Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Economy - What It Looks Like Elsewhere

What we and our leaders probably fear most compliments of Scotland's Sunday Herald:

A teacher from Manchester, and an Italian trade unionist on the march, both said yesterday's march was "always going to a family event". The Italian added: "Tomorrow? People are angry, very angry and it will take very little for things to get horrible."

The superintendent who heads the Met's public disorder branch, David Hartshorn, said the usually quiet part of the class divide, one that had never before seen a demonstration as being likely to achieve what they wanted, could now join resurrected and revived protest groups from the 80s. Dormant activists, according to police sources, are back and armed with something previous generations of protesters lacked: communications sophistication in the shape of the internet, Twitter and text messages. If there is serious disorder in London this week, and on the scale the police expect, it will add to the unrest that has been felt all over Europe since the shock waves of the global downturn were first felt.

In Ireland last week it was taxi drivers and airport workers protesting at job cuts. There have been small demonstrations, lunchtime strikes and huge marches: 100,000 recently marched through Dublin over cutbacks made by the Irish government. In Hungary this month police used tear gas in Budapest to disperse anti-government protest.

In Greece, the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old resulted in the worst riots in a generation last December. Unions in Greece are now staging regular protests demanding the government address the impact on Greece's poor of the downturn. There have been other demonstrations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Poland and Bulgaria.

In France, three million people took to the streets two weeks ago as part of a second round of strikes and rallies, all attacking President Sarkozy's handling of the crisis. More strikes and marches are expected this week.

The same newspaper provides this antidote, albeit a British one, We don't like capitalism... but we don't want a revolution. I think the same thing might be true here but for the uproar over the AIG bonuses. And, if reports like, William Greider's Trust Your Guts is all wrong with this paragraph:

If Wall Street gets its way, the "reforms" may further consolidate power and ratify a corporate state--a grotesque hybrid that combines the worst aspects of socialism and capitalism. The reform ideas announced by Geithner would plant the seeds by creating a "systemic risk" regulator, presumably the Federal Reserve, to oversee the largest, most politically adept banks and financial firms that qualify as "too big to fail." Capitalism, with its inherent tendency toward monopoly, would have the means to monopolize democracy (see my recent Washington Post article.)

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