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Europe. A democratic deficit. Or two. November 7, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, European Politics, Irish Politics.
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As I’ve noted here on numerous occasions previously, I’m not instinctively euro-critical, let alone euro-sceptic, or at least I wasn’t the former until Lisbon II. But the events subsequently have certainly put a great big dent in my former attitude towards the European Union, and I say that as someone who has largely voted Yes in referendums which have gifted greater and greater degrees of power to the EU. Indeed I’d tend to argue that the EU remains a potentially progressive force. Problem is the ‘potentially’ in that sentence. The reality seems to be something else again.

Last week I pointed to the bizarre situation where France and Germany appear to have largely taken upon themselves responsibility for dealing with the current crisis, or is it crises? And gratifyingly Vincent Browne takes a similar line in the Sunday Business Post this weekend where he notes the truly strange sight of…

Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy summoning George Papandreou to account, and threatening Greece with expulsion from the eurozone.

Browne argues that this ‘was a chilling insight into the new reality in the European Union’.

Perhaps so. But it really points to the continuing failure of that union to… as he puts it:

…be a safe haven for smaller nations, whose interests would be protected by the EU’s institutional structures… which [outcomes] were rendered nought.

Merkel and Sarkozy had no authority to summon anybody outside their own jurisdictions to anywhere. They had no authority to threaten any member state with expulsion from the eurozone and no authority to dictate the question that might be put to the Greek people in a referendum.

And he notes that…

…none of the office holders of the EU – not Barroso, president of the EU Commission, not Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, not he PResident of the European Parliament, nor any other head of government in the EU – uttered a whisper of concern about this impertinent usurpation of power.

I think I find that most disturbing of all. The institutional EU doesn’t, to all intents and purposes exist in the context of the events of the last week. And even if one simply ascribes this to show-boating by both France and Germany, a France and Germany keen to assert, or reassert their leadership of Europe, it still provides an example of bad practice that is very difficult to believe can have anything but negative outcomes for the EU as a whole.

It explicitly pushes the discourse in the EU from one of equal and independent nations working together to one where the central states take precedence. I noted last week that the cleavage in the nature of the EU, between nation states and institutional structures led to problematic outcomes, it is neither entirely democratic nor entirely representative but caught somewhere between federalism and national representation. But this display by Merkel and Sarkozy seems to point to a dynamic where the institutional EU is at best an irrelevance, at worst a fig leaf to cover the demands of France and Germany as regards other states in the Union.

And it’s not as if, rightly, Browne gives a free pass to Papandreou, who appears to have had the political equivalent of a nervous breakdown in pulling the referendum stunt out of the hat, although to my mind exacerbating it by not having had the good sense to see that his own people would support him in such a move and see it through to its conclusion and instead been left swinging in the wind. Though one wonders if perhaps this was his way of making an exit… perhaps he reckons that the situation is now so grave that he doesn’t want PASOK to be the one left holding the baby and hence we now have a situation where, very unwillingly, the right is being brought into a government of national unity.

If I were they, the Greek right, I’d run a mile from this, because while the situation has gone from bad to worse, and one can easily see the parallels between PASOK’s lamentable stewardship of the crisis [from any political vantage point one chooses] and Fianna Fáil, if Greece defaults on the watch of a unity government that could delegitimise much of the political spectrum in that state, just as FF was, and one hopes still is. And that being the case step forward the KKE and other left forces as the only opposition.

Actually on that line of thought small wonder that the please of some of the great and good in this state in the run up to 2011 for national government went unheard by Labour and Fine Gael. Far better to leave the mess with those who made it.

But returning to Browne, he points to a basic truth which is that:

… it seems that not alone are the people of Europe to be sidelined but so are the institutions and protocols of the EU and the other governments of the EU, leaving the way forward for Germany and France to do as they wish.

It’s not that I harbour any apocalyptic visions of the future, or those based on the past. It’s simply that this is not the way this was meant to be – at least as we were told it was meant to be – and as Browne notes:

A spin will be put on all this to soften the appearance, but the reality is that Germany and France – if not Germany alone – are the powerhouses of the EU and will act, if they choose to, without the restraints on which the EU is constructed.

That should make any democrats more than queasy.

Comments»

1. EWI - November 7, 2011

The problem is that today the leaders of both Germany and France (the driving force behind the EU) are a pair of weak and petty centre-righters – Merkel and Sarkozy – with no attachment to anything outside their own domestic concerns.

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WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2011

That’s certainly a prime driver of all this. And ironically they don’t appear to be that pally with each other really.

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2. ejh - November 7, 2011

Browne is absolutely right about nobody saying anything, and he could have added that hardly anybody in the media saw anything strange about either: there was plenty of comment about how it was humiliating for Papandreou, but I saw nothing saying that it wasn’t actually legitimate on the part of Merkel and Sarkozy.

And then you have this guy being put in place today and nobody’s elected him or anything. And nobody’s talking legitimacy.

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3. sonofstan - November 7, 2011

Makes you wonder what would happen in the unlikely event of a Eurozone member state electing a leftist government, don’t it?

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EWI - November 7, 2011

Greece has form for how they deal with the possibility of an actual left-wing government.

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Starkadder - November 7, 2011

“Makes you wonder what would happen in the unlikely event of a Eurozone member state electing a leftist government, don’t it?”

Would Merkel and Sarkozy decide to “make the economy
scream” in such a case? Well, the economy’s already bawling
its lungs out.

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WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2011

Economy trumps everything. Democracy… whatever… 😦

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4. shea - November 7, 2011

that Papandreou changed his position on the referendum after being summoned can we call it grand standing?

we went from talk of peoples democracy through referendum to a new government being formed with out reference to the people in a week.

This time last year i taught there was some cylinder not firing in our own body politic but looking at Greece its not as simple as that is it.

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5. John Palmer - November 7, 2011

EWI is quite right. Papandreou was trying to use the referendum to push the Greek right wing opposition into supporting the EU bail out agreement because the polls show more than 60 per cent of Greeks even now insist on remaining in the Euro-area. The ploy has worked in that New Democracy now supports the bail out agreement as part of the emerging so-called “government of national unity.” The rest of the Euro-area – notably France and Germany – were understandably outraged not to have been given any warning about all of this at such a delicate time. Attention is now switching to Italy where the departure of Berlusconi is a sine qua non if the pressure of financial speculation against Italy is to be contained. For what it is worth I think the Euro will be safeguarded. But there is a much bigger issue at stake: how can support be mobilised for an EU wide alternative to capitalist austerity economics? This must be based on two pillars 1/ a coordinated public investment led strategy in human, energy and social infrastructure 2/ drastic measures to ensure that the rich should far more of the burden for the hyper-crisis which the banks and their politician lackeys have got us into. In the meantime the Europe left should give full backing to the German proposal that in future all Presidents of the Commission AND the European Council should be subject to direct elections by the people.

John Palmer

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shea - November 7, 2011

so we went from talk of peoples democracy through referendum to no opposition in parliament in a week ha, even better. this will end in guns.

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WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2011

Probably won’t, but I agree it sure feels that way.

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6. make do and mend - November 7, 2011

Doesn’t Ireland’s govt govern with a concrete ideology that declares that by making the conditions for corporations and capital favourable they create the conditions for a healthy society? Don’t the German and French ruling caste generally follow the same ideology? Don’t the vast majority of EU governments follow the same path?

From where I sit, I don’t see democracy strengthened simply by stating that 20+ govts (most adhering to the consensus) all having a an equal input creates the conditions for democracy.

The reason most govts and the MSM haven’t remarked on this state of affairs is because they believe it is a natural state of affairs. When the accumulation of capital or the ability to generate capital is the stated political driving force of society (it’s primary, if not sole, objective) then those with the most capital call the shots.

That’s the power of capitalism. The person with the most shares (capital) has the most votes. Elections are just a distractions; although lucrative for PR firms.

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7. LeftAtTheCross - November 7, 2011

I’va always voted ‘yes’ in the referenda to date, believing that a European super-state offered an attractive inter-nationalist alternative to the nationalisms of the past. And I still hold that hope at some level. However, much as we hear talk from time to time about the need to refound the republic here, it’s pretty clear the whole EU project as currently constructed has no democratic legitimacy and moreover very little popular support except for a suupport based on fear of disintegration. As with any example of TINA, there is in fact always an alternative. Current events will make very clear what interests are being served by the EU. We won’t forget easily. By we I mean the peoples of Europe. The EU has been exposed, the goodwill exhausted. Maybe it can be bought back of course. I won’t be voting ‘yes’ again anytime soon, but then I don’t expect to be asked anytime soon either. I share Shea’s view on the endgame, I don’t imagine this ending prettily, or not even ending, but even moving on. Where or when is the question, and by whom. I wouldn’t want to be standing in the front row of any KKE/PAME protest let’s just say.

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HAL - November 7, 2011

Or the back row judging by recent events.

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LeftAtTheCross - November 7, 2011

Indeed, though after having written that I was ashamed of my expression of cowardice.

With the day that’s in it, 7 November being the anniversary of the October Revolution, it’s inspiring to see the resolve of the KKE comrades, they are in the frontline and potentially in harms way.

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ejh - November 8, 2011

But not quite so much as other people in the movement who get in their way.

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Ghandi - November 9, 2011

“I’va always voted ‘yes’ in the referenda to date”,

and campaigned against, say one thing do the opposite, more hypocrisy.

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LeftAtTheCross - November 9, 2011

“and campaigned against, say one thing do the opposite, more hypocrisy.”

Is that directed at me Ghandi?

I wasn’t a member of any campaigns or political parties at the time of the EU referenda, so I see no hypocrisy there.

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Ghandi - November 9, 2011

So as a member of WP your opposed to it but as a member of Labour you supported it. Hardly an ideological position is it. The treaties were either right or wrong at the time because of their impact and intention not because of what political leaders were telling you.

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LeftAtTheCross - November 9, 2011

People change their minds therough education. It happens. I wasn’t born into a pre-configured and immutable ideology, unlike some.

So yes, I voted for it at the time, but I wouldn’t now.

I don’t see what the problem is.

If you’re arguing that people can’t change their political position in general then what’s the point of being politically active in particular, when the entire purpose of political activism is to win growing support for different political agenda?

Do as I do and all of that…

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Ghandi - November 9, 2011

Lisbon 2 was’nt that long ago.

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LeftAtTheCross - November 9, 2011

Well 10 out of 10 for that observation.

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ejh - November 9, 2011

I wasn’t born into a pre-configured and immutable ideology, unlike some.

Just out of curiosity, who are the “some” who were?

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LeftAtTheCross - November 9, 2011

The reference was to Ghandi’s lineage, born into republican socialism, the next generation following the preceding one into the movement. Not everyone, myself included, is born into a political tradition, some of us have to do the work for ourselves and can hence arrive at political positions in ways that are not direct. Ghandi implies that this is somehow a problem, whereas I view the process of political education as a very positive one. Clear?

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Ghandi - November 9, 2011

“The reference was to Ghandi’s lineage, born into republican socialism, the next generation following the preceding one into the movement”

This strikes me a somewhat of a bitchy comment almost as if to say that those of us who have spent our lives in Republican Socialism, a position which has evolved over the years should be cast aside in favour of those who have newly found that they were wrong.

Surely in relation to Lisbon 2 you would have argued the democratic mandate alone, or is democracy only ok when we do as we are told.

Your above post actually explains quite a lot.

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LeftAtTheCross - November 9, 2011

“those of us who have spent our lives in Republican Socialism, a position which has evolved over the years should be cast aside in favour of those who have newly found that they were wrong. “

I’m not sure how you’re reading anything like that into what I’ve said?

“Surely in relation to Lisbon 2 you would have argued the democratic mandate alone, or is democracy only ok when we do as we are told.”

Again, I don’t understand how that question relates to anything I’ve posted here.

“Your above post actually explains quite a lot.”

It does? Maybe you’re reading things between lines that aren’t intended.

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8. popeepopt - November 7, 2011

Like WBS I’m not as instinctively anti-EU (or at least I wasn’t) as many in these parts. However the response to the prospect of a Greek election and/or referendum was a Rubicon crossed in the political character of the EU.

Certainly, previously parts of the EU were compelled to repeat referendums until they came up with right answer; but never before has the EU/EC, in co-ordination with the IMF, actively prevented a referendum and election taking place in a member state. The contempt with which the Greek population has been treated is palpable.

The current move is to install an unelected technocrat, who will establish a like minded hive of technocrats and run Greece as a protectorate with elections postponed for who knows how long.

It seems that either conciously, or simply through nationalist short-termism, the current government of the major powers are moving towards the kind of authoritarian capitalism we see in China, with not even a gesture towards the sovereignty of represtentative democracy seen to be required.

As for John Palmer’s ‘drastic measures’; a general debt jubilee is the key demand for those who wish to save what remains of European civil society from the wrecking ball of finance capital. The honouring of unpayable debt is where capitalism is weakest, and the consequences in terms of suffering for the 99% is ever more apparent. Nothing short of an unraveling of the debt mountain, and the failure of the finance capital nexus of ‘too big to fail’ corporations, who survival is predicated on their ability to make debt slaves out of the rest of us, will move us on from this crisis.

It’s now clear that the current leadership of the EU will go to lengths previously unthinkable to prevent this.

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9. sonofstan - November 7, 2011

the current government of the major powers are moving towards the kind of authoritarian capitalism we see in China, with not even a gesture towards the sovereignty of represtentative democracy seen to be required.

Yeah, the Zizek quote WbS alluded to last week about the pact between capitalism and democracy coming unstuck is getting truer by the day….

@LATC

believing that a European super-state offered an attractive inter-nationalist alternative to the nationalisms of the past.

Super-national doesn’t necessarily mean inter-national though: otherwise the British Empire would have been the best thing ever (although Niall Ferguson appears to believe in both that and the virtues of the coming ‘Chimerica’ )

The evils of nationalism are clear enough, and internationalism seems the obvious remedy, but I’m not so sure anymore: 200 year ago, Kant (sorry) warned of ‘a soulless despotism’ as he reeled back from the notion of a world government – he held that the state was not just an accidental co-location of persons, but was, in itself, a ‘moral person’ – which sounds scary and ‘soul of the nation’ type talk, but all he meant was that states were entities capable of being held to account: the institutional mass was coherent and could be considered as having an identity – not, to be sure, the same kind of identity as an individual, but it was, in some ways, enough of a unity as to be intelligibly the same object/ subject through time.

The problem with super-states is that they lose both inner coherence, and outward accountability: because they have no, or few, peers. Just as a singular individual has no need of morality, a small number of super states constitutes, not a community of nations, but an old fashioned-and dangerous – balance of power.

Along with that, the state remains the only possible bulwark against global capital: not that very many states are doing a very good job, but still, what we have left in terms of social goods is underwritten by the state, not by capital, and, while the middle-classes can do without, for the poor,the state -and politics – are the only possible lines of defence. Which is why our ruling classes are so eager to reduce politics to management – and to abolish borders within Europe as ‘old-fashioned’ (except, of course, the border around fortress Europe: not, necessarily to stem the flow of immigrant labour in, but to preserve the insecurity and precariousness experienced by such labour, once they make it)

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LeftAtTheCross - November 9, 2011

SoS, thanks for posting that. I’m not sure I buy those arguments though.

On the British Empire, I certainly wasn’t suggesting that imperial projects based in nationalist rivalries and capitalist colonial expansion were models to be followed.

On Kant, I’m sure he gave this more consideration than I have but I’m not convinced that personal qualities such as identity or morality can be transplanted onto complex institutions of government. It seems a simplification, much the same as the present austerity simplification of comparing state budgets with household budgets. It may have been a relevant analogy in Kant’s day but in the intervening period would the proliferation of republicanism as the default form of politics lead to a rethink, due to the relative diversity of politics now compared to then?

On the issue of accountability, sure, but I’m not arguing against the democratic state as a model, only that basis the boundaries of a state on a notional concept as national identity is perhaps not the only or the best basis. The concept of “national sovereignty” associated with that has lead to considerable inter-state conflict on nationalistic lines, stirred and exploited by interests which are class-based behind the veneer of nationalism. Nationalism a sham which divides the international working class along linguistic / religious / sporting / cultural lines, and it’s a sham that is embedded in and reinforced by the current global model of statehood.

On the state as a bulwark against global capitalism, surely the current criris of democracy is giving lie to that notion. The issue isn’t one of the existence is states, at whatever level of scale or regional granularity, but the class interests holding the levels of power within those states.

Not a well rounded rebuttal of your arguments I know.

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sonofstan - November 9, 2011

It may have been a relevant analogy in Kant’s day but in the intervening period would the proliferation of republicanism as the default form of politics lead to a rethink, due to the relative diversity of politics now compared to then?

The bit I referred to is actually part of a longer argument by Kant, precisely arguing for republicanism as the default form of government. Not quite sure what you mean by the ‘relative diversity’ now compared to then? I mean, Germany in the late 18th century had a bewildering array of political forms: absolute monarchies, protectorates, principalities, margravates (whatever they were)…….anyway, compared to now, where roughly comparable democratic (or ‘democratic’) institutions are in place from Dublin to Moscow, it was more diverse: Britain – for example – was not governed in any way like France: they were as different then as the USSR was compared to the US.

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LeftAtTheCross - November 9, 2011

SoS, perhaps diverse wasn’t the right word to use there. Anyway what I meant by was that in Kant’s day republicanism (in its modern form) was in its infancy, parliamentary democracy wasn’t widespread, and where it did exist suffrage was limited, and the class interests being represented by state power were absolutely those of feudalism and capitalism. Moan as we might about where politics is now, from our early 21C perspective that world is a long way from the social democracies of western Europe at their highpoint or even now during their decline. Also a long way from the peoples democracies and “actually existing socialism”. I take your point that the forms of government of the states at that time was diverse, but in terms of the class interests being served it was more narrow. What would Kant have thought of social partnership I wonder, just as one example, and the diversification and richness (in a relative sense) that processes such as that infuse into the body of politics?

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10. WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2011

Popeepopt, LATC, do you think there’s a generational aspect to this. I don’t know what age you are Popeepopt but me and LATC are in and around and I wonder if that influenced our sense of the EU, or the EEC, EC as was.

Like you Pope the events of the last week and those that occurred across the last three years have been revelatory to me. In fairness it’s probably true to say that the EU never faced such issues, but to see the institutions simply abandoned in the manner they have been in the last 72 hours is simply amazing and almost not at all reflected upon in the media.

It’s really the antithesis of how this is supposed to operate, at least on a nominal level. To see individual nation states wrench the controls as it were from everyone else makes me very very dubious about the future of the EU, stability or not.

I’m always fascinated by the US sonofstan in relation to superstates because clearly it is one and somehow has managed to broadly speaking pull the trick of retaining a ‘national’ cohesiveness despite its size. Language? Shared generated culture? Any thoughts?

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sonofstan - November 8, 2011

Very ‘broadly speaking’ – it fragmented once, and the price of keeping the union together was a further 100 years of racist terror. And the ‘national’ cohesiveness has never included the indigenous nations.

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popeepopt - November 9, 2011

I’m of the same generation as you gentlemen.

For me as I became and adult, ‘Europe’ represented a cosmopolitan culture that was sufficiently aware of it’s history not to repeat the mistakes of the 1918-1938. I confess I was foolish enough to believe (indeed wanted to believe the rhetorical claims) that the EU could institutionalise this desire.

I persisted, despite evidence to the contrary, in assuming that the increasing dominance of lobbyists and nationalist politicians was redeemable, and would even eventually revolt against the systematic predation by finance capital.

This crisis has been dis-illusioning, in both senses of the word.

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WorldbyStorm - November 9, 2011

I thought you might be.

And entirely agree, what you suggest is pretty much the same dynamic as I followed and for much the same reasons.

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11. irishelectionliterature - November 7, 2011

Regarding the various European Referendums here over the years the main concerns have been Neutrality, Abortion, Corporation Tax, Workers Rights, Money for Infrastructure projects and of course grants for farmers.
Despite a good deal of opposition to the various treaties, looking through old leaflets and the like, Nobody seems to have foreseen the situation we are in today. That is where the actual bodies (Commission, European Parliament etc) of the European Union are being bypassed by Merkel and Sarkozy

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HAL - November 8, 2011

WP statement c 2005
The fight against the EU Constitution is, accordingly, a struggle in defence of democracy.

* The key demand is Democracy in all areas of life in the EU.

* Accountability and Transparency must be a cornerstone of all decisions.

* The right of voters to recall their members of parliament if they are dissatisfied with the work and voting record of the member. This process can only be set in place when twenty per cent of the registered voters in the member’s constituency sign a petition for the members recall.

* Oppose Privatisation and defend all Public Sector enterprises.

* End the exploitation of migrant workers by enacting legislation which will make employers accountable so that all their workers are protected and given full rights as citizens of each EU country.

The Workers’ Party stands with our fellow European socialists in all European progressive organisations who are committed to a different Europe based on genuine internationalism, peace, equality, solidarity, dignity, social progress and workers’ rights, a respect for and defence of the environment and the value of all living things over private profit and corporate greed.

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EWI - November 8, 2011

Give them time. The bill being extorted out of us for ultimately bailing out *their* banks will grow.

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12. Humans versus technology (and governments): Occupy EU « digitalcollaboration - November 8, 2011

[…] Europe. A democratic deficit. Or two. (cedarlounge.wordpress.com) […]

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13. Regime change… EU style? Not at all, it’s the market, while the EU stands by and looks on. « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - November 8, 2011

[…] could ask reasonably enough who is? But there’s just something about the processes in play this week and last which are profoundly disturbing where market forces are the battering ram, and more, being used to remove first Papendreou and now […]

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14. make do and mend - November 8, 2011

There was a type of an EU long ago. In fact, it was bigger and more culturally diverse than the present EU in many ways; taking into its bosom radically diverse peoples through force and/or economic aculturation.

It was called the Roman Empire. What makes anyone think that a highly centralised governing regime which uses economic aculturation in the 20/21 centuries will be different from one at the turn of the first millenium?

Human nature and the dilemmas of complexity are exactly in the same state today as they were 2000 years ago.

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15. John Palmer - November 8, 2011

makedoand mend raises a most important but complex problem. What good is it, he suggests, if instead of one ‘national’ government pursuing a reactionary economic and social policy you get 27 governments acting collectively pursuing the same policies? My response is we need very different policies pursued collectively. Indeed unless progressive policies become the policy of the EU as a whole they stand no chance of success. Greece is an obvious case in point. The alternative to the Brussels bail out agreement suggested by some on the left and the far right in Greece was devaluation. But that would have compounded the collapse in the living standards of the Greek people – especially at a time of global near recession: devaluation led export led recovery is a chimera.
Popeepopt rightly supports large scale debt forgiveness or default. But – alas – that also bring massive problems in its wake. Workers’ pension funds could be drastically undermined. Moreover (as we saw with Lehman Brothers) the collapse of banks would only compound the risk of recession turning into depression (as followed the collapse of the Austrian Kredit Anstalt Bank in 1931. So there has to be SOME bail out of the banks. The question is on what terms, subject to what conditions?
We could be facing a near decade of depressed living standards and high unemployment. The only comparison I can think of is a war time situation. But in a war the rich are expected to be hit hard (rationing, expropriation of empty housing etc). If – as governments claim – we are all in this together, surely the time has come for the rick to make and be seen to make their contribution.
Finally WorldByStorm is angered at the suggestion that the EU institutions have been bypassed by Merkel and Sarkozy. Actually I do not believe this was the case. They supported Sarkozy as chairman of the G20 is demanding an explanation from Papandreou about what he was up to. But the best way of ensuring that it does not happen in future is to support the German proposal (supported by many social democrats and greens) that in future the Presidents of the Commission and the European Council should be directly elected.

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popeepopt - November 9, 2011

John –

You are right to point out that a debt Jubilee will mean the disappearance of private pension funds. We should fess up on that one, and admit that decent pension provision must come from current work and income.

But then this gun held to the heads of the middle classes is a plastic toy. I never really expect to see anything from my (forced) puny pension ‘investments’. The fund managers and speculators will have sucked them dry by the time of maturity. The purpose of these funds is to provide income for various species of parasite. Another case of nothing to loose.

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16. CL - November 8, 2011

“The real domestic threat to Greece’s stability: the network of oligarch families who control large parts of the Greek business, the financial sector, the media and, indeed, politicians.”-MIsha Glenny
http://www.google.com/search?aq=f&hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&btnmeta_news_search=1&q=misha+glenny
The dilution of Greek democracy by this oligarchical control would happen in or out of the EU.

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FergusD - November 8, 2011

Exactly! I think we should be careful about extoling the virtues of “National sovereignty”, it is bogus. A reponse to these events has to be internationalist in it’s outlook (which is whay I wondered about the KKE’s “Programme for national democracy” – what does that mean?). Who comprises the nation?

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17. Jim Monaghan - November 8, 2011

Interesting program last night
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/go-greek-for-a-week/episode-guide/series-1/episode-1
As usual the rich benefit more. A bit like here where teh senior Civil Servants got much more in the boom but the lower ones pay for teh recession

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18. Paul Wilson - November 8, 2011

The Argentine default led in part to the rejection of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas by most of Latin America. This agreement would have consolidated Imperialist control of Latin America. The formation of the Socialist ALBA bloc and it’s withdrawal from the IMF was partly inspired by these events. The prospect of something similar happening in Europe is unthinkable to the bastards who run the EU,France, Germany Etc. This partly explains the scorched earth policy imposed on Greece. merkels predecessors knew all about that kind of thing.

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19. C. Flower - November 8, 2011

The mask has been dropped and the legal structures of Europe have been sidelined. At the same time national sovereignty is on the way out in favour of direct rule by banking interests in Italy and Greece- “technical governments”, unelected. We’ve also been discussing the historic sidelining of the EU institutions here – the Group of Frankfurt has provided an organised form through which Merkozy can act on behalf of finance capital, and their own national interests.

http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?t=10007

This is why the scrapping in Syntagma was such a disaster, at the time of the General Strike. The Parliament needed to be defended from the people inside it, not the ones outside.

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20. CL - November 8, 2011

“The people of the United States are rightly proud of the their democracy but it has always been endangered by capital’s corruptive power. Now that it is dominated by that power the time is surely nigh, as Jefferson long ago suggested would be necessary, to make another American revolution: one based on social justice, equality, and a caring and thoughtful approach to the relation to nature.”
From an interesting piece by David Harvey on the growing worldwide opposition to the undemocratic rule of capital.
http://davidharvey.org/2011/10/rebels-on-the-street-the-party-of-wall-street-meets-its-nemesis/

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