In Greece, workers have responded to government austerity plans with a two day general strike. The country’s minimum wage has been cut by 22% and over 150,000 public workers are set to lose their jobs. Who will win? Bankers and their servants in the government.
Belgium firefighters turned their hoses on riot police in protest of an austerity plan that will raise their retirement age. Again, working people pay for the mistakes of politicians and their allies in the financial sector.
Police officers are striking for higher pay in Brazil, a country that does not have to play the austerity game. In this case, workers are using leverage by striking at the beginning of a popular tourist season (carnival) and just two years before the country hosts the World Cup. Criminals, naturally, have been taking advantage of police-free streets, which is forcing the government to call in the military to perform police duties.
Moral of the story: Working people are not happy with the governments that are supposed to represent them but only serve the interest of big money. Faced with low wages and cuts, working people are taking the only action that makes sense – stop working.
Common Dreams carries a story about Greek workers who have shut down the country with a general strike. The country’s two biggest unions led the effort, and workers flooded Athens. Many protestors complained that the government is selling off government assets at below market rates. A former IMF member said that the real problem was not government debt. It’s joblessness. Cutting budget deficit will never create jobs. What we’re seeing is a modern Greek tragedy.