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Headlines this week have been saturated with protests against unaffordable food, unfair taxes and unsustainable austerity measures, with one distinct difference setting these stories apart from countless others in recent history.

The people demanding reform are no longer marginalised Asians, Africans and Latin Americans, but poor, working class Europeans.

As citizens of Western Europe – particularly in Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, or PIGS – flood the streets of their once-stable countries demanding an end to cuts in public education, health care, youth programmes and housing subsidies, the big question at the annual fall convergence of the Bretton Woods Institutions...

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