Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain – the PIIGS, they call us. The financial markets coined it, mainstream media echo it to scorn all of us who supposedly deserve the punishment of austerity.
Yet, this veil of national stereotyping only conceals who they really mean to pay for the crisis of their making: workers, precarious youth, students, pensioners, the elderly, the disabled. In short, the victims of capital, those who don’t live and swear by it, those who the ruling elites despise in each and every country. Nationality only changes their tools and timing of oppression. It is high time that we, citizens of these countries living in the UK, take this insult into our own hands and turn it against its creators. Not as a statement of national pride, but as a realisation that oppression knows no national boundaries. We must stand together to have a chance of defeating it.
We live in the UK by choice or (increasingly) by necessity, driven out of our countries by the chaos wreaked by austerity. In the UK we find the same logic in a different terrain. Abolition of basic layoff protection over there, George Osborne’s sell out of employee rights for company shares over here; rushed privatization of public services over there, gradual dismantling of the NHS over here. Everywhere around, the same puppet governments in the hands of big business, the same troika-style austerity policies no one voted for. Madrid said it to the world: they do not represent us!
Dismal as present politics are, a crude anti-politics is not the solution. Not all politicians are necessarily corrupt, not all parties necessarily equal. Equal at this point is their impotence to stop this assault destroying our working conditions, our schools, our hospitals, our cities, our hopes, our future. We must deepen participation to overcome their representation of impotence. We must discover European-wide measures to counter the divide-and-conquer tactics pitting national oppressions against each other in a race to the bottom. Regulation of offshores, selective defaults on big creditors, higher taxation for the richest, investment on green sustainable technologies — the possibilities are immense.
Why should we demonstrate in the UK? Because the struggle is now everywhere. The mainstream politicians and interests ruling our countries for so long must be combated at home, but they are as much inept puppets as they are willing executioners of forces above them. Many of the decisions destroying our lives are now taken in Brussels, Wall Street, the City of London. We do not forget those who take them, we will chase them where they are, just as our friends at home won’t forget their willing executioners.
First it was the Greeks, but everything was alright, because we were not like the Greeks. Then came the Irish, but we were not like the Irish. Then Portugal, now Spain, soon Italy, next?… As each and every illusion collapses, we realize we really are all in this together. Victims of capital in the PIIGS-farm, victims in the UK, in the whole world. Our enemies put us together as an insult. Let us take it as a call. Let them reap the storms they have sown.
PIIGS United in London are joining the Coalition of Resistance on the TUC’s march on the 20th of October against cuts. PIIGS United in London will be saying ‘enough is enough’ to cuts, austerity and mastery of corporations and banks of the masses’s lives. (their Facebook event)