Archive for the ‘Chaos and Turmoil’ Category
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European ATTAC Network Declares “we have to break with the neoliberal monetary order”
“Accept austerity or face chaos”. This is the message sent by European leaders – such as José Manuel Barroso, Angela Merkel, Mario Draghi – to the Irish and Greek peoples. Read the rest of this entry »
Austerity Treaty is a Bondholders Charter – Life before Debt – no payment to bondholders while our people go hungry
Campaign Against the Austerity Treaty.
Press statement – 28-5-2012 – immediate release.
Austerity Treaty is a Bondholders Charter
Life before Debt – no payment to bondholders while our people go hungry.
Vote No to the bankers treaty.
Campaigners for a No vote today protested against the payment of €2.25 in bonds by state-owned AIB, saying the Treaty would institutionalise this anti-social policy.
Brendan Young said:
“AIB has had a €20 billion bailout from the Irish state and is effectively 98% state owned. AIB will today pay out €2.25 billion in a bond payment. Speculators were buying AIB bonds for 52 cents last November – so these anonymous bondholders will make a huge profit when they’re paid in full today.
Meanwhile, St. Vincent de Paul report that 20,000 people called them for help getting food last year. Why is this government letting bondholders be paid by a bank that it owns, while our people go hungry, lie waiting on hospital trolleys and languish on the dole? Read the rest of this entry »
As the crisis unfolds Irish leaders Kenny and Gilmore want us to bury our heads in the sand, just like them
Gene Kerrigan shines a light on cowardly Irish Political leaders :
What happens, some wonder, when Enda Kenny is behind closed doors, with EU leaders, without his props? What happens at those meetings where the future of our children is decided?
Well, we know what happens. We’ve seen him treated in public, by Nicolas Sarkozy, as something of a fondly-regarded puppy. As Sarkozy tickled Enda’s neck in front of the cameras, and Enda giggled, is there anyone who didn’t flinch? No other national leader anywhere on the planet would dare be so casually and patronisingly handled — tickled with affection, a pleasingly responsive pet.
Across the EU, he — and we — are treated as the suppliant ones. And that is indeed the policy of this Government. Supplication — then, appeals for fairness, for a dig-out — if dat do be pleasing to ye, sir. In a ferocious world where other governments, bankers and financiers go to work in hobnailed boots, our leaders wear carpet slippers.
This is why we so studiously concern ourselves with trivia as billions are siphoned out of the country. It’s why the current referendum campaign has been conducted in bogus terms, about jobs and growth and where we’ll get the money for another bailout.
We’ve hit the iceberg, bankers load the lifeboats with billions of our euros — our leaders ask us to discuss the dessert menu.
More Here :
Meanwhile the Labour Party takes a shot at its rival Sinn Féin over a Dáil vote in 2008:
There’s a bond payment of €2.25 billion from Allied Irish Banks on Monday May 28 2012 – the Labour Party in government feeds the vultures.
“Oppose the erosion of social rights…reject better treatment for banks over people” – Patrick Kinsella’s Article in the Irish Times
Writing in the May 24 2012 Irish Times Patrick Kinsella argues for rejection of the Austerity Treaty, finishing with this blunt warning for the Irish Labour Party in a coalition government with the ultra-conservative Fine Gael party:
On this issue, the Labour Party in Government has abandoned its traditional constituency, signing up to support the banks at the expense of equality, jobs and fair working conditions. It has abandoned the social pillar of the European Union in the interests of an illusory “stability”. I sense that its traditional constituency will abandon Labour at the next election
We recommend the full article, proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Fiscal Compact is a dangerous enemy to all shades of the left, including very moderate traditional social democracy.
A British New Statesman article entitled “The EU treaty is a disaster for the left” is just as compelling :
The author Owen Jones, whose “Chavs: the Demonization of the Working Class” is published by Verso says bluntly :
Consider this: as Paul Mason has written, “by enshrining in national and international law the need for balanced budgets and near-zero structural deficits, the eurozone has outlawed expansionary fiscal policy”.
Read that last bit carefully. Left-wing governments of all hues will, in effect, be banned by this treaty. If the French or the German left returns to power in the near future (and both are in a good position to do so), it will be illegal for them to respond to the global economic catastrophe with anything but austerity. An economic stimulus is forbidden – because the treaty has buried Keynesianism.
To date, Four Irish Trade Unions – MANDATE, UNITE, the TEEU (Electricians) and the Civil and Public Service Union (CPSU) have logically acted, understood the Treaty threat, and called for a NO in the referendum to be held on May 31.
Many activists know of people close to the Trade Union movement and Labour Party who know these arguments are 100 per cent true, but have not spoken their minds – they should broadcast now, reject the austerity policy of Tánaiste Éamon Gilmore and his government ministers, and join the NO Campaign.
They need look no further than Patrick Kinsella’s article :
Treaty is a social, political and economic threat
Thu, May 24, 2012
OPINION: Voting No is not a rejection of the EU – it is to oppose the erosion of social rights. It is to reject better treatment for banks over people, writes PATRICK KINSELLA
FOR NEARLY 40 years it has been pretty easy to find reasons to vote Yes to the succession of European treaties.
Like the rebel plotters in Monty Python’s Life of Brian asking “What has Rome ever done for us?”, we can answer that as well as better roads, we have more jobs, agricultural prosperity, quality education, cleaner water, and the promotion of equality and human rights, all benefits that might have seemed utopian back in the 1970s.
Yes, things are grim compared to a couple of years ago, and unemployment is at crisis levels. But total incomes, personal consumption and the number of people at work are all still higher than in 2003, which was not a bad year.
Free trade has been good to Ireland. But the European project is not just about free trade, and there are two compelling reasons to vote No to the latest treaty.
The first compelling reason is economic: the fiscal stability treaty does nothing to repair damage to our banking system, and nothing to reduce unemployment. The Government is locked in to an austerity policy that both theory and practice demonstrate to be wrong. It has been abandoned by the United States, by voters in Greece and France, and earlier this month by the voters of North Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.
The policy problem is Angela Merkel’s obsession with reducing debt. She is wrong: running a national economy is emphatically not like running a household or a business – households and businesses do not control the money supply. Governments need to borrow to invest and central banks need a stock of government bonds as a means of managing interest rates.
Obviously, excessive borrowing will lead to inflation, but excessive saving will lead to deflation – more job losses and business closures – and that is what is happening across much of Europe now.
Voting No to the fiscal treaty will not reverse current economic policy – that’s a political issue that will be resolved only after the German federal election next year. But voting Yes would make the austerity permanent, writing into national law a requirement to cut budgets or raise taxes here for as long as general government debt is more than 60 per cent of gross domestic product.
It’s no good the Government talking about a growth agenda if it means only market liberalisation and further cuts in pay. European governments need to borrow more money and invest it in worthwhile projects if unemployment is to be brought down. And large-scale, long-term borrowing to invest would be legally banned under the fiscal treaty.
The second compelling reason to vote No is purely political. The treaty upsets the historic balance that lies at the heart of the European project – the balance between labour and capital. The EEC was founded partly to prevent another war between France and Germany. But free trade, and free movement of goods, services and money were always to be limited by the protection of social rights.
Europe built on Germany’s post-war “social market economy”, which provided stability, profits, low unemployment and a welfare state. The main trade unions and most social democrats have been enthusiastic supporters of a project that promised social justice as well as prosperity; a commitment to equality as well as the right to make profits.
The fiscal treaty, by what it says and what it does not say, ends that balance. For the countries that sign it, the needs of the banks will be permanently ahead of the needs of the people. There is no social chapter here: just cut the deficit and limit government borrowing, whatever the social cost.
What kind of Ireland, what kind of Europe do we want? Competitive and flexible? Yes, but surely not at the cost of permanently low wages, poor public services, high unemployment and social insecurity. This is not a fantasy nor scaremongering, it is already under way.
Just one example from my place of work: there’s no such thing as a “job” in a university anymore. The very best we can offer new recruits is a five-year contract. Not just in the State sector but throughout the economy, on issues of job security, employment conditions and pension provision, risk is being transferred from investors and employers to employees and the unemployed.
This turns the expectation of profit as a reward for taking risk on its head, and reverses the historic consensus on which European prosperity and social cohesion has been based – and all to protect the integrity of a banking system that failed in its primary duty of prudence in lending.
The single currency scheme was flawed from the start, because the euro member states were unwilling to surrender the sovereignty needed to sustain it. Unwilling to harmonise taxes and spending policy, unwilling to borrow money as a unit, unwilling to transfer resources from one region to another in the way the US federal government does, unwilling to tax and properly regulate the financial system.
Merely limiting states’ capacity to borrow does not address these issues, and does not provide any basis for currency stability. That’s a task to be tackled by the new French president and a new German chancellor.
The Government is rigorously following the policies required by the troika of intergovernment lenders who support our current spending deficit and our bank rescue, and voting No will not change that. But the political situation in Europe is changing radically, and it is absurd to think that our partners will leave us high and dry for future loans because we reject a legal straitjacket on future policy demanded in the dying days of the Merkel regime. And don’t think the ideological rebalancing demanded by the fiscal treaty is limited to the euro zone members: the final article says “steps will be taken” to incorporate the substance of it “into the legal framework of the European Union”.
The political context for the social market economy in the 1950s and 1960s was the spectre of communism that haunted Europe. The context now includes the indignados of Spain, riots in Greece, and right-wing parties. Those of us with no great wealth other than our education worry for our children: where will they work, how will they live?
On this issue, the Labour Party in Government has abandoned its traditional constituency, signing up to support the banks at the expense of equality, jobs and fair working conditions. It has abandoned the social pillar of the European Union in the interests of an illusory “stability”. I sense that its traditional constituency will abandon Labour at the next election.
In the meantime, those of us who think that on balance the European Union has been good for Ireland, and do not want to see that balance overturned, have compelling reasons to vote No to this treaty.
Patrick Kinsella is head of the school of communications at Dublin City University and is a member of the Tasc Economists’ Network
© 2012 The Irish Times
The European Union becomes less democratic because of austerity :
“The European crisis is as much a crisis of politics as economics. The current paralysis of the Greek political system demonstrates the point very clearly. EU policy has actively contributed to this crisis by effectively sealing off discussion of the political problems thrown up by austerity.”
More Here : Read the rest of this entry »
Answering the Quextion above – Perhaps Not.
Decision-makers may be : “continuing a long established pattern of putting in place certain economic policies and insulating them from democratic decisión making.”
Much current discussion of the euro crisis focuses on the seeming irrationality or incompetence of decision makers. For example, Guardian economics editor Larry Elliot says that “there is a failure or an unwillingness to grasp a basic truth about the single currency: it doesn’t work”. While this may be true to a certain extent, one can also interpret the response to the current crisis as continuing a long established pattern of putting in place certain economic policies and insulating them from democratic decisión making.
The logic of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was always to ensure that the costs of economic adjustment were to be borne through ‘internal devaluation’ – the loss of monetary independence prevented countries from responding to a crisis by printing money, lowering the interest rate or devaluing the currency. The Stability and Growth Pact was intended to achieve something similar in the área of fiscal policy, and the Fiscal Treaty seeks to complete that unfinished task. Steve McGiffen has quoted an approving neoliberal economist as saying that “Either the euro subverts the welfare state, or Europe’s welfare state subverts the euro… smart money should bet on the euro”.
The mention of the fiscal treaty shows how, to a certain extent at least, the crisis is being used to advance a pre-existing agenda, along the lines of former Obama administration Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s injunction that “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Like the Fiscal Treaty. (Naomi Klein has used the idea of the ‘shock doctrine’ to describe this kind of stratagem).
And it is still in play. Many commentators see ECB lending to sovereign states as an essential component part of a proper response to the crisis, but a reason for its rejection has been put forward by the head of German Central Bank with reference to Italy, in November of last year: “Recent experience has shown that market interest rates do play a role in pushing government towards reforms… [ECB buying sovereign bonds would mean] there’s a risk that you mute the incentives that come from the market”. In other words, (one way of) defusing the crisis would take away the opportunity to implement the ‘structural reforms’ of the Italian economy that are deemed desirable. This approach may be playing with fire but it is, on its own terms, perfectly rational.
Now this is not a crude conspiracy theory – it is not as if the crisis has been concocted to advance these policies, but it is certain that it is being opportunistically made use of in that way. So those of us who are critical of what is (and is not happening) should perhaps place less emphasis on the seeming stupidity of what is going on and rather more emphasis on the amount of sense it makes if looked at from a certain perspective.
According to the Fine Gael / Labour Government the Fiscal Compact Referendum is “about stability”.
A web search “Labour Party” “Stability Treaty” delivers a word-avalanche :
There is a major problem with this propaganda :
Austerity, which is the at the heart of the Fiscal Compact, does not promote stability; it causes chaos and turmoil.
In just over a year 10 of the 17 governments in the eurozone have collapsed, starting with fall of the Cowen-Gormley Fianna Fáil led coalition in February 2011.
The Guardian’s Ian Traynor reports :
For Europe‘s elected political leaders, the debt and currency crisis has taken an extraordinarily heavy toll. Of 17 governments in the eurozone using the single currency, 10 have been drummed out of office in little more than a year, more often than not directly because of the crisis.
The mass voter rebellion against incumbents began in February last year as bailout candidate Ireland went to the polls. Fianna Fáil’s hapless Brian Cowen quit before his party suffered the worst ever defeat of an Irish government and he was replaced by Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny.
There is however one big exception to all this instability :
The dangers of democracy do not, however, affect some of the biggest players in the euro crisis: — – in Brussels and in Frankfurt. Key leaders such as Olli Rehn and José Manuel Barroso at the European commission in Brussels or Herman van Rompuy at the European Council need not fear the voter