Protesters chanted “Yes we can!” as they made their way from Madrid city hall to the central Puerta del Sol square. Podemos and its anti-austerity message have been surging in polls ahead of local, regional and national elections this year. Podemos (“We Can”) was formed just a year ago but gained international attention after winning five seats in elections for the European Parliament last May.
Antonia Fernandez, a 69-year-old pensioner from Madrid, came to the demonstration with her family. Fernandez, who lives with her husband on a combined pension worth about $790 a month, said she used to vote for Spain’s Socialist party but had lost faith in it because of its handling of the economic crisis and its austerity policies. “People are fed up with the political class,” Fernandez said. “If we want to have a future, we need jobs,” she said.
Like Syriza, Podemos has found popular support by targeting corruption and rejecting a European austerity program aimed at lifting struggling economies out of a deep crisis. After his Syriza party swept to victory in a snap election on Jan. 25, Alexis Tsipras promised that five years of austerity, “humiliation and suffering” imposed on Greece by international creditors were over.
I’m a second generation Chicagoan. Live on the north side and work on the west side. I was around in the 70’s as a hippy. What little of Marx I understood then I liked. So when governments are democratic l tend to prefer them especially, of course, over corporations. My standards for democracy are extremely high. At the moment I don’t really count the plutocratic U.S. I believe that the bigger an organization is the more regulations it needs to follow. To me “to big to fail” means way more than big enough to nationalize.
My morning newspaper Feb. 17 provided several depressing reports. I learned more about the spread of horsemeat in Europe’s human food supply. Subscribers read also about austerity measures in the United States that hurt the young, old, and those in between.
The downward developments are worth noting, especially because they contrast so much with the uplifting words and stagecraft of the president’s recent second-term Inaugural and State of the Union speeches.
Our normal topic in this space — injustice — is gloomy in its own way. Legal rights will seem increasingly like a luxury in hard times ahead, subject to new limits on freedom. Few will recall that due process and other legal rights are not a luxurious token of the nation’s success, but were a necessary precondition.
As for Europe, we now know that unwitting consumers there have been eating horsemeat. It’s cheap for the food processors and under-funded, lax regulators have not been careful about eliminating mystery meat from processed foods. Read More
International Business Times, By Eleazar David Meléndez, October 08
A meeting in Athens Tuesday between the Greek political leadership and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be a highlight in euro zone crisis developments this week. The visit could also determnine the Hellenic Republic’s future within the currency union.
The visit by Merkel into what is essentially enemy territory — a detail of 7,000 police officers will be deployed to protect her from angry Athenian mobs — will certainly be the noisiest event. Read More
Chanting “resistance, resistance”, the crowds had been rallied by around 60 organisations, including the leftwing Front de Gauche and the French Communist party, which oppose the European budget treaty.
“Today is the day the French people launch a movement against the politics of austerity,” said the Front de Gauche president, Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
A few hours before the protest started Jérome Cahuzac, a junior budget minister, described the demonstration as a “fundamental” error. “I think they are committing a fundamental error in thinking that the policies we are following are weakening France, when in fact these policies are strengthening it,” he told Europe 1.
In Spain, demonstrators spoke out against government spending cuts, tax hikes, and the nation’s alarmingly high unemployment rate.
The protest was centered near the Spanish Parliament building in the city’s downtown district.
Eager to make known their disapproval of the current administration, the crowd let off loud whistles near Parliament and yelled, “Fire them, fire them!”, referring to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government.
On Friday, Rajoy’s government presented a 2013 draft budget that will cut overall spending by 40 billion euro, freezing public employees’ salaries, cutting unemployment benefits and reducing spending for Spain’s royal family.
The Rajoy administration says the country’s austerity program will continue into next year, along with the economic recession.
More than one in every two Spaniards under the age of 24 is currently jobless, while the national unemployment rate has reached nearly 25 per cent when considering all working age groups.
Last week, some friends and I burst in on a speech from the retired HMRC boss Dave Hartnett at a tax dodgers conference. The video of our action has since gone viral. Here’s why I did it:
I stood as a Green candidate in local elections last year. If I had bought dinner and drinks for a potential voter, I would have been breaking the law and I would have been disqualified. If you buy someone who has power over you nice things in the hope they will do you a favour, then this is bribery. It’s pretty simple. When people do it in developing countries, the British establishment rolls its eyes.
Dave Hartnett was, until the end of July, Britain’s senior tax collector. He was also the civil servant who was most wined and dined. You can choose to believe one of two things: either the senior tax man has the most scintillating, entertaining dinner table chat of everyone at Whitehall; or there’s something more sinister going on. Read More