Magazine article New Internationalist

2010 the Year of DEFIANCE

Magazine article New Internationalist

2010 the Year of DEFIANCE

Article excerpt

Young and working people have taken the lead in resisting an Age of Austerity aimed mainly at them.


EGYPT (December)

Long-standing labour unrest mounts, with demands for an increase in the minimum wage, which has remained at $6 a month since 1984. 'This is the largest social movement of its kind in the Arab world since the end of the Second World War,' says Joel Beinin, a professor at Stanford University in the US. 'It has involved some two million people since 2004 in over 3,000 actions.' Strikes and angry protests on the pavements outside government buildings brought workers' grievances to public view and eventually spiralled into mass revolt. The Egyptian political landscape, dominated for almost 30 years by President Hosni Mubarak and his National Democratic Party, was about to change dramatically.

SENEGAL (August)

Demonstrations in Dakar against power cuts, flooding and rising food prices.

NAMIBIA (November)

Labour movement protests against misuse of government funds.


A million public servants strike over pay.

MOZAMBIQUE (September)

Thousands strike against increasing prices of basic goods and food.

TUNISIA (December)

Uprising against dictatorship met with live bullets and unknown number of casualties, but results in eventual flight from the country of President ZineEl AbidineBen AN.



Bucharest is paralysed on 19 May by some 50,000 demonstrators, resisting a proposed cut of 25 per cent in salaries and 70,000 jobs in the public sector, plus a 15 per cent cut in the state pension. The IMF made these measures a pre-condition for further payments on a loan of $20 billion. The government refused to revoke its regressive 'flat' income-tax system - which imposes a single rate regardless of income. The mass demonstration follows four days of protests. Thousands of farmers park their tractors outside cabinet headquarters, protesting at the late payment of government agricultural subsidies. Some 500 angry pensioners try to force their way into the presidential palace.

BRITAIN (November / December)

Widespread student actions and occupations against plans to triple university tuition fees and abolish grants for older school students. Social network UK Uncut pickets retail premises of notorious corporate taxdodgers, such as Vodafone and Arcadia.

GREECE (All year)

Rolling general strikes and protests opposing austerity measures, sparked initially by the death of 15-year-old student Alexis Grigoropoulosat a demonstration on 6 December 2008.

PORTUGAL (November)

General strike against austerity measures.

IRELAND (November)

100,000+ demonstrated in Dublin against terms of European/IMF 'bail-out'.

SPAIN (February and September)

Mass demonstrations in Madrid and around the country against public expenditure cuts as youth unemployment reaches 40 percent.

FRANCE (Spring onwards)

General strikes and student demonstrations against raising of state pension age.

ITALY (November)

Student protests in Rome opposing education cuts.

RUSSIA (February)

Mass protest about the cost of living in the Baltic territory of Kaliningrad.


Student protests in Ljubljana against education cuts.

SLOVAKIA (October)

Widespread protest strikes against austerity measures.


Major demonstration in Prague by public sector workers.

DENMARK (August)

Student resistance to cuts at Copenhagen University continues.

GERMANY (November)

Big demonstrations in Stuttgart, Dortmund, Nuremberg and Erfurt against growing inequality. …

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