I miss hearing from those clowns in Italy: not the ones at the papal conclave, the ones in the election a few weeks ago. They were serious clowns.
Especially Beppe Grillo, the comic who heads the party that got the most votes. He wants a referendum to take Italy out of the euro because it's like a shovel with which you keep digging the hole you're in deeper. It may have sounded good in theory but in practice it's been used by bondholders in the north to torture populations in the south. Lots of people think that but he says it.
Comedian Rick Mercer talks politics with more vigour and zip than any other public voice in English Canada. Rick's Rant on the Harper government's campaign to mute and throttle science stands out only as the most recent example.
Imagine Rick teaming up with a social media guru, and forming a political party that walked away with one voter in four in its first national election try?
Europe's 2013 protest season finally kicked off this week. On Saturday, three days after the umpteenth general strike paralyzed Greece, a "citizens' wave" of indignation washed over Spain with hundreds of thousands of protesters swarming onto the streets of Madrid and over 80 cities in yet another major popular outcry against the ongoing financial coup d’étât. In Madrid, clashes broke out and at least 40 were arrested after police sought to disperse protesters who had once more encircled Parliament.
Amaia Engana didn't wait to be evicted from her home. On Nov. 9, in the town of Barakaldo, a suburb of Bilbao in Spain's Basque Country, officials from the local judiciary were on their way to serve her eviction papers. Amaia stood on a chair and threw herself out of her fifth-floor apartment window, dying instantly on impact on the sidewalk below. She was the second person in two weeks in Spain to commit suicide as a result of an impending foreclosure action. Her suicide has added gravity to this week's general strike radiating from the streets of Madrid across all of Europe.
Wednesday marks a breakthrough in the struggle against austerity in Europe. There will be co-ordinated general strikes in Portugal, Greece and Spain and significant strikes and solidarity actions in many other countries. The CGIL union in Italy, for example, an organisation of nearly six million, has announced a strike of all its members around the country.
This is a historic and crucial development. There have been other European days of action and joint protests in Brussels and elsewhere, but this will be the first time since the great anti-war protests nearly ten years ago that this level of co-ordination has taken place across borders. It is the first time that general strikes have been organised simultaneously.