Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Workers of the World Unite!


Here in Britain we have seen and read quite a lot about the police and their deployment in the students fight for higher education and against the raising of tuition fees, the brutality of the police has been appalling and supported by our cat's-tail of a coalition government. The truth is that the notoriety of the metropolitan police now finds unfavourable discomfort, that's why they use the media to blacken and bully the students. Sir Paul Stephenson its commissioner, talks about banning future marches which are a very desperate attempt to win back public terrain as eyes open now in distrust.

However, as that may be, please spare a thought if you will for the striking and picketing garment workers of Bangladesh. The garment workers, fighting against poverty-level wages, have come up against the Bangladeshi police who have killed four garment workers and injured at least 150 after opening fire with live bullets and tear gas shells on the workers last Sunday.

                                Greece Today

These shootings highlight the growing violence and repression being unleashed and handed out against workers and students globally. Only today as I write this we are learning that a general strike in Greece has seen workers clashing with riot police during the latest round of protests against the government's economic austerity plans.

Riot police fired tear gas cylinders to disperse crowds as thousands marched in downtown Athens.

The nationwide strike has shut schools, grounded flights and brought public transport almost to a halt.  With journalists joining the strike the seventh this year - there was no morning news on television and radio stations.

Yesterday in Italy riots erupted on the streets of Rome as protesters failed to come to terms with the fact that Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi 74, had scraped through by just three votes in a vote of confidence. Inside the parliamentary chamber, ushers of the legislative chamber had to pull apart brawling MPs. Outside on the streets armed police throw up ring of steel round parliament. The press reported on angry mobs smashing shop windows, setting cars on fire and hurling firecrackers, eggs and paint.

Following the disturbances 40 people were treated for minor injuries - three of them police - at one point an officer who was being attacked was seen to draw his gun as he was beaten to the ground by a mob.

As this year pulls to a close one thing is becoming clear, 2011 is facing rising austerity protests of that I am in no doubt. So far, social unrest over the financial crisis has varied from country to country. In some of the worst affected nations such as Ireland and Latvia, acceptance and even apathy has prevailed, while Greece has seen fatalities and street clashes.

Increasingly, there are signs of rising social pressures. Many Western European countries are only just embarking on multi-year deficit-reduction packages, a hard sell in states where expectations have risen for generations. But what is of significance here, is that throughout the world as in Bangladesh, workers are rising as a new confidence catches hold, and for those of us who support change this should not only be welcomed but supported as a step on the way towards a world for workers!”

                                Italy Yesterday

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