Well, democracy may be pretty meaningless these days but once in a while there is an opening and the rage against these crooked austerity measures comes roaring through. This what the U.N. / ILO is saying.
And there there were Sunday's elections. The Greeks were especially outraged at the parties that had gotten into bed with the moneychangers.
'UN Agency Slams European Austerity Measures'04/30/2012
A new report by the International Labor Organization has strongly criticized euro-crisis austerity measures. They have had "devastating consequences" for the job market, which could be entering a "new and more problematic phase" worldwide, the report warns.
Governments in many countries, particularly in Europe, have implemented radical reforms and austerity measures in an effort to combat the economic crisis. But this approach has "devastating consequences" on the job market, the International Labor Organization (ILO) warned on Monday.
Furthermore, these measures have not achieved the desired result of reduced deficits, the United Nations agency said. The "World of Work Report 2012" called the global employment situation "alarming," and urged governments to recognize that job-centered policies have a positive effect on the economy.
"The austerity and regulation strategy was expected to lead to more growth, which is not happening," director of the ILO's Institute for International Labor Studies, Raymond Torres, told the press in Geneva. "The strategy of austerity actually has been counterproductive from the point of view of its very objective of supporting confidence and supporting the reduction of budget deficits."
The report could heat up the debate about how to handle the euro crisis, which has recently focused on criticism of German Chancellor Angela Merkel for pushing tough austerity measures on heavily indebted European countries. The recent suggestion by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to implement a "growth pact" has been met with widespread approval amid the growing austerity backlash.
Conservative French politician and European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michael Barnier, told German daily Die Welt on Monday that he also supports growth measures. "It is possible to reconcile the good stewardship of public budgets with growth," he told the paper. "Thus I advocate that we prepare a European growth initiative in addition to contracts for budgetary discipline."
The ILO says that even the recovery of the world economy has not helped, with unemployment on the rise around the globe. They estimate that some 202 million people will be without jobs in 2012 -- up by 6 million from the previous year. Employment won't reach levels seen before the 2008 financial crisis until 2016 at the earliest, some two years later than initially expected, the organization said. The situation could lead to unrest if austerity measures aren't combined with job creation, it added. more
And in France, the Socialists have returned to power after a generation in the wilderness on the promise that they intend to cut back on the power of the banksters. We will see.
Angry voters deliver blow to Greece's ruling coalitionBy News Wires (text) 06/05/2012
AP - Greeks angered by a vicious and protracted financial crisis punished their two main parties in national elections Sunday, with exit polls projecting no party gaining enough votes to form a government.
The conservative New Democracy party appeared the most likely to win the top spot, while the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn seemed set to gain parliamentary seats for the first time. Days of talks are likely to ensue as parties attempt to hammer out a governing coalition.
The election will determine the country’s course after years of austerity measures that have outraged voters but which were critical in convincing international creditors to extend Greece billions in loans to keep its debt-saddled economy afloat.
Greece is heavily dependent on billions of euros worth of international rescue loans from other European countries and the International Monetary Fund, and must impose yet more austerity measures next month to keep the bailout funds flowing and prevent a default and a potentially disastrous exit from the group of nations that use the euro currency.
According to updated exit poll figures an hour and a half after polls closed, New Democracy was projected to win 19-20.5 percent, followed by the leftist Radical Left Coalition, or Syriza, with 15.5-17 percent. The formerly majority socialist PASOK party was projected in third place with 13-14 percent.
“The truth is here -- the reality of this result is that at the moment this produces no government,” outgoing deputy prime minister and senior PASOK official Theodoros Pangalos said. “It is not a question at the moment of who gets a little more or a little less.”
If the figures are confirmed by official results expected later Sunday, the result will be a devastating blow to PASOK, which won a landslide victory in the last parliamentary elections in 2009 with more than 43 percent. PASOK, along with New Democracy, have dominated Greek politics since the fall of the seven-year dictatorship in 1974.
“This is a major political earthquake, that has devastated PASOK,” senior New Democracy official Panos Panagiotopoulos said. “New Democracy remains the first party but has a very low support number. It is an explosion of anger and despair. The fallout has affected many parties -- fairly and unfairly.” more
The left threw a party at the Bastille on Sunday. I hope they are not getting ahead of themselves. I was at some pointless parties the night Obama was elected. On the other hand, even the banksters must shudder when they read about the supporters of France's new president storming the Bastille.
French president François Hollande promises 'a new start' for EuropeAfter victory over Nicolas Sarkozy, Socialist says he will fight back against German-led austerity measures
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 6 May 2012
François Hollande has won the presidency of France, turning the tide on a rightward and xenophobic lurch in European politics and vowing to transform Europe's handling of the economic crisis by fighting back against German-led austerity measures.
The 57-year-old rural MP and self-styled Mr Normal, a moderate social democrat from the centre of the Socialist party, is France's first leftwing president for 17 years. Projections from early counts, released by French television, put him on 51.9% and Nicolas Sarkozy on 48.1%.
His victory is a boost to the left in a continent that has gradually swung right since the economic crisis broke four years ago.
From the town of Tulle in his rural heartland of Corrèze in southwest France, Hollande declared victory. "May 6 should be a great date for our country, a new start for Europe, a new hope for the world," he said. "I'm sure in a lot of European countries there is relief, hope that at last austerity is no longer inevitable."
He said his mission was to go to European leaders to demand measures for "growth, jobs and prosperity". Hollande's first move as president will be to push Germany to renegotiate Europe's budget discipline pact to include a clause on growth.
Hollande said France had voted for change, but he had a heavy responsibility to drag the country out of economic crisis. Vowing that France would no longer be fractured, divided or riven by discrimination, or those in the poor high-rise suburbs and abandoned rural areas cast aside, he said: "No child of the republic will be abandoned."
Sarkozy, defeated after one term in office, became the 11th European leader, including Gordon Brown, to be swept from power since the economic crisis in 2008. He conceded defeat at a gathering of his party activists at the Mutualité in central Paris, urging them from the stage to stop booing Hollande. "I carry all the responsibility for this defeat," he said. He had spoken to Hollande to congratulate him. more
Thousands storm Bastille for left's long-expected partyJubilant supporters of François Hollande swarmed into the symbolic Place de la Bastille on Sunday night to celebrate the Socialist candidate's victory at the polls. It was a party they had waited a long time to hold.
By Ben MCPARTLAND reporting from Place de la Bastille in Paris 07/05/2012
The iconic Bastille square in Paris played host to an almighty party on Sunday as supporters of François Hollande celebrated his triumph in France's presidential election.
Tens of thousands of people descended on the symbolic rallying point for France’s left after his victory over the incumbent president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was announced at 8pm.
People of all ages, creeds and colours packed into to the Bastille to revel in the first victory for a left-wing candidate since François Mitterrand was re-elected to the Elysée Palace in 1988.
Fabien Montel, 30, told FRANCE 24: “Tonight is history in the making. It is not everyday you get to come to Place de La Bastille and see this.”
Back in January, François Hollande had vowed to put young French people at the heart of his mandate and the country’s youth were out in force on Sunday.
Many would not have remembered the last time a Socialist victory was celebrated at the Bastille. But there were also those who did.
“In 1981 it was slightly different because the French left had never been in power before,” said Jean-Louis Renoir, a member of the Socialist Party in the 1950s. “But even so, after going so long without a socialist president, tonight is just as good.” more