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It has become common knowledge that South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. Only 41% of people of working age are employed, while half of the people employed earn less than R 2 500 a month. Worse still, inequality is growing with wages as a share of the national income dropping from 50% in 1994 to 45% in 2009; while profit as a share of national income has soared from 40% to 45%.In real terms this means that while a minority live well – and have luxurious houses, swimming pools, businesses, investments, and cushy positions in the state - the majority of people live in shacks or tiny breezeblock dwellings, are surrounded by squalor, and struggle on a daily basis to acquire the basics of life like food and water. Likewise, while bosses, state managers, and politicians – both black and white – get to strut around in fancy suits barking orders; the majority of people are expected to bow down, do as told, and swallow their pride.
Despite being expected to be subservient, however, protests in working class areas are spreading. People have become fed up with being unemployed, having substandard housing, suffering humiliation, and having their water and electricity cut off. In fact, per person South Africa has the highest rate of protests in the world. It is in this context of growing community direct action, even if still largely un-coordinated, that the state has felt it necessary, at least on a rhetorical level, to declare its intentions to lead a fight against unemployment and reduce inequality. To supposedly do so it unveiled a new economic framework, The New Growth Path (NGP), late in 2010 with the declared aim of creating 5 million jobs by 2020.
The big bad ECB wolf is a-huffing and a-puffing but the first of the three little pigs is showing no signs of surrendering just yet. And behind the spectacle of the Greek populace standing up against its government and the core EU powers, lurks a recent historical shadow - a spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of Yugoslavia.Today Greece is the target of pressure and brinkmanship by the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund who are holding back the next installment in the so-called "bailout" agreed last year. The payment of €12 billion was originally scheduled for this month and without it Greece will default on repaying its existing bonds due for redemption on Jul 15.
The aim of this blackmail is to convince the current government and Greek political class to vote through a "smash and grab" programme of privatisations and social spending cuts dictated by the Eurozone core countries in the face of the vocal opposition of the majority of the Greek population shown on the streets in these last weeks.
South African unions, centred on the 2 million-strong Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), have consistently articulated a policy vision that breaks with crude neo-liberalism. This is remarkable – but is it enough? Just how viable and desirable is this vision, particularly as the neo-liberal era lurches into a serious slump? And is there an alternative?
This question is posed particularly acutely by the hammer blows of the global recession from 2007. Despite the rather predicable pretence that South Africa is unaffected (notably by Trevor Manuel), the country is far from immune.
Communiqué des organisations européennes en Anarkismo : Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italie), Alternative Libertaire (France), Organisation Socialiste Libertaire (Suisse), Liberty & Solidarity (Grande Bretagne), Workers Solidarity Movement (Irlande), Libertære Socialister (Danemark), Libertäre Aktion Winterthur (Suisse), Motmakt (Norvège)Ces dernières semaines, les signes de la colère des peuples d'Europe se multiplient. Si les mots d'ordre peuvent varier d'un pays à l'autre, la révolte a partout la même origine : le refus des peuples de payer une crise dont ils ne sont pas responsables, en encaissant des plans de rigueur qu'on leur fait porter seuls, pour ne pas avoir à faire payer les capitalistes...
Nous devons répondre par la lutte et la solidarité entre les travailleurs et les travailleuses des pays touchés. Face à ces attaques, l'internationalisme est plus que jamais nécessaire : nous avons besoin d'un mouvement social européen.
It's now official, the Irish state is in talks with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund about a so called "rescue plan" to bail out the Irish capitalist class from the disaster created by the international crash of the capitalist economic system.A crisis that was magnified in Ireland by the corruption of local crony capitalism on the one hand and the dependency of the economy on "globalization" on the other. Trapped between such a cast of crooks and idiots it is perhaps not surprising that many in Ireland hope things will be improved when the running of our lives will be handed over to those who many hope might have a clue.
More articles on the Irish crisis
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Thu 24 Jan, 14:30
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