Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Precariat - The New Dangerous Class

By Guy Standing

So far, the precariat in Europe has been mostly engaged in EuroMayDay parades and loosely organised protests. But this is changing rapidly, as events in Spain and Greece are showing, following on the precariat-led uprisings in the middle-east. Remember that welfare states were built only when the working class mobilised through collective action to demand the relevant policies and institutions. The precariat is busy defining its demands.

The precariat has emerged from the liberalisation that underpinned globalisation. Politicians should beware. It is a new dangerous class, not yet what Karl Marx would have described as a class-for-itself, but a class-in-the-making, internally divided into angry and bitter factions.

It consists of a multitude of insecure people, living bits-and-pieces lives, in and out of short-term jobs, without a narrative of occupational development, including millions of frustrated educated youth who do not like what they see before them, millions of women abused in oppressive labour, growing numbers of criminalised tagged for life, millions being categorised as ‘disabled’ and migrants in their hundreds of millions around the world. They are denizens; they have a more restricted range of social, cultural, political and economic rights than citizens around them.

Read the full article in Policy Network.

*Guy Standing is Professor of Economic Security, University of Bath, England, and co-president of BIEN (the Basic Income Earth Network).This article draws on his new book, The Precariat – The New Dangerous Class, published by Bloomsbury.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Europeans migrate south as continent drifts deeper into crisis

By Helen Pidd
The Guardian, 21/12/2011

Tens of thousands of Irish, Greek and Portuguese people leave in search of a new life as the eurozone's woes worsen.

Since its conception, the European Union has been a haven for those seeking refuge from war, persecution and poverty in other parts of the world. But as the EU faces what Angela Merkel has called its toughest hour since the second world war, the tables appear to be turning. A new stream of migrants is leaving the continent. It threatens to become a torrent if the debt crisis continues to worsen.

Tens of thousands of Portuguese, Greek and Irish people have left their homelands this year, many heading for the southern hemisphere. Anecdotal evidence points to the same happening in Spain and Italy.

Read the full story in the Guardian.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The case for an EU Financial Transaction Tax

By Dimitris Gouglas*

For too long we have entrusted financial markets as engines of growth and prosperity, ignoring the fact that a huge part of financial activity is speculative, unrestrained and based on flawed projections of the world. The myth of credit-based growth has gone bust, with 1.6 trillion euros of taxpayer’s money washing down the sink of bank bailouts. But yet, what makes common sense for citizens – taxing financial transactions – does not appeal to all political leaders in Europe.

Read the full article in the Social Europe Journal.

*Dimitris Gouglas is a research associate at Policy Cures in the UK and a founding Member of G700.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Εν μεγάλη Ελληνική αποικία, 200 π.Χ.

του Κωνσταντίνου Π. Καβάφη

Ότι τα πράγματα δεν βαίνουν κατ' ευχήν στην Αποικία
δεν μέν' η ελαχίστη αμφιβολία,
και μ' όλο που οπωσούν τραβούμ' εμπρός,
ίσως, καθώς νομίζουν ουκ ολίγοι, να έφθασε ο καιρός
να φέρουμε Πολιτικό Αναμορφωτή.

Όμως το πρόσκομμα κ' η δυσκολία
είναι που κάμνουνε μια ιστορία
μεγάλη κάθε πράγμα οι Αναμορφωταί
αυτοί. (Ευτύχημα θα ήταν αν ποτέ
δεν τους χρειάζονταν κανείς). Για κάθε τι,
για το παραμικρό ρωτούνε κ' εξετάζουν,
κ' ευθύς στον νου τους ριζικές μεταρρυθμίσεις βάζουν,
με την απαίτησι να εκτελεσθούν άνευ αναβολής.

Έχουνε και μια κλίσι στες θυσίες.
Παραιτηθείτε από την κτήσιν σας εκείνη·
η κατοχή σας είν' επισφαλής:
η τέτοιες κτήσεις ακριβώς βλάπτουν τες Αποικίες.
Παραιτηθείτε από την πρόσοδον αυτή,
κι από την άλληνα την συναφή,
κι από την τρίτη τούτην: ως συνέπεια φυσική·
είναι μεν ουσιώδεις, αλλά τι να γίνει;
σας δημιουργούν μια επιβλαβή ευθύνη.

Κι όσο στον έλεγχό τους προχωρούνε,
βρίσκουν και βρίσκουν περιττά, και να παυθούν ζητούνε·
πράγματα που όμως δύσκολα τα καταργεί κανείς.

Κι όταν, με το καλό, τελειώσουνε την εργασία,
κι ορίσαντες και περικόψαντες το παν λεπτομερώς,
απέλθουν, παίρνοντας και την δικαία μισθοδοσία,
να δούμε τι απομένει πια, μετά
τόση δεινότητα χειρουργική.-

Ίσως δεν έφθασεν ακόμη ο καιρός.
Να μη βιαζόμεθα· είν' επικίνδυνον πράγμα η βία.
Τα πρόωρα μέτρα φέρνουν μεταμέλεια.
Έχει άτοπα πολλά, βεβαίως και δυστυχώς, η Αποικία.
Όμως υπάρχει τι το ανθρώπινον χωρίς ατέλεια;
Και τέλος πάντων, να, τραβούμ' εμπρός.

Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης