Posts Tagged ‘austerity’

Politiciens vs Nuit Debout

May 16, 2016

Night after night, the good people of France have taken to the streets to protest against austerity.

Nominally a protest against the French government. In reality a protest against the undemocratic EU.

A couple of nights ago, the state struck back with violence, many peaceful protesters beaten and badly injured. Others teargassed.

When the state has to use force to subjugate its own people, the state has lost.

This is a foretaste of things to come, EU stormtroopers.

This is the beginning of the end of the EU. EU Spring, people are finally rising up against the corrupt undemocratic EU.


December 18, 2015

I felt as if the earth had imploded under my feet. I felt incredible sadness and a sense of having betrayed the 62 percent of Greeks who had shown astonishing courage—and I don’t think we had the historical right to do that. — Yanis Varoufakis

#ThisIsACoup, a four-part series telling the story of the European Union’s confrontation with the Greek Syriza party in 2015. With unprecedented access to key Greek politicians.

Directed by Theopi Skarlatos, edited by Andreas Loukakos, produced by Paul Mason

Released by Field of Vision, the filmmaker driven film journalism unit co-created by Laura Poitras, AJ Schnack, and Charlotte Cook.

Funded through crowdfunding.

In 2010, Greece was broke. More money was lent, classic pretend and extend, the money came with strings attached, Draconian conditions set, which destroyed Greece.  Austerity was used as a front for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, cuts to welfare, to pensions. As a result the Greek economy collapsed, unemployment rose, making it even less likely the loans could ever be repaid. And the money that was loaned to Greece, did not find its way into Greek pockets (except maybe that of oligarchs and corrupt politicians), it went straight back out to bailout German banks.

Syriza were elected with a democratic mandate to challenge the EU, to reject austerity that was destroying Greece.

ECB turned off finance to Greek banks. This caused a run on the banks, and the banks were forced to close. It was part of the pressure put on Greece, a delibearte attampt to bring Greece to its knees.

Fiscal waterboarding.

A referendum is called. The people vote OXI, over 60% vote No to the EU proposals.

Syriza had what they wanted, Greeks had said no to the EU. Syriza then betrayed the people, signed a surrender document with the EU.

EU was not interested is solving the Greek debt crisis. They had only one intention to crush Greece. to serve as an exam[le tp any other cuntrty that thought to challened the EU.

In January, when Syriza were elected, there was hope. Now, with what the people see as betrayal by Syriza, hope has turned to despair.

If any lessons learnt, it is that the ordinary people have to take control and drive change themselves.  The only way forward, is for Greeks to run their own affairs.

Paul Mason is Economics Editor of Channel 4 News and author of PostCapitalism.

From hope to despair

November 12, 2015
Greece austerity protests

Greece austerity protests

In January, the people of Greece had hope, they had elected a new government, which would bring an end to austerity, would fight the EU.

Hope has now turned to despair, they were betrayed by Syriza.

Then finance minister Yanis Varoufakis did his best to negotiate on behalf of Greece. But the EU was not interested, and ultimately he was betrayed by Syriza.

EU was interested in one thing, and one thing only, punishing Greece for daring to challenge, daring to question the prevailing orthodoxy.

Greece was subjected to fiscal water boarding.

When tortured, you have to fight back, cause more pain.

Yanis Varoufakis had three weapons at his disposal, one of which was to default on part of the Greek debt. Had he been allowed to do so, it would have caused the euro to collapse, but he was prevented from doing so.

When Syriza called a referendum, they do so on the basis the Greeks would vote yes, support EU proposals, thus letting Syriza off the hook. Greeks showed tremendous courage, despite the intimidation and bullying, despite the miss-information in the media, they voted no.

Syriza betrayed the Greek people and signed a surrender document.

In Greece we now have a Vichy Regime, the government puppets of the EU. The country is occupied. EU are in and running every ministry.

In Syntagma, stray dogs and homeless sleeping on the streets.

Wages have flatlined or declined, taxes have gone up, pensions have been cut. People have less money in their pockets, less money to live on.  People are only surviving by drawing upon their savings, if they have savings to draw upon.  A situation that is not sustainable.

The conditions of austerity imposed by the EU on Greece, are now worse than when Syriza came to power.

Hope has turned to despair. The people have no confidence in politicians.

The only hope now is for the people to fight back.  The politicians had their chance, are now redundant.

There has to be a policy of complete non-cooperation with the occupiers.

There has to be action at grass roots. Change has to be across Europe at grass roots, with people cooperating across countries. It cannot be through politicians, or political parties.

The fightback started today with strikes and mass action on the streets.

David Cameron attacks council cuts

November 12, 2015
austerity blind cuts to services

austerity blind cuts to services

You could not make it up if you tried. David Cameron has attacked Oxford County Council for the depths of its cuts to public services.

In Lincolnshire, the Philistine leader of the council, thirty out of forty-five libraries to be closed, the remaining fifteen on reduced hours.

It is not a case of libraries v social services, or substitute whatever you wish to cut and not cut. It is a case of global corporations not paying their taxes, a useless Chancellor George Osborne who lacks any understanding of economics, and the Tories gleefully waging class warfare, and a Prime Minster who does not seem to get it what cuts to services actually means.

Yanis Varoufakis in conversation with Aaron Bastani

October 26, 2015

Professor of Economics and former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis in conversation with co-founder Novar Media  Aaron Bastani.

Greece dared to challenge the European Union aka the Fourth Reich, and for that reason, Greece had to be crushed.

A warning to other countries, challenge the EU, and you to will be crushed.

Harriet Harman has completely lost the plot

July 12, 2015

Harriet Harman has completely lost the plot

Harriet Harman has said Labour will support the Tory attacks on the poor announced in last week’s budget. Poorest families are hardest hit, with a loss of £1000 per poor family.

These cuts are not only immoral they are economicially illiterate. Poor people spend money in the local economy. £1000 per poor family, that adds up to a huge loss of money flowing into a deprived area.

No surprise in the announcement from Harriet Harman as interim Labour Leader. Labour before the election voted for austerity.

Austerity is a completely failed policy, it is an excuse for shock doctrine, cuts in public services, welfare cuts, mass library closures, but Labour voted for austerity.

Harriet Harman just does not get it why Labour lost the election, lost it big time. They were wiped out in Scotland by the SNP, lost in England to UKIP and the Tories.

Tweedledum v Tweedledee. No one can tell the difference. If you are going to vote for Tory policies, you may as well vote Tory, or if you want something different UKIP, or not vote at all.

People have woken up to the fact that if they vote, under the present corrupt system, if you trouble to cast a vote, you are simply legitimising a corrupt system, deciding who gets the chance to sit at the top table and act for big business. Nothing has really changed, simply a different faction of the Establishment.

Of the four Labour Party wannabe leaders only Jeremy Corbyn has shown any decency or integrity. On the day of the budget, he addressed the anti-austerity protest outside, he addressed the Greek Solidarity protest. Where were the other wannabe candidates? Nowhere to be seen.

Where has been the voice of support for Greeks from Labour, a condemnation of the Fourth Rech (aka EU)? A deafening silence. Why, because the Greeks are an embarrassment to Labour, they highlight how useless Labour and why Labour is unelectable for the foreseeable future.

Across the country, crowds of enthusiastic supporters turn out for Jeremy Corbyn.

Harriet Harman warned against voting for Jeremy Corbyn, without mentioning by name.

There is a faction of the Labour Party, probably Blair cronies longing for the good old days, calling for a vote for anyone, so long as not Jeremy Corbyn.

If you want to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, simply register as a Labour Party Supporter at a one off fee of £3 and you can vote.

If Labour MPs had any decency left, they would ignore Harriet Harman and vote against the Tory budget cuts, leaving her isolated as leader of a party of one. Will it happen? I doubt it. Which is why Labour is unelectable for the foreseeable future.

OXI the morning after the night before

July 6, 2015


The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage. — Yanis Varoufakis

I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride. — Yanis Varoufakis

Last night, Greeks gave a resounding NO to EU-imposed austerity, joy on the streets, partying in Athens. This morning, the morning after the night before, stark reality. Germany has said no to the Greek no, has refused to negotiate, a view echoed across Europe. ECB has so far refused to turn the cash flow on, denying the Greek banks money to solve the liquidity crisis. Economic terrorism continues.  And just when it could get no worse, modern-day folk hero Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned.

The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.

Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25th June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.

Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.

I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.

And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.

We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office. I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new Minister of Finance, and our government.

The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.

An honourable and capable man.

Should it not be those euro zone ministers, who called a private meeting without Greece, our European participants and assorted partners step down instead, as their absence from the meetings would no doubt be extremely helpful in reaching an agreement?

BBC, mouthpiece of the Establishment, carried on the anti-Greece propaganda today on Wato, of almost half an hour devoted to Greece, is was almost entirely filled with anti-Greece, anti-austerity voices, no proper analysis, no mention of the eminently sensible proposals put forward by Yanis Varoufakis in the early hours of this morning. All we heard was the Greeks the bad guys, refusing to negotiate, brinkmanship, and when are they leaving the euro.

The one exception, a breath of fresh air, who said all sides have to compromise, ECB has to to turn back on the cash flow, that unlike Irish and Cypriot banks (he could also have added British banks), the problem for the banks is not one of solvency, but liquidity, they are literally running out of cash. He hit the nail on the head when he said, a strong NO vote in Greece, anti-austerity across Europe, fear of change.

Then in a summing up a voice of reason and balance from Robert Preston, who said IMF has already accepted, at least 30% of the debt must has to be written off, the creditors must negotiate, the alternative default and they lose everything.

On PM the news headlines included the gem divisive Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has been removed from office. No evidence to support this statement. Then later on a slight variant controversial Yanis Varoufakis had resigned or been removed, introduced a little under fifteen minute discussion with three so-called experts, waffle and all three  were clueless as to the situation in Greece. Far better that the slot could have been used for a discussion on what has been proposed as a way forward by Yanis Varoufakis.

Throughout the day, BBC peddling the line Greece to be expelled from the euro and trawling to find anyone who would agree with that line.

The exception to the dreadful BBC coverage, was The World Tonight, but then it had Tim Franks reporting from Greece not the useless journo Mark Mardell, and the studio discussion was balanced and far better informed.

The role of a Central Bank in a crisis is lender of last resort. That is the role of the European Central Bank within the euro zone. It is failing in that role towards Greece.

Today ECB tightened the screws by demanding more collateral from the Greek banks, which will push at least one, maybe more into insolvency.

If Greece was an independent country, in control of its own currency, its Central Bank would come to the aid of its banks. Were Greece to leave the euro zone, it could create its own currency. The problem it would face is that it would not hold any reserves as these were all handed over to the ECB.

Greece could even now, create its own currency, a parallel currency to the euro. Only this is not allowed under the euro zone rules. But then the same rules do not allow a country to leave.

What maybe Greece should do is create a number of local currencies, for example Athena drachma with an image of The Acropolis.

Had Greece said yes, EU would be falling over backwards to accommodate a puppet government.

EU exists to create a Europe wide market for Big Business. Austerity is used to transfer wealth into corporate coffers. Greece has dared to offer an alternative vision, one in which the people and the environment are more important. A vision that appeals to ordinary people across Europe, and that is why Greece has to be crushed.

It is not even about debt. Trillions of dollars have been spent bailing out the banks.

The amount of the debt, although is sounds large, is small compared to the economic size of the EU, as the analysis sent to me by a Greek friend last night shows.

  1. To see capital controls imposed on an advanced economy is a great indictment of the IMF and the EU. Exactly what they were to prevent.
  2. Greece is being squeezed by the EU not for a vast sum. But for 0.01% of EU GDP. That is how petty this is.
  3. The EU and ECB are at fault. They could and should solve this fake crisis in a second. That they don’t is pure politics.
  4. To see the EU being broken and betrayed for 0.1% of GDP isn’t just tragic. It’s nonsensical, absurd, beyond reason.
  5. The idea that Greece is “free-riding” is wrong (and stupid). Rich EU countries benefited hugely by having artificially cheap currencies.
  6. By squeezing Greece for 0.1% of EU GDP, the EU isn’t just creating a needless tragedy. It’s destroying its own credibility and legitimacy.
  7. The EU is not rational. If Greece costs it 0.1% of GDP, so what? The currency benefits are far greater. This is being done out of spite.
  8. And that 0.1% of GDP is enough to cause the rich EU to turn on the poor, despite far GREATER benefits, is the true, historic tragedy.
  9. If anything, it’s now rich EU members who are free riding on poor ones. They’ve benefited by more than the trivial amount they demand.
  10. By making an example of Greece, the EU is only betraying itself. If a union can’t even absorb a cost of 0.1% of GDP, it’s not a union.

She ended with

NO wins but let’s watch tomorrow Europe’s reaction.

In 2010, Greece borrowed more money. It was used to pay off the German banks and other private investors. Greece was saddled with more debt. It was unsustainable. IMF has said at least 30% should be written off.

Austerity has destroyed Greece, the economy has shrunk by 25%.

This evening a stupid German CDU politician tonight demanding blood, Greeks should pay more taxes. If you destroy an economy, no tax base.

Tourism is the backbone of the Greek economy. July-August peak holiday season. On one Greek island, hotel occupancy 10%, cancellation rate 99%. It is going to take Greece decades to recover from the economic terrorism of this last week, let alone what austerity has done to the country over the last five years.

EU engineered a coup against Syrizas, they failed. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras now has the backing not only of the Greek people, but of all the political parties. What is EU now going to do, mount a coup against the Greek people?

EU has a very simple choice. Agree terms that are fair to Greece, that Greece can afford, that allows the Greek economy to recover from economic terrorism, or face a default and watch the EU burn.

Anti-austerity protests

June 20, 2015
End Austerity Now

End Austerity Now

Today saw one of the biggest protests in London since the protests against the illegal Iraq war, an estimated a quarter of a million people on the street in London to protest against austerity.

Not only London, protests in Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow.

Not only UK, protests across Europe in support of Greece and their fight against IMF-EU-German imposed austerity.

Austerity is a lie. It is a totally discredited policy. It has destroyed the economies of Greece and the UK.

In both countries used as an excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, closure of public libraries, cuts to welfare benefits, sell-off of state assets at bargain prices. .

In Greece, GDP has shrunk by 25%, debt risen from 125% to 175% of GDP.

In UK, five years of austerity has seen real wages stagnate, the poor get poorer, mass transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. During this period, the rich have doubled their wealth.

For once, the BBC actually covered an anti-austerity protest, not only covered but had at the top of the news agenda all day.

Speakers included Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn, Charlotte Church, Russell Brand.

Labour still do not seem to understand why they lost the election. They demonstrated today how out of touch they are. Of the leadership contenders, only Jeremy Corbyn showed up.

The protest in London was organised by The People’s Assembly.

Days before the rally the Daily Mail reported it would be hijacked by anarchists, they filmed a secret meeting, that the day would end in violence. It was a day of peaceful protest, a carnival atmosphere, families turned up. The police reported no arrests. 250,000 people on the street and the police report no arrests.

The protests were just the beginning of protests against austerity.

David Cameron: I want five more years to finish the job

May 8, 2015
General Election 2015 final results

General Election 2015 final results

ToryLite - Ed Balls

ToryLite – Ed Balls

GE2015 fracking shares soar

GE2015 fracking shares soar

Every nation gets the government it deserves. — Joseph de Maistre

The opinion polls have come in for a lot of stick, how could they have got it so wrong? The exit poll was dismissed by the LibDems and Labour as nonsense. The reality proved even worse.

Opinion polls ask people how they intend to vote. An exit poll asks how people voted. The exit poll also took a much larger sample.

If the exit polls were bad, the result when the votes counted even worse.

  • Tories 331
  • Labour 232
  • SNP 56
  • LibDems 8
  • Plaid Cymru 3
  • Green Party 1
  • UKIP 1
  • others 18

Tories are 99 seats ahead of Labour.

For Labour, this is an even worse result than when Gordon Brown lost the General Election five years ago following the banking crisis. It is an even worse crisis than when labour lost seats under Neil Kinnock.

David Cameron asked for five more years to finish the job, and he got it. He got it with an increase in the number of seats and a Parliamentary majority.

The first to benefit of five more years, the banks and power companies saw their shares leap in value. They know they have a green light to screw their customers. Fracking companies saw the biggest jump in share price, knowing they have a green light to destroy the environment.

Five more years of kicking the poor, the sick, the marginalised, of NHS privatisation, of austerity, of zero hours contracts, of exploitation, of mass transference of wealth from the poor to the rich.

Tories told us they had reduced taxes. They had not. Not if you include income tax, VAT and other taxes. For the bottom taxes had increased by 2%, for the supposedly squeezed middle by a little less than 1%, for the top by 2%.

Austerity has been an unmitigated disaster.

IMF-EU-German imposed austerity on Greece has seen their economy shrink by 25%, debt has risen from 125% of GDP to 175% of GDP.

Austerity is recognised internationally as a failed policy.

Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has detailed the failure of austerity. Warning a very long read.

But it depends upon your viewpoint. For the Tories, austerity is a huge success. Helped by their willing little helpers the LibDems, Tories used austerity to push through a neo-liberal agenda, an excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, mass closure of public libraries (in Lincolnshire 30 out of 45 public libraries to close, the new Birmingham Library opened to much fanfare already on reduced hours), privatisation of NHS.

In Greece Syriza offered an alternative to austerity, in Spain Podemos do the same, as did SNP in Scotland.

In England, ToryLite aka Labour, offered a slightly watered down version of Tory austerity. In reality there was no difference, or very little difference, Tweedledee v Tweedledum, Tories v ToryLite, David Cameron v Ed Miliband, George Osborne v Ed Balls.

It was obvious at least a year ago, Ed Miliband was a disaster for Labour, as was Ed Balls.

It was obvious Ed Miliband would resign after the election

Both should have resigned, and Labour should have adopted a completely different agenda. They would then have had a realistic chance of defeating the Tories.

It was unbelievable crass stupidity of Ed Miliband to rule out talking to SNP.

During the Indy Ref in Scotland, there was mass participation, grass roots participation. This has translated through to SNP wiping the board in Scotland.

In Glasgow, Labour safe seats with majorities of over 10,000 fell. In one Glasgow seat a swing from labour to SNP of 39%.

Many in England would have voted for SNP, given half the choice.

The seven party debate, illustrated how out of touch with reality was Ed Miliband.

Austerity is not working. It is a failed policy.

The only time Ed Milliband came across as coherent, was in conversation with Russell Brand. Elsewhere, incoherent, meaningless sound bites.

What Ed Miliband failed to realise, and supporters of Russell Brand did, they would not touch Ed Miliband with a bargepole, and Russell Brand got a lot of stick for endorsing Labour. Supporters of Russell Brand (some of the most politically active in the country) want to see genuine radical change, not a pale imitation of the Tories.

People could not tell the difference between Tories and ToryLite. It was the lesser of two evils, nothing more.

Labour has supported TTIP.

Labour has supported austerity and benefit cuts.

Labour has supported HS2 gravy train.

Labour has failed to support deep cuts needed in carbon emissions.

Labour failed to support re-nationalization of railways.

Labour has failed to oppose expansion of aviation, in particular ruling out any additional runways in the south east.

Labour gave no indication it would get tough with the banks, break them up, put a few banksters in prison.

Labour are as embedded with Big Business as the Tories. How many have on secondment from PWC, writing their policies for them?

Had Labour adapted a more radical agenda, we would not be facing five more years of Tory Hell.

Ed Miliband has reigned, Ed Balls has lost his seat. The entire Labour front bench should resign.

Such was the contempt for the people, Labour was not even offering a Referendum on Europe.

Former Labour Minister Charles Clarke on BBC Radio 4 Any Questions this evening made the very valid point. Labour has lost touch with ordinary people.

Look to Podemos in Spain, or Syriza in Greece for radical parties.

Until Labour are prepared to start working with activists on the street, then they are a complete waste of space.

I suggest everyone in Labour read Revolution and This Changes Everything, as they then may have some understanding of the change required, until they do, they have merely demonstrated they have completely lost the plot.

For the rest of us, democracy is not something one does once every five years. For the rest of us Westminster is almost an irrelevance. For the rest of us, democracy is something you do every day, participation, direct action.

Top Story in The Digital Mission Daily (Saturday 9 May 2015).

The ITV Leaders Debate

April 2, 2015

Ed Miliband yearned for a TV debate that would be his audition for the role of prime minister. As it turned out, sharing the stage with six others, he struggled even to be leader of the opposition. — Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

Nicola Sturgeon was stellar, as ever: Leanne Wood good. Natalie Bennett was as amateurish as usual, but that won’t worry Greens. — Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

Never done before, seven party leaders.

If you missed the intro, you probably thought you’d landed upon yet another ghastly game show.

The two main parties Conservatives and Labour, the unprincipled LibDems who will get into bed with anyone, and and then the fringe parties, UKIP, Scottish National Party, the Welsh lot and the Green Party, though SNP and Green Party would probably argue with some justification that they are no longer fringe parties.

What did it show?

That there is no difference between Tories and ToryLite.

That Nick Clegg is the world’s biggest hypocrite. One could be forgiven for thinking, but did not the unprincipled party support every bad Tory policy.

Unbelievable crass comment from Nick Clegg that Labour crashed the economy (even less was it Ed Miliband). No, it was the greedy bankers who crashed the economy. This one crass comment shows the contempt Clegg has for the electorate, who he treats as though they are stupid.

Nigel Farage was criticised for highlighting NHS treats foreign nationals, but he was only stating fact.

In Europe, yes you will get treatment, see a doctor, but you have to show how you are going to pay, either cash, insurance cover or an EHIC card and show some means of ID such as Passport or ID card.   There is absolutely no reason why we cannot implement a similar system in UK.

David Cameron once again came out with his big lie of promising an EU Referendum (sometime in the vague future). Ed Miliband his contempt for the British people by denying a referendum. We could have that referendum now, in the May elections.

Natalie Bennett did marginally well, better than expected, public speaking and addressing an audience are not her strong points, but a lost opportunity as Caroline Lucas would have performed far better.

The one real big thing put across by the fringe parties, there is an alternative to austerity, austerity is not working.

For most people, this message would be new.

Then a tacky discussion on BBC Radio 4 World Tonight ten o’clock news on who faired best, David Cameron or Ed Miliband.

Oh it would never do, a discussion on there being an alternative to austerity.

When it was announced, a seven party debate sounded like a gimmick. It has proved not to be. A cosy debate between the two main parties is no longer acceptable. The broadcasters need a radical rethink, all future debates have to include all seven parties. The people are being offered a real choice. A vote for a fringe party is no longer a wasted vote. A vote for the main parties is a wasted vote, as will simply be business as usual, more austerity, austerity used as excuse for Shock Doctrine, slashing of public services, public library closures, welfare cuts, transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich and more power to global corporations.

We are likely to see a minority Labour government, supported by and vetoed where necessary by the fringe parties.

We have yet to see a real political shift, a revolution, as we have seen in Greece with Syriza seizing power, and are likely to see in Spain if Podemos come to power.

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