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Sunday, November 18, 2012


Once again into the Breach

November 14th, 2012 was the day of general strikes across Europe. In short, it was a very sad day for the European community because strikes are about anger. This was against austerity measures being imposed by governments, and the loss of some very hard fought for gains that workers have come to regard as their rights.

If you are a member of a trade union, when your union requires that you vacate your post for the period, it is your obligation to obey, whether you agree with the issue being fought over, or not. However, if the business is not unionized, it is under no obligation to close down for the strike. On the day, many schools and businesses and other services continued, although perhaps with some limitations. However, for the strikers this is not acceptable, and every time such an event takes place we see strikers turn on non.strikers.

In the city of Valencia gangs of strikers were harassing shops, and restaurants and bars that were open. Two women were sitting at a curbside table having coffee when the mob assaulted them with verbal abuse for patronizing the bar, when one girl took up the customer's cup of coffee and poured it over the woman's head. How barbaric was that! They then smashed the other tables and chairs and moved on.

If the shop sold shoes a mob would go in and throw things around and terrify the sales staff; or if the store sold clothing they knock over the displays, and we can imagine some must use the opportunity to steal things. Its all about anger. How dare you take something away from me that I consider is mine by right? They demand that the government stop making cuts to its budget, but the irony is that those very same people are forced to cut their own budgets because of less money coming in.

The average citizen has more than enough reason to be angry with the government because of the failure of the government to properly manage the economy, and of course, the ever present existence of corruption. Until about 1998 the Spanish economy was in a period of decline, but then came the time when the euro would replace the peseta, which caused a problem for many Spanish residents who held a lot of peseta stashed away in secret places so that the tax man could not get at it. this meant that something had to be done with the money, so people began to spend it, some on luxury cars and yachts, etc, but the majority  during this period decided to invest it in buildings.

So there followed a building boom that was uncontrolled and that has led to an inventory of empty buildings that is sufficient for Spain's needs for the next twenty years. A lot of people became very rich during this period, and money flowed into government accounts like water, but the government turned it around and it flowed out again into projects that did, in some cases have some sense of logic, but in many others the projects have become white elephants. Now, government's coffers are bare; the citizens are suffering because of the irresponsibility of its leaders, and Spain is mired in one big mess.

There will be many more general strikes to come, and the level of violence will rise and the day will come when a general strike will result in a state of total closure.

This is not a happy eventuality to look forward to, but it is coming, so brace for it.

Copyright (c)  2012   Eugene Carmichael