Anti-austerity movement

Ireland

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Brian O'Boyle considers the growing militant anti-austerity movement in Ireland

The Irish economic crash has been almost without parallel in Western Europe. Having previously been held up as a poster boy for neoliberalism Irish capitalism went into freefall in late 2008, as hundreds of thousands lost their jobs and the banking system rapidly disintegrated. The Celtic Tiger "miracle" turned out to be a mirage and it was the particular rhythm of Irish neoliberalism that can best account for the boom, the bubble and the disastrous bust.

The Nasty, Meek and Militant: How to get the unions back in the fight

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The great potential of the 30 November strike is in danger of being frittered away after unions called off national strikes on 28 March. Martin Smith looks at why the pensions fight has hit a roadblock and how we can restart the fightback

I write this article on 28 March (M28), the day that around 70,000 teachers and lecturers belonging to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the University and College Union (UCU) struck across London to defend their pensions.

The spirit of Occupy

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John Sinha and Amy Leather are socialists who have been part of the occupation of St Paul's since it began. They spoke to Jack Farmer about the Occupy movement

What has been the ideological impact of the Occupy movement?

John: It's had a huge impact, which can be summed up in the slogan "We are the 99%". What people meant by that is that we are fighting for the interests of the 99% of people who have lost out as a result of neoliberalism.

Amy: The slogan is also the beginning of an argument about class. It's made people think that it is possible to take on those at the top and do something to change the world.

What were the differences between Occupy in Britain and elsewhere?

USA: Revolt of the 99 %

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Eric Fretz reports from New York on how the Occupy movement has transformed the mood in the USA.

"We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent." So runs the statement on the werarethe99percent website.

Autonomous Developments

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Young people have been at the centre of momentous struggles this year. Jonny Jones argues that socialists should thow themselves into these struggles while pointing to the power of the working class

Many of the struggles which have rocked the world over the past 12 months have had young people at their heart. In part, this is down to the fact that they are less held back by ideological and economic constraints than those who have to worry about paying their mortgages and feeding their families. Their methods of struggle are inventive and dynamic, unencumbered by the slower moving, bureaucratic processes which they have come to identify with the trade union movement.

Birth of a new movement

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The day of global solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York on 15 October marked the emergence of a new movement with a rejection of capitalism at its heart. Protests were held in over 950 cities across 80 countries and five continents with over a million people taking part.

But impressive as this is, the ideological impact was even greater. The atmosphere has already been transformed more than once this year already. The democratic revolutions in Tunisia, and especially Egypt, reasserted the collective power of the masses to defeat dictatorships. The mass strikes in Greece and the youth-led rebellion of the Spanish "indignados" signalled a new willingness to challenge austerity.

Class war in the USA

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This September marked the third year of the deepening global financial crisis. It also marked the emergence of a fresh wave of resistance to global corporate greed, the now international movement "Occupy Wall Street".

What started out as 150 activists occupying the privately owned Zuccotti park in Wall Street in mid-September has turned into the permanent occupation of the renamed "Liberty Plaza". The occupation's main slogan, "We are the 99 percent", has caught the imagination of people around the globe.

On 15 October the demonstration in Times Square in New York swelled to over 100,000. The protests have drawn inspiration from the revolutions across the Arab world - in particular, the occupation of Tahrir Square in Egypt which helped to bring down the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.

Towards a mass strike

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There are times, decades even, when events drag and nothing seems to happen, and there are weeks and months when history seems to leap forward. There can be no question that the announcement, by a host of public sector unions, at September's TUC conference of plans for a one-day strike on 30 November marks a sharp escalation in the class struggle in Britain

The decision by more unions to ballot their members over the assault on pensions and coordinate a strike with the four unions that struck on 30 June means that up to 3 million workers could strike together in what is effectively a public sector general strike.

Pension Battles

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The autumn is likely to see a renewal of strikes over the assault on public sector pensions. Charlie Kimber looks at the pressures on the big unions to join the fight.

The coalition's assault on the pensions of public sector workers is the most direct and concentrated aspect of its war to make ordinary people pay the cost of bailing out the bosses and the bankers. It is, of course, part of a much wider strategy, involving not just the £81 billion of public spending cuts but also a reshaping of the whole of British society in the interests of capital and profit. And the pensions attack goes alongside a vicious offensive against benefits, jobs and services everywhere.

In the spotlight

Greece: austerity and workers' resistance

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Mark L Thomas spoke to revolutionary socialist Nikos Loudos about the explosive resistance to austerity in Greece


Photo Jess Hurd/Report Digital

Greece is being shaken by repeated general strikes, militant strikes by sections of workers, workplace occupations, mass protests and occupations of city squares.

While the headlines have been dominated by the threat to the eurozone, the attempt to shift the burden of the biggest economic and financial crisis of post-war capitalism onto workers' shoulders has now provoked the highest level of struggle in Europe since the defeat of the Portuguese Revolution in 1975.

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