Results are in for the most recent European elections – austerity did not fare well. In France incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated by Francois Hollande, the socialist candidate. In Germany, Angela Merkel’s ruling party suffered losses in regional elections. And of course, the Greek ruling coalition disintegrated in a flurry of protest votes. Today the leading centre-right “New Democracy” announced their failure to form a government, well short of the three days they were allowed. This has plunged the financial world into a panic, causing markets to drop around the globe.

They’re calling it “austerity fatigue“. Forced on nations across Europe and beyond, these cuts were hoped to revitalize Europe’s economies – instead they became both a political and economic disaster. Popular rage against the measures has been simmering for years (particularly in Greece), but lately it’s become very hard to ignore, especially as nations like Spain and Britain slip back into recession. Even large parts of the business press now openly condemn these measures. To quote the Globe and Mail

Over the past two years, France and Germany have steered Europe through the debt crisis — though not always well. Germany and France declared an end to the flagrant flouting of deficit limits that led Europe into the crisis.

But the crackdown could not have come at a worse time — with the world economy slowing — and propelled Europe into a vicious austerity spiral. Cutting spending — which meant laying off state employees and ending stimulus programs — further slowed nations’ economies and produced less tax revenue, which meant more cuts were needed to meet deficit targets.

The rest of this week should be interesting, and will likely be beyond chaotic. Within the span of a single weekend, any hopes that we’d left the uncertainty and fear of last year behind us have been totally destroyed. Like one year ago, nobody knows if Greece will stay in the EU, whether Europe could survive such an exit or what that would mean to the rest of us.

Looking “across the pond” right now, it’s pretty clear where austerity is taking us. These efforts to loot and pillage entire economies have so far led to social and fiscal disaster. Canada is only starting down this path, but we only need to look at Europe to see where it’s leading. We still have time to stop this, before our cities too are choked with the black smoke of burning skylines, before public suicides become a standard form of protest and before cabals of bankers start replacing our elected officials with “technocrats” of their choosing. Again, I have to ask – what kind of maniac would willingly do this to our country?

All eyes will be on Europe this week, and there’s no telling what the situation could look like by Friday. It’s a complete clusterfucking quagmire, but it may also be the first opportunity to stop this madness before it gets any worse.

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