Greek unions launched a two-day general strike on February 10 against new extreme austerity measures the “troika” of the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Union is seeking to impose on the southern European nation. The deal will give Greece a new “bail-out” worth 130 billion euros (A$161 billion) in return for fresh spending cuts. Amid ongoing street protests and building occupations, the Greek cabinet approved the deal on February 10. Six cabinet members resigned in protest. Greek parliament was scheduled to vote on the deal on the evening of February 12.
Renewing Sydney’s train fleet is far too important a matter to be left to the “free” market. On February 6 the NSW government announced it was going to pay $175 million in 2018 to bail out the failed Reliance Rail syndicate that has been contracted to build and maintain the new Waratah commuter trains for Sydney’s CityRail network. It's another failed Public Private Partnership (PPP), meaning more public money is poured into the coffers of financiers and speculators.
A vast icy pool of Siberian air, the coldest in 50 years, settled over all Europe in late January. At least 150 people without shelter were killed. Yet the suffering from this extreme cold snap will be nothing compared with that of the economic ice age now threatening to entomb Europe’s most vulnerable economies. Over the past fortnight southern Europe’s growth prospects have become increasingly wintry:
US gangster Al Capone once said: “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.” 19th century US president Thomas Jefferson said: “Banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.” These quotes capture the bastard nature of the dangerous racket that is the Australian banking cartel. See also: Socialist candidate says fight private bank ripoffs
As you read these words, disaster may be about to strike in the galloping crisis of the European financial system and the euro. Or it may not — yet. On November 30, the imminent threat of a banking system implosion stirred the European Central Bank (ECB), the US Federal Reserve, Bank of England and central banks of Japan, Canada and Switzerland, into taking the minimum action needed to prevent a “Lehman Brothers event” collapsing the European financial system.
After months of relentless propaganda by mining companies and the corporate media, the idea of taxing the super profits of the big mining companies remains a popular measure. Recent Essential Research polling said 51% support such a tax (up from 50% since July 2010). Opposition to it rose from 28% to 33%.
Community and Public Sector Union Tasmania general secretary Tom Lynch gave the speech below to a 4500-strong rally in Hobart on November 12. The rally was held in protest at the Labor-Greens state government’s budget cutbacks. * * * While external forces often determine the overall direction a government takes, the path it chooses to get there is for it to determine based on its values and beliefs and the will of the people it represents.
“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth glancing at”, wrote Oscar Wilde, “for it leaves out the one country at which humanity is always landing. And when humanity lands there, it looks out, and seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.”
Italy faces a wave of devastating International Monetary Fund (IMF) imposed austerity as European leaders struggle to contain the spreading debt crisis by disenfranchising their own citizens. On November 4, at the end of the G20 meeting in Cannes, the President of the EU Commission Jose Barroso announced that “Italy has asked on its initiative to the IMF to monitor its commitment to fiscal and economic reforms”.
Strong>The Short Goodbye: A Skewed History of the Last Boom and the Next Bust By Elisabeth Wynhausen Melbourne University Publishing, 2011 219 pages, $29.99 (pb) From writing stories about workers being sacked during the 2009 global financial crisis, Elisabeth Wynhausen, a journalist at Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian, got a taste of the real thing when she was handed a pink slip of her own.