What we think

You are here

Resist austerity


March 9, 2012

As the global economic crisis continues to deepen, corporations and governments—from military regimes, to Conservatives, to labour governments—are pushing increasingly severe austerity measures in an attempt to make ordinary people pay for a crisis they did not create.
But despite different contexts and different governments, workers around the world are resisting austerity.
In Egypt, workers played a key role in overthrowing Western-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak—the poster-child of neoliberalism in the Arab world—and are continuing their strikes and forming independent trade unions. This struggle scored a key victory on June 25 as the government was forced to refuse an IMF “aid” package which would have come with austerity strings attached.
In Britain, a coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is trying to push through massive cuts to jobs and services. But inspired by mass student strikes at the end of last year and the Egyptian Revolution this year, 750,000 workers across Britain struck on June 30—the biggest day of strike action in a generation—and activists are now calling for a bigger strike day to be set.
In Greece, the economic crisis has pushed the country to bankruptcy, and the first round of IMF austerity measures only worsened the situation through mass layoffs and attacks on wages and pensions.
At the end of June, the labour government of PASOK voted to accept even more severe IMF austerity measures while under pressure from the United States and Israel to extend the blockade of Gaza to its own shores. But mass street protests and a 48-hour general strike have raised the spirit of resistance.
Across Canada and Quebec, the economic crisis has not hit as hard, but we already have a taste of Harper’s austerity agenda—from a budget that proposes 80,000 public sector job cuts to back-to-work legislation that punishes postal workers.
The fightback is also not as strong as elsewhere, but we have seen a glimpse of what is possible inside and outside Parliament as the NDP launched a filibuster against back-to-work legislation, and students and workers organized solidarity events from coast to coast in support of postal workers and the flotilla to Gaza.
The fightback has been strongest in Quebec, where the biggest anti-war, labour and student movements have produced the left alternative Québec solidaire, a “party of the ballot box and of the streets” that challenges neoliberalism.
The breadth of governments pushing austerity proves the problem is not one of conservative misrule but of capitalist crisis, when it pulls all governments that adapt to capitalism to the same conclusions.
While the NDP voted to extend the bombing of Libya and its new president Brian Topp defended PASOK’s austerity agenda—indicating they are not much of an alternative to Harper’s Conservatives without being pushed to be—much of the NDP base and activists outside the party believe that a better world is possible.
To win a world without austerity and war we need to move beyond capitalism and the limits of social democracy; and for this, workers struggling and organizing outside Parliament is key.

Section: 
Geo Tags: 

Featured Event

Recent Videos

Rally outside Morgentaler Clinic January 28, 1988
With mounting attacks on access to abortion, a look at the fight that led to a historic victory in Canada
The Coup perform their song The Guillotine
The real violence in Ontario is not coming from cartoon guillotines; it’s coming from Doug Ford’s austerity cuts to programs and services
Visit our YouTube Channel for more videos: Our Youtube Channel
Visit our UStream Channel for live videos: Our Ustream Channel