The Socialist

The Socialist 31 July 2019

Force a general election

The Socialist issue 1051

Boris, Brexit and British capitalism

CWI refounded with determination and confidence


"The longest, darkest days of my life": fighting Universal Credit


Build a working-class movement to force an election

Labour promises to end council privatisation: councils must do that now!

Tories look in wrong place for climate solutions

Lib Dems: little bosses' party elects eager pro-austerity leader

Aristocrats are rich after all... and getting richer


Mass movement topples governor of Puerto Rico

Hong Kong: the struggle for democratic rights escalates


Lobby the TUC for workers' action to defeat Johnson

Northern Ireland: Harland and Wolff shipyard workers enter occupation

"Enough is enough": 20,000 Northern Ireland civil servants strike against pay restraint

Plymouth posties deliver defiant message to bullying bosses

"BEIS: stop pISSing about and give outsourcing the boot!"

Hackney transport strike - blockade foils employers

Sainsbury's distribution workers' second 24-hour strike against cuts to sick pay

Nottingham Deliveroo riders strike against unfair algorithm

Bromley library workers strike against running down


Enfield: 100% council homes at Meridian Water!

Walthamstow shopping centre fire: people's plan - not disaster capitalism

Tolpuddle festival 2019: socialist policies to end Tory rule and austerity

Barking: campaigning over housing safety

July climate strikes: link up with the workers' movement

Ilford: parents and teachers unite against school cuts

Boris Johnson 'coronation' - demos say: boot him out!

The Socialist Party has moved!


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Mass movement topples governor of Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans take to the streets to oust governor Ricardo Roselló, photo by Old School WWC Fan/CC

Puerto Ricans take to the streets to oust governor Ricardo Roselló, photo by Old School WWC Fan/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Christine Thomas

Two weeks of almost continuous mass protests have forced the resignation of the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló.

Monday 22 July culminated in a general strike and the largest protests in the history of this US territory, 500,000 people on the streets out of a population of 3.2 million.

The trigger for this popular explosion was the leak of nearly 900 pages of homophobic, sexist and insulting text messages between the governor and eleven members of his immediate clique.

But these messages acted as a lightning rod for years of rising anger at corruption, austerity and economic crisis.

Before the Centre for Investigative Journalism revealed the texts, six top officials had been arrested for looting $15.5 million of federal funds allocated as relief for the devastating destruction wreacked by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Harvard University estimates that up to 5,000 lost their lives in the disaster (Rosselló originally claimed that less than 100 were killed, and Trump 16!).

'Perpetual purgatory'

The New York Times described life for Puerto Ricans as a "perpetual state of purgatory". After 12 years of continuous recession, with Hurricane Maria reducing economic output by 6% in 2018, almost half the population live in poverty, twice the national average.

Between 2016 and 2018 200,000 people left the territory, most searching for jobs on the US mainland.

When the territory went bankrupt in 2016 (having already looted the pension funds of workers) an unelected Financial Oversight and Management Board, commonly referred to as 'la Junta', was appointed by the federal government.

As part of a debt restructuring plan, the board imposed brutal austerity measures, resulting in mass job losses for government workers, school closures and privatisation, and the selling off of telecoms and energy to the private sector.

One of the most frequent chants on the protests was "Ricky resign and take the Junta with you".

Rosselló is due to be replaced by Justice secretary, Wanda Vázquez, but as one protester said, "it's like taking out a cockroach and replacing it with another". Fresh protests have broken out demanding her resignation too.

Although debt repayments have been suspended during the restructuring process this is only a temporary measure and vulture bondholders will be demanding their money back once again.

The Financial Times now expects a "more bondholder friendly" debt restructuring, ie more money for the rich at the expense of current and future pensioners and the working class and poor in general.

Socialists support the right of Puerto Ricans to decide the future of their own territory and its relationship with the USA.

On the basis of capitalism, however, that can only mean a future of endless misery and desperation for the mass of the population.

Puerto Ricans have dramatically shown that mass action can get results. Now it is necessary for independent organisations of the workers and poor to be built and strengthened around a programme which fights for an end to austerity, abolition of the Junta, non-payment of the debt, and public control of the banking and finance sector and major industries, democratically controlled and managed by the working class.

If the hell on earth of the Puerto Rican masses is to be finally ended, these demands must be accompanied by an appeal for solidarity from workers and youth in the US, and the struggle for a socialist Puerto Rico and a socialist USA.


In this issue


What we think

Boris, Brexit and British capitalism

CWI refounded with determination and confidence


Special feature

"The longest, darkest days of my life": fighting Universal Credit


Socialist Party news and analysis

Build a working-class movement to force an election

Labour promises to end council privatisation: councils must do that now!

Tories look in wrong place for climate solutions

Lib Dems: little bosses' party elects eager pro-austerity leader

Aristocrats are rich after all... and getting richer


International socialist news and analysis

Mass movement topples governor of Puerto Rico

Hong Kong: the struggle for democratic rights escalates


Workplace news and analysis

Lobby the TUC for workers' action to defeat Johnson

Northern Ireland: Harland and Wolff shipyard workers enter occupation

"Enough is enough": 20,000 Northern Ireland civil servants strike against pay restraint

Plymouth posties deliver defiant message to bullying bosses

"BEIS: stop pISSing about and give outsourcing the boot!"

Hackney transport strike - blockade foils employers

Sainsbury's distribution workers' second 24-hour strike against cuts to sick pay

Nottingham Deliveroo riders strike against unfair algorithm

Bromley library workers strike against running down


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Enfield: 100% council homes at Meridian Water!

Walthamstow shopping centre fire: people's plan - not disaster capitalism

Tolpuddle festival 2019: socialist policies to end Tory rule and austerity

Barking: campaigning over housing safety

July climate strikes: link up with the workers' movement

Ilford: parents and teachers unite against school cuts

Boris Johnson 'coronation' - demos say: boot him out!

The Socialist Party has moved!


Opinion

The Socialist inbox

Huge workload, low pay and unpaid hours - a day in the life of a teaching assistant


 

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