We reject these cuts as simply malicious ideological vandalism, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. Join us in the fight
It is time to organise a broad movement of active resistance to the Con-Dem government’s budget intentions. They plan the most savage spending cuts since the 1930s, which will wreck the lives of millions by devastating our jobs, pay, pensions, NHS, education, transport, postal and other services.
The government claims the cuts are unavoidable because the welfare state has been too generous. This is nonsense. Ordinary people are being forced to pay for the bankers’ profligacy.
The £11bn welfare cuts, rise in VAT to 20%, and 25% reductions across government departments target the most vulnerable – disabled people, single parents, those on housing benefit, black and other ethnic minority communities, students, migrant workers, LGBT people and pensioners.
Women are expected to bear 75% of the burden. The poorest will be hit six times harder than the richest. Internal Treasury documents estimate 1.3 million job losses in public and private sectors.
We reject this malicious vandalism and resolve to campaign for a radical alternative, with the level of determination shown by trade unionists and social movements in Greece and other European countries. Read the rest of this entry »
Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan.Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of the City University of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris (France), I (Sorbonne).
By Alan Cibils | October 20, 2004
There is a popular saying in Argentina: más vale estar solo que mal acompañado(better to be alone than in bad company). Increasingly Argentines are wondering whether it isn’t time to go it alone and leave the International Financial Institutions (IFIs, the IMF, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank) behind.
Much is at stake for both Argentina and the IMF in the current negotiations. Central issues are Argentina’s defaulted debt renegotiation process, the country’s continued debt payments to the IFIs, and its ability to design and implement economic policies that run contrary to IMF prescriptions but would reduce its appalling levels of hunger, poverty and unemployment.
by Panagiotis Sotiris*
During the past months Greece has been the most dramatic example of the current sovereign debt crisis and the first to be forced to introduce an extensive set of policy changes. The package of measures negotiated by the Greek government with the EU, the ECB, and the IMF represent the most aggressive attempt in Europe to violently and rapidly implement ‘structural reforms’ that the forces of capital have been trying for decades to introduce. This has led to an impressive wave of social unrest, that will not be easily subdued especially if we consider that the full impact of the measures has yet to be felt. That is why both the crisis and the measures have acted as a litmus test for the Greek Left and its ability to act as the leading force of social protest and resistance.
by Rick Wolff
Clearly, the global capitalist crisis that started in 2007 will be neither short nor shallow. The government rescue of the US financial industry pumped enough extra money into the economy and sufficiently reduced interest rates to give banks and the stock market the heavily hyped “recovery” that started March 2009 and is now over. What is worse, their recovery never reached much of the rest of the economy. Efforts to broaden the recovery or extend it beyond one limp year have failed. That failure cost Washington trillions in borrowed funds from lenders who now demand guarantees that those loans will be repaid to them with interest. Similar demands now confront many other governments who likewise borrowed heavily to cope with the crisis in their countries. Read the rest of this entry »
IRC Americas americas.irc-online.org
However, facts and data indicate that the default and crisis were the logical outcome of a massive debt accumulation process which was the direct result of: 1) the negative effects of policy prescriptions by the IMF and the World Bank (WB), enthusiastically implemented by Argentine officials and 2) a series of exogenous shocks which ranged from U.S. interest rate hikes to financial crises in Asia, Russia, and Brazil. These shocks led to spiraling costs of public sector borrowing and to massive capital flight as the system unraveled. The combination of inconsistent macroeconomic policies and exogenous shocks led to an economic collapse in December 2001 of historical proportions. While the Argentine fixed exchange rate regime had managed to survive the Mexican and Asian financial crises, the Brazilian crisis proved too much for an economy straining under the effects of an overvalued currency. A recession set in during the last quarter of 1998, which was to become a depression. By the end of the depression in the second quarter of 2002, Argentina had lost almost 20% of its gross domestic product (GDP). Under these conditions and as a result of the exponential growth of Argentina’s public debt, sovereign default was not only a logical consequence; it was also a necessity. Economic reactivation would have been uncertain and perhaps impossible in the absence of such a default. Also fundamental to economic recovery was abandoning the fixed exchange rate regime, allowing for a more realistic set of relative prices.
Interview with Tariq Ali*
Following the recent credit crisis in the USA, some have said that we were witnessing the death of neo-liberalism. Would you say that this is the case, or that in fact recent events are leading to harsher neo liberal times?
The crisis that destabilized the Wall-Street system in 2008 required massive state intervention by the US government to the tune of trillions of dollars. A similar process took place in Britain. Tax-payers have paid for capitalism. The rich men’s panic is temporarily over. That alone should have been the death-knell for neo-liberal economics, but is it? Clearly not. Read the rest of this entry »
by Etienne Balibar*
1. This is only the beginning of the crisis
Within one single month, we have witnessed Prime Minister Papandreou of Greece announcing his country’s default, an expansive European rescue loan offered to him on the condition of devastating budget cuts, soon followed by the “downgraded rating” of the Portuguese and Spanish debts, a threat on the value and the very existence of the Euro, the creation (under strong US pressure) of a European security fund worth € 750 bn, the Central European Bank’s decision (against its rules) to redeem sovereign debts, and the announcement of budget austerity measures in several member states. Clearly, this is only the beginning. These latest episodes of a crisis which started two years ago with the collapsing of the US housing credit forecast others. They show that there is more than ever a risk of financial crash, provoked by the huge amount of rotten stocks which have been accumulated over the last decade through the combination of unwarranted loans and the transformation of credit default swaps into financial products by the banks. “Black Peter”, the sum total of unrecoverable debts, is running around fast, and the States can’t catch up. The speculation is now targeting the currencies and the public debts. But the Euro is the weak link in the chain, and so is Europe itself. There can be little doubt that catastrophic consequences are coming. Read the rest of this entry »