1J: Peoples United Against The Troika

This is a translation of an article published on cuartopoder.es, on the forthcoming international mobilisation against the Troika this Saturday. It is by Agustín Moreno, a secondary school teacher in Vallecas in Madrid, and member of the Marea Verde (literally, ‘Green Tide’) a social movement in defence of public education.

The Dublin demonstration starts at 12pm, in the Garden of Remembrance.

People United Against The Troika

1J: Peoples United Against The Troika

On 26th of April there was a meeting in Lisbon of representatives of popular collectives from a series of European Union countries: Portugal, Greece , Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Slovenia and Spain. They were invited by the Portuguese movement “Que se Lixe a Troika” [“Fuck the Troika”]. They agreed to call for an international day of mobilisations on the 1st of June 2013 against austerity policies under the slogan Peoples United against the Troika.

There was a shared analysis of the situation. The adjustment policies being imposed by the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund dand the European Commission, with the complicity of the governments of the peoples of Europe, especially those of the south, are generating an enormous social suffering. They impoverish and pauperise economies, do away with social rights and deny all any hope to a generation of Europeans. It is an economic disaster and an immense human drama: unemployment, poverty, evictions and rises in mortality rates. All this with the excuse of tightening the public deficit and paying a debt that was not generated by the citizens, but by the bailout of credit institutions, and which, as such, is illegitimate.

In all those countries that have had interventions with bailout memoranda imposed (Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus) or a bank bailout as is the case with Spain, the lines of aggression against society are the same: dismantling of public services (health, education…) savage cuts to wages, removal of barriers to sacking workers, cuts to pensions. Along with the privatisation of what is public, what David Harvey calls accumulation by dispossession, or the plunder of a social wealth created across generations so as to hand it over to Capital as a new business niche.

Among the various causes of this situation is the international economic crisis of capitalism, profligacy and disastrous management, and the joining of the euro by countries with a weak economy. The case of Spain is especially bloody. We have 2.3 trillion euro in external liabilities and although public debt is nearly a trillion euro, the majority of the debt is private. Spain’s joining the euro built up a deficit of 700bn, and another trillion euro for the investment plans of Spanish enterprises, especially in Latin America, which had to be financed with foreign debt. And so as to tie our hands completely, the PSOE and the PP, by common accord, decided to change the Spanish Constitution (article 135.3) to prioritise the payment of such debt in any circumstance. They fled any debate in society and did not dare to put the matter to popular consultation or referendum. Besides being illegitimate, the debt is unpayable (and irretrievable): if there is no deep restructuring of public debt, via a write-down or a moratorium, the public sector could go bankrupt.

This irresponsible policy of the Troika and its puppet governments is giving rise to a crisis in democracy characterised by the creation of a catastrophic economic situation through the implementation of austerity policies. Contempt for the popular will, corruption and repression. Reneging on electoral promises, abandonment of citizens to their fate by weakening social protection mechanisms, refusal to attend to social and labour demands. The corruption that reigns makes things worse, by confusing what is is public and what is private, and there is a growing perception among citizens that they are led by crooks and self-seeking politicians operating in the interests of the banking sector and major corporations. To the extent that they are not prepared to change policies that are suicidal for both the economy and citizens, what we see is the restriction of civil rights and liberties and the toughening of political and police repression in order to try and shut the protests up. Something which, given the circumstances, is like trying to drain the ocean.

In light of this situation, the forces calling for the European mobilisation recognise a need for an urgent change of direction, both in the economy and in politics. The banking sector should not be bailed out; instead it should be persons, citizens and young Europeans who should be saved, rather than mortgaging the future of the environment and the planet. And we need to democratise Europe and democratise politics. That is why all they call for every social movement, political party, union, tide, collective of every kind and people in general to take the streets of Europe on the 1st of June. Against what they call the financial coup d’etat, and for democracy, freedom and social rights, and for the Europe of ordinary people.

They insist that alternatives and solutions exist. They demand social and environmental justice, participative democracy and transparency. They stand for public and universal services. They demand a citizens’ audit of debt that is considered legitimate. The mobilisation that has been called derives from the conviction that with the Troika there can be no hope. It is only citizens who can unblock the current situation and prevent a new round of social cutbacks across the whole of Europe, especially in the countries of the South. To this end we need a great deal of co-ordinated mobilisation at a European level that changes the current correlation of forces. Ultimately to encourage a perspective of the future in which politco-electoral alternatives crystallise, ones which bring about the empowerment of social movements and of citizens, and which crystallises in more participative forms of democracy.

Here in Spain, the mobilisation is being driven by Marea Ciudadana [Citizen Tide] which called the mass demonstrations of the 23F, and which is made up of tides, entities, social movements, progressive political parties, class unions, etc. So, we cannot miss this: Saturday 1st June, see you on the streets.

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