Last Wednesday evening saw a large demonstration in support of the European General Strike of November 14th. More than 200(? I can’t count like that) people, recent arrivals from Spain or Greece plus longer-term residents and "native" Scots gathered at St Giles Cathedral, surprising themselves and the unaware police.
The demonstration moved down the Royal Mile but instead of heading to Holyrood as expected, the crowd turned left onto North Bridge and headed for Princes St along the carriageway, a bemused-looking bus trundling behind. (Traffic jams at the East End? Unprecedented!) After a walk down to the West End & back, via a brief Starbucks occupation, the march finished at the Mound, where this was read out:
Greece may be in the eye of the storm, but it is not the only country where severe austerity has been imposed. Unemployment in Spain has also reached 25% while British people have seen their income dwindle as a result of the cuts imposed by the coalition. All around the world, people are plunged into despair while large corporations continue to enjoy huge profits. The global nature of the crisis is yet more proof that this is not the result of the corruption and laziness of everyday people in Southern Europe as has often shamelessly been reported, but the result of the political and economic system: the system of neoliberal internationalised market economy and representative democracy, which the affected countries are integrated in via the EU. It also indicates that the answer to it must be global as well. An internationalist network of the exploited and oppressed must stand up against the well-organized international collaboration of the ruling classes and their political institutions. One step in this direction is to be taken on the 14th of November, a day of pan-European action and solidarity. Trade union federations in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus and Italy have called general strikes and there will be demonstrations in a number of cities including Edinburgh.
Believing that the world can change is not an illusion. Believing that it can stay the same is!