This video by Mark Fiore from the USA is called Assaulting Austerity.
By Peter Schwarz in Germany:
The euro bailouts and the crisis of democracy in Europe
7 August 2012
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said Monday that Europe would fall apart “if governments are completely bound by the decisions of their parliaments.” Every government has “a duty to educate the parliament,” he added in an interview with the news magazine Der Spiegel.
Monti’s statement amounts to an admission that the numerous bank bailouts organized to rescue the euro in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash, and the austerity programs launched to make the working class pay for them, have strained European bourgeois democracy to the breaking point. The responsibility of the government to parliament, and parliament’s control over the government—which Monti is questioning—is a basic principle of parliamentary democracy.
Monti attacks parliament, but his real target is the working class. For the vast majority of the population, it has already become impossible to influence politics through the ballot box. Major political decisions are made by the financial markets and their henchmen in Brussels, Berlin and the other European capitals.
In the recent elections in Greece and France, parties that appeared to promise an end to, or at least a moderation of, brutal social cuts received broad popular support. In France, the Socialist Party won the presidential election for the first time since 1988. In Greece, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) emerged as the second largest party.
Under these circumstances, Monti’s comment underscores the basic class agenda of the European bourgeoisie: to press ahead with the policies of the banks, whatever the outcome of elections or the size of street protests and strikes against austerity measures.
Monti knows well that the social counterrevolution demanded by the international financial markets is incompatible with democratic methods. He leads a government of technocrats that has no democratic legitimacy. Monti—an economics professor, advisor to Goldman Sachs and member of several conservative think tanks (Bruegel, Bilderberg Conference, Trilateral Commission)—is a trusted representative of international finance capital. At its behest, he succeeded the Berlusconi government last November without the holding of an election because Berlusconi had failed to cut the budget quickly and deeply enough.
Since then, the Monti government has systematically attacked the social gains and rights won by Italian workers since the fall of the fascist dictatorship of Mussolini at the end of World War II. It has reduced pensions, increased consumption taxes and eliminated legal protections against dismissal and other social rights.
Last week, former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer (Green Party) published a column in the Süddeutsche Zeitung arguing for authoritarian forms of rule by the EU: here.
The Greek government has announced £9 billion in new cuts—but it can’t hide the chaos it is causing, writes Nikos Loudos: here.
UK chancellor demands pro-business reform of European Union: here.
Italy: The country’s recession has deepened with its economy shrinking for the fourth quarter in a row.
The economy contracted by 0.7 per cent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months, according to official figures released yesterday.
The economy shrank by 2.5 per cent compared with the same period of 2011.
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Italian beach workers strike
Thousands of beach workers at clubs across the country’s normally popular coast staged a short strike last week in an ongoing dispute over the right of access to the seafronts.
The action—organised during peak season—was in response to a government plan that would see the right to operate patches of seafront decided by auction from 2016. Although it is officially state property, access to much of the Italian coast has long been controlled by the beach clubs, which blanket the sand with umbrellas and sun loungers and charge beachgoers to use them.
Reuters said, “But the beach workers’ union says the government’s proposal for auctions will favour multinational companies over smaller local businesses, putting 30,000 beach business and 600,000 workers at risk.”
1) EU may explode: Assisi debates
2) Antarsya (Greek radical left outside Syriza) in Assisi
3) Updated programme Assisi (including Bahrain)
4) Democratic revolution against Assad AND Gulf-backed forces
1) EU may explode (soon)
Can popular protests be developed to size power from the capitalist elites?
The European Union is experiencing its deepest and most acute crisis ever ? both in
economic as well as in political terms. We are faced with massive capital flight from
Southern Europe to its centre, which is not much longer sustainable. At the same time the
imposed austerity is driving a downward spiral into recession leading to mass
impoverishment. Popular protests are in the making while the politico-institutional
framework is at the brink of collapse. The Euro and the entire EU is being threatened,
destabilising the power of the capitalist elites.
including details programme on respective Assisi debates and guests
Call for Assisi’s Anti-imperialist Camp
Tahrir – popular uprisings at our doors
2) Out of the Euro or a long Greek winter
“Anti-capitalist Left Co-operation for the Overthrow” (Antarsya) in Assisi
Beside the Communist Organiation of Greece (KOE), which is part of Syriza, also the
coalition of the radical left outside Syriza (Antarsya) will be in Assisi.
Their respective statement for Assisi:
3) Programme Anti-imperialist Camp (updated)
High-ranking delegation from Bahrain to join
Bahrain: the omitted struggle for democracy
Dr. Jasem Hossein, economist and MP of the Wifaq opposition party
Dr. Farideh Gholoum, Wifaq MP and human rights activist
Dr. Seyed Hadi Al Mousavi, leading figure of Wifaq party and MP
Prof. Intissar Masri, secretary of the Arab-Italian center Assadakah
4) Democratic revolution against Assad AND Gulf-backed forces
Taking Aleppo from outside goes to the detriment of the popular movement
The military escalation in July, opened by the assassination of four high ranking regime
officials, is an acid test both for the regime as well as for the various and diverging
opposition forces. Will the current battle help to decompose the ranks of the regime,
increase the stream of defections and eventually lead to a military coup to eliminate the
Assad-Makhlouf-Clique? Or will the increasingly militarist strategy embodied by the
attempt to take over Aleppo by means of an outside assault prompt the closing of the
regime?s ranks and alienate parts of the population?
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Italian public sector workers march against austerity
Around 30,000 mainly public sector workers marched through Rome last Friday September 28 to protest against cuts in public spending imposed by the government of Prime Minister Mario Monti. The march coincided with a second day of industrial unrest at the ILVA steel plant in south of the country. Staff at the Colosseum and the Roman Forum walked out, closing two of the city’s major tourist attractions.
University professors, public administration staff, refuse collectors and health workers also stopped work in support of the march. Wages have been frozen for more than two years in the public sector, and cuts have been made to state healthcare funding. The government passed spending cuts in August that included a further downsizing of the public sector.
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Fifty severely disabled people have gone on hunger strike in Italy to demand that the government of Mario Monti restore funding axed by his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi and provide round-the-clock care.
The hunger strikers are suffering from progressive neurodegenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.
The campaign group co-ordinating the protest has presented a plan to the government called Stay at Home which would assist severely disabled people in their homes with all the support, including tools and equipment, necessary.
It is asking for government funds of €20,000 per year (£16,100) for each family where a seriously ill person resides.
The protest follows sit-ins in between April and July which led the government to allocate €658m (£532m) in the latest budget for disabled people in need of support.
But the deployment of these resources is being frustrated by the lack of a comprehensive long-term care plan to ensure that all people with disabilities have access to appropriate help from cradle to grave, say campaigners.
They argue that fundamental constitutional rights are at stake. Article 32 of the Italian constitution says: “The ?republic? safeguards? health? as ?a? fundamental? right? of ?the ?individual ?and? as ?a? collective ?interest.”
The country spends less than any other European country bar Spain on social protection for the disabled.
Communist leader Paolo Ferrero expressed solidarity with the hunger strikers and criticised the unelected government headed by the former Goldman Sachs adviser, saying: “The Monti government, after the cuts already made by Berlusconi, continues to rage against the weakest, striking heavy blows to the welfare state and even going so far as to threaten a tax on the disabled that was withdrawn at the last minute.
“Local authorities are axing services because of cuts in [central government] transfers worth tens of billions of euros.”
The cuts come at a time when billions of euros of public money, raised through sharp increases in taxes as well as swingeing cuts to public services, have been allocated to save local and foreign banks despite continuing evidence that they are holding back lending to the real economy.
Disabled rights activists and their radical political allies like the Communist Refoundation party Ferrero heads will be joining yet another mass protest, dubbed No Monti Day on Saturday October 27 to demand a shift in billions of euros of public resources from the bankers and the super-rich to help the growing millions of ordinary Italians facing misery and distress.
For more of Tom Gill’s writing visit http://www.revolting-europe.com
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