Austerity: Cuts in Common Sense
The stories just keep coming back. Most of them from embattled Greece. Families, unable to care for their children, abandon them. People desperate to find work, just enough to survive, trudge home day after day with empty hands, and empty hearts. People are suffering.
I could go deeply into why, and how this has come about, but I’ll only touch on it briefly, because I want to focus on the human impact of these policies. Greece, like many European nations it would seem, has a debt problem. Sovereign debt is high, and the governments claim that they can no longer keep up the payments on this debt. Ignoring that many of these problems came as a result of the Eurozone, and the common currency, countries like Germany and France are determined to get their pound of flesh. The IMF, in its eternally sleazy way, promises help, but only if that help doesn’t go to the poorest, neediest, and most vulnerable Greeks. Burdened with these problems, Greece’s government, with a gun to its head approved austerity measure after austerity measure. A downward spiral, killing the economy, and making things worse by the day.
What is happening to the people of Greece? How is this affecting them? It is failing, and failing with horrible consequences attached. The corporations have their field days as they lay off workers, make the remaining workers work harder, and pay them less. Those who can’t find work are finding that the social safety net is fast retreating. Pensioners who worked hard their whole lives, are finding that they are now without anything. The capitalist class lives high off the hog, while the workers pay for Europe’s mistakes, and lies.
And what has been the result of this austerity for Europe? There cutting everything they can, public workers, pensions, infrastructure, not politician’s pay of course, education et. al. The result should be a great jumping rebound of capitalism’s wonderful built in springs, right? Unsurprisingly, no. As economies shrink, more worker’s lose their jobs, the wealth gap widens, more and more people fall into poverty and despair. It has been an abject failure. Even capitalist economists are starting to realize that the austerity measures are stunting economies, destroying families, and ruining countries. So why do they keep doing it? The answer is because, as always, the rich are in control. The capitalist class sits back with their fine wine, and exquisite cigars, puffing away about how everyone needs to tighten their belts in time of crises. The crises they created. The crises they are profiting from. The crises that will only make them richer and more powerful. They sit in their ivory towers laughing at you. “Look at those little ants, running in the streets of Athens, they think if they protest hard enough we’ll let them have more money to buy food at the market, or clothes for their children.” They scoff in their protected palaces. “Let them scream all they want, let them despair, let them cry, let them rage. They can’t touch us.”
Do you get the picture? They don’t have democracy. They don’t have a choice. They are enslaved to the money interests of European capital, chained with no chance of escape.
Imagine working hard your whole life to earn a pension to retire on. Maybe you didn’t want much. You just wanted a decent place to live, maybe near a public swimming pool, somewhere that had bowling and other activities. Let’s say you lived alone, and thought it wouldn’t take much money to survive by yourself. All you wanted was to enjoy the rest you earned after a lifetime of working so hard.
Imagine that was taken away from you. As your debts pile up, and your money dwindles, all because your pension has been wiped out by the greedy bastards who run the government, by capitalist assholes in Brussels, Berlin, and Paris. You realize that you’re going to end up penniless; you’re going to slowly starve. This isn’t a hypothetical situation. This is real life. The man I’m talking about decided to take action. Rather than lose his dignity, by becoming homeless and starving on the street in spite of a lifetime of work, he walked in front of the Greek Parliament, the people who have completely ignored the anguished cries of the assaulted Greek people, and shot himself.
From his suicide note:
“The occupation government… has literally wiped out my ability to survive, based on a respectable pension which I had paid for during a 35-year period,” the pensioner said in an excerpt published in Greek newspapers.
“I find no other solution for a dignified end before I start sifting through garbage to feed myself,” he allegedly wrote in red ink.
Now do you understand that capitalism kills? That this is insanity? We have enough for the world, we really do. We really, really do. Capitalism gives more wealth than anyone can use to a select few, and starves the rest. The workers don’t matter, their social security doesn’t matter, they don’t matter, because to a capitalist all that matters is that his own greedy wallet gets fatter.
Hey Greece, maybe it’s time you started pointing those guns in a different direction.
Eat the rich.