A revolution against neoliberalism?
If rebellion results in a retrenchment of neoliberalism, millions will feel cheated.
Walter Armbrust, Last Modified: 24 Feb 2011 20:27 GMT
On February 16th I read a comment that was posted on the wall of the Kullina Khalid Saed's ("We are all Khaled Said") Facebook page administered by the now very famous Wael Ghonim. By that time it had been there for about 21 hours. The comment referred to a news item reporting that European governments were under pressure to freeze bank accounts of recently deposed members of the Mubarak regime. The comment said: "Excellent news … we do not want to take revenge on anyone … it is the right of all of us to hold to account any person who has wronged this nation. By law we want the nation’s money that has been stolen … because this is the money of Egyptians, 40 per cent of whom live below the poverty line."
By the time I unpacked this thread of conversation, 5,999 people had clicked the "like" button, and about 5,500 had left comments. I have not attempted the herculean task of reading all five thousand odd comments (and no doubt more are being added as I write), but a fairly lengthy survey left no doubt that most of the comments were made by people who clicked the "like" icon on the Facebook page. There were also a few by regime supporters, and others by people who dislike the personality cult that has emerged around Mr. Ghoneim.
This Facebook thread is symptomatic of the moment. Now that the Mubarak regime has fallen, an urge to account for its crimes and to identify its accomplices has come to the fore. The chants, songs, and poetry performed in Midan al-Tahrir always contained an element of anger against haramiyya (thieves) who benefited from regime corruption. Now lists of regime supporters are circulating in the press and blogosphere. Mubarak and his closest relatives (sons Gamal and 'Ala’) are always at the head of these lists. Articles on their personal wealth give figures as low as $3 billion to as high as $70 billion (the higher number was repeated on many protesters’ signs). Ahmad Ezz, the General Secretary of the deposed National Democratic Party and the largest steel magnate in the Middle East, is supposed to be worth $18 billion; Zohayr Garana, former Minister of Tourism, $13 billion; Ahmad al-Maghrabi, former Minister of Housing, $11 billion; former Minister of Interior Habib Adli, much hated for his supervision of an incredibly abusive police state, also managed to amass $8 billion — not bad for a lifetime civil servant.
Such figures may prove to be inaccurate. They may be too low, or maybe too high, and we may never know precisely because much of the money is outside of Egypt, and foreign governments will only investigate the financial dealings of Mubarak regime members if the Egyptian government makes a formal request for them to do so. Whatever the true numbers, the corruption of the Mubarak regime is not in doubt. The lowest figure quoted for Mubarak’s personal wealth, of "only" $3 billion, is damning enough for a man who entered the air force in 1950 at the age of twenty two, embarking on a sixty-year career in "public service." moreAnd then there are the Irish who must be hoping that a new government will bring new economic thinking. After all, that is obviously what the voters want.
Ireland's new government on a collision course with EU
Ireland's new government is headed for confrontation with Brussels after the country's ruling party was wiped out on Saturday by voters in a huge popular backlash against a European-IMF austerity programme.
By Bruno Waterfield, Dublin 8:30PM GMT 26 Feb 2011
Exit polls and early tallies from Ireland's general election heralded political annihilation for Fianna Fail (FF), the party which has ruledIreland for more than 60 years of the Irish Republic's eight decades of independence.
The unprecedented and historic defeat, Fianna Fail's worst result in 85 years, makes the Irish government the first eurozone administration to be punished by voters in the aftermath of the EU's debt crisis. Voter turn-out was exceptionally high at more than 70 per cent, indicating public anger at the government and the EU.
Late last year, Ireland was forced to accept a £72 billion EU-IMF bailout to cover huge public debts that were ran up to save failed Irish banks.
The bail-out was designed to prevent financial contagion that threatened the existence of the euro, but according to economic forecasts, the cost of servicing Irish bank debt and the EU-IMF bank loans will consume 85 per cent of Ireland's income tax revenue by 2012, a burden that a majority of voters find intolerable.
Brian Cowen, the Irish Prime Minister and Fianna Fail leader, who stood down last month rather than face furious voters, was also pressured into implementing a savage £13billion austerity programme of tax rises and spending cuts drawn up by the EU.
The cost of the EU-IMF bailout in extra taxes for an average Irish family has been estimated at over £3,900 a year. Other deeply unpopular measures include controversial reductions to the minimum wage, unprecedented cuts to public services and 90,000 jobs losses in a country where unemployment is already running at almost 14 per cent. moreThe Icelanders have a strong tradition of honest democracy and self-government. Their economic plight is obviously the result of massive fraud and injustice. They have a clear understanding who the bad guys are. And yet, in the following interview we hear of the insane levels of bullying the international money crowd will use against innocent people.
Red Ice Radio - Birgitta Jonsdottir - Financial War Against Iceland
Posted By: pax
Date: Tuesday, 1-Mar-2011 12:24:47
Ms. Jonsdottir is a member of parliament of Althing, the Icelandic parliament.
From Red Ice Radio: We have member of the Icelandic Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir with us from "the movement" to talk about the financial warfare that has been taking place against the people of Iceland since the Lehman Brothers-AIG world financial panic in September-October 2008. The governments of London, the Hague and the EU with the backing of the IMF is at the heart of this financial blackmail. Don't miss this important program. Topics Discussed: Privatization, Alcoa, Bechtel, Impregilo, Icesave, Terrorist Act, IMF blocking a loan to Iceland, 400 000 accounts in Icesave, MOU (Memorandum of understanding), European Union, ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Affairs Council), Wikileaks, American Bases on Iceland, John Perkins, Economic Hitman, The Political Elite of European Union, Friends of Iceland, savethepeopleoficeland.com, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Resources, Geothermal Energy, Water, Trade Advantages, Economic Warfare, "The Movement", Outside the Left-Right Paradigm, Oligarchs, Monopoly and much more.