Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What can protestors in the North learn

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What can protestors in the North learn
Whilst there are clear differences in the development of the struggle in Amsterdam (for example) and Greece and Spain, there are many similarities. There are many, so far fragmented, struggles against austerity policies. For example, the ongoing series of strikes again the privatisation and gutting of the public transport networks in Amsterdam. Those workers have appealed for support. There have been mass demonstrations (20,000) by Dutch students in recent months, and there have been many protests by expatriate groups (such as the Mexicans) against elite policies in their countries. There are many more.

One of the jobs of activists on the ground is to point out the links between all these struggles – they all stem from government policies that favour capital and big-business profits, no matter what the social cost. The current wave of 'austerity' politics in Europe is nothing more than an attempt to protect the profits of the big banks that caused the crisis in the first place! All our struggles need to reinforce one another, and work together in unity. After all, it is clear that  the interests of (finance) capital are looked after through strong organisation (think ECB, IMF, WB, G8, individual states etc.)!

Forging unity across constructed social barriers (race, job category, gender, nationality etc.) is the most effective way to combat the 'blame game' that the media and governments perpetuate, which so far has an echo because the alternative understanding has not been given voice. In the North of Europe it is a story of the 'lazy' South - but ordinary workers didn't rack up the debts! It is in daily experience, in struggle and in practical solidarity that workers and students learn their common plight.

A practical policy of working class unity and dialogue – developing links between individual struggles – will develop the momentum of the protests in the North, protect them from petering out and state (police) attempts to disperse them.

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