Its interesting that early into the article on this strike, the NYTIMES quickly reiterates the slimy attack on public workers that is often used here in the U.S. against public sector workers. The charge? They accuse the public sector workers of being “privileged”.
In Greece, commentators said the economic problems had exposed a general ignorance about the harsh realities of the global economy, while laying bare the strong sense of entitlement in a country where one out of three Greeks is employed in a civil service that guarantees jobs for life.
What does that mean though? With the price of living in Greece having skyrocketed so badly with the inflation and introduction of the Euro, these wages are not liveable wages. And why shouldn’t people have guaranteed jobs for life?
“People in other countries like Germany, France and the United States learned about the workings of the economy the hard way, by seeing their jobs on the line,” said Babis Papadimitriou, an economic analyst at the Skai radio and television group. “This hasn’t been the case in Greece.”
Yeah so this guy, Papadimitriou, says that Greek workers have not “learned” the workings of the economy. But this quote tells me otherwise:
But the Greek government’s proposals for deep spending cuts to rein in the deficit have met significant resistance.
“We won’t pay for their crisis!” loudspeakers blared from Klafthmonos Square, otherwise known as “the square of the crying people,” where disenchanted Greek workers have come for centuries to express their discontent. “Not one euro to be sacrificed to the bankers!”
This tells me that the Greek workers actually HAVE learned how the economy works, and that’s why they are shutting ‘ish down! What lesson haven’t they learned? That the economic crisis forces the government to cut vital services while bailing out banks to the tune of trillions of dollars? The lesson that when workers cede concessions, they only get asked to take more concessions?
So far workers in the U.S. have largely not resisted the budget cuts and bailouts to banks. But I think that March 4th (hopefully) and the weeks after, might be the beginning of a movement that will show Papadimitriou (and the rest of the world) otherwise.