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Friday lay day – The Troika is the enemy and its either exit or capitulation

Its the Friday lay day blog. Lay day means rest, sometimes. The Greek government paid €450 million back to the IMF bloodsuckers yesterday which apparently calmed markets (Source). How can a so-called bankrupt country afford to pay that sort of cash? Well it can by causing more unemployment and poverty. The Government is trying to appease the Troika (IMF, ECB and the European Union) so that they will given them more cash in the coming weeks. Appeasement is an appropriate word here. Just as in the historical context, it means going along with something evil that will ultimately backfire and cause more grief. But then according to the US economist James Galbraith, in his latest apology (April 7, 2015), Syriza is – The Real Thing: An Anti-austerity European Government. Funny about that. Unless it is flying below all perception, Syriza seems trapped by an anti-democratic force that is intent on squeezing any notion of abandoning austerity from its agenda. And, try to square Galbraith’s claims against the insights provided by Alain Badiou and Stathis Kouvelakis in this interchange (April 3, 2015) – Dangerous Days Ahead.

Galbraith’s claim is that he has a “close vantage point” to observe what is really “unfolding in Europe”. That is his ‘authority’.

He says that what is “at stake” in the current political machinations in Europe is:

… the future of Europe and beyond that, to the meaning of the word democracy in our time … [and Syriza and the Greek people] … have dismantled – I think definitively – and banished an entire previous political class.

The so-called progressive left in Europe is enchanted with this ideal of ‘Europe’ as an expression of sophistication and unity.

It is a pipe dream. The European Union has some purpose. It is a good forum for matters that affect all nations on that continent – things like rule of law, climate change, immigration and refugees. These concerns are best dealt with in a multilateral manner.

But there will never be a functional and effective European economy with one fiscal authority and one sympathetic monetary authority. The cultural, language and structural differences are too great for ‘Europe’ to be an effective monetary union.

To tie the economic ambitions into the other worthy European concerns is to endanger both. The European Project is being derailed by the attempts to force it to be an economic project.

My interpretation of Syriza’s burning ambition to remain in the Euro is that it is caught up in the left idealism about Europe. Galbraith’s words seem to echo this starry-eyed idealism.

He recognises that the Greeks are caught up in a “an elaborate, well-laid political and economic trap. It’s more than a trap actually. It’s more like a minefield or an obstacle course that is entirely of human construction. It’s purely artificial.”

It is purely artificial because it rests on the big threat – go along with us or leave the Eurozone. The people of Greece have been duped into believing remaining in the Eurozone is good for them. And so Syriza goes along with that, independent of whether they as a party believe that (although I think they do believe it!). Yet the Germans and others do not want Greece out because then Italy and Spain would see Greece prospering and the austerity myth would explode within the European borders.

Syriza keeps reinforcing the fact that it has no bargaining power in this respect. In Moscow, its Prime Minister reiterated that (Source):

The goal of the government is for Greece to remain in the euro.

If the Greeks said they were out if the debts weren’t cancelled then things would be quite different. Calling what is happening a victory for democracy is rather far fetched. Yes, the EU has not invaded Greek in protest against the election of a ‘left-wing’ government that would be repugnant to the elites of Europe.

But, Syriza was going to reject the debt, ban the Troika agents from visiting, stop privatisations, and restore growth through spending initiatives. None of which has transpired.

Galbraith defends the Troika as having “a legitimate role”. How is the Troika a legitimate role in a democracy?

The IMF is unelected by the Greek people. The ECB is unelected by the Greek people. The EU is a distant bureaucrasy. None are accountable to the Greek people.

How are the debts incurred by the previous governments (Galbraith’s “rotten and corrupt previous, two-party duopoly”) legitimate when the servicing of them is largely to the advantage of foreign banks and other financial interests and only a modicum of the bailout funds actually went to help the Greek people in their day to day matters like eating, having acceptable health care, working for reasonable wages etc?

Galbraith thinks it is acceptable for the “international teams” to conduct surveillance (he calls it “finding out the facts”) in Greece. He notes that now the Troika now have been forced to put “their request for documents from the Greek government in writing” as if that is a big step forward for democracy and is “putting the relationship between the two sides on a proper footing of good order and regular exchange of documents”.

The whole relationship is predicated on the austerity principles that govern European politics. It is a flawed agenda and one that progressives should reject.

The Greek government should refuse to give the Troika documents that are reporting economic concepts that are loaded. For example, concepts such as ‘structural’ fiscal balances, which are inputs in the Excessive Deficit machinery the European Commission runs and is supported by its Troika partners are not legitimate in the way they are constructed by the Troika.

The way these ‘balances’ are constructed biases the result towards a finding of excessive structural deficits.

So why would a progressive left government provide this misleading information – just because they now get the requests in writing?

French philosopher Alain Badiou and Greek Syriza politician Stathis Kouvelakis engaged in a very interesting debate recently about the Greek situation.

If you understand French, there was a related interchange on the TV program ‘Contre-courant’ between the two in March – Syriza, l’heure des périls.

Stathis Kouvelakis interprets the negotiations in February between Syriza and the Troika in hostile terms:

… the Greek government really had its back up against the wall in its discussions with its so-called European partners. (I could hardly think of a less appropriate term, given that they are in fact its enemies, resolute enemies who are extremely determined to defeat it.)

So much for legitimacy and the high ideal of Europe.

In terms of Syriza’s ambitions to “to break with austerity within the framework of the European institutions, and, more particularly, within the terms of the eurozone”, Stathis Kouvelakis said:

Now we can say that we’ve seen the limits of this strategy. We’ve seen that these European institutions are not receptive to this kind of political or democratic argument, which says “we’re an elected government with a mandate to carry out, and you’re our central bank, and we can expect you to do your work and let us do what we were elected to do.”

So much for the restoration of the ideals of democracy.

Stathis Kouvelakis is clear in his summary of the role of the Troika and there is nothing legitimate about it:

These institutions are there in order to lock in extremely harsh neoliberal policies, to lock in the troika supervision of entire countries. And that’s exactly what they’ve set out to do, forcing the Greek government into making retreats — very serious retreats — in the February 20 agreement. And indeed the troika has made its reappearance, renamed as “the institutions,” and at this very moment the teams of troika experts are in Athens scrutinizing Greece’s accounts.

He concedes that there has been a novelty introduced – a “bras-de-fer” (arm wrestle) even though Syriza is in a forced retreat.

His hope that “the confrontation isn’t over yet” and Syriza has to “put an alternative approach in place in order to avoid a repeat of what was decided in February.”

Alain Badiou noted that the “enemies aren’t playing the game” so how will Syriza “engage” to achieve their goals. He reminded us of the election of François Mitterrand in May 1981 as a sort of popular Socialist left hero celebrated by “tens of thousands of people …[taking] … to the streets”.

The French were sick of the austerity of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and Raymond Barre. Mitterand was the first left-wing leader elected under universal suffrage in France.

His – 100 Propositions for France – today read like a Syriza wish list. Nationalisation, raising the minimum wage, a shorter working week, more holiday, a tax on wealth, increased income support payments, enhanced workers’ rights within the workplace, boosts to public housing and health care, and more.

A veritable left utopia.

Then the so-called “tournant de rigueur” (the austerity turn) – the famous U-turn came as Monetarist ideas from the US academy infested policy making and elevated inflation as the principle problem and allowed unemployment to be used as a policy tool to suppress inflation.

From 1983, Mitterand was an austerity-ridden Monetarist government with little semblance of its left-wing beginnings.

Alain Badiou is correct to remind us of that abandonment of progressive principles. He said:

But very quickly we saw the emergence of a type of government action that very quickly abandoned all that, little by little retreating into the traditional workings of the state order, giving in to conjunctural imperatives. And that broke this movement. All that happened within about two years. Now with Syriza we’re not two years in yet, but all the same I’m rather haunted by this image.

While noting differences between the origins of Syriza and Mitterand’s PS (Socialist Party), Stathis Kouvelakis observed that both governments were caught in the ‘European’ dilemma.

For Mitterand it was whether to exit the European Monetary System, which would have given his government the ‘Keynesian’ scope to fulfull its ‘100 Propositions’. The alternative was to remain in the EMS, “within the European framework and make a neoliberal turn”.

In this respect, Syriza is similarly trapped. He said:

Either it takes a path of rupture with the European framework … or else it will have to give in, which would be a very heavy defeat with potentially disastrous consequences. Not only for Greece, but also for the whole political struggle going on in Europe at the present moment.

The inference being that to stay in the Eurozone requires a continuation of ‘neoliberal’ austerity. The very denial of the existence of Syriza.

That is a world of difference in conception to that paraded out by Galbraith.

Stathis Kouvelakis considers that:

If the enemy — and it is an enemy — knows in advance that there is a line that you won’t cross, he’ll naturally focus all his pressure exactly there. And that’s exactly what’s happened, and will continue up to the point of besieging Greece and forcing its capitulation.

For Europe’s political elites and the economic interests they represent, it’s vital not only to force Syriza into a retreat, but to humiliate it politically. Such a political humiliation would also be a shot across the bows of Podemos and all the social and political forces in Europe that challenge austerity policies: “See what happened to the Greeks? That’s what’s in store for you if you try and do the same.”

Which means that the Greek Prime Minister is playing into the hands of the political elites when the avows to remain in the Eurozone.

Without that bargaining chip, Syriza will be crushed. I agree with Stathis Kouvelakis “there is no middle course between rupture and capitulation”.

The fear of the Troika is that with rupture Greece would succeed. Alain Badiou puts it in this way:

That would really be a political earthquake in Europe, if the Greeks could shine a magnificent beacon showing that it is possible to interrupt Europe’s constant neoliberal slide and its being governed according to capital’s financial and economic needs …

That is the point. The elites are scared of rupture, which gives Syriza a powerful weapon – one that it seemingly will not use, yet.

But there is nothing, to use Galbraith’s words, “legitimate” going on at present.

Australian sporting legend – Richie Benaud dead

As a youngster I really liked Richie Benaud as the captain of the Australian cricket team, even if he was a New South Welshman. He died today. Here is the – ABC Tribute.

To celebrate his life, here is Billy Birmingham, aka as – The Twelfth Man – who is the doyen of Richie Benaud impersonators.

Australian readers (and perhaps other cricket playing nations) will appreciate Billy Birmingham’s rap song – Marvellous – taken from his 2006 CD ‘Boned’, where apparently the owner of the TV network that covers cricket decided to sack (‘bone’) all the commentators and replace them with Billy Birmingham as a cost-cutting measure.

The 12th Man could impersonate them all so the TV company could impose austerity – pay one salary only – and get the same quality broadcast. Ingenious.

Musical interlude

To restore sanity here is what I was listening to this morning as I worked.

Jazz guitarist – Lee Ritenour – providing a different working of Bob Marley’s great song – Get Up, Stand Up.

The tone on his Les Paul (when he shifts to the top pickup) is exquisite.

Saturday Quiz

The Saturday Quiz will be back again tomorrow. It will be of an appropriate order of difficulty (-:

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2015 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 28 Comments
    1. I really don’t understand the liberal elite love for the EU. Regardless of how much power it hands over to corporations and banks. Regardless of how much it impoverishes ordinary people. Regardless of how many communities it rips apart as the population is forced to hike thousands of miles in search of a crust.

      It makes no sense other than under some sort of Stockholm Syndrome context.

      Take Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party. Praising the EU to the rooftops despite what Brussels is doing to Greece.

      If London did that to Scotland – demanded that the Scottish government abandon its manifesto pledges, adopt the same neo-liberal policies as in the rest of the UK or it will shut down its bank account – then she would be crying for another independence referendum tomorrow.

      (Some might say that London is doing that and she is crying for a another referendum. But I can assure you it ain’t as bad in Scotland as it is in Greece).

      This yearning for a superstate, this United States of Europe, that *nobody* wants except the liberal elite is bizarre. The overriding concern seems to be keeping the dream of one government and no borders alive at all costs, no matter how far it slides towards authoritarianism and corporate control.

      It makes no rational sense whatsoever.

    2. Very well put, Bill. Thanks for saying it so I’m not the only one.

      I view Syriza as similar to Vidkun Quisling or to Vichy France — as collaborators, enforcing the enemy’s rule. History is not kind to Quislings.

      Agree with Neil about the Stockholm syndrome thing. But …. people want to believe in something, to belong. It is not enough to point out that the EU is bad, you have to give people something else to believe in.

    3. When the Centre and the Left squib the job then the far right will pick up the baton.
      We’ve seen what that leads to.

    4. @NeilWilson

      ‘I really don’t understand the liberal elite love for the EU. ‘

      I think we need to fully understand what Liberalism is and entails to understand this love. It is entirely consistent with Liberalism as I understand it. Dominic Lusurdo’s work ‘Liberalism – A Counter-History’ is instructive. In essence he contends that the great liberal movements of the 17th and 18th century were a revolt against the aristocracy by an emerging bourgeois class representing their interests alone. The founding fathers of the United States were of the bourgeois – they were business and land owners and the Bill of Rights and Constitution, explicitly set out to protect their class interests against the aristocracy but more importantly against the popular and universal enfranchisement amongst those classes who they regarded as being unfit to participate in decision-making. They were paradigms of the self-made individuals they conveniently lauded. Self-evidently apparently, power and decision should rest with them.

      It’s no coincidence that many of the great liberal thinkers of the time, also stood for or had slaves and argued against popular enfranchisement of the working and peasant classes.

      We are still living within that paradigm but we kid ourselves that Liberalism is somehow inherently progressive whereas it merely represents a shift from rule by the divinely ordained to the rule by the propertied where property and the ownership of capital demonstrates a reason.

    5. Bill,
      I suspect most Greeks just want to retain the Euro as their stable currency having suffered the decline of the drachma many times – however with drastic cuts to Euro payments (pensions etc) enforced by the Troika then even this hope will be decimated!
      Regards

    6. Neil,

      The English intelligentsia have always envied the French. The countryside is beautiful, the food and wine are good, the weather is better, and the population are seen to be chic, sophisticated and more sexy, on average, than your average Brit. Add in that the French have a healthy Republican tradition and don’t at all go in for all that sycophantic fawning to the Royals nonsense that is so irksome in Britain, especially England, and there’s a something for everyone of the relatively affluent, progressive left/liberal English intelligentsia to like about Europe.

      Because to them, France is Europe. Maybe we could add in the Greek islands and Tuscany, The cheap Spanish holidays to be had in Benidorm and Ibiza don’t count at all. Neither does Denmark (they supply the bacon), or Belgium (except the beer’s good), the Czech Republic ( the capital’s Prague right?)etc.

      Somehow that love for Europe, sorry France, carries over into a love for the EU.

      I’d say things were changing – if slowly. There’s an embarrassed silence on Labour’s main website Labour list about the Greek crisis. They can’t possibly support the Germans. It’s obvious they are the bad guys. But neither can they support the Greeks. That would be seen to be anti-EU. That would put them in the same camp as UKIP and the Tory right. So they nothing. Those who are the most pro -EU have nothing at all to say about the human catastrophe that is unfolding in their beloved EU. Just imagine what they’d say if the UK had even half the unemployment levels of Greece and Spain. Just imagine what they’d say if the present conditions in Greece had been caused by a military dictatorship.

      They deserve to be taunted about that. They should be made to squirm. If they really were pro-European and internationalist in outlook they’d have plenty to say about the EU’s dictatorship in Greece and other peripheral countries.

    7. Dear Bill

      No doubt, leftist enthusiasm for the EU is part of the explanation why Syriza is not considering leaving the Eurozone, but there also seems to be a practical concern, namely the fear that abandoning the euro will lead to even worse economic devastation than what Greece already endured under austerity. Yanis Varoufakis stated that clearly. If Varoufakis is right, then the Eurozone was conceived as a marriage without the possibility of divorce, which makes it even more absurd.

      Regards. James

    8. The left in Europe is die hard for “Europe” and believe in the economic household myth constraints, social-democrats in Island was against to take on the banksters and wanted Island to join EU/Euro. First after the Social-democrats was ousted from government Island withdrew it’s EU/euro bid.
      I don’t believe Syriza will leave the Euro by it’s own will, it will only happen if they are forced out and then toatally unprepared, they probably don’t has a plan B.
      Unfortunately the only chance to break the Euro spell is the nationalist right-wingers, like Marine Le Pen. But they also is believers of the household myth. But the climate is so bad that if you challenge the myth you will be declared economically irresponsible maniac and people will believe it.

      As M Thatcher said, EU is a project of intellectual vanity that will eventually self destruct.
      If there is a wish to to integrate Europe one have had to start with the people. A common second language should had been a priority. I don’t believe there can be successful integration without a large degree of assimilation, multiculturalism ideology is another idea of intellectual vanity.

    9. Understanding is made easier with the perception that both the IMF and ECB are institutions captured by a monied elite.

    10. “This yearning for a superstate, this United States of Europe, that *nobody* wants except the liberal elite is bizarre. The overriding concern seems to be keeping the dream of one government and no borders alive at all costs, no matter how far it slides towards authoritarianism and corporate control.

      It makes no rational sense whatsoever.” Neil Wilson.

      It does when you see that most voters and politicians fail to understand credit is simply borrowing income the government hasn’t created yet. In other words private banks take a position, leverage or set up a toll booth on money creation that can only be debt repayment serviced in a “stable” manner through government created income.

    11. Neil Wilson, when I question them about the EU I usually get snarky responses like “do you write for the daily telegraph” and popularity argument (most people in the EU want to stay in?)

    12. “My interpretation of Syriza’s burning ambition to remain in the Euro is that it is caught up in the left idealism about Europe. Galbraith’s words seem to echo this starry-eyed idealism.”

      Not hardly! (I’m writing from Athens). If any branch of SYRIZA was starry-eyed about Europe it is Kouvelakis & ilk; since you’ve seen his thoughts, please magnify them across the rest of the Greeks. The only Left Greeks I know that still harbor an interest in Europe are the economically ignorant. Europe has always been an economic project above all else; the 4 Freedoms, Social Europe etc – which never included democracy btw – were a tag-on and the first to be discounted.

      The best position for Greece is to be outside the eurozone and inside EU while the EU dog-and-pony show lasts. (The ultimate position would be neutrality with alliances to all the blocs around it). But for the hugely damaged and ill constructed Greek economy and an impoverished population this is best done in well managed steps. With 42% of the population presently depending on a single pension (sometimes for 4 generations of a family) real care is needed. It is easy for people with jobs & some security to comment on this blog & condemn; I wonder how many would feel the same way if say the 3 or 4 people in their families had been faced for 5 years with depending on grandma – and mismanagement at the top cut off their only funding? We are talking Survival here, not Left-Right ideological impurities and other nonsense.

      Frankly the situation in Greece has moved beyond Left & Right anyway. Given the panic in northern Europe (any position held so rigidly and accompanied by so much propaganda signals panic, obviously about their banks) most Greeks assume we are heading for default inside the euro – unless EWG backs down – i.e. makes an honorable compromise. Default will be extremely painful for Greeks, but if managed well by SYRIZA could be even more painful for the EZ :))

      The one thing SYRIZA cannot do is make a unilateral action like default without popular consent inside Greece. Therefore they need to demonstrate that they are sincerely trying their best, including compromise as the Greeks have asked. If Greece is pushed into default by the Eurogroup so be it, but without political consent SYRIZA cannot take Greece there. This is a matter of democracy in a context of survival, not ideology. Meanwhile please note: not everything under discussion now is final, i.e. debt restructure was taken off the table for this final MOU tranche: it is not off the table forever.

    13. Since I started watching cricket seriously my top 3 (in that order) commentators have been:

      1. Bill Lawry
      2. Richie Benaud and
      3. Henry blofeld

      It is indeed one of the saddest day in world cricket.

    14. “seems to be a practical concern, namely the fear that abandoning the euro will lead to even worse economic devastation than what Greece already endured”

      Is this even possible? Iceland certainly hasn’t had this experience, and Iceland has fewer resources than Greece.

      Pain that results from self-determination has to be better than that imposed by outsiders.

    15. Liberalism has simply been exposed for what it is.
      The ultimate expression of a totalitarian society.

      It is the handmaiden of capitalism.
      We currently live in a era of anti freedom.

      Belloc was quite clear about this.
      When they speak of freedom they speak of freedom for the few on the backs of the many.

      Simply witness Irish “progressive “social law and anti family referendums , its the cost the society pays in return for the Rothschilds money.
      Its portrayed as a increase of freedom but in reality it is of course not.
      The cloud of state propaganda prevents the masses from understanding this.
      The atomization of society is progressing just nicely from the bankers perspective.
      The Galbraiths of this world are its little footsoldiers.

      We are dealing with the grave consequences of the materialist doctrine.
      Which is a religious belief like the others but in my opinion far more destructive then real ( rather then fake Calvinism) Christianity .
      I am afraid MMT or the war party holds much responsibility in this grave matter which will no doubt lead to a further implosion of western society.

    16. “But there will never be a functional and effective European economy with one fiscal authority and one sympathetic monetary authority. The cultural, language and structural differences are too great for ‘Europe’ to be an effective monetary union.”

      Excellent! At least, somebody understands the reality of peoples living on the land mass named Europe!

    17. Lars P Syll had a Nicholas Kaldor quote on his site today worth repeating:

      Some day the nations of Europe may be ready to merge their national identities and create a new European Union – the United States of Europe. If and when they do, a European Government will take over all the functions which the Federal government now provides in the U.S., or in Canada or Australia. This will involve the creation of a “full economic and monetary union”. But it is a dangerous error to believe that monetary and economic union can precede a political union or that it will act (in the words of the Werner report) “as a leaven for the evolvement of a political union which in the long run it will in any case be unable to do without”. For if the creation of a monetary union and Community control over national budgets generates pressures which lead to a breakdown of the whole system it will prevent the development of a political union, not promote it.

      Nicholas Kaldor (1971)

    18. “The European Union has some purpose. It is a good forum for matters that affect all nations on that continent – things like rule of law, climate change, immigration and refugees. These concerns are best dealt with in a multilateral manner.”

      This is grossly incorrect.
      In all matters European policy is destructive.
      We can look at euro fishing policy / farming back in the 60s / 70 which was disastrous for Ireland, its people and its ecosystem – contrast this with effective Icelandic policy in this regard.

      Today we can clearly observe the climate change agenda is a obvious attempt to create real scarcity via direct industrial sabotage.
      (Think of the conversion of Drax into a biomass electrical production plant – this is perhaps the most wasteful concept imaginable)
      These people are not fools.
      I should think they understand basic thermodynamics and such.
      The agenda as always is the same.
      To preserve relative wealth disparity even at the cost of massive wealth destruction and societal collapse.
      The freedom of the few over the great mass of the population.
      That is after all the primary goal of capitalism since day one.
      We know clearly understand it certainly is not to produce goods for market.
      It is to directly control the market itself and redirect the surplus energy to the few who are close to the monopoly of credit system.

    19. European health and safety policy is not to preserve health.

      It has reached absurd levels of rigour to the point it has massively increased costs.

      They cannot now say they care about the life of people given the higher death rate as a result of medical cuts in Greece and to a lesser extent Ireland.
      So what is its real agenda.
      In the case of car maintaince requirements it is clearly designed to push up the costs of running old cars so that you are forced to buy new models.
      It has nothing to do with people on the ground.
      It has everything to do with the connected super corporations.

    20. All good comments.

      My “two cents”….

      I have always considered the EURO to be an American project…..Cui Bono?

      The EEC made good economic sense to a war torn Europe….peace and prosperity for all!

      The USA has occupied and controlled all Europe since the collapse of the Soviet Union,militarily,economically and politically.

      “Let’s join the EEC” became..”.let’s join the EURO”…which became …”let’s join NATO”..voila! ..job done.

      The Federal Reserve System,issuing the worlds reserve currency controls all currency valuations via Forex interventions,likewise Britains Bank of England.

      In spite of strident complaints concerning the rigging of Markets world wide,the sad fact is that in both Britain and the US,it is legal to intervene to ‘support’ ones currency.

      Britain started with ‘The Exchange Equalization Account’ and the US followed with the ‘Exchange Stabilization Fund’…they have been used extensively since the collapse of the London Gold Pool and the introduction of ISO numbers for currency pair manipulations.

      The EURO,like all modern markets and currencies are Fake!!!….remember, it was fake valuations that enabled Greece to enter the EURO…..and the Elites aided by ‘The Goldman Sachs’ made lots of Shekels
      “Doing Gods Work” so that poor people can live in caves,again!.

      Aren’t we lucky to have such erudite politicians?

      Bubbles? what bubbbles?

    21. On Mitterand’s “tournant de la rigeur” Alain Parguez & Jean-Gabriel Bliek’s 2008 Mitterrand’s Turn to Conservative Economics- A Revisionist History building on Robert Eisner’s 1983 Which Way for France?, the result of a study Eisner undertook for the French government, are absolute must-reads.

      The 1983 turn, the destruction of Mitterrand’s purported & France’s real “socialist” hopes was planned from the beginning by Mitterrand & homegrown French lunatic “economists”, and as Eisner explained, was fostered by the French (European) “obsession with trade deficits” & foreign exchange value. Mitterrand was the Cameron or Merkel or Schauble of his day, not the Tsipras or Varoufakis. And also the progenitor of the Euro!
      supermundane: I agree: Domenico Losurdo’s ‘Liberalism – A Counter-History’ is very much worth reading. A very nuanced and careful account and explanation of emancipation and disemancipation.

    22. Syriza was elected (with a plurality below forty percent) on the basis of its commitment to remain in the euro. Any unilateral action to leave the euro, such as the debt repudiation called for by Mitchell, would be a betrayal of a specific commitment to the Greek people. It would have democratic legitimacy only after a new election or referendum. Its policy is a European policy, and a long-run policy. Idiotic Stalinists and the useless ultraleftist idiots may dream of the Socialism In a Single Country that they deludedly believe once existed somewhere, a “Socialism With Greek Characteristics.” No.

    23. I just thought that I’d mention the derided Bennite wing of the UK Labour Party who have always opposed the undemocratic, neoliberal project of the EU. They still exist but not in positions of power within the LP elite. However, if one remembers that far back, Harold Wilson had to pull a fast one in order to get the UK to pass the referendum in 1974 because membership of the EU was overwhelmingly opposed by the left.

      The commitment of the LP hierarchy and TUC to the EU, coincided with the transatlanticism which had been fostered by the US post-war. The New Labour Project was foisted on the grassroots of the LP, and the electorate, in much the same way as the EU has developed.

    24. The Labour Party in the UK warmed to Europe as it seemed to offer some respite from Thatcherism with Jacques Delors running the show and talk of the Social Chapter, 48 hour week etc. John Monks led the TUC from 1993 and helped persuade unions to overcome hostility to the EU in line with the Labour political elite. Unions now are very hostile to TTIP and gradually becoming more Eurosceptic but only the RMT Union is notably anti-EU, presumably because the EU is now a block to re nationalisation of rail.

    25. Do you think that the EU would be better if it got rid of the Maastrict and Lisbon treaties, which in part restrict deficit spending and money creation by sovereign states? Also if the states went back to their own currency for domestic use to allow money creation? Would it be better for individual countries to remain as a trading block and keep the social chapter, but just throw out the economic strangle hold?

    26. Dork of Cork, I agree with much of what you’ve written here but when you wrote this part:

      “Simply witness Irish “progressive “social law and anti family referendums , its the cost the society pays in return for the Rothschilds money. Its portrayed as a increase of freedom but in reality it is of course not.”

      did you mean the referendum on allowing same-sex couples to wed?

      If so, then of course it increases freedom, because it removes a piece of oppression. However I’d agree with you if what you’re pointing to is the purpose of the project at the topmost levels – of course they don’t care about the general public’s freedom.

      But what makes me doubtful is your use of the phrase ‘anti-family’, which is ridiculous because the damage inflicted on families by society’s prejudice against same-sex love and same-sex sex is huge. Quite frankly, it is that prejudice and condemnation which causes families to be torn apart, and so could be accurately labelled ‘anti-family’.

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