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Austerity

Protests Throughout The Global South Signal Opposition To Austerity

It has now been two months since tens of thousands of Sri Lankans stormed the presidential palace and toppled the country’s president in a powerful rejection of price hikes on food and fuel. As shocking and inspiring as the news was, many economists and geopolitical experts were quick to point out that Sri Lanka would not be the last country to experience a mass-uprising. Around the world, the policies of the neoliberal era are straining economies as the neoliberal system is pitched into crisis after crisis. In the last several years, these crises have been fueled by supply chain disruptions from the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and rapidly worsening climate change.

Ghost Stories Of Capitalism: Watching The Shutters Of Austerity Close

By the end of the 1970s,U.S. capitalism entered its neoliberal phase where austerity and privatization reigned supreme. Federal agencies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were reduced to near non-existence. Welfare was eradicated all together in 1996 and tens of thousands of public housing units were demolished or privatized under the Bill Clinton administration. CAP agencies either shut their doors permanently or offered only the services that were supported by a mixture of private philanthropy and meagre government subsidy. It was out of this environment that Tri-CAP formed to address the growing problem of extreme poverty, addiction, and homelessness in the cities of Everett, Malden, and Medford. By the time I arrived as a caseworker in the fall of 2013, Tri-CAP had already experienced years of shrinking state and federal funds

Spanish Lawmaker: NATO Subordinates Europe To US

A Spanish lawmaker has condemned the NATO summit that was held in Madrid this June, denouncing the US-led military alliance for advocating for more war and pushing to enrich the weapons industry while Europeans suffer from inflation and an energy crisis. On the floor of Spain’s parliament, leftist Deputy Gerardo Pisarello argued that “the NATO summit was not organized to strengthen the cause of peace,” but rather “was organized basically to reinforce the geostrategic priorities of the United States… above all to weaken China.”

Brussels At Near-Standstill As Cost-Of-Living March Draws 70,000

Around 70,000 Belgian workers marched through Brussels on Monday demanding government action to tackle sharply rising living costs, as one-day strikes at Brussels Airport and on local transport networks nationwide brought public travel to a near-halt. Protesters carried flags and banners reading "More respect, higher wages" and "End excise duty", while some set off flares. Some demanded the government do more, others said employers needed to improve pay and working conditions. Unions said about 80,000 were present. Police put the figure at 70,000. Brussels Airport said it could not allow passenger flights to depart because the industrial action extended to security personnel, and most arrivals were also cancelled.

Tens Of Thousands Demand Action At Rally On Eve Of UK Rail Strikes

The protest held on the eve of ahead of this week’s national rail strikes by 50,000 rail workers on June 21, 23 and 25. Seeking to maintain control of an emerging strike wave, the union bureaucracy pulled out all the stops. Even so, while the demo was somewhat larger than the annual TUC protests in recent years, it was much smaller than that held in 2011 of around 200,000, called after the Conservative government came to power and first launched a savage austerity offensive. Organized amid a powerful sentiment among workers for taking on the Johnson government and the employers, the turnout testifies to the decline in the authority of the trade unions after decades of betrayals—that a necessary turn to more militant rhetoric cannot conceal.

87% Of IMF Loans Forcing Austerity On Crisis-Ravaged Nations: Analysis

The conditions of nearly 90% of the International Monetary Fund's pandemic-related loans are forcing developing nations suffering some of the world's worst humanitarian crises to implement austerity measures that fuel further impoverishment and inequality, an analysis published Tuesday by Oxfam International revealed. Oxfam found that "13 out of the 15 IMF loan programs negotiated during the second year of the pandemic require new austerity measures such as taxes on food and fuel or spending cuts that could put vital public services at risk." This stands in stark contrast with IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva's admonition to the European Union last year that the wealthy bloc should not endanger its economic recovery with "the suffocating force of austerity."

Can Argentina Escape The Plague Of IMF-Imposed Austerity?

The crush of people began at the 9 de Julio subway stop downtown, less than a block from the Buenos Aires obelisk, the city’s most recognizable monument. By 5:00 p.m. on February 8, thousands from over 100 trade unions, human rights organizations and student groups had blocked the main thoroughfare to protest a preliminary agreement between the Peronist, center-left government of Argentinian President Alberto Fernández and the International Monetary Fund. Amid a cacophony of competing drumbeats, demonstrators along Roque Saenz Peña bore signs that read “With the IMF, we return to the bottom,” “The IMF is poverty and unemployment,” and “Enough of austerity.”

Cost Of Living Crisis Was Caused By Privatisation And Austerity

On official forecasts, the British public is facing the biggest fall in living standards since records began. This is in the headlines now because of the huge rise in energy bills, which will force more households into choosing between eating and heating. Blaming Russia for the surge in energy prices is a classic conjuror’s trick of misdirection. The US gets almost zero oil from Russia, but is currently experiencing even higher consumer price inflation. In reality, a laissez-faire approach to the energy sector is at the root of the problem in both the UK and the US. In France, where EDF is largely nationalized, energy prices are set to rise – but by just 4%. Government and especially Treasury ideology going back to Margaret Thatcher has been based on false assertions about the superiority of private enterprise.

Ecuador’s Government Announces State Emergency To Impose Austerity

On October 18, 2021, Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency for 60 days. This declaration led to the constitutional rights of Ecuadorian nationals being suspended and heavily armed troops flooding the streets in Ecuador. The immediate reason for the declaration was the murder of an 11-year-old boy named Sebastián Obando, who was killed in a crossfire between “an armed robber and a police officer” on October 17 at a cafeteria and ice cream parlor in the Centenario neighborhood in Guayaquil. The boy, who was shot three times, was shot in the heart, right arm and his back, said his father Tomás Obando. Lasso’s declaration of emergency built on the public outcry relating to this murder.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Inflation

Now, inflation is actually here. Never mind the fact that the Fed believes that inflation can be kept under control, and that more government spending is in order — all popular media coverage of inflation occurs in the frame of fear. A little evidence of inflation combined with a lot of fear of inflation will be the formula for turning inflation into a political weapon in service of austerity.

Your Privileges Are Not Universal

Stencilled in red on the walls of Santiago, Chile is a statement of fact: ‘your privileges are not universal’ (tus privilegios no son universales). This is a factual declaration because the privileges of power and property are not shared across the gaping class divide. Consider the fact that before the pandemic struck last year, over 3 billion people – or half the world’s population – had no access to health care. This data appears in a 2017 World Health Organisation (WHO) report that tracks important matters such as access to basic household sanitation (lacked by 2.3 billion people) and medical care for uncontrolled hypertension (suffered by 1 billion people). An Oxfam report from 25 January 2021 called The Inequality Virus points out that ‘the pandemic could cause the biggest increase in inequality since records began, as it precipitates a simultaneous and substantial rise across many countries’.

Haiti Begins General Strike

February 1, 2021 - Industries across Haiti are shut down today as workers in multiple sectors participate in a 48-hour general strike. The strike was called by the labor unions following years of struggle in Haiti against brutal austerity and government corruption. Part of the reason behind the general strike is that the current president of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, is refusing to step down on February 7, when many believe that his term is up under the constitution. Moïse claims that his term isn’t up until February 7, 2022, as he was elected to a five year term in 2017. Many fear that Moïse is taking the preparatory steps to rule as a dictator of Haiti.

Lessons From A Decade Of Student Activism In The UK

Ten years ago, tens of thousands of students flooded the streets of London protesting against fees, cuts and demanding free public education in the biggest student demonstration in British history. They took over the Conservative Party headquarters, hanging red and black flags from the rooftop and surrounding the building with barricades. The demonstration marked the rebirth of the British student movement and the beginning of a new generation of activists that would confront marketization and austerity over the coming decade. Though students could not stop the further commodification of higher education, they succeeded in generating a culture of anti-market resistance, popularized the demand for public free education and contributed to the rise of democratic socialism in the UK.

Austerity Is Still A Political Choice

When Rishi Sunak delivered the spending review earlier this week, the coverage focused predictably on levels of government borrowing. With GDP set to contract by more than 11% in 2020 – the largest fall in three centuries – and unemployment expected to reach 7.5%, government spending is the only thing standing between the UK economy and complete economic meltdown. As a result, we’re forecast to see the highest levels of public borrowing since the Second World War. In this context, Sunak felt the need to balance some new spending pledges...

Massive Protests In Guatemala Against President And The Congress

At least 10,000 people rallied in the central square of the country’s capital, in front of the seat of government, to express their dissatisfaction after 10 months of President Alejandro Giammattei’s administration and the approval of the 2021 budget — the largest budget in the country’s history. These latest events are part of rising discontent in the country in response to the policies of Giammeattei’s government and the right-wing party he represents, Vamos, as well as the deteriorating economic situation in Guatemala, which has been devastated by the pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes this fall.
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