Global Noise: a wake-up call for the world to reject austerity
by Steve Rushton
Occupy, the Indignados and other social justice groups are about to stage a worldwide protest against austerity measures and cuts to public services - an insider explains why
The calls for an end to austerity measures and public service cuts, at a time when the rich are getting richer, are growing. The noise against limp democratic institutions, where corporate power and money are buying influence and control, is getting louder. More people are turning up the volume on tackling the dangerous and accelerating ecological destruction being inflicted on the world, not least climate change. Global Noise on Saturday, October 13, is a focus for this crucial wakeup call for the world.
It is an amalgamation of worldwide political actions focusing attention on these and many other global injustices. It is being synchronised by Occupy, Indignados and other global social justice groups. Each country has a different message. Spain has "Don't owe, won't pay", while Portugal went for "Fuck the Troika" and Germany asserted that the financial system "Is a Global Scam". French activists have created a communiqué against debt, the first two lines read: "To the financial institutions of the world, we have only one thing to say: we owe you nothing. To our friends, families, our communities, to humanity and to the natural world that makes our lives possible, we owe you everything." In Turkey, the message is against war whereas activists in Japan are targeting the meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
The pots and pan make global noise theme comes from the cacerolazo march. These first created global impact in Argentina, in 2001, because thousands took to the streets after they were not allowed to access their own money. It had been frozen by the banks. Occupy in London will host a street party at the London Stock Exchange and St Pauls from 2pm with Samba, pots and pans live music and the space for people to speak out about how it is affecting their lives. There are numerous other events planned afterwards, designed to keep people occupied up to the Trades Union Congress march happening on Saturday, October 20, and beyond.
Since its conception one year ago, one of Occupy's main calls is that austerity measures are unreasonable; that ordinary people should not be forced to pay for the financial crisis, that this was created by the bankers within the financial services. This week, even the IMF has declared that austerity is making the United Kingdom economic situation worse. Austerity policies are unfairly damaging those who had no role in creating the deficit whilst also creating further economic depression. In Britain, the IMF has predicted that the UK economy will shrink by 0.4 per cent if it continues with the savage cuts it is planning to make to the public sector. This is downgrading its original outlook that the economy will grow by 0.2 per cent within the next year.
So far, Greece has had the fiercest austerity measures imposed on it. This is causing mass unemployment rising to over one in four, with half of young people out of work. The desperate situation is threatening its democracy. The Greek prime minister has suggested far-right politics may take over, as racism and fear leads people to scapegoat the innocent. He suggests that Greek democracy may soon be destroyed. This week Newsnight reported that the police there have not interfered with right-wing extremist attacks on an immigrant centre. Austerity threatens societal upheaval throughout Europe. The IMF's pronouncement by managing director Christine Lagarde is a major U-turn. As the IMF normally champion the idea that privatisation and cutting public services is always the best policy, when a country is in debt.
This call for a change of policy by the IMF is massive. Despite this, the British coalition government are continuing to base their economic strategy on harsher austerity measures, or at least using the idea of austerity to justify their attack on public services. The IMF is now claiming these measures will damage the economy by lowering confidence and abetting lacklustre economic performance. The potential for how much worse the British government could make the situation makes Global Noise all the more crucial, as a wakeup call for listening to want the people need. Austerity means less hospital services, reduced education funding, decrease welfare, public services reduction and privatisation, more homelessness and ultimately could lead Britain towards the severe problems faced by the populations of Greece, Spain and other European countries. This austerity is to pay for a deficit created by the unaccounted actions of reckless bankers within a woefully under regulated financial market.
The financial crisis and the subsequently incurred British debt is now being utilised by Prime Minister David Cameron's government as a smokescreen to help push through unreasonably severe policies that will harm everyone in the UK apart from those at the top. The policy directions from the Conservative Party Conference, in Britain this week, seem disconnected with any sense of economic reality. And they seem to be solely about justifying and increasing the wealth of the rich. This includes the Tories' line that things will get worse: including George Osborne's recent pledge that, if re-elected, he would slash £10bn more from welfare. He said that he continues to be inspired by the economic policies of Margret Thatcher's government in the 1980s.
The underlying truth is that the gap between the elites and the ordinary people has made the greatest shift in earnings ever recorded under Cameron's government. During the 1980s, the gulf between the top and bottom 20 per cent widened by a full 60 per cent. This year, chief executive pay in the top FTSE 25 rocketed by more than 41 per cent. Corporate tax avoidance has cost the country billions of pounds. While Osbourne floats ideas like cutting workers rights back to Victorian levels, repeating comments like "we are all this together" seems callous. One way to consider this statement is yes, we are all in this ever unjust system together. You are acting on behalf of the small number of elites that are benefiting from it, while we are suffering by greater and greater degrees.
Steve Rushton is a writer and political researcher
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Let's make tax avoidance the governmental top priority.
david sivers - Eastbourne
If, in fact, America sets the trend and the final fix lies with US policy. I guess the rest of the world needs to tell their American friends that facts do matter, and the presidential election has consequences.
Say what you want about Barack Obama being too calm, but rational thought creates better policy. Reactive and zealous radicalism sets the tone for global war and economic exploitation by the corporate world, while hiding behind our flag for safety.
While many reject the two-party system, we are more or less bound to at this moment in history. Obama really serves the nation, the global community and the fight against the irrational belief in austerity - hyped and marketed by the right wingers of most civil nations. Growth comes from the ground up and has never been created by the throne sitters or the folks who defend their greed and vanity. Obama 2012.
No name supplied
If, in fact, America is the perceived engine of the world and we are currently the one nation which has not fully been committed to austerity - as of yet. Then the need to convince as many Americans business communities that guaranteed rise in profits, will be of little value in a global economy run or leveraged by zealots and radicalised ideologues.
Whether from Muslim, Christian or any other flavour of the month - radicalism serves no purpose in a civil and socially diverse global condition. If these ideologies are allowed to be hidden within the 'legitimate' heads of global leader states and nations. We all suffer from prophetic dogma and an unnatural tendency to seek the prophecy result.
Despite the rewards of profiteering and vanity of the false power masked by 'business' and slickly word-smithed marketing double speak. Austerity hurts you, not dollar flow.
On paper in files, in drawers, under names seen as corporate people by some business interests in many places. Lives what some say have 'voice' as 'people'? Those people only exist for the harvesting of dollars. And they only see upward gains as success, which leaves humanity, as a managed human commodity. And true humanity is lost in the paperwork and bean counters.
The dollar assume they are the masters, everyone else are the peasants. It's like their selling you the 'benefits' of big tobacco style campaigns. All words, but little substance, and they will have their pound of flesh from those they save from themselves, so graciously. Paranoia? Maybe. But their words of austerity greatness should come with warning labels.
Emile - USA