ATHENS, Greece – A two-day general strike that unions vow will be the largest in years grounded flights, disrupted public transport and shut down everything from shops to schools in Greece on Wednesday, as at least 50,000 protesters converged in central Athens.
All sectors, from dentists, state hospital doctors and lawyers to shop owners, tax office workers, pharmacists, teachers and dock workers walked off the job ahead of a Parliamentary vote Thursday on new austerity measures.
Flights were grounded in the morning but were to resume at noon after air traffic controllers scaled back their initial strike plan from 48 hours to 12. Ferries remained tied up in port, while public transport workers staged work stoppages but were to keep buses, trolleys and the Athens metro running for most of the day. Continue Reading »
I’m getting the biggest kick out of the fact that finally, those who’ve benefited the most from economic exploitation finally know what it’s like to be on the receiving end in a class war:
As the Occupy Wall Street movement has gained steam, the city’s well-heeled have become the target of protests aimed at embarrassing them in their neighborhoods or places of business. Drawing on tactics honed by labor unions, the protesters have visited restaurants, theaters and luxury apartment buildings to deliver pointed messages to some of the city’s most notable power brokers.
Protesters have infiltrated an eatery run by Danny Meyer, who sits on the board of Sotheby’s, the art auction house that has locked out workers for almost three months; and showed up at the home of Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, which has been targeted for its mortgage practices.
“People who sit in board rooms and only deal with people of a certain social strata don’t necessarily feel or see the impact of their decisions,” said Jason Ide, president of Teamsters Local 814, which represents Sotheby’s workers. “We want to make sure they get the message very clearly, that people are suffering because of what they’re doing.”
Last week, protesters visited the homes of Mr. Dimon, billionaire businessman David Koch, financier Howard Milstein, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and hedge fund maven John Paulson as part of a so-called Millionaires March to call for an extension of the state income-tax surcharge on high earners, which is set to expire at the end of the year.
On Saturday, the Alliance for a Greater New York and Occupy Wall Street teamed up to launch occupytheboardroom.org<
I was going to post a rant regarding an insipid New York Times story in which Wall Street types were asked to comment on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Thankfully, NYT columnist Paul Krugman beat me to it:
On Saturday The Times reported what people in the financial industry are saying privately about the protests. My favorite quote came from an unnamed money manager who declared, “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it.”
Chile has given nearly 57,000 18-year-olds one month to report for potential military duty, saying the government needs to fill gaps in its armed forces because a nationwide student protest movement has reduced the number of volunteers it usually gets.
Military service is obligatory in Chile, but there are usually enough volunteers to fill the ranks so that no one has to serve against their will. Continue Reading »