Thursday, March 05, 2009

Takin' It To The Streets

This goes out to DJ, who's angry with conservative ideology that favors the rich over the poor and middle-class, and to Bruce Fealk, who wonders why Republicans "want to be so unpatriotic as to think Americans shouldn't earn good wages, have access to health care and a decent pension to live on during their golden years."

Bruce also asks, "When do we take to the streets en mass and call these idiots out? When do we say, ENOUGH!"

That day may be coming soon if Europe is any indication. Large demonstrations sparked by the economic crisis broke out recently in France, Greece, Iceland and Russia, and only a couple of weeks ago thousands of people marched in Dublin.
MORE than 120,000 workers surrounded the Dail, or Irish Parliament, to protest against bail-outs for wealthy bankers, soaring unemployment and the Fianna Fail government's attempts to force public-sector workers to take a pay cut. [...]

"There is anger, because everybody knows that this crisis is not our fault, that a business elite has destroyed our economy and has as yet to be made accountable for it," Mr Begg told the huge rally at Merrion Square in the heart of Dublin.
Workers are angry because the government plans on docking 7 percent from the paychecks of 350,000 Irish workers "amid revelations of shady dealings and irresponsible lending at banks now getting taxpayer's help." Sound familiar?

The Irish Times labeled it "a case of the bankers’ billions versus the worker’s mite."

The General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, David Begg, said "those involved in what he called corruption had done huge damage to Ireland and described their actions as economic treason." Addressing the rally, Begg also added that "there is anger, because everybody knows that this crisis is not our fault, that a business elite has destroyed our economy and has as yet to be made accountable for it."

And Patricia McKeown, president of the ICTU, decried the "casino capitalism that has brought this country to its knees."
"An economy cannot be built on shady financial deals, privatisation of public services and the ever insatiable greed of the very, very wealthy," she insisted.

"But we face a government which wants the workers who built the economy to now sacrifice while it protects and bankrolls those who wrecked it. We are not prepared to live in that type of society," Ms McKeown declared.
Ironically, John McCain bragged about Ireland's economy on the campaign trail last year, pointing to their low business taxes as an example of what they can do for a country. Just like DeVos missed indications that Michigan wasn't the only state showing signs of economic stress, McCain missed signs that Ireland was having problems too.
The roots of Ireland’s fall date to more than 20 years ago, when a clutch of economists, politicians and civil servants put their heads together in this very pub and planted the philosophical seeds for the Irish economic miracle. ....

Known widely as the “Doheny & Nesbitt School of Economics,” these beery musings soon became government policy that chopped taxes in half, sharply reduced import duties and embraced foreign investment...
So how is Ireland's economic miracle working out? Their housing prices have fallen by as much as 50 percent, bank shares have plummeted by more than 90 percent, and unemployment is approaching 10 percent. No wonder one of London's senior police officers is warning that law-abiding middle-class individuals who would never have considered joining demonstrations may now seek to vent their anger through protests this year.
The public's rage with the banks and the Government is growing by the day. Thousands are losing their jobs through no fault of their own ... Homes are being repossessed across the country, but not the penthouse flats and country piles of bank bosses who thought nothing of taking home vast seven-figure bonuses, and consider £1 million a year a modest income.

The innocent are being punished while the guilty continue to lead affluent lives.
British police are preparing for a "summer of rage" as people protest the growing economic crisis. Europeans have had enough. Americans have had enough too, and as David Sirota says, "It is only going to get worse if genuine change doesn't happen in short order."

(Cross-posted at BFM.)


abi said...

Yes, it wouldn't be surprising at all to see a violent response to this mess. That guy Begg has it exactly right - the elite that destroyed economies on both sides of the ocean isn't being held accountable. And ordinary people are suffering. Sounds like a recipe for violence to me.

Boy, "casino capitalism" is a great description.

Kathy said...

Abi, "casino capitalism" was great, but my favorite line was the one in the Irish Times:

"A case of the bankers’ billions versus the worker’s mite."

Boy, if that ain't the truth.