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AltAusterity Digest #92 March 28-April 3, 2019

This week in Austerity News:

Apr 05, 2019

Democratic socialists will control at least one-tenth of the Chicago City Council, winning five seats with a potential for a 6th to be won in a very tight election. The socialist electoral campaigns have been supported by progressive organizations such as the United Working Families (UWF), the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (CDSA) and an alliance of labour unions led primarily by the Chicago Teachers Union. Socialists were able to force several issues onto the political agenda during the elections including democratizing school board elections, police accountability, rent control, fighting a proposed $95 million police training academy, and taxpayer subsidies to rich real estate developers.

Ontario students staged a provincial walkout this week in protest to the Ford Conservatives proposed changes to the public education system. At Queen’s Park, Ford was quick to criticize the walkouts saying that students were being used by “union bosses telling the teachers and students what to do,” referring to the students as “pawns.” Amongst the proposed education reforms are measures to increase average class sizes, strip “non-core” funding from schools and introduce e-learning modules which have the potential to be privatized. Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson defended larger class sizes by claiming it would make students more resilient for the workforce.

Argentine unions and activists hit the streets again on Thursday to protest austerity measures being rolled-out under President Mauricio Macri. The march comes amid escalating street protests denouncing Macri and his policies as the center-right leader has had to meet obligations from the International Monetary Fund due to the $56.3 billion bailout agreement taken last year. The reforms have aimed to balance the budget through capping public sector pay, cutting health and education programs, and removing utility subsidies. Roughly one-third of the country is living below the poverty line and homelessness is on the rise.

France’s yellow vest protests entered their 20th straight week on Saturday as anti-government demonstrations took place despite French authorities working to suppress the movement. Last month the French government deployed the military to stop protesters marching on certain areas. Clashes with police resulted in nearly 200 arrests as police used tear gas and water cannons on crowds. The 33,000 demonstrators nationwide are down from the nearly 300,000 protesters that took to the streets in November. While the movement has not yet developed into any institutionalized form, they have criticized President Macron’s pro-business economic policies, demanded increased wages, and called for heavier taxation on the wealthy.

That's it for this week's Digest! Check back next Friday morning for another edition, or subscribe to our newsletter for a weekly roundup. We'll also Tweet each time we add new content, so you can keep up with our work @AltAusterity and join the #altausterity conversation.