Tag Archives | Austerity
Via Critical Legal Thinking, excerpts from a translated interview with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza (the Coalition of the Radical Left), Greece’s new second largest political party:
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I believe the European model has to be rebuilt from below. We can’t be satisfied with what today is called Europe. The current crisis is not a European crisis but a global one. Europe today does not have the mechanisms to confront it or control the worldwide financial attack against its peoples. Hence why Europe became a continent where the attack of the global financial system was ferocious.
The [euro currency] has become a prison for the peoples of Europe, especially the weakest economies on the periphery going through the crisis. The contradiction is in the base on which the euro was built. The euro is a powder keg that is going to explode if we continue in this direction.
Greece became an ultraliberal experiment, a guinea pig.
After austerity follows fascism. Neni Panourgia writes on Al Jazeera English:
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By now, nearly everybody has been exposed to the phenomenon of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi in Greek), the neo-Nazi organisation that received almost 7 per cent of the vote in the Greek elections of May 6.After the initial shock, the question “How is this possible?” was followed by the legitimate worry: “Are Greeks becoming fascists?” Some commentators on various blogs (many of them from northern and western Europe) even left messages urging the Greek electorate to feel shame, the deeper the better, for this unsightly and frightening development.
But let’s set a few things straight. First of all, Golden Dawn, despite its recent claims, is indeed a neo-Nazi party. Their ideology, which they describe on their website as “Popular and Social Nationalism”, gives their precise coordinates within Nazi ideology.
So do the origins of their party, which was founded by Nikolaos Michaloliakos in 1985 under a direct order from the imprisoned leader of the Greek junta, George Papadopoulos.
Karen Seidman and Kevin Dougherty write on the Montreal Gazette:
Attempts to have any kind of normalcy on the campus of the Universite de Montreal in the wake of an ongoing student strike completely unravelled on Wednesday after the administration was forced to retreat on its efforts to provide classes in striking departments for students who don’t support the boycott.
Tensions were high not just at U de M, but on many Quebec campuses, where there were clashes as students resisted hardline tactics to try to force them back to class during the tenth week of their protest over tuition increases of $1,625 over five years.
Injunctions taken by university administrations backfired as students found increasingly violent and disruptive ways to ensure campus activities could not resume, such as broken windows, vandalized art work and fire alarms going off during exams at U de M.
And, as many different groups involved in the dispute called on each other to condemn the growing use of violence and vandalism, it became clear that efforts at mediation could provoke militancy…
Read More: Montreal Gazette
Relax, folks, nothing to see here. After all, I’m sure that all that austerity-funded bond money is going towards a good cause—like gold-plating the vomitorium drains in Lloyd Blankfein’s villa on the Riviera, for instance. From the BBC’s Mark Lowen:
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Protesters have clashed with riot police in the Greek capital, Athens, hours after a pensioner shot himself dead outside parliament.
The 77-year-old man killed himself in the city’s busy Syntagma Square on Wednesday morning.
Greek media reported he had left a suicide note accusing the government of cutting his pension to nothing. Flowers have been laid at the spot where he died and tributes have been paid online.
“I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance.”—Extract from reputed suicide letter
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the square outside parliament on Wednesday evening, the scene of many large protests in recent months.
Former member of European Parliament Steve McGiffen reveals what he sees as the true purpose of the uniting of Europe under the euro currency, via Spectrezine:
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Where I differ from much progressive criticism of the euro is that I actually see [the current crisis] not as proof of massive incompetence, but, in fact, as [purposeful]. The euro’s purpose was not to facilitate the creation of a Europe of transfrontier love, peace, harmony, boosted trade and economic efficiency, but to attack the economic, social and political gains of working people, accumulated over two centuries in the most bitter struggles. What is happening in country after country, starkest of all in Greece, Ireland and Portugal, but also in Britain, is nothing less than the opening salvoes of a new, more intense and more dangerous phase of class war.
If governments and national banks give up the economic leverage they gain from an ability to determine their own levels of spending and borrowing, if they can no longer decide interest or exchange rates, they will have only one means left to maintain or enhance competitiveness: our wages, our pensions, our welfare rights, our children’s education, will all have to cost less – this is of course what has since been called ‘internal devaluation’.
Are the riots that have engulfed North London and elsewhere linked to the recent slashing of funds for education, social services, and youth centers? The London Review of Books blog says, duh, yes:
Anyone who says the riots don’t have anything to do with the cuts should have a read of ‘Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe 1919-2009’, a discussion paper issued under the auspices of the Centre for Economic Policy Research’s international macroeconomics programme and currently doing the rounds on Twitter, which looks at the relationship between budget cuts and civil unrest across Europe since the end of the First World War:
The results show a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability. We test if the relationship simply reflects economic downturns, and conclude that this is not the key factor.
So much for ‘criminality pure and simple’.
Bah! Who needs democratic rights like freedom of association or collective bargaining? Americans weren’t really usin’ ‘em anyways. From the Huffington Post:
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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Friday that he was willing to mobilize the state’s National Guard force in order to address the potential repercussions of his stated proposal to eliminate collective bargaining rights for state employees.
The Associated Press reports:
Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond wherever is necessary in the wake of his announcement that he wants to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state employees.Walker said Friday that he hasn’t called the Guard into action, but he has briefed them and other state agencies in preparation of any problems that could result in a disruption of state services, like staffing at prisons.
On Thursday, Walker told the Associated Press that he will propose removing nearly all public employee collective bargaining rights to help plug a $3.6 billion budget hole.