Can Europe Spark a Global Revolution Against Shock Capitalism?
Editor’s Note: Liam Fox wrote the original article below on November 29, 2010 under the title : “Can the EU Spark a Global Insurrection against Shock Capitalism”. Almost two years later, it seems that the situation has become ripe. On November 14, 2012 a general movement shook Europe. In Spain, Anarchists and syndicalists combined took on the riot police. With things heating up quickly in the Middle East with an attack by Israel on Gaza, it seems that the complete capitalism edifice is about to burst at the seams. Will the events unfolding rapidly in Spain spread like wildfire to Greece, Italy, Portugal, France and the UK, and how will the police-state apparatus react?
Across Europe people are taking to the streets to protest the ravaging of their economies by the global financial elite. The very banks and financial institution that have caused the economic crisis enveloping the world are now squeezing the working class for repayment of the debts they incurred. Neither their scheme, nor their remedy, has been subtle. They’ve been arrogantly transparent with their machinations. The financial sector greedily, and perhaps purposely, overextended itself, demanded bail-outs from its allies in the IMF, World Bank, WTO, et al., and then insisted that the money be recouped from citizens and taxpayers.
It doesn’t simply end with higher taxes and lower civil services. In addition to the direct theft of those dollars is a proposed privatization of education and health care, and the chance to purchase public lands and resources with the grotesque profits they made from crashing the economy and demanding bail-outs.
The first glimmer of the insurrection started in Greece in May 2010 as citizens took to the street to oppose their government’s capitulation to global finance’s extortion. Tensions that had been building since the riots of 2008 erupted as the workers of the country were told that their wages and pensions would be cut to repay the debt created by the bail-out to their financial elite. Three lives were lost on that particular day, but millions more have been ruined by the power-hungry greed of the one percent who grew wealthier off the misery of the other 99 percent.
In October, five months after the initial uprising, the people of Greece remained determined to oppose their exploitation. A general strike was organized, and the relentless street protests continue despite ongoing police oppression. The resolve of the workers has not waned, and their strength is building as they are joined in solidarity by organizations and individuals across the European Union.
As the same financial scam was perpetrated against the French people, likewise was the reaction of a society committed to political involvement and the principles of liberty. Once again, as part of a global symphony of financial malfeasance and exploitation, the financial elite grew richer as they crashed an economy, demanded a bail-out, and then insisted that it be repaid by the working class through their taxes, decreased pensions, raised retirement age, and reductions to the services people had funded with their tax dollars.
Street demonstrations like none that had been seen in forty years coursed through the streets of Paris. Protesters continue to clash boldly with state police charged with protecting the accomplices to the greatest global theft ever perpetrated. Rather than confront the banks and titans of finance, Sarkozy has pledged to “crush the enemy.” The freedom loving, and deeply independent, people of France refuse to be bullied into compliance by their country’s political arm of the global banking cartel.
Once again, the same financial players have taken a country to the brink of collapse and then coerced their partners that hold political office in that country to accept austerity measures in order to pay back the debts created by that same financial elite. Once again, the banks and financial elite have run up debts, demanded that they be paid by others, and they are growing richer while the citizens of the country suffer. And, once again, the people have taken to the streets in anger and frustration.
On Saturday, November 27, a labor-organized demonstration faced off against riot police on the streets of Rome. The Italian workers are not going to tolerate a government that is willing to sell them out any more than Greece, France, Spain, Ireland and perhaps even Britain.
On September 29, 2010, all across Spain, more than ten million workers participated in a general strike. Of these, approximately 1.5 million took to the streets in demonstrations. In Madrid, between 100,000 and 500,000 people mobilized in the city’s center.
While Zapatero did not enter into a bail-out agreement with the IMF, he decided to institute austerity measures to pay the financial cartels’ debts nonetheless. He failed to evade the extortion of the financial elite but he avoided the loan-shark tactics of the IMF by breaking the thumbs of the Spanish people himself. The real impact on the people of the country remains the same.
Only a few years ago Ireland was an economic tiger riding the ‘bubble’ that economies all over the world had been tricked into supporting. Young people were becoming real estate magnates before they had time to go out and buy themselves a good suit or a nice haircut. After centuries of oppression and occupation it finally seemed it was their time. They were short-lived, heady days.
Unfortunately, the global financial system saw them as youngsters full of piss and vinegar, with stars in their eyes clouding their vision, and they were able to rape the Emerald Isle before the head settled on their celebratory pint. Unlike Spain, the Irish Dais fell right into the hands of the IMF. Incompetent politicians and gross mismanagement of state finances left little alternative in their eyes other than to sell out the Irish people and their island. The Irish people have other ideas though.
As the Guardian reports;
One of the largest demonstrations in the Irish Republic’s history brought more than 100,000 people on to Dublin’s streets in protest over the international bailout and four years of austerity ahead.
As European officials thrashed out the finer details of an €85bn ($111.5bn USD ) rescue package, huge crowds braved freezing temperatures to demonstrate against the cuts, aimed at driving down Ireland’s colossal national debt.
Until recently, in traditional British fashion, protests against austerity measures have been rather quiet. However, November of this year saw a rise in tensions and several student led protests that have resulted in the occupation of University buildings and violent clashes with the police. A genuine movement has begun and, like many others that have started with a student movement, is now gaining widespread public support and participation.
Not only have cuts to social programs decimated the services available to Britain’s working poor but massive tuition hikes have made education inaccessible for few outside the wealthiest class. The children of the elite who have profited from crashing global economies have little to worry about and their future of continuing the job that their parents have started remains secure under these current conditions.
All across the European Union people are rising up against their governments and the politicians whose pockets are being lined and power secured by aiding and abetting the global financial elite. Unwilling to have their lives reduced to indentured servitude to one percent of the population that plays while 99 percent pays, these people are finding the intestinal fortitude to stand against these powers and claim their rights. The citizens of the European union understand that an economy is meant to serve the people, not the other way around. In the words of the British Labor Party’s 1944 Manifesto; the financial sector is meant to be in its “role as servant, and the intelligent servant, of the community and productive industry; not their stupid master.”
The United States of America
Nowhere on the planet has the theft of public wealth been less blatant. Less than two years after demanding a bail-out of tax dollars, the financial sector is flaunting record profits and obscene bonuses. While millions of Americans have lost their jobs — unofficial unemployment numbers exceed 20% as official numbers only include those receiving benefits — and millions more have lost their homes, Wall Street executives are planning parties, hiring entertainers for private events, and purchasing luxury items that the rest of the country can only glimpse as these executives drive by the bus stops in their chauffeured cars.
Industries that readily use the American people’s tax dollars, for the research and development of products that they sell back to the people for a profit, are refusing to pay any returns to the public in the form of responsible taxes, cut from their already too-low rate by the Bush administration. Rather than stopping a system that exploits Americans at both ends of the process, President Obama has announced that he’s going to recoup some of that money by freezing the wages of the federal workers that serve the public interest in their jobs. Aside from the fact that this is a drop in the bucket, it’s adding insult to injury. It’s nothing more than a show of fiscal responsibility because being truly responsible would require taking on the powers that fund the government he was elected to run.
The American education system is in shambles, the prisons are overflowing with non-violent criminals, and billions of dollars are being spent overseas fighting wars of corporate interest. American people are suffering in the street and the financial elite are laughing, literally, all the way to the bank. Except in this case, they are the bank.
What are the American people doing? Greece, Italy, France, Ireland, Spain, England…. all of them have people in the streets. All of them are protesting. All of them are calling for strikes and trying to force the overthrow of not just their government but the entire financial system that would enslave them.
Yet, in America, the only voice of dissent is one that has been organized, funded and controlled by the corporations that are ravaging our society, to protect against any reforms that may limit their power to do so in the future. While the rest of the world is standing up against the exploitation, America has the TEA Party fighting for the rights of corporations to keep the profits from the products that the American people funded by keeping their ridiculously low tax rates in place. Corporations should be taxed at no less than 75% to reimburse the American people fairly for the investment of their tax dollars into the development of their products. After being raped by the financial sector the TEA Party wants to cook them breakfast in bed and shine their shoes.
Over fifty million Americans are without health insurance, yet the TEA Party are dragging around their government-subsidized oxygen tanks, in their government subsidized Huvarounds, screaming that the government needs to keep its hands off their Medicare.
There are the beginnings of rumblings from the much more sensible, and somewhat less manipulable, ‘Left’, but if people don’t get their asses in gear, it is going to be too little, too late. Not only did Obama announce that he was going to freeze the wages of federal employees, but also he made the much more ominous announcement during his press conference — an announcement that received much less attention — that he is authorizing the sale of public lands and their natural resources. When the only ones that have any money left are the financial sector and the corporations that have profited from this crash through the bail-out money they extorted; who do you think is going to profit from the sale of these lands? Who do you think is going to be able to decimate even more of our protected lands through resource exploitation? Is the plan really to save America by selling America? This is disaster capitalism at it’s finest. Knock them down and then buy them up.
It’s time for the American people, the real American people, not the corporate flunkies and their misinformed Conservative-Christian-Nationalistic-Xenophobic sycophants, to stand up and take some action. Action on behalf of the people. Action against the banks. Action against Wall Street. It’s time to join with all the people of the planet who have been exploited and abused by the one percent. No longer should 99 percent pay while one percent play at our expense. It’s time to take some action.
On December 7, 2010, join the Peaceful Revolution Against the Banks Cartel. Take your money out of the bank. Take all your money out of the bank. Whether it’s $10.00 or $10,000.00; take it out. Close your account. Show the banks that we no longer give them permission to use us as their cash cows. Without us they have no power. Without us they are broke. We can choose not to assist them any longer in our demise. We can take the power back.
This is a good start. After that, Americans have to realize that their fight is not just with Washington. Washington has been paid to stand between the people and those that would continue to pillage everything you have. It’s time to take to the streets, but not just Pennsylvania avenue. It’s time to pound the pavement on Wall Street until the windows shake in their panes, and fill it with so many bodies that the fat-cats can’t get to their computer terminals in order to mortgage your future. It’s time to identify the real enemy and take direct action.
Can the EU spark a global insurrection against the predatory capitalists that are intent on driving citizens into poverty for their personal gains? Hopefully, but America will have to conquer its first and perhaps greatest enemy, its apathy and malaise. The bell has been rung. The fight has started. The courageous citizens of the European Union have answered the call. Will America?