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The EU: From Social-Democratic Dream to Neoliberal Nightmare

Frank Lee Reviews The Left Case Against the EU by Costas Lapavitsas

Britain, in the shape of Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, initially joined the EEC in 1973, after Charles de Gaulle’s resignation in 1969. De Gaulle had always been opposed to the Anglo-Saxon axis, regarding the UK as a ‘Trojan Horse’ for US geopolitical objectives, and consistently blocked the UK’s attempted entry into continental Europe. According to DG Britain ‘was not European enough’. With the General out of the way the path was clear for British entry.

However, this was not an altogether popular move with much of the electorate and some quite solid opposition from elements in both main political parties. This being the case the then Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, opted for a referendum on continued membership in 1975 to settle the issue. The electorate voted ‘Yes’ by 67.2% to 32.8% to stay in Europe. As I recall I voted ‘Yes’ and even wrote a pamphlet in support entitled: “EU the unfinished project.”

However, I was then blissfully unaware that the project which I had in mind bore little resemblance to the real strategy of the EU architects. At that time the neo-liberal counter-revolution was still in its infancy and did not really get into its stride until the 1980s. Prior to this there was an interregnum between the ending of the post-war settlement in 1975 and the emergence of the new world order. During this interlude it was still possible to believe in the independence of Europe, national sovereignty, the welfare state and a settlement where an independent social-democratic Europe stood as a bridge between the harsh realities of both American capitalism/imperialism and Soviet Communism.

Alas today the social-democratic, welfare-capitalism consensus is gone, probably forever, to be replaced by the brutal reality of an off-the-leash juggernaut which gives no quarter. Europe is now essentially an occupied zone. An American controlled political/economic/military bloc effectively corralled by NATO as well as other US puppet-facade institutions such as the IMF, WTO and World Bank. And the irony of all this is that the Europeans are not even aware of it.

In Western Europe many have come to accept without challenge the primal role of the US over the affairs of their states and give little thought to NATO except as a foundation to their security architecture. They have been raised and socialised as this as part of their world. In many instances it is not only a normal part of the status quo for them, but it is also invisible for them. This is why the post-Cold war continuation of the Atlantic Alliance went mostly unchallenged at the societal level in NATO member states, leaving the US to slowly consolidate its influence in each and every state.” [1]

Thus, from the outset there was no question of an independent European foreign and economic policy. US interests and strategy dictated that Europe was to play the role of a forward base to counter the putative ‘Soviet threat’. This has all been detailed in the literature including such as Operation Gladio, Lifting the Veil and more recently Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists). Such was the geopolitical aspect of this American occupation. But Europe – now expanded to include almost all of the former Eastern European satellites and ex-Soviet republics – bought and paid for – were incorporated into the ongoing expansion of the NATO-EU bloc.

Turning to the book itself. In terms of methodology Mr Lapavitsas tends to keep to the economic developments occurring since the Treaty of Rome in 1956. This is made clear from the outset. ‘ … military and foreign policy issues will not be considered in this book.’ Given the magnitude and scope of recent events and given that the book is only 150 pages, this seems a judicious approach.

To say the EU has reached what could be a terminal crisis seems a quite feasible judgement; in fact, the process seems well underway.

The ideological authority of the EU has shrivelled, its democratic credentials have been devalued, its moral standing has taken a series of blows, and its unity has cracked. In 2016, following a bitterly contested referendum, Britain decided to leave. Moreover, rising right-wing authoritarian parties in several other countries have begun to impose a direct challenge to the very existence of the EU.” [2]

How different this seems to those halcyon days of Euro triumphalism ushered in to the strains of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and ‘Ode to Joy’ when the great EU experiment was hailed as the new civilization. Surely nothing could go wrong? But it did.

The EU monstrosity started life as the seemingly innocent Treaty of Rome established in 1957; this initially incorporating West Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries which ultimately grew into a larger and more ambitious grouping. This was more than simply a free trade area as its proponents openly stated. In a speech in Zurich back in 1946 no less a person than Winston Churchill, for one, had spoken of the need to create a “European Family” or a “United States of Europe” to ensure peace in Europe.

The first step along this road was to implement the Schuman Plan, the brainchild of French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman who wanted to create a single body to control the production of steel and coal in France and West Germany, and any other European country who wanted to be a member. And so, the show was to get on the road. After Britain’s accession further members were to join the club.

By 2013 almost the whole of Eastern and Western Europe had become members with the exception of Russia (of course) Switzerland, Turkey, Belarus, Ukraine and Georgia, some Balkan states. Ominously enough many if not most of these states were or were to become full members of NATO. In addition, after the Lisbon Treaty of 2009, EU security policy was aligned with that of NATO. The EU and NATO had become joined at the hip – under US leadership (i.e., control).

A critical event was to take place in the EU in 1992, namely the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, and this was to prove pivotal in the future direction in the grand EU Project.

This treaty was the fruit of long negotiation and debate and its most important was the creation of a future common currency – the euro; it also reasserted the 4 freedoms of the EU, which were already stipulated in the original Treaty of Rome in 1957, namely the free movement of goods, the free movement of capital, the free establishment and provision of services, and the free movement of persons.” [3]

In policy terms this was of course unsullied neo-liberalism. (The only thing missing being the euro – that would come later.)The programme involved the surrender of sovereignty such that nations no longer had control of movements of capital in and out of their country, could not therefore control exchange rate movements, could not control the level of imports or exports, and could not control levels of labour movement. Capital was free to do virtually as it liked with practically no restraints. Governments were to withdraw from attempting to control market forces and leave the economy to central banks who could only control money supply.[4] The liberal virus had crossed the pond and the EU was headed in the direction of Americanization through neo-liberalism and the social philosophy of competitive individualism.

However, fitting a mosaic of sovereign states with different cultures, languages, institutions and wide differentials of economic development was never going to be practicable, and so it turned out. The EU area is not an optimal currency zone and never was. And a one currency, one-interest-rate for all states does not allow for these divergences. As Lapavitsas explains:

First it would be impossible for member states to apply domestic policies favouring particular industries or economic sectors by fixing the prices of inputs, outputs or labour. Second, member states would not be able to adopt an independent monetary policy, and indeed the union would have to form its own central bank. Third, it would be much more difficult for member states to intervene and control economic activity by regulating the quality of goods and work practices. Fourth, the methods of raising tax would become much more homogeneous to prevent the outflow of capital from one members state to another.” [5]

The free movement of capital or liberalization of capital account, which in plain English simply means that states must open up their borders – whether they are in a position to do so or not – to inflows and outflows of foreign capital. Such inflows of capital are not necessarily Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) or other forms of productive financing; much of these capital flows are simply speculative investment or ‘hot money’ usually targeting, property, currencies, or stocks and which have caused mayhem in the developing world. The East Asian crisis of 1997-98 was victim to this visitation which caused havoc to their economies stands as a prime example. In passing it should be noted that China bucked the trend and did not allow ‘hot money’ incursions into its economy and was not affected since it had very strong capital controls.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, we then had the Stability & Growth Pact in 1997. This was, to borrow a term from Max Weber, another lock on the Iron Cage of European Monetary Union (EMU). Briefly stated this arrangement was aimed at framing an alignment of fiscal and monetary policies (‘sound money’) among members of the EU. The SGP meant that members should adhere to strict fiscal discipline which would be enforced and maintained within the EMU. A fiscal policy target for every EU country to stay within the limits on government deficit was stipulated at a budgetary deficit 3% of GDP and sovereign debt-to-GDP ratio 60% of GDP.

Well, in practice not even the French or Germans could manage that, so they just ignored it. The policy itself resulted, ironically, in no-growth and instability. We were back in the days of inter-war period, of Montagu Norman at the Bank of England and what Keynes called the ‘Treasury View’. Back in the days of Secretary of the US Treasury Department, Andrew Mellon, who served Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover as Treasury secretary and who enjoined them during the onset of the great depression to: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.” In short: Stone Age economics

The final nail in the coffin was of course the introduction of the euro. The single currency was launched in January 1999 and was to put final lock on the Iron Cage. Any pretence of a group of equal nations pooling sovereignty was forgotten as one particular nation gradually assumed a quasi-hegemonic status, to wit: Germany. Within the Eurozone there were countries of unequal economic development. If all of these countries were using the euro, those with the highest levels of productivity and lowest costs would start to run a trade surplus whilst those countries low productivity and high costs would run trade deficits.

The gap between the core states Germany, Holland and the Scandanavian/Nordic bloc grew as were in effect using an undervalued currency whilst the southern periphery – Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece were using an overvalued currency. In the normal course of events such imbalances are rectified by currency adjustments – devaluation or revaluation. But that would require different national currencies, but unfortunately there was only one currency. This meant that the deficit countries would be forced into what became known as ‘internal devaluation’ more commonly understood as austerity. In addition to this has been the lack of fiscal transfers from the more developed to the less developed or one state to another.

Fiscal transfers within sovereign states, from Vermont to Louisiana or Surrey to Merseyside, or the North to the South of Italy, is quite normal, but fiscal transfers between sovereign states between, say, Finland and Greece, is more problematic. In the same spirit:

…the lack of mutualization of public debt, i.e., allowing the debt of one-member state to be considered as an obligation of another and proposed to correct it through the issue of Eurobonds’’ … But ‘’The members of the EU have neither the legitimacy nor the desire to carry the costs and burdens of each other’s actions. This is not in the least surprising since among a group of sovereign states that rest on capitalist relations in their domestic economy and society.” [6]

In any event the whole notion of cost sharing was vetoed by the Germans.

Moving on to the centrality of Germany and German economic policy in this shifting economic montage, Lapavitsas draws attention to the gradual increasing dominance of what is the de facto European economic powerhouse. It was perhaps inevitable that Germany would – in economic terms at least – become the regional hegemon in this continental configuration. After all,

…it had a and globally competitive industrial base, pivoting on automobiles, chemicals and machine tools. Its exports enabled it to command vast surpluses on current account thus providing the wherewithal to lend globally.” [7]

Whether this Teutonic pre-eminence was a conscious policy choice on the part of Germany, or merely a policy-drift due to the internal structure of Germany’s post-war policy configuration seems debatable. Germany had certainly bucked the Anglo-American trend of de-industrialisation and financialization which had become de rigueur internationally as a result of the putative ‘efficiency’ of the Anglo-American model. Germany had not deindustrialised, had a smallish stock market compared with other developed states, eschewed as far as possible a system of equity funding and maintained a traditional reliance on bank funding for industry since long term relations were easier to develop among corporations and banks and the internal structure of corporations is not driven by the desire to placate stock markets. Moreover, the German banking system had a multitiered and competitively structured organization which included a raft of smaller and medium sized banks, the Sparkassen, which operated with a local focus. This stood in stark to the oligopolistic banking monoliths of the Atlantic world.

Additionally, there were further reasons why Germany emerged as the EU hegemon. Primarily, Germany did not sacrifice its world class industrial-export sector on the altar of deindustrialisation. But instead adopted and adapted its own variant of financialization while at the same time protected its industrial sector by manipulating its exchange rate to protect exports.

The German manufacturing sector is highly productive, export-oriented and has maintained relatively strong union representation in the wage formation process compared to the rest of the private (domestic) sector which has modest productivity and relatively weak unions. than in other EU countries.” [8]

In the domestic economy, however, Germany was able to restructure wage costs and working conditions with the imposition of the Hartz reforms – a set of policies waged arrayed against German labour which pushed down costs through the implementation of ‘flexible’ labour markets. This gave Germany a competitive first-mover, edge in intra-European trade resulting in an ongoing surplus on its current account. And when one state achieves a (recurring) surplus on current account other states must record a deficit on current account. In this instance this was the southern periphery.

In sharp contrast to the southern periphery the eastern periphery of central Europe was not part of the eurozone which means that they were not ensnared in the Iron Cage of EMU and enabled to keep their own currencies. But heavy German investment in this area produced a core-periphery relationship where low-wage, semi-skilled assembly work was farmed out to Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. That is the usual pattern of FDI supply chains. High-end production, including R&D was kept at Home Base.

Central European peripheries have come to depend heavily on Germany for technology and markets. If Germany faced a severe recession so would probably be the whole of Central Europe.” [9]

Thus, Germany was to become the overseer of an increasingly neo-liberal order precisely at the time when the 2008 blow-out was to cross the Atlantic and usher in a quasi-permanent period of instability for the whole EU project. The main actors in the future development of the EU were the ECB the EC and the IMF, the infamous Troika. The ECB in particular was the paragon of Banking, monetary and fiscal rectitude. This was underlined insofar as it was domiciled in Frankfurt as was the Bundesbank and was heavily influenced in policy terms by this particular institution.

Given the international linkages of global finance the US crisis – 2008 – was to spread to Europe in the shape of house-price bubbles in Ireland, Spain, and the UK, together with the dreaded derivatives of Mortgage Backed Securities and (MBSs) and Credit Default Swaps (CDSs). This precipitated the crisis of the Eurozone from 2010 onwards. This has been covered in great depth elsewhere as has the Greek crisis, but it is worth noting that the reaction of the authorities was wholly predictable. The IMF’s initial response – who, like the Bourbons, had learnt nothing, forgotten nothing – was true to form, and in line with the of the postulates of the Washington Consensus From the initial analysis, wholly incorrect, the IMF claimed that the crisis was due to a loss of competitiveness by the peripheral states owing to their institutional weakness. The checklist read:

Inadequate fiscal controls on government; weak taxation systems; collective bargaining and protection for workers against firing; extensive public ownership of productive and other resources; restrictive regulations in goods and services markets; bank loans advanced on concessional and even corrupt terms; and so forth.” [10]

This being the case the IMF prescribed the by now its usual universal cure-all for the stricken states. Using Portugal as the IMF template for its miraculous, growth-enhancing, structural reforms we have the following. The IMF/EU decided to reduce public holidays to 4 days per year, provide three days fewer annual holidays, proposed a 50% reduction in overtime rates, and an end to collective bargaining agreements. Additionally, there would be more work-time management, a removal of restrictions on the power to fire workers, the lowering of severance payments on losing jobs, and forced arbitration of labour disputes.

And we’re not quite finished. For good measure there was to be the deregulation of markets. Utilities were to be opened up to competition which usually results in a decline in competition as utility cartels are formed. Pharmacies are to have their margins cut, so small pharmacies will earn less, but there is no reduction of drug prices from big Pharma, the real monopolies. The professions are to be deregulated, so lawyers cannot make such fat fees, but anybody can become a teacher or taxi driver or drive a large truck within minimal or no training. Finally, there follows privatisation of the remaining state entities sold at knock-down prices to private asset companies to pay down debt and enlarge the profit potential of the private capitalist centre. It is more or less the same proposals as Greece, Spain, Italy and Ireland.

Thus, the euro crisis foundered on with the Greek debacle centre-stage.[11] Central to the crisis was the drying up of easy credit from the core states to the southern periphery.

In early 2010 private lenders – mainly German and French – took fright and began to sharply reverse the flow of loanable capital to the periphery, seeking instead to have their older loans paid off. The taps were turned off.” [12]

The response of the PTB was simply to double-down on their policy of austerity. The EMU along with the euro (as international reserve currency) must be protected at all costs (sorry about the pun). It was therefore imperative to protect the interest of the banks, particularly the German and French banks which had been highly exposed prior to the crisis. To this end the regime of fiscal discipline – already integral to monetary union – was imposed. The existing system had to be made stronger and harsher, and, as is always the case, the costs would be borne by those states worse affected by the crisis – primarily Greece – as well as by working people across the EU.

The upshot of these policies was a partial stabilisation of the situation – excluding Greece which was simply hung out to dry – when a number of ad hoc policies including the provision of liquidity by the ECB to private and public banks experiencing difficulties and driving down interest rates close to zero. Other institutional reforms included the creation of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the Euro Stability Mechanism (ESM) which provided interstate lending to those countries, Portugal, Ireland, which could no longer raise funds in international capital markets. It should also be borne in mind that in global terms a recovery was taking place at a faster pace than in Europe. However, it still remained the case that no member state, and certainly not Germany would accept direct responsibility for the debt of another. Moreover, Germany was adamant that the policy of ‘mutualization’ of debt – i.e., jointly to share the risk of non-payment by a single state through the issue of ‘Eurobonds’ would not be sanctioned.

All of which goes to show that when push comes to shove sacred principles are sometimes abandoned (albeit temporarily) for Raison d’état. Pragmatism can often have the last word. Such was the case of the UK’s bailout of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Market forces had to be suspended, again temporarily.

Fast forward to the present and the situation has scarcely improved. The term ‘crisis’ whereby a number of states, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Austria, France, the UK are showing signs of open revolt against the increasingly ossified EU is wholly justified. The rebellion has taken on political, economic and cultural dimensions and it has become a moot point whether or not the EU, at least in its present form, can survive. But the $64,000.00 question is can it change its present form? The far right, rightly or wrongly, seems obsessed with the question of immigration, whereas the left is split between the centre-left Remain and Reform camp, favoured by social-democrats and the Varoufakis faction DiEM25, but opposed by the hard-left which eschews any question of reform. Drawing on the lessons of Greece and the hard lessons meted out to Syriza, Lapavitsas gives short shrift to any notions of the Remain and Reform Strategy (emphasis mine).

…the point of departure for a left strategy in Europe ought to be that the EU is neither a purveyor of “soft power”, nor a benevolent or humanitarian force. Rather it is a hierarchical alliance of nation states that have created the institutional framework of a single market relentlessly promoting neo-liberalism…

The determining aspect of European political development remains class relations expressed primarily at the national level…The perception of loss of sovereignty and decline of democracy, general as it is in Europe varies among different countries, as does the underlying class reality. The search for sovereignty and the tribulations of democracy in Europe have reflected these varying class relations within the framework of the EU.” [13]

It seems axiomatic that the centrist bloc of centre-right, and centre-left seem wedded to this juggernaut, notions of reform notwithstanding. If anything, the centre-left are the most partisan exponents of the Remain and Reform strategy. Not only has the centre-left become profoundly conservative in its view of the EU, it has actually been to a large degree integrated into the neo-liberal structures of European capitalism. The political upshot of all this has been an historical class shift of the working class away from the social-democratic parties and in influx of petit-bourgeois identitarians and various other post-modernist constituents.[14]

Moreover, and symptomatic of this, has been the transmutation of the Labour party. What was once a vehicle of working-class interests and aspirations is now a middle-class career structure whose main concerns are with diversity, and liberal notions like universal human rights, unlimited immigration and open borders, not forgetting transgender rights of course. This was illustrated during the Referendum when London including the Home Counties – i.e., that part of the country that benefited most from globalization – voted overwhelmingly for Remain but the rest of England voted for leave, hardly surprising given the fact that these latter were the people who were not invited to the party. At bottom, however, is the nauseating craving for acceptance and respectability from the British and Euro elites by this cosmopolitan social stratum.

So, what is to be done. Lapavitsas states the choice starkly.

The lesson of SYRIZA is paramount in this regard. If the left intends to implement radical anti-capitalist policies and effectively confront the neo-liberal juggernaut it must be prepared for a rupture. There has to be a break, an upheaval, an overturning of prevailing conditions, for things to change in Europe. There must also be a rupture with domestic power structures that have a vested interest in current arrangements, there must also be a rupture with transnational institutions of the EU that sustain the current arrangements.” [15]

True enough. But there’s the rub. My own view is that none of this will happen. Social democrats are adept at rolling-over when the chips are down. Corbyn has been relentlessly attacked by the Zionist propaganda machine in addition to the Labour Friends of Israel, a Zionist front in the Labour party, as an anti-Semite. So, what did he do? Apologised! In addition, the Labour Party in shape of Gordon Brown has accepted the new all-inclusive International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

However, this is a short-term perspective. The crisis will undoubtedly rumble on and intensify with and additional push from the upcoming global financial/economic meltdown. It was the American economist, Herbert Stein, who coined the immortal quote: “If something cannot go on forever, it won’t’’.

References:-

  • [1] The Globalization of NATO – Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
  • [2] The Left Case Against the EU – Lapavitsas (p.1)
  • [3] Ibid. (p.13)
  • [4] The European Central Bank was founded in 1998 and controlled monetary policy setting interest rates as well as engaging in QE throughout the Eurozone. The UK, Denmark, and a number of other central and East European which kept their own currencies.
  • [5] Ibid. (Lapavistas p.15)
  • [6] Ibid. (pp33+35)
  • [7] Ibid. (p.40)
  • [8] One Currency and many modes of Wage Formation, Hopner and Lutter (2014)
  • [9] Ibid. (Lapavitsas, p.64)
  • [10] Ibid. (p.70)
  • [11] Ibid. (Ch 5), also Looting Greece by Jack Rasmus.
  • [12] Ibid. (Lapavitsas, p.69)
  • [13] Ibid. (p.102)
  • [14] Bebel to Jaures 1893: “When a socialist party forms an alliance with a section of the bourgeoisie, and institutes a policy of cooperation with the government , not only does it repel its best militants, driving them into the ranks of the anarchists, or into isolated action, but it also attracts to itself a swarm of bourgeois of very dubious value.” Quoted in Political Parties, Robert Michels (p.211)
  • [15] Ibid. (Lapavitsas pp.126-127)

Frank Lee left school at age 15 without any qualifications, but gained degrees from both New College Oxford and the London School of Economics (it's a long story). He spent many years as a lecturer in politics and economics, and in the Civil Service, before retirement. He lives in Sutton with his wife and little dog.

91 Comments

  1. Kathy says

    The idea of border-less countries free trading. All happily living in peace, harmoniously with each other. Talking through their differences and ironing out problems around a round table. Coming to a common and mutually acceptable agreement yet keeping their own identities. Is a good one. Unfortunately as with all things when put into practice and when based on control of the many by the few. And when banks, finance and exploitation are put above human and environmental need. The reality is not so great. The idea though that the UK power base is offering the UK people freedom and a better life out side the EU is equally unrealistic. The most important thing. I think, for the Tory party is the money laundering and tax evasion rules the EU have set up. They do not want to sign into this for the obvious reasons of. To many rich and tax evading friends. I think this is probably the main reason for the referendum. This will all undoubtedly see the poor becoming even poorer. Loosing even more control and as ever the rich becoming even richer. It seems a Hobsons choice. The poor will not even be able to escape and seek a better life any where else. They will just become enslaved further to the UK yoke. Some choices are just frying pans and fires unless you have money.

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    • Bothfeetontheground says

      Those denigrating the EU are stating factual evidence with links etc that provide a damming case. However as FS and a few others ( myself included) have said….the alternative Dickensian Tory Britain is not an attractive prospect either. We are indeed stuck between a rock and a hard place and brexit may give some feelings of initial triumphalism but longer term the unavoidable reality of globalism and automation will bring untold poverty to all working class people in this country and around the world. Some realignment of capitalism will become inevitable…they can’t sell their shit if there’s nobody to buy it, so in my opinion a uk ruled by representatives from ourselves and 27 other countries stand more chance of providing some form of similarity in living standards for ordinary people, than a uk yoked unequivocally to the USA with absolutely no bargaining power whatsoever and managed by proxy through the same old Etonians that have brought us to our current perilous state. Indeed frying pans and fires do come to mind!

      • False dilemma. Leaving the EU does not mean that neoliberalism is overturned.

        But leaving the EU is a precondition to overturning neoliberalism

      • Frankly Speaking says

        Well said, you clearly have both feet on the groubd, unlike many others.

  2. BigB says

    Those who are trying to paint the institutionally and constitutionally neoliberal EU as a safe haven from neoliberalism (no, I’m not sure I can follow that spiral logic either) – as well as a socially conscientious labour organisation and bastion of consumer rights – you might wonder why the benign, socially just EU even has a civil-militarily orientated ‘European Union External Action Service’?

    A quick peruse should confirm the MO. Taking Libya as an example: NATO bombs the country back to the stone age, gratuitously murdering anything that moves: destroying the infrastructure of the highest living standard in Africa in the process. Then, the EU comes in with a civil-military ‘CSDP Mission’ as a ‘stabilising’ presence – in conjunction with the UN – to implement the UN (Washington Consensus) Action Plan to restore the “peace and security” of the neoliberal order. They then set up elections (HNEC) to legitimate the ‘Government of National Accord’. Finally, EULPC trains the military and the (militarised) police to keep the compradore client state in order.

    I do hope that no one is naive enough to believe that all this humanitarian and civil society aid is at the service of the oppressed of the Sahel-Sahara and Libya: the refugees and vulnerable migrants (deliberately created by NATO and AFRICOM)? No, it’s problem, migrant crisis, solution: a full civil-martial grave to cradle service of remodelling an EU protectorate vassal.

    Have a look at some of the other CSDP civil-military cooperation plans in practice and tell me I am wrong.

    https://eeas.europa.eu/csdp-missions-operations/eubam-libya/19163/eu-libya-relations_en

    A neoliberal civil-military model of state building for the 21st century …a sub-imperial extension of the war crimes of NATO?

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    • Bothfeetontheground says

      BigB….can I ask…why you think the uk leaving the eu is going to change any of what you say and why you think we’ll be able to sail serenely on totally unaffected by any of it after brexit?

      • BigB says

        Good question: I don’t think that anyone, myself included, thinks that the situation in the UK is any better than when we were in the EU (technically, of course, we still are). Project Fear and ‘No Deal’ mania aside: the point I would adhere to, that several others have made, is that with sufficient activism generating the political will, at least we can change that. We do not have that opportunity in the EU, which is federating and militarily expansionist. So plain sailing, absolutely not: the Establishment is against us, and will likely always be against us. Personally, I would like to see a move toward a more participatory politics, as representationalism is clearly not working. I’m under no illusion that participatory politics would initially work any better, but that could change as people become more engaged and concerned about their future. In a supra-national representationalist governance, no one even knows who is representing them (see Mr Shigamatsu’s comment below) and there is no right of redress. Any faint hope of autonomy or sovereignty is gone, at least for my lifetime. Mogherini, Tusk, Juncker, etc are the visible representatives: but who do they really answer to – the collective European Demos? I’m not sure even the pro-EU commenters are naive enough to believe that.

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  3. James Connolly says
  4. Frankly Speaking says

    The anti-EU sentiment is understandable to a certain extent, but hugely misplaced.

    It’s quite perverse that left wingers are fighting on the same side as JRM, Redwood, Johnson, Gove and co?. You have to accept the responsibility of fighting for Brexit which will be unmitigated neo-liberalism to be inflicted upon the UK and an utterly one-sided trade deal with the USA.

    Or are you naive enough to believe that you can piggy-back onto Brexit as a tactic, hoping for anarchy and / or the rise of Momentum, Marxism, Trotsyism, take your pick of the far left menu?

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    • Frankly Speaking says

      Just to add, be VERY careful what you wish for.

    • So, you’re trying to paint the liberal democrats of Momentum as “far left” now?

      Transparent trolling.

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    • So. We should all ignore the fact that the EU is wholly committed to neoliberalism (it’s enshrined it in law) and it can’t go on with the Euro without becoming a federation (something that no Briton would sign up to), because if we leave we will be reliant on a deal with America, and those of us who still wish to leave are student fantasists?
      You are reading a blog that constantly exposes the EU for what it is, particularly its economics and foreign policy, and yet you accuse us of “misplaced” sentiment.
      Whatever happens after we leave, it will at least be our decision, and I don’t see the public as being anyway likely to go for a Johnson/Rees Mogg low/no regulation + American client state deal.
      One thing at a time, let’s leave and then decide what we want.

      • Bothfeetontheground says

        This being the same public that gave us Margaret Thatcher 3 times wasn’t it?…we’re quite happy to see trade unionism ground out of existance and house prices to skyrocket and public utilities sold off at knockdown prices as they cashed in. I think you have too high an opinion of your fellow citizens lundiel, the evidence in my lifetime is there for anyone to see…we share this planet with some of the most selfish greedy people imaginable and the old etonians know exactly how to push all their buttons

        • You can give up on democracy if you choose.

          But to suggest that the EU will be better is naive.

          The elevation of Jeremy Corbyn and the subsequent public participation in leftish politics proves that it is possible.

          NB possible. Not probable or a certainty. The forces of the right are powerful, wealthy and organised. But they would be within the EU anyway.

          You gain nothing by giving up. You just surrender.

  5. https://twitter.com/Bellingdawg/status/1081842469690662912

    According to the Union of France Police, #Acte8 of the #GiletsJaunes gathered together over 300,000 people all over the country.

    ⚡️GILETS JAUNES – CHIFFRES 📊 / Selon le Syndicat France Police, l’#Acte8 des #GiletsJaunes a rassemblé plus de 300.000 personnes sur tout le territoire.
    ⚠️ Le ministère de l’intérieur évoque 56.000 manifestants.

  6. Frankly Speaking says

    Dear Marxists,

    It’s all blinkered and black and white to many of you. In this way, you are bad as the neoliberals on the other side of the political spectrum.

    Don’t get me wrong, Marxism is a great ideal, but it’s been proven time and again not to work in the real world, so far. A century is long enough for an experiment. The best we can hope for are centre-left mixed economies.

    What’s galling is that your naivety has placed you on the same side as the neoliberals and swivel-eyed ERG loons when it comes to Brexit and you fail to see that Brexit is a project of these dangerous idiots to divide and conquer the EU.

    I mean, even Gove and others loons have stated absolutely clearly, as their goal, to “free” the UK and the other EU countries from their “shackles”. Sounds familiar?

    What an utterly naive bunch some of you belong to, sorry to say. Open your eyes ffs and see who is behind the break up of the EU.

    “They” are doing this because the EU is threatening the dominance of the US dollar and US corporate interests. Both Hussain and Ghadafi planned to use the EUR instead of the USD, look what happened after that. Look how the EU has worked to rein in and fine Microsoft, Google, Facebook and other US corporations, now the US corporate imperialists Empire Strikes Back – against the EU, but also China and Russia who also threaten US dominance in different ways.

    Open your eyes.

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    • BigB says

      Open your eyes? I wish you would.

      The anti-EU sentiment has nothing to do with Marxism. It has to do with the recognition of what the EU really is …a proto-Fascist military dictatorship and police state. The writing is on the wall for those who have eyes to see. Get yourself over to the UK Column (see comment and link below) and stop making strawman arguments. The only issue is the one that you constantly ignore: that of EU Military Unification. Your analysis is null and void by this very omission. Labelling those who have tried to highlight the main issue as ‘Marxists’ is all very amusing, but misses the point. Do you want an EU Unified Military, inter-operable with NATO, acting as a sub-imperial neoliberal protectors in MENA, etc; with a Drang nach Osten neo-Nazi military occupation of the Baltic States; ideologically predicated on a new Cold War mentality?

      “Open your eyes ffs and see who is behind the break up military expansion of the EU”. The very MIC corporate and banking interests you posit are arrayed against the EU. Who else benefits from the new Cold War? Not me, and not you.

      Open your eyes. 😉

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      • Tommy says

        UK column? ha ha ha ha, do a bit of research into some of them running it and maybe who they are married to.

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        • @Tommy: “UK column? ha ha ha ha, “.

          Could you be a bit more specific?

          • Tommy says

            1/. Brian apparently gets funding from Sheila Butler, the daughter of Lord Kitchener, who set up (genuine) concentration camps in the Boer War………………….. Has a Jewish woman working for him (Kate) who propagates anti-Islamic posts. What on earth is going on there!?…………………….. He attended a dinner suit award ceremony at a Scientology centre in Sussex, to receive an award ‘for his efforts’. I have a reliable contact who witnessed this and said there were envelopes passing hands (£££).

            Why on earth would anyone who is aware of this agenda attend such an event, knowing the amount of suffering it entails? Why would he accept an award?? Surely the Truth is not about this.

            Not only that, anyone even slightly aware of this agenda should be aware that Scientology is a mind control sect and would have no association with it……………………………. He has been on the Alex Jones show. Dodgy!! Anyone worth their weight in the TM should know to stay well away from that king of shills……………………………………/. Has associated himself with Mr Lizard (David Icke). Alarm bells are ringing!! These shills love to slap each other on the back. these are just a few comments pasted from a web page?

            • BigB says

              OK Tommy:

              Objections to Brian Gerrish duly noted. However, when you attempt to discredit a source of information by association, you have to be very careful …almost anyone can be discredited. As it happens, I know all about Scientology, and know their centre really well. In fact, I have attended “a dinner suit award ceremony at a Scientology centre in Sussex, to receive an award ‘for my efforts’” …back in my rugby playing days (I didn’t get the ££££s though). It’s a venue, anyone can hire it out, whether they are associated with Scientology or not.

              In the context of the conversation: what does this have to do with EU Military Unification? I provided two further corroborative sources: one of which is the ‘European Union External Action Service’. Check it out, with relevance to any of the acronyms I posted. It’s all there: “dodgy” Brian Gerrish or not.

        • BigB says

          Yes @Tommy, could be a little more specific. How does a deffered ad hom against the staff at UK Column in any way refute EU Military Unification. All the same info is held at various EU and NATO websites. Does it matter who the staff there are married to?

          For instance:

          https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-Homepage/35285/towards-stronger-eu-security-and-defence_en

          https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/01/03/no-europe-isnt-ambushing-nato/

          [Only don’t believe the bit about UK dissent. Otherwise, it’s all there].

      • Frankly Speaking says

        Sorry BigB, but there seems to be a bit of paranoid thinking in your post, or at least it comes across as that. I won’t deal with each point, just this one –

        “Do you want an EU Unified Military, inter-operable with NATO, acting as a sub-imperial neoliberal protectors in MENA, etc”

        Have you failed to notice that the ERG and other rigtht wing Brexiteers are going ape-shit about the EU’s proposal for an EU army? They are loudly proclaiming to everyone that we have NATO and there is zero need for the EU army. They know that NATO is controlled by Washington and with the EU falling apart, these countries will remain under NATO and Washington. With Brussels and EU out of the way, these neoliberals and neocons will have a party, divide and conquer is their playbook. However, with the EU army in place it will allow the EU countries to disconnect themselves from NATO.

        Macron and Merkel have already said that the US is not necessarily a friend – hardly surprising given Trump’s hostility towards them and the EU. They EU have finally woken up and seen that the likes of Trump, Pompeo and Bolton are nasty bastards and not to be trusted, and they are working to disconnect from the EU. That’s why there is so much hostiliy in our MSM towards them. You are extremely naive.

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        • BigB says

          So was that a yes, a no, or a maybe? It seems that you have a certain sympathy for the joint EU-FOR/EU-NAV as it is somehow anti-NATO and offers a degree of perceived freedom from US imperialism. One of the points that you gloss over is the very inter-operable capability with NATO. Or the Foreign Policy link I posted. Or the ‘love affair’ of Mogherini and Stoltenburg. Every EU Foreign Minister’s meeting has the two of them together, co-planning – for instance:

          “I will also have the opportunity to take part in the meeting of the Ministers of the Resolute Support [Mission in Afghanistan]. Our [the EU’s] work with Afghanistan is extremely important, very high on our agenda, and perfectly complementary to the work that NATO is doing there.”

          https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/54861/remarks-high-representativevice-president-federica-mogherini-upon-her-arrival-nato-foreign_en

          When she talks of Western Balkans cooperation: I talk of annexation and occupation. It is a matter of perspective. My perspective is that the people of the occupied Balkans matter: what is yours?

          “We have always stood very firmly at the side of our Ukrainian friends for their territorial integrity, for their sovereignty.”

          That’s the neo-Nazi Banderite Kiev regime: installed by NATO “Fuck the EU” coup that Mogherini is defending. And militarily supporting. So which one of us is paranoid and naive?

          The EU is everything I say it is: a joint-occupying military force, with expansionist sub-imperial pretensions in MENA, Mali, Afghanistan and beyond. What freedom does this offer the people of the world from NATO military expansionism? Very little, I would say. From the occupation of the Western Baltics to Afghanistan and beyond …a proto-Fascist autarchic sub-imperialist supra-state rising. For those who have eyes to see. 😉

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          • Frankly Speaking says

            You are making a simple, even lazy mistake, that if one thinks the EU is a good idea, then it automatically means that one is also pro-NATO, pro neo-liberalism, pro, pro Balkan policy, against Russia. That’s more than disingenuous, it’s utterly ridiculous.

            – I’m pro EU because it’s the best thing for the average European to have ever happened to them and their families.

            – I’m against the expansion of NATO and external internal interference. I think the EU can do better on its own, and the EU is now seeing this. France was not always a part of NATO, it may leave again.

            – Mogherini is a wimp.

            – Stoltenburg is a warmonger.

            Being pro EU and against NATO are not mutually exclusive! Being pro EU but against those on the right who have the current upper hand does not negate the fact that there is a very large centre-left and even harder left grouping of MEPs. Better for us to stay in the EU and fight our battles within, seek alliances across Europe, rather than being out and alone and hijacked by the neoliberals.

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            • BigB says

              Quite Frankly Speaking, you seem to have no idea of the concepts of political autonomy, sovereignty, and legitimation. Or conscious choice. Or radical responsibility. You are either pro-EU, legitimating and mandating everything they do; or you are ag’in them, retaining at least a modicum of self-sovereignty and freedom. You do not get to choose what the EU does, they – the unaccountable and the unelected – choose for you. That is the nub of the argument, and it seems to have passed you by.

              If you are pro-EU: you are ipso facto pro-NATO; pro-neoliberalism; pro-Balkan occupation; anti-Russia and pro-foreign interventionism and militarisation. You can make a semanticised set of propositions that you are not: but other than air them here …where do you take them? Mail them to your MEP or local MP? All the things I have pointed out have been done in circumvention of any form of democratic oversight or accountability. The European Parliament had no real say. Our Parliament had no say. Decisions are made at meetings of Foreign and Defence ministers and above: in congruence with NATO (who controls them?). Or behind closed doors at Lancaster House, for instance. You could, in theory, vote in a new set of Foreign or Defence ministers (who probably only rubber stamp anyway): but I already know where Emily (“The Russians are coming. Let’s re-arm!”) Thornberry and Nia (“It was a Russian hit!”) Griffith stand on Russia. No change there then?

              Has the whole Brexit debate passed you by? If we stay, as seems likely, and EU Military Unification deployments happen: you have literally no say in the matter. The decision is pre-made for you. By staying, you hand a mandate to a “wimp” and a “warmonger” to ratify your decisions for you. Like it, or not, you de facto legitimate everything they do for you. That is how Fascism functions: collective abnegation of responsibility to those who abuse their mandate …be they “wimps” or “warmongers”: they take the collective EU community decision for you, interpreting the EU mandate (such as there is one) in a way they seem fit. They are your (High) representatives now. Can you be sure they will enact your political will in your best interests, for you? I can’t. In fact, I can be sure that in the matters we have been discussing, that they will act against the best interests of all humanity. I’m sorry my friend, but you have a wimp and a warmonger as your unaccountable representative autonomous agents now. Protestations on a postcard to Brussels or Strasbourg …or perhaps more apposite: apologies on a postcard to the occupied Western Balkans.

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              • Jen says

                If Frankly Speaking is all for staying in the EU for this reason:

                “… it’s the best thing for the average European to have ever happened to them and their families …”

                – then FS’ expectations of the EU are extraordinarily low and moreover reveal considerable ignorance of how the European Parliament operates.

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              • Frankly Speaking says

                “You do not get to choose what the EU does, they – the unaccountable and the unelected – choose for you”

                Nonsensical radical left diatribe.

                Let’s try this one then – you do not get to choose which Brexit you get, the neoliberals will choose for you. Hope you enjoy it.

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                • The neoliberals can be voted out of office (if fake leftists like you can be overcome). The neoliberal European Commission can’t.

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                    • It’s a fact. The Tories can be voted out by the UK electorate in favour of a leftist government.
                      The EU Commission can’t.

                    • Bothfeetontheground says

                      Jag…when did we last have a leftist government anywhere near power in this country? 1945 ?…possibly, but the old etonians have spent every breathing moment since trying to overturn everything they introduced. It’s highly unlikely things are going to change

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    • Tommy says

      Sadly people would rather watch multi millionaires kick a ball around every week and SCREAM at their TV set whilst doing it, and at six o’clock in the morning it gives them the days topic in which to talk about.

      • BigB says

        BTW: Tommy, you ignored the question. Pray tell: do you want war with Russia? Because that is what the complementary EU/NATO inter-operable force and military build-up (Barbarossa 2.0) is predicated on. I lived through all that in my youth, I’d rather like to avoid it for my dotage. And I hate football to, as if that has anything to do with the price of golden virginia (see below). Commodity prices, working hour legislation, the shape of bananas (LOL) can be dealt with, and are not in anyway contingent on potential annihilation. Or football. Or the Six o’Clock News.

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    • Neoliberal concern troll. It’s the same schtick you used on CiF.
      Nobody is buying.

    • WOW Gaddafi died for the EU…….what are you on? Gaddafi died because America, France and the UK decided to remove him from power. The Euro isn’t threatening anything except spontaneous combustion.

      • Tommy says

        He died because he got rid of the private central bank and went back to using the Dinar, rather than the dollar, as did Saddam Hussein,

        • Private central banks are a myth. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  7. harry stotle says

    Brexit has merely proved an opportunity for the public to decide which sort of dystopia they prefer.

    One ruled by anonymous, unaccountable, pro-market European technocrats or neoliberal fundamentalist in the British establishment who dream of a deregulated financial system and a low paid, low skilled workforce with few employment rights.

    There might be an argument that in the long run it is better to take the short-term economic hit now (by leaving the EU) then hope against hope that Britains ill-informed public will finally see the likes of Priti Patel, Daniel Hannan, Esther McVey, JRM, and Liam Fox for what they are, but I’m not holding my breath.

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    • Bothfeetontheground says

      Exactly……the old etonians have run this country since time began and the current batch see the EU as invading their god given right to rule….hence JRM and others. Whether in or out, the electorate have to drag themselves away from xfactor and the soaps, or we will never see any social democracy in the uk. The trouble is the torys know all about I’m alright Jack…and they know exactly how to appeal to human base instincts, this along with total control of the narrative through MSM means an uphill struggle….one which most can’t even see the hill, never mind negotiating a route up it.

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    • Frankly Speaking says

      Indeed, although my view is that it’s far better to stay in the EU due to “safety in numbers”. The EU has bestowed many rights upon us which will simply be removed after Brexit by the rabid pro-US European Research Group types.

      Most people seem to forget that the EU is not all about the Commission, it’s just 1 of 3, the other two being the States themselves and the European Parliament. These other two provide a significant counter-balance.

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      • Bothfeetontheground says

        I agree entirely with the safety in numbers approach. With all it’s faults the EU managerial elite may well find a much different prospect when faced with 500million unruly plebs…and unless they remove the right to democratic elections they’ll not find everyone as pliable as good old joe soap in blighty…. gilets jaunes are proving this now.

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        • Oh yeah, all that solidarity from the masses against them destroying Greece.

          Oh wait ….

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          • Tommy says

            Greece should never have been allowed to join the EU, the books were fiddled and the president at the time made billions from it, as did goldman sachs

            • But thanks demonstrating the level of solidarity for the Greek people that exists within the EU fanboy ranks.

              Zero.

      • BigB says

        @Frankly Speaking

        I’m beginning to think you have a form of Stockholm Syndrome, to be known as ‘Brussels/Strasbourg Syndrome’. The EU you portray does not exist outside your imagination and its own ideological propaganda. What exists beneath the propagandic fabrication is a neoliberal fascist militarist expansionist dictatorship which is involved in a ‘Drang nach Osten’ confrontation and neo-Nazi military occupation right up to the Russian Federation borders. Further to its military sub-imperial expansionism, it is eyeing MENA, Mali, Afghanistan for deployments for its newly integrated military: re: EU Military Unification. Mogherini, your de facto (unelected, unnaccountable) Foreign Minister is in an ideological love affair with Jens Stoltenberg (NATO): all facts that you steadfastly avoid facing …despite numerous postings to verify this state of affairs.

        The analysis has all been posted before, by myself and other like-minded readers who can see the proto-fascism written on the walls. Get yourself over to the UK Column website and discover what the acronyms such as CFSP, CFDP, CARD, PESCO, EDA, etc really stand for. The conclusion is inescapable, if you only look at the evidence.

        https://www.ukcolumn.org/series/eu-military-unification

        If you are still in love with the proto-fascist EU after becoming informed; perhaps you could please address the issue, the whole issue, and nothing but the issue – that of EU Military Unification?

        “Safety in numbers”? Safety from whom? The only protectionism we need is from the loss of sovereignty to the proto-fascist-EU: whose sole counterfeit militaristic ethos is for war with Russia (see ‘Military Schengen’). Is that what you want, because I don’t?

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        • Tommy says

          Is this the same proto fascist that don’t allow zero hour contracts, where they have better holidays, better benefits, better working conditions, where a bottle of wine costs £3.00 yet the same bottle here costs £9 where a 50g of golden virginia costs £9.00 yet in this lovely country costs £22.00 , a country where you need to give seven days notice to take industrial action, the only one in the world, a country where landlords can more or less do as they please, unlike the proto fascist countries where they are government controlled, the proto fascist where they insist in clean bathing water,reducing plastic waste,energy efficient domestic appliances,no to GMO’s no to TTIP, quality food labeling,wildlife protection,free roaming mobile wise,holiday protection,consumer protection,data protection, toy safety standards, to name just a few pluses.

          • BigB says

            So in summation: the protected cost of 50g of golden virginia is more important than the rape and annexation of an entire (Eastern European) region; the installation via coup of neo-Nazi Gauleiter regimes; the military theme parks filled with constant provocative exercises right on the Russian border; the constant Russophobia; and the real atmosphere of Cold War that propaganda harbours. I don’t smoke, but Eastern Europe will unless people wake up to the real cost of golden virginia is an unnecessary and very costly war (to end all wars?). All the points you raise could be achieved without provocation, particularly if populaces became more pro-active in demanding their rights: a la Gilets Jaunes. It is a strawman of all strawmen to contend that the cost of tobacco should be contingent on a Cold War no one wants.

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            • Tommy says

              No .I don’t smoke , but it’s not about me ,or golden virginia tobacco as you know,this country has managed to wage war and rape most countries in the entire world without the help of being in the EU thanks very much, and whilst I’m at it this proto fascist countries where all the public utilities are nationalised ,rail buses, electricity, water, gas, mail, unlike this fascist shithole .

          • Had a good look at labour protections in Greece lately?

            That’s the future under EU diktat.

            It’s a depression club.

            Champagne and canapes for the technocrats and their rich benefactors. Permanent austerity for the masses.

        • Frankly Speaking says

          Not at all BigB. I’ve either lived in the EU for a large part of my life, or lived next door to it. It’s not ideal, but it’s far better than what deluded Brexiteers are proposing.

          Why are you fighting on the same side as JRM, Redwood, Johnson, Gove and co?

          You are either with them and wish for unmitigated neo-liberalism to be inflicted upon the UK and a one-sided trade deal with the USA, or else you are piggy-backing onto Brexit as a tactic, hoping for anarchy and / or the rise of the far left – which one is it?

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          • BigB says

            Hoping for a realisation of the consequences of the collectivisation of autonomous decision making …particularly when any active choice is a priori taken away …as in a supra-national EU scenario. See above.

          • Mr Shigemitsu says

            “Why are you fighting on the same side as JRM, Redwood, Johnson, Gove and co?”

            If you know your recent UK history, you will remember that pro- and anti EU sentiment has traditionally cut across party-political lines.

            Many people who are not fans of the EU see themselves rather as on the same side as Tony Benn, Michael Foot, Peter Shore, Ian Mikardo, and Bryan Gould; i.e. great Labour Party stalwarts of the left who recognised the inbuilt anti-democratic and pro-capitalistic nature of the EU, and its treaties, for what they really are; and most definitely not the liberal utopia that people inexplicably seem to imagine.

            Even Mario Draghi, in an interview with the WSJ in 2012, declared that “social Europe” was dead.

            The ever-growing impetus towards privatisations and the free market, the appalling effects of the single currency on weaker economies, and the lowering of wages and internal devaluations on the periphery are policies no left-thinking person can or should support.

            I’d be surprised if more than 1% of UK citizens knew who their MEPs were, who their (sole) representative on the EU Comission was, or his portfolio or – in Tony Benn’s words, how you’d get rid of him (clue: you can’t – he’s appointed by the UK Govt), what the recessionary strictures of Article 123 of the SGP regarding national deficits were, or the effects of the fourth track of the Rail Directive…

            If Blair, Mandelson, Campbell, Cameron, Osborne, Goldman Sachs, the City of London, and almost the entire media establishment are in favour of the EU, then that should set alarm bells ringing.

            The fact that a few ineffectual rightwing mavericks also happen to oppose it, is, to my mind, neither here nor there.

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            • Tommy says

              The mass media are all for leaving,where have you been for the last two years, the Telegraph has been an avid proponent of leave, you know that paper that has the of the working class central to their well being, the one that owns the Ritz? like most of the other right wing rags , mail,the fascist express,owned by the mirror group, The BBC nearly all the channels are pro leave.

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              • Paul says

                Interesting you don’t mention the Mail which did a full 360 degree turn on the whole issue following the change of Editor to an Establishment figure who suddenly found Mrs May wonderful and not a traitor after all. The readers have taken it well, obedience to the elite is what really drives them. It gives some indication how Leavers will swallow whatever the toffs decide on their behalf, they aren’t really a political force just belly achers who will touch their caps in thanks whatever is decided on their behalf.

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  8. Antonym says

    The far right, rightly or wrongly, seems obsessed with the question of immigration
    European labourers know the answer this question as do those who want to preserve freedom from intolerant immigrants, but the rich left has no clue.

    Why has Zionism to be dragged into this topic too: Jews are not invading Europe.

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  9. bevin says

    “True enough. But there’s the rub. My own view is that none of this will happen. Social democrats are adept at rolling-over when the chips are down. Corbyn has been relentlessly attacked by the Zionist propaganda machine in addition to the Labour Friends of Israel, a Zionist front in the Labour party, as an anti-Semite. So, what did he do? Apologised! In addition, the Labour Party in shape of Gordon Brown has accepted the new all-inclusive International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.,.”

    This seems an irrelevance to me. The fact that Corbyn and, more to the point, the NEC have made this stupid and suicidal compromise with the dark forces of fascist/zionism does not mean that Labour will not work to get out of the EU. They are quite separate issues- the first being a complete non-issue- fake news, a psy-op, black propaganda- whereas the matter of the EU is one of vital importance.

    The problem is not that “Social Democrats” “roll over”. The problem, exemplified by the current PLP which was largely chosen by Mandelson and his acolytes, dedicated to ensuring that no socialists would be joining the handful left over from the 70s, the Bennites, in Parliament., the problem, is that these Friends of Israel and the SIS are not Social Democrats but liberal-imperialists.
    These people have infested the leadership of the Labour Party for a century. But now the issue is clear: if they are partisans of racism colonialism, neo-liberal economics and bowing to the imperatives of the EU and the USA they should not be in the Labour Party. Broad Church though it maybe, no church has room for devil worshippers.
    If the PLP and the party bureaucracy is opened up to democracy the question of anti-semitism will take care of itself, it will disappear as quickly as it appeared in the first place. If there is democracy in the party, if constituency members are empowered to choose their own representatives and make their own policy, the Fifth Column will be dwarfed by the real membership. This will mean that the policies of the Fifth Column will become a minority viewpoint of no importance. While the necessity for leaving the EU (and NATO) will be crystal clear to all: members, parliamentarians, supporters, the electorate.
    The price of democracy is responsibility. And there can be no responsibility without power. People wanting a decent society and a future of their own making will have to understand what this involves. And the first thing it implies is sovereignty. Without sovereignty, no party can govern. Which is precisely why the enemies of democracy, those afraid of social democracy, are so desperate for the UK to remain under the rule of Brussels and the puppet masters at the end of the strings from which the EU Commission dances.

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  10. Frankly Speaking says

    The left wingers accuse the EU of being a neoliberal institution.

    The right wingers accuse the EU of being a socialist institution giving it the name EUSSR.

    For the rest of us, despite its issues, the EU has been the pinnacle of successful cooperation, stopping senseless destructive wars between its members, massively increasing the standard of living for nearly all its members especially the former Soviet states, created a highly educated and mobile and more affluent workforce than ever existed, brought in workers and human rights, protected the environment, and so much more.

    Yes, there are issues, nothing is perfect, but they are entirely solvable. Breaking up the EU is not the answer, that’s the typical US neoliberal approach of divide and conquer.

    Critics and pro-Brexiteers should note that it’s the neoliberals and Atlanticists who are foaming at the mouth against the EU and supporting Brexit and a UK-US trade deal; go figure why.

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    • bevin says

      “the EU has been the pinnacle of successful cooperation, stopping senseless destructive wars between its members,”
      Most of the claims that you make are questionable. But this one is nonsense. There has never been a moment at which war was likely to break out between EU members. who have all lived under a more or less open US occupation since the 1940s.
      On the other hand the wars in the Balkans and the break up of Yugoslavia were both the direct responsibility of EU, particularly German interference.
      There is a sense in which the EU is the German Drang nach Osten, the empire many nationalists always desired in southern and eastern Europe. An empire which was itself a rediscovery of the German and Hapsburg empires which were lost in 1919.
      The community on which you descant has another face, that of NATO, the most aggressive, expansionary, adventurous and warmongering military force of all. Indeed it is disingenuous not to recognise that at the top of the EU’s current agenda is the plan to integrate national military and police forces into one pan European command, the European Army, which will be on hand to ensure that any local rebellions against the “Four Freedoms” will be contained and put down.

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    • Living standards have been steadily declining in the EU for years.
      At least try to sound truthful.

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      • Frankly Speaking says

        Any recent declines in living standards have been in some countries who never have joined the Eurozone currency and in fact Greece cheated its way in, aided and abetted by the evil bastards at Goldman Sachs. Countries such as Poland with their own currency have powered ahead.

        At least try to sound truthful.

        Reality is not black and white, except to those on the far left and far right. I consider neoliberals and Marxists as belonging to those extremes.

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        • Francis Lee says

          So Poland is ‘powering ahead’ is it?

          Herewith report from Deloitte Touch August 2017

          ‘’The demographics of Poland look bad, that is the shortest conclusion of the report conducted by Deloitte and DNB. By 2050 the population of Poland is expected to have shrunk by 14 per cent, but Poland’s last resort are foreigners immigrating to the country.

          Depopulation is the major trouble laying ahead of Poland. Although it is not exclusively a Polish problem, as it touches other countries such as nearly all of Eastern Europe who now enjoy the questionable benefits of depopulation. Poland’s depopulation index is only slightly lower than the worst one – that of Ukraine.
          Another problem is the age structure of Polish society. While it is rapidly ageing, it also struggles with the lack of workforce. More and more Poles are leaving the labour market and those entering it do not make up for this loss. There is also a looming threat of balancing the number of mobile people (aged 18-44) with the number of those in the post-production age. Is there anything Poland can do to keep the ratio of these numbers on the constant level?

          According to the report, one of the most effective solutions would be to implement a reasonable immigration policy, since increasing the birth rate among Poles does not seem to work. If the number of foreigners were to rise in the same way as up to now, by 2050 Poland would have gained over 4.5 million new citizens. Providing them with tools for legalising their stay would help the foreigners assimilate and in exchange Poland would receive extra funds from taxation and social security contributions.

          The biggest number of immigrants is supposed to arrive from the East, especially from Ukraine, although the analysts cannot be sure about that anymore. This June the European Union decided to introduce liberal changes regarding Ukrainian citizens entering its territory and even though it does not include the UK and Ireland, it may visibly lower the number of immigrants staying in Poland for a long term.

          All of the unfavourable trends in Polish demographics are bound to introduce problems previously unknown to Poles. Senior citizens will become a major part of society and taking care of them as well as providing them with social security will be some of the new challenges for the Polish.’’

          Yes, things are so good in Poland that a million or more have come to the UK with Polish now the second language.

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          • Frankly Speaking says

            Most of those Poles flooded to the UK and Ireland shortly after they joined the EU. 15 years ago Poland was in a poor state, but for many years now it has powered ahead, it’s had the fastest rising economy in the EU. It’s the ONLY one in the EU to avoid a recession through the 2008-2009 economic downturn.

            Just found this, sums it up nicely –
            “Surprise, surprise: Which European country has chalked up the fastest economic growth for the past 25 years? Even surpassing Asian superstars? The answer is Poland.”
            https://www.ceps.eu/publications/europes-surprising-economic-success-story

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            • Jen says

              Countries in Europe (and especially Eastern Europe) that post fast economic growth these days do so because they start from an extraordinarily low base, the definitions of which can be arbitrarily defined to favour the agenda of whoever is reporting the statistics.

              The main reason Poland grew impressively in the past 25 years is that German companies relocated factories there to take advantage of low costs and turned the country into a sweatshop, as Frank Lee’s post states. It’s not necessarily because of any activity started by the Polish government, Polish companies or their foreign equivalents that at the same time helps to keep Polish citizens in the country instead of migrating to the UK or Ireland looking for work to earn money to send back home to their relatives living in places outside Warsaw or anywhere else that Western tourists don’t visit.

              If the base for Poland’s economic growth is set in the late 1980s / early 1990s, then any economic growth is going to look good, because in those years the economy took a huge hit after the Polish government adopted neoliberal shock tactics.

            • Francis Lee says

              I take it your realise that Poland’s GDP growth is actually lower than Pakistan, the Philippines and Bangladesh? (Source: Trading Economics) GDP figures are high when growth is from a very low base. As has been pointed by Jen. It’s not like the German (GDP 1.1%) and Swedish (GDP1.6%)workers and Norwegian workers (GDP 1.1%) are clamouring to get into Poland. It would appear that the movement of labour is in the opposite direction. Very rich countries tend to have slow growth rates since that are already at a high base in percentage terms.

              The only people clamouring to get into Poland are the wretched Ukrainians who have a lower per capita income than Nigeria.

        • There’s still over 20 million unemployed in Europe. Wages are stagnant, underemployment is endemic.
          Everyone used accoubting tricks to qualify for the EZ.
          Germany is in constant breach of trade and current account rules.
          You’re full of shit.

    • Frankly Speaking: ” despite its issues, the EU has been the pinnacle of successful cooperation, stopping senseless destructive wars between its members, ”

      On the contrary it was NATZO’s war against Serbia which shocked me into questioning the EU — the first bombs to be dropped on a European country since Hitler. It raised my gorge to see New Labour’s minister for War posing for TV on a NATZO tank (after that gallant little country had been broken) and boasting “No one can withstand our armed might”.

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      • Frankly Speaking says

        If you were a Bosnian in Sarajevo hanging on for dear life for several years as the Serbs lobbed mortars upon you and your neighbours, or you were a Croat ethnically cleansed from Vukovar, you would understand how neighboroughing countries united to neutralise the Serbian destructive threat.

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        • And the 500,000 Serbs expelled from Croatia, many under NATO aerial bombardment?

          And just what started the strife in market socialist Yugoslavia?

          NATO and the EU!!!!

  11. Michael Cromer says

    I would agree with this and go on to say that USA & Germany conspired to control Europe between them before the end of WWII – Today their dream has become reality a Europe dominated by Germany and the USA.

  12. Learn MMT says

    EU nations must regain control of their own currencies and their own destinies.

    “We’ve got the right to print our own money, that’s the key. Greece lost the power to print their money. If they could print drachmas they’d have other problems, but they would not have a debt problem. And seventeen countries in Europe gave up the right to print their own money. That’s enormously important. And we’ve got the right to print our own money, so our credit is good.” ~ Warren Buffett

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  13. Henry Wilson says

    The rebellion against the neo liberal model is not just coming from the left it’s coming from the right as well
    Trump is a manifestation of this phenomenon as is Brexit it cuts across party lines

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  14. Paul says

    Tony Benn was Very ant EU along with 6 other Shadow Cabinet Ministers in 1973-4 against 8 pro. He later had to visit the Commission in Brussels as a Minister, in mid 74, to be told off about something and describes how he felt like the vassal of a Slave State approaching Rome. It was extraordinary he thought that he, elected by Bristol and made Minister by the Government would have to listen to the views of a bureaucrat and take instructions on things like farming sheep in Welsh mountain areas. He also remarks, after the Yes vote, that in 50 years time we’ll still be arguing about it and trying to get out of may remain for ever tangled. I think we can extend his time scan another 50 years, the argument will still rage. We’ve got several years of the trade deal itself and endless politicking over fisheries and food standards. Benn feared the Commission would inevitably become controlled by Banks, the $ and big business. They didn’t call it neo-lieralism then but it is what he feared.

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  15. jammy codger says

    I might agree with a lot if not possibly most this but I find the language of the stroppy left so tiresome and off putting, bailed out after giving it a fair go & picked up the last few paras and its still Dave Spart. Surely the aim is to communicate inform maybe persuade or even convert not just show off.

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    • Frankly Speaking says

      I agree. It’s all blinkered and black and white to the old school Marxists. In that way, they are bad as the neoliberals on the other side of the political spectrum.
      What’s galling is that they are on the same side as the neoliberals and wivel eyed ERG loons when it comes to Brexit and they fail to see that Brexit is aproject of these dangerous idiots to divide and conquer the EU, even Gove and others have stated that absolutely clearly as their goal.

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    • BigB says

      @jag37777:

      Why? It seems to me that Frank has made many of the same points that Bill Mitchell has made on his blog. I remember him using a ‘nine(teen) horses all in the same harness’ analogy to describe much the same scenario as above. The peripheral countries in the EU (PIIGS + former Comintern countries + UK (if we stay)) have surrendered their currency-issuing sovereignty and fiscal policy, essentially to France/Germany – who control the reins of the harness, so to speak. Perhaps you could elucidate what Mitchell has said that is vastly contrary to Frank’s analysis? The only real solution is for independent countries to deficit fund their recovery: contra Maastricht and the EMU (Eurozone). Bye, bye, the EU. Deal or no deal: as this recent piece would seem to confirm:

      http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=41239

      It seems to me that Bill and Frank are very much on the same page. Do you really think they are not?

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      • Frank has little regard of modern macroeconomics that I can discern.

        To compare his right wing monetarist view to Bill Mitchell’s view is just plain wrong.

    • tonyopmoc says

      jag37777,

      I would suggest everyone reads Professor Bill Mitchell. I came across him over 5 years ago. He is one of the very few economists I have read, who makes any sense. I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if Frank Lee has read him too, as he makes many of the same points.

      Tony

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