Labor - Global

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Thousands march in Frankfurt against austerity measures

Till Weber, Ludwig Burger & Paul Carrel, Reuters, May 19, 2012 Frankfurt - At least 20,000 demonstrators marched through Frankfurt on Saturday in a peaceful protest against austerity measures implemented to tackle the intensifying euro zone debt crisis. Police closed off main roads in the centre of Frankfurt and set up check points on highways around the city as part of a heavy security operation to protect Germany's financial capital. The protesters are angry at the misery they say governments are inflicting on people with their response to the crisis, which has intensified since inconclusive elections in Greece this month fueled concerns about its future ... Thousands

From the Chilean Winter to the Maple Spring

Solidarity and the Student Movements in Chile and Québec. Andrew Gavin Marshall, Montreal Stories, May 18, 2012 On the night of May 16, thousands of Montréal students and supporters took to the streets for the 23rd consecutive night of protests, this time spurred on by the Government of Québec's announcement that it would legislate an end to the 14-week student strike which has gripped Québec for the past three months. The government's proposed bill would "impose strict conditions on students wanting to demonstrate against the planned tuition fee hikes," which could "include stiff fines against anyone attempting to block entrances to the colleges and universities." ... From

France will not ratify current EU fiscal pact

New finance minister Pierre Moscovici says eurozone pact must be renegotiated to promote growth rather than austerity. Al Jazeera, May 17, 2012 France will not ratify the European Union's pact on fiscal discipline unless it is amended to include ambitious commitments to promote economic growth, the country's new finance minister, Pierre Moscovici, has said. 

"What we've said is the treaty will not be ratified as it stands," Moscovici told France's BFM TV on Thursday. "We're firm on this." ... France

Unity for the Cancellation of the Troika's Memorandum and its Barbaric Measures!

Appeal by Political and Trade Union Activists Gathered in Nauplia [Nafplio], Greece, on May 17, 2012

Workers, political and trade union activists gathered in Nauplia [Nafplio], Greece, on this 17th of May. We have discussed the situation. Many of us voted for Syriza on the 6th of May, others for other candidates, but all of us are united to say that what gathers us together - we and the immense majority of the workers and the people of Greece - and what has been expressed in the strikes and mobilizations for over a year and a half now, as was expressed in the May 6 elections is this central demand:

Unity for the Cancellation of the Troika Memorandum!

Greece heads for new poll as unity talks flop

The Age, May 16, 2012 Athens  - Greece would hold new elections after President Karolos Papoulias failed to broker the creation of a government, socialist Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos said last night. ''The country is once again headed to elections in a few days under adverse conditions,'' Mr Venizelos said. ''The Greek people told us they didn't want elections but a coalition government, that they want Greece in the euro.'' Mr Papoulias met all leaders of parties represented in Parliament yesterday except for an ultra-nationalist party. ... Greece

Mass Anti-Austerity Protests Sweep Through Spain

RT News, May 13, 2012 At least 100,000 protesters angered by the country's grim economic prospects turned out for street demonstrations in 80 cities across Spain. This marked the one-year anniversary of a movement that inspired similar activist groups in other countries. In the capital Madrid, thousands of protesters chanted and beat drums as they marched from different directions to converge on the central Puerta del Sol Square. The square was brimming with demonstrators during the evening, but visibly emptied as some of the protesters left after 10 PM local time. Authorities have vowed to block any attempts by protesters to camp out on the square ... Mass

New Greek Elections Called as Left Holds Firm Against Austerity Drive

Coalition efforts fail to build consensus; financial markets tremble as possible Euro exit looms. Common Dreams, May 15, 2012 Coalition talks among the Greek political parties collapsed officially today in Athens and new parliamentary elections have now been called for next month. With over 70% of Greeks opposing an agreement that would dictate deep wage, pension and public spending cuts in exchange for ongoing bailout funds from the EU and the IMF,  leftist parties Syriza and the smaller Democratic Left, refused to cave to pressure from the Socialist and New Democracy parties to forge a coalition. ... New

Some Good News, Lots of Bad News

Victor Grossman, Portside, May 14, 2012 Berlin - In a way, it’s a “good news” and “bad news” angle. The good news: the Christian Democratic Union of Angela Merkel took a real whipping in the election in North Rhine-Westphalia (usually abbreviated to NRW), the largest German state in terms of population. Her smiling, almost benign mien, with little bluster or braggadocio, disguises less and less her tough advocacy of austerity - a code word for overcoming deficits not by hitting big banks and big biz, who caused the calamity, but rather the people who have always been hit worst and who are truly suffering. ... Some

Greece: Trying to understand SYRIZA

Paul Mason, blog, May 13, 2012 This is less of a blog more of a series of notes to try and enhance understanding of who SYRIZA and its leader Alexis Tsipras actually are, and how they might behave if, as polls suggest, they become the winning party in a second Greek general election. I’ve been troubled by the lack of historical depth in most of the profiles published in newspapers; and of course my own knowledge is limited to English sources. I’ve checked this with two authoritative Greek sources. It should go up on my BBC blog soon. Get ready to hear about parties and political currents that most commentators believed were insignificant just a few years ago ... Greece

A Triumph of the Radical Left in Greece: A Message to Europe

Haris Golemis, Transform! Europe, May 12, 2012 Athens - The recent electoral results in Greece was a serious blow to the governments of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy [referred collectively as ‘Merkozy’], as well as to all those arrogant neoliberal parties, politicians, analysts, EU, ECB and IMF officials who thought that the European people can suffer passively and for an indefinite period the extreme austerity policies of neoliberal orthodoxy, which supposedly aim to an exit from the capitalist crisis in Europe. Although resistance in the streets and hopeful results in the ballot boxes have happened in almost all EU countries since the crisis began, it is interesting that the clearest message against neoliberalism ... A

One year on, Spain's 'indignants' take to streets

Daniel Silva, AFP, May 12, 2012 Masses of chanting "indignant" activists poured into the streets across Spain on Saturday in a vast show of strength one year on from igniting a global protest against economic injustice. Tens of thousands packed Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square, the emblematic birthplace of their popular movement against inequality, sky-high unemployment and spending cuts that shook the political establishment. Many had marched to the square for hours in separate columns of protesters from all directions and defied an official warning that they must disperse after 10:00 PM (2000 GMT). At midnight, as promised, they lifted their arms to the sky ... One

Labour needs a fresh leader

A defence of the golden age gone by might feed one's nostalgia but it does not provide good ideas to move us out of the morass of the present. Vijay Prashad, The Hindu, May 11, 2012 On May 28, a select group of delegates will enter a room in the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva to elect the body's next Director-General. Nine candidates are in line for the post. The ILO's byzantine process revolves around a tripartite structure, with the employers (the International Organisation of Employers), the workers (largely the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC) and the governments sharing the task of selecting the next Director. The governments hold 28 of the votes ... Labour

The 6 Lessons of the 6th of May

Christophe Deroubaix, l’Humanité, May 10, 2012 Rejection of Sarkozysm, failure of the swerve to the right by the UMP, its sanction by voters of all social categories, the mobilization of the "people of the left", the strength of the urban vote, and a little story from Marseille: what we learn from the second round of the presidential election. The Referendum on Sarkozysm. ... The

Eurozone crisis: Greek left leader renounces bailout deal

Frontrunner to form a new government shocks financial markets with remarks over EU and IMF loan agreement. Helena Smith, Guardian, May 8, 2012 Athens - The fate of Greece is, on Tuesday night, in the hands of the leader of a far-left party who launched the quest to form a government by declaring the country could no longer commit itself to the terms of an international loan agreement keeping its economy afloat. After accepting a mandate to create a multiparty administration following inconclusive elections, Alexis Tsipras sent shockwaves through financial markets by announcing the pledges Athens had made to secure rescue funds from the EU and IMF were null and void. ... Eurozone

Québec students send a message against austerity

Linda McQuaig, Toronto Star, May 7, 2012 No wonder those Québec student protestors have been spooking the English Canadian establishment. If they get their way, the same ideas could catch on here, leaving the best-laid plans for austerity in tatters. What seems to particularly gall some English Canadian commentators is the fact that the Quebec students - who reached a tentative deal with the province on the weekend after a three-month strike - have been protesting tuition hikes that would still leave them with the lowest tuition in the country. Why can’t these spoiled brats be grateful, and go back to watching video games ... Québec

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