Thursday, 14 June 2012

REPORT: Greece solidarity meeting in Finchley

Below is the press release put out after the Greece solidarity meeting we held last week. "We" is Barnet trades council (TUC) and the Barnet Alliance, btw.

It was a fascinating meeting. I wrote some extensive notes for friends that couldn't make it, but I'll spare you my cod-Trotskyist analysis of Syriza! I hope that the video will surface on YouTube at some point. London Greek Radio were present and someone was making a film of the event.

Press release: Greece solidarity meeting, 7 June
Fifty people attended a meeting on Thursday 7 June called to show solidarity with the Greek people in their resistance to cuts and privatisation. The title of the meeting was “Solidarity with the Greek people: if they win we can all win”. It was organised by Barnet Alliance for Public Services, Barnet TUC, and the Greek Cypriot party AKEL, at the Greek Cypriot Community Centre in North Finchley.

The issue of privatisation in particular is very close to the concerns of residents of Barnet, as our council plans to outsource almost all council services to two large companies, in a privatisation programme they call “One Barnet”.

Speakers at the meeting included Professor Costas Douzinas, who laid out the position of the left coalition Syriza, which is contending for power in the general election to be held in Greece on Sunday 17 June. Also speaking were Charis Polycarpou, a member of AKEL’s Economic Research Bureau, and Paul Mackney of the Greece Solidarity Campaign.

The meeting debated the political options for opposing the austerity programme imposed on Greece by the “troika” of the EU, European Central Bank and IMF, and the best way for trade unions and anti-cuts campaigners in the UK to help their Greek brothers and sisters in their struggle.

We agreed to support the demonstration called by the Greece Solidarity Campaign on Sunday 17 June at 2-5pm outside the EU Commission, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU.

The meeting passed the following statement:

A meeting called on 7th June 2012, by the Barnet Trades Union Council, the Barnet Alliance for Public Services, AKEL[UK], (the Cypriot Progressive Party of Working People) and members of the Greek Cypriot community agreed the following statement:

As representatives of trades unions, as citizens and as members of the community we are concerned about the future of services which belong to the people, about our jobs, our homes, our lives and the lives of future generations.

In our localities and across Europe and the world, the need to secure the most basic elements of civilisation involves us in a struggle against a conspiracy of international finance and business, local and national governments, supra-national institutions like the IMF, the WTO and the EU.

Nowhere is this struggle more intense than in Greece right now. But it is not a Greek problem. It is a problem facing all of us in our everyday lives and it is a crisis in and caused by the global financial and market system, which the world's rulers are trying to make us pay for.

The Greek People have struggled on an unimaginable scale. Their struggle will continue. We pledge our moral and material support to them. If they can find a way of defeating the international bankers and fighting off cuts, extra charges and privatisation then so can we in our localities and so can the people of Europe and the world. A victory in Greece could make victory possible everywhere.

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