YESTERDAY Europe shook as millions of Spanish workers took to the streets in a general strike, while over 100,000 workers from all over Europe marched through the streets of Brussels, against the bankers’ and bosses’ savage cuts and austerity programmes.
In Greece and the Republic of Ireland unemployment figures are at their highest level in 10 years at 10.6% and 13.7%, while Spain’s unemployment has doubled in just three years to 20% of the working population.
The cost of financially supporting the Irish banks has been colossal, and has led to a huge rise in unemployment in the Irish Republic as well as in the cost of living.
The Irish government intends to once again bail out the Anglo-Irish Bank. The cost of this is estimated to be 35bn euros plus – over 20 per cent of Irish GDP! No wonder an Irish worker drove a concrete mixer into the gates of the parliament yesterday morning with the slogan ‘Anglo-Toxic Bank’ painted on the side.
The banks are now crucifying the Irish workers. They are stoking up a massive revolutionary upheaval of the Irish working class and rural poor. Those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind!
In the new EU states there have been big financial crashes. Latvia now has 20% unemployment, while Poland has scrapped 13.8% of its workforce.
In Romania the government is imposing wage cuts of 25% and pension cuts of 15%, and is already facing revolutionary action by workers and even the police, forcing the interior minister to resign.
Meanwhile, in Britain the government is planning to eliminate the £150bn deficit in a five-year parliamentary term, while in France the revolutionary masses are already on the march.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) march slogan yesterday was ‘No to austerity, priority to jobs and growth’.
Workers were determinedly chanting: ‘We didn’t cause this crisis. The bill has to be paid by the banks.’
The ETUC warned yesterday that the financial crisis has already made 23 million people across the EU jobless.
In fact, all the EU governments are aiming for maximum budget deficits of 3% of GDP by 2013.
France has announced plans to cut spending by 45bn euros over the next three years. The Spanish government has approved an austerity budget for 2011 which includes 8% spending cuts, and pay cuts of 5%.
The Greek government has pledged to make brutal cuts of 30bn euros in three years alongside a 10% increase in taxes. The Italian government has approved austerity measures worth 24bn euros for the years 2011-2012.
The German government has proposed plans to cut the budget deficit by a record 80bn euros ($96bn; £66bn), or 3% of GDP, by 2014.
Nobody can doubt that as the crisis deepens – and the austerity measures become more and more violent and bloodthirsty – it is driving the working class of Europe into revolutionary action to make the bankers pay for the crisis.
There is only one way that this can be done, and this is through socialist revolutions throughout Europe, expropriating the bosses and the bankers and establishing the Socialist United States of Europe.
This is why there is not a moment to lose in building sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International throughout Europe to lead the developing European socialist revolution to its victory.