[As the capitalist crisis — the so-called “Great Recession” — continues to shake up lives and property relations, real estate corporations are reorganizing housing markets to take advantage of mass desperation and this now also affects the funeral and cemetary markets. For a diabolical view of how capitalist cost-benefit analysis anticipates death rates–soaring from suicides, but traffic deaths declining because people cannot afford car repairs or gas–and how science ends up with a body glut–see this article. — Frontlines ed.]
Economic Crisis Leaves Hard-Hit Spaniards Scrimping on Funerals
By Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, November 22, 2012
Fausto Ruiz wants to sell his family plots at the Montjuïc cemetery, where mausoleums, niches and graves can cost €100,000 or more.
BARCELONA — María Cristina Riveros can barely afford to live, let alone die. So when the end comes, she insists, there will be no spray of red roses or marble tombstone to mark her grave. Instead she is donating her body to science, to avoid being a financial burden on her family.
“I’m not upset about death — I’m upset about life,” said Mrs. Riveros, 53, an unemployed geriatric nurse and single mother, as she waited in line on a recent day for food at a church here. Her 16-year-old daughter, who suffers from a rare immune deficiency, needs €9,000, or about $11,500, for an operation, she said. Monthly insurance payments for her own funeral were out of the question.
Europe’s grinding economic crisis has left hard-hit Spaniards scrimping on death. They are defaulting on cemetery plots — and thousands face being evicted from them. They are opting for inexpensive funerals, or financing them in monthly installments. Pricey extras like grief therapy, organists to play “Ave Maria” or elaborate floral arrangements are being pruned.
But while austerity tears at the funeral industry — and some say the social fabric of the country — it has been a boon for science. Donating a body has become such a popular alternative to the cost of a funeral that some medical schools complain they do not have enough refrigerators to store all of them. Continue reading →
Main Greek union calls general strike on November 6-7
ATHENS – Agence France Presse
Greece’s main union to called a 48-hour general strike for November 6-7 in protest at a new wave of austerity measures unveiled by the government in order to unlock EU-IMF bailout loans, AFP reported.
“The central aim and demand of the unions is the rejection (by parliament) of unacceptable, destructive and coercive measures imposed by the troika,” the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) said in a statement, referring to the EU, IMFand European Central Bank.
(Reuters) – Protesters clashed with police in Spain’s capital on Tuesday as the government prepared a new round of unpopular austerity measures for the 2013 budget to be announced on Thursday.
Thousands gathered in Neptune plaza, a few meters from El Prado museum in central Madrid, where they formed a human chain around parliament, surrounded by barricades, police trucks and more than 1,500 police in riot gear.
Police fired rubber bullets and beat protesters with truncheons, first as protesters were trying to tear down barriers and later to clear the square. The police said at least 22 people had been arrested and at least 32 injured, including four policemen.
As lawmakers started to leave the parliament shortly after 2100 GMT in official cars or by foot, a few hundred people were still demonstrating in front of the building. Most dispersed shortly afterwards.
The protest, promoted over the Internet by different activist groups, was younger and more rowdy than recent marches called by labor unions. Protesters said they were fed up with cuts to public salaries and health and education.
“My annual salary has dropped by 8,000 euros and if it falls much further I won’t be able to make ends meet,” said Luis Rodriguez, 36, a firefighter who joined the protest. He said he was considering leaving Spain to find a better quality of life. Continue reading →
MADRID — Spanish police have arrested seven left-wing union activists for their alleged role in a “Robin Hood”-style looting of a supermarket made to highlight the plight of people suffering through the country’s recession.A handful of activists from the southern Andalusian Workers’ Union made off with nine trolleys full of food from the supermarket in the southern town of Ecija and left without paying on Tuesday. They later gave the food to poor, unemployed people.
The mayor of the nearby town of Marinaleda, Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, has admitted taking part in the heist, the latest in a string of controversial initiatives he has undertaken since taking office in 1979.
Sanchez Gordillo has boasted that his town has full employment thanks to the farm cooperatives his office has established for the jobless.
Police said one person was arrested during an eviction Friday of union members who were squatting on Defense Ministry land near Ecija that is lying fallow to demand it be given to hard-pressed farmers.
Four others were arrested elsewhere Friday, and two Thursday, although all but two have been released on bail pending legal action.
July 09, 2012 via Associated Press Spanish miners in the northwestern provinces of Asturias and Leon, armed with homemade rockets and slingshots, have been battling police in protest against government cuts, including a slashing of subsidies in their industry.
Striking Spanish Miners Fire Homemade Rockets at Police
June 15, 2012 via Telegraph.co.uk Striking Spanish coal workers continued to block roads and clashed with police inside a mine in the northern region of Asturias on Friday.
At least 100,000 Spaniards angered by grim economic prospects and the political handling of the international financial crisis have turned out for street demonstrations in the country’s cities, marking the one-year anniversary of a movement that inspired similar pressure groups in other countries.
Tens of thousands of protesters in Madrid flooded into the central Puerta del Sol plaza in the evening and aimed to stay for three days. But authorities warned they wouldn’t allow anyone to camp out overnight, and up to 2000 riot police were expected to be on duty.
“I’m here to defend the rights that we’re losing and for the young people who have it so tough,” 57-year-old middle school teacher Roberto Alonso said. “They’re better educated than ever. But they don’t have work. They don’t have anything. They’re behind and they’ll stay that way.”
At least 20,000 people demonstrated in Barcelona. Marches were also held in Bilbao, Malaga and Seville. Sympathisers held protests in other European cities. Continue reading →