By Alex Balch
At the G20 Summit held this past June in Toronto, the heads of the world’s most advanced capitalist economies met with their counterparts from the IMF and World Bank to hammer out a savagely coordinated attack on the international working class.
Central to the “decade of austerity” prescribed by the IMF – and zealously promoted by the meeting’s host, Stephen Harper – are massive cuts to public spending, aimed at curbing the national deficits that resulted from injecting trillions of dollars into the international banking system in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.
Effectively, this amounts to the largest transfer of wealth in modern history – and a particularly audacious act of class warfare, waged by the rich against the poor.
This past October, workers in Europe responded to this provocative act through a series of massive and highly coordinated strikes that paralyzed entire industries and struck fear into the hearts of the European elite.
In the great cities of Spain, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Great Britain, Greece, Portugal, Germany, Ireland, Italy and France, workers poured out onto the streets with a single unified message: We, the workers of your capitalist economies, will not be made to pay for a crisis created entirely by you – the capitalist class.
In France – a country with a long and storied history of popular struggle – workers ratcheted up the impact of these strikes by barricading the country’s twelve major oil refineries and shutting down the country’s shipyards to incoming oil tankers. French workers were soon joined in the streets by tens of thousands of students, leading to clashes with police and widespread rioting that evoked cherished memories of the rebellion of 1968.