Anti-austerity movement

France: confronting state power

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"On Monday we strike, on Tuesday we strike, on Wednesday we strike, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday too - and it'll only be over when we've won."


Photo: Phototeque.org

This song has become a hit on the mass demonstrations in France. After four days of national strikes and weekly demonstrations since 7 September the government has still not caved in. In just the last four days of action more than 3 million protesters have taken to the streets across the country. As the law to increase the retirement age was about to be passed in the Senate the unions called two new days of strikes and protests.

An assault on us all

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Joseph Choonara opens our coverage of the spending review, arguing that George Osborne's plans expose the lie that "we're all in it together".


Photo: Guy Smallman

The Osborne Axe has fallen. The chancellor's spending review heralds the deepest assault on the public sector since the Second World War. George Osborne's key lines of attack give the lie to his claim that "we are all in it together".

There is an alternative

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With massive cuts looming debates are beginning about the best way to respond. Should Labour councils refuse to implement Tory cuts?

A debate is opening up about how best to respond to the attacks on the welfare state. I was invited to speak at an anti-cuts meeting in Lambeth recently and a lively argument broke out between members of the Labour Party which took me back to the 1980s - what should a Labour council do when faced with budget cuts?

Everything to play for

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In the wake of the TUC congress, Martin Smith argues that the conditions are ripe for a fightback, while
Mark Campbell reports from the conference floor.


The overwhelming decision of delegates at this year's TUC conference to support coordinated action to fight the austerity measures and to call a national demonstration against the cuts in March 2011 means the battle lines are now drawn.

On one side you have a nasty but clearly nervous Con-Dem government.

Eurozone crisis: new ideas of resistance as Greek fight grows

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The revolt against the IMF-EU austerity package in Greece escalated with two general strikes in May.

The strike on 5 May turned out to be the biggest ever, with estimates of the strike rally's size reaching over half a million. There were clashes with the police as they used tear gas against demonstrators trying to go up the steps in the parliament building. Three bank employees died in a blaze when a Marfin Bank building was set on fire.

Eurozone crisis: Portugal

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In Portugal two stages of austerity measures have been announced.

The first was cuts in social benefits and unemployment benefits which will be cut by around 15 percent. The rules have changed so now the unemployed are forced to accept jobs. This is social blackmail. The bosses and politicians want to force the unemployed to take lower-waged jobs and so push down wages for everyone. We are also facing cuts in public investment and a public sector wage freeze.

Spanish imposition

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Eurozone crisis: Spainish imposition

Throughout the economic crisis of the last two years Spain's Socialist Party (PSOE) prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, insisted, "My government will never make workers pay the consequences of this crisis."

But on 12 May he announced government spending cuts. Unemployment has already been climbing. It has officially reached 5 million (20 percent), the highest figure in the European Union (EU), with some areas even higher (30 percent in Andalusia).

United in struggle

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Despite the huge outcry following the multi-billion pound bank bailouts, the mainstream parties still thought they could win support competing over who could make the deepest cuts to the public sector.

How can we build the strength and unity to resist the coming attacks? We could take the strategy used in Ireland, where the unions went along with the cuts despite popular anger. Or we can build on the Greek strategy, where outrage has been galvanised by the rank and file, forcing unions to call general strikes.

Following January's Right to Work (RTW) national conference in Manchester, 30 people who attended from Edinburgh returned to build a local rank and file campaign of solidarity and resistance.

Greece: the fightback against austerity

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Greece has been a focal point of crisis and resistance in Europe since exposure of its ballooning debt. Panos Garganos, editor of Socialist Worker's sister paper in Greece, spoke to Ian Taylor about the situation

Panos Garganos

What has been the response to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) going into Greece?

The delegation from the IMF, European Union (EU) and European Central Bank (ECB) arrived in Athens on 21 April, the anniversary of the colonels' coup in 1967. We suffered from the military then. We suffer from the bankers now. The fire service, hospitals, local authorities and teachers were on strike that day - that was the workers' response to the IMF, although the strikes were called earlier.

The crisis: over or just beginning?

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The post-election period will be dominated by the dire state of the British economy. While the political elite are desperate to make us pay for the crisis, they are also paralysed by the fear of a renewed recession precipitated by speculation against the pound. Joseph Choonara reports

The state of the economy will continue to mould British politics after the election. Economics will constrain the room for manoeuvre of the political elite, pressing them to drive through a series of attacks. It will also create the terrain on which workers will have to organise and resist. The prospects for the system are, then, of keen interest to those who wish to challenge it. After almost three years of chaos, what lies in store?

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