Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Parchment in the Fire: Eurozone fears of stagnation grow as France and Italy suffer | World news | The Observer

Eurozone fears of stagnation grow as France and Italy suffer | World news | The Observer.

 

Francois Hollande and Paris’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, at a ceremony on 25 August marking the 70th anniversary of liberation. Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

François Hollande removed his government’s leading anti-German, anti-austerity leftwinger last week. By the following day the French president had already co-opted part of the message of the departed disloyal firebrand, Arnaud Montebourg.

As France’s ambassadors from around the world converged on Paris for their annual presidential pep talk, Hollande launched a fresh broadside against Berlin and Brussels. He called for (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Why Italy’s stagnation could be the future for the entire eurozone | Riccardo Bellofiore | Comment is free | theguardian.com

Why Italy’s stagnation could be the future for the entire eurozone | Riccardo Bellofiore | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

This summer Italy fell into a triple-dip recession. After the 2008/09 collapse, the economy stagnated, heading back into recession during 2011 and never really recovering. The philosophy of Giulio Tremonti, who was the economic minister at the time, was to wait and see, until speculation killed Berlusconi’s government. Prime ministers Mario Monti and Enrico Letta followed Brussels’ self-defeating diktat for fiscal rigour, but even with moderate deficits the public debt/GDP ratio soared.

The situation remained under control only (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: An austerity revolt has broken the French government. Will the EU follow? | John Palmer | Comment is free | theguardian.com

An austerity revolt has broken the French government. Will the EU follow? | John Palmer | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

If there were any lingering doubts about the seriousness of the crisis hanging over the future of the euro – and potentially of the European Union itself – the shock announcement of the dissolution of the French government should remove them.

The tensions within the French socialist government have been building up for months as the economy has threatened to “double dip”. But it has been public criticism by the French economy minister, Arnaud Montebourg, of Paris’s compliance (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Merkel seeks Spanish support for unpopular austerity measures | In English | EL PAÍS

Merkel seeks Spanish support for unpopular austerity measures | In English | EL PAÍS.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to Spain on Sunday for a two-day trip aimed at securing Spanish support for her austerity policies, now under fire in the European Union.

In return, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is seeking Merkel’s help to place two of his officials in top European positions. Specifically, Rajoy wants former agriculture minister Miguel Arias Cañete to receive a relevant economic portfolio, and current economy minister Luis de Guindos to head the Eurogroup, or gathering of European finance chiefs.

Merkel is currently under (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: EU Advisors Advocate use of Military Against Strikes and Protests | Global Research

EU Advisors Advocate use of Military Against Strikes and Protests | Global Research.

 

Experts at a European Union (EU) think-tank are demanding that the EU prepare to put down strikes and protests with military force. Due to the deepening social inequality in a globalised economy and growing military conflicts within the EU’s borders, such outbursts will inevitably increase.

In the study by the European Union Institute for Security Studies, the authors bluntly state that in the face of these developments, the army will have to be used increasingly for policing duties to protect the rich from the anger of (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Upstart party Podemos emerging as third political power, says new poll | In English | EL PAÍS

Upstart party Podemos emerging as third political power, says new poll | In English | EL PAÍS.

New party Podemos has taken a further step toward becoming the third power on the Spanish political scene, according to the latest opinion poll from the Center for Sociological Research (CIS). The group – which was the surprise success of the recent European elections, winning five seats thanks to 1.2 million votes – received support from 15.3% of those polled. That’s compared to 30% of voter support for the governing Popular Party, and 21.2% for the main opposition Socialist Party (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Youth unemployment reaches record high – English – ANSA.it

Youth unemployment reaches record high – English – ANSA.it.

(ANSA) – Rome, July 31 – Unemployment among young Italians climbed last month to 43.7%, a level not seen in 37 years, according to statistics Thursday that presented further evidence of the continuing weakness in the country’s lackluster economy.

The jobless rate among Italians aged 15 to 24 rose from a revised 43.1% in May, said national statistical agency Istat, adding that June’s level of 43.7% was the highest since it began keeping quarterly jobs statistics in 1977.

“The economic situation is less than favourable,” said Economy (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Social movements in Spain – 15M

Social movements in Spain – 15M.

From Revolution News

Many things have changed and we need to know how to read reality and celebrate our triumphs. The emergence of the 15M movement did not result in an organisation which currently has a significant number of members. The 15M movement is a social movement. This means, it has served as a catalyst for “moving” social collectives, associations, non-mobilized people, initiatives… and in this sense it still exists today, as another step in the spiral of social reactivation. It radically changed the country’s political climate. The most visible consequences have been the (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Beyond the European elections, another left-wing force is growing in Europe | Red Pepper

Beyond the European elections, another left-wing force is growing in Europe | Red Pepper.

Pascoe Sabido

However you interpret them, the European elections have challenged the mainstream’s business-as-usual way of doing politics in Brussels. But while many commentators ignore progress on the left, focusing exclusively on the rise of the far right, another left-wing force was making its voice heard the week before people cast their votes. Not through the ballot box, but on the streets, in protest against the neoliberal austerity policies being forced on Europe’s population from above. In Madrid, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Athens and elsewhere, including here (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: It’s Time To Stand Up To Troika Austerity Part II

It’s Time To Stand Up To Troika Austerity Part II.

Thomas Fazi

In the first part of this article I looked at the mounting evidence against austerity by organisations as varied as Caritas, the ILO, the Council of Europe and the IMF. So why is the European establishment pushing for more of the same?

Social and economic misery and despair, growing inequality, dwindling public services, loss of hope and ballooning debts: this is austerity’s scorched-earth legacy. And yet, in a telling demonstration of the extent of their dangerous ideological fanaticism, Europe’s austerity zealots insist that Europe needs ‘more austerity’.

Take (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Thomas Fazi: It’s Time To Stand Up To Troika Austerity Part I

Thomas Fazi: It’s Time To Stand Up To Troika Austerity Part I.

In my book, The Battle for Europe: How an Elite Hijacked a Continent – and How We Can Take It Back, published some months ago by Pluto Press, I argued that the austerity policies imposed on European member states (especially those of the periphery) by the Berlin-Brussels-Frankfurt ‘axis of rigour’ and by the troika were not only proving to be a colossal failure even by mainstream economic standards, but would also lead to – and in some cases were already leading to – nothing less than a (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Leader in Austerity Push Appointed Head of Greek Central Bank – NYTimes.com

Leader in Austerity Push Appointed Head of Greek Central Bank – NYTimes.com.

By NIKI KITSANTONISJUNE 11, 2014

The announcement on Wednesday, by the General Council of the Bank of Greece, followed a sweeping cabinet shuffle on Monday that installed Gikas Hardouvelis, another economist and former government adviser, as Greece’s new finance minister. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras overhauled his government to give it new momentum after a weak showing in European Parliament elections last month.

Although Mr. Stournaras, 57, was widely credited with guiding Greece’s return to international bond markets in April and paving the way for crucial debt (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Greece Wars With Courts Over Ways to Slash Budget – NYTimes.com

Greece Wars With Courts Over Ways to Slash Budget – NYTimes.com.

ATHENS — The Greek government has made a range of painful cuts to salaries, pensions and jobs for public workers over the last four years, saying they were needed to satisfy the demands of the international creditors that bailed the country out. But the Greeks hurt by those steps, and the nation’s courts, have a different idea.

Steadily, citizens groups — including police officers, university professors, cleaning workers and judges themselves — have challenged the cuts as illegal or unconstitutional. And in case after case, Greek courts have (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Capital, Labour, and the Eurozone Crisis

Most of the coverage regarding the Eurozone crisis has understandably focused on the politics of austerity. Less attention, however, has been paid to the longer term trends in the industrial relations of those countries hardest hit by the crisis: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain; the so-called PIIGS countries.

Recent data from the European Industrial Relations Observatory reveals some interesting trends in the relationship between capital and labour in the context of the Eurozone crisis. More specifically, it reveals a trend towards declining labour costs and rising labour productivity, meaning that the so-called ‘recovery’ is being constructed by squeezing workers, (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Portugal indebted to Angola after economic reversal of fortune | World news | Guardian Weekly

Portugal indebted to Angola after economic reversal of fortune | World news | Guardian Weekly.

There was no doubt about the firm handshake, but the smile looked a bit forced. The date was 17 November 2011, the place Luanda. Pedro Passos Coelho, the Portuguese premier, had just completed talks with the president of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos, sealing an agreement that was both a boon for Portugal and deeply humiliating.

 

Six months earlier, Portugal, verging on bankruptcy, received a €78bn ($100bn) bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. In exchange Lisbon agreed (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: After The Elections The Real Battle For Europe Begins

After The Elections The Real Battle For Europe Begins.

by Thomas Fazi

Taking stock of the results of the recent European elections is not an easy task. Many commentators have described the outcome as an ‘earthquake’, citing the surge in ‘anti-establishment’ parties, with voters supposedly lured by two ‘extremes’: the ultra-right and the extreme left. But this is a gross simplification of reality. As the Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis put to me in a recent interview, ‘Europeans were not lured by the two extremes. They drifted to one extreme: that of the misanthropic, racist, xenophobic, anti-European right’.

In total, (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: The Next Portuguese Revolution | Jacobin

The Next Portuguese Revolution | Jacobin.

By Mark Bergfeld

The poster for this year’s official celebrations of the Portuguese Revolution features a large question mark against a red background. It’s a fitting symbol for an event open to many interpretations. Does Portugal again stand at a crossroads? Or has the revolutionary legacy been co-opted once and for all? Does the poster highlight the revolution’s unfinished business, or put into question the wider gains it made?

The Portuguese Revolution of 1974-5, also known as the Carnation Revolution, was the hottest topic of the post-1968 left. At the time, thousands of international (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Thousands across Europe rally against EU policies (VIDEOS) — RT News

Thousands across Europe rally against EU policies (VIDEOS) — RT News.

Filed under: Austerity Tagged: Austerity, Eurozone Crisis, Protest

Parchment in the Fire: Europe’s Brutal Discipline » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Europe’s Brutal Discipline » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

The European utopia is turning into a system for delivering punishment. As Europe’s regime gets tougher, there is a growing sense that interchangeable elites are taking advantage of each crisis to tighten their austerity policies and impose their federal fantasy (1). This twin objective has the support of boardrooms and newsrooms. But even if you boost their ranks with German rentiers, a few Luxembourgers specialising in tax evasion and most of France’s Socialist leaders, popular backing for the present “European project” isn’t much greater.

The European Union does not stop chiding states (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Why The European Commission Is Wrong: The Case Of Spain – Social Europe Journal

Why The European Commission Is Wrong: The Case Of Spain – Social Europe Journal.

The Vice President of the European Commission, Olli Rehn, in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs is becoming the most unpopular EU Commissioner in Spain. He emphasizes over and over again that labor market rigidities are causing the high unemployment in Spain. “Labor rigidities” is a polite way of accusing the Spanish trade unions for the high rate of unemployment that exists in Spain. Indeed, labor rigidities are supposed to mean that, because the unions have been able to get job security for some workers, employers (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: EU officials plotted IMF attack to bring rebellious Italy to its knees – Telegraph Blogs

EU officials plotted IMF attack to bring rebellious Italy to its knees – Telegraph Blogs.

The revelations about EMU skulduggery are coming thick and fast. Tim Geithner recounts in his book Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises just how far the EU elites are willing to go to save the euro, even if it means toppling elected leaders and eviscerating Europe’s sovereign parliaments.

Filed under: Austerity, Crisis, Democracy, Europe Tagged: Democracy, Eurozone Crisis, Italy, neoliberalism

Parchment in the Fire: The left needs a progressive Euroscepticism to counter the EU’s ills | Costas Lapavitsas | Comment is free | theguardian.com

The left needs a progressive Euroscepticism to counter the EU’s ills | Costas Lapavitsas | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

Frustration is currently sweeping Europe and for good reason: persistent unemployment, inequality, weak growth and a pervasive sense of powerlessness, to name a few. Unfortunately, the main political beneficiary is likely to be the Eurosceptic right, and even the extreme right. The left is failing to capitalise on the wave of popular frustration, mostly because it has no progressive Eurosceptic agenda to offer.

That is not to say that the left has no radical solutions for the ills afflicting (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) – Benchmarking Working Europe 2014 / Books / Publications / Home

European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) – Benchmarking Working Europe 2014 / Books / Publications / Home.

The report Benchmarking Working Europe 2014 reviews the crisis and EU austerity policies in the last five years from the point of view of Europe’s social agenda.

Filed under: Austerity, Europe Tagged: Austerity, crisis, Eurozone Crisis, Labour

Parchment in the Fire: Banks save over €40 billion in capital thanks to government decree | In English | EL PAÍS

http://elpais.com/elpais/2014/04/24/inenglish/1398330641_511126.html

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Eurozone Crisis, finance, neoliberalism, Spain

Parchment in the Fire: Wage Development in the European Union

Wage Development in the European Union

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Austerity, Europe, Eurozone Crisis, inequality, Labour