European protests against austerity

In: Uncategorized

29 Sep 2010

Protests across Europe against austerity should be welcomed in principle. However, it would be wrong to exaggerate their scale or downplay the limitations of their political outlook.

Although there have been demonstrations in several European countries – including Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Spain – they seem to be relatively small in scale. This is particularly striking given the millions of people who have lost their jobs since the onset of economic crisis and the size of spending cuts.

More importantly, as far as it is possible to judge from media reports, the politics informing the protests seems to be extremely narrow. For example, there appears to be a great emphasis on demonising bankers and blaming them for the crisis. Such an outlook opens the way for politicians to talk up anti-banker measures while continuing with their austerity programme.