Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* EUROPE’S AUSTERITY MADNESS
By Paul Krugman, NYTimes
[…] So much for complacency. Just a few days ago, the conventional wisdom was that Europe finally had things under control. The European Central Bank, by promising to buy the bonds of troubled governments if necessary, had soothed markets. All that debtor nations had to do, the story went, was agree to more and deeper austerity — the condition for central bank loans — and all would be well.
But the purveyors of conventional wisdom forgot that people were involved. Suddenly, Spain and Greece are being racked by strikes and huge demonstrations. The public in these countries is, in effect, saying that it has reached its limit: With unemployment at Great Depression levels and with erstwhile middle-class workers reduced to picking through garbage in search of food, austerity has already gone too far. And this means that there may not be a deal after all.
Much commentary suggests that the citizens of Spain and Greece are just delaying the inevitable, protesting against sacrifices that must, in fact, be made. But the truth is that the protesters are right. More austerity serves no useful purpose; the truly irrational players here are the allegedly serious politicians and officials demanding ever more pain. […]
* GREEK POLICE SEND CRIME VICTIMS TO NEO-NAZI ‘PROTECTORS’
By Helena Smith, Guardian UK
Greece‘s far-right Golden Dawn party is increasingly assuming the role of law enforcement officers on the streets of the bankrupt country, with mounting evidence that Athenians are being openly directed by police to seek help from the neo-Nazi group, analysts, activists and lawyers say.
In return, a growing number of Greek crime victims have come to see the party, whose symbol bears an uncanny resemblance to the swastika, as a “protector”.
One victim of crime, an eloquent US-trained civil servant, told the Guardian of her family’s shock at being referred to the party when her mother recently called the police following an incident involving Albanian immigrants in their downtown apartment block.
“They immediately said if it’s an issue with immigrants go to Golden Dawn,” said the 38-year-old, who fearing for her job and safety, spoke only on condition of anonymity. “We don’t condone Golden Dawn but there is an acute social problem that has come with the breakdown of feeling of security among lower and middle class people in the urban centre,” she said. “If the police and official mechanism can’t deliver and there is no recourse to justice, then you have to turn to other maverick solutions.” […]
* VIDEO: VIOLENT CLASHES ERUPT AS MADRID COPS SQUELCH AUSTERITY PROTEST
Sporadic clashes have broken out in central Madrid, with twelve people reportedly injured after riot police moved in to clear the Plaza de Neptune, threatening to arrest those who would not leave.
The demo turned violent when police encircled about 300 protesters who refused to leave the square. The demonstrators chanted slogans, while some threw projectiles at police vehicles.
Twelve people have reportedly been injured as Madrid’s police split up the crowd, giving protesters the choice to either leave or face arrest. Two people have been arrested, El Pais reported.
A group of roughly 100 protesters tried to organize a sit-it, but left without incident, with police not trying to detain any of them.
The organizers of the protest have reportedly agreed to hold a meeting on Sunday to decide on the future actions of the movement. […]
READ / PHOTOS / VIDEO @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=822vlIY34_s#!
* ‘STOP HITTING THE WEAKEST’: ITALIAN WORKERS KICKOFF ANTI-AUSTERITY GENERAL STRIKE
Up to 30,000 members of two of Italy’s biggest unions gathered for a general strike in Rome, protesting recent austerity measures. The demonstration came days after crowds hit the streets of Athens and Madrid for similar protests.
Throngs of protesters – ranging from university professors, public administration and health employees, and garbage collectors – took to the streets of Italy on Friday as part of a strike organized by the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL) and the Italian Union of Labor (UIL).
“Stop hitting the weakest. We have already given enough,” the unions wrote on their websites. […]
* TODAY IN FRANCE
Source: Coalition of Resistance: Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay
Today France – Thousands of demonstrators are marching peacefully in Paris to denounce austerity measures in Europe that have sparked violent protests in other EU countries struggling to avert fiscal crises.
The march organized largely by the “Left Front” party and the Communists comes ahead of the French parliament’s debate this week on a European fiscal treaty. The treaty would set up the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund that European leaders hope will help calm a debt crisis that threatens the euro zone and the global economy.