Southern Europe

The human cost of Greece’s austerity measures

By Robert Stevens, 20 June 2012

The social hardship being imposed on an already poverty-stricken Greek population is without parallel in post-war Europe.

Massive support for June 18 general strike in Spain’s mining regions

By Paul Mitchell, 20 June 2012

A powerful one-day strike in Spain’s mining regions in support of striking miners shut down factories and shops and disrupted rail traffic.

What way forward in Greece?

By Chris Marsden, 19 June 2012

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras is expected to form a coalition government in Greece tasked with implementing brutal austerity measures.

Athens workers and youth discuss Greek election result

By Robert Stevens, 19 June 2012

The World Socialist Web Site discussed with workers and youth in Athens the result of Sunday’s general election as negotiations continued to form a government following the narrow victory of the conservative New Democracy.

Conservatives narrowly win Greek election

By Chris Marsden, 18 June 2012

The narrow victory of the conservative New Democracy in the Greek general election sets the stage for intense negotiations over the formation of a coalition government.

Greek Communist Party holds final election rally

By Christoph Dreier and Katerina Selin, 18 June 2012

The perspective of the Greek Communist Party, based on nationalism and support for the trade union bureaucracy, makes a mockery of its rhetorical calls for “people’s power” and “interventions of the working class”.

Greek workers, students discuss election with WSWS in Athens

By Robert Stevens, 18 June 2012

A World Socialist Web Site reporting team spoke to a number of workers and young people in Athens on Friday and Saturday on the eve of the June 17 election.

The political issues in the Greek elections

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 16 June 2012

Whoever wins the election, the working class will be forced to repay the €200 billion- plus bailout through the austerity measures attached to the Memorandum signed with the troika.

SYRIZA’s final election rally in Athens

By Christoph Dreier and Katerina Selin, 16 June 2012

Alexis Tsipras promised on Thursday to end the austerity measures in Greece. At the same time he insisted that SYRIZA represented no threat to the European institutions and that his party was ready to recognize the national debt.

Greece: WSWS interviews Athens workers and youth

By Robert Stevens, 16 June 2012

A WSWS reporting team spoke to residents in the district of Aigaleo in west Athens about their attitudes to Sunday’s election.

Global crisis deepens after Spanish bailout

By Nick Beams, 14 June 2012

Rising interest rates in bond markets demonstrate that the €100 billion Spanish bailout last weekend has done nothing to resolve the euro zone crisis and may well have made it even worse.

SYRIZA’s Tsipras pledges to save Greek and European capitalism

By Chris Marsden, 14 June 2012

SYRIZA head Alexis Tsipras chose a column in the Financial Times to pledge that his party will act as the saviour of the euro currency and a tax collector on behalf of the troika.

Greece: University of Athens students speak to WSWS

By our correspondents, 14 June 2012

Students at the main campus of the University of Athens spoke with a World Socialist Web Site reporting team.

Miners strike escalates in Spain

By Paul Mitchell and Vicky Short, 14 June 2012

More than 8,000 miners in the Asturias region of Spain have been on indefinite strike since June 1 in protest of cuts to subsidies that threaten the industry with the loss of 40,000 jobs.

Greece: Fascists step up assaults on political opponents and migrants

By Jordan Shilton, 13 June 2012

The assault launched by the spokesman of Greece’s neo-fascist Golden Dawn against two political rivals on live television must be taken as a warning to working people.

German finance minister threatens Greek voters

By Ulrich Rippert, 13 June 2012

The German government has intensified its threats against Greek voters on the eve of parliamentary elections this weekend.

Bailout of Spanish banks will “tighten the austerity thumbscrew”

By Stefan Steinberg, 12 June 2012

Remarks by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble on Monday directly contradict assurances by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy that there were “no strings attached” to last weekend’s rescue deal for Spanish banks.

Greek crisis exposes bankruptcy of petty-bourgeois ex-left

By Alex Lantier, 12 June 2012

Terrified by the escalating European debt crisis, the petty-bourgeois ex-left is divided over how to reconcile its “anti-capitalist” phrase-mongering with its pro-capitalist politics.

The Spanish bailout and the specter of the 1930s

By Andre Damon, 11 June 2012

The very fact that four years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and two years after the first bailout of Greece it has become necessary to bail out one of the central economies of Europe belies all claims of the viability of capitalism.

Athens court declares two strikes illegal

By Robert Stevens, 9 June 2012

In the last week, two strikes have been declared illegal in Greece, including the long-running steelworkers strike at the Hellenic Steel Company.

The euro crisis and the role of SYRIZA

By Christoph Dreier, 8 June 2012

Pseudo-left forces such as SYRIZA, which seek to subordinate workers to various factions of the ruling class, constitute a critical obstacle to the development of an international revolutionary movement of the working class.

SYRIZA leader Tsipras lays out right-wing policies for Greek crisis

By Alex Lantier, 6 June 2012

On May 31, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras gave Time magazine a long interview on his party’s program in Greece’s June 17 elections.

Spanish banking crisis threatens euro collapse

By Stefan Steinberg, 4 June 2012

The ruthlessness of both the central and private banks and growing antagonisms between individual states threatens to blow apart the European Union and the euro.

Greece: SYRIZA presents its economic programme

By Christoph Dreier, 2 June 2012

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras proposed to terminate loan agreements with Greece’s creditors and reverse the cuts imposed on Greece in recent years.

Earthquakes shake northern Italy

By Marianne Arens, 2 June 2012

An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale struck the northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna, killing 7 and injuring more than 50.

SYRIZA leader Tsipras backs the Greek military

By Christoph Dreier, 1 June 2012

On Tuesday the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), Alexis Tsipras, held talks with the Greek Defence Ministry and army high command.

Spanish banking crisis roils global financial markets

By Andre Damon, 31 May 2012

Fears that the euro zone is nearing breakup sent panicked investors to safe haven assets Wednesday, driving the yields on US government debt to their lowest levels since 1946.

Germany: Günter Grass criticizes EU’s treatment of Greece

By Christoph Dreier, 31 May 2012

The German author Günter Grass has published a withering critique of the policy of Germany and the European Union towards Greece.

Double suicide underscores Greece’s deepening health crisis

By Robert Stevens, 29 May 2012

The appalling suicide of a mother and son in Athens again underscores the social nightmare being visited on Greece.

IMF chief: It’s “payback time” for Greek workers

By Stefan Steinberg, 28 May 2012

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde vented her class hatred for the workers of Greece, denouncing them as tax scofflaws and ruling out any respite from the austerity measures that have devastated the country.

Greek ruling elite prepares for showdown with working class

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 26 May 2012

As Greece prepares for elections on June 17 amid an overwhelming popular rejection of austerity, the ruling class is making secret preparations for a military crackdown against the workers.

Serbian presidential vote indicates growing disaffection from the EU

By Ognjen Markovic and Stefan Steinberg, 26 May 2012

The Serbian presidential vote reflects increasing disillusionment with all of the official parties and growing disaffection with the pro-European Union policies of both candidates.

Greece: French Left Front backs SYRIZA’s appeal to the banks

By Antoine Lerougetel, 25 May 2012

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the Left Front (FG) candidate in last month's French presidential elections hosted a meeting in Paris on Monday with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece’s Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).

The pseudo-left unmasked in Greece

By Alex Lantier, 24 May 2012

It has taken only a few days since the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) became the front-runner in Greece’s June 17 elections for the bankruptcy of its politics to become clear.

SYRIZA leader Tsipras in Berlin

By Christoph Dreier, 24 May 2012

Tsipras stressed that his party was in no way dismissive or even hostile to EU institutions, and that Greece under his rule would not leave the EU.

Strike and mass protests against Spain’s education cuts

By Alejandro López, 24 May 2012

Tuesday’s strike closed down most universities, vocational training centers and schools in 14 regions throughout Spain.

Mass unemployment and poverty fuel ethnic tensions in Macedonia

By Paul Mitchell, 23 May 2012

The resurgence of ethnic tensions in Macedonia and the ability of nationalist politicians to mobilise large numbers of demonstrators are fuelled by the terrible social conditions in the country.

Greek SYRIZA leader Tsipras pledges to repay banks in European tour

By Alex Lantier, 22 May 2012

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece’s Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), visited Paris yesterday to meet with Left Front officials.

Spain faces bank run

By Alejandro López, 21 May 2012

The latest available statistics on bank deposits show that €50 billion have left Spain since January last year.

Greece: The program of Syriza

By Christoph Dreier and Peter Schwarz, 19 May 2012

Syriza’s goal is not the socialist transformation of society, but creating better conditions for the upper middle class and sections of the Greek bourgeoisie.

Spain’s regional governments impose further cuts

By Alejandro López, 19 May 2012

A new round of cuts has been imposed by the regional governments in Andalusia, Asturias and Catalonia this week in order to reduce their deficit to the target of 1.5 percent of GDP set by the Spain’s Popular Party government.

New elections called in Greece

By Christoph Dreier, 17 May 2012

The failure of efforts to form a government with a working majority after May 6 elections in Greece has intensified the crisis in Europe.

Greece and the global crisis of capitalism

By Chris Marsden, 17 May 2012

The crisis in Greece is an acute expression of a broader crisis of European and world capitalism.

Greece: SYRIZA support sought to enforce austerity measures

By Christoph Dreier, 15 May 2012

The ruling elite in Greece and the EU are apparently convinced that they can best regain control over growing popular opposition to austerity measures with the help of SYRIZA.

Spanish bank debts deepen eurozone crisis

By Nick Beams, 14 May 2012

The European financial crisis is worsening amid doubts over the Spanish banking system and concern over the prospect of a Greek withdrawal from the eurozone.

Mass protests in Spain mark indignados anniversary

By Alejandro López, 14 May 2012

Hundreds of thousands demonstrated in more than 80 cities and towns throughout Spain Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the eruption of the indignados or 15-M movement.

Working class disenfranchised in Serbian elections

By Ognjen Markovic, 14 May 2012

The workers of Serbia were largely disenfranchised in the elections held on May 6.

Negotiations on Greek coalition government continue

By Christoph Dreier, 12 May 2012

The aim of the current talks in Greece is to develop a political mechanism capable of implementing the austerity policies of the European Union in the face of massive opposition.

Coalition talks continue in Greece as EU demands austerity measures

By Christoph Dreier, 10 May 2012

Representatives of the EU have responded to the Greek vote by aggressively insisting that austerity measures must go forward, regardless of mass opposition.

Spain’s United Left joins government, backs cuts in Andalucía

By Alejandro López, 10 May 2012

After agreeing to form a coalition government with the Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government in Andalucía last week, the United Left (Izquierda Unida, IU) has agreed to cuts in the regional budget.

Italian local elections: high abstention and a protest against austerity

By Marianne Arens, 9 May 2012

Traditional parties and politicians lost heavily in Italian local elections held last weekend.

Elections in Greece and France herald fresh social conflicts

By Peter Schwarz, 8 May 2012

The voting out of office of Nicolas Sarkozy in France and the devastating defeat of the ruling parties in Greece are an expression of broad opposition to the austerity policies laid down by the European Union.

Greek elections reflect mass opposition to austerity

By Christoph Dreier, 7 May 2012

The Greek vote on Sunday is a clear popular repudiation of the policies of austerity. The main beneficiaries of the shift in popular sentiment to the left, however, do not represent a genuine alternative.

Pseudo-left parties in Greek election offer no alternative

By Katerina Selin and Christoph Dreier, 4 May 2012

The Greek election is overshadowed by poverty and a growing desperation fuelled by the broad sentiment that no party expresses the genuine social interests of the population.

May Day protests in Greece and Spain

By our reporters, 3 May 2012

The World Socialist Web Site reports on the May day rallies held in Greece and Spain.

Offensive against democratic rights continues in Spain

By Alejandro López, 2 May 2012

Spain’s Popular Party government is meeting opposition to austerity measures totalling over €50 billion with escalating repression.

Spain’s foreign minister admits economic and social crisis “of huge proportions”

By Vicky Short, 1 May 2012

Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo’s remark came as economic contraction pushed the Spanish economy officially into recession for the second time since 2009.

Spanish debt crisis pushing global economy to the brink

By Nick Beams, 30 April 2012

Since the near-default of Greece threatened to set off a meltdown late last year, the eye of the financial storm has shifted to Spain.

Greek elections: Workers have no voice

By Christoph Dreier, 28 April 2012

Despite the plethora of parties contesting the Greek elections on 6 May, workers have no voice.

Spanish government proceeds with the destruction of health care and education

By Alejandro López, 25 April 2012

Not a day passes in Spain without further cuts at the local, regional or national level being announced, or measures imposed curtailing democratic rights.

Focus of euro crisis shifts to Spain

By Peter Schwarz, 19 April 2012

Under pressure from the European Union and the international financial markets, Spain is sliding into a downward spiral of austerity and recession.

Spain: More cuts in health care and education

By Alejandro López, 17 April 2012

Spain’s financial situation is deteriorating rapidly as speculators continue their attacks.

Italy: The Monti government and the crisis of the Northern League

By Marianne Arens, 16 April 2012

While the Monti government's austerity measures are fueling social opposition, the extreme right-wing Northern League is trying to channel popular anger and despair along racist lines.

Spain’s unions silent on general strike repression

By Alejandro López, 14 April 2012

Three weeks after the mass arrests and violent repression unleashed against the March 29 general strike in Spain, the main trade unions have yet to issue a word of condemnation.

Troika gives green light for Greek election

By Stefan Steinberg, 13 April 2012

The date for the upcoming Greek election has been decided by the representatives of international high finance.

Hundreds attend memorial in Athens for Dimitris Christoulas

By Julie Hyland, 9 April 2012

On Saturday, hundreds attended a memorial service for Dimitris Christoulas, the 77-year old former pharmacist who killed himself with a handgun on Wednesday morning in Athens’ Syntagma Square.

Police violently break up protests following suicide in Athens

By Christoph Dreier, 7 April 2012

Thousands of mostly young people have taken to the streets of Athens following the suicide of 77-year-old Dimitris Christoulas on Wednesday.

The repression against workers and youth in Spain

By Alejandro López, 6 April 2012

Last week’s general strike in Spain displayed the readiness of the working class to resist the austerity measures being imposed by the right-wing Popular Party government, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Spanish government outlines most severe budget cuts since fascist dictatorship

By Alejandro López, 5 April 2012

The draft state budget unveiled on Tuesday represents a new stage in the social counter-revolution led by the right-wing Popular Party on behalf of the financial oligarchy.

The Spanish general strike and the political tasks before the working class

By Julie Hyland, 3 April 2012

Last Thursday’s general strike in Spain against the Popular Party government, the European Union and its austerity policies once again demonstrated the power of the working class and its readiness to fight.

Spanish government unveils €27 billion in budget cuts

By Alejandro López, 3 April 2012

Spain’s Popular Party government has announced €27.3 billion in cuts to the 2012 budget, the most austere since the fascist dictatorship.

Spanish pilots unions call strikes against new low-cost airline

By Vicky Short, 2 April 2012

The two main trade unions representing pilots and cabin crew at Spanish airline Iberia have renewed their call for strike action against the creation of a new low-cost subsidiary, Iberia Express.

Barcelona’s workers and youth speak during Spain’s general strike

By Alejandro López, 31 March 2012

Thursday’s general strike in Spain was supported by 77 percent of the workforce and paralyzed whole cities.

Millions join general strike in Spain

By Vicky Short, 30 March 2012

Yesterday’s general strike against new labour laws imposed by the right-wing Popular Party government was joined by up to 80 percent of Spain’s workforce.

Trade unions in Italy play crucial role in the abolition of workers’ rights

By Marianne Arens, 30 March 2012

Italian prime minister Mario Monti knows he has nothing to fear from the unions and Italy’s pseudo-leftist organisations as he introduces his new labour reform.

Spanish “left” groups use one-day general strike to promote trade union bureaucracy

By Alejandro López, 29 March 2012

The Communist Party, the Anti-Capitalist Left of the Pabloite United Secretariat, In Struggle (Spanish affiliate of the British Socialist Workers Party) and other pseudo-left organisations have acted as unabashed promoters of the union bureaucracy.

Hire-and-fire labor reform: A historic attack on the Italian working class

By Mike Jobson, 26 March 2012

On Friday the Italian cabinet approved a reform advanced by the unelected Monti government to scrap Article 18 of Italy’s labor code.

Escalating protests in Montenegro

By Ognjen Markovic, 24 March 2012

A large demonstration against declining living standards and corruption took place in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica on March 18.

Portugal paralysed by general strike as second bailout looms

By Paul Mitchell, 23 March 2012

Portugal was paralysed by a general strike yesterday, as workers demonstrated against austerity measures and labour reforms.

As ruling party loses support, Greek “left” cosies up to PASOK

By Christoph Dreier, 23 March 2012

With support plummeting for the Greek ruling parties, a host of pseudo-left parties are working to stabilize the situation and lay the ground for a government capable of enforcing new attacks on the working class.

More austerity measures as Spain’s public debt soars

By Alejandro López, 22 March 2012

Spain’s financial situation is deteriorating rapidly, with debt reaching an historic high of 68.5 percent of GDP during the last quarter of 2011. It has now entered its second recession since 2009.

The Greek crisis is only the beginning

By Nick Beams, 19 March 2012

The €130 billion package was not a bailout of Greece, but of the banks and financial institutions that put money in its bonds.

On-the-spot report

Unemployment, wage cuts destroy living standards of millions in Greece

By our reporters, 17 March 2012

Plastered on the windows of the unemployment office in the Neos Kosmos district of Athens are posters with slogans denouncing the austerity measures of the unelected government of Lucas Papademos.

Italian truckers strike against austerity closes Fiat plants

By David Walsh, 17 March 2012

Ongoing protests by Italian truck drivers against the government’s austerity measures and the price of fuel have cut production at several of automaker Fiat’s plants.

On-the-spot report

Greek health service faces catastrophic cuts

By our reporters, 15 March 2012

Massive cuts to the public health care service were passed by the Greek parliament on March 1.

One-day general strike called in Spain

By Alejandro López, 15 March 2012

The two main Spanish unions, Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and Union General de Trabajadores (UGT), have called a general strike for March 29 against the latest labour legislation.

On-the-spot report

Hunger and homelessness on the rise in Greece

By our reporters, 14 March 2012

It is officially estimated that a third of Greeks now live below the poverty line, but things are much worse in reality.

On-the-spot report

Athens steel strike enters fifth month

By our reporters, 13 March 2012

This month, steelworkers employed at the Hellenic Steel plant on the outskirts of the Greek capital entered the fifth month of a bitter strike.

Financial organisations declare Greece to be in default

By Stefan Steinberg, 12 March 2012

Far from warding off insolvency, Thursday’s debt relief deal for Greece represents a significant step towards the official bankruptcy of the country.

The Greek agony

By Peter Schwarz, 10 March 2012

The debt “haircut” for the holders of Greek bonds has not reduced the country’s debt, but increased it.

EU grants Serbia candidate status in run-up to federal election

By Ognjen Markovic, 10 March 2012

Following accession negotiations which began in 2005, Serbia was awarded official candidate status of the European Union on March 1.

Spain’s Garzón acquitted for investigation of Franco-era crimes

By Alejandro López and Chris Marsden, 9 March 2012

The Supreme Court’s decision to acquit Baltasar Garzón of misconduct for investigating the crimes of Franco’s fascist regime represents a tactical retreat by Spain’s ruling elite in the face of popular hostility to his prosecution.

Hedge funds speculate on Greek default

By Ulrich Rippert, 8 March 2012

What is clear from the latest haggling over private investor participation in a Greek debt deal is that the most aggressive sectors of speculative finance capital have been able to expand their activities and influence.

US exploits UNHRC resolution to pressure Sri Lanka

By Sarath Kumara, 7 March 2012

The resolution will do nothing to address the war crimes carried out by the Sri Lanka military in the final stages of the island’s civil war.

Monti government deregulates Italian jobs market

By Marianne Arens, 7 March 2012

The Italian government and the employers’ federation are intent on abolishing the country’s employment protection laws and are relying on the support of the trade unions.

The uncertain future of Pompeii’s extraordinary ruins

By Mark Church, 6 March 2012

The ancient Roman town is in great danger due to years of under-funding and over-exploitation, producing widespread degradation and the collapse of ruins.

More cuts demanded as recession looms in Spain

By Paul Mitchell, 6 March 2012

Figures released this week show that the Spanish economy is spiralling into recession.

Protests against austerity continue in Spain

By Alejandro López, 3 March 2012

Further protests against cuts in education and police violence were held in Valencia Wednesday, as well as in Catalonia and the capital, Madrid.

Unions call off strike by metro and bus workers in Barcelona

By Alejandro López, 2 March 2012

The strike planned for February 27 to March 1 by workers of the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), the main public transit operator, was called off on Sunday.

German parliament supports austerity for Greece

By Peter Schwarz, 29 February 2012

Although the talk is always of “aid” or a “rescue package” for Greece, the almost 200 billion euros will flow directly into the coffers of the banks.