If you only read the headlines you would never know that protestors around the world are making headway against our global masters in finance.
For instance, I'm sure you are all aware that the Greek government has pushed through austerity measures despite riots in the streets. But did you know that anti-austerity protests in Romania forced the Prime Minister to resign?
(Reuters) - Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc resigned on Monday, joining a list of European leaders felled by fury at the kind of spending cuts that prompted weeks of mass protests in Bucharest against IMF-backed austerity.This is after the foreign minister called the protestors "inept and violent slum dwellers".
The new leader will continue the austerity measures, but the government is getting shaky.
Some are considering Romania to be the "canary in the coal mine".
Ban warns Eastern European politicians against ignoring the social costs of austerity measures, as citizens begin thinking about distribution of wealth, not only about corruption. He mentions the ongoing protests in the country, which have continued for the last four weeks, highlighting the protesters’ doubts over planned privatization and deregulation reforms and the emergence of a new civil society in the country. Ban sees the beginnings of what he terms a legitimate grass roots left wing movement, in favor of public ownership of national institutions. These developments, he believes, could lead to the end of the “almost automatic endorsement of the market” and the “old post-communist settlement” in which political parties could count on an “economically liberal and elite civil society.”We might be witnessing the beginning of the end of the neoliberal groupthink that has dominated the world for the past three decades.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on Greece, where riots have left parts of Athens in ruins, with 48 buildings set ablaze. The Troubadour beat me to posting that the police union Poasy was threatening to arrest members of Greece’s troika of lenders.
What the Greek people are fully aware of, but the American media usually fails to mention, is that the latest austerity measures for Greece will not be the last.
However, Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble then warned that the new round of spending cuts appeared to not yet fulfil all the necessary conditions for the 130 billion bailout.Even in the face of predictions of "catastrophe", the Greek government is beginning to balk.
"The agreement, as far as I understand, is not at a stage where it can be signed off," Mr Schaeuble said as he arrived in Brussels to meet with his eurozone counterparts, the heads of the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
"It's a stance in the negotiations that was agreed on but no one expects that this negotiation stance can get support."
Although all other cuts demanded by the troika of bailout creditors were approved - including a 22 per cent cut in the minimum wage, firing of 15,000 civil servants and an end to dozens of job guarantee provisions - party leaders had baulked at new pension cuts worth an estimated 300 million, leaving the bailout in limbo and the threat of imminent bankruptcy high.
While people focus on Greece, Portugal has witnessed the its largest protest of any kind in 30 years. Estimates of the size of the protest vary between 100,000 and 300,000.
Meanwhile, Spain is facing a new wave of massive protests. So far the conservative government is holding steadfast with its anti-union programs.
If a company's revenue falls for two quarters, it can request the suspension of any collective bargaining deal. Individual company-employee deals now take precedence over industry-wide agreements.In Bulgaria, the anti-ACTA protests have caused the government to reconsider its support for the anti-piracy law.
Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia have also delayed signing off on the treaty as protestors have hit the streets in countries across Europe.
In Slovakia, protestors are angry over corruption involving privatization contracts (i.e. austerity).
Let's not forget that tens of thousands of people in Russia brave negative temperatures to protest Putin's government.