Portugal: EU/IMF intervention will drain economic lifeblood of working people

“Caretaker” government of Portugal formally askes for EU / IMF financial “assistance“

An EU / IMF intervention into Portugal will be disastrous for workers, young people, pensioners and the economy generally. Far from being a white knight in Greece and Ireland, the EU / IMF interventions there have meant governments signing up to wholesale sell-off of state assets, massive attacks on public services, wages and conditions and interest rates which will burden generations with debt that is essentially unpayable.

Either accept austerity by parliament or have it forced upon you by the EU / IMF – this is the false choice that all the establishment parties are sending out to the ordinary people of Portugal. The reality is that there is a choice – a choice to force the bondholders and major banks to take their losses, to make the super-rich and big business pay through increased taxation and by directing the economic resources in Portugal towards job creation programmes.

This will only come about through massive mobilisations by the trade union movement and society generally to reject the debt shackles and austerity that the EU / IMF intervention will bring. This movement has to be built not only in Portugal but also in Ireland, Greece and indeed across all of Europe to reject the austerity consensus and to force the major financial institutions, speculators and big business to pay for the crisis they created.

The Portuguese, Irish and the whole European financial system is broken, morally and in every other way. We need to break the domination of the markets. It is time for full public ownership of the financial markets and the main economic levers in Europe with democratic control and direction to serve the needs of society rather than feed the appetites for mega-profits of the financial marketeers.

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April 2011