By Peter Schwarz, World Socialists Web Site*
The downgrading of nine euro zone countries by Standard & Poor’s is a politically motivated decision. The rating agency represents the interests of an international financial elite for whom the destruction of working class living standards is not proceeding far or fast enough. This is clear from the official rationale for the downgrade.
**Image: Lower Manhattan. Author: Hu Totya | Wikimedia Commons
“Today’s rating actions are primarily driven by our assessment that the policy initiatives that have been taken by European policymakers in recent weeks may be insufficient to fully address ongoing systemic stresses in the euro zone,” the agency declared.
Italy, whose government has just whipped a draconian austerity package through parliament and is now set to deregulate the labour market, is threatened with further downgrades by Standard & Poor’s if “we see that the technocratic administration fails to implement structural reform measures due to opposition from special interest groups.”
By “structural reform measures” S&P means the elimination of legal and contractual provisions that give workers a measure of protection. “Special interest groups” is a euphemism for the working class, i.e., the vast majority of the population.
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Human Wrongs Watch
(New York) – Egypt’s newly elected parliament should urgently reform the arsenal of laws used by the Mubarak government to restrict freedoms, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a new report.
**Memorial in Tahrir Sq. in honour of those who died during protests. Captions in pictures attribute most of the deaths to police violence. Author: Sherif9282 | Wikimedia Commons
“These laws were used to curb free expression and criticism of government, limit association and assembly, detain people indefinitely without charge, and shield an abusive police force from accountability, says re report, which was released on Jan. 16
The 46-page report, “The Road Ahead: A Human Rights Agenda for Egypt’s New Parliament” sets out nine areas of Egyptian law that the newly elected parliament must urgently reform if the law is to become an instrument that protects Egyptians’ rights rather than represses them.
Egypt’s existing laws – the penal code, associations law, assembly law, and emergency law – limit public freedoms necessary for a democratic transition, challenge respect for the rule of law, and impede accountability for abuses by the police and the military, HRW said.
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