Countries everywhere are facing debt crises today, precipitated by the credit collapse of 2008. Public services are being slashed and public assets are being sold off, in a futile attempt to balance budgets that can’t be balanced because the money supply itself has shrunk. Governments usually get the blame for excessive spending, but governments did not initiate the crisis. The collapse was in the banking system, and in the credit that it is responsible for creating and sustaining.
The Greek bailout provides an opportunity for privatization grabs
When Greece exchanged its drachma for the euro in 2000, most voters were all for joining the Eurozone. Their hope was that it would ensure stability, and that this would promote rising wages and living standards. Few saw that the stumbling point was tax policy. Greece was excluded from the eurozone the previous year as a result of failing to meet the 1992 Maastricht criteria for EU membership, limiting budget deficits to 3 percent of GDP, and government debt to 60 percent.
One of the hardest truths to accept is that for most sources of pain hitting humans there seems to be nothing effective for government to do. Nowadays, those of us who do not gobble various distractions but work to stay connected to reality see two dreadful conditions. Nature seems mad as hell. People are dying or suffering from earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, extreme heat, huge snow storms and more. While some idiots keep trying to deny the reality of global climate change, those of us who have lived a long time see firsthand that killer weather events are more prevalent than ever.
The pro-democracy movement in Bahrain that was met with beatings and outright murder by the Bahraini monarchy has been declared “over, with a return to normalcy” by the government. Continuing with its autocratic ways, they continue to “disappear” people that led to pro-democracy movement.
To more and more people in the world, it is abundantly clear that the capitalist system doesn’t work. At least not for the majority. The system that generates war after war, that allows millions in the U.S. to be unemployed, millions more to go without health care, while fomenting racism, sexism, and anti-lesbian/gay/bi/trans/queer bigotry, and offering no future to the next generation is a disaster for the workers and oppressed people inside the U.S. and worse yet for the rest of the world.
Joe Sacco is one of the world’s foremost cartoonists and is widely hailed as the creator of war-reportage comics. He is the author of Palestine, which received the American Book Award, and Safe Area Goražde, which was named a New York Times Notable Book. After completing a degree in journalism at the University of Oregon, Sacco set out to crisscross the globe, producing comics along the way. In the early 1990s he spent two months in Israel and the occupied territories, traveling and taking notes. When he returned to the U.S. he recorded what he had witnessed and heard during his Middle Eastern travels, combining the techniques of eyewitness reportage with the medium of comics storytelling to explore this complex, emotionally weighted situation. Palestine, the resulting book, set new standards for the use of the comic book as a documentary medium, and was the first nonfiction graphic novel to invite serious comparison with Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus. In 2000, Sacco finished Safe Area Goražde: The War In Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995: a 240-page exploration of a small Muslim enclave in Bosnia called Goražde. Sacco’s most recent major work is a book about the southern Gaza Strip, called Footnotes in Gaza, published by Metropolitan Books in early 2010. Joe Sacco is a citizen of Malta and currently resides in Portland, Oregon.