M31 Utrecht Demonstration

End of M31 Rally in Utrecht
Ok, you got your cuddly cat posting from me early. Now a more political/news posting. Today, across Europe, it’s M31: The European Day of Action Against Capitalism. Cities across Europe have seen protests, marches, and rallies decrying the current state of affairs. From their website:

Current policies in the EU and in Europe as a whole are as speculative as capitalism has ever been. That’s because austerity measures are jeopardising economic stability just as much as debt-inflated growth. There can never be salvation in capitalism, only endlessly recurring crises.

We don’t want to save capitalism, we want to overcome it. We oppose nationalism. It is crucial to fight against the continued erosion of social standards, but we need to aim higher. We want to get rid of the fatal constraints of capitalism and its political institutions. That’s the only way the widespread demand for “real democracy” can be fulfilled.
Source

I understand some of their complaints. I’m not clear enough yet on how they want to effect changes. Regardless, I do think it’s worth some thought and while they raise awareness, I hope they can come up with effective alternatives. I’ll say no more, because it’s too large an issue for a simple blog like this and I don’t have all the facts.

Instead, I’ll share with you a few photos of the people’s meeting that is taking place in front of the Stadsschouwburg right now. This was the end event after a march and protest that began at the Overvecht station in Utrecht and worked its way to this end of town. For more information on the Utrecht event, you can read here (in Dutch). For more information (in English) about what they are trying to do, visit the M31 website and maybe check your local news tonight.

Shared Warmth

Protestor

Peaceful Gathering

Anticapitalism

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12 thoughts on “M31 Utrecht Demonstration

  1. While I don’t think organizations like this have any concrete solutions I do think it’s a good idea to demonstrate and show their disappointment at the current system. It will make some people think about this and the more attention events like this get the likelier the chance that something (no matter how small) will change.

    • That’s essentially my thought, as well. I’d rather see (peaceful) protest, even if there isn’t a ready answer, rather than the kind of apathy that allows the worst of the worst to keep happening.

  2. I think that in Holland there’s a lot of apathy. I feel as if people are a lot less likely to go on protests than people elsewhere. It’s like people only want to complain instead of doing something about it. Or they just think it’s no use at all.

  3. People in Holland see things going wrong, like idiots in US competing for Republican candidate and are damn sad. Economy is bust and kapitalism without any government control creates freaks and criminals in normal business. People are confused and nothing seems to be just and real anymore. Even wars are fake. Bush was send by hell and nothing less. He started to make the world a real bad place.

  4. Putin probably is his friend. A former KGB agent is the president of the USSR? Europe can only expect another war. Hopefully China will be the place for a next war, as there all the money is now. We are second world, with our nice euro

  5. As you say, while they probably haven’t come up with a clear answer to the problems we’re faced today, it is good that they’re trying to make people stop for a minute to think where all this is going. Probably things here in the NL are not as bad as in other countries right now, but going on in a state of apathy might just get us there soon enough.

  6. Actually, there are quite a lot of practical ideas.
    - separate investment banking from retail banking. If people want to take huge risks playing the financial markets and lose, it should not affect other people’s and businesses’ finances and savings
    - start credit unions everywhere to ensure we all have an alternative to banks
    - tax international financial transactions
    - ban tax havens
    - don’t allow banks to become ‘too big to fail’ so that they have to be saved using public funds
    - stop subsidising fossil and nuclear energy
    - get rid of the the credit ratings agencies as they currently exist. The agencies that are downgrading countries’ credit ratings and destroying their ability to borrow, pushing them further into debt, are the exact same agencies that gave triple A ratings to the sub-prime mortgages that sparked the whole banking crisis in 2008
    - the EU 3% deficit rule is completely arbitrary and should not apply in times of recession. Austerity measures in these situations only further damage the economy by destroying jobs and consumer confidence. During recession, public spending should increase, not decrease.
    - don’t allow speculation in food commodities markets, speculators playing for profit are artificially driving up food prices, hitting the poorest people worldwide hardest
    - certain social services and common resources should never be privatised, and if they have been that needs to be reversed: education, healthcare, public transport, social housing, and water supply, to name a few. Market forces do not always know best, because they look only to maximising the next quarter’s profits, rather than the long-term common good. A lot of what we (should) hold dear as society has little monetary value, ‘the market’ will not improve or even preserve them.
    - corporations and organisations should be barred from making donations to political parties.
    - end the ridiculous salaries and bonuses in the financial sector: people are rewarded with astronomical amounts of money for taking the kinds of crazy risks which contributed to the financial crisis. If they get it wrong, they don’t get the bonus but are still rewarded with massive salaries, and the bonuses are not based on the long-term effects of actions taken, but on annual or even quarterly results. Say you manage to sell a bunch of bad mortgages with a triple A rating, no matter if it causes a global crisis two years down the line: you were already rewarded with a $200 million bonus back when you made that deal. In fact, this shouldn’t just apply to the financial sector: many countries have a minimum wage, why not a maximum wage? Sure, people can be rewarded for having studied longer, for having more responsibility and for putting in long hours, but there is a limit to what is justifiable. A CEO making $800 million per year is not doing his job 40.000 times better than the cleaner who cleans his office bathroom.
    - this one is for all of us: consume less. There is no planet B, our natural resources are limited and we are using them up at a terrifying rate, and we are using a disproportionate amount in the developed world. As much as possible, eat local, seasonal and organic. Before you buy something new, consider whether you actually need it, whether you can’t get it second hand, make it or borrow it in the case of, for instance, books (most you will read only once), films, tools (e,g, I need to drill a few holes maybe a couple of times per year, ergo, I do not need to own a drill), party outfit (an evening dress or tux which you will wear maybe once a year ) etc.

    None of the above measures will bring down capitalism, but they will reverse a lot of the damage done by neoliberalism, which is a start.

  7. Pingback: [M31 - Besançon] Résumé de la journée anticapitaliste du 31 mars 2012 « CNT 25

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