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Solidarity with the Spanish bankers

You may have heard about the plan, agreed in June to give €100 billion to Spanish banks. The ‘rescue’ plan for Spanish bankers, who speculated their way to ruin, is being financed by all Eurozone member states, that is by all the citizens of the Eurozone.

Now, this includes Spaniards. And they, that is the country’s 99%, are paying for it through massive cuts to welfare, regressive tax hikes and near 25% unemployment rate.

But to be fair, the plan wouldn’t have seen the light of day if the Spanish government hadn’t been pushing for it. And the Spanish government was elected, last November, by the Spanish people, even if many of those who put a cross on their ballot papers by Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party are clearly regretting it now.

However, look at things from the point of view of an Italian. They are set to pay €19 billion  towards this huge cheque to foreign speculators. But Italians didn’t get any loans from Spanish banks. They didn’t elect the Spanish government. And come to think of it, they didn’t even elect their own government.

Prime minister Mario Monti’s regime replaced the Silvio Berlusconi government (which was elected, whatever anybody may think of it) in November 2011. Monti, a former European Commissioner, and ministers like Corrado Passero, the former CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s country’s largest high-street bank, were imposed upon the Italian people.

The Italians were denied fresh polls after the media magnate’s fall, and so had no way of influencing who ruled them next nor the policies of their new rulers. (Many of those policies were in fact drafted in a letter sent in August 2011 to Rome by another foreign banker, the Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet, the chief of the European Central Bank).

The Italians’ solidarity with the Iberian financiers represents the lion’s share of the €26 billion of cuts unveiled in July by prime minister Monti. These budget cuts will take away yet more jobs, and slash educationhealth and other local services. And they follow labour reforms that have weakened protections against the sack as well as hikes in taxes htting the majority and measures that make people work longer for reduced pensions.

An unelected prime minister in one country robbing his people to pay foreign bankers? Yes, you may have heard that before. It used to happen in far away places where Generals and dictators ruled, unhindered by democratic institutions.

Then it arrived in Europe, in Greece, where former central banker Lucas Papademos and his technocrats plundered the Greek people to pay foreign creditors. This Spanish swindle takes the banking lobby’s assault on popular sovereignty to a whole new level.

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope


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