Socialist Worker

Seville shows two faces of Europe

Issue No. 1805

SEVILLE IN Spain sees the two different faces of Europe this week. Tony Blair and other European leaders are meeting to force through even tougher legislation to victimise those seeking refuge from war and famine. Blair is at the heart of a right wing axis. Downing Street has leapt in to dub right wing French president Jacques Chirac 'a man we can work with', as he plans huge tax cuts for the rich and an assault on French workers.

Blair has spent a year cuddling up to Silvio Berlusconi, the right wing media baron and Italian prime minister. Another of his close allies is Spanish premier Jose Maria Aznar, another right wing leader. Blair, Aznar and Berlusconi want us to blame foreigners, those who look different and those in need of refuge, for the decay of living standards. While they are ganging up on desperate asylum seekers, they are also attacking workers.

Just as they are starving refugees of shelter and safety, they are starving our public services of funds. They want a Fortress Europe-on the outside desperate refugees, on the inside low paid workers permanently scared of losing their jobs and being thrown into destitution. But Seville will also see a festival of resistance to the Blair-Aznar-Berlusconi axis.

As the European leaders gather on Thursday, Spanish workers will be taking part in a general strike against attacks on unemployment benefits and workers' rights.

This comes just two days after a successful general strike swept across Greece against the Labour government's attempt at pension 'reform'. Just two weeks ago 200,000 marched through Seville in protest at Aznar's attacks.

Seville will also see anti-capitalist conferences on immigration and Palestine, and demonstrations against insecurity at work and a Europe of capital. Only three months ago there was a demonstration of 500,000 people against a Europe of capital and war in Barcelona, and a three million strong demonstration and general strike in Italy.

This is the other face of Europe- the face of workers' unity and international solidarity. This Europe of protests and strikes is exactly what the new right wing French government are terrified of. They, and their friends, are right to be.

Bush backs terror

GEORGE W BUSH is sending US terrorists into Iraq. He has given the OK to US forces to assassinate or capture Saddam Hussein. US special forces will be spying in Iraq, arming opposition groups, and engaging in covert operations against key military and economic sites. They are helping to prepare the way for pre-emptive strikes and an all-out military attack on Iraq.

'I made up my mind that Hussein needs to go,' bragged Bush last week. If any country around the world behaved like this towards the US, bombers would be pounding it like they pounded Iraq, Serbia and Afghanistan.

Peru: revolt against privatisation

HUGE PROTESTS have swept through Peru's second city of Arequipa and nearby Tacna against the privatisation of two state electricity companies in the South American country. The government declared a state of emergency after three days of anti-government demonstrations.

It moved soldiers into Arequipa, who killed a protester. Belgian company Tractebel bought the two companies. It is the energy division of Suez, which owns Northumbria Water.

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What We Think
Sat 22 Jun 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1805
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