike a chord in the hearts of working women of other countries. The working woman will listen and


Collective Farmer on a Bicycle Alexandr Deyneka 1935

believe this call to be right. Until recently they thought that if they managed to send a few representatives to parliament their lives would be easier and the oppression of capitalism more bearable. Now they know otherwise. Only the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of soviet power will save them from the world of suffering, humiliations and inequality that makes the life of the working woman in the capitalist countries so hard. The “Working Woman's Day” turns from a day of struggle for the franchise into an international day of struggle for the full and absolute liberation of women, which means a struggle for the victory of the soviets and for communism! Down with the world of property and the power of capital! Away with inequality, lack of rights and the oppression of women – the legacy of the bourgeois world! Forward to the international unity of working women and male workers in the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat – the proletariat of both sexes!

Notes

2. Tsarist Russia still used the old “Julian” calendar of the Middle Ages, which was 13 days behind the “Gregorian” calendar used in most of the rest of the world. Thus March 8 was “February 23” in the old calendar. This is why the revolution of March 1917 is called “the February revolution” and that of November 1917 “the October revolution.”

3. Clara Zetkin was a leader of the German socialist movement and the main leader of the international working women's movement. Kollontai was a delegate to the international conference representing the St. Petersburg textile workers.

4. This is not accurate. The vast majority of unskilled workers in England, France and Germany could not vote. A smaller percentage of working class men in the United States could not vote – in particular immigrant men. In the South of the US black men were often prevented from voting. The middle class suffrage movements in all the European countries did not fight to give votes to either working class women or men.

5. At its 1903 Congress, the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party divided into two wings, the Bolsheviks (which means “majority” in Russian) and the Mensheviks (which means “minority"). In the period between 1903 and 1912 (when the division became permanent) the two wings worked together, unified for a while, split again. Many socialists, including entire local organizations, worked with both wings or tried to stay neutral in the disputes. Kollontai, an active socialist and fighter for women's rights since 1899, was at first independent of the factions, then became a Menshevik for several years. She joined the Bolsheviks in 1915 and became the only woman member of their central committee. She also served as Commissar of Welfare of the Soviet Republic and head of the Women's Section of the Bolshevik Party. 6. August Bebel (1840-1913) was a leader of the German Social-Democratic Party. He was a well-known supporter of the women's movement and author of a classic book on Marxism and women (Die Frauenfrage, translated into English as Woman Under Socialism, which has been translated into many languages.

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7. When war broke out in 1914, there was a massive split in the international socialist movement. The majority of the Social Democrats in Germany, Austria, France and England supported the war. Other socialists, such Kollontai, Lenin, the Bolshevik Party and Trotsky in Russia, Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg in Germany and Eugene Debs in the United States, to name some of the leaders, denounced the pro-war socialists for being traitors to the working class and to the fight for a workers' revolution.

8. The word “soviet” means “council.” Soviets, or workers' councils, are democratic bodies in which delegates are elected in factory and neighborhood meetings and are controlled by their sister and brother workers. The representatives of the soviets must report back to their constituency and are subject to immediate recall.

9. After the working class seizure of power in October/November 1917, the Russian workers' state was faced with two major problems. One was an invasion by thirteen countries, including the United States; the second was resistance by the pro-monarchist and pro-capitalist elements in Russia. Primarily under the direction of Leon Trotsky, the soviets created a workers and peasants army, the Red Army, which defeated the forces of counterrevolution.

10. Women had won the right to vote in several of the United States prior to World War I. A federal amendment guaranteeing all women over 21 the right to vote was passed on August 26, 1920. It was not until the 1960s that the last legal barriers to working class people voting in the United States were abolished.

11. The “compromisers” Kollontai is referring to are the Social Democratic leaders who formed a new capitalist government in Germany after the fall of the Kaiser in 1918. They actively supported counterrevolution after coming to office.

12. While the aristocratic Lady Astor was indeed the first woman to serve in the British parliament, the first woman elected to parliament was the Irish revolutionary Constance Markievicz. Together with other members of the Sinn Fein party, she refused to take her seat in the imperial parliament.

13. French women did not finally get the vote until after World War II.


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his award is for everyone who is fighting to make Chile a better place. I would like to thank the Institute for Policy Studies. I thank IPS not only for this Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award that you’ve given the Chilean Students Movement for our struggle to recover the right to an education, but also for what you stand for and your ties to everything that’s happening today in Chile. After 39 years, it’s impossible — even for young people like us who were born after 1988 — to study the history of Orlando Letelier or anyone else who was tortured or assassinated during the dictatorship without feeling pain. We feel the pain of injustice, the pain of that inhumanity, and the pain of a great blow to democracy that hasn’t healed to this day. And although there’s been a powerful attempt to erase our collective memory and silence our entire nation, in Chile we won’t forget. We can’t forget the Pinochet dictactorship’s victims, just as we can’t forget the aspirations of the movement that gave rise to Salvador Allende’s government. That movement was interrupted by a violent coup and a brutal and bloody dictatorship. But it wasn’t defeated, it was interrupted. Its driving force and principles were to defend the interests and dignity of the people. That movement respected human rights while aspiring to grant all men and women access to a decent education and quality health care. That


Camila Valejo

dictatorship

movement aimed to bring the benefits of our nation’s natural wealth to all Chileans. That movement built sovereignty while strengthening democracy. In that movement, men and women developed the awareness and will to organize for justice and freedom. I believe that the Institute, through its work, represents women and men like Ronni and Orlando — people who embodied this movement’s ideals and gave their lives for their activism. It is with sorrow, but also with joy and hope that we cherish the ideas and ideals that embody this movement — the defense of human rights and the struggle for social justice. Many Chileans are now taking back the reins of history, as indicated by today’s great social movements. We must recover from the Pinochet dictatorship’s terrible consequences if we want to have a true democracy. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights affirmed that even today there still is no justice in Chile because our electoral sytstem guarantees that human rights violators are over-represented in our parliament, relative to their victims. In our country, there is no justice. Even if we don’t have a dictator anymore, we still haven’t gotten rid of the political model that his regime imposed upon us — a market-driven dictatorship. This neoliberal model has proven to be incompatible with respect for human rights. When the great wealth of the very few is derived from the life and work of the vast majority, it isn’t compatible with democracy.

Our best way to thank you for this award is to carry on with the historic work to which we have dedicated our lives. We will continue to fight for universal, high-quality, and free public education, workers’ rights, and excellent health care for all. We will fight to nationalize Chile’s natural resources once again. We will continue the struggle for self-determination and respect that our indigenous peoples deserve. Today, Chile’s indigenous people are a shining example of resistance to the repression and militarization they endure at the hands of our government. We should fight for a new Chilean Constitution, which will shed the neoliberal state the dictatorship imposed on us for the benefit the nation’s richest people. As Allende said, the Chilean people’s struggle isn’t a fight among generations, and it’s certainly not the monopoly of one political party. This must be a struggle by workers, students, professionals, and many social and political movements ready to take on the challenge of joining together despite our differences, because we have grasped the historic challenge that we face. That is why I would like to dedicate this award not just to all Chilean students, who technically won it, but also to our professors and teachers, as well as the indigenous peoples of Chile. Appropriately enough, in Chile we celebrate Teachers Day every October 16. Just yesterday, we paid tribute to them. I am also dedicating this award to the indigenous Mapuche people currently held as political prisoners —

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including the four who have been on a hunger strike for nearly two months. After hundreds of years of resistance, they are not giving up the fight for their land or their right to their own culture. This award is for everyone who is fighting to make Chile a better place. On September 21, 1976, agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet detonated a car bomb that killed Institute of Policy Studies colleagues Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean diplomat and director of the Institute’s Transnational Institute, and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, an IPS development associate, in Washington, DC. Each year in October, the Institute for Policy Studies hosts the annual human rights award in the names of Letelier and Moffitt to honor these fallen colleagues while celebrating new heroes of the human rights movement from the United States and the Americas. This is Camila Vallejo’s speech accepting the Letelier-Moffitt Award Camila Vallejo is the vice-president of the Confederation of Chilean Students (Confederación de Estudiantes de Chile). She and Noam Titelman accepted a 2012 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute for Policy Studies. http://www.ips-dc.org/about/letelier-moffitt


understanding th

‘... enormous monopoly corporations have succeeded in merging their interests with the functions of the state’

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inety four years have passed since the beginning of the first founding Congress of the Socialist Workers Party of Greece (SEKE), which at its 3rd Extraordinary Congress in 1924 was renamed the Communist Party of Greece. What can we remember first in a few sentences? 94 years of great struggles, glorious activity. Human achievements which it is difficult for someone who did not experience them or has not learnt about them to imagine. The younger generations are the major victims of the truth being turned on its head, its concealment, the misinformation. And more particularly the small children today who learn everything from the directed programmes on the many internet sites, encyclopaedias, school textbooks. What is it that kept the KKE alive despite the unfavourable circumstances, the persecution and the illegality, at the same time when a series of bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties, well-fed in the bosom of the system, petted by the foreign powers as well, are dissolving themselves, so that new ones can be born with old ideas and a new form and with new faces? No party can exist for 94 years only because its cadre and members want it. Something deeper must determine this longevity, regardless of the fluctuations in its strength. There are two basic factors: First. Our stable trust in the revolutionary worldview of Marxism-Leninism and the principle of proletarian internationalism, a theory which is


Aleka Papariga

he crisis

developed with the scientific explanation of the progress of class struggle, the developments in the capitalist system and the critical assessment of socialist construction in the 20th century. We remain immovable at the side of the exploited, sworn enemies of capitalism. We rejected compromise and Eurocommunism. Second. The KKE is the organized conscious vanguard of the working class, of the vanguard revolutionary class in the era of the passage from capitalism to socialism. Its endurance was forged with ties of blood to the working class, to the people. A fighter everyday, the organizer of the peoples victory tomorrow. At every anniversary of the partys foundation, everyone remembers important events, of national and international significance, in which the KKE played the leading role: As an inspirer, the life blood and leader of the national liberation struggle against the Italo-German and Bulgarian occupation and later against the Junta. The leader in the climactic moment of the class struggle up to the present day in our country: In the armed struggle of the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE), which was a contribution of political and moral significance, with communists unbowed in the face of the execution squads, in the prisons and in exile. It was not just this. The KKE was the pioneer in ideas, positions, demands and struggles, in every

phase, even when it was an illegal party. It was a pioneer in the first days after the fall of the Junta, even before its activity was legalised. Up until today there has been no radical idea, no gain for the working class or the people, no struggle in which the KKE did not play a leading role or was absent from the front line. Together with the KKE its youth, OKNE, EPON (United Panhelleniv Organization of Youth), in which its role was the same as the role it had in EAM, KNE, as well of course the friends, comrades, allies it had in every phase. The KKE, the fighter today, the organizer of the peoples victory tomorrow. The overthrows and the overthrows which occurred, the gains did not come from above, but due to the strength of the class struggle and with sacrifices. Our party, against the current, fought against the theories about Greece being a country with no productive potential, about the alleged salvation of the country and people by the Marshall Plan, that allegedly the EEC would ensure that we would eat with golden spoons It fought in a scientific way against the theories of competitiveness, the non-class viewpoint of globalization, the European integration as a progressive inevitability which is also in the interests of the peoples. It fought the theories about the inferiority of the woman, the racist theories, nationalism and the Great Idea. The principles and the ideals of the KKE, chiefly

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the un-paralleled heroic struggles and sacrifices of the communists and workers, inspired radical scientists, intellectuals and artists, even some that were not communists, which resulted in important scientific and gigantic cultural work in many fields, which is a valuable treasure for the new generation of the working class, the young men and women. The KKE is the only party which educates the working man and woman to feel pride in their class, not to feel inferior, as the ruling ideology wants. From the first moment of its foundation the KKE felt its responsibility for the joint action of the Communist Parties. We participated in the Communist International, we defended the contribution of socialism, and concerned ourselves with the joint action with the global working class, with the peoples which were struggling for socialism, against imperialist intervention, for national liberation. Today we are and we will be with the people, in the front line because merely the implementation of the measures which were taken with the Memoranda will mean a real hell, apart from the new measures which are waiting for us if there is no decisive counterattack of rupture and overthrow. A climactic moment in its modern trajectory was the period in 1968 when opportunism threatened its existence, and of even greater significance was its unwavering stance in the face of an exceptionally difficult and unprecedented moment: When the counterrevolution swept away the gains of the October Revolution and the formation of the socialist

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Democratic Army of Greece http://inter.kke.gr/News/2006new/2006-09-civil1/

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system after the 2nd World War in Europe and globally. A refusal which will prove to be historic. One of the most important moments of the last decade, which will prove to be historic in the immediate years to follow, was our refusal in May 2012 to state that we would give support to a government of bourgeois management of the crisis, with the mask of left unity or left government. Yes, we suffered electoral and political wounds. Yes, some of our friends and supporters believed that the sharpened problems of our tortured people can be solved with the recipes a la SYRIZA or a la the Democratic Left and the Independent Greeks. Yes some of them again remembered the theory of stages led hundreds of thousands of radicals, anti-imperialist, militants of the national resistance in 1981 to lend impetus to PASOK at the expense of the KKE. Unfortunately the bourgeois political system, its multi-tentacled mechanisms, with the help of opportunism, also exploiting our subjective weaknesses has been able to erase the experience of the workers and the people, taking advantage of the impatience and the illusion that there can allegedly exist immediate solutions, without conflict, sacrifices and rupture. Imagine the KKE giving a vote of confidence or participating in a government with SYRIZA at its core. SYRIZA which on paper does not call the monopoly-capitalist character of the EU into question, and in practice merely questions the German dominance in the Eurozone. SYRIZA which attributes the anti-people goals of the EU to neoliberalism, providing an alibi in this way for their social-democratic allies, for its own forces which took a position in favour of the EU and Greeces participation in it. Today with the obvious cracks in the cohesion of the Eurozone and more generally in the EU, it is adjusting its political line of submission, claiming that there is the opportunity with its government for the life of the people to improve continually and for its gains to be consolidated within the EU. Imagine the KKE supporting or participating in a government which operates according to the EUs and Euro-armys line. In a government which trumpets national independence and dignity, when the EU has

decided on the primacy of imperialist EU law over national law. In a government which considers that there exist good monopolies, good capitalists In a EU which supports as its official ideology the equation of fascism with communism, which supports the blockade of Cuba. Can even one worker tell us whether in modern history we have seen gains which have been taken from the people given back? ND, first of all, all the parties and SYRIZA proclaim the productive reorganization which will put Greece back on a development course. Who will decide and on what terms will the investments be made? The capitalists, the monopoly groups. What will be the criterion for an investment to be made? Cheap labour power, flexible employment, temporary employment, mass long-term unemployment. Where will they invest? Where they can make the maximum possible profit and not where the human needs require it. The recovery when it comes it will be supported on the corpses, the ruins of the social rights, the relative and absolute destitution. Enough is enough. We cannot return to the past. All those who believe that we will return to the situation even of 2000, 2009 will have the same fate as Lots wife. The memoranda were formed for this purpose, the recent ones and the future ones, in order to safeguard the maximum profitability in conditions where capitalist competition will close even new businesses in favour of the strongest. It hurts them that the KKE does not define itself in relation to the other parties. Comrades, We are proud of the fact that we have the courage to recognize mistakes, without of course arbitrarily ignoring the objective conditions of the crisis at every juncture. We made mistakes. Some of them are unjustifiable. We were the first to pay a high price for them. We learned and we are alert. Without excusing them, we make it clear, they were not mistakes made due to choosing to betray the people, they were not mistakes born of cowardice and fear in the face of sacrifices. The bourgeois parties do not make mistakes, They consciously commit crimes! The 94 year history demonstrates that the KKE

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must retain its complete independence, in combination of course with its stable dedication to our fundamental principles. No alliance however necessary it may be can cast doubt on the ideological, political and organizational independence of the KKE. Because this alliance will lose its dynamism, it will deviate, it will die. The history of the international communist movement demonstrated that when opportunism is underestimated, then the communist parties could not, and nor can they today, contribute to the radicalization, the stability of the vanguard, stability which is also essential in the period of retreat, if you want to prepare the next counterattack. Maybe, dear comrades and friends, by raising the banner of criticizing SYRIZA we are leaving the people defenceless against the strategy of ND, the three-party anti-people government? The position of SYRIZA accuses us of criticizing them from the right is motivated by narrow political calculations and is self-interested. Unless they have confused what is from the right and what is from the left. In the 1980s, ND accused us that we were flirting with PASOK. At the beginning of the 1990s when we openly and honestly stated that PASOK was in a course of converging and identifying with the strategy of ND – this was the period when this was the PASOK with the slogan Out with the Right – they accused us of being NDs lackeys. Gentlemen, you know very well that it is this that hurts you, that we do not define ourselves in relation to other parties. We do not have a split personality, we do not suffer from double-vision nor are we two-faced. We are not an anti-ND, anti-PASOK, anti-SYRIZA party. The criteria for us are the two development paths, the capitalist path and the socialist one. The criterion for us is the contradiction between capital and labour, between the monopolies and the people. The criterion for us is an independent Greece, internationalist for the peoples and freed from the imperialist commitments and dependency. We say to you clearly, gentlemen of SYRIZA. You are beginning to resemble PASOK in everything, from tactics to your methods of propaganda. PASOK in 1981 was able to win over a section of the people which hoped that we will arrive at

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socialism by an easy road and without sacrifices. And we ask: Was this choice vindicated? The answer is obvious. Today SYRIZA is saying the same things to us; that the KKE must change, to become a component of it, in essence to accept the EU and NATO. And when SYRIZA adorns its positions with some questioning of the Eurozone and/or NATO , it then negates them as it allies with European parties, the ELP, which essentially demand that the EU should be transformed into a Europe of the workers and that NATO should dissolve itself. This is not going to happen even in the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. Of course the EU can undergo changes, to be transformed into a federation or split. What is this, a change in direction? A change of sides? Now indeed all the parties are talking about the danger of a fascist consolidation in society due to Golden Dawn. While ND is talking about the two extremes, this is convenient for it in order to break the labour movement. ND is attacking Golden Dawn as if it were an anti-system force, while in fact one of the systems reserves, and of course it understands this. SYRIZA is talking about the danger of a fascist consolidation in society and the need for an anti-fascist front, more or less arguing along the same lines as ND. There must always be a danger so the people give up on the rationale of rupture and overthrow. The labour movement, the peoples alliance, the class struggle aimed at power, can marginalize Golden Dawn. It is a fact that temporarily a disparate governmental formation with SYRIZA as its main force, on its own or with other political forces, and in this instance it is not unlikely that this would constitute a meeting point between nationalism and cosmopolitanism, might place ND into the position of being the official parliamentary oppositiontemporarily we should note. But is it possible, especially for the mature sections of the working class and the poor popular strata, to forget the experience of the period when ERE was defeated by the Union of the Centre1 with the support of EDA (United Democratic Left) in the elections of 1964? What was the result? Or when ND was beaten by PASOK, how many years did it take for ND to come back? Only eight

ND was defeated in 1981 but the pro-monopoly political line was not abandoned. On the contrary the rotation of the two bourgeois parties was consolidated. PASOK abandoned in a flash its positions about the EEC, NATO and the US-NATO bases. The hope of the people lies in the strategy of the KKE Dear comrades, We pose to the people the real question: today who can fight against the bourgeois parties, who can contribute to the creation of initially- cracks in the bourgeois political system? Which strategy can deprive the bourgeois system of its reserves, lead to a destabilization in favour of the people? Which other party, if not the KKE, the peoples alliance, the antimonopoly line of struggle, the regroupment of the labour movement from the bottom up in the workplaces and the sectors? Which political force can inspire militant optimism in the people, endurance in the difficulties, militant realism? Is it enough for a party to turn on the left indicator while its line is moving in an increasingly right-wing direction? Of course ND and SYRIZA are not the same parties, of course SYRIZA and PASOK are not the same parties. The dead weight of SYRIZA that will draw it to the same path is that it has no line of rupture with the monopolies, the capitalist enterprises, the EU and NATO. The conflict with Germany does not constitute a line of rupture and overthrow. The argument that ND is not negotiating but is shining Merkels shoes does not radicalize the people. The talk about casino capitalism, about corruption and bribes as a cause of the crisis is superficial, populist propaganda that leads the people to choose the one or the other formula for the management of the capitalist crisis. The demand for cheap loans by the ECB which will be seized by the capitalist business groups does not at all constitute an anti-monopoly anti-imperialist anti-capitalist direction.

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No proposal for the management of the system can relieve the people In the EU and in particular in the Eurozone there appear two basic tendencies, which are contradictory although both are pro-monopoly. The one seeks federalization or something similar along with the reinforcement of the unified organs at the expense of the organs at a national level and the other is reflecting about a split, about siding with another block of imperialist alliances. From ND to SYRIZA all the political forces call the people to align with the one or the other tendency, with one group of states against another. This is a false flag for the people. No proposal for the management of the system irrespective of whether it supports the Euro or is not afraid of the drachma can relieve our lives, or ensure social prosperity for the people and a peaceful life. From ND to SYRIZA, all the parties are concealing from the people that the dangers regarding local military conflicts in the wider region are increasing. A region that whets the appetite of all the old and new imperialist centers because it has oil, natural gas, natural resources and is located at the crossing point of three continents. The crisis is deepening and we know very well that when the imperialists cannot come to terms with each other by political means they take up arms. They divide the peoples into the one or the other imperialist camp. They arrange the new division with the blood of the peoples. Which party, if it is required to do so, can give a true meaning to the struggle against war whether it is defensive or aggressive? How can the people be prepared? With the anti-Merkel rhetoric, the superficial anti-memorandum front, flattering Obamas political line and remaining silent concerning the military agreement with Israel? With the participation in the Euro-army? The KKE is the party which, if it is required to do so, can give meaning to the struggle for freedom because this struggle is connected with the way out from the capitalist system, which as long as it prevails, brings war and imperialist peace with the gun to the peoples heads. What kind of alliance do the people need? The


alliance of the so-called anti-Merkel and antimemorandum forces or the alliance that expresses the interests of the working class, the semi-proletarians, the poor self-employed and farmers? What kind of movement do the people need, a movement of counterattack and overthrow or a movement that will support the government of the one or the other pole, a movement of the so-called lesser evil? What does the country need today? Unwavering and emancipated militants or a movement that will produce voters either for the centre-left or the centreright pole? We were and we will be present in all the struggles of the people for immediate pressing problems with the ambition of achieving even some relief for the people. But the struggle must have a direction, a perspective, even more so today. The people cannot be groping in the dark. Peoples power- the only alternative to the barbaric reality today The workers peoples power, the peoples economy is the only alternative solution to the torments and the barbarity we are experiencing today. It will come to Greece and the other countries with the will of the working class and its allies. Is there anything for the working people, the salaried worker who has no means of production, the unemployed and the youth with no security to be afraid of from the peoples economy? Nothing at all. They will only lose the chains of the class exploitation. They will organize economy and society at all levels on a new basis; this is the brand-new element today. Workers and peoples power will socialize the means of production in industry, in energy and water supply, in telecommunications, in construction and repair sector, in public transportation, in the wholesale-retail trade, in exports and imports. Likewise the concentrated tourist and food infrastructure, the capitalist agricultural enterprises. It will socialize land. The farmers who have lost their land will work in the state production unit that will process and produce consumer products. Those who have a small ownership will be integrated into the agricultural productive cooperatives, voluntarily and on the basis of incentives, and will procure from

the state raw materials for cultivation. Their production will be protected from destruction through state infrastructure and on the basis of scientific support. They will sell their production to the state on the basis of central planning and to the popular markets which will be organized by the state with prices that will be set by the state. Industry and the biggest part of agricultural production will be performed by the socialized sector with workers control at all levels of administration from the bottom up. In sectors where socialization is not mandatory the use of alien labour is prohibited. Unemployment will be eradicated, insecurity, every form of exploitation and oppression. Private ownership and economic activity in Education, Healthcarewelfare, Culture, Sports, and media will be abolished. These services will be organized as completely and exclusively free social services for all without any exception. Central Planning will be organised by sector, through a single unified state authority, with regional and industry-level branches: in energy, transportation, manufacturing, mining industry, telecommunications. Central planning includes land management and construction. Scientific research will be organised through state organizations- higher education bodies, institutes, etcand will serve the protection and development of health care, Central Planning, the administration of social production and social services, in order to develop social prosperity. There will be a minimum charge for housing, energy and water supply, heating, food. The peoples economy is not compatible with the participation of the country in imperialist unions, such as the EU and NATO. The new state-power, depending on the international and regional situation, will seek to develop mutually beneficial inter-state relations, between Greece and other countries. We will not water down our positions Today our party is more experienced than ever. Of course this should not make us complacent. We must and we can become a party for all seasons, strong and capable of meeting the challenges at every turn

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of the struggle. In its ascents and descents. We should be careful because we must not trip up over ourselves. This applies also to the Youth of the Party, KNE. We should know that the path is tough. Today there are big objective difficulties, the duties are more complex. But we should in no way excuse ourselves due to the negative correlation of forces. There are many things that we have to improve as far as it depends on us. We are close to the beginning of the pre-congress period for the 19th Congress. All the members of the party, the friends and supporters, the militants who despite their different views respect the KKE, must take part in the pre-congress discussion, the innerparty and the public one. We should be all ears regarding every observation, even an observation which is excessive or unjust. Because an unjust but well-intentioned observation can help us understand our own deficiencies and weaknesses, our shortcomings which were utilized by the propaganda of the enemy. We say one thing: we will not do our enemy any favours. We will not water down our positions, as they desire. Today we do not have the luxury of making any mistake that will set back the movement, that will deprive it of the ability to counterattack. We can and we will move forward, unwaveringly, steadily, persistently with militant and revolutionary realism. Long live the 94 years of the KKE! Long live KNE! Long live proletarian internationalism! Aleka Papariga spoke on on the 94th anniversary of the formation of the Greek Communist Party, dealt with the party’s heroic past and made a critical analysis of the relations between the KKE and other parties in Greece in the present crisis.


the euro crisis an

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oday, our European discourse is built on lies. Has Greece really been aided? [‌] If Greece had declared itself insolvent back in May 2010, the financial sector and private investors would have suffered big losses, and European taxpayers would have suffered small losses. With every tranche of credits that has been approved under the purported aid scheme for Greece, the potential losses to the financial sector and private investors have become smaller, and the potential losses to European taxpayers have become larger. As early as 2010, it was clear that Greece’s debts and the interest payments due on them were far too high for there to be any possibility of their being serviced over the long run. But every month by which the aid packages have delayed sovereign default in Greece has been advantageous for the banks, hedge funds and speculators. With every passing month, interest has been received that would otherwise not have been paid, and bonds have been redeemed that would otherwise have been worthless. When Greece finally declares its sovereign bankruptcy, there will be talk of the taxpayers’ money that has been lost and the billions of euros that have gone up in smoke. But these billions of euros have not really gone up in smoke. They have merely passed from one owner to another. What previously belonged to the state now belongs to the financial industry, and its shareholders and investors. Undoubtedly, innumerable euros in their portfolios of assets have been saved by


Sahra Wagenknecht

nd our future

the ‘euro bailout’. The ‘aid’ for Ireland and Portugal is based on the same logic. Just like the aid that will be extended in future to any countries that draw on the two large bailout funds – the ESFS and the ESM, which is due to be activated in the summer of 2012. […] But there is method in this madness. During the first major bailout in 2008/2009, the European states relieved the banks of several trillion euros-worth of losses attributable to toxic securities based on securitised private loans. Most financial institutions rapidly got back on their feet in the subsequent period and were once again making billions in profits by 2010/2011, while the debts incurred as a result of the measures that had been taken still hang round governments’ necks like millstones. In consequence, the bonds issued by several euro states themselves became toxic securities. The euro bailout scheme set up in response is one big, publicly owned bad bank, which is intended to help the financial sector pass on foreseeable losses from these state-issued toxic securities to the euro states that are still solvent. The euro bailout is simply “part II” of the great bank bailout. It is in the nature of the matter that it will drive up levels of public debt even further and turn ever more countries’ bonds into toxic securities. One day, there will be no solvent countries left to come to the rescue. These steps will not prevent the crash, merely delay it. It will be expensively purchased time. Time in which the general population will become poorer while the banks and the wealthy become richer.

[…] Anyone who claims the sovereign debt crisis was caused by the European states’ irresponsible spending habits and demands they be forced to make cutbacks at last should mention at the same time that there has been just one area where public spending has been pumped up irresponsibly in recent years: the measures to rescue an ailing financial industry, which has rushed down various blind alleys in its enthusiasm for business models that produce losses with splendid regularity and endanger companies’ very existence. Evidently, it is not the state that cannot manage its affairs, but the banks. However, no one should expect this deplorable state of affairs to be remedied by reducing pensions, slashing health provision and pushing down minimum wage levels. It would make more sense to put a stop to the bankers’ follies. […] There is an old saying that public debts are simply the taxes not paid by the rich. This saying needs to be updated in the light of the bailout for the banks: Public debts are the taxes no longer being paid by the rich and the financial bets they have lost. […] Debts that have been run up in the manner described should not be serviced, but cancelled. Not only in Greece, but throughout Europe. This is not some wild fantasy, but a practice that goes back thousands of years. The history of private and public debt is a history of debt relief. Even under the Babylonian Empire and across the ancient world, private debts were cancelled almost every time power changed hands in order to enable

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debtors to make a new beginning. When the Roman Empire ended this practice, it soon lost its vigour, and began to disintegrate economically and politically. For hundreds of years, creditors of the crown or public bodies had to write off their claims over and over again. There is even a market economy logic for the legitimacy of this procedure. Interest is the price of risk. The banks voluntarily financed the high borrowing Greece and other euro states have indulged in. No one forced them to do this. And they have earned plenty of interest on these public debts. Those who advocate the market economy can hardly complain when a risk whose price has been paid by states for decades materialises at some point! […] In truth, there is no way of avoiding one or other form of sovereign debt relief. The reason for this is simply that today there is too much debt relative to economic output. The deregulation of the global financial sector has not just made it possible to gamble on currencies, foodstuffs and raw materials in ways that threaten the well-being of the wider community. It has also enabled financial institutions themselves to create on an almost unlimited scale the lubricant this kind of trading always requires: credit money. This was the only reason why the financial system was able to finance a global growth in debt levels that was many times greater than the growth of the real economy for years on end. During this period, it was not just public borrowing that expanded particularly rapidly, but private borrowing as well, i.e. the debts owed by

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‘The European Central Bank is a public institution. It is permitted to do something forbidden to everyone else: it is permitted to print money’

consumers and companies. […] In the 2008 financial crisis, this discrepancy spiralled out of control for the first time, and the policy that has been pursued since then can be summed up in brief, simple terms: Everything is being done to prevent the depreciation of these debts. This is not going to function well over the long term. […] Our current monetary system is paradoxical and absurd. The European Central Bank is a public institution. It is permitted to do something forbidden to everyone else: it is permitted to print money. At the moment, it is printing more money than ever before. The precise quantity is determined by the banks, which are able to borrow this money in any order of magnitude, in exchange for which they pay negligibly low interest rates. On one day shortly before Christmas 2011, for instance, they borrowed the massive sum of €500bn for three years at an interest rate of just one percent. But the European Central Bank does not need to wait for the season of good will to bestow generous gifts on the banks. At the end of February 2012, more than €500bn was practically given away once again. And this will not have been the last time the ECB takes action of this kind. The banks are able to do what they like with these billions: speculate, buy shares or commodities futures, or even invest in sovereign bonds. Europe’s states, by contrast, are unable to borrow any money from their central bank. Not only is it impossible for them to borrow €500bn, even modest amounts are out of the question. The current austerity

programme in Greece is intended to save €3.3bn, which is being squeezed out of the country in the most painful fashion. When Deutsche Bank needs €3.3bn, it does not even have to trim its managers’ bonuses. It simply goes to the ECB, pledges a couple of dubious securities as collateral and gets the money for almost nothing. Greek banks are able to do this as well. But the Greek state is not allowed to do the same. And this applies for every other state in the eurozone. […] What is true, though, is that if the ECB were to pump money into Europe’s states with a similar lack of restraint to that shown in its dealings with the banks today, there would be a real danger of inflation. However, this does not mean that inflation would be the inevitable consequence if public deficits were financed by the ECB. Of course, central bank loans to states would have to be structured within closely defined parameters. The most sensible way of using them would be to fund investments that promote growth and increase prosperity. This would not only lead directly to a growth in demand, but to a growth in economic output as well. Certainly, a deficit criterion laid down by a treaty that took economic performance into consideration and limited borrowing to a set percentage of gross domestic product would be essential if the ECB were to provide direct finance. […] However, the idea that state deficit spending causes inflation if it is financed at low interest rates or interest-free by a central bank, yet no inflation if the

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same deficit is financed at higher interest rates by private banks, which also source their money from the same central bank, is rooted in a crude logic. What is actually at stake is something quite different: not inflation, but interests. There is just one reason why central banks do not lend to states: the commercial interests of private banks, which earn big profits on the difference between the interest rates they pay for loans from central banks and the interest rates they receive from state bonds. In Europe, we are seeing at the moment how they also exploit their power to decide the interest rates states have to pay, so steering policy in a direction that suits them. If states were entitled to borrow from the ECB, no one would have to worry any longer about hysterical financial markets and their volatile fluctuations, about chain reactions or credit rating agency scores. […] http://www.sahra-wagenknecht.de/en/


privatisation and

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Frances O'Grady

d continuing austerity threatens education

A

t a time when education is increasingly being privatised and subjected to the profit motive, we must speak up for high-quality, publicly-funded, publicly-accountable education, that is accessible to all. With the forces of global economic competition and the interests of multinational corporations increasingly shaping the education our young people receive, we must also resist the creeping commercialisation of what is being taught in our schools, colleges and universities. Education is not just about economic competitiveness, important though that is. Most fundamentally, it is about human enrichment, about the power of knowledge to transform lives and about the beauty of learning itself, so that every child, young person and adult has the chance to fulfil their true potential in life. But education is under real pressure. Spiralling inequality, the economic crisis and savage spending cuts are all taking their toll. In the UK, austerity and creeping privatisation are undermining the educational opportunities available to children, young people and adult learners alike. We’re also seeing the massive expansion of socalled free schools and academies, many run by business, many run for profit, and many devoid of any form of local accountability. We’re seeing the rapid marketisation of higher education, with top-up fees pricing many students from

low and middle income backgrounds off university campuses. And we’re seeing all aspects of education policy – from early years provision right through to university funding – driven not by the needs of young people, but by right-wing ideology. For example, UK banks are being invited into schools to provide financial education to children – though presumably not the same banks who crashed the British economy and left taxpayers with a £70 billion bailout bill? Whether it’s here in Britain or elsewhere in the world, we must speak up for education as a public good. It is quite simply the driving force behind all human progress. Without teachers, tutors and academics, alongside the support staff who help them, education would be nothing. Without educators, there can be no education. Polls consistently show that teachers, along with doctors and nurses, are the most trusted of our professionals, while it comes as no surprise that politicians and bankers rank amongst the least-trusted. The trade union movement must continue to speak up for the dedicated professionals who make education the unique force for change that it is. I urge parents, and in fact anyone who cares about children and their futures, to support the campaign being co-ordinated by our education unions for a topclass, not-for-profit education system in the UK. Classrooms should be a place for learning, not a source of shareholder profit, and we must resist government attempts to usher in a whole new era of

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schools run by firms simply wanting to make a quick buck for their shareholders. Of course we want well-funded schools, colleges and universities, and good education accessible to all, regardless of background, status or wealth. But we also want our educators to be well-treated, fairly rewarded and respected for the work they do.” Frances O'Grady is the first women to be elected to head the TUC. This is an edited version of her speech at a two-day conference for education unions in OECD countries held at Congress House by Educational International, which represents teachers and those working in education around the globe.


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