“They want to ruin Spain – and we have to stop them!”

TOUCH STONE | JULY 19, 2012

Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, Secretary General of one of the two main Spanish trade union confederations, explains why the CCOO and UGT have called another day of action against austerity in Spain on Thursday 19 July.

The new austerity plan presented on 11 July by the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, is an unprecedented blow to workers’ rights, to the unemployed and to civil servants, to the founding principles of our constitution and to democracy itself. The measures will have an impact on society, on the economy and on the labour force, but the government is playing with fire.

The path chosen by Rajoy is one of endless conflicts, the dismantling of the State and public policies, alongside a permanent discourse of excuse for the cuts. He says: “my main priority is the millions of people who are unemployed”. But we find ourselves in a downward spiral of cuts and aggression:

  • the government is again attacking the civil servants: they have now lost their extra Christmas pay, on top of the cuts to their salaries approved in 2011;
  • the unemployed will receive less benefits when they need them most, which will make many of them join the ranks of the poor and the socially excluded;
  • there will be immediate cuts in the public pension system, which will force the retired to pay for medicines that used to be completely free of charge. Moreover, social benefits for taking care of dependant relatives will be reduced as well;
  • VAT will rise (from 18 to 20% in general terms, and from 8 to 10% where it was reduced), which will entail a drop in consumption and which will hinder economic recovery; and
  • state-owned companies will be privatised and the cost of energy will rise again.

All these measures have one aim: to dismantle the welfare state. From the first day, the government has continuously been decreeing cuts, has despised collective bargaining, consensus building and social dialogue. These disgraceful measures add to a labour reform which harms our collective bargaining agreement, reduces rights and makes firing even easier, increasing the unemployment rate. With these measures, the economy will stagnate even further, and unemployment will reach six million by the end of 2012.

The last set of cuts took their toll especially on the mining sector, reducing public subsidies by 64%. This resulted in the ‘black march’, with hundreds of miners walking more than 500km until reaching Madrid last week in order to claim for justice. If the banks were rescued; if the rich, who caused this crisis, are not contributing to solve it; it is unfair that it must be the workers who have to once again pay the price of a recovery which is not even taking place.

This situation requires a quick, massive and overwhelming trade union answer. The dismantling of the state and of public policies will not be left unanswered. The two major Spanish trade unions, CCOO and UGT, have called for a day of action on 19 July in every provincial capital in order to show the people’s rejection of the government’s cuts. This mobilisation is also supported by other trade unions and civil society organisations. This action day will not be a single landmark: from September onwards, the unions will continue to work on this wave of actions which will grow steadily.

España cumple con letales políticas económicas criadas en Bruselas

POR LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | 18 JULIO, 2012

Mariano Rajoy y su gobierno han dado otra señal de que no está dispuesto a ejecutar al pueblo español a través de las políticas propuestas y aplicadas por el gobierno europeo, después de que se acordó rescatar a la nación peninsular con unos 125 mil millones de dólares en ayuda. Las condiciones impuestas por Bruselas fueron claras con el fin de proporcionar los fondos para rescatar el sistema bancario español: España debía imponer austeridad y aumentos exorbitantes en los impuestos.

Rajoy ha entregado según lo prometido hace una semana, cuando anunció con orgullo que el gobierno europeo había aceptado las condiciones que España se había propuesto, a pesar de que era a la inversa. En aquel entonces, Rajoy anunció el plan de rescate como un triunfo y un paso en la dirección correcta para sacar a España de la crisis y llevarla al crecimiento económico y mayor empleo. Sin embargo, desde el anuncio del rescate y la realización del contrato entre España y el gobierno de la UE, las cosas han ido solamente cuesta abajo.

Desde la aceptación de la ayuda financiera, que por cierto el pueblo español tendrá que pagar, medidas de austeridad aún más profundas se han aplicado y el impuesto al valor agregado aumentó a 21 por ciento. El Gobierno español dice que ha cortado oficialmente 65 mil millones de euros del déficit fiscal, una medida cuyos resultados se cumplirán, dice Rajoy, en 2014. Gran parte del dinero que el gobierno está recortando pertenece a los programas sociales, en los que millones de españoles dependen para vivir. En términos prácticos, esto significa que el gobierno efectivamente ha atado una soga alrededor del cuello de todas aquellas personas dependientes que verán su poder adquisitivo disminuido de manera exponencial en los próximos 2 años.

El paquete de medidas impuestas por el gobierno europeo, como condición para rescatar al sistema bancario español también incluye fuertes recortes en las prestaciones por desempleo y los salarios de la administración pública. También se cree que las medidas futuras que incluirán el uso de fondos destinados a financiar las pensiones y cuentas de jubilación, así como determinar que la gente tendrá que jubilarse a una edad mucho más tardía y pagar una porción mayor de sus ingresos ya mermados a las pensiones o los sistemas de jubilación. El anuncio de Rajoy de más austeridad y recortes a los programas de ayuda social del gobierno provocó una mezcla de burlas y abucheos de los miembros de los partidos de oposición en el Parlamento español.

“Estas medidas no son agradables, pero son necesarias. Nuestro gasto público supera nuestros ingresos por decenas de miles de millones de euros “, dijo Rajoy a los miembros presentes en el parlamento. También advirtió a la gente acerca de nuevos planes para promulgar nuevos impuestos sobre el consumo de energía y planes para regalar la infraestructura española a empresas privadas que trabajan para el sistema bancario europeo. Rajoy ha afirmado que lugares tales como puertos, aeropuertos y trenes se ‘privatizarían’ con el fin de apretar hasta el último centavo posible para ayudar al gobierno a disminuir su déficit actual. El gobierno de España también retirará descuentos a impuestos a la propiedad que habían sido anunciados en diciembre de 2011.

Los problemas fiscales que enfrenta España se han visto agravados por una reciente protesta pública que se extendió a las calles de Madrid, donde cientos de mineros del carbón que marcharon a la capital desde las regiones del norte de España, protestan contra los recortes en las subvenciones a la minería que dicen los pondrá fuera del trabajo. Esos recortes son también parte de las medidas recientemente adoptadas por el gobierno para supuestamente reducir el déficit. Las medidas de austeridad más recientes están incluso haciendo un hueco en una de las distracciones sociales más importantes de España: el fútbol. Según informó Sport.es, las medidas de austeridad anunciadas por Mariano Rajoy influyen en gran medida en las ventas y transferencias de jugadores antes del inicio de la temporada de fútbol.

Más de cinco años de debacle económica, que comenzó en los días de José María Aznar, se han transformado en una recesión y una depresión que es rechazada como tal por el gobierno, pero que se ha traduzido en una tasa de desempleo de 24% o más, los déficits más altos en las últimas décadas, un sistema bancario en bancarrota que está hasta el pescuezo en inversión en productos financieros ficticios, elevados costos de los préstamos, rebajas financieras del gobierno español y los bancos, el poder adquisitivo disminuido, una caída más profunda en el agujero negro de endeudamiento y, por supuesto, la pérdida de la soberanía nacional.

A pesar de que medidas similares adoptadas en otros países como Grecia no han dado ningún resultado positivo, el gobierno liderado por Mariano Rajoy ya se ha comprometido con los banqueros europeos a adoptar y ejecutar un paquete de políticas que parecen estar llevando  a España lenta y penosamente por el camino de la carnicería financiera. La única parte que falta en España para parecerse a Argentina de 1999 a 2000 son los disturbios públicos en las calles, que parecen más cerca que nunca ahora que los mineros llegaron a la capital para protestar por los recortes en los subsidios. Con más cierres de empresas públicas, reducción de beneficios para los funcionarios públicos, los recortes presupuestarios para los partidos políticos y sindicatos y la adopción de políticas originadas en Bruselas advierten que los disturbios podrían estar a la vuelta de la esquina.

Holanda publica los documentos del rescate bancario español que Rajoy oculta

El Ministerio de Finanzas del país hizo pública la información que su parlamento necesita para pronunciarse sobre el plan de rescate bancario español.

By BEATRIZ NAVARRO | LA VANGUARDIA | 13 JULIO, 2012

La transparencia llega de Holanda. El Ministerio de Finanzas del país hizo pública ayer toda la información que su parlamento necesita para, en las próximas semanas, pronunciarse sobre el plan de rescate bancario español.

Tanto la Comisión Europea como el propio Gobierno español siguen actuando como si el documento del ‘memorándum de entendimiento’, el pliego de condiciones del préstamo de 100.000 millones, no existiera o no fuera oficial. Lo cierto es que es el texto que varios parlamentos europeos (entre ellos, el de Alemania, Finlandia y Holanda) van a apoyar o respaldar. De este voto depende la luz verde a la operación.

El Gobierno de Holanda, siguiendo su tradicional política de transparencia y en especial en las relaciones con su poderoso parlamento, ha optado por hacer pública la información. Facilita así un debate público al que la sociedad española, principal afectada por los términos del plan de rescate bancario, no tiene acceso directo y sólo ha podido seguir a través de los medios de comunicación.

La Vanguardia.com, como otras webs informativas españolas, publicó el documento el pasado martes en su web. Un portavoz del Ministerio de Economía español, consultado por este diario, dijo desconocer si el documento va a hacerse público, a la espera de que sea “firmado formalmente por todos los ministros (europeos) el día 20” de julio. El documento, apuntó otra responsable del servicio de prensa, se ha facilitado a los medios de comunicación que lo solicitaron.

Lea aquí el memorando de entendimiento entre el gobierno de Mariano Rajoy y los banqueros de Bruselas.

Spain Complies with Brussels’ Deadly Economic Policies

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JULY 12, 2012

Mariano Rajoy and his government have provided another sign that they are not about to stop starving Spain through the policies proposed and enforced by the European government, after it agreed to rescue the peninsular nation with some 125 billion in aid. The conditions imposed by Brussels were clear in order to provide the funding to rescue the Spanish banking system: deadly austerity and exorbitant increases in taxes.

Rajoy has delivered as promised a week ago, when he proudly announced that the European government had accepted the conditions Spain had proposed, even though it was the other way around. Back then, Rajoy announced the bailout as a triumph and a step in the right direction to get Spain back on track and to pursue economic growth and higher employment. However, since the announcement of the bailout and the realization of the contract between Spain and the EU government, things have been going downhill only.

Since the acceptance of the financial aid, which by the way the Spanish people will have to pay for, deeper austerity measures have been implemented and the value added tax increased to 21 percent. The spanish government says it has officially cut 65 billion euros from the fiscal deficit, a measure whose results will be fulfilled, says Rajoy in 2014. Much of the money the government is cutting belongs to social programs, on which millions of spanish people depend to live. In practical terms, this means that the government has effectively tied a noose around the necks of all of those dependent people who will see their purchasing power and resources decrease exponentially in the next 2 years.

The package of measures imposed by the European government as a condition to rescue to the Spanish banking system also includes deep cuts in unemployment benefits and civil service pay. It is also believed that future measures will include tapping into the monies destined to fund pension funds and retirement accounts as well as determine that people will have to retire at a much later age and pay a bigger cut of their already depleted income to those pension or retirement systems. Rajoy’s announcement of more austerity and cuts to government entitlement programs provoked a mix of jeers and boos from opposition party members in the Spanish Parliament.

“These measures are not pleasant, but they are necessary. Our public spending exceeds our income by tens of billions of euros,” Rajoy told the members present at the parliament. He also warned people about new plans to enact new taxes on energy consumption and plans to give away SPanish infrastructure to private companies who work for the European banking system. Rajoy said places such as ports, airports and rail would be ‘privatized’ in order to pinch every penny possible to help the government deal with its current deficit. The government of Spain will also reverse property tax breaks it had announced back in December 2011.

The current fiscal problems that Spain faces have been aggravated by a recent public protest that extended to the streets of Madrid, where hundreds of coal miners who marched to the capital from the northern regions of Spain, are protesting against cuts in mining subsidies that they say will put them out of work. Those cuts are also part of the government’s recently adopted measures to supposedly reduce the deficit. The newest austerity measures are even making a dent into one of the most important social distractions in Spain: Soccer. As reported by Sport.es, the austerity measures announced by Mariano Rajoy greatly influence that sales and transfers of players before the start of the next soccer season.

More than five years of economic digression, that began back in the days of José Maria Aznar, have morphed into a recession and a government rejected depression that translated into a 24+ percent unemployment rate, the highest deficits in recent decades, a failing banking system that was heavily invested in fictitious financial products, soaring borrowing costs, financial downgrades of both the Spanish government and the banks, decreasing purchasing power for the average Spanish, a deeper fall into the indebtedness black hole and of course the loss of national sovereignty.

Although similar measures adopted in other nations such as Greece have not yielded any positive results the government led by Mariano Rajoy has already compromised with the European bankers to adopt and execute a package of policies that seem to be taking Spain slowly and painfully the way of the financial butcher’s. The only missing part from the Argentinian situation of 1999 to 2000 in the Spanish scenario are the public riots on the streets, that seem closer than ever now that the miners have taken to the capital to protest the cuts in subsidies. With more shutdowns of public companies, reduced benefits for civil servants, budget cuts for political parties and labor unions, the adoption of more deadly policies originated in Brussels warn that the riots might just be around the corner.

Less Sovereignty is the Central Bankers Solution for the Crisis

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JUNE 29, 2012

Everyone on the main stream seems to believe that the continuous meetings between European central bankers and government officials are seeking to save the Euro and to help the governments deal with their sovereign debts. It is common to hear on television how journalists and so-called analysts explain that their expectations include the proposal of real solutions to the crisis which immediately produce jobs and bring stability to the markets.

They just don’t get it. These meetings between central bankers and European leaders are nothing about stability, a solution to the debt problem or the creation of jobs around the euro zone. The latest agreement between the EU Council and the Prime Ministers of Italy and Spain is an example of how the bankers are in complete control. Although the media has painted the bailout of the Spanish and Italian banks as a triumph for both governments, which according to the reports “had their way” when negotiating with the bankers, the reality is they are simply following orders. It wasn’t the Spanish and Italian governments the ones who imposed the conditions that will rule the bailout, but the banks.

The rescue of the banking system in those countries is indeed a result of Italy and Spain submitting, accepting and supporting the idea that the European Central Bank will officially turn into the manager of all Euro economies. Only after Mariano Rajoy and Mario Monti accepted that condition, was that the central bankers gave the green light to ‘lend the money’ to the Spanish and Italian banks, not the other way around. The main stream media is portraying an outcome that is completely the opposite to reality by saying that Mr. Rajoy and Mr. Monti twisted German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s arm into accepting their conditions. The truth is that Merkel herself had to accept the centralization of economic planning sought by the banks as a condition not to let the EU zone collapse before the expected time, and with it drag every single nation including Germany into the rabbit hole they are all going towards in a controlled fashion.

Less sovereignty in exchange for solidarity; this is the latest talking point that emerged from European leaders to justify the loss of self-rule and the intervention of European bankers in the decision making process at the national level. Governments have publicly adopted what seems to be a socialist standing to try to sell their fiscal irresponsibility and to deviate attention from the acquisition of European nations by the central bankers who are the origin of the current financial crisis. But it is not socialism you see, it’s fascism. Countries must get more debt and surrender their sovereignty in order to solve a crisis that is not supposed to get solved, but that was created and planned to further centralize power in the hands of the bankers themselves.

Everyone who is well-informed is familiar with the World Bank and IMF’s plans to cause the current crisis, — and all the other ones that came before — how they’ve applied the same neo-feudal model throughout history to destroy economies and artificially recreate them using models for growth based on the acquisition of debt and the never-ending payments of interests on that debt. It needs to be said: This crisis is not accidental or unexpected. It was planned and executed for decades to seek a justification for a central government just as it has been promoted by the bankers and the media for the past 12 months. The result of the current negotiations in not to seek an exit to the debt problem or to encourage economic growth, but to hand even more power to the bankers.

The meeting held today where European Prime Ministers pose as the saviors is nothing else than window dressing. There is no solidarity on a proposal that intends to make nations less independent and more enslaved to the central bankers. The result that will came from the meeting held by Mariano Rajoy, Angela Merkel Mario Monti and François Hollande is further consolidation of financial power; nothing else. As explained by Joseph Stiglitz, the World Bank and the IMF pursue a policy of financial enslavement against every country by following four simple steps.

Privatization, which is more like ‘Briberization’, he told Greg Palast. Under this scheme, economies are collapsed from the inside while consolidating national assets for pennies on the dollar. Briberization yields then to the second step,  a one-size-fits-all rescue-your-economy plan, which in theory intends to rescue a country’s economy by using  capital market liberalization. This, again in theory, would allow the free flow of investment in and out of the country, but in reality it is the process through which the bankers complete the theft of resources and send them out every time a country buys into the “rescue your economy’ non-sense. As explained by Palast in his article The Globalizer who came in from the Cold, foreign monies come in to the countries for speculative acquisitions in various sectors of the economy and then leaves just as suddenly as it came. The result is the literal disappearance of a nation’s reserves in a matter of days. In order to get back some of those monies, entities like the IMF and the World Bank immediately demand that the country raise interest rates to anywhere between 30% and 80%.

Next, on step three, the bankers mandate that the government impose steep increases in the prices of basic needs such as food, water and gas. In the mid-term, the unexpected increases cause what Stiglitz calls the “The IMF riot.” During this time the bankers “turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up,” said Stiglitz. The bankers simply cut any and all subsidies to food and fuel for the poorest people as it happened in Argentina at the turn of the century and in Indonesia in 1998. Other examples of these riots were the ones in Bolivian riots over water prices last year and this February, the riots in Ecuador over the rise in cooking gas prices imposed by the World Bank.

Secret documents were also obtained by the BBC and The Observer which showed that the banks wanted to make the US dollar the official currency of Ecuador and by doing that, they would submit more than half of the population there under the poverty line. This is something similar to what was done in Argentina and what is being tried now in Europe. According to Stiglitz, although millions of people end up as losers under this system, there are indeed a handful of winners: The Banks. The western banks and the US Treasury make gigantic amounts of cash by infliction pain over developing nations. He cited the case of Ethiopia, where the World Bank and IMF ordered the government to ‘invest’ money on the Federal Reserve’s Treasuries which pays only 4 percent interest, while the country had to borrow money at 12 percent. Ethiopia was looted by the banks.

On step four of the bankers propose and impose the so-called Free Trade, as they did through NAFTA, CAFTA and other trade agreements. They call these programs “poverty reduction strategies”. However, all they do is open markets for a one way flow of products from powerful nations like the United States and China to the poor countries, while closing their own markets to foreign products. The almost automatic consequence of this free trade agreements is the destruction of the local production and farming since they cannot compete with the ridiculous low prices offered by corporations that have their products manufactured by slave labor in Asia and Africa.

As Greg Palast puts it, let there be no confusion about the role of the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organization in the destruction of nation-states, private property and sovereignty, because they are just three masks that hide the faces of the monopoly men who seek to impose a centralized government model based on absolutist conditions.The results of the negotiations to supposedly save the euro zone are not such, they are just another step into the creeping arrival of world tyranny being sold as the only possible solution to deliver all of us from the consequences of “unbalanced economies”. The plans for the creation and implosion of economies were drafted long ago and the result of those practices is one and only one: World Government. This outcome, by the way, is not a solution or the solution to the current economic crisis.

When you have leaches sucking you dry, the only possible solution is to remove the leaches. The bleeding is the collapsing economy, the leaches are the central bankers, the solution is to remove them from our bodies. Nothing else has worked, nothing else will work.