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30 June, 2016

Brexit: US fears unraveling of neoliberal world order

The United States fears Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) is one more symptom of the neo-liberalism's terminal decline, says Professor Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.

Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Wednesday while commenting on recent statements of US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

On Tuesday, Obama dismissed the global reaction to Brexit as hysteria. “I would not overstate it. There has been a little bit of hysteria, post-Brexit vote. As if somehow NATO is gone and the transatlantic alliance is dissolving and every country is rushing off to its own corner. That's not what's happening.

Hours later, Kerry has said that Brexit might never happen, calling the process of leaving the EU complicated. "This is a very complicated divorce," Kerry said on Tuesday, one day after he met with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

US President Obama, as one would expect, is downplaying the significance of Brexit, while his Secretary of State, John Kerry, has stated that Brexit might never happen, calling the process of leaving the European Union ‘complicated,'" Professor Etler said.

"In attempting to downplay its significance both have inadvertently highlighted the fact that Brexit is a watershed event in the geo-political contention that has come to characterize the current global situation,” he stated.

In fact Obama expressed its true significance when he said, ‘As if somehow NATO is gone and the transatlantic alliance is dissolving and every country is rushing off to its own corner. That's not what's happening,’” he added.

While it is premature to characterize European affairs in such stark terms his statement clearly articulates the fears Washington has as it looks out at the fraying ‘Western’ alliance. The neo-liberal Washington Consensus is being challenged on all fronts,” the analyst noted.

In the US insurgent presidential candidates on both the Left (Sanders) and the Right (Trump) have waged vigorous campaigns that have resonated with a large number of disaffected voters. When combined the strength of the anti-establishment vote constitutes a majority of the electorate.

Popular reaction against neo-liberalism

It is not only the US which is seeing an upsurge in popular reaction against the neo-liberal status quo, popular support for Brexit, and similar sentiments in other European nations, attests to burgeoning discontent with the stagnant economies, and austerity measures that have overwhelmed and impoverished many sectors of the continent. Coupled with the refugee crisis triggered by US/NATO intervention in the Middle East and North Africa, the ‘European Dream’ represented by the EU has become a nightmare,” Professor Etler said.

While NATO has not yet ‘gone’ and the transatlantic alliance has not yet ‘dissolved’ both are under more stress than at any time in the past,” he stated.

The Washington consensus is also being challenged in other regions of the world. In the Middle East the US and its Zionist/Wahhabist allies are confronted with an anti-imperialist front backed by the military might of a resurgent Russia which will no longer kowtow to Washington, while in the Asian-Pacific region US hegemony is being challenged by a rising China which refuses to be intimidated by attempts to rein it in,” he said.

US losing hegemonic control over world

The emergence of a Sino-Russian entente and the consolidation of an Eurasian geo-political center of gravity is sending ripples across the globe, spurred on by China's growing network of trade routes and financial heft. The US is desperately trying to stem the tide, but to no avail. Its trade initiatives in both the Pacific Rim (TPP) and the transatlantic (TTIP) are now in limbo,” Professor Etler said.

Its attempt to isolate and cordon off Russia is failing, while its plans to turn the tables against populist regimes in Latin America are meeting with renewed resistance. Brexit is thus the latest blow to the floundering neo-liberal Washington consensus. The unraveling of the post-WW2/post Cold War status quo is inevitable,” he pointed out.

What is emerging is a world based not on the ‘limited sovereignty’ of US hegemonic control, but a world in which free, sovereign nations work together to build a better world based on the principles of peaceful co-existence, namely mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and equality and cooperation for mutual benefit and sustainable development,” the academic concluded.


Clinton is the most war mongering of all US candidates

Many prominent Republican Party war hawks are publicly endorsing Hillary Clinton because she is the most war mongering of all the US presidential candidates, an American political analyst and activist says.

Myles Hoenig, a Green Party candidate for Congress, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday, following the release of the Quinnipiac University poll which shows Clinton has a slender national lead over Trump in the race for the White House.

Although polls can show trends, often they are more of a snapshot at the moment in how people feel. It’s not surprising that Clinton leads Trump at this point but that it’s by only 2 points is interesting. Trump has had a lousy week and Clinton, on the other hand, has not had a lot of Sanders’ attacks to diminish her in the eyes of the general public,” Hoenig said.

Recent reports are out that Trump never expected to win and that he was hoping for coming in second as a protest candidate. Many dignitaries in the Republican Party are deserting him and notable Republican war hawks are publicly endorsing Clinton. That’s not surprising as she is the most war mongering of all the candidates out there during this election cycle,” he added.

Trump has also been showing how inept he is when it comes to understanding world politics and is being openly ridiculed for it. Just look at his praise of Scotland voting to leave the European Union, when in fact, they strongly supported remaining. The colorful tweets attacking him have done nothing to lend any credibility to him,” the activist stated.


'Αν δεν αλλάξουν οι σημερινές πολιτικές, σύντομα θα κλαίμε στην κηδεία της Ευρωπαϊκης Ενωσης'

Την ανάγκη η Ευρώπη να εγκαταλείψει τις διαρκείς πολιτικές λιτότητας και να γίνει πιο θελκτική, υπογράμμισε ο υπουργός Περιβάλλοντος και Ενέργειας, Πάνος Σκουρλέτης μιλώντας στην «Πρωινή Ζώνη» της ΕΡΤ1.

«Το Βrexit δεν ήταν κεραυνός εν αιθρία. Αν δεν αλλάξουν οι σημερινές πολιτικές, σύντομα θα κλαίμε στην κηδεία της Ευρωπαϊκης Ενωσης» είπε ο υπουργός Περιβάλλοντος.

Ο κ. Σκουρλέτης επιτέθηκε στον Κυριάκο Μητσοτάκη, λέγοντας ότι δεν μπορεί να μιλά για ηθικό πλεονέκτημα και χαρακτήρισε προπέτασμα καπνού τα όσα αναφερονται για τη συμμετοχή κυπριακής εταιρείας στην εφημερίδα «Αυγή».

29 June, 2016

News 2906162043

At least 41 killed in explosions at Istanbul airport
Turkish PM blames IS for attacks at Istanbul airport
Crashed Egyptian flight data files sent back to Egypt
Arbitration cannot solve South China Sea dispute
15 Taliban militants killed in N. Afghan raid
Xi urges caution on US missile system in ROK
Iran suspends all flights to Istanbul following airport attack
Putin says Russia to prepare for normalization of ties with Turkey
Cold War 2.0 : Russia rejects threat claims by NATO
Fighting kills 50 in South Sudan's Wau
Cold War 2.0 : Russia extends Western food ban till 2017 
PKK bombing kills 2 Turkish soldiers 
Gunmen kill 8 Pakistan soldiers in Quetta
Iran’s Leader slams UN over Saudis 


Ο Ιγκλέσιας έκανε το ίδιο λάθος με τον Τσίπρα

Ισπανικές εκλογές - Γιατί οι Podemos δεν κατάφεραν να αυξήσουν δυνάμεις παρά τη συμμαχία με τις άλλες δυνάμεις της Αριστεράς

Τα αποτελέσματα των Ισπανικών εκλογών της Κυριακής δεν έφεραν κάτι καινούργιο. Παραδόξως, η Λαϊκή Δεξιά του Ραχόι κατάφερε να κερδίσει 14 έδρες επιπλέον (137 σύνολο) σε σχέση με τις προηγούμενες εκλογές, αλλά ακόμα πολύ μακριά από τις 176 έδρες που απαιτούνται για σχηματισμό κυβέρνησης.

Παρά το ότι οι Podemos κατάφεραν να σχηματίσουν συνασπισμό με την Ενωμένη Αριστερά και άλλες δυνάμεις, παρέμειναν στην τρίτη θέση με 71 έδρες. Δεν υπήρξε κάποια σημαντική μεταβολή σε σχέση με τις εκλογές του Δεκεμβρίου.

Θα ήταν απίθανο να περιμένουμε από τους ψηφοφόρους που ψήφισαν το πολιτικό κατεστημένο (Λαϊκή Δεξιά, Σοσιαλιστές), να αλλάξουν σε έξι μόλις μήνες και να ψηφίσουν τους Unidos Podemos. Ωστόσο, ο Πάμπλο Ιγκλέσιας έκανε το ίδιο λάθος με τον Τσίπρα. Ουσιαστικά αγνόησε τους πραγματικά απογοητευμένους Ισπανούς ψηφοφόρους που διάλεξαν αποχή και προσπάθησε να μη φοβίζει τους μετριοπαθείς που ψήφισαν κατεστημένο, προκειμένου να τους προσελκύσει.

Όπως έχει αναφερθεί σε προηγούμενο άρθρο “ο Κόρμπιν, ο Ιγκλέσιας, ο Τσίπρας και άλλοι από την μετριοπαθή Ευρωπαϊκή Αριστερά έκαναν τελείως λάθος διάγνωση για το που πηγαίνουν τα πράγματα. Πιστεύουν ότι ένα πιθανό Brexit θα αποτελούσε μια σημαντική απώλεια ενάντια σ'αυτό που πρεσβεύουν, δηλαδή, ενάντια σε μια ενωμένη Ευρώπη μέσα στο πλαίσιο ενός Αριστερού διεθνισμού. Έχουν την αυταπάτη ότι η Ευρώπη μπορεί να αλλάξει πορεία προς την κατεύθυνση αυτού του τύπου διεθνισμού, ενώ στην πραγματικότητα, η Ευρώπη κατευθύνεται με μεγάλη ταχύτητα προς μια εντελώς αντίθετη κατεύθυνση. Δηλαδή, προς έναν νεοφιλελεύθερο διεθνισμό, μέσα από τον οποίο η νέα Φεουδαρχία των τραπεζών και των πολυεθνικών θα γίνει σύντομα πραγματικότητα.

Ως μέρος της μετριοπαθούς Αριστεράς, ο Ιγκλέσιας έχει ακριβώς τις ίδιες αυταπάτες με τον Τσίπρα. Όχι μόνο πιστεύει ότι η τωρινή Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση μπορεί να μεταμορφωθεί σε μια υπερεθνική οντότητα που θα υπηρετεί πραγματικά τους πολίτες κάτω από την ομπρέλα του καθεστώτος των Βρυξελλών, αλλά και ότι αυτό μπορεί να γίνει μέσα από "ειλικρινείς" διαπραγματεύσεις με τις ευρω-ύαινες.

Κατά συνέπεια, η Ευρωπαϊκή Αριστερά δεν τόλμησε να ηγηθεί της μάχης εναντίον του Ευρωπαϊκού νεοφιλελεύθερου τέρατος, ξεκινώντας από το Brexit. Έτσι, οι ακραίοι εθνικιστές άρπαξαν την ευκαιρία και πρωταγωνίστησαν σε αυτή τη μεγάλη μάχη.

Ο Ιγκλέσιας, ο Τσίπρας και άλλοι, δεν θέλουν να καταλάβουν ότι η μετριοπαθής στάση δεν οδηγεί πουθενά. Ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ έχει ήδη μεταμορφωθεί σε ένα Σοσιαλδημοκρατικό μόρφωμα που αναγκάστηκε να πάρει νέα μέτρα εναντίον της πλειοψηφίας των Ελλήνων πολιτών. Δεν θέλουν να καταλάβουν ότι εκατομμύρια ψηφοφόροι δεν πρόκειται να πεισθούν από τους "επαναστατικούς" λόγους των Αριστερών ηγετών στα προεκλογικά μπαλκόνια, όταν την ίδια στιγμή αυτοί "διαπραγματεύονται" με το μαύρο ιερατείο της ΕΕ/ευρωζώνης.

Ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ και οι Podemos θα αρχίσουν να παρακμάζουν μέσα σε μια λιμνάζουσα κατάσταση όπου δεν θα μπορούν να προσελκύσουν εκατομμύρια απογοητευμένους ψηφοφόρους, ενώ ταυτόχρονα θα προσπαθούν να πετύχουν το αδύνατο: να φτιάξουν μια ανθρωπιστική Ευρώπη μέσα από "διαπραγματεύσεις" με τους εκπροσώπους των λόμπι και των τραπεζιτών.

Ο μόνος τρόπος να αποφύγουν μια τέτοια κατάσταση, είναι να κηρύξουν πόλεμο, μαζί με την Ευρωπαϊκή Αριστερά, ενάντια σε αυτά τα λόμπι και τους τραπεζίτες, ρίχνοντας στο περιθώριο τους επικίνδυνους εθνικιστές. Αλλιώς, η Αριστερά θα εξαφανιστεί και πάλι από το προσκήνιο και ο εφιάλτης της ακροδεξιάς θα αρχίσει να κυριεύει ολόκληρη την Ευρώπη.

28 June, 2016

Iglesias made the same mistake as Tsipras

Spanish elections - Why Podemos didn't manage to increase power despite the coalition with the Leftist forces

political comment by failed evolution

The results of Sunday's elections in Spain didn't bring anything new. Unexpectedly, the People's Party of Mariano Rajoy gained 14 more seats (137) compared to previous elections, yet still far from the 176 seats required to form government.

Although Podemos managed to build a coalition with the United Left and other Leftist forces, forming Unidos Podemos, remained in third place with 71 seats. No much difference since the last elections in December 2015.

It would be unnatural to expect from the voters who voted for establishment (PP/PSOE) to change in only six months and go to Unidos Podemos. Yet, Iglesias made the same mistake as Tsipras in Greece. He actually ignored the truly disappointed Spanish voters who have chosen not to vote, and tried not to frighten the moderate pro-establishment voters in order to attract them.

As mentioned previouslyCorbyn, Iglesias, Tsipras, and others from the moderate European Left have made completely wrong diagnosis of where things are going. They think that a possible Brexit will be a significant loss against their dreams of a united Europe inside the framework of the Leftist internationalism. They live with the illusion that Europe can change course towards this type of internationalism, while in reality Europe has been directed with high-speed to the exactly opposite direction: the neoliberal internationalism through which the banking-corporate neo-Feudalism will soon become a reality.

Being part of the moderate Left, Iglesias has exactly the same illusions as Tsirpas. Not only he thinks that the current EU monster could be transformed into a Union that will truly serve its citizens under the lobby-occupied Brussels regime, but also that this can be achieved through "sincere" negotiations with the euro-hyenas.

Consequently, the European Left didn't dare to lead the battle against the EU neoliberal monster, starting from Brexit. So, the extreme nationalists exploited this fact to appear in the front line of another big battle.

Iglesias, Tsipras and others appear unable to understand that playing the moderate card won't lead anywhere. SYRIZA already has been transformed into a Social-Democratic entity that is forced to take further cruel measures for the majority of the Greek citizens. They don't understand that millions of disappointed voters won't buy the "revolutionary" speeches in campaigns by the Leftist leaders, when at the same time these sit on the same table to “negotiate” with EU's/eurozone's black priesthood.

Both SYRIZA and Podemos will start to decline into a stagnating situation by the fact that they are unable to attract millions of disappointed voters while try to achieve the impossible: create a humanitarian Europe through “negotiations” with the representatives of bankers and lobbyists.

The only way to escape from this situation is to declare, together with the European Left, a real war on these bankers and lobbyists, throwing out of the game the dangerous nationalists. Otherwise, the Left will be vanished again, and the nightmare of the Far-Right will start dominating Europe.

How the EU pushed France to reforms of labour law

Corporate Europe Observatory

The current struggle in France over labour law reforms is not just between the Government and trade unions – a European battle is waged. The attacks on social rights stem in no small part from the web of EU-rules dubbed 'economic governance', invented to impose austerity policies on member states.

Strikes and actions across France against reforms of the country’s labour protections, known as the El Khomri Law, demonstrate the immense unpopularity of the measures proposed by the French Government. Chiefly among them, to give preference to local agreements on wages and working conditions, when the conditions in those agreements are less favourable than the national norm inscribed in national law. This is an open attempt to undermine collective bargaining and roll back the influence of trade unions.

Ultimately, the French Government has formal responsibility for the weakening of labour protection. But there is no denying that the European Union is playing an important and perhaps decisive role in the attacks on labour rights. What we see is the EU throwing its rulebook in the French workers’ faces. Practically all the new rules on so-called 'economic governance' adopted following the eurocrisis have been applied, and make France look like a EU test-case. The European Commission, with the backing of the Council, has used the rules on member states’ deficits to exert pressure, threatening with sanctions, should the French Government not give in and seriously reform its labour laws. Simply put, France has been required flat out to ensure higher profitability for businesses by driving down wages.

How does all of this work?

Sanctions more likely today

First and foremost, the reforms in France are related to the country’s deficit. Like most other EU member states, the state’s finances looked pretty bad in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. In 2009, a case was opened against France for breaching EU rules which stipulate that its deficit must be no higher than 3 per cent of GDP. If taken to the extreme, this 'excessive deficit procedure' can result in a fine of billions of euro, and – not least in the case of France – a severe loss of face to its EU partners.

The 'excessive deficit procedure' was given more teeth with the so-called 'Six-Pack' set of EU rules in 2011 – a key part of the austerity-focused economic governance package – which introduced a reverse majority vote in the Council: if the Commission does decide to fine a member state, like it has threatened to do to France, there will have to be a qualified majority against the measure from other member states to block it. Good reasons for the French Government to be slightly scared – and a weapon to be used in its attempt to convince parliamentarians. The likelihood of sanctions for not meeting the budget deficit targets is much bigger than in the past, when both Germany and France escaped humiliation. But how to meet the Commission’s strict targets, and how to behave to the satisfaction of the Commission, is what clearly links the El Khomri law in France to the austerity regime being rolled out from Brussels.

Enabling demands of 'structural reforms'

Being 'in the procedure', means you’re under close surveillance by the Commission, and with regular intervals, the case of the French deficit has been brought up at meetings with member states ministers, who have assessed if France (in this case) has made sufficient efforts to remedy the problem. Specific recommendations have been made, though until 2013 the labour law was hardly mentioned. The recommendations stuck to the development of the deficit, whether it went down at the required pace. But in 2013, there was a new tone in the Commission’s recommendations. France was asked to meet its deficit targets “by comprehensive structural reforms” in line with recommendations from the Council “in the context of the European Semester”. Structural reforms are no small matter. They are defined as changes that affect “the fundamental drivers of growth by liberalising labour, product and service markets”. Such ambitions were starting to be pushed on France at the European Semester.

But what is the European Semester? It is a procedure involving the Commission and the Council that ends with a set of recommendations for reforms to each and every member state, based on a proposal from the Commission. At the beginning in 2011, the recommendations were non-binding, but in 2013, a new set of rules went into force under the so-called Two-Pack, another part of the economic governance package intended to enforce austerity. One of the regulations of the two in the package was about measures to ensure deficits were corrected, and among other things, it made a link between the deficit procedure and the European Semester. If a member state is under the deficit procedure – like France – it would have to draw up an 'Economic Partnership Programme' that includes the recommendations from the Council –typically the kind of structural reforms that would have a clear impact. If the programme is not followed, then it will have a bearing on the Commission’s decision to initiate the final phase of the deficit procedure: sanctions in the form of a fine worth billions.

So, when the Two-Pack entered into force in early 2013, the tone of the messages to France on its deficit changed. France was now asked to implement “comprehensive structural reforms” of its labour law and the pension system. This had a bearing on how France would be treated under the deficit procedure and whether it would come in for sanctions, and for that reason, recommendations started looking more like demands.

In other words: whereas earlier country specific recommendations adopted under the European Semester were just that, with the Two-Pack from 2013, non-compliance could lead the Commission to take the next step towards sanctions.

"Slash wages now!”

There’s more. In the early stages of the eurocrisis another procedure was introduced that was to work in parallel to the deficit procedure: the 'Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure'. This procedure allows the Commission to monitor the development of member states’ economies based on a predefined set of indicators. One of them – perhaps the most important one – measures how high the labour costs are developing (unit labour costs). If wages are not kept at bay, competitiveness suffers, and measures have to be taken, so the logic goes.

The 'Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure' is also a potent weapon, as it can lead to a fine if a Eurozone member state crosses the line repeatedly and for a long time. And France has been in the crosshairs of the Commission for quite a while. Commission staff has investigated French labour law and identified what factors contribute “to limiting the ability of firms to negotiate downward wage adjustment”, and the French Government has been warned – as has many other member states – about developments in wages. In 2014, the Commission said “unit labour cost growth is relatively contained but shows no improvement in cost competitiveness. The profitability of private companies remains low, limiting deleveraging prospects and investment capacity.”

The calls for action to improve the profitability of private companies have been sent to France from Brussels on numerous occasions over the past couple of years, and have gained in strength. Thus far, the climax was in February 2015, when the Commission stepped up the procedure and singled out Bulgaria and France as the most pressing cases. The decision put France only a small step from the last stage of the imbalance procedure, the dreaded 'excessive imbalance procedure' which entails – exactly like the deficit procedure – a massive fine. If all fines are put together – from the deficit procedure and the imbalances procedure – they could amount to 0.5 per cent of GDP, or in the case of France, approximately €11 billion.

The final countdown

Such a prospect must be terrifying for the French Government, and in 2015, then, it would have to come up with something of substance to appease the European Commission and its partners in the Council. In March France was given two more years to bring its house in order, and if there was any doubt over the way to get there, the message to France in July was clear. Country Specific Recommendation number 6 to France under the European Semester, includes a call to “reform the labour law to provide more incentives for employers to hire on open-ended contracts. Facilitate take up of derogations at company and branch level from general legal provisions, in particular as regards working time arrangements.” In other words, the very reforms now at the centre of dispute with the El Khomri law.

The recommendation was copy-pasted from a Commission proposal; one that struck a chord among business lobby groups. In the annual 'Reform Barometer' of BusinessEurope, a procedure set up to influence the European Semester, the French employers association MEDEF was enthusiastic about the move, and dubbed it “extremely important” in its contribution to the Reform Barometer 2016.

End game

Who exactly has done what since the summer of 2015 is the subject of intense debate. French media outlet Mediapart suggests the German Government might have played a big role in designing the French reforms, while others believe the specifics were entirely homemade. In any case, there is no denying that the reforms were pushed heavily by the European Union, more specifically by the Commission and the Council. And the push was based on the web of rules on member states’ economic policies, sometimes called 'economic governance', that has been spun thread by thread since 2010. The strengthening of the deficit procedure, the European Semester, the Two-Pack, and the macroeconomic imbalance procedure have all been used for the purpose they were invented: to exert maximum pressure on member states to adopt austerity policies.

There are other similar examples in Europe at the moment. In Italy and Belgium too, you see the effect of the new tools handed over to the European Union since 2010. But France is special for its size and its power in the EU. The ongoing struggle in France can be seen as a major test case for European economic governance. If a big, powerful EU member state can be pushed to attack fundamental traits of its labour protection law, then the risk of new and stronger measures are much more likely in the future. Even if French workers are unaware of it, they’re fighting a European battle.


The Brexit rejection of neoliberal tyranny

With the Brexit repudiation of the E.U. — in defiance of Establishment scare tactics — British voters stood up for common people who face marginalization in the neoliberal scheme of global economics, explains John Pilger.

by John Pilger

The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.

This was, in great part, a vote by those angered and demoralized by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the “remain” campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain. The last bastion of the historic reforms of 1945, the National Health Service, has been so subverted by Tory and Labour-supported privateers it is fighting for its life.

A forewarning came when the Treasurer, George Osborne, the embodiment of both Britain’s ancient regime and the banking mafia in Europe, threatened to cut £30 billion from public services if people voted the wrong way; it was blackmail on a shocking scale.

Immigration was exploited in the campaign with consummate cynicism, not only by populist politicians from the lunar right, but by Labour politicians drawing on their own venerable tradition of promoting and nurturing racism, a symptom of corruption not at the bottom but at the top.

The reason millions of refugees have fled the Middle East – first Iraq, now Syria – are the invasions and imperial mayhem of Britain, the United States, France, the European Union and NATO. Before that, there was the willful destruction of Yugoslavia. Before that, there was the theft of Palestine and the imposition of Israel.

The pith helmets may have long gone, but the blood has never dried. A Nineteenth Century contempt for countries and peoples, depending on their degree of colonial usefulness, remains a centerpiece of modern “globalization,” with its perverse socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor: its freedom for capital and denial of freedom to labor; its perfidious politicians and politicized civil servants.

Saying ‘No More’

All this has now come home to Europe, enriching the likes of Tony Blair and impoverishing and disempowering millions. On June 23, the British said “no more.”

The most effective propagandists of the “European ideal” have not been the far Right, but an insufferably patrician class for whom metropolitan London is the United Kingdom. Its leading members see themselves as liberal, enlightened, cultivated tribunes of the Twenty-first Century zeitgeist, even “cool.” What they really are is a bourgeoisie with insatiable consumerist tastes and ancient instincts of their own superiority.

In their house paper, the Guardian, they have gloated, day after day, at those who would even consider the European Union profoundly undemocratic, a source of social injustice and a virulent extremism known as “neoliberalism.”

The aim of this extremism is to install a permanent, capitalist theocracy that ensures a two-thirds society, with the majority divided and indebted, managed by a corporate class, and a permanent working poor.

In Britain today, 63 per cent of poor children grow up in families where one member is working. For them, the trap has closed. More than 600,000 residents of Britain’s second city, Greater Manchester, are, reports a study, “experiencing the effects of extreme poverty” and 1.6 million are slipping into penury.

Little of this social catastrophe is acknowledged in the bourgeois-controlled media, notably the Oxbridge-dominated BBC. During the referendum campaign, almost no insightful analysis was allowed to intrude upon the clichéd hysteria about “leaving Europe,” as if Britain was about to be towed in hostile currents somewhere north of Iceland.

Dismissing ‘These People’

On the morning after the vote, a BBC radio reporter welcomed politicians to his studio as old chums. “Well,” he said to “Lord” Peter Mandelson, the disgraced architect of Blairism, “why do these people want it so badly?” The “these people” are the majority of Britons.

The wealthy war criminal Tony Blair remains a hero of the Mandelson “European” class, though few will say so these days. The Guardian once described Blair as “mystical” and has been true to his “project” of rapacious war. The day after the vote, the columnist Martin Kettle offered a Brechtian solution to the misuse of democracy by the masses.

Now surely we can agree referendums are bad for Britain,” said the headline over his full-page piece. The “we” was unexplained but understood — just as “these people” is understood. “The referendum has conferred less legitimacy on politics, not more,” wrote Kettle, adding: “the verdict on referendums should be a ruthless one. Never again.”

The kind of ruthlessness for which Kettle longs is found in Greece, a country now airbrushed. There, they had a referendum against more austerity and the result was ignored. Like the Labour Party in Britain, the leaders of the Syriza government in Athens are the products of an affluent, highly privileged, educated middle class, groomed in the fakery and political treachery of post-modernism.

The Greek people courageously used the referendum to demand their government seek “better terms” with a venal status quo in Brussels that was crushing the life out of their country. They were betrayed, as the British would have been betrayed.

On Friday, the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was asked by the BBC if he would pay tribute to the soon-to-be-departed Cameron, his comrade in the “remain” campaign. Corbyn fulsomely praised Cameron’s “dignity” and noted his backing for gay marriage and his apology to the Irish families of the dead of Bloody Sunday.

Corbyn said nothing about Cameron’s divisiveness, his brutal austerity policies, his lies about “protecting” the Health Service. Neither did he remind people of the warmongering of the Cameron government: the dispatch of British special forces to Libya and British bomb aimers to Saudi Arabia and, above all, the beckoning of World War Three.

Ignoring Russia’s Memories

In the week of the referendum vote, no British politician and, to my knowledge, no journalist referred to Vladimir Putin’s speech in St. Petersburg commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. The Soviet victory – at a cost of 27 million Soviet lives and the majority of all German forces – won the Second World War.

Putin likened the current frenzied build up of NATO troops and war materiel on Russia’s western borders to the Third Reich’s Operation Barbarossa. NATO’s exercises in Poland were the biggest since the Nazi invasion; Operation Anaconda had simulated an attack on Russia, presumably with nuclear weapons.

On the eve of the referendum, the quisling secretary-general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, warned Britons they would be endangering “peace and security” if they voted to leave the E.U. The millions who ignored him and Cameron, Osborne, Corbyn, Obama and the man who runs the Bank of England may, just may, have struck a blow for real peace and democracy in Europe.


Why on earth would socialists support the neoliberal, undemocratic EU?

The EU is a deeply undemocratic institution enforcing austerity and privatisation on its member states. In what strange world is this a progressive institution?

by Paul Embery

The EU is now, more than ever, defined by its fanatical commitment to the rule of market forces, privatisation and the rolling back of the power of national governments. This ideology of neoliberalism explains the EU’s enthusiasm for the politics of austerity, which it has imposed throughout the continent as a response to the global financial crisis.

But, just as austerity has failed in the UK, it has failed throughout the EU. Twenty-three million are unemployed thanks to EU-driven austerity. Living standards have collapsed thanks to EU-driven austerity. Far-right groups have gained strength thanks to EU-driven austerity. Renewed tensions have emerged between nation states thanks to EU-driven austerity. Public services have been decimated thanks to EU-driven austerity.

When economies crashed, the EU’s answer was to impose more crippling austerity as part of any bailout condition. This served only to generate deeper impoverishment and social tensions.

The EU’s commitment to neoliberalism means its laws are designed to encourage private enterprise at the expense of public ownership. As a result, we have seen an accelerating transfer of ownership and control of industry from elected governments to big corporations.

Trade unionists and socialists make key demands over public ownership. But many of these demands would actually be prohibited under EU law. So, for example, renationalising the railways is forbidden, as EU law compels member states to open up their railway systems to the market.

And the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal, which would open up public services, including the NHS, to wholesale privatisation, should be reason enough for anyone who cares about these things to support a Leave vote.

The recent Tata steel crisis threw into sharp relief the pernicious effects of EU law on ownership. Understandably, many trade union leaders and some Labour MPs demanded the government nationalise the Port Talbot steelworks. But missing from their demands was any recognition that such a move would undoubtedly have breached EU law, which prohibits member states from using public money to rescue failing steelmakers. EU competition rules dictate that these things must be left to market forces instead.

Indeed, earlier this year, the EU took punitive action against the Belgian and Italian governments after they used public funds in an attempt to rescue steelmakers in trouble.

That’s why we shouldn’t get too excited about the recent decision by the UK government to take some control in Tata. First, the government isn’t nationalising Tata; it is taking a mere 25% stake. Second, even this limited step is likely to fall foul of EU law. However, it is questionable as to whether, against the backdrop of the referendum, the EU will intervene at this stage to block it. As the Guardian’s respected economics editor, Larry Elliott, perceptively pointed out: ‘Is Brussels really going to kibosh the government’s rescue plan if the consequence is that Europe gets the blame and the referendum is lost? It will see the bigger picture.’

It is therefore probable that in the case of the government’s intervention on steel the EU will, for reasons of expediency, choose to look the other way for a few weeks.

But we should be in no doubt at all that EU law is ultimately framed to benefit the privateers and to discourage public ownership of industry, even in cases where entire communities and thousands of jobs are at risk.

Trade unionists and socialists stand for investment in industry as a means to achieving full employment and economic growth. Investment is particularly important in tough times, as it stimulates economic activity, increases tax revenues and aids recovery. Austerity does the precise opposite.

After the global financial crisis struck almost a decade ago, EU-driven austerity prevented many countries escaping recession. Crucially, EU rules, under the Stability and Growth Pact, prohibit any member state from running a budget deficit of more than three per cent of GDP. This means that any government wishing to borrow to invest as a means to boost the economy faces rigid constraints. This, in turn, means that recessions and austerity are prolonged. The doctrines of John Maynard Keynes, which for so long after the Second World War provided the foundation of economic policy for left of centre governments, are effectively illegal inside the EU.

One of the primary arguments deployed by some on the Left against withdrawal from the EU, is the danger of what is termed a ‘Right-led exit’ – meaning a withdrawal undertaken on the terms of Tory right-wingers and Ukip. But this argument is flawed, because it appears to completely discount the fact that the Remain campaign itself is dominated by the political Right. Just consider, David Cameron, George Osborne, the Tory government, the CBI, the IMF, the Bank of England, the wider banking industry and big corporations are all fighting desperately to remain inside the EU. They do so in the knowledge that a ‘remain’ vote would settle the issue for at least another generation, and with the consequence that for all that time we would be locked into an institution that is explicitly pro-neoliberal and anti-socialist. Add to that the restrictions of EU law that would constrain any incoming Labour government, and with the EU heading in an ever-more anti-democratic direction, it is obvious that a ‘Right-led Remain’ poses a much greater threat to workers than any ‘Right-led Brexit’.

There is also a view among some on the Left, particularly in the trade unions, that while the EU’s enthusiasm for neoliberalism and austerity is an inescapable truth, our interests are best served by staying inside it because it has delivered some rights for workers. They claim that these rights would be threatened by a withdrawal from the EU.

In truth, the picture is far more complex than that. Many of the main planks of workplace legislation giving benefits to UK workers – such as on health and safety, equal pay, the minimum wage and trade union recognition – were won through the UK parliament as a result of trade union campaigning. They had little or nothing to do with the EU.

Even today, the broad sweep of workplace law - such as on pay, terms and conditions, dismissal, industrial relations and disputes - remains completely outside the remit of the EU. (This is why, for example, the Tory government is able to push the Trade Union Bill - the biggest assault on workers in a generation - through parliament without any opposition whatsoever from the EU.)

The image of the EU as some great protector of workers is hard to reconcile when considering that, in keeping with its neoliberal objectives, it promotes zero-hours contracts under flexible labour market rules and deliberately weakened collective bargaining arrangements in the bailout countries. And let’s not forget that the most fundamental workers’ right of all – the right to work – has been denied to millions as a direct result of austerity-induced mass unemployment.

Worryingly, in two landmark legal cases – Viking and Laval – the European Court of Justice ruled that collective action by a trade union could be deemed illegal if it is taken to prevent an employer setting-up in, or posting workers to, another member state, for example in an attempt to pay cheaper wages.

And while as trade unionists we must oppose attacks on immigrants, we must also recognise that the EU’s policy of open borders has given rise to an explosion of cheap labour and contributed to the undercutting of wages (a reason why the policy enjoys the support of big business), caused real social tensions, placed public services under pressure, and fuelled the rise of far-right groups. The truth is that unrestricted movement of labour has the capacity to cause social and economic disruption just as much as the unrestricted movement of capital. None of this is to blame immigrants personally. Nor it is to absolve governments or unscrupulous employers for their actions. It is simply to recognise the reality that EU-driven mass migration has impacted on the lives of workers in a real and tangible way.

In the final analysis, any perceived benefits of EU membership in terms of workers’ rights must be set within the context of the huge setbacks suffered by workers as a result of EU-inspired austerity.

Ultimately, it is a question of what the EU is defined by. Is it defined by its support for trade unions and workers’ rights? Or is it defined by its zeal for neoliberalism, austerity and cuts? It is surely the latter.

We should no more look upon the neoliberal EU as a friend of workers because it gave us the Working Time Directive than we should look upon the neoliberal Tory government in the same way because it gave us the ‘living wage’.

And what of the small matter of democracy? The EU parliament has no right to initiate or repeal legislation. Instead, all legislation is generated by the unelected EU commission. The EU parliament is effectively a rubber-stamping body for the commission – a fig leaf for democracy.

Throughout the history of the EU, there has been a gradual but unrelenting transfer of power away from elected governments and towards unelected bureaucrats and big corporations. This is an insult to all those who fought for the vote and the principle that ordinary people must be allowed to hold their rulers to account.

In Greece last year, the people voted decisively and explicitly against austerity in a national referendum. But the EU establishment forced it on them anyway in brutal manner.

To avoid further bailouts, the EU is now demanding deeper economic integration between member states. This can happen only if there is closer political union. This, in turn, would mean even more power being transferred from national governments to unelected bureaucrats and bankers. The EU superstate is no longer a distant threat; it is a growing reality.

That's why there is no status quo in this debate. The question of 'stay as we are' or 'leave' is actually one of 'in even deeper' or 'leave'.

Some argue that we need to be inside the EU in order to reform it. Such talk is idle. Government after government has been saying the same thing for years, even decades. But in reality the EU is unreformable. Indeed, it has been designed to preclude serious reform.

The EU commission is unelected and unaccountable. There is no democratic mechanism by which it can be reformed.

The UK government recently undertook a ‘renegotiation’ of EU membership in an attempt to achieve serious reform. It threatened to walk away from the EU if it didn’t get its way. But even under this nuclear threat, the EU offered very little in the talks. If the EU isn’t prepared to reform under threat of withdrawal by a significant member state, when would it be?

Neoliberalism and unaccountability are locked into the EU through its treaties and directives. To reform the EU from being a neoliberal, anti-democratic institution into being a progressive, socialist, democratic one would mean that all member states must agree simultaneously to unpick all of this. There is zero chance of that happening.

Those of us on the Left must seek to build solidarity between workers in different countries. But we do not have to be locked into a highly-bureaucratic, anti-democratic, anti-socialist, supranational institution to achieve that.

A Leave vote would not of course put an end to the attacks being suffered by UK workers in the name of austerity. We would still face at home a Tory government hell-bent on making workers pay for the economic crisis. But the EU referendum gives us a clear opportunity to kick away one of the pillars of austerity which has caused so much suffering to workers.

We may then concentrate our efforts on defeating the enemy at home and electing a Labour government committed to a radical programme of investment, redistribution of wealth, full employment, defending public services, improving workers’ rights and reinvigorating our democracy.

The first step to achieving that is getting out of the EU.


27 June, 2016

Spanish elections

The establishment wins in Spain

At 95% of voters:

  • People's Party: 137 seats (32,93%)
  • Spanish Socialist Workers' Party: 85 seats (22,79%)
  • Unidos Podemos: 71 seats (21,14%)
  • Ciudadanos: 32 seats (12,94%)

The pro-establishment parties win again and Spain is expected to enter into another unstable political period. Resistance against the neoliberal EU is postponed.


No party came close to an overall majority; Pablo Iglesias admits results "not satisfactory".

People’s party wins largest share of vote but falls way short of majority, according to initial indications.

Podemos wins in Catalonia and Basque Country.

Bipartidism of the old big parties (PP+PSOE) is at 55%. In December it was 50.7%.

Αν ο Μαρξ και ο Κέινς στοιχημάτιζαν για το Brexit

του Άρη Χατζηστεφάνου

Για άλλη μια φορά οι μόνοι που προέβλεψαν το πραγματικό πολιτικό αποτέλεσμα της βρετανικής ψήφου για το Brexit ήταν τα μεγάλα γραφεία στοιχημάτων. Το πρόβλημα ήταν ότι δεν το κατάλαβαν.

Ο Τζον Μέιναρντ Κέινς είπε κάποτε ότι οι χρηματαγορές είναι μια διεστραμμένη μορφή των καλλιστείων: όσοι συμμετέχουν δεν επιλέγουν το πιο όμορφο μοντέλο αλλά αυτό που θεωρούν ότι θα αρέσει στους περισσότερους και συνεπώς θα κερδίσει.

Η εφημερίδα «Independent» πίστεψε ότι θα μπορούσε να εφαρμόσει τη διαπίστωση του Κέινς και για τα γραφεία στοιχημάτων. Στις δημοσκοπήσεις, έλεγε, οι πολίτες απαντούν ποιος θέλουν να κερδίσει, ενώ τα στοιχήματα αποτυπώνουν ποιος πιστεύουν ότι θα κερδίσει.

Φαινομενικά, τα γραφεία στοιχημάτων έπεσαν έξω στις «προβλέψεις» τους με πρωτοφανή τρόπο. Από την πρώτη ημέρα που ο Κάμερον εξήγγειλε το δημοψήφισμα έδιναν σταθερά τη νίκη στο Bremain, ακόμη και όταν το σύνολο των δημοσκοπήσεων έδινε άνετο προβάδισμα στο Brexit.

Φήμες μάλιστα έλεγαν ότι οι χρηματαγορές ακολουθούσαν συχνότερα το κλίμα που δημιουργούσαν τα γραφεία στοιχημάτων παρά οι επιστημονικές προβλέψεις των δημοσκόπων.

Η φήμη ήταν τόσο ισχυρή ώστε κάποιοι άρχισαν να σκέφτονται αν θα ήταν εφικτό να χειραγωγήσουν τις χρηματαγορές ποντάροντας μεγάλα ποσά σε κάποιο γραφείο στοιχημάτων.

Οπως αποκάλυψε μάλιστα ο Μάθιου Σάντικ, επικεφαλής του τμήματος πολιτικής (υπάρχει και αυτό) του γραφείου στοιχημάτων Ladbrokes, λίγες ημέρες πριν από το δημοψήφισμα κάποιος στοιχημάτισε 25.000 στερλίνες για την παραμονή της χώρας στην Ε.Ε., γεγονός που οδήγησε σε αύξηση των πιθανοτήτων που έδινε το γραφείο για το Bremain.

Το περίφημο Zerohedge, η ανεπίσημη «βίβλος» των απανταχού χρηματιστών, υπολόγισε ότι στοιχηματίζοντας ένα εκατομμύριο λίρες κάποιος θα ήταν σε θέση να προκαλέσει μετακινήσεις τίτλων στο χρηματιστήριο ύψους 10 τρισεκατομμυρίων λιρών.

Επεσε λοιπόν ο Κέινς τόσο έξω στην ανάλυσή του; Είναι γεγονός ότι αυτή η κορυφαία μορφή της οικονομικής επιστήμης (ο οποίος υποθέτουμε θα ψήφιζε Bremain) σε τελική ανάλυση δεν ήταν παρά ένας συστημικός οικονομολόγος.

Εξέφρασε απλώς την ανάγκη του παγκόσμιου κεφαλαίου για τη δημιουργία ενός ισχυρού κράτους πρόνοιας το οποίο θα λειτουργούσε σαν ατμομηχανή της οικονομίας στην κρίσιμη περίοδο μετά το τέλος του Β’ Παγκόσμιου Πολέμου.

Το πραγματικό λογικό σφάλμα, όμως, δεν ανήκει στον Κέινς αλλά σε όσους πίστεψαν ότι η αγορά των στοιχημάτων κινείται ακριβώς όπως και το χρηματιστήριο – ότι δηλαδή όλοι ποντάρουν σε αυτόν που πιστεύουν ότι θα κερδίσει και όχι σε αυτόν που πραγματικά θέλουν να κερδίσει.

Σε αρκετές περιπτώσεις στο παρελθόν όμως, οι Αγγλοι φίλαθλοι ποντάρισαν υπέρ της εθνικής ομάδας ποδοσφαίρου παρά το γεγονός ότι όλα τα προγνωστικά μιλούσαν για βέβαιη ήττα. Το ποντάρισμά τους αποτελούσε περισσότερο μια ψήφο εμπιστοσύνης παρά μια λογική επιλογή.

Αυτό που πραγματικά θα χρειαζόταν κάποιος για να κατανοήσει τι συνέβη στο δημοψήφισμα και πώς αυτό αντικατοπτρίστηκε στα στοιχήματα είναι ένας οικονομολόγος που είχε στύψει το μυαλό του για τις ανάγκες της ταξικής πάλης – ο Κάρολος Μαρξ.

Διαβάζοντας τα πλούσια στατιστικά στοιχεία που συγκέντρωναν (αλλά δεν ήταν σε θέση να αναλύσουν) τα γραφεία στοιχημάτων, ο συγγραφέας του «Κομμουνιστικού Μανιφέστου» θα είχε κάνει πιθανότατα μια πολύ σημαντική διαπίστωση:

Οι περισσότεροι παίκτες που στοιχημάτισαν πριν από το δημοψήφισμα έδωσαν τα λεφτά τους υπέρ του #Brexit. Καθώς όμως όσοι πίστευαν ότι θα κερδίσει το #Bremain ποντάρισαν μεγαλύτερα ποσά, επηρέασαν σε σημαντικό βαθμό την τελική εικόνα. Και αυτό γιατί τα γραφεία δεν παρουσιάζουν πόσοι παίκτες ποντάρισαν σε κάθε ενδεχόμενο, αλλά πόσα χρήματα «επενδύθηκαν» σε κάθε επιλογή.

Ενας εραστής των θεωριών συνωμοσίας θα μπορούσε να εξηγήσει αυτό το φαινόμενο λέγοντας ότι ορισμένοι κερδοσκόποι έριξαν χρήμα στην αγορά στοιχημάτων για να επηρεάσουν αυτήν την εικόνα και έτσι να χειραγωγήσουν και τις χρηματαγορές (και ίσως μαζί με αυτές και την κοινή γνώμη).

Η ταξική ανάλυση του Μαρξ ωστόσο ίσως αποδεικνύεται πολύ πιο χρήσιμη: Οι φτωχοί, αν και περισσότεροι, ποντάρισαν λιγότερα χρήματα, ενώ οι πλούσιοι είχαν τη δυνατότητα να παίξουν μεγαλύτερα ποσά.

Μήπως αυτή δεν είναι όμως και μια διεστραμμένη (όπως θα έλεγε ο Κέινς) ανάγνωση του ορισμού της δημοκρατίας που είχε δώσει ο Αριστοτέλης;

«Δημοκρατία είναι όταν οι ελεύθεροι και πτωχοί πλειοψηφούν και είναι κυρίαρχοι της εξουσίας, τουναντίον δε ολιγαρχία, όταν οι πλούσιοι και ευγενούς καταγωγής κυριαρχούν, αν και ολιγότεροι κατ’ αριθμόν». Με την ψήφο τους οι φτωχοί Βρετανοί αμφισβήτησαν την ολιγαρχία των Βρυξελλών αλλά και του Σίτι.

Τι κρίμα που οι Εργατικοί του Κόρμπιν δεν διάβασαν Μαρξ για να καταλάβουν τα ταξικά χαρακτηριστικά του Brexit και έτσι το πρόσφεραν σαν δώρο στην Ακρα Δεξιά – όπως έχουν κάνει άλλωστε και όλα τα μεγάλα κόμματα της ευρωπαϊκής Αριστεράς.


End of Regime in Europe!

by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Fukuyama, an ex-official of the State Department, with very poor intellectual capacities, became world famous in 1990 with his idea that History has ended. Now History is back, in full steam.

One may agree or disagree with Brexit. But he has to admit that here we have to do with a clear anti-estabishment revolt of the British, a revolt with clearly national but also clear class characteristics. Look for instance the pattern of the vote. City voted overwhelmingly to remain in the Union, the popular, de-industrialized and agricultural regions of the country, the “lost of globalization”, very much for Brexit. (As has happened in many cases, during the collapse of the Soviet Union, nationalism was not the only direct reason of the quest for independence of the Republics, antagonisms for power and property were very much the reason, still it was the national idea which offered a ready basis of legitimacy for the break down).

The result represents also an enormous historic defeat for Dr. Scheuble and the whole German leadership, it understands or not (as so many times has happened in German history).

The question is not Britain, the question concerns all Europe

It is not only that Britain is exiting the EU. The Union itself has entered a process of a probable collapse as a structure. This process will leave nothing unaffected. Internal equilibriums in various national states, the European economic order and geopolitics. It is not only the neoliberal (under German co-domination) EU which will probably leave the scene of history. It is all the European “ancien regime” which is prepared to leave. At least the one consecrated with the adoption of the Maastrich Treaty and the triumph of neoliberalism. (Indirectly also with the political choice to go on with NATO enlargement, of which the EU enlargement was the political-economic part).

Let us hope that the collapse of post-national neoliberalism will not lead also to the collapse of the fundamental achievements of European peoples after 1945. From now on we enter a “chaotic” period, in the mathematical sense of the word, with very different positive or negative possibilities.

An unacceptable Union

They will do and say everything to reinterpret, to diminish and to distorde the meaning of the British vote, still the verdict is unequivocal and its significance explosive.

The European Union, at least as it stands now and with the policies and the arrogance it is producing, is simply unacceptable not just by British, but by a clear majority of all European citizens. The Maastricht system, institutional incarnation of neoliberalism (and atlanticism), imposed in Western Europe in the wake, and under the enormous impact of the collapse of “Soviet socialism”, and also of the Mitterrand (and the British Left) defeat and capitulation and of the German reunification, as it was executed, proved to be a socially regressive, economically inefficient, politically oligarchic, antidemocratic structure.

It is collapsing in front of our eyes, as the result of the first wave (2008) of the financial crisis and the way European leaders reacted to it. Its destruction could catalyze a second wave of financial-economic crisis.

The final political blow to the legitimacy of the European Union was inflicted last year, when all the world saw the way Berlin and Brussels crashed Greece, a member of the European Union.

Even if they did not say anything at the time, everybody drew the conclusions about the nature and the character of this Union and of German policy in Europe. It was only a question of time before the political fall-out of this “victory” turns back, hitting those who masterminded it. This is what is happening now.

Greeks were too weak to succeed in their rebellion. British were too strong to accept such a Union. It was History, not the Left or the Right, which put European revolt on the order of the day. European Left proved in 2015 too hesitating, too weak, too unwilling to become the leader of the Revolt till the end. A part of the European Right was there to fill the vacuum, at least at that stage. And it did it.

By voting to leave the European Union, British citizens confirmed, as contradictory as it may seem, that they are deeply Europeans, in their own way of course and following the particular path history and the international position of their country has determined.

By voting the way they voted, British did the same that did, before them, the citizens of Cyprus, of France, of Netherlands, of Ireland, of Greece, every time they had the opportunity. They rejected massively the policies produced and imposed by the elites, both national and European ones (the two more and more indistinguishable), in spite of the enormous terror and propaganda campaigns to do the opposite.

European elites answered to this repeated cry of peoples by saying to them that they don’t understand what they are voting for, by ignoring the direct expression of the popular will and by doing the exact opposite of the policy they were mandated by their electorate to apply, in complete disrespect of the most elementary democratic principles.

The Marie Antoinette syndrome

Maybe European elites thought that, if there is divorce between people and its rulers, they should change people, as once Berdold Brecht put it to the adress of the rather deaf East German rulers of his time.

By doing it time and again, they simply laid the ground for a strong European nation to go one step further than previous revolts, voting clearly for a divorce with Brussels. Though some forces in the British Left have supported this, so it would be inexact to attribute everything to the Right (the opposite happened in Greece where a part of the Right supported the revolt), it did that under the initiative and the domination of Rightist forces, because they were the only available to play this role. This may have and it will have of course a huge impact on the follow-up, but is not changing the fundamentals roots and the character of the revolt. It makes more, not less necessary for the European Left to review and change in a radical way its policy towards both the national and the European questions. If it will not do it, it will simply disappear just as the regime is disappearing.

In Britain, but also everywhere in the continent, the European Union is more and more understood by a majority of the citizens as a system not defending people from, but organizing social regression. (Some of its leaders even say it openly, probably unaware of the political consequences. Barroso for intance said some years ago that everybody knows that future generations will live in worse conditions than in the past! Some advisors of Sarkozy have stated openly their goal to overrun completely the social project incarnated in the historic compromise French communist resistance passed with De Gaulle, in exchange for resigning from the goal of a revolution in France, but also because De Gaulle supported in fact a “social-democratic” and national project for his country).

In the western and in the southern parts of Europe “European integration” as it is realized, it is also more and more understood as a mechanism to take back from people the political freedoms and rights they used to enjoy after the victory over Nazism and Fascism, in 1945 and, as far as it concerns Portugal, Spain and Greece, after the collapse of the dictatorships in 1974. It is not a coincidence the fact that JP Morgan for instance, published, some years ago, a report stating that the huge obstacle to reform which needs to be overcome are the “antifascist constitutions” South European nations acquired after 1974!

It is important to remark at this point that there is from time to time a lot of talk of “federation” in Europe, but no real project of federation. By “federation” they mean, in really Orwellian terms, not any federation of European nations and states. They mean their subordination to the power of the High International Finance (and the US as far as it concerns geopolitical questions). There is no more telling symbol of this subordination, and of the enormous lie hidden behind all federation talk, than the appointment of a Goldman Sachs banker, Mr. Mario Dragui, in the position of the President of the (independent, but only from people and nations) European Central Bank, in fact to the position of an unelected European super Prime Minister.

The revolt of Europeans is developing along national lines for a number of reasons. Most people, especially the most threatened, and in particular the more traditional working class, feel the need, by instinct, before they hear anybody telling them, of state and of nation to protect them. Some people in the Left believe this is reactionary, but they have to explain why is progressive the replacement of national states from the international rule of big Banks (many of them and the most important, they are not even European!)

It is not a coincidence, that those revolts are happening mainly in nations which have, more or less, a strong national tradition. Cypriots have done one of the first anti-colonial revolutions after the 2nd World War, in spite of being a handful of people opposing an Empire. In the administration councils of French multinationals they speak now English, still France remains the country of the Marseillaise and it has a tendency to remember it, every time it feels the need. By the way, the first communist revolution in modern European history, the Paris commune, begun because French bourgeoisie wanted to handle the capital to the Germans. Netherlands is one of the birthplaces of European freedom, the country of Spinoza. Ireland as a country has been defined by the revolt against foreign rule. Greeks have mounted a ferocious resistance against Hitler, when most European nations had compromised with him. They inflicted in 1940-41 the first military defeat in Europe to the Axis and their subsequent resistance has provided to the Soviets and the “General Winter” precious time, while it disturbed seriously Rommel’ s logistics in Africa. (By the way they paid a very heavy price, as they were betrayed or crashed by their Allies after the War. They risk now to suffer the same fate, paying a terrible price for both their revolt and for the unpreparedness and betrayal of their leaders).

Neoliberals have been able to control nearly all the media and political landscape, intellectuals and the public opinion. They were even capable of erasing mush of History from the program of western universities. You can be a graduated economist nowadays, but ignore completely Keynes or Galbraith, a political scientist, without having read one page of Plato or Aristotle, a psychologist ignoring the work of Freud. Even most physicists do not know how Kopernic or Galileo were thinking.

By controlling everything, they fell victim of their success, believing finally blindly their own propaganda. By saying so much time and on so many occasions that “There is no Alternative”, they became finally completely incapable of politically supporting and struggling for their own alternative. Not to speak about understanding what is going on and how people are thinking.

In the environment of prosperity of the ’90s, all that seemed extremely strong and successful. But as both the middle classes and more oppressed social strata felt the pressure of the economic crisis and then of the financial crisis of 2008, the material conditions for neoliberal hegemony begun to collapse and with them the political and ideological foundations of the European Union. Unsatisfied by the pro-globalisation turn of many leftist politicians and parties, the traditional working class has in some cases deserted them moving to the far right, the other anti-establishment pole. The identities neoliberalism tried to suppress for ever, did not disappear, they went “underground”, remaining deeply inside the collective (and nationally organized) subconscious, ready to be waken up when people feel the need to legalize their resistance to a threatening new order.

Political corectness finished by blinding its architects and rehabilitating many of the very same ideas it was persecuting!

Right and Left, destroying and building

European Right seems more fit to the role of finishing the collapsing European Union and destroying the existing European order.

But the real question is not this any more. The real question is what will replace the existing European order and how to avoid the rather unavoidable, in the middle term, collapse of the existing European order will not lead also to the collapse of Europe.

For various reasons, the simple return of Europe to its nation-states, cannot be the solution. And even if British, French and Germans can as a minimum think and try it, nobody else can seriously believe to such a perspective. This is why, the defense of the nation-states and of what remains of democracy in their context is absolutely necessary, but in the same time is impossible without the emergence of a new project, socio-economic and international, able to replace the collapsing neoliberal Order.

If Europeans needed finally the Right to destroy, they will probably need some sort of Left to build. But this should be a much more radical, much more serious, much more dedicated Left, deprived of its illusions about the EU and globalization and its opportunism.

The result of the British referendum illustrates well the hard choices Sanders and Corbyn will be pushed to make, between the radicalism which propelled them to their positions and the conservatism of their parties. To succeed they should find a way to unite the dissent, the reformism of those who still have much to lose and those who have nothing to lose. The conclusions the Podemos leadership in Spain and the leaders of the French and the German Left will draw from the British case may be be also of crucial importance not only for the immediate future of the continent, but for its History.