Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 26 May 2010

Romania: Mass protests against EU/IMF deal

Trade unions threaten to call general strike

ON 19 May, tens of thousands of workers and pensioners demonstrated in Romania's capital, Bucharest, against the slaughter of wages, jobs and public services demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union, as a condition for further loans to the Romanian government. This reflects a new area of turmoil and protests in Eastern Europe after the complete failure of capitalism and two decades of stagnation and decline.

Per Olsson, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI, Sweden)

The 60,000-strong protest was one of the biggest carried out since the mass struggle that brought down the Stalinist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989. Car workers, miners and civil servants, including thousands of police officers, as well as students and pensioners, took part.

The mass demonstration was marked by an enormous anger against the government and a determination to fight until the government is toppled. "We want the government to fall or they will destroy us. It's either us or them," said one demonstrator.

There is also an awareness that if these cuts are implemented they will soon be followed by new brutal cuts and tax increases. "We are aware that the government will not stop at these measures. In a few months they will increase VAT and the income tax," said a 64-year-old teacher.

"People are desperate and urge us not to give in, we are prepared to stop the economy next week to make our voice heard to the govern-ment," said the president of the public sector union, Cartel Alfa.

Another union president symbolically tore apart the government and the IMF's loan agreement and Marian Gruia, head of the police officers union, called on Romanians to unite, "as we did in 1989, when we overthrew the dictatorship".

The mood on the demonstration forced union leaders to announce a general strike on 31 May, if the government does not retreat. If it goes ahead, this general strike may be the largest mass mobilisation since 1989.

Ex-Stalinist states

On the same day, tens of thousands of students demonstrated in Ljubljana, Slovenia, smashing the facade of the parliament building. The instability of capitalist regimes in the region can be seen in Kyrgyzstan, where a revolutionary uprising overthrew the government in April.

Developments in Kazakhstan show the potential of these struggles for sweeping change, with workers raising the idea of nationalisations and workers' control in their fightback.

The failed promise of capitalism to develop these countries is now rebounding in rage and anger. A lot of confusion exists in the consciousness of workers and working people in general about a way out of the misery of capitalism.

But the experience of the inability of Stalinism and then the complete failure of capitalism is pushing workers and youth to draw political conclusions in a socialist direction.

Austerity plans

The proposed cuts package in Romania, which probably is the most draconian proposed by any European government so far, includes a 25% cut in public sector wages, a 15% cut in pensions, a 15% cut in unemployment benefits; the curtailing of child and child rearing allowances by 15%, and cutting wages of employees in state-owned companies.

The cuts are set to start next month, which is far from certain after yesterday's protest and the proposed general strike on 31 May.

In addition, the government will reduce the number of civil servants by 80,000-150,000 by 2011, which, for example, means that 15,000 teachers will lose their jobs. The public sector is the country's largest employer, with 1.3 million employees.

Romania is the EU's poorest country; the average salary is no higher than €350 and the minimum pension as low as €80 a month. Many workers earn far less than the official average salary.

Even before the new package cuts the salaries of civil servants, bonuses have been frozen and many had been forced to take leave without pay, while the public sector 'slimmed down'.

In autumn last year, the government's austerity measures, at the instigation of the IMF and the EU, provoked a series of mass demonstrations and strikes of up to 800,000 workers in early October.

Faced with the threat of a general strike, the government collapsed. But a new coalition, with largely the same ministers as before, was formed shortly before Christmas.

It is this weak government that now wants to carry out far worse attacks than the previous government that was forced to resign in autumn 2009.

The so-called 'market' has already begun to count on the fall of the government.

"Analysts and investors [speculators] apparently fear that the government may lose its nerve and cave in to the protesters. An auction of government debt earlier this month failed to attract enough interest" (BBC, 20 May).

As time runs out, Romania's economy is being driven into the ground and the state does not even have money for current expenditure.

Trade unions and other social movements now need to continue the fight to oust the government and IMF, and campaign for the construction of a workers' alternative in the form of a genuine socialist mass party.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 26 May 2010:

Millionaire ministers butcher public services

Con-Dem cuts - 'only the beginning'

National Shop Stewards Network

National Shop Stewards Network conference: Time to organise against con/dem attacks

Support BA Cabin Crew

Socialist Party news and analysis

Royal Mail not for sale

NHS cuts: The Con-Dem sting in the tail

Fast News

Sri Lanka: One year after the war

Socialist Party national committee discusses building the fightback

Socialist Party workplace news

PCS conference: Preparing for action

Local government: Where's our pay award for 2010?

Fighting university cuts

Workplace news in brief


Young people: organise to fight the cuts

Socialist Party National Youth meeting

School student socialist

'Sussex Six' result

Students must pay, say the rich

Pamphlet: Our Education Under Attack: why a mass campaign is needed

Socialist Party feature

London 2012 Olympics: A big business spectacle

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: 2,500 hear Socialist MEP Joe Higgins declare week of action

Romania: Mass protests against EU/IMF deal

Puerto Rico: Students and workers fight austerity cuts


Education under attack: Con-Dem government prepares for battle

Unions must defend public services

Tory government says rich must pay less


Diane Abbott and the Labour Party leadership battle


Home   |   The Socialist 26 May 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleRomania: mass protests against corruption go on

triangleUnite all workers to end bosses' race to the bottom

triangleRomania: Protest movement topples the government


triangleCorbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangleTories on the brink - kick them out!

triangleWhat we saw: May on Facebook

triangleThem & us


triangleZimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

triangleIMF helps cause inequality it slams

triangleCapitalism and human progress


triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

triangleSchool staff strike against privatisation


triangleFighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

Public sector:

triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded





Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse



Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core



Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle



Trump's tax attacks



Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality



Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power



USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis



US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis



Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success



Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution



US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters



Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'



Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class



Catalonia: Rajoy's furious response to proclamation of Republic



Kurdish referendum declared illegal

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice