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AMERICAN SPRING. Mass protests are spreading over the West, while Ayatollah Khamenei prophecies the collapse of global capitalism

AMERICAN SPRING. Mass protests are spreading over the West, while Ayatollah Khamenei prophecies the collapse of global capitalism

The U.S. and especially the EU authorities are willing save the operation ability of the current economic system and its institutions, although the stabilization efforts are often late, while their realization is often complicated by internal and external reasons. Interests of supranational alignments, national elites, major corporations, middle class and the poor clash in a Gordian knot of a conflict. There’s a great shortage of the available financial resources and, which is the most important, the time itself. Theoretically the situation still may be fixed, albeit the practical chance of achieving the desired result is dismal.

On Oct 15 leading specialists and managers met in Paris in order to outline the ways out of the financial crisis that struck the world. G20 Finance Ministers and heads of state banks have agreed on the need of the developed members to undertake joint measures for the budget and tax situation improvement. The developing countries (mostly China) will go on with their policy of making the rates of national currencies more flexible.

Peculiar attention was paid to the emerging powers at the G20 summit. It is for them to pull the global economy off the abyss. "These countries will accelerate the structural reforms in order to rebalance the demand and increase the domestic consumption — the ongoing strife towards the system of market-oriented exchange rates promote that and increase the flexibility of those currencies in accordance with the economic reality" — the concluding press-release of the meeting states. G20 also stood up for the increase of the IMF funds, which are to aid the weakened economies.

Paris summit causes contradictive feelings. From one hand, this is an important event, when the most influential players have been able to exchange information and brainstorm the situation looking for a way to save the global financial system. From the other hand, it’s utterly unclear, what practical — and quick, which is of even greater importance — steps to drastically improve the situation are undertaken after it.

Officially proclaimed results of the G20 summits would have looked great a couple of year ago. Then, after the lesson of the crisis’2008, there actually was an opportunity to avoid the aggravation of the U.S., EU and the global economic pain spots. At the present moment this agenda looks outdated the moment it appears. Any efforts — especially as important as the salvation of entire financial system of the world — require unity and quite a time too.

And is there any unity? The financial crisis, given its global nature, has completely different consequences in different countries. The states of greater financial well-being (than their neighbors) inevitably adjust their policy in order to take advantage of the poor conditions of their partners for their own benefit.

Is there time then? Where will it come from, given the exponential growth of the U.S. national debt, Greece approaching the threshold, when all the IMF money won’t save it and the credit ratings of Italy, Spain and Portugal demonstrating their chance of joining Greece anytime soon?

Certain representatives of the European financial circles are aware of that. So, the head of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, apart from describing the obvious threat that the European debt crisis poses to the regional financial system, denoted its systematic character and the fact that the crisis of national debts from the outskirts of the eurozone to its center.

Lack of time to deal with the financial troubles is fraught with other consequences too, although they have nothing to do with economic futurology and rather belong to the studies of revolutionary movements. Actually that said consequences are gradually revealing already. As the Marxism classics taught us, if the society cannot wait for the top-to-bottom changes, it initiates the opposite process. "Occupy Wall Street" movement was first surrounded by a wall of silence but having passed a critical mark and spread onto several American cities it couldn’t have been hushed up anymore and now it is discussed even in the White House. President Obama himself stated that he feels sympathy for the movement himself.

The polls indicated that a considerable number of Americans support "Occupy Wall Street" and similar rallies. According to the Reuters poll, 17% of Americans feel "extremely positive" about it and 24% — "generally positive". Only 14% of responders object the "occupants" flatly, 10% have some minor discrepancies and 35% still haven’t made their mind. Wall Street Journal research shows all the more impressive results: 37% of U.S. citizens stood up for the movement, 18% stood up against and 25% haven’t made their minds.

Pretty much the same is happening in the neighboring Canada. Rallies, protesting against financial terrorism have started in 15 cities of Canada (particularly in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec). Moreover the movement hasn’t been limited by the American continent only. It has gone across the ocean and its seeds have fallen into a fertile ground. Meetings and demonstrations are to take place in London, Frankfurt am Main, Stockholm, Athens, Milan, Zagreb, Tokyo, Taipei, Paris, Hong Kong, Madrid and even in Oakland and Sidney. An extensive geography of protests has a simple explanation — regardless of latitude and longitude, the discontent with the financial system is ripening. Financial system has gone international, and such must be the protest against it.

Of course, the trend is all the more apparent in the states with severe economic situation. Greek riots have already become an integral part of the scenery. On Oct 13 Athenian protesters have blocked the traffic and occupied the governmental building. Athenian janitors have started a walkout and in several days heaps of garbage filled the capital. Museums and historical monuments (for example, the famous Acropolis) have been closed due to the strike of the cultural workers. Employees of the state TV channels and radio stations, doctors and teachers strike too. 10-year-long strike of the customs and tax officers is nigh. Taxi drivers are to follow the example of the municipal commuting drivers and paralyze the state traffic.

On Oct 15 dozen thousand people came to Rome to protest against the fiscal policy of Silvio Berlusconi and particularly against the reduction of social spending. The dissenters have come to the capital from all over Italy and according to certain polls the total number of participants may reach 200 thousand people. In Rome the protesters have gone so wild that they’ve set the outhouse of Italian Ministry of Defense on fire. In response police applied water cannons and tear gas grenades against the rioters; hundreds were detained.

Public opinion leaves no hopes for the soon end of riots. British dissenters are the most numerous. According to the recent data, merely 5% feel happy, 59% are worried with the "public disorder", about 49% complain at overpriced accommodation, food and services. Following the well-established tradition, the protest rallies were organized through the social networks. So the strength of the Facebook group dedicated to the London protests increases constantly and currently makes up about 15 thousand people.

On Oct 15 demonstrators hit the London streets, protesting against social inequity and gathered in the center of the city by St. Paul’s cathedral. They’ve tried to advance to the London financial exchange and stage its "occupation" but police has quickly suppressed the attempt, blocking the approach to the building. That hasn’t upset the demonstrators even a bit and they have broken their camp right on the streets, planning to stay there for the next few months. The mottos, condemning governmental anti-crisis policy are heard on the streets. The demands of British fighters against the global financial system are no different from the similar claims of New-York, Rome or Sidney citizens. Leaders of the protesters offer no to cut the budget spending down, but rather decrease the tax rate for the rich and limit the incomes of large corporations.

European demonstrators aim not only at the national authorities. A full-scale protest rally against the EU anti-crisis policy took place in Brussels. Approximately six thousand people have taken place in it. The sheer scale of riots and the same list of claims, put forth towards the incumbent leadership seemed familiar to many analysts. Certain political scientists have brushed the dust off Marx theories and proclaimed the second coming of the "ghost of communism", which (just like a century ago) wanders over Europe, threatening capitalism and the free movement of capital.

Supreme spiritual leader of Iran Ayatollah Khamenei has expressed this point of view the most clearly. He claimed that the "Occupy Wall Street" rally in the USA and its European clones give evidence that the end of capitalism is nigh. According to him, the USA is going through a full-fledged crisis now because "the corrupted foundation was attacked by the American nation". "American authorities may finally crack down upon the protesters, but they won’t be able to get rid of the protest movement itself. In the end it will grow so big that it destroys an entire capitalistic system and the West itself" — Khamenei said. He reassured everyone that the Western capitalism has come to a dead-end and the "historical changes" await the world. With an exquisite sense of humor Iranian officials dub the "Occupy Wall Street" movement an American Spring, bringing up the analogies with the Arab Spring, which American politicians used to describe mass anti-government protests in the Arab countries with.

It’s surely way too early to talks about the "ghost of revolution", although the current events surely resemble the beginning of the previous century. The U.S. and especially the EU authorities are willing save the operation ability of the current economic system and its institutions, although the stabilization efforts are often late, while their realization is often complicated by internal and external reasons. Interests of supranational alignments, national elites, major corporations, middle class and the poor clash in a Gordian knot of a conflict. There’s a great shortage of the available financial resources and, which is the most important, the time itself. Theoretically the situation still may be fixed, albeit the practical chance of achieving the desired result is dismal.

If the worldwide financial circles stick to their current behavior model, fighting the consequences rather than the reasons, all the more people are to face the falling living standards — the debts on the contrary will increase furthermore. This will undoubtedly cause all the greater number of protests and revolts, while the prophecy of Ayatollah Khamenei concerning the "historical changes" that the world goes through might become a gloomy reality.

By Alexander Vishnevsky

 

 

 

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  • Both American government and the state financial system made plenty of common Americans suffer. Still, hotbeds of protest and mass rallies take place just like 40 years ago. They haven’t become particularly crowded as of yet and American media prefer ignoring their very existence. Meet the laws of post-modern information age: several thousand Middle-Eastern protesters make up a heroic national uprising against the tyranny, while the same sort of rally in the USA is merely a bunch of lunatics, threatening public order and national security.

  • Most likely the situation will develop in the following way: outstanding democrat Barack Obama will express his support of the participants albeit the police and the FBI will be slowly arresting the "revolt" leaders. Demanding total freedom and inviolability for the rebellious ringleaders abroad (especially in the countries stuck in geopolitical or economic discrepancies with the USA), America isn’t going to stick to the same rule inside the country.

  • Today few people doubt that the Greek crisis will turn into the euro crisis. The wish to write off Greek debts in order to avoid the future increase of debts and depreciation of loans seems to gain popularity in business and political circles. Yet the resistance of German voters, discontent with the realization of host plans will keep building up with each passing day, which means the only thing — crisis of euro may easily transform into a pan-European political crisis, which will question the very existence of the EU.

  • When all the attempts to overcome crisis fail, the witch hunt starts. The only way to give a satisfactory explanation for the obvious discrepancy of the undertaken actions and actually achieved results is to find an enemy without.

  • Globalization’s playing an evil joke on the global economics. Troublesome region can hardly be "contained" and put into a financial "quarantine", isolating it from the more or less healthy EU body until the recovery. Such medical analogies are rather popular these days — the former chief economist of the IMF Kenneth Rogoff has recently stated that "euro carry crisis from one country to another like an infection". Besides there already are several patients in Europe and the doctor is in the same ward with them.

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