May 14, 2012
France’s newly elected President François Hollande declared that “growth” is the alternative to generalized austerity in the European Union. Some of his counterparts, Mario Monti in Italy and Mariano Rajoy in Spain, say the same. More or less openly criticizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Monti called for a European summit to study how to revive “growth.”
But behind all this talk about “growth” is only another attack on the workers’ standard of living. Look at what Monti has done since taking over the Italian government last November, when he replaced Silvio Berlusconi. He pushed a new austerity plan, on top of the two previous plans adopted during the summer. Calling it “Save Italy,” he increased the age at which workers can take Social Security pensions, increased the national sales tax and other taxes on the population and cut public services. The entire population has paid to save – not Italy – but the profits of bankers who speculate on the country’s debt.
Monti then announced a new stage preparing for “growth.” He claimed the main obstacle to “growth” was Article 18 of the Labor Law, protecting workers against layoffs. He engaged, with the complicity of the union leadership, in a “reform of the labor market,” which was supposed to encourage businesses to hire... by letting them lay off without hindrance.
This new talk about “growth” is nothing but a new pretext to give money and opportunities to the bankers. It’s been at least twenty years now that these people have been saying that to hire, they first have to be able to lay off. The sole result of this has been the aggravation of the crisis.
But in all the countries of Europe, the workers are beginning to be fed up with suffering under such a swindle.