The Greek government announced last month the official end of the “support” program of the European Stability Mechanism (EMS). The 10-year-long memorandum has successfully turned Greece into a debt colony, dismantling the state welfare system to the benefit of the EU/IMF bosses and the local dependent bourgeoisie and condemning the Greek working class to misery and poverty.
The SYRIZA-ANEL government and Tsipras now herald further subordination to capital whilst preaching about class collaboration and “social peace”. These hypocrites have the audacity to promise the end of suffering when in reality they plan yet another round of aggression against working peoples’ lives. The “end of the memorandum” in fact signals the firm establishment and expansion of the most unpopular “reforms” for decades to come. The agreement signed by Tsipras with the EU has slashed irrevocably people’s salaries and pensions, has caused unemployment to skyrocket so as to allow the complete sell-off and privatisation of state assets by global capital, pushing people into acceptance of slave wages and creating tragic situations like the recent fires at Mati.
One of the cruellest measures introduced by the EU and IMF has been the auctions of properties foreclosed by bank lenders. As part of a reform agreed with its bailout creditors, the Greek puppet government agreed to hold weekly electronic auctions of repossessed property, replacing sales in courts. The process is deemed crucial by Greece’s creditors to further push poor people who cannot pay their mortgages or taxes into despair and humiliation and they see this as necessary in order to “spur the economy by releasing funds for fresh lending”. Electronic auctions are affecting more than 1 million Greek families at the moment; a sign of the scale of the country’s economic destruction but Tsipras is optimistic about meeting this year’s target of 8,000 to 10,000 successful e-auctions. Private homes and commercial properties are attracting interest by foreign capital vultures who hope to see the number of indebted homeowners demise rise to 500 per week. People who protest at this disgrace are met by tear gas and riot police. This blatant assault on working people is hailed as “development” and the EU creditors are rejoicing at the emergence of various funds -which are not limited to buy loans from banks but also gain the ability to acquire ownership of private homes – and the emergence of electronic platforms through which one can rent those homes (Airbnb). Airbnb has been praised by liberal fools as an alternative housing solution and as “solidarity economy” where supposedly one can supplement their income (as unemployed) in a relatively easy way. Soon, Greece will become a place where entire apartment buildings and whole cities will be bought in bulk via auction apps, neatly, electronically and quietly. This is the legacy of the memorandum; the attacks to workers’ rights have been technologically modernised!
Those electronic auctions and foreclosures offer a very important advantage to the government raping its own people, in that there is no longer a specific place and time they occur. When auctions occurred in specially convened courts, it was possible for the social protest movement to gather people and to demonstrate its opposition and to stand in solidarity with people whose homes came under the hammer. Many times in the past, protesters stopped the auction process and stopped the sale but now this possibility will no longer exist.
The left in Greece faces this new political challenge to act together over this issue and organise a strong resistance and struggle. This struggle cannot be conducted only by representatives in solidarity but must be waged by the very people who are affected. The task is to come into contact with those who have the problem and convince them to fight collectively about it, along with thousands of others who have exactly the same plight.
This task is not easy in a country where the movement finds itself in retreat, but it should be a priority for all progressive forces to cooperate in denouncing the barbaric reforms on foreclosures and auctions of Greek homes. We as a party stand with the Greek people against their fraudulent government and their imperialist bosses.