In late April, the progressive Spanish daily Publico asked why there was so little resistance to the economic crisis, despite the country’s 5 million jobless and rising misery. The union and social movement leaders and left academics interviewed pointed to the numbing impact of mass unemployment, the casualisation of work, the bureaucratisation of organised labour, widespread scepticism that striking could achieve anything, and the economic cushion provided by Spain's extended families.
In a contribution to the magazine Viento Sur, Real Democracy Now! activist Nacho Álvarez looked at the challenges facing the Real Democracy Now! movement three weeks after May 15. Excerpts of the article are published below. * * * Collective reflection about what to do, how to channel people’s anger and how to structure a sustained and massive protest movement now grips the streets and squares of hundreds of Spanish cities.
A subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney on June 3 has added to a growing list of official probes into investment bank and securities firm Goldman Sachs. Reuters said on June 3: “Goldman Sachs Group Inc now faces probes by several government authorities into derivatives trades it executed in late 2006 and 2007. “On Thursday, sources close to the matter said Goldman received a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney, who joins the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission in examining Goldman's actions.”
It’s been a year since the “memorandum of understanding” between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Greek government was signed. It is now clear it has failed to deliver the country’s promised economic recovery. As confirmed by the treasury data, Greece’s debt has risen rather than fallen. At the same time, the impact on Greek people of the austerity measures demanded by the IMF has been devastating. Official unemployment has reached about 16% — an all-time high. There are 787,000 people unemployed — 181,000 more than last year.
Since the 1980s, Friends of the Earth's (FoE) annual Radioactive Exposure Tour has exposed thousands of people first-hand to the realities of “radioactive racism” and to the environmental impacts of the nuclear industry. The tour is a 10-day journey into the heart of the breathtaking semi-arid landscapes of South Australia and its atomic history and current uranium mining operations.
Media outlets from the Dawn Media Group, Pakistans leading media house, published the first set of WikiLeaks files relating to Pakistan on May 20. The leaked US cables revealed that the Pakistani military is complicit in US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas, bordering Afghanistan. Each set of cables published by the group has had a ripple effect, with the leaked US cables widely reproduced. At first, embarrassed military spokespeople and politicians exposed by the leaks denied the contents. Later, they tried to ignore them.
“In all of the mainstream media analysis of WikiLeaks' recent release of Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs) from Guantanamo, relating to almost all of the 779 prisoners who have been held at the prison over the last nine years and four months,” Andy Worthington wrote in a may 11 TruthOut.org article, “one group of prisoners has so far been overlooked: the Yemenis.”
The editor-in-chief of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, told the Belfast Telegraph that the United States was working behind the scenes to put WikiLeaks and himself out of business. He said: “The United States has brought out to the public an extremely aggressive response. In private, it is also doing other things. “That response has been the most aggressive response to an international publisher ever.” See also:
The deal to restructure the collapsing timber industry in Tasmania is struggling to make headway. Logging continues in old-growth forests at the same time as sawmills and woodchip mills close and more workers lose their jobs. Anti-logging protests are being held weekly outside the premier’s office in Hobart, and the talks between environment and industry groups continue despite a key player pulling out in frustration. The Wilderness Society (TWS) suspended its involvement in the Tasmanian Forest Agreement on May 18, citing a failure of leadership from state and federal governments.
About 40 people joined a “flash mob” action in the Myer Centre, Queen Street Mall, on June 3 to protest Seacret, as an Israeli company operating in Australia. Seacret is a cosmetics firm that uses minerals from the Dead Sea, which is part of the Palestinian territory stolen by Israel over decades of invasion and oppression. Participants in the flash mob occupied tables in the food court at Myers and chanted a song, beginning with the refrain, “We will boycott Israel! We will boycott Israel!” They then trooped through the centre, chanting, “Free, free Palestine!”