Greeks have taken a big part of the brunt in Europe because of the preying on its country by banks and international institutions. Essentially, the failed strategy has been all about AUSTERITY: shrink the economy even more in return for not…plunging the economy even deeper.
The people in Greece have had enough–and they’ve called a general strike. And, friends, that is the road we will have to take.
In the first general strike since June, thousands of Greeks walked off the job on Wednesday to protest a relentless austerity drive by the government, which is struggling to avert a default that could shake the euro zone and global markets.
Most international travel was halted, with all scheduled flights into and out of the country canceled, the national rail service was suspended and ferries remained in their ports. Public transportation in the capital and other major cities was to run on a limited service to enable workers to attend protest rallies. Tax offices, courts and schools shut down for the day and hospitals were operating with only emergency staff.
The strike was called by the country’s two main labor unions, which represent about 2.5 million workers and have led resistance to the latest measures. These include additional taxes, further cuts to civil servants’ pay and pensions and a controversial plan to cut 30,000 jobs in the public sector which employs about 10 percent of Greek workers.
For all the hand-wringers about a "debt crisis", my friend Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research has it right:
But most importantly, the European authorities have to reverse course and ditch the contractionary fiscal policies that are at the heart of the problem…
The “European debt crisis” is misnamed; it is not so much a debt crisis as a crisis of policy failure. There are always alternatives to a decade without growth, trillions of dollars of lost output, and millions of unemployed that the European authorities are offering to the people of Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and now Italy. All that is lacking is the political will and competence to change course.
We are not quite Greece BUT there is a lot that is similar:
Our public workers are being attacked everywhere–their jobs cuts and benefits and wages slashed.
The actual culprits of the crisis are getting away with the crimes they committed–and they are, in fact, mostly the ones still at the helm of the financial system that is preaching austerity.
We do not have a debt or deficit "crisis" in the U.S.–a fact I’ve argued for a very long time. Like Greece, we have a policy failure crisis–one that would halt this foolish obsession with fiscal deficits (if you want to cut anything, let’s start with corporate welfare) and focus on JOBS.
While Greece is a smaller country and a general strike seems more doable, we can easily shut down this country and demand an end to austerity economics.
20,000 people in New York City could shut down the entire city–blocking bridges, tunnels, main roads. It would not take a lot. They could not arrest us all.
Multiply that by the 25 largest cities in America–just to start–and with a small percentage of Americans we could turn this ship around.