Capitals across Europe have been hit with protests over the cost of living and how the comfortable middle-class lifestyle millions have grown accustomed to is slowly eroding with persistently high inflation and the push for WWIII by EU leaders.
WSWS.org ran an op-ed co-written by socialist parties from the U.K., France, Germany, and Turkey that identified these protests as fundamentally different from the usual standoff between governments and workers’ unions.
The op-ed said what is unfolding is an “international political struggle, as workers raise similar demands in every country and are met with police crackdowns and legal threats from governments that are discredited and widely despised.”
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has documented the upheaval in Europe and has identified “New World Disorder” as a TOP TREND of 2023. (See “NEW WORLD DISORDER, TOP TREND OF 2020 KEEPS SPREADING” 24 Jan 2023, “TOP TREND, NEW WORLD DISORDER: BRITAIN’S CRISIS” 20 Dec 2022, and “SOARING COST OF LIVING PUTS MILLIONS ON THE BRINK, PROTESTS BREAK OUT” 20 Dec 2022.)
And who will pay for it? We the People of Slavelania.
Indeed, the Resolution Foundation think tank noted that the only people in the U.K. who will see their wealth increase in the next two years will be those in the 5 percent of incomes because most of these individuals have their money tied up in investments that benefit from higher interest rates.
Inflation there hit a 41-year high in 2022 and the think tank said the worst is yet to come, according to Yahoo Finance. The median household income fell 3 percent last year and that number is expected to hit 4 percent in 2023. That would mean households are worse off than in the 2007-08 crisis.
The poorest households are most impacted by soaring inflation and high food and energy prices.
We’ve reported on how French President Emmanuel Macron has faced major protests for his push to increase the country’s retirement age, all while introducing a 40 percent increase in military spending due to the phony threat of a Russian invasion. (See “FRANCE CONTINUES TO FACE LARGE-SCALE PROTESTS OVER THE COST OF LIVING” 25 Oct 2022 and “RAMPING UP WWIII: MACRON INCREASING DEFENSE SPENDING”24 Jan 2023.)
The protests and strikes in the U.K. and France have been widespread and people from all walks of life have participated, including rail workers, nurses, and teachers.
War With Russia
While many Europeans face economic hardship, their governments continue to provide hundreds of billions in aid for Ukraine to ensure that the war with Russia continues. WSWS noted that WWIII will also impact the poor at a much higher level than the wealthy.
The report said that there will be one of two conclusions in Europe: either the pro-war capitalists will succeed in plunging the world into a hot war with Russia, or the “working class takes power out of the hands of the warmongering ruling elites.”
The WSWS op-ed drew parallels to WWI and WWIII, and noted how Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik leader, who had been isolated in Switzerland, identified the outbreak of WWI to be the ideal time to mount a socialist revolution. He was a major critic of the pro-war governments throughout Europe at the time. He identified three “major symptoms.”
“(1) When it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change…(2) When the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (3) When, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the masses…into independent historical action.”
The op-ed noted that all of the ingredients are there for a major upheaval.
“Since 1991, it has waged NATO wars abroad—in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Mali, and beyond—and carried out relentless austerity at home.”
The op-ed concluded:
“Stopping the war and ending austerity requires building powerful, international rank-and-file organizations of struggle in workplaces and schools, independent of the union bureaucracy. Every strike that erupts confirms the fact that the trade union bureaucracy works to subordinate workers to its dealings with the employers and the capitalist state, and its defense of the war policy of the capitalist class in each country. It is only with new organizations of struggle that the working class can unite internationally against the austerity demands of the banks and against the NATO war on Russia.”