By JOHN MILIOS and DIMITRIS P. SOTIROPOULOS*
Originally published at the Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, Volume 12, Number 3, September 2010 (For the full text with facts, figures and tables, please refer to the original)
Introduction: bad things can happen to ‘good’ economies
One of the major lessons re-learned from the recent world economic recession is that vulnerability to capitalist cycles may have little or nothing to do with the ‘more fundamental economic strengths and weaknesses’ of an economy. In reality ‘bad things can happen to good economies’.1
As has been asserted and also adequately analysed elsewhere, the crisis in the US housing market did not take long to be transformed into a global recession. The panic over the CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) of American banks immediately ‘contaminated’—to use a word much favoured of market analysts—a vulnerable world financial system. The problems that soon appeared, for example, in the UK, Spain, Iceland, Ireland, Russia, Hungary, not to mention Greece, have little to do with the ‘toxicity’ of the specific American CDOs. To put it in the most general terms, capitalism internationally went into a phase of re-pricing of risk, with everything entailed by that process (that is to say, into new arrangements for pricing financial instruments). Read the rest of this entry »
Health workers in Kilkis, Greece, have occupied their local hospital and have issued a statement saying it is now fully under workers control.
The general hospital of Kilkis in Greece is now under workers control. The workers at the hospital have declared that the long-lasting problems of the National Health System (ESY) cannot be resolved.
The workers have responded to the regime’s acceleration of fascism by occupying the hospital and outing it under direct and complete control by the workers. All decisions will be made by a ‘workers general assembly’. Read the rest of this entry »
Slide 1 (glass): In 2009 23% of children lived at poverty levels
Slide 2 (glass): Today?
Slide 3 (apples): In Athens 1 in 11 inhabitants are fed through solidarity services
Slide 4 (eggs): Last year 6 out of 10 have limited their consumption of food
Slide 5(black): We started our missions in Uganda
Slide 6 (black): Now we face a humanitarian crisis in Greece
Slide 7: Send food to Medecins du Monde
In the press release they are asking for aid to help prevent the winter of 2012 from becoming a killer winter…
*From the European Tribune forum
The Greek elite that tried to push through policies on the back of a deficit it fuelled stands alone and accused
By Costas Douzinas*
The workers of a small bakery and corner shop in central Athens announced yesterday (Weds) that while they would not close because they are serving many vulnerable people they are joining the 2-day general strike by charging all products at cost. It must have been an unexpected surprise in these hard times for their customers who bought their milk and bread at half price. This is an ordinary story of the life of resistance and kindness in Athens. At the same time, no government minister or MP can appear in public without being heckled or ‘yoghurted’ (the Greek style ‘pieing’). Greece is split in two. On the one side, politicians and bankers, rich tax evaders and media barons. Despite party differences, they are united in supporting the most class-driven and violent social and cultural restructuring West Europe has seen. Read the rest of this entry »
A year ago, in March 2010, Iceland’s economy was so small that it did not warrant much attention when 93% of its voters rejected the Social Democratic-Green government’s surrender to Gordon Brown and the Dutch, the European Union (EU) bureaucracy and IMF demands that it impose austerity as penance for believing the neoliberal fairy tales about how bank deregulation and “free markets” would make it the richest, happiest country in the world. Indeed it seemed to be, according to United Nations data. But the dream was dashed after the Icesave electronic Internet bank branches abroad were emptied out by their proprietors.
Britain and the Netherlands paid out more than $5 billion to some 340,000 of their own depositors whom their own bank oversight agencies had failed to warn the about looting going on. Iceland’s taxpayers were told to bear the cost, as virtual tribute. The dream was the neoliberal promise that running to debt was the way to get rich. Nobody at the time anticipated that taking private (and indeed, fraudulent) bank losses onto the public balance sheet would become the theme dividing Europe over the coming year, dividing European politics and even threaten to break up the Eurozone. Read the rest of this entry »
By Max Fraad-Wolff and Richard Wolff
A national campaign is now fully launched to make local public sector employees pick up a major share of the costs of economic crisis. Years of rising spending and falling revenue have carved a path of destruction through federal, state and local budgets. Deficits and debts have mounted eroding taxpayer support for government spending in general and for public employees particularly. In response to deep economic pains in middle class communities, major efforts are under way, from California to Maine, to balance budgets through major cuts in services, wages, benefits and employment.
Federal, state and local governments are staggering from reduced tax revenues because of unemployment, reduced production, lower investment, and the housing collapse. Washington borrowed huge sums from foreign investors, domestic big business and the rich. These funds went to bailout select businesses and to help (partially and temporarily) broken state and local government budgets. Because Democrats and Republicans agreed last December to not increase income, estate, and capital gains taxes, broken state and local budgets face declining Federal support. This is driving governors, mayors and state legislatures to raise taxes and/or to slash payrolls and programs. Of course some cutting and tax increases are required. The real social decisions involve what to cut, how much, for whom, and whose taxes to increase. Read the rest of this entry »