Huh.

Aug. 27th, 2011 09:09 pm
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PORTUGAL:Young Professionals Flee Crisis - to Former Colonies

LISBON, Aug 22, 2011 (IPS) - Thousands of young people from Portugal are joining an emigration flow that never trickled to a stop but is turning into an exodus now due to the severe economic crisis plaguing this southern European country. And the main destinations of those looking for a better future abroad are former colonies, especially Brazil.

The new emigrants are overwhelmingly young university graduates or skilled technicians, who have failed to find opportunities for personal and professional development at home. Many are drawn by the buoyant optimism prevailing in Brazil, in contrast to the disillusionment and fatalism hanging over Portugal.

The enormous investment this country has made in education in the last two decades seems to be going down the drain – or to Brazil, and to a lesser extent, to other former Portuguese colonies, in Africa and Asia.

For the less-skilled migrants, especially truck drivers, construction equipment operators, construction workers and electricians, the promised land is Angola, where oil and diamonds have made the southwest African country one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Macau, a former Portuguese enclave on the southern coast of China, 70 km southwest of Hong Kong, has also begun to look attractive to victims of the crisis.

The tiny territory, which returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1999 after five centuries of Portuguese rule, is often referred to as the Las Vegas of Asia. Besides the robust growth of its travel and tourism market and the presence of a number of Portuguese companies, Macau is attractive to Portuguese investors and traders as a gateway to China.

But it is in Brazil where the Portuguese tend to feel most at home, in terms of cultural identity. "It's like leaving Portugal without really going abroad," Mafalda Assenção, who has a degree in humanities from the University of Lisbon and plans to head overseas, told IPS.

The common language as well as ties with the thriving Portuguese community in Brazil make the country look promising to young people seeking to flee the recession in Portugal.

Young Portuguese professionals who feel they have nothing to lose in a country that offers them neither jobs nor ongoing unemployment benefits find a world of opportunities in moving to the planet's eighth largest economy, which is 94 times the size of Portugal's and has a population 18 times larger than this country.

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Soooo...what will happen to the locals in terms of the job market? And how will this work out in terms of class and race?
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Wikipedia: 2011 Student Protests Naturally the Heritage Foundation would be defending this crap. I wonder how fast the US system will devolve to this?

Students demand the end of the school voucher system in pre-school, primary and secondary levels and the end of the current public university financing policy, that mixes deliberate underfinancing, a shadow toll called "Indirect State Payment" (Aporte Fiscal Indirecto, in Spanish), high parents' payments even in public universities (tuition fees in private and state universities are about the same), and a state-guaranteed loan scheme that allow private banks to finance already high tuition fees. The Chilean system, although defended by researchers linked to the Heritage Foundation, is criticized by researchers like Martin Carnoy[5], blaming on it the tremendous inequalities across all the Chilean educational system, measured by OECD's standards. Chile only spends 4.4% of GDP on education, compared to the 7% of GDP recommended by the UN for developed nations.[6]

The students want those systems replaced by a true publicly financed and managed education system, covering from pre-school to tertiary education.[6]Some segments of the student movement have called for other changes, such as a new constitution or the renationalization of Chile's copper resources in order to fund public education.[7]

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Chilean Students Lock Lips for Love of Schools and use other varied and different methods of protest.

In Chile, months of student demonstrations across the country have given way to mass protests in the capital of Santiago. Nearly 900 protesters have been arrested today in the crackdown against the demonstrations, the New York Times reported.

Tens of thousands of the nation’s high school and college students have been demonstrating for two months against a higher education system that was largely privatized under General Pinochet and since left students in serious debt. Students have called on President Sebastián Piñera to support reforms promising high-quality and free compulsory education and an overhaul of the university system.

But in Chile, protests are not limited to walkouts and marches and hunger strikes, though there have beenplenty of those too. The New York Times reports that at any one time two to three protesters can be seen jogging outside the presidential palace. They’re attempting to reach 1,800 laps to symbolize the $1.8 billion that they want the country to invest in the education system. They have dressed up as superheroes and choreographed dance routines. They’ve staged collective suicides, with lines of people collapsing into the streets at once.

They’ve also staged kiss-ins. Protesters have paired off and started kissing marathons, smooching in the streets to bring attention to their cause.

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I am irritated with the way that a lot of mainstream American and European media has been characterizing the protests (when they haven't been ignoring them) and the whole zomg they are so surreal bit is irritating the fuck out of me in this article. The protesters gave reasons for the fucking things they do. Tell us what they are and stop going OMG what are those crazy ppl doing?!?!?! Chile student protests explode into violence Riot police clash with protesters calling for education reform as anger with Sebastiàn Piñera's government boils over

But on Thursday these surreal protests exploded into violence as school and university students clashed with police and seized a TV station, demanding the right to a live broadcast in order to express their demands.

The Chilean winter, as it is being called, appears to have captured the public mood, just as the Arab spring did six months ago.

After a day of street clashes, 874 people had been arrested and department store in the capital was smouldering after being attacked by protesters. Outrage against the rightwing government of Sebastiàn Piñera boiled over, with polls showing he is more unpopular than any leader since the fall of former dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Striking school students led the charge as they tried to march on the presidential palace early on Thursday, only to be thwarted by hundreds of police in riot gear and clouds of teargas. Tucapel Jiménez, a member of the Chilean congress, called for sanctions against government authorities who authorised what he called "brutal repression" by riot police.

"This is unacceptable, the centre of Santiago is a state of siege," said university student leader Camila Vallejo, tears rolling down her face after being doused in teargas. "The right to congregate has been violated."

"I don't see any other solution than a general referendum," said Giorgio Jackson, president of the Catholic University student union as he described the distance between student demands and the government offer. "There are some points of agrement, but clearly there are other points that are very relevant and in which we have grand differences." News coverage of students being gassed and hauled off buses by police squads led Vallejo to call for the resignation of Rodrigo Hinzpeter, Chile's interior minister. Government officials insisted the students did not have a permit to march and defended the police reaction as necessary to maintain business as usual in Santiago. Government spokesman Andrés Chadwick estimated vandalism damage at $2m.MORE


Dude. FUCK you and your "business as usual". And FUCK your "permit to march" BULLSHIt too. The point, you specious ass; is that the people are rejecting business as usual. And democracy and the right to air one's grievances are not dependent on a fucking PERMIT. The government serves the people, NOT the other way around.





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SPAIN
'Indignant' Demonstrators Marching to Brussels to Protest Effects of Crisis


MADRID, Jul 30, 2011 (IPS) - Protesters from several European Union cities have begun to follow the example of hundreds of demonstrators from Spain who are marching from Madrid to Brussels, the bloc's de facto capital, in a growing protest against the effects of the economic crisis and the fiscal adjustment policies adopted to combat it.

The march - literally, on foot - began Tuesday Jul. 26 with half a dozen people at the Puerta del Sol, in Madrid, the "kilometre zero" point from which all distances in the country are measured. The "'Indignant' People's March" aims to cover the 1,550 km to Brussels by Oct. 8, one week ahead of the global demonstration planned for Oct. 15 by Democracia Real YA (Real Democracy Now!)

Marchers from other European cities will stop in Paris on the way to Brussels, to support the Occupy Wall Street initiative, aimed at occupying and disrupting what they call the "financial Gomorrah" of the United States.

Adbusters, a counter-cultural Canadian magazine, quoted Professor Raimundo Viejo of the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona as saying: "The anti-globalisation movement was the first step. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf leading the pack, and others who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people."

The Adbusters article calls on U.S. President Barack Obama to set up a presidential commission tasked with "ending the influence money has over (the country's) representatives in Washington."

It also proposes "dismantling half the 1,000 military bases (the United States) has around the world," among other pro-democracy measures.

But the May 15 Movement (15M), which emerged on that date with large demonstrations in the main squares of cities across Spain held to protest the political, economic and social system, is also drawing attention to issues not prominently covered by the international press, such as repossessions of the homes of those who fall behind on their mortgage payments. MORE


I wish them all good luck and will follow their shenanigans with interest!
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UN Agency: Women Bow Out of Snarled Justice Systems

NEW YORK, (WOMENSENEWS)--This was the week when Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her daughter in the explosive case in Florida and the New York hotel housekeeper struggled to keep alive a case of sexual assault against former IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss Khan. If anyone considers these signs of women finding high-powered access to the legal justice system, UN Women offered a rebuttal this week, finding that women all too often drop charges and bow out of legal recourse efforts.

In its July 6 report, "Progress of the World's Women in Pursuit of Justice," the new super women's agency at the United Nations--which consolidated existing agencies and launched in February under former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet--probes the limits of local, national and international law in serving women and offers 10 recommendations.

One area of concentration is the problem of long "legal chains" or cases that involve numerous steps, delays and mounting costs that lead women to drop such efforts as enforcing property rights or protecting themselves from domestic violence.

Authors found that women in developed and developing countries alike face this hurdle.
In Gauteng Province in South Africa, for instance, a lengthy, expensive legal process coincides with an extremely low conviction rate--4 percent--for reported rapes. That echoes a 2009 survey of four European countries, where conviction rates fall as low as 5 percent.


Another example came from this week's news run when the Associated Press reported July 7 that hundreds of Ugandan women protested the second postponement of two lawsuits brought by families of women who died giving birth, reflecting the judicial system's inability to intercede on behalf of maternal health.

To expedite women's law suits, UN Women's authors recommend "one stop shops" currently found in South Africa--known as Thuthuzela Care Centers--that have reduced trial completion time to seven months from a national average of two years and are being replicated in countries such as Chile and Ethiopia.MORE
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INDIA 'Seed-Mothers' Confront Climate Insecurity

BHUBANESWAR, India, Jul 1, 2011 (IPS) - In eastern Orissa state’s tribal hinterlands about 200 ‘seed-mothers’ are on mission mode - identifying, collecting and conserving traditional seed varieties and motivating farming families to use them.

The seed-mothers (bihana-maa in the local dialect) from the Koya and Kondh tribal communities have reached 1,500 families in the Malkangiri and Kandhamal districts and are still counting. These women are formidable storehouses of knowledge on indigenous seeds and biodiversity conservation.

Collecting, multiplying and distributing through exchange local varieties of paddy, millet, legume, vegetables and leafy green seeds, the seed-mothers already have a solid base of 80 converted villages.

As they spread their message through the hinterland, targeting another 140 villages, the women also promote zero dependence on chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

Considering that Malkangiri is Orissa’s least developed district, with literacy at a low 50 percent and isolated by rivers, forests, undulating topography and poor connectivity, the achievement of the seed-mothers is admirable.

The struggles of Malkangiri farmers with climate change is visible in the Gudumpadar village where seed-mothers are passionately reviving agricultural heritage and convincing the community to stay with local seeds and bio-fertilisers and pesticides.

"This is the best way to cope with erratic rainfall, ensure the children are fed and avoid the clutches of moneylenders," says 65-year-old seed-mother Kanamma Madkami of Kanjeli village, who has multiplied 29 varieties of local millet and paddy seeds. MORE
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Egypt Rejects IMF Conditions

CAIRO, Jun 30, 2011 (IPS) - Egypt has cancelled plans to borrow 3 billion dollars from the International Monetary Fund because of conditions that violated the country’s national sovereignty and a public outcry that warned against terms that were blamed for impoverishing many Egyptians.

According to several Egyptian newspapers, General Sameh Sadeq, member of the country’s ruling military council, said the country turned down the loans, and those under discussion with the World Bank, because there were "five conditions that totally went against the principles of national sovereignty." Gen. Sadeq didn’t detail what these conditions were.

The IMF loan would have made Egypt the first recipient of funding in the Middle East since the so-called Arab Spring movement against Western-backed dictatorships began late last year.

At a Group of Eight summit last month in Deauville, France, the IMF announced that it could make available as much as 35 billion dollars in loans to the countries of the Middle East over the next few years.

World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick in May announced 6 billion dollars in funding over the next two years for Egypt and Tunisia, the two countries where the Arab uprisings started, to help the two post-revolutionary nations modernise their economies. Egypt’s share would have been 4.5 billion dollars.

General Sadeq’s statements on Tuesday contradict statements by the government of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and his Finance Minister Samir Radwan, who both served under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, that the new loans came with no conditions. Both officials have advocated publicly for more loans to ward off the specter of a budget deficit, a staple argument in many countries for IMF and World Bank loans.MORE


At this point, NO COUNTRY SHOULD BE BORROWING FROM THE IMF. NONE.
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Yesterday:General Strike! Greek people reject Austerity

The impending fire sale of historic treasures of the people of Greece to pay the billionaires bar bill at Club Euro has infuriated a broad cross section of the Greek people. People from as far away as the outer isles of Greece are converging at Syntagma square in front of the Greek Parliament to protest tomorrow and Wednesday.


The Greek government's plans to surrender the Palace of Corfu (Image: tourist's photo in public domain) to German bankers has infuriated the well to do as well as the working class.

Spiros Avramiotis. a local olive oil producer is furious at the idea of losing one of Corfu’s prime locations and angrily stated. “We have to stand up and send a message to the politicians in Athens that Corfu is not for sale, not one inch of it. Full stop.” He added, “Greece may be on the verge of bankruptcy, but surely it’s not a good idea to sell off the family silver,” a belief that is held by a great number of citizens in Greece. Behind Spiros Avramiotis stands hoardes of islanders who are preparing to join mainland workers in protests against the government in their bid to raise €50 billion from the auctioning of state assets. The Palace is one of several state-owned properties said to be up for sale. Other locations are beaches, casinos, airports and marinas around Greece.
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Greek general strike and austerity debate - Tuesday 28 June

Here's a summary of events today:

• Tens of thousands of Greeks have taken to the streets to voice their opposition to a new wave of austerity measures which will be subject to a vote in parliament on Wednesday and Thursday. A two-day strike called by unions began today. Transport, schools and other services as well as many private businesses were shut as a result of the strike called by ADEDY, the union representing half a million civil servants and GSEE, which represents 2 million private sector workers. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled or rescheduled and protesters have blockaded the port of Piraeus.

• A minority of protesters were involved in running battles with the police. Many of them wore crash helmets or bandanas over their faces. They brandished wooden staves, hurled missiles including bricks and molotov cocktails and started fires. Two communications trucks were set on fire and shops were vandalised. The troublemakers, believed to consist mainly of anarchists, also threw smoke grenades and firecrackers. Police fired rounds of teargas leaving the air in central Athens acrid. Police said 18 people were detained, with formal arrest charges laid against five of them, and that four policemen were injured and transferred to a military hospital. There were reports of dozens of people being treated for the effects of teargas in Syntagma Square, which has been the focal point of the protests.MORE



Showdown in Greece: Interview with Panos Petrou



THE MEDIA analysis of the crisis in Greece claims the same thing that we hear in this country--that working people have been living beyond their means, and now they have to sacrifice. Is this really the source of the crisis?

THIS CLAIM is a total inversion of reality. During the recent past, the economy was booming, and gross domestic product was growing. But working people, the ones who created this wealth, have been living in a state of constant austerity since 1985--with governments implementing one austerity plan after another, while capitalists keep the whole pie for themselves.

Read more... )
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Greece: Is the media part of the problem?


As Greece battles economic collapse, protests in the country have been getting louder, bigger and more heated. Greeks on the streets have been demonstrating against the squeeze on their wages and pensions, but the media covering those protests have found some hostility directed at them as well.

The protesters accuse the media of stereotyping them, of being voices of the economic and financial elite and not reflecting the reality of the Greek worker. In our News Divide this week, we look at the Greek protests and how the media covered them.See awesome video which won't allow me to embed at the source



DEBTOCRACY: Causes of Greece's debt crisis and solutions, hidden by the government and the dominant media [full length documentary]


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The struggle in the squares

Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou and his PASOK party government survived a June 21 confidence vote in parliament, but he will face continued mass protests as he pushes for yet more devastating austerity measures.

Greece is in the grips of a desperate economic crisis. The government has needed massive bailouts engineered by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, but they have come with the demand that the government slash spending, cut the wages and benefits of workers, and privatize public enterprises.

But a new mass movement has arisen to give voice to the anger of the mass of the population. Following the example of youth and workers in Spain--and before that, the Egyptian revolutionaries of Tahrir Square--the Greek "aganaktismenoi" ("indignants") have occupied public squares. On June 27 and 28, the so-called "movement of the squares" will demonstrate alongside the labor movement during a 48-hour general strike called as parliament is set to vote on yet more cutbacks.

Panos Petrou, a member of the socialist group Internationalist Workers Left (DEA) and a participant in the occupation in Athens' Syntagma Square, explains how this powerful new movement developed.

Read more... )
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via: [personal profile] ginny_t Democracy vs Mythology: The Battle in Syntagma Square



I have never been more desperate to explain and more hopeful for your understanding of any single fact than this: The protests in Greece concern all of you directly.

What is going on in Athens at the moment is resistance against an invasion; an invasion as brutal as that against Poland in 1939. The invading army wears suits instead of uniforms and holds laptops instead of guns, but make no mistake – the attack on our sovereignty is as violent and thorough. Private wealth interests are dictating policy to a sovereign nation, which is expressly and directly against its national interest. Ignore it at your peril. Say to yourselves, if you wish, that perhaps it will stop there. That perhaps the bailiffs will not go after the Portugal and Ireland next. And then Spain and the UK. But it is already beginning to happen. This is why you cannot afford to ignore these events.

The powers that be have suggested that there is plenty to sell. Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s party, recently made the helpful suggestion that we should sell some of our islands to private buyers in order to pay the interest on these loans, which have been forced on us to stabilise financial institutions and a failed currency experiment. (Of course, it is not a coincidence that recent studies have shown immense reserves of natural gas under the Aegean sea).

China has waded in, because it holds vast currency reserves and more than a third are in Euros. Sites of historical interest like the Acropolis could be made private. If we do not as we are told, the explicit threat is that foreign and more responsible politicians will do it by force. Let’s make the Parthenon and the ancient Agora a Disney park, where badly paid locals dress like Plato or Socrates and play out the fantasies of the rich.MORE
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World Economy: Women Weigh in on Poverty, Work and Debt


The International Museum of Women's online exhibit on women and the economy, features slideshows, podcasts, videos and essays on women from countries such as Sudan, Denmark, Philippines, USA, Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina and how they view issues such as poverty, business, family, rights, money and much more.

Economica, IMOW's online interactive exhibit sets out to explore women's contribution in the global economy. Picturing Power and Potential, was a juried photography exhibit showing different ways in which women participate in the economy and are agents of change.

For example, the exhibit's Community Choice Award winner was Brenda Paik Suno, a third generation Korean-American who took pictures of a Jeju Granny of the Sea, a woman who is part of the tradition of female divers of the Jeju Islands who have harvested the sea for generations:


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White House Communications Director Dodgey When Asked about War on Women


Daily Kos Associate Editor Kalli Joy Gray: I'd like to ask you about a different kind of war, and this is a war that I am particularly concerned about.

White House Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer: Okay.

Gray: The war on women. [Audience applause.] We're seeing an unprecedented number of attacks on women at the state and federal level—everything from contraception to health care to food stamps, um, drug-testing of women receiving welfare in Florida. Women in Congress, including Nancy Pelosi, are talking openly about a war on women. So, I want to know if the president agrees with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and our new DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz: Is there a war on women?

Pfeiffer: Well, what I can say is that there is no question that there is a sustained effort from Republicans at the federal and state level to, uh, undo a lot of the progress we've done. I think the most, uh, prominent example was the effort to defund Planned Parenthood, uh, during the government funding battle a few months ago, which the president, uh, at that point told the House Republicans that if they wanted to defund Planned Parenthood, that they were going to have to shut down the government over it. We see this in Indiana, where, uh, Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law an effort that would, uh, illegally defund Planned Parenthood, and the federal government is involved in a lawsuit to stop that. And so he, the president, is very concerned about all of these efforts, uh, and the ones on the federal level that we can play an active role to stop, including the use of the veto pen, uh, the president will do that.

[Note from Liss: Notice that Gray asked him a yes or no question: Does the president agree that there is a war on women? And instead of straightforwardly answering her question, Pfeiffer mansplains the problem to her, as if she and her audience are stupid and/or unaware of the issues affecting women. The thing is, he implicitly answers yes just by his reflexive defensiveness; there's no need to defend the president's record if you don't agree that there's a war on women—but he won't say it, because openly acknowledging there is a war on women is to then admit that the Lilly Ledbetter Pay Act ain't fucking enough. Gray, fortunately, zeroes in and does not let him off the hook.]

Gray: Yes, but we also saw during the healthcare debate that, when it comes down to it, women's issues take a back seat for the "larger" issues, so, for example, the president said that accepting the Hyde Amendment, which punishes poor women in this country, was an acceptable status quo and that we needed to put that aside for the bigger picture. So, I'll ask again: Is there a war on women?

Pfeiffer: [pause] Let's talk about healthcare for a second, which is— [Gray laughs mirthlessly at his obvious evasiveness; the audience laughs; Pfeiffer holds up his finger, gesturing to her to hold on and listen.] The, the, the Hyde Amendment— ["Just say yes!" someone shouts from the audience] The Hyde Amendment was, uh, was the law of the land, and so—

Gray: It's renewed every year. It is not the law of the land. It is renewed every year. [Audience applause.]

Pfeiffer: Right, and, and if we tried to repeal it in health reform, there would be no health reform. And that, that was, that was the choice. It was a very simple choice, and so—

Gray: It was a simple choice?

Pfeiffer: It was, well, it's, you have two options—it's simple in the fact that you have two options; it's not an easy choice! [He says this like Gray is being a jerk.] You have two choi—you have two options: And it was no health reform and make that attempt, which would've failed and would most certainly not have passed the United States Senate, so that's the choice you have to make.

[He says this in this really matter-of-fact way, as if anyone would question the decision is an asshole, and when he says "the choice you have to make," I wonder who that "you" is supposed to be, really, because it's definitely not the women who are left without any choice because of the Hyde Amendment.]
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I... didn't know that the Hyde Amendment was renewed every year. Are we for real??? Instead  of  making progress so that the damn thing LAPSES, we keep passing it like its no big thing????
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Spain's 'Indignant Ones'

While “Europe’s slow-motion financial collapse” – as Mother Jones magazine described it in a June 6tharticle – continues to unravel, Spain, like other European states continues to implement anti-social-neo-liberal policies with strong opposition from the citizenry.

It has been one month since the country’s ‘Indignados’ (Indignant Ones) movement claimed nonviolently sixty city-squares in cities across the country, calling for economic democracy, political justice and peace. Since then, much has happened within Spanish borders, and what is happening there is clearly spreading across Europe, where we have already witnessed social movements making similar demands. We have seen the Bastille in Paris, taken nonviolently by French ‘Indignados’ only to be quickly reclaimed by the country’s police force. We have observed the rise of a parallel movement in Portugal where most city squares have also been camped on by ‘Indignados’, and where only hours before the country’s general elections protestors in Lisbon were attacked and beaten by police. We have witnessed how on that same night, in Athens, Greece, 80,000 protestors congregated in the city’s main square in opposition to the country’s ‘austerity measures’, waving banners in solidarity with the ‘Indignados’ of Spain and of other European country’s. MORE



May 28th 2011 'Democracia Real Ya': When the People in Spain Remind the Government Who They Work for


Anyone who was there during the protest would tell you that they didn’t see it coming. As a matter of fact, how can we explain this movement? Perhaps a little context is necessary for us to understand, even though one does not always find clear answers to that.

Context

On September 29th 2010, thousands of people were asked by the main labor unions to join a protest in the streets of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and all the other major cities, in protest for the austerity measures anounced by the Zapatero government. However, this general strike, deemed a failure by many, left most people disenchanted with traditional politics and the general atmosphere was one of frustration, defeat and a growing sense of individualism, palpable in the streets of Madrid, and also a general mistrust, conveyed in public opinion polls regarding banks, social groups and the political class across the spectrum, as well as a pessimistic view of their future.

So, in other words, nothing at the time would make any observer anticipate what was to happen, nor its magnitude. So the question is, what happened in between? What are the main causes that could explain this phenomenon? MORE



Protests Evolve But Tensions Continue

The mobilizations that started on May 15 in Spain have gradually evolved into local meetings, gatherings and different kinds of initiatives all over the country. Most activists are not focusing on the camps any more. Campers have decided to leave the Madrid square “Puerta del Sol” on June 12, 2011. It became the physical symbol of the people's unease with their political representatives. Netizens are calling this shift “Sol se mueve” (Sol is moving), and using the tag #solsemueve on Twitter.

This does not mean that the movement has died. Assemblies and reunions co-exist with specific actions, like the marches towards city councils on June 11 to protest against the investiture of politicians charged with corruption. In Madrid, the capital city, a sit-in ended up with police charging against demonstrators, which can be seen on the videos widely shared online, like this one by journalist Juan Luis Sánchez of Periodismo Humano [es]:

MORE
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Inside Story: Greece protests at austerity measures


Inside Story with presenter Teymoor Nabili discusses with guests: Vagelis Agapitos, independent economist; Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics at the University of Athens; and Fotis Boblas, an activist and protester.


The Economy of Greece (Wikipedia)

Analysis: In Greece, it's all about 'solidarity'

Solidarity is probably a word that you would not associate with Greece following the events of the past few days.

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Millions strike in Greece over austerity plans

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June 13 The crisis in Greece intensifies

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June 16 Greece reaches the brink: Eric Ruder explains the issues underlying the massive protests shaking Greece.

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TRIGGER WARNING: The IMF's activities are compared to rape further down in the article. Sorry I forgot that part. Johann Hari: It's not just Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The IMF itself should be on trial

The IMF’s official job sounds simple and attractive. It is supposedly there to ensure poor countries don’t fall into debt, and if they do, to lift them out with loans and economic expertise. It is presented as the poor world’s best friend and guardian. But beyond the rhetoric, the IMF was designed to be dominated by a handful of rich countries – and, more specifically, by their bankers and financial speculators. The IMF works in their interests, every step of the way.

Let’s look at how this plays out on the ground. In the 1990s, the small country of Malawi in south-eastern Africa was facing severe economic problems after enduring one of the worst HIV-AIDS epidemics in the world and surviving a horrific dictatorship. They had to ask the IMF for help. If the IMF has acted in its official role, it would have given loans and guided the country to develop in the same way that Britain and the US and every other successful country had developed – by protecting its infant industries, subsidising its farmers, and investing in the education and health of its people.

That’s what an institution that was concerned with ordinary people – and accountable to them – would look like. But the IMF did something very different. They said they would only give assistance if Malawi agreed to the ‘structural adjustments’ the IMF demanded. They ordered Malawi to sell off almost everything the state owned to private companies and speculators, and to slash spending on the population. They demanded they stop subsidising fertilizer, even though it was the only thing that made it possible for farmers – most of the population – to grow anything in the country’s feeble and depleted soil. They told them to prioritise giving money to international bankers over giving money to the Malawian people.

So when in 2001 the IMF found out the Malawian government had built up large stockpiles of grain in case there was a crop failure, they ordered them to sell it off to private companies at once. They told Malawi to get their priorities straight by using the proceeds to pay off a loan from a large bank the IMF had told them to take out in the first place, at a 56 per cent annual rate of interest.
The Malawian president protested and said this was dangerous. But he had little choice. The grain was sold. The banks were paid.

The next year, the crops failed. The Malawian government had almost nothing to hand out. The starving population was reduced to eating the bark off the trees, and any rats they could capture. The BBC described it as Malawi’s “worst ever famine.” There had been a much worse crop failure in 1991-2, but there was no famine because then the government had grain stocks to distribute. So at least a thousand innocent people starved to death.MORE



And then. And this is what makes me RAGE. Because the BBC and CNN and whoever the fuck else cover this shit DON'T TELL YOU that this is what's behind those famines and shit. OH NO. They take pictures of death and starvation that win prestigious awards and they write articles bemoaning how Africa just can't get itself together, that dark continent filled with incompetent (and tribal and dictatorial) Africans that it is... and they highlight all those charities and NGOs filled with white people who go down to Africa to help those poor people and volunteer their lives and aren't the Africans so grateful for their help...And so Africa is kept in a subordinate position, all the easier for the West to enrich itself on stolen goods. And when we're done we yell overpopulation. Because it is really those whom we have forced to live on less than $1 a day who are causing the overuse of the world's resources. Oh yes.

And of course, to actually point out that it is our countries' FOREIGN POLICY as enacted by the IMF and the World Trade Organization that helps in large part to cause this shit might just cut off the gravy train, wouldn't it? It might just convince the ordinary citizens of Western Europe and America that while we are doing that democracy thing, we might really want to pay some attention to foreign policy. Beyond the various wars that we are enacting. Or maybe I am giving them too much credit. And of course, you need to convince the denizens of the countries from which you are stealing everything from that its their fault entirely that they are suffering. You need to devalue their own perceptions of what the reality is, you need to colonize their minds and thus make them pliable to being stolen from, or at least to not realize that they are being stolen from. And if they get too uppity starve them, sicken them, murder them, empower fundamentalists by giving them guns and money and set them loose upon their political structures. Send in the CIA, the MI5, at the last resort, your armies... and glorify your murderers and infiltrators efforts in the movies so that you can find cannon fodder among your citizenry with which to enforce your murderous, rapacious will. And then of course, they  have the NERVE, the AUDACITY, the complete and utter EFFRONTERY AND GALL, to call themselves..."civilized".
the_future_modernes: (colors)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
SPAIN:Protest Movement Spreads to Neighbourhoods, Small Towns

MALAGA, Spain, Jun 9, 2011 (IPS) - The May 15 Movement (15-M) which sprang up as huge rallies in public squares in Spain's largest cities to protest against the political, economic and social system, is multiplying as assemblies in local neighbourhoods in provincial capitals and other municipalities.

"The idea is for the movement to decentralise and carry on working in the neighbourhoods and small towns," Laura Rueda, a 29-year-old unemployed journalist and one of the spokespersons for the movement, told IPS in the southern city of Málaga, where they are still debating whether to continue camping in the central Constitution square. MORE
delphinapterus: water splash (Splash)
[personal profile] delphinapterus
Looting Main Street
How the nation's biggest banks are ripping off American cities with the same predatory deals that brought down Greece
Birmingham became the poster child for a new kind of giant-scale financial fraud, one that would threaten the financial stability not only of cities and counties all across America, but even those of entire countries like Greece. While for many Americans the financial crisis remains an abstraction, a confusing mess of complex transactions that took place on a cloud high above Manhattan sometime in the mid-2000s, in Jefferson County you can actually see the rank criminality of the crisis economy with your own eyes; the monster sticks his head all the way out of the water. Here you can see a trail that leads directly from a billion-dollar predatory swap deal cooked up at the highest levels of America's biggest banks, across a vast fruited plain of bribes and felonies — "the price of doing business," as one JP Morgan banker says on tape — all the way down to Lisa Pack's sewer bill and the mass layoffs in Birmingham.


Full article on how Birmingham wound up over 5 billon dollars in debt through financial swindles )

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