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When it was announced that London would host the first G20 meeting since the beginning of the worst financial crisis in almost a century, everybody knew it was a matter of time before protests were called. First the Climate Camp network – known for their annual ecological direct action camps – announced it would set up a ‘flashcamp’ in the City to make sure the G20 leaders put stopping climate change on their agenda. Their language was inoffensive and acceptable – the media found nothing to demonise in it – but they were well aware that any attempt at direct action protests in the City came with a precedent of serious disturbance and radical anti-capitalist politics, from the Stop the City marches in the 1980s to June the 18th 1999.
The second group to call a protest, “G20 Meltdown”, were all too happy to publicly embrace this legacy, with publicity calling to ‘storm the banks’ and ‘eat a banker’. This exceptionally loose coalition centres around a 66-year-old university professor called Chris Knight who is currently suspended from work for telling the media that ‘if the police want violence, they’ll get violence’. Funnily enough, G20 Meltdown were united by anything but violence, more their love of making strange statements and dressing up – having a ‘zombie pancake walk’ for instance, the message being that ‘capitalism is dead and bankers are therefore zombies’. Indeed.
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Liberty & Solidarity is a political organisation aiming to build workplace and community democracy through direct action and struggling with all those fighting for change. We stand for the power of workers and local people against the bosses and politicians in order to bring about radical social change, to build a society based on freedom, democracy, cooperation.Only six months ago, L&S was officially founded in the historic Freedom Bookshop in East London. Even at that early stage, we had brought together several of the UK’s most serious class struggle activists involved in various workplace and community. Since then we’ve helped reform the IWW and seen successes through LCAP, community gardens in Reading and local newssheets in Glasgow. However, if the tone was set at the first conference, the volume was most definitely turned up at the second.
On Saturday tens of thousands of workers will be marching through Dublin, Ireland demanding that the public sector pay cut ('pension levy') imposed by the government to pay for the capitalist crisis be withdrawn. Over the last couple of weeks there have been dozens of local union meetings of workers in the public sector, demanding strike action to halt the cuts. The march will be a chance not only to put pressure on the government but also to demand that our unions do the only thing that can halt the cuts - call a national strike.
With financial giants toppling at rates that shock even seasoned financial commenter, many of us are left wondering, how did this state of affairs come to pass. What is becoming obvious is that the financial markets have become increasingly complex. In this article, Paul Bowman looks the nuts and bolts behind the economic headlines, explaining what is it that is being sold and why nobody seems to be able to stop the chaos from unfolding.This is the first part of a series of articles investigating the capitalist financial markets from a critical perspective. With such a large topic it is tricky finding a route into the subject and a plan of enquiry. The chosen road is to start with a look at the financial markets, particularly focusing on the mechanics of some of the instruments that have led to a momentous transformation of the workings of global financial markets in the most recent decades.
At first sight, this approach may seem odd, perverse even, like examining the internal workings of a clock as a prelude to discussion the social relations of time. However this "inside-out" approach is justified by the fact that as well as a system of social relations, capitalism is also a system with internal mechanics. Those mechanics evolve in response to the historical development of struggles over exploitation, but what new directions the new mechanics make possible in terms of capitalist strategies, in turn, shape the new struggles of today and tomorrow. The next article in the series will place these market mechanics in their fuller historical context. But for now let's start by investigating the mechanics of capitalist financial markets.
On Thursday 12 June Irish citizens voted to reject the neo-liberal Lisbon treaty. They were alone among all the citizens of the EU states in being allowed a direct vote on the matter.
Over the last weeks the Workers Solidarity Movement has been campaigning across Ireland for a No Vote. 50,000 leaflets have been distributed along with 2,000 posters on top of 20,000 issues of Workers Solidarity.
Thu 13 Dec, 09:32
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