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(en) France, Alternative Current OCL #225 - Portugal, Mobilization against austerity: When you lost all hope and patience ... (fr) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 29 Dec 2012 13:31:50 +0200

I learned the November 12 trip to Portugal Angela Merkel, not to go watch the Tagus or listen to fado in one of every least popular of Lisbon - which in itself would not have a greater impact the visit of any star in such circumstances - no, she went to distribute good and bad points to the politicos involved in the "killing" part of the Portuguese people. ---- These politicos to whom the German Federal Chancellor visited are on the lookout, and for them, the crowds, and the tightening of hands begin to nothing more than a distant memory. For these times, their main concern is also their own safety - avoid getting squished by the wrath of increasingly fierce they say the people govern.---Wonder how, in any case, that feelings and about anti-German, still isolated to do day in Portugal?

They are often a mixture of very bad taste and patriotism sovereignism, and we hear especially in the mouths of some Communist Party leaders - just read the speech of Jeronimo de Sousa, General Secretary, the party Party to notice: formulas as "patriotic policy" or "patriotic government" back repeatedly. But if you rather lend ear to ordinary mortals, comments are an expression of a different feeling, and imbued with a certain naivety - as evidence that the German ruling with stiffness behavior could have a role as an educator with local leaders, the population no longer considered as thieves - a term well suited to the current power holders but also to those who held yesterday.

A brief history of the Portuguese austerity ...

The first austerity measures (after the fact, you can almost be seen as a light aperitif) were announced and implemented in Portugal in May 2010. At that time the Socialist Party was in power with his Prime Minister Jose Socrates, it is an increase in VAT to all levels (the highest from 20% to 21%). At the same time approved an increase in the income tax of 1% for the lower tranches and 1.5% for others, and a surcharge of 1.5% for the companies most beneficiaries. Passos Coelho, then in opposition and now prime minister, after voting for these austerity measures, addresses Portuguese to apologize to them.
All this is obviously not enough (and I think here measures advocated in France by M. Welsh!) in September of the same year, Mr. Socrates, who has very little of a Greek philosopher, returned to the charge and announced a reduction in the salaries of civil servants by 5% and VAT increase to 23% at this point in our history drama, no echo of crying or some excuse from Mr. Passos Coelho measures are approved, and nothing is settled. There must be a majority of Portuguese has not particularly benefited from the generosity of the regime vomit what they have not eaten!

In March 2011, our socialist resigned Socrates and legislative elections are scheduled for June 5, 2011. Come out victorious parties PSD and CDS, which form a coalition: the Social Democratic Party (PSD), with 108 members, and the Democratic and Social Centre - People's Party (CDS-PP, composed of Christian Democrats and nostalgic monarchy), with 24 members in an Assembly consisting of a total 230 seats. And whoever is appointed Prime Minister is obviously other than Passos Coelho - precisely the man who, one day, apologized for the harsh measures approved. But what do you think happens? Of austerity, of course! Always austerity. On June 30, our man in the country announced the removal of half of the premium paid at the time of Christmas, and tries to justify this fact by the deplorable state of public accounts. And is it enough? Of course not, the limits of austerity are impenetrable!

October 13, 2011, for fifteen minutes, additional measures are presented in Portuguese: for civil servants and pensioners who receive 1100 euros and more, are squarely and immediately removed the premiums for their 13th and 14th months for those affecting between 600 and 1100 euros, the deduction is phased and will come into force during the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. It seems that the Constitutional Court considers these measures to be unconstitutional, but it keeps for budgetary reasons regarding 2012. Here we must take into account the fact that the Portuguese minimum wage is currently 485 euros: the addition of an amount equivalent to two months of additional wage does not really favored them, as some insinuate ...

Also at the same time are also announced, to meet the requirements of the "troika", the obligation to work half an hour more each day in the private sector and the removal of four holidays (two of them being religious, he had the approval of the Vatican), and a further increase of VAT to certain goods or services located at an intermediate scale. All these measures obviously trigger several large demonstrations in Lisbon, where workers and employees from several parts of the country come together to do this, but it does not seem to shake the certainties of power and a clique who seem see the application of this harshness the reason for his own survival.

And ... "solutions" to the current crisis

And here are the steps that will cause the biggest demonstration that Portugal has seen since May 1974, shortly after the revolution known as the "eyes" on September 7, the government advocates a radical change in the Unified Social Tax (1) . The TSU is the percentage of expenses shown on a payslip: share of workers is then 11% and 23.75% of the employers, the idea of leadership is to climb the workers and 18% lowering the bosses to 18%. An idea, I think, which aimed to improve the competitiveness of enterprises, and at the same time to scrounge a few sous.
September 15, at the call of some thirty civil society personalities who accuse the State of promote unemployment, precariousness and inequality, demonstrations took place in a large number of cities in Portugal, and even to some embassies and consulates abroad. Are estimated to have gathered more than a million demonstrators, which is about 10% of the population. The slogan was "What emerges Troika, we regain control of our lives" - a message very nice compared to what I've seen on a lot of signs, where the crudest insults against political generally reflected the degree of anger. Our unspeakable leaders accustomed to more restraint on the part of the population, the shock is terrible and the measures are promptly thrown out.

But the story does not end, the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are there to remind us.
To lighten the mood, I tell you the desires of a character ridiculous ridiculous Mr. Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, one day in July, during one of the rare moments when he must leave the cartoons on TV and start thinking, is that the Portuguese have become couch potatoes and unable to move and he therefore urges ... from working abroad! A wonderful solution that seems set a whole bunch of problems, draining the country of its inhabitants, so that only scammers, thieves and profiteers of all kinds who made ââhis fortune have the right to stay there, they will go with some boys look at where the price of labor is very cheap. How can he open his mouth to recommend an exodus, this gentleman, while we are talking about a country where the population growth rate is 1.3 children per woman - and this is certainly not the current circumstances will make him reach the replacement level of generations?

Back to the litany of austerity measures. TSU reform failed, we must present an alternative, the Minister of Finance Vitor Gaspar splint and it immediately finds the solution: we will use the income tax (IRS) by reducing the number of slices from eight to five and increasing the average fee of 9.8% to 13.2%. Measures frenzy continues thus: before we had time to understand one another is set up - all in order to reap the maximum tax. But this time, the Minister Vitor Gaspar, sacrilege! also claims to pay the rich: impose cars and other large displacement yachts, financial transactions, investment properties high, etc.. I hope that the Minister is not becoming "communist", under the influence of his cousin Francisco LouÃÃ - original Trotskyite and founder of BE (Left Block) with 8 elected at the Assembly?

While unemployment now exceeds 15%, the memorandum states that the troika wage increase (in fact, the minimum wage) is justified only if the economic development and labor market pressure to allow Portugal to become competitive and if everything continues to move towards the desired objective, which is to see the cost of labor in Shanghai and Shenzhen exceed hers in a few years!
Even before all this stuff measures, however, the regulation of the labor market had completely exploded, and find a job with a permanent contract fell within the feat. The families of the lower middle class and even the working class, who have sent their children to the University by making the most of the time, many sacrifices are forced then to meet their needs for very long.

One of the fascinating things in our democracies, it is the perfect irresponsibility of our leaders in the bankruptcy and collapse of everything they have undertaken for decades: nothing is ever as it works it works, and after should not come to hold them accountable - it is not their fault, never their fault! But they find an excuse - the difficult international context, the crisis or whatever you want - it would be too easy, and it certainly is not me who will give them absolution.

The union side, no surprise

Finally, a few words about the general strike and the demonstration that took place on Wednesday 14 November. The CGTP - the largest union Portuguese, founded in 1970 and close to the PC (16 members) - organized for the third time in a year a general strike followed in the very public, transport, port services, etc. .
This plant does not like anarchists, Trotskyists nor, nor those who believe that without bureaucrats and egalitarian society is possible, and she does not overflow, but times are tough, and in Lisbon demonstration ended in front of the Parliament, with severe clashes between demonstrators and police for more than two hours. The bombing of all kinds of objects made ââby the demonstrators provoked repression by the cops with dogs and sticks, it resulted in seven arrests and 48 injured. According to the police spokesman, it is the cops who suffered from throwing stones, the ones with the wounded ... but maybe not arrested? As the fight began when protesters remained in place, it is easy to imagine the blows that brought the police on anything that moves, in fact. We can see from the pictures many people face bloodied. Later, Young said: "We are outraged, and it was for them to see that we have lost all hope, but what we have patience. '

But if the CGTP not like overflow or groups who do not share his views, she does not want the police to attack the workers and encartÃs doing picketed bus depots, this happened in three or four places. Carlos also ArmÃnio, Secretary General, he said that such actions were unacceptable, and that sought to limit the right to strike, which proved that the executive was desperate. The events and the repression that took place in Parliament, however, he was not heard anything ...



Menu of the day, the large market background privatization

The Constitution established after April 25, 1974 spoke of a society undergoing irreversible socialism and nationalization. In 1989, when is the Prime Minister (1986-1995) the current President of the Republic (there since 2006, it does not legislate or govern, but is living proof of a certain masochism on the part of the electorate!), the Constitution was amended and the irreversibility of nationalization abolished therefore privatization are required for the fix. According to the policy discourse, this will allow the creation of large groups of healthy competition, inevitably, going to benefit consumers in many other wonders ... It was during this period that the land is restored to the Alentejo former owners, with strong compensation.

Portugal joined the EEC in 1986, the money comes in waves, but requirements accompany this "generosity": the destruction of countless industries, including fisheries, agriculture, forestry, etc.. Compensation are proposed for lifting or dropping of all that is not to the taste of the EEC. I do not describe the tsunami of corruption of all kinds that accompanied the boom years, the confusion between private and collective pistons, well-paid jobs for politicians and their friends - should all pages of this journal extra to go around ...
The socialists in power from 1995 to 2002 are not left out, and communion exactly the same political line. From 2002 to 2004, the country was ruled by one who is now the President of the European Commission, and in another life was a militant Maoist MRPP, I mean DurÃo Barroso. It remained only two years at the helm of power, before resigning to go to Brussels. He built football stadiums for Euro 2004, and in 2003 the same rehashed lies that Blair and the Americans to defend shamelessly intervention in Iraq. He advocated the privatization of absolutely everything - from water to the air we breathe. The EU has loved it.

Today is the big clearance sale, you have to return the money, then everything is for sale. Among the buyers, if there is still more or less from "classic" - as Vinci, candidate among others to buy (ANA Airports and Air Navigation) - Two new investors with many money and a lot of appetite in recent years came on the market: China and Angola.

The first is in the lead with 6 or 7 billion investment and the China Three Gorges, the State Grid or oil Sinopec acquired significant shares of all that is related to renewable energy and other fuels and their operating ports ... and soon - very important for Chinese ports, with the expansion of the Panama Canal ...
The former Portuguese colony, Angola, whose owner is President Josà Eduardo dos Santos, also in his shop Portugal. This is especially the eldest daughter of President Isabel dos Santos is in charge. The richest woman in sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly a major owners of Portugal holding interposed: Santoro (banks), no Kento (multimedia), Esperanza (energy and petroleum) and this ... likely to continue for some time, given the rate of growth of Angola. This woman has spent $ 4 million for her wedding in Luanda, in a country where 58% of the population has no access to drinking water!
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