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Tag Archive - austerity

SYRIZA 2.0 as an Austerity Party

By Panagiotis Sotiris


One might say that historical time has been condensed in Greece. In less than a year we have seen changes in the political landscape that in other countries would have taken a decade.


Syriza. Defeat. Victory. Defeat.

By Richard Seymour

It is gut-wrenching, watching Syriza [the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left] beg, and plead with the creditors not to crush Greece. Too late did they realise that they weren't negotiating. They had nothing to do negotiate with, no cards to play. They went looking for the 'good euro', and found only ruthless, mercenary capitalist enforcers. They sought compromise and were given fiscal strangulation.


Toronto Politics in the Year of the Lockout

By Alan Sears

We are still very early in 2012 but so far it seems to be shaping up as the Year of the Lockout.


Londoners Vow to Keep Door-to-Door Mail Delivery

Canada Post Corporation management is moving forward with its project of eliminating door-to-door postal service across Canada and Quebec. If it's completed, it will deprive millions of people of a valued service and thousands of postal workers of their jobs. While this move is very unpopular, in most places not a lot has been done to turn widespread pro-door-to-door sentiment into active opposition. London, Ontario is one city where efforts to build an active campaign around defence of door-to-door have been more successful. We are republishing this article on the campaign in London to give readers a sense of some of the community mobilization tactics being used there. Such campaigns are important not only because they have more potential when it comes to defending public services but also because they can show in practice that there's an alternative to just waiting for the next election. To quote from an article we published earlier this year, "It is through engaging with social movements that people develop new political skills and confidence and are exposed to new political perspectives about how other struggles and how society works." With the federal election coming up later this year, it's important to bear that in mind.

- NSW


Lessons from the CUPE 3902/3903 Strikes at UofT and York

By Umair Muhammad

The simultaneous strikes at the University of Toronto and York University have come to an end. Teaching and Graduate Assistants at both universities (joined in the beginning by Contract Faculty at York) walked picket lines through much of the month of March after contract negotiations with their respective employers broke down.

Following repeated avowals that it could not possibly provide what was being asked of it, York ended up agreeing to meet all of the major demands made by its striking workers. In the case of the strike at UofT, the outcome was not as decisive.


Student Power, Worker Activism and the Democratic University

By Alan Sears

There are some very important campus struggles unfolding in early March 2015.


Syriza's Mauling at the EU Negotiations

By Richard Seymour

Syriza has been defeated in the first round of negotiations.


Why Greece's Elections Matter & the Politics of SYRIZA

On January 25, people in Greece will go to the polls. But this is no ordinary election. The situation in Greece is being widely watched because the election could be won by SYRIZA, a left-wing party pledged to end the austerity measures that have caused such harm in the country since 2010.


Making Sense of the London Riots: "Emotional but Never Mindless" Acts of Alienation

By Greg Sharzer

Last summer's London Riots may not have directly anticipated the current Occupy Movement. But they stem from a similar place: a growing outrage at the deprivation and inequality of the capitalist system. And like the Occupy movement, the riots raise important questions about how leftists should relate to them - NS.


Occupy Actions: From Wall Street to a Campus Near You?

By Alan Sears

The Occupy Wall Street movement and the mobilizations of the "indignant" in Europe have sparked solidarity actions in many places around the world. October 15, 2011 was a massive day of action that included over 60 marches in Spain, a huge demonstration of over 100 000 in Rome and Occupy actions in cities and towns across North America and in many other places.


Follow the Money: Behind the European Debt Crisis Lie More Bank Bailouts

By David McNally

While I was cursing the inane mainstream commentary on the global economy recently, I was reminded of a pivotal scene in the 1976 movie, All the President’s Men.


Toronto at a Crossroads: Will Ford's Austerity Agenda Be Derailed?

By Jackie Esmonde

On June 20, 2011, Mayor Rob Ford and his allies on Toronto City Council Executive Committee turned down free money.


Austerity with a Smile: The 2014 Ontario Election

By James Cairns

It's always good to see Conservatives lose. And Tim "Zillion Job Cuts" Hudak was the biggest loser on election night in Ontario. Hudak's macho version of Austerity-by-Sledgehammer failed to win broad support. The Conservatives lost legislative seats, and their share of the popular vote dropped. Of course, they'll be back, refreshed by a new leader, and perhaps by the directionally-intriguing "enema from top to bottom" Doug Ford has kindly offered to give the party. For the moment, however, I certainly am relieved not to be waking up in Premier Hudak's province.


The May 15 Movement in Spain

By Murray Smith

On May 15, a new force exploded onto the Spanish political scene. A week before regional and municipal elections, tens of thousands of young people occupied the main squares in Madrid, Barcelona and many other Spanish cities.


Against Austerity: A Crucial Reference Point for the Left

By Alan Sears

Review of Richard Seymour, Against Austerity: How We Can Fix the Crisis They Made (Pluto Press, 2014)

Richard Seymour's new book is an unflinching and insightful analysis of the current situation in which the radical left finds itself. These are hard times for radicals in Northern Europe and North America. You would think this would be a period of mass radicalization, given the glaring inequality being produced by blatant attacks on social programs, wages, migrants' rights and job security. Yet there are few effective fightbacks, and activist circles in some places are actually getting smaller.


Canada’s Federal Election 2011: Should Radicals Care?

By Alan Sears and James Cairns

Despite severe problems with electoral politics, radicals building movements for real social change need to engage seriously with elections. In this article, we look at the current Canadian election from a Toronto perspective.


Austerity U: Preparing Students for Precarious Lives

By Alan Sears and James Cairns

Almost everywhere you look around the world, policy-makers are introducing big changes to university systems and pondering deeper transformation.It isn't surprising that these changes take different forms on campuses in countries as different as Canada, Britain, the United States, Chile, Greece, and India, but there are also important common themes in the change agenda globally. These include rapid increases in tuition fees, new models of university governance, new ways of teaching, a significant shift in subject matter, an attempt to depoliticize campuses, and major alterations in employment relations.


What Happened in Wisconsin?

By Tessa Echeverria and Andrew Sernatinger

On a cold January day in Wisconsin, the two of us sat over a couple of cups of coffee and started talking, like many others, about what was happening in the world and remarked on the chain of revolts across Europe and North Africa. We got up to leave and passed a copy of January's Economist magazine, the cover reading "The Battle Ahead, Confronting the Public Sector Unions." We crossed East Washington Avenue, a long stretch of vacant manufacturing buildings in Madison, and asked each other, "When is it going to be our turn?"


Resisting Austerity: Don't (Just) Show Me the Money

By Scott Neigh

We hear a lot these days about the need for cuts to public spending, for saving money. The use of this rhetoric to cover massive changes in how our lives and societies are organized has a long history, but in the current "age of austerity" -- ushered in by unprecedented giveaways of ordinary people's money to rich people and powerful institutions and the Toronto G20 meeting's commitment to make up for that by further attacks on ordinary people -- mean that we're hearing it rather a lot at the moment.


Fighting Mayor Ford's Austerity Regime (Part II)

Wanted: A Left to Stop Ford

It will take a mighty movement to defeat the Ford agenda and turn back the age of austerity. We need a Left that can reach out to broad layers of the population, communicating a political alternative effectively and contributing to effective activism that really makes a difference.


Fighting Mayor Ford's Austerity Regime (Part I)

In the first part of a two-part article, Alan Sears argues that Toronto's very right-wing mayor is no mere buffoon, but "the immediate face" of the "Age of Austerity" and a "bad cop" of neoliberalism.

By Alan Sears

Workers in Wisconsin have responded to attempts to destroy collective bargaining rights in the public sector with massive protest actions. These actions have galvanized workers in other states to confront their own employers and to support the movement in Wisconsin.


A Crucial Book

By Charlie Post

Review of David McNally, Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance. (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2011)


Caught in the Whirlwind: US Working-Class Families Face the Economic Crisis

By Johanna Brenner

The Great Recession has no doubt punctured US celebration of the unregulated market, generated anger at wealth disparities and shock at the loss of the American Dream. Yet three decades of conservative dominance and political drift to the right have taken their toll.


The Fuse is Lit: The Rise of the Mass Movement in Central America and the Desperate Response of Imperialism

By Elena Zeledon

This overview article is dedicated to Companera Maria Teresa Flores, part of the leadership of the peasant council coordinating committee and former head of the Honduran Peasant Organization; and to Companero Jose Manuel Flores Arguijo, leader of the Honduran teachers and a founder and leader of the Socialist Party of Central America (PSOCA), both assassinated by the Honduran oligarchy.


Europe's Crisis: An Explanation and an Internationalist Alternative

By Özlem Onaran

Europe is now the centre of the global crisis. It is a crisis of the capitalist system, sweeping across Europe and not limited to just one country. The crisis erupted five years ago under governments of both the traditional Left and Right as they all pursued similar neoliberal policies.


Dumb, Dumber and Sequester

By David Finkel

"Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself," wrote Mark Twain. That 19th century epigraph can serve to express today's attitude of a large and growing proportion of the US public, especially over the federal budget "sequester" -- across-the-board cuts that began taking effect on March 1.


Fight the Deficit-Cutting Agenda!

A statement for May Day 2010 from the editors of the New Socialist webzine.


The Deficit: THEIR Problem, Not Ours

By David Camfield and Daniel Serge

Deficits are the difference between what governments spend and what they take in. Governments often claim deficits are the fault of social spending that's too high. But in fact deficits always grow when capitalist economic activity slows down or contracts because tax revenue falls while state spending rises.


Teachers' Strikes and the Fight Against Austerity in Ontario

By Murray Cooke

On January 3, Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten announced that she will be imposing concessionary contracts on the province's teachers. This is a drastic attack on collective bargaining rights that the teachers have said they will fight. It follows on the heals of the Liberal minority government's Bill 115, "An Act to Implement Restraint Measures in the Education System," passed last September with the support of the Conservatives.


The Continuing Global Slump

By David McNally

This article will be the afterword to the forthcoming Danish translation of the author's book Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance -- NSW.


Against the Right: Defending Public Services in Quebec

By Marie-Eve Rancourt

This is the third article in our series about movement organizing in Quebec today (our article on Profs Against the Hike is here and our article on Montreal-Nord Republik is here).


Moving Forward After the Elections in Greece Part I – Analyzing the Outcome

By Kokkino

This is Part I of Kokkino’s statement after the June elections in Greece, slightly abridged and adapted from the version published in International Viewpoint. Kokkino is a revolutionary socialist organization in Greece, which has been in the throes of a major debt crisis since 2009.

Kokkino is a small group that's part of the broad Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which is the main force against the austerity measures being imposed on Greece by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a condition of a proposed bailout. Syriza's anti-bailout stance resulted in a dramatic growth in its popular support in the run-up to the recent elections -- from 17% of votes cast in the election held in May 2012 to 27% in June.

Part I of Kokkino’s post-election statement offers an analysis of the election’s political outcome. Part II focuses on the strategy for building a working class alternative, and will be published soon in this webzine. – New Socialist


Editorial: Why Greece's June Elections Matter to All of Us

The final opinion polls before the June 17 parliamentary elections in Greece report that SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) has the support of between 25 and 31.5% of voters, up from the 16.7% it won in the May 2012 elections, when it stunned many people by leaping to second place among Greece's many political contenders. It's possible that SYRIZA could come first this time.


Red Square, Everywhere: With Quebec Student Strikers, Against Repression

By Xavier Lafrance and Alan Sears

The Charest government has turned to repression to try to break the largest and longest student strike in Quebec history. Students had already endured heavy-handed policing, including hundreds of arrests and brutal attacks by riot cops on campuses and in the streets. The new strikebreaking legislation, Bill 78, is a brutal clampdown on the right to organize collectively and on freedom of expression. The protest plans for any demonstrations of more than 50 people must be cleared with the police in advance of any gathering, or the action will be considered illegal.  Individual students, staff or faculty members who advocate the ongoing strike action risk harsh penalties, and student unions or university employees unions who organize or support ongoing strike activity will face heavy fines.


Greek Elections: The Vengeance of a People in Struggle!

By Panagiotis Sotiris

Vengeance came down hard, with the force of an earthquake, in Greek elections. Despite the efforts by corporate media, despite the various forms of open blackmail from the part of the EU – IMF – ECB Troika, despite the timing of the election in order to steal some form of support for at least some of the pro-austerity forces, the results of the election are an explosive rejection of the politics of austerity and limited sovereignty in Greece.


The Canadian State Helps Usher in a New Phase of Capital Accumulation

By Zac Saltis

The contents of the federal budget unveiled by the Conservatives on March 29, 2012 are hardly shocking.  In fact, this voluminous document sheds light on what strategies the Canadian state will be adopting to promote and facilitate capital accumulation in this era of economic stagnation and austerity for the working class.


Democracy in the Age of Austerity: Beyond the Robocall Scandal

By James Cairns

A lot of people are angry about the robocall scandal. Even by the low standards of the Harper Conservatives, the covert attempt to block thousands of people from voting in the 2011 federal election is pretty disgusting.


Economic Crisis and Austerity: The Stranglehold on Canada's Families

By Adrie Naylor

The claim that economic crises and austerity have an uneven impact on the working class -- with the greatest effects being felt by women and children -- is one we hear often on the Left. However, with some important exceptions, this claim is all too often just an aside or a footnote.


Austerity in the Mind Factory

By Alan Sears

Educational struggles are breaking out all over.


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