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Austerity homicides

How many people have to be killed by austerity, before it is stopped and condemned as socially and morally reprehensible and its perpetrators brought to justice, asks Giorgio Cremaschi

Romeo, Anna and Joseph were killed one after the other in Civitanova Marche.

Like workers killed on the job, there is no tragic fatality in the massacre that saw a whole family of sixty year olds self-destruct. It was right for the local CGIL union to break the usual veil of hypocrisy that surrounds this issue and other tragedies that will follow.

These three poor dead people are victims of Minister Fornero’s pensions counter-reform. You can say whatever you want, but if the worker had not been in that terrible position of having no job and no pension at age 62, an age where if you lose your job, for the market you’re already dead. If this situation had not been coupled with the poverty pension of his wife, and if all this hadn’t happened against a backdrop of the austerity massacre being committed in Italy, there would not have been that terrible chain of suicides that leaves us as enraged, as we are helpless.

How many austerity murders have been carried out now in our country?

The unemployed man in Trapani who hanged himself with a copy of the Constitution in his hand, ; Italy is a democratic republic founded on work. Or the one who set himself on fire in front of the parliament. Or the latest small business strangled by banks who could not take it any more?

How many people will have to die, before it understood that austerity policies are murderous?

Recently research by the medical journal Lancet quantified the relationship in Europe between social cuts and destruction of public health.

There are diseases and there’s the massacre that affects jobs. But at least in these matters there are investigations and sometimes, as at the Thyssen Krupp factory, there are even exemplary sentences for the guilty.

However, despite the processes, the massacre of the work continues and it is austerity that feeds it. Partly because austerity massacre is not covered by the law. Like those who today enjoy prior absolution from guilt for the victims of war, there are no guilty nor responsible ones.

This austerity is a war that governments and the ruling classes are leading against their own people. A humanitarian war of course, like all wars today. A war with the ultimate goal of making the economy competitive again and virtuous. Inevitably this causes collateral damage that the powerful deprecate and condemn, and who then continue exactly as before.

If you bomb a city with military targets, the experts know how to perfectly calculate what will be the minimum percentage of inevitable civilian casualties.

If, in order to maintain the balanced budget that is putting the noose round Italians’ necks, in order to obey the dictates of the European Troika, you have to cut labour costs and spending on pensions and health care; and thus if you are going to make these cuts, a defined percentage of people will find their living conditions, health and dignity brutally hit. And some of them will not be able to cope.

We know very well that happens and why it happens, but it continues anyway. The law and the market absolve in advance the authors of this economic crime.

In the words of Charlie Chaplin in Monsieur Verdoux, if you kill one person you are a murderer, if you kill a million you’re a statesman.

Micromega April 5, 2013

Translated/edited by Revolting Europe

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or email [email protected]


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