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north america / mexico / community struggles Wednesday October 12, 2011 16:50 byFirst of May Anarchist Alliance
The following is a joint statement from the First of May Anarchist Alliance and The Utopian: A Journal of Anarchism and Libertarian Socialism.We should strive to convince the movement that the problem in the US today is not just Wall Street or the corporations or the fact that the economic system is somehow being “gamed” or “rigged” by tricky selfish individuals. We need to explain that the cause of the crisis is the capitalist system itself, a system in which production is carried on only when it results in profits, the vast majority of which go to the tiny elite that runs the country. Correspondingly, we should work to persuade the movement that its ultimate aim should be the radical democratization of our entire society, in other words, a revolution in which the vast majority of people seize control of the economy and the country as a whole from the rich and disperse power and direct control of all aspects of social life as widely as possible. As a result, we should propose and support radical demands that both point in this direction and unite the broadest sectors of the population.
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ireland / britain / crime prison and punishment Thursday August 18, 2011 14:03 byAidan, Andrew & Dermot
The police killing of Mark Duggan resulted in four nights of rioting across England. The immediate trigger was the killing itself, and the disrespect shown by the police to Mark’s family and friends. But the riots rapidly broadened to expressions of a more general anger and alienation; an anger that was all too often unfocused and striking out at the nearest target of opportunity. This resulted in widespread destruction of resources in already deprived neighborhoods and some anti-social attacks on bystanders. Despite this, the roots of the riots lie in the economic and political conditions of these districts, and not in ‘poor parenting’ or ‘mindless criminality’. These conditions were created by the very politicians and business elite who now call for a return to normality and repression.The riots happened at a particular moment, a moment when capitalism is in deep crisis. Indeed the riots occurred at the same time as yet another crash in global markets. The two competed with each other to be the lead story on the news. This is not a coincidence; the crash, and the cuts unleashed to impose it’s costs on ordinary people, mean not only rocketing unemployment but also the slashing of public services. And while the focus is on the estimated £200 million of destruction caused by the rioting, this pales into insignificance in comparison with the huge destruction of wealth taking place on the stock exchanges.
In the first demo, two weeks ago, about 30,000 participated in Tel Aviv; in the second, last week, there were nearly 100,000 in Tel Aviv and about 40,000 in the rest of the country. In the third, this Saturday, there were about 250,000 in Tel Aviv - the largest ever in Israel, and about 70,000 all over the country. Who knows how many will come for next Saturday's demos. The call "Revolution!" was second only to "Social justice!"The main demands are: free education from the age of 3 months, a reduction of sales taxes and an increase in the direct taxes that the rich pay; the provision of low-cost housing to buy and rent by stopping State and municipal speculation on public land and by building small apartments and public housing; an overhaul of the public health system which the doctors' union has been demanding for several months; a stop to the precarization of workers using manpower companies; and the recruitment of 500 inspectors to enforce employer legislation regulating work - especially with regard to minimum wages.
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.
Tue 29 Jul, 04:34
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