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.
Continue reading at: http://www.truth-out.org/working-class-europeans-hit-streets/1316968703