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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/24/11

Spanish Voters Reject Austerity

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Spanish Voters Reject Austerity - by Stephen Lendman

Since mid-May, Spain's M-15 movement began protesting for "Real Democracy Now," drawing large numbers of students, activists, unemployed workers, and other "los indignados" (the outraged ones) on streets throughout the country, defying a ban ahead of May 22 municipal and regional elections.

Tens of thousands said "No nos moveran" (We shall not be moved), opposing government imposed austerity to repay bankers at their expense. 

Experiencing its worse economic crisis in decades, official figures show around 45% of Spanish youths unemployed, a crisis affecting all workers facing worsening, not improving conditions, some of the worst in Europe.

In response to growing needs, Jose Luis Zapartero's Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government proposed 5% or more public worker pay and pension cuts, halting cost of living adjustments, raising the retirement age from 65 to 67, ending payments for births or adopting children, and more ahead, including reforming labor protections and pensions, not stimulus when it's most needed. 

As a result, the populist "Real Democracy Now" manifesto states:

"We are ordinary people. We are like you: people who get up every morning to study, work or find a job, people who have family and friends. People who work hard every day to provide a better future for those around us," calling for "an ethical revolution" for change.

The same crisis affects other countries throughout Europe, notably Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Latvia, Iceland, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, and elsewhere, what Michael Hudson calls a specter haunting Europe, showing no signs of letup under crushing debt burdens counterproductively dealt with by neoliberal austerity.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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