+++ 25. September 2012 +++
A Hot Autumn Has Begun in Southern Europe
The mass strike process against the brutal austerity policies of the “troika” (European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund) has now erupted, with demonstrations in Portugal, Spain, and Greece not only approaching unprecedented levels, but being joined by military and security forces.
Over the weekend of Sept. 15 in Portugal, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in 30 cities across the country, including 100,000 in Lisbon alone, in what is seen as the largest demonstration since the 1974 overthrow of the dictatorship. Organized via Internet on the theme "Screw the Troika; We Want Our Lives Back", marchers running from young to old called for the government to resign, and carried placards reading "Stop this government before it halts the country,"and that famous favorite directed to the Prime Minister: "This Is Our Country; You Emigrate!", etc. Demonstrators in Lisbon marched past the IMF office shouting, "Out of here! IMF is hunger and misery." One man set fire to himself in protest. These demonstrations are only the opening salvo of an autumn campaign. During the week, Portugal's major trade union federations announced they would be drafting plans for mass action and general strikes to be held in October.
Also on Sept. 15, hundreds of thousands in Spain converged on the country's capital, in a "March on Madrid" protest against the government's brutal austerity policies, which are expected to cut more than 100,000 jobs in the education sector alone. Spanish unemployment is now at 25.1%, with youth unemployment at an astronomical officially-recorded 53%.
The previous week saw 1.5 million people demonstrate in the Spanish province of Catalonia, demanding independence in a desperate effort to escape from the austerity of the central government, which now threatens the unity and national integrity of Spain.
In Greece, strike actions and social protests have continued throughout the month of September. Doctors, pharmacies, Athens commuter train, street car and metro workers held strikes. Significantly, thousands of policemen, coast guards and fire fighters held a very loud demonstration in front of the Finance Ministry, which was followed by a similar demonstration and march by Army, Navy and Air Force officers. The two major trade union federations representing private and public sector workers announced a general strike for Sept. 26 and a mass rally in Constitutional Square, in front of the parliament. Social movements will join in as well.
Reflecting the growing realization that EU policies now present an existential threat to the nation, military officers in both Portugal and Spain are speaking out. The Association of Armed Forces Officers (AOFA) of Portugal issued a strident statement on Sept. 7 of "unconditional support for the citizens" and for their right to protest against "the terrible sacrifices which are being imposed upon them" by a political class which insists on continuing failed policies. The statement, signed by its president Colonel Manuel Martins Pereira Cracel and posted on its website, has also been posted on military and security related blogs in other countries, including Greece.
The AOFA statement was in fact a joint effort with the Unified Association of Spanish Military Officers (AUME), which issued a similar statement declaring that military men should stand in solidarity with civilian social movements, and discussions should be held with other such military associations in the Mediterranean countries.
Reflecting the fear that the military could be deployed against the population, the AOFA statement affirmed that “it will never accept the use of repression against the citizens it has sworn to defend."
~ deutsch + english ~
+++ 24. Mai 2013 +++
Pope Francis Calls for Financial Reform
Two months after his election, Pope Francis has spoken out forcefully against the dictatorship of the financial markets, which is reducing humanity to misery. Speaking in front of the ambassadors of K...
+++ 24. Mai 2013 +++
Bundestag Passes Phoney "Bank Separation" Law
On May 17, the German Bundestag passed a bank restructuring bill touted by the government as the "first bank separation law passed in Europe." In fact, the law is a far cry from what the government cl...