LET THE GLOBAL REVOLUTION BEGIN
hearing Antonis Davanellos of SYRIZA speak frankly about the situation re: Greece. Shit just got real, and the geopolitical currents are hair-raisingly palpable.
LET THE GLOBAL REVOLUTION BEGIN
(intense ground-level footage from Spain #25S)
As Bob Dylan legendarily put it, you don’t need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows. With dark clouds forming over Athens, Madrid, Lisbon and Rome, make sure to prepare for months of market and street turmoil. A storm is brewing in the South. The European Fall has begun. This time it’s serious.
::currently:: (lol) link (here)
Spanish democracy may indeed be in peril, but the danger is not in the streets. According to the Financial Times, the EU has been in secret talks with the economy minister Luis de Guindos to implement further austerity measures in advance of Spain requesting a full bailout. On Thursday the government will announce structural reforms and additional spending reductions, on top of the already huge cutbacks in health and education.
Pre-empting the bailout conditions means the government is able to retain the illusion of sovereignty.
In reality, Spain is on the brink of insolvency and under huge pressure to accept a rescue package. In return, the eurozone’s fourth largest economy will have to surrender sovereign and financial control to the IMF, the European commission, and the European Central Bank.
Maintaining the illusion of sovereignty is important, because Rajoy does not want to go down in history as the author of Spain’s humiliation. There is an infamous picture of Indonesia’s President Suharto signing away economic control in 1998, as the head of the IMF looms over him, arms folded, smiling. Rajoy is desperate to avoid such a scene, all too aware that the governments of Greece, Portugal and Ireland fell after being forced to ask for bailouts that imposed further austerity on their populations.
The PP also wants to avoid asking for a rescue package before crucial elections in Galicia and the Basque country on 21 October. But if Rajoy further delays in asking for a rescue, he could suffer the same fate as Berlusconi, removed from power last year and replaced by a an ex-Goldman Sachs technocrat after a run-in with the European Central Bank.
The main problem for Rajoy is that what Goldman Sachs calls “indulging domestic political interests” the rest of us call “democracy”.
The government is right to fear the Spanish public’s reaction to this new round of suffering mandated by the financial markets. Already many protest signs say: “We can’t take any more.” With a 26% unemployment rate, 22% of Spanish households now live below the poverty line and a further 30% cannot “reach the end of the month” as they say here.
Hundreds of thousands of trade unionists took to the streets of Madrid again last week. Loss of sovereignty is fuelling desire for Catalan independence with huge protests. Spanish citizen movements, like those in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and France have demanded a debt audit, to see who really owes what to whom. Opposition politician Cayo Lara is asking for any bailout conditions to be debated in parliament, while a group called Judges for Democracy are looking at whether the virtual deconstruction of the social state could be unconstitutional. And the Spanish indignados are rattling the gates of Congress today against the betrayal of political parties and the undermining of popular democracy by the troika and the markets.
They are up against some of the most powerful forces on the planet. But they may take comfort from their counterparts in Portugal. Recently the Portuguese government announced it would raise social security contributions from 11% to 18% in a country which cannot absorb more salary cuts. In response an unprecedented 600,000 people swarmed the gates of parliament and 40 city centres across the country, shouting “thieves!” and “cowards!” and demanding the government’s resignation. In response the Portuguese government has done a U-turn.
(cross-posted) Greece: Syriza shines a light
Greece’s Coalition of the Radical Left, known by its initials SYRIZA, inspired Greek workers to go to the polls in unprecedented numbers during two elections last May and June. SYRIZA’s pro-worker platform rejecting the austerity of the PASOK government and European financial institutions nearly put the coalition in power on both occasions.
Now, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ coalition government, dominated by the conservative New Democracy party, is implementing the austerity measures demanded in the two “Memorandums”—agreements made by previous governments in return for a European rescue of the Greek financial system.
Today, SYRIZA continues its organizing in workplaces and neighborhoods, building resistance on the ground to public-sector layoffs and cuts to government spending. The radical left also face the growing threat of the fascist Golden Dawn, which is targeting immigrants after scoring a breakthrough in the elections…
SPAIN (!) JULY 19 2012
IMPRESIONANTE!!! vista aerea del congreso #19j
This is important: DemocracyNow.org - A major force pushing for ex-IMF and Bankia chief Rodrigo Rato’s prosecution has been the May 15 Movement, or M15, known around the world as the “indignados.”
See also: Sarkozy Raided
Sarkozy, 57, who has taken a low profile since his defeat, could come under the spotlight in a number of legal cases now that he is no longer head of state. He could also become a focus of the separate investigation into whether or not there was a shady “cabinet noir” at the highest reaches of the French government which used the secret services to spy on journalists at Le Monde to uncover their sources for stories about the Bettencourt affair. A security chief and Sarkozy ally has been placed under investigation in the alleged political spying scandal. Sarkozy has denied any links to the case. (h/t mbalmed)
hearing Antonis Davanellos of SYRIZA speak frankly about the situation re: Greece. Shit just got real, and the geopolitical currents are hair-raisingly palpable.
Spain’s indignados rumble on with new movement tactics
June 26, 2012
Marta Sánchez at ROARmag.org writes that a “silent revolution” based on three tactical innovations is emerging from the underground in Spain. Here are a few of her most profound insights:
The decentralization of the movement
When May 2011 came to an end, the recently born 15-M movement had to find out how to survive beyond the camp at Puerta del Sol. Thus arose the idea of decentralizing the movement towards the neighborhoods: the “toma los barrios,” or “take the neighborhoods,” initiative supported and encouraged the creation of assemblies in every neighborhood of Madrid. In this way, the movement went local: since the creation of the neighborhood assemblies on May 28, 2011, around 120 assemblies have been set up.
The emergence of new social initiatives
One of the most successful actions of the 15-M movement that the neighborhoods have helped to coordinate is the ‘stop forced evictions’ campaign (‘stop desahucios’). Around 200 evictions have been stopped since last year… Meanwhile, the assembly of the La Concepción neighborhood, in the northeast of Madrid, has one of the biggest and better organized “bancos de tiempo,” which is coordinated through the internet. The neighbors can create an online profile where they share information about the services they can provide, and they can get in touch with people who offer services they are interested in. They conclude the transaction between one another, and a mediation commission is planned in case any problem come up… all without money.
A new social climate
As the popular assembly of Algete expressed on its Twitter account, “we were sleeping, we woke up, and now we have chronic insomnia.” Philosopher Amador Fernández-Savater goes beyond that and claims that the 15-M movement has opened a “new state of mind”.
A silent interconnection of minds takes place on a weekly basis all over the city, in the squares and on the internet. Yet the media keeps insisting that the movement is losing strength. We are witnessing the appearance of a parallel, alternative, underground economy. Yet those in power remain blind to it. As political scientist Carlos Taibo expresses it, “we constantly see how the media declares that the 15-M movement is dead. And I have realized that it is better not to reply back: the less they know about the reality of the movement, the more surprised they will be by what emerges from the invisible.”
NEWS FLASH: MERKEL VICTORIOUS IN GREEK ELECTION
REMAIN ALERT: TRANSNATIONAL FASCISM PROMISES RETURN OF EUROPEAN FEUDALISM
(roundup plus analysis)
On Sunday, “the demographic division over economic policy between different age groups ‘was quite dramatic’, with younger voters far more likely to vote for Syriza, whilst older Greeks were more conservative. ‘The youth went for Syriza, and when you look at Greece’s youth unemployment, that’s understandable,’ [New Democracy] beat Syriza, which wanted to cancel Greece’s international bailouts. Syriza chief Alexis Tsipras has conceded the election.”
Greek youth subjected to the brunt of austerity are not the only ones opposed to Merkel’s policy dictates:
“On the streets of Athens, Madrid and Rome angry demonstrators blame one country – Germany – above all others for laying down the law and imposing harsh austerity and economic recession.
They accuse Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel of putting tough budget rules before growth. She says there shall be no further financial guarantees until spending controls are incorporated in the constitutions of all 17 members of the European monetary union. That is the purpose of the fiscal compact that was agreed by 25 of the 27 European Union members in January. Ms Merkel calls it the first step to a fiscal union, without which there can be no debt mutualisation such as eurozone bonds. The trouble is that Germany has to pass the legislation, too. Yet four months after persuading 25 partners to sign the treaty, the German chancellor is still locked in political wrangling at home over how and when it should be approved by the German Bundestag and Bundesrat, the lower and upper houses of the national parliament. Ms Merkel has linked the vote on the fiscal pact to approval for the parallel treaty setting up the €500bn European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the permanent eurozone rescue fund that is supposed to be set up by the beginning of July. It now looks as if parliamentary ratification of both measures could be delayed until the evening of June 29 – the last possible moment for the eurozone rescue fund to be operative when the markets open on July 2. The tentative deal is that Ms Merkel will fly home from the EU summit in Brussels on June 29 to prove to the parliament that she is backing a clear EU growth strategy, and has fought for a financial transaction tax to be adopted throughout the eurozone to help finance the recovery. Weeks of negotiations between the leaders of the main political parties have meant that the chancellor has been forced to delay ratification of the very treaties she insisted everyone else should sign. At the very least, it is a national embarrassment….she may face a damaging revolt by her own supporters. Only by linking approval of the rescue fund to the strict rules of the fiscal pact can she persuade them that German taxpayers are protected. Yet behind the short-term political manoeuvring lies a deeper problem:
the fiscal pact amounts to a profound intrusion into national sovereignty for all the signatories, including Germany. So it is not just the opposition parties that are giving Ms Merkel trouble: it is all 16 federal states – the Länder – that fear the loss of their budgetary authority. They are demanding sweeping reassurances that it will not be a back door to a centralisation of authority. Further talks are due on June 21. Budget sovereignty is a vital element in the German constitution, says the constitutional court. Further steps to fiscal union mean that fundamental debates will be essential in every eurozone parliament, including Germany’s. The Bundestag may prove to be one of the most difficult.” (source)
In addition to assaulting the sovereignty of European nations, Merkel’s campaign for economic fascism clearly sabotages the stability, health and growth of the continent:
The bad news is putting additional pressure on Angela Merkel, the chancellor, to come up with a new crisis management strategy and reassert her leadership in Europe after François Hollande, France’s new president, stole the show over the past month with his calls for greater growth stimulus. Mr Hollande has broken the Franco-German alliance in which Mrs Merkel had been the senior partner, and his demands have been welcomed by other European leaders who have concluded that the German chancellor’s medicine - austerity at all costs - is not working. Politically isolated in Europe, confronted with a dangerous new eruption in the crisis in Greece and Spain and facing the prospect of a slowing domestic economy ahead of a general election next year, Mrs Merkel has to act fast. She is responding too tentatively, as usual. In a bid to salvage her plan to enforce budget discipline in Europe, she has had her staff draft proposals to complement her fiscal pact with measures to enhance investment and growth by boosting the capital of the European Investment Bank and reforming the payout of European Union development funds. Last week, she signalled she was ready to sign away national sovereignty and forge a true fiscal and political union in Europe, steps considered essential for the long-term survival of the currency. But those solutions will require years of arduous negotiation and ratification and they will come too late to rescue the euro. Mrs Merkel’s crisis management has been consistently poor right from the start. By initially refusing to bail out Greece in early 2010, she encouraged speculators to drive that country and other high-debt nations closer to the brink. Her insistence in late 2010 that private creditors must shoulder part of the burden of bailouts prompted investors to dump Irish bonds and worsened Ireland’s position. Weeks later, the country had to seek a bailout. And her demand that nations slash their budget deficits regardless of the economic impact has locked nations such as Greece, Spain and Portugal into long-term recession, with no prospect that they will be able to repay their debts at affordable interest rates. The growth stimulus she is now talking about, after heavy prompting from Mr Hollande, should have been a central part of the bailout packages right from the start.
→It would have spared millions of Europeans the pain that she would never have dared to impose on her own people. The labour market and welfare reforms that turned Germany into a European paragon and allowed it to lecture its neighbours were not Merkel’s achievement. They were pushed through by her predecessor…
…it is easy to preach fiscal discipline when your tax coffers are brimming thanks to three years of strong economic growth driven by a Chinese appetite for German cars.
But Mrs Merkel, bent on winning a third term in next year’s vote, is nothing if not astute…She won’t let herself go down in history as the woman who destroyed Europe. Germany’s sudden economic vulnerability could give her the justification she needs to change her mind and sign up to what Mr Hollande and much of the rest of Europe are clamouring for - jointly-issued euro bonds and direct loans to countries from the European Central Bank. Such moves would break German taboos and boost German borrowing costs, but they would douse the flames of the crisis and send an urgently needed, powerful signal to Europeans and the rest of the world: that the nations of this continent have not forgotten the lessons of their history and are committed irrevocably to their common currency and to closer integration.(source)
The far-left Syriza party may have come second but there is growing evidence tonight that “first is second.” Speaking before thousands of cheering supporters waving red and white flags (some emblazoned with the hammer and sickle) outside Athens’ ornate university building Tsipras told the crowd: “Some may think that they won the elections tonight but they did not. The people won. The policies of austerity have been defeated. They will not be able to push forward with them either in Greece or Europe.” Tsipras, who turns 38 next month, was joined on the stage by the World War II hero Manolis Glezos who in a first act of resistance against Nazi rule tore down the swastika from the Acropolis. The 92-year-old hailed the left’s capture of 27.1 % of the vote as “the beginning of the end.” “Who would have thought, or calculated, that we would go from 4.6 percent to this?” he enthused punching the air with his fist. “We must raise the flag, the flag of victory.” (SOURCE)
French Elections Go to Hollande’s Socialists
June 17, 2012
French President Francois Hollande’s Socialists won an absolute parliamentary majority on Sunday, strengthening his hand as he presses Germany to support debt-laden euro zone states hit by austerity cuts and ailing banks.
The Socialist bloc secured between 296 and 320 seats in the parliamentary election runoff, according to reliable projections from a partial vote count, comfortably more than the 289 needed for a majority in the 577-seat National Assembly.
The result means Hollande won’t need to rely on the environmentalist Greens, projected to win 20 seats, or the Communist-dominated Left Front, likely to have just 10 deputies, to pass laws. The centre-left already controls the upper house of parliament, the Senate.
Follow thepeoplesrecord.com for more news on June 17, 2012 for election results in important elections today in Greece, France and Egypt.
Movement in Italy following the lead of protesters in Greece
June 16, 2012
Italy’s prime minister has “warned” that he is fending off economic disaster and insists that he must assault the working poor and unemployed as a result but tens of thousands of unionists, activists and regular citizen protesters have followed the situation in Greece closely and refuse to accept austerity attacks. They have taken to the streets in thousands to oppose the brutal austerity measures.
“We stepped away from the precipice before, but the hole is growing bigger and it may swallow us up. We are again in a crisis,” Monti said in Milan on Saturday, trying to threaten his own citizens if they don’t allow him to steal all of their social benefits.
Monti took over from former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in November 2011. He inherited a recession and has done everything in his power since to protect Italy’s rich and to create a living hell for the working poor of Italy. Monti has passed tough austerity packages that protect his rich friends and create suffering for the masses.
THE COLLAPSE OF CAPITALISM: THE RETURN OF BRUTAL FEUDALISM…
Every day, the crisis throughout Europe escalates, and every measure taken to deal with it proves ineffective. Already, the focus of the speculators has moved on from Greece. The impact of Spain’s rescue was short-lived. Its borrowing rate has now soared above the unsustainable 7 percent benchmark. Italy is now widely spoken of as the next candidate for action by the troika.
The trail of devastation resulting from the predatory demands of the banks and speculators is nowhere more apparent than in Greece. After five years of austerity, its gross domestic product is estimated to have collapsed by 27 percent—unprecedented in peacetime.
A quarter of workers and half of all young people are officially unemployed. Millions more are on short-time contracts, earning as little as €300 a month. Wages have been cut by up to 50 percent, while social services are in a state of collapse. Starvation, homelessness and suicides are the subject of innumerable heart-rending news stories…
Everything now depends on the independent intervention of the working class into political life. Workers and youth in Greece are facing the full impact of a global failure of capitalism. Whatever the specific features of Greece’s crisis and that of the European Union and the euro, what is fundamental is that the continued existence of the profit system is incompatible with the essential needs of the broad mass of humanity. This is as true in the United States, Russia, Japan, India and China as it is in Europe. Greece is the victim of a social counterrevolution that is being implemented by the ruling elite and which they intend to roll out across Europe. Cuts totaling hundreds upon hundreds of billions of euros have already been made across the continent. In Greece, the ruling class is testing out just how far it can go. Along this course, a decisive conflict between the ruling elite and the working class is inevitable. There is open discussion of social unrest in Greece escalating to the point where the military is called in. Plans for a Greek exit from the euro include closing the country’s borders, and military manoeuvres have already been staged in preparation for civil unrest. Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung summed up the mood in ruling circles when it posed the need for Europe to dispatch troops to Greece should it become a “failing state”. If “Athens should no longer be able to pay its officials or pay only in drachmas,” the situation would become “chaotic,” with Greece “rocked by rebellions”, it wrote last month. Noting the recent extension of the deployment of EU troops at the Greek/Turkish border, it concluded, “Hopefully, an international protection force, such as is stationed in the teetering countries to the north, will not become an option.” The Greek working class cannot base its political actions on either the false hopes promoted by SYRIZA or the fears whipped up by New Democracy and PASOK. They must look reality squarely in the face. The same holds true for all of Europe’s workers, who must be as resolute in defending their Greek brothers and sisters as the ruling elite is in its determination to impoverish them. Solidarity with Greece’s workers must be the focus of a political movement of the entire European working class against the predatory governments in Berlin, Paris, London, etc. The bosses’ European Union must be overthrown and replaced by workers’ governments organised within a United Socialist States of Europe. To this end, independent organs of struggle must be forged in every workplace and neighbourhood. What is required above all is a genuinely socialist leadership…
(no endorsement here of opinions expressed)
the meltdown here has been too fast for politics to keep up with, the tides of change too strong and unpredictable to contain. Besides, Greece’s future depends in no small part on outside forces, which have their own agendas and conflicting interests. Whatever government emerges out of Sunday’s vote, I suspect it won’t last long. And when this latest lightning rod for despair and hope has failed, I am afraid of what might happen, of where the barely pent-up rage and violence might lead…
This morning the far-left Syriza leader, Alexis Tsipras, reiterated that if his party comes out on top, as some polls have predicted, “the memorandum [bailout accord] will be repudiated by the people’s vote, not us”. There is a growing school of thought in Athens that perhaps a win by Syriza would indeed be the way forward. Confronted by the terrifying state of Greece’s public finances, analysts argue, the firebrand Tsipras would be forced to move to the centre, his populism and fiery anti-bailout rhetoric disarmed by the force of power. There is a certain logic to this but it is enormously high risk. Patience with Greece, the country that triggered the debt crisis in the first place, is clearly running out in Europe. Hollande has highlighted this as never before.
Understand what’s going on right now, Greece foremost in my mind here; understand the driving force that has shaped the global situation.
Naomi Klein, Disaster Capitalism