The credit rating agencies which assess each country’s health have now driven their assessment of
Some Pasok MPs are refusing to vote for a new round of cuts, while the right-wing parties are opposing them for their own reasons. Another 24-hour general strike today brought the country to a halt while thousands of activists and unionists converged on
"Thieves, traitors!" many chanted. "Where did the money go?" "I feel rage and disgust," said 45-year old public sector worker Maria Georgila, a mother of two. "These are very tough measures and they won't get us out of the crisis. I can't believe they have no alternative."
Daily mass protests have drawn hundreds of thousands of people on to the streets in every town throughout the country. They have rejected pleas from prime minister George Papandreou that it is his patriotic duty to make the cuts. Demands raised include a call for
New cuts would increase the size of unemployment, which is already at a record 16% and deepen a recession now into its third year. The Greek economy shrank by a further 5.5% in the year to March 2011, household consumption contracted 7.8%, while investment was down 19%.
The Greek protests are directed at the government, but behind it stands something much more threatening. Yesterday the finance ministers of the eurozone under pressure from the ECB failed to agree on a proposal to force private investors to share the cost of a further bailout by extending the period of their loans to the bankrupt country.
The ECB fears the wrath of “the markets”, the private investors who lend on the expectation of a fat return for their money. Also concerned are major European banks who stand to suffer if
Across the Middle East, North Africa and
During half a century, the inexorable logic of capitalist growth demanded international agreements which enabled the emergence of increasingly powerful global manufacturing, trading, property-owning and financial corporations. Their “rights” are established in contracts backed by international treaties more powerful than the laws of any country.
Ending their power over people’s lives is the key to finding a solution. To respond to Maria Georgila, “they” actually do not have an alternative. “We”, however, can proceed to build people’s assemblies and establish a new global economy and politics based on social ownership, democratic control and not-for profit sustainable production for need.