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The revolt in the univercities continues in Greece

The National Congress of POSDEP- the All Greek Federation of University teaching personnel- has today( Sunday, 4 March) concluded its work by giving new blows to the right wing New Democracy government and its policy to privatize the higher education: with 149 votes against, 6 for and 9 blank, the draft law on Universities presented by the government to the Parliament for ratification this week was rejected; the continuation of indefinite strike action was decided by a large majority; the left wing leadership that led so far the struggle was re-elected winning even two more seats in the Executive Board. The tentative of the government to split the professors by mobilizing against them a group of PASOK neo-liberals and a few renegades of the Left to overthrow the militant Left from the leadership of the Federation, has miserably failed.

The victory of the militant Left (in which EEK and its supporters actively participate) strengthens the on-going struggle of the student movement that has occupied most of the University faculties of the country from January 10th onwards.

To summarize the fight so far: Last year, when the government has tried to introduce the same law in parliament, a wave of student occupations for two months, May-June 2006, had obliged the government to retreat and postpone the vote on the bill for autumn 2006.

A second wave of struggle in autumn, with the strike of teachers in October-November 2006 for pay rise and a new mobilization of the students had blocked again the new attempt by the government to introduce the law (with the support of the official "opposition" party, the "socialist" PASOK).

Then, always with the support of PASOK, the right wing government tried in January-February 2007 to make through parliament a Reform of the Constitution allowing the (so far illegal) privatization of the universities. The common struggle of the University professors under the militant left leadership of POSDEP with the student sit ins under the leadership of EAAK (a front of far left students, including the Trotskyists) has as a result to deepen the crisis within PASOK obliging its neo-liberal leadership of George Papandreou( Chairman of the Second International!!) to break from its open alliance with the New Democracy and to withdraw from the process of constitutional reform; thus the 180 majority in parliament required for the reform of the Constitution has been lost and the constitutional legalization of the privatization of the universities was blocked. Desperate the right wing government counter-attacked by re-introducing in haste the bill for higher education. But in this way, it compounds the crisis creating a major constitutional problem: as the POSDEP Congress resolution rightly stresses even if the draft will be voted in parliament by the right wing majority, the law would be anti-constitutional. Furthermore, the decision of the fighting academic community is to call for civil disobedience and to refuse to apply the anti-constitutional law...

The last two months, every week mass demonstrations of tens of thousands of students, professors and workers take place in Athens, Thessalonica and other major cities. Police repression and State barbarism is used by the government to terrorize the mass movement; last Thursday, March 1, a police guard in front of the Ministry of the Aegean Sea in Syntagma Square, in the centre of the capital, has opened fire with his gun against the young demonstrators; fortunately there was no victim (so far) but the government, adding insult to injury, has arrested three students and publicly defended the murderous action of its gunman.

Despite the pressures of the movement and the calls for a General Strike, the pro-PASOK trade union bureaucracy of the Greek Confederation of Labour-GSEE still refuses to call for strike action. Other sectors of the trade unions like the Federation of Public Employees-ADEDY, the Trade Union Centre of Thessalonica and of Athens, some individual trade unions etc. have called for strikes and stoppages during the days of the weekly demonstrations.

In the popular neighborhoods Committees of Action are built to organize solidarity actions against the privatization of education.

In Dafni, where EEK has elected last year a seat of councilor, the local Committee of Action organizes on March 12 a public meeting with speakers Professor Lazaros Apekis, chairman of POSDEP and comrade Giorgos Mitrovghenis, councilor of the Dafni Municipality and EEK CC member.

The next mass demonstration will take place next Thursday, March 8-the Women Day and anniversary of the February 1917 Revolution- when in parliament the reactionary right wing majority will ratify their anti-education law. In any case their "law" will be nullified by the mass popular struggle. Venceremos!

March 4, 2007   Savas Michael-Matsas
Athens,

 



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