Working Class Europeans Hit the Streets

From Truth Out:

by: Kanya D’Almeida, Inter Press Service
Sunday 25 September 2011

Washington – Headlines this week have been saturated with protests against unaffordable food, unfair taxes and unsustainable austerity measures, with one distinct difference setting these stories apart from countless others in recent history.

The people demanding reform are no longer marginalised Asians, Africans and Latin Americans, but poor, working class Europeans.

As citizens of Western Europe – particularly in Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, or PIGS – flood the streets of their once-stable countries demanding an end to cuts in public education, health care, youth programmes and housing subsidies, the big question at the annual fall convergence of the Bretton Woods Institutions is, “Who will solve the impending crisis in Europe?” Rana Foroohar wrote in Time Magazine last month, “While the crisis appears to be Europe’s problem, if it results in a break-up of the euro zone or a growth-dampening series of costly bailouts, it will reverberate from Beijing to Boston and back.”

“Europe is the largest trading partner of… China. If they stop buying our stuff, everyone suffers. Meanwhile, a dissolution of the union would make nations from Asia to Latin America that hold the Euro as a reserve currency much weaker,” she added.

Small wonder then the world’s leading emerging markets– Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, or BRICS – took centre-stage at the World Bank/International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington this week, discussing everything from possible investment in troubled euro zone sovereign bonds to domestic job creation.

The BRICS possess a combined 4.3 trillion dollars in hard cash reserves, with China holding three-quarters of the kitty, much of it in Euros.

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2 Responses to “Working Class Europeans Hit the Streets”

  1. Andrea B. Says:

    Actually Portugal is starting to make headway to get out of the PIGS group, as is Ireland. Ireland will be back at the markets at the start of 2013, not 2015 as the economists have claimed. Ireland has made a point of exceeding every target set for it by at least 10% and some by over 50% and intends to maintain that pace until they can get rid of the IMF parasites. That is why there are no real protests in Ireland since the pensioners went to Dublin a few year ago and busted up a cathedral. Most people in Ireland understands the importantance of getting rid of the influence of the parasitic vermin from Wall Street -IMF on the streets in Ireland and don’t like it one bit. Anger in Ireland is not something that is a good idea to foster, as 30 years of mayhem by several hundred people in Northern Ireland showed.

    Interestingly farming is starting to lead the way in Ireland. Ireland is now producing enough food for 36 million people out of a population of 4.5 million and increasing rapidly. Ireland is expected to meet its target of producing enough food for 50 million by the end of 2013, instead of 2016. Exports of food are growing rapidly as are exports of plant based extracts, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and various other areas. Only banking and finance are in rapid decline, which have a rate of decline that exceeds the growth in every other area of industry in Ireland.

    Portugal has been following Irelands lead for a while now, although has a lot of catching up to do. Spain is now starting to do the same. The recent passing of laws not allowing Spain and Portugal to spend more than 3% more than comes into the exchequer in tax receipts, is a major painful step that both Spain and Portugal have taken and that will do more for both those countries in the long run than anything else. It is the first true step taken by any western countries to get them to live within there means and it has really pissed the Neo-Liberals of.

    In Italy everyone is still avoiding paying tax, following the lead from there beloved leader Berlesconi. Military spending and foreign military aid has also increased. Italians still seem to think not paying tax to pay for services is a good thing and find it acceptable to allow the mafia-catholic church to run entire sections of Italian society.

    Greece on the other hand has decided to give its massive military a further boost, with heavy support from the Greek public. Arms dealers are doing good business in Greece at the moment Greek unions have ordered there members to refuse to collect any of the emergency taxes that were brought in. Ordinary Greeks are not paying there VAT and wage taxes.

    The Greeks and Italians have made no real effort to sort out any of there problem and are actually getting more corrupt.

    Ireland has wound up its biggest bank who were described by Wall Street-IMF to be to big on a global scale, to fail. The first part of that winding up process will be finished in the middle of 2012 with the completition of the winding up of hundreds of billions of Euro’s of debts run up by AIB bank in mostly corrupt deals. Tens of billions of Euro’s worth of property worldwide has been seized from corrupt property developers. Not bad for a country of only 4.5 million, whose citizens took on that debt.

    Spain and Portugal have started to seize properties belonging to property developers and enforce debt collection agains them.

    Quite a different situation in Italy and Greece from Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

    Spain, Ireland and Portugal I fully support Germany and Netherlands assisting in debt relief. Greece and Italy I think should be given an ultimatium to either get there act together or be ejected from the European Union, Euro and have all international agreements with all EU countires declared null and void. That would finally wake all Greek and Italian citizens up.

    The country no one is talking about, but should be, is the United Kingdom. The UK is living so far beyond its means, it comes across like a B celebrity funding a fully addicted to drugs lifestyle on credit cards, of which there is no hope of even servicing the debt.

  2. Andrea B. Says:

    I forgot to mention.

    The properties and business’s of the catholic church, greek orthodox church, scientologists, jehovahs witness’s and other lunatics are all excluded from taxation in Europe and Northern America during this period of austerity, making them richer than ever. That literally is 100’s of billions of Euro’s of revenue that is not being collected.

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