Monday, September 6, 2010

Labour Day 2010: Austerity, Public Services and the Labour Movement

Greg Albo and Bryan Evans
The B u l l e t
Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 412
September 6, 2010

This Labour Day, like the last two, is dominated by the ongoing global economic crisis. Since 2008 Canada's workers, working families, and the communities in which we make our lives, have endured a period of deep economic insecurity the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression. The crisis began in the financial sector, amongst bankers, brokers, lawyers, and financial engineers of all sorts when the credit bubbles supporting the casino economy of derivatives, collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps and other financial instruments began to deflate. What was revealed was not just the speculation and fraud these instruments enabled, but also the overaccumulation in key sectors such as housing, automobiles, electronics and others. It also has shown some of the limits of more than thirty years of the neoliberal politics of leaving key political and economic decisions to the markets and corporations to do what is best for business.

What began as a crisis in the bowels of the world of finance has been shifted into the public sector and now though the various ‘exits of austerity’ governments have been imposing onto the shoulders of workers, and particularly poor workers, who had nothing to do with that crisis. Canada is not alone in this. From California to Latvia workers are seeing their incomes and pensions cut not for a year but permanently. Young workers, migrant workers, female workers are all being told, yet again, that they will have to work for much less and in much greater fear of job loss as a matter of the realities of modern working life. Equal access to health care, rewarding education, decent pensions, adequate housing – keys to the quality of individual livelihoods – are evaporating. Good, stable jobs are being replaced by short-term contracts and the further growth of precarious work.

Read more HERE.

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