Wednesday, November 14, 2012

General strike in Spain and Portugal

Spanish unions staged a general strike on Wednesday to protest the conservative government's crippling austerity policies. Democracy Now! reports, General Strike Sweeps Europe as Millions Reject Austerity as Solution 11/14/2012:

The piece references this piece by María Carrión, Spaniards Take On the Banks The Progressive Nov 2012:

Under Spanish law, banks have the right to claim full payment of debt even after repossessing the property, including the difference in value—which in some cases can be as much as 40 percent due to falling prices.

“The banks go after them like sharks: As soon as people find employment they garnish their wages,” says Vicente Perez, spokesperson for the Platform in Madrid, whose “Stop Evictions” campaign has successfully intervened in more than 100 repossessions in the region. “They seize homes that other family members put up as collateral. The family’s credit is ruined; they cannot get loans, pay anything with credit, or even rent. They live on the margins of the economy.”

As the Rajoy government negotiates conditions with the EU for the 100 billion euro bailout of Spain’s banking system, rotten to the core due to its reckless lending practices during the housing bubble, 15-M and other social movements are asking that banks turn part of the millions of empty properties they amassed through repossessions and debt swaps into affordable rentals. About 5.6 million homes, 20 percent of the total, remain empty in Spain either because they have not been sold or because they were seized by banks.
Carrión in the video talks about the eviction situation.

Here is a shorter video from Euronews on the Spanish strike, Spanish anti-austerity protesters clash with police 11/14/2012:

This is a Spanish-language report from TV Pública Argentina, Huelgas masivas en España y Portugal 11/14/2012:

Público reports that there was an impressive turnout in cities all over Spain: La huelga general culmina en una marcha gigantesca en Madrid bajo el lema: "Nos dejan sin futuro" 14.11.2012. The main slogan for the general strikes was, "Nos dejan sin futuro. Hay culpables. Hay soluciones." (They are leaving us with no future. There are guilty ones. There are solucions.")

Portugal's unions also staged a general strike, and there were work stoppages in Greece and Italy, and notable solidarity demonstrations in Belgium, France and Germany. (See Europa se cubre de manifestaciones contra los ajustes Público 14.11.2012; Trabajadores europeos, a las calles Página 12 14.11.2012. Here are reports on Greece and Italy from Euronews.

Greek workers show solidarity with suffering in Spain, Portugal 11/14/2012:

Italy's anti-austerity protests erupt into violence 11/14/2012:

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