[Marxism] Major anti-austerity march in Lisbon!
jorge at marxist.com
Wed Feb 15 04:22:21 MST 2012
"These are massive attacks on the living standards of the Portuguese
workers and people, through increased taxes, cuts in wages and pensions,
privatisation of public companies, payment for healthcare, increased fares
in public transport, higher tuition fees, increased hours of work, attacks
on collective bargaining rights, etc.
As was to be expected, these measures have contributed to worsening the
economic crisis. Portugal’s GDP contracted by 1.6% in 2011, and is expected
by the Bank of Portugal to suffer an “unprecedented economic contraction”
of 3.1% in 2012 and a further 0.3% fall in 2013. These sacrifices which are
demanded of the Portuguese people are not even achieving their stated aim
of reducing public debt which is forecast to grow to 116% of GDP in 2012
(from 107% in 2011). To this you have to add 94% household debt and 130%
corporate debt, both figures unchanged since 2009.
No-one really believes that Portugal will be able to return to the markets
for further funding in 2013 as was the initial aim of the bailout.
Portuguese bonds were trading in the secondary market at an interest rate
of 17% after Standard and Poor’s downgraded them to junk bond status in
These economic figures are what dominated the mood at the trade union
demonstration on Saturday. The experience of Greece is very much in the
minds of millions of Portuguese today: the Greek workers and people have
been forced to take massive cuts in living standards and still nothing has
been resolved. Why should the Portuguese go through the same experience?"
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