The actuality of a successful capitalist offensive By Richard Seymour

29 March 29, 2013 — Lenin’s Tomb

We’ve been waiting five years for a coherent left-wing response to the recession. We’ve been waiting three years for a coherent left-wing response to the cuts. Two years ago, I was asked at a talk how we could communicate the socialist solution to the crisis; I said it would be nice if we had one. It would still be a step forward today. If the extant strategies, groups or alliances were sufficient to deliver this, we would have it by now.

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There Is No American Left By Salvatore Babones

27 December 2012 — Australian Options

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (Photo: Iowa Democrats / Flickr)

[Nor British for that matter. WB]

In September 2012 Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel attempted to break the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) with a bid to privatize Chicago’s public schools. The mayor’s proposal was based on a plan to subject teachers (and schools) to performance measurement based on students‘ standardized test scores.

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UK Public Sector Strike Newslinks 29-30 November 2011: 2 million strike

30 November 2011 — williambowles.info

30 November 2011
Strikers Show The Tories Who’s Boss: 2 Million Out To Save Their Pensions
Morning Star Today at 17:32
Tory attempts to belittle public-sector industrial action rang pathetically hollow today as millions of workers joined the fight against government-imposed pension cuts.

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Greece: cradle of austerity — RT

21 October 2011 — Greece: cradle of austerity — RT

Greece wakes up this morning to a new age of austerity. Parliament has passed a fresh package of pay cuts and tax hikes in attempt to stave off bankruptcy. The decision has been met with violent unrest in Athens.

­Protests in Greece have become a common occurrence, but behind the rallies is public anger at years of austerity.

For the people that has meant wage cuts many people by 30 per cent in most cases. On top of that, tax hikes, cuts to pensions and cuts to public spending.

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Greece: cradle of austerity — RT

21 October 2011 — Greece: cradle of austerity — RT

Greece wakes up this morning to a new age of austerity. Parliament has passed a fresh package of pay cuts and tax hikes in attempt to stave off bankruptcy. The decision has been met with violent unrest in Athens.

­Protests in Greece have become a common occurrence, but behind the rallies is public anger at years of austerity.

For the people that has meant wage cuts many people by 30 per cent in most cases. On top of that, tax hikes, cuts to pensions and cuts to public spending.

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European Conference Against Austerity & Privatisation: European Conference Declaration

4 October 2011 — Europe Against Austerity

After a day of intensive debate, analysis and planning for cooperation and action, the Europe against Austerity Conference heard Coalition of Resistance Secretary Andrew Burgin propose the following Declaration, on behalf of the European Preparatory Committee. The Declaration was unanimously endorsed by the Conference which was attended by over 600 people:

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Global Research: The Debt Ceiling Crisis in America Selected Articles

1 August, 2011– Global Research

The debt ceiling crisis can be averted by enforcing the Fourteenth Amendment, which mandates the government to pay its debts already incurred, including pensions.  That means Social Security, which IS an “entitlement,” in the original sense of the word.  We’re entitled to it because we’ve paid for it with taxes.   
-Ellen Brown, Bipartisan “Russian Roulette” and America’s Federal Debt

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Slash military budget not pensions – UK union leader — RT

30 June 2011 — RT

British union leader Mark Serwotka says public sector workers, who are going on a nationwide strike on June 30, will not allow the cabinet to go on with the planned cuts of budget spending.

Serwotka is general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the trade union for British civil servants with some 300,000 members, which is one of the four unions participating in the strike. He said the government had better listen to them now, or the number of protesters will increase by a significant order of magnitude in a matter of months.

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ColdType June-July 2011 Issue

14 June 2011 — Coldtype

Download in pdf format at http://www.coldtype.net

1. Back to the, er, past . . .
This month we’ve changed our name from The ColdType Reader back to the original, and simpler, title of ColdType. It’s the third time we’ve changed our name: the first incarnation of ColdType was in tabloidprinted format; then, after a long hiatus, it became ColdType2, an e-magazine inside ColdType.net. After a couple of issues, we switched to the less-confusing ColdType Reader. Now, with our 57th issue, we’re back where we began: ColdType. – Tony Sutton, editor

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Retirement no golden age in UK as pensions drop while costs rise — RT

10 January, 2011 — RT

British pensioners are going bankrupt faster than any other group in the UK, and the country’s Insolvency Service findings highlight how seriously those over 65 are struggling to keep their homes running, as costs rise.

­Retirement is depicted as a golden age, where older people get more time to enjoy their families and hobbies. But a new survey shows a different side to old age in Britain – a worrying picture of a country where more and more elderly people cannot afford to retire.

Pensioner Lydia Portsmouth will not say how much money she gets from the state, but she is forced to dip into her limited savings to pay her monthly bills. Like many others, she was not able to put away a lot of money for her retirement, and what she does have is now earning so little interest in the bank, that she regularly has to spend the capital.

‘That money keeps my house going, if you know what I mean… That pays the bills and then I live on my pension and try to put a bit away,’ says Lydia Portsmouth. ‘I try to make up for the money that is coming up because nothing’s going back in again, and it’s getting lower and lower. In the end I would have to sell the house.’

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France: Not Victorious, But Not Defeated By Murray Smith

17 December, 2010 — The Bullet: Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 441

It is now possible to begin to draw a tentative balance sheet of the vast movement against the reform (or more exactly, counter-reform) of the pension system in France over the last few months. We need to look at the depth and breadth of the movement, the forms that it took and the positions adopted by its various components. And finally at what might be the repercussions and consequences.

The immediate aim of the reform proposed by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his government seemed quite clear. It was to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age for retiring with a full pension from 65 to 67, with corresponding increases in the number of years of contribution required. But behind this immediate aim lies the ongoing objective of slowly undermining the public pension system, with the aim of pushing workers toward subscribing to private pension plans, to the greater profit of the pension funds.

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The Cruelty and Stupidity of the Government’s Welfare Reforms By Andy Worthington

12 November, 2010 — Andy Worthington

Journalists like to portray Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, as a caring, decent man, but while this may be true in his personal life, politically he is a ruthless ideologue, whose white paper on welfare reform, unveiled yesterday, reveals that he is, to be blunt, monstrously cruel and stupid. In the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, Mary Riddell provided a cautionary warning about how this would-be reformer’s mind works, which harks back uncomfortably to the Social Darwinism of the Victorian age. Duncan Smith, she wrote, “believes that dysfunctional lives are the root cause of poverty, while the centre Left thinks, correctly, that the reverse is true.”

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French lessons

27 October, 2010 — SocialistWorker.org

The lessons of the struggle against Sarkozy’s pension ‘reform’ apply beyond France.

france-demo.jpg

On the march in Paris against Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reform law (Rafael Lopez)

THE FRENCH revolt against austerity has transformed politics in France–and it has the potential to do the same across Europe and beyond.

The relentless international drive to force down working-class living standards has run smack into a united and determined working class with one of the most militant traditions in the world.

For weeks, France has been roiled by strikes, street protests, road blockades and student walkouts organized against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s proposal for pension ‘reform.’ Even after the legislation passed its final vote in the French parliament, the demonstrations continued, and the country’s unions were backing two further nationwide days of strikes and action, on October 28 and November 6.

Sarkozy’s popularity has plunged to an all-time low for a French president of 29 percent, and the protest movement against pension ‘reform’ has been steadily supported by around 70 percent of the population.

A few months ago, Sarkozy was bolstering his standing with a mass deportation of Roma immigrants and a law banning the wearing of the hiqab or burqa by Muslim women. But in a matter of several weeks, the rebellion of French workers and students has halted Sarkozy’s momentum and replaced the ugly rightward drift in French politics with a message of working-class power, unity and solidarity.

These developments hold lessons for workers and the left across Europe and in other countries–including the U.S., where the pressure on working class living standards is severe, and the right wing and its campaigns against Muslims, immigrants and LGBT rights have rapidly come to dominate national politics.

As France shows, a united working-class struggle can counter the politics of austerity and scapegoating just as rapidly.

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