Redundancy plans have caused violent protests in private sector companies, left-wing students have blocked universities and unions are planning a demonstration on Labour Day. “There is a risk of revolution,” Dominique de Villepin, the former prime minister, said. _TimesOnlineIn France, striking labour unions are forming gangs to terrorize French citizens into submission. Cutting off power and gas to neighborhoods already at risk from ethnic and religious violence, French labour unions are hoping to push France over the edge into outright insurrection. Union leaders hope that such violence will convince the government that the unions are too big to discipline.
At an electricity substation on a bleak industrial estate north of Paris a masked union militant is preparing to deprive a neighbourhood of power.In Germany, the threat of revolution is more subdued. Potential gangs are waiting for the other shoe to drop -- waiting to see what happens when the second stage of bad loans hits the financial sector of Germany and Europe.
His colleague is outside, dragging nervously on a roll-up cigarette while keeping a lookout for police or security guards. “Get a move on,” he says. “And then let’s get out of here.”
A switch is pulled down, the door of the sabotaged transformer is locked and the two activists — employees of EDF, the French state electricity supplier — drive off.
....It was the second time in a week that blackouts had hit the Paris region as striking gas and electricity workers adopted radical tactics to support their call for a 10 per cent pay rise and an end to outsourcing of jobs.
They are denounced as industrial saboteurs by the Government and face disciplinary action and prosecution, but say they are determined to press ahead with what they portray as a struggle against free-market forces.... _TimesOnline
A clutch of political and labour leaders in Germany have raised the spectre of civil unrest after the country's leading institutes forecast a 6pc contraction of gross domestic product this year, a slump reminiscent of 1931 and bad enough to drive unemployment to 4.7m by 2010.Of course, in third world countries -- even relatively prosperous ones such as Jamaica -- there is no pretense of order. When the government declares a tax hike, they call out the army in advance to suppress violence by any means necessary. I think I'll cancel that weekend in Jamaica I had planned for next month.
...Michael Sommer, leader of the DGB trade union federation, called the latest wave of sackings a "declaration of war" against Germany's workers. "Social unrest can no longer be ruled out," he said.
Gesine Swann, presidential candidate for the Social Democrats, said "the mood could turn explosive" over the next three months unless the government takes drastic action.
While authorities have belatedly agreed to create a "bad bank" to absorb toxic loans and stabilise the credit system, further financial troubles are almost certainly in the pipeline.
Swiss risk advisers Independent Credit View said a "second wave" of debt stress is likely to hit the UK and Europe this year as the turmoil moves from mortgage securities to old-fashioned bank loans. A detailed "stress test" of 17 lenders worldwide found that European banks have much lower reserve cushions than US banks, leaving them acutely vulnerable to the coming phase of rising defaults. _Telegraph
Meanwhile, in nearby Mexico, swine flue threatens to upset the ongoing status quo of corruption and drug cartel warfare. Riding a wave of human immigrants to el norte, the flu is starting to spread to the US, along with the drug cartel violence.
Hope and change in the world of the Obama / Pelosi reich. It may come down to a question of the last man standing.