The New Enemy of Economic Recovery: Austerity Protesters
As the United States surpasses the debt ceiling today, and Obama and Boehner play “let’s make a deal” for deep cuts to the budget, citizens must prepare for austerity measures of higher taxes and less benefits. These cutbacks won’t necessarily be as evident as European austerity, because Americans scarcely get anything tangible from their tax dollars. However, cutbacks will likely bring similar hardship and protest.
The increasingly ferocious protests over public service cuts and asset looting in the Euro-zone hints at what may be in store for America. Over the weekend a Washington Post article described the escalating unrest in Greece over punishing austerity measures. However, the thrust of the article was to create the new enemy of the economy recovery: austerity “anarchists”:
The protests are an emblem of social discontent spreading across Europe in response to a new age of austerity. At a time when the United States is just beginning to consider deep spending cuts, countries such as Greece are coping with a fallout that has extended well beyond ordinary civil disobedience.
Perhaps most alarming, analysts here say, has been the resurgence of an anarchist movement, one with a long history in Europe. While militants have been disrupting life in Greece for years, authorities say that anger against the government has now given rise to dozens of new ‘amateur anarchist groups, whose tactics include planting of gas canisters in mailboxes and destroying bank ATMs.
Some attacks have gone further, heightening concerns about a return to the kind of left-wing violence that plagued parts of Europe during the 1970s and 1980s. After urban guerrillas mailed explosive parcels to European leaders and detonated a powerful bomb last year in front of an Athens courthouse, authorities here have staged a series of raids, arresting dozens and yielding caches of machine guns, grenades and bomb-making materials.