Campaign Against the Austerity Treaty

Vote No to the Fiscal Compact Treaty, Referendum in Ireland, May 31 2012

Archive for the ‘Euro Currency’ Category

In or out of the eurozone, we must ditch this failed model – Séumas Milne, the Guardian (Britain)

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Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greek Radical Left Coalition Syriza

Séumas Milne points out :

EU elites are trying to scare Greeks and Irish into swallowing austerity, but it’s they who brought the economy to its knees

Continuing, the Guardian columnist explains further :

Democracy has never been the European Union’s strongest suit. It’s an institution where the unelected and the barely accountable have always called the shots – and electorates are routinely made to vote again if they get the answer wrong in a referendum. So perhaps it’s no surprise that as soon as it became clear the Greeks would be given another say on the austerity programme that has already driven their country into 1930s-style depression, the threats and bullying began in earnest.

The entire European establishment has now lined up to scare Greeks off giving another majority to anti-austerity parties, as they did in explosive elections earlier this month. Europe’s revolt against austerity has to be contained. Democratic niceties about not interfering in other countries’ elections have been ditched. If Greeks vote for parties such as the radical left Syriza – now leading in most opinion polls – they will be voting to leave the euro, Europe’s political elite has warned.

Read the full article here :

Dublin Public Meeting :

Despin Charalampidou was elected to the Greek Parliament in the recent elections. She is a member of the Central Political Commitee of SYRIZA and has been an active trade unionist for many years.

Despin will speak at a public meeting in Wynn’s Hotel at 8.00pm on Thursday, May 24.

Treaty threatens to widen democratic deficit in EU – Irish Times Article by John O’Brennan

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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 »

Written by tomasoflatharta

May 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Is the response to the crisis simply stupid?

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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.

Written by tomasoflatharta

May 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm