25 September 2012

In Europe, Even Bloggers Go On Strike

There are multiple general strikes planned in Europe for tomorrow, something I learned of here. 

The successionists movement in Catalan Spain has really taken hold, produced mass protests in the streets from ordinary people, and won threats of harsh reprisals from the military in response that carry echos of Franco and the Spanish Civil War. 

The proximate cause of this unrest is a series of austerity plans imposed to address imminent or actual sovereign debt collapses in one nation after another, triggered by a long and slow chain reaction of economic events that can ultimately be traced to the U.S. financial crisis five years ago.  Bankers insisted on ignoring political reality and the politicians who acceded to their demands (or in the case of Greece, their successors who have been left holding the bag after their predecessors were thrown out at the polls) are paying a high price for giving into them.

Europe is in a place right now, in terms of economic pain and extreme grass roots political tactics, that the United States hasn't been in for seventy-five years (although none appear to be so horribly devistated as Weimar Germany was in the 1930s) before my father was old enough to start grade school.  Some European countries have taken a deeper economic hit in the past few years than they did during the Great Depression.  In contrast, the U.S. "Great Recession" has never come close to rivaling the U.S. Great Depression's economic magnitude. 

Europe's economic buffers postponed the impact, but ultimatelythese safety nets have given way catastrophically in much of the continent, particularly the countries where outside E.U. development support had created artificial economic bubbles.

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